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Over 140 New Nazca Lines Discovered in Peru

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things in Nazca, Peru using AI technology owned by IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. In all, they discovered 142 geoglyphs dating back to between 100 BCE and 300 CE.

The images were negative ones created by removing rocks from the white sand. The longest of all the images is over 100 meters from top to bottom, bigger than the Statue of Liberty while the smallest is 5 meters, around the same size as Michelangelo’s David.

To make things easier, the researches divided all the geoglyphs into two categories according to their size, age, and design. Type A are those which tend to be bigger – 50 meters or more – and are just line drawings while Type B consists of smaller geoglyphs on solid-colored surfaces.

These two categories also differ by age. Typically, those in Type B were older, thought to be created anywhere from 100 BCE to 100 CE during the Initial Nazca Period, or earlier even, while Type B is a bit more recent – that is, between 100 and 300 CE.

The researchers’ theory is that each group had a different purpose. Type A, the larger ones, may have been for rituals that involved pottery while Type B was simply for decoration. These second ones were discovered close to paths or on slopes, which suggests their purpose may have been to aid travelers.

What do we know about the Nazca Lines?

In 1994, all the lines and geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa, located 400 or so kilometers south of Lima, near the town of Nazca, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 517 square kilometers of desert, it is here that the Nazca civilization created hundreds of geoglyphs between 500 BCE and 500 CE.

According to National Geographic, it wasn’t until flight was invented that they were discovered. That means they were left untouched for thousands of centuries.

Researchers are still mystified as to how or why geoglyphs were constructed, but as the World Heritage Convention states, they have turned “the vast land into a highly symbolic, ritual and social-cultural landscape that remains until today.”

“They represent a remarkable manifestation of a common religion and social homogeneity that lasted a considerable period of time.”

Some say they were used as a big astronomical calendar while others say they were places to perform rituals for farming success. Still others think that they were alien landing sites – one of the most unique and improbable theories.

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things...

Cool Stories

10 Secret Code Words You’re Not Meant to Know

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to learn a few!

10-33

You’ve probably heard a policeman say “10-4,” at least in movies – a type of acknowledgment of what has been said. But 10-33 is something more. If you hear an officer say 10-33, it means there’s an emergency.

Code 10

The phrase “Code 10” actually has several meanings. If you’re in a hospital, it signals a serious threat or mass casualties. However, if you’re in a store and the cashier issues an authorization request for a Code 10, it means he or she finds you or your card to be suspicious. However, if you’re in Walmart, don’t be alarmed; Code 10 only means that there has been a dry spill!

7500

This number is something you should hope to never hear your pilot say because it’s a code that signals the plane has been hijacked.

However, more and more people have become familiar with what “7500” means in this situation, so many airlines have gone a step further to install a button or some sort of contraption in the cockpit which quietly turns the plane’s transponder to 7500. Then, the air traffic control will simply confirm with the pilot that he sent the signal intentionally.

7700, however, signals general emergencies on a plane.

Code Adam

Back in 1994, Walmart coined the phrase “Code Adam” following the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old who had been innocently strolling around Sears. Now, it is used to signal a missing child in many public locations, such as malls, hospitals, supermarkets, and museums. Congress has even mandated that all federal buildings use Code Adam procedures as of 2003.

Code Blue

Some hospitals may differ from others, so there’s a chance it may mean something different for some hospitals, but in general, a Code Blue means that a patient has gone into cardiac arrest.

Code Bravo

Hearing “Code Bravo” in an airport is quite serious, as it means there has been a bomb threat or some other sort of security breach.

In fact, you may even encounter officials yelling the phrase because they want people to freeze, helping them to find where the legitimate threat is more quickly.

Code Oscar

We often associate the word “Oscar” with the Academy Awards, but unfortunately, on ships, “Code Oscar” has nothing to do with movies and actors. It means that there is a man overboard.

Code Silver

If you’re in a hospital and year “Code Silver,” keep your eye out for suspicious individuals. It means that there is someone in the building with a weapon, a hostage situation has occurred, or some other violent situation has ensued which requires a lockdown.

Doctor Firestone

Dr. Firestone isn’t a real doctor, but you could hear the name in a real medical emergency. It lets hospital staff know there’s a fire in the building. If you hear an announcement saying, Paging Dr. Firestone to the fifth floor,” you should know that there is no Dr. Firestone.

What it actually means is that there is a fire in the building, and they want to let the staff know without causing mayhem. Some hospitals may use the phrase “Code Red” instead.

Echo, Echo, Echo

You would only hear this in context if you are out on a ship on a foggy night. It means that two ships are about to run into one another. Some cruise ships utilize this phrase to let everyone on board know that there are high winds.

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to...

Cool Stories Science

Cool! Never Before Seen ‘Dance of Avoidance’ of Neptune’s Moons

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that are relatively close to one another. In 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft flyby happened upon two of these inner moons, Naiad and Thalassa.

Scientists have more recently observed Naiad’s unique orbit consisting of oscillating patterns in order to avoid collision with Thalassa. They’ve labelled it a “dance of avoidance.”

These moons are quite small when compared to the Earth’s moon – a pithy 60 miles or so in length to 2,159 miles in diameter. In addition, at least relatively speaking, the two moons are quite close together, orbiting only 1,150 miles apart.

But because of the shape of their orbits, they are prevented from colliding with one another. The data that confirmed this was collected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope between 1981 and 2016.

“We are always excited to find these co-dependencies between moons,” said co-author of the article in the journal Icarus, Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.

“Naiad and Thalassa have probably been locked together in this configuration for a very long time, because it makes their orbits more stable. They maintain the peace by never getting too close.”

Super Fast Zigzag

Naiad takes 7 hours to orbit Neptune while Thalassa takes 7.5 hours, so to avoid Thalassa, Naiad moves in a zigzag pattern, crossing the other’s orbit twice from above and twice from below, repeating the pattern again and again.

Naiad’s tilt and timing are impeccable each time, keeping the two from coming too close. They remain 2,200 miles or so apart even when the two orbits cross paths.

“We refer to this repeating pattern as a resonance,” lead author Marina Brozović, an expert in solar system dynamics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said.

“There are many different types of ‘dances’ that planets, moons, and asteroids can follow, but this one has never been seen before.”

Brozović and her colleagues think that this unique moon movement has been occurring since Neptune captured Triton, it’s the largest satellite at 1,680 miles.

“We suspect that Naiad was kicked into its tilted orbit by an earlier interaction with one of Neptune’s other inner moons,” said Brozović. “Only later, after its orbital tilt was established, could Naiad settle into this unusual resonance with Thalassa.”

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that...

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Cool Stories Tech News

Picasso, Reconstructed by an A.I.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Picasso.

Beneath the Old Guitarist (1903-04), Pablo Picasso’s popular Blue Period painting is the figure of a woman in faint markings. She was originally noticed in 1998 when X-rays and infrared light were used by conservators of the Art Institute of Chicago to peep behind the top layer of the paint.

She sits with her right arm tucked onto her lap and her left arm reaching toward the viewer.  Strangely enough, she resembles a sketch Picasso sent to a colleague at the same time the painting was made.

Enter A.I. Conservation

The foundation for the neural network was a technique created in 2015 by Leon Gatys at the University of Tübingen, Germany, called neural style transfer. The machine vision technique can indicate the style of a painting and convert it to match another.

For example, it can convert a Paul Cézanne to the style of Michelangelo. This technique has been used on videos as well, so it is possible to watch clips of Ice Age in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

All that could be recognized of the woman in the painting until now was the slightest trace of her outline. Other intricate details like style and color were lost.

Nevertheless, with the use of a neural network trained to differentiate the style of one artist from the other or one period from the other, researchers at University College London have given her a new life, even if it is not true to the original of Picasso.

Researchers George Cann and Anthony Bourached published their paper titled “Raiders of the Lost Art,” on the arXiv preprint server. The paper was also featured in a recent article in the MIT Technology Review.

The X-rayed images of the woman’s outlines were plugged into a neural network built to convert images into the style of La Vie (1903), another exceptional piece of Picasso’s Blue Period. In as much as the result cannot be a perfect match of Picasso’s painting which was also pained over 10 decades ago, it is at least conforming to the style he used at that period.

In Picasso’s The Crouching Beggar, the same technique was also used. It was painted over a landscape thought to have been made by a Spanish painter, Santiago Rusiñol, using Rusiñol’s Parc del Laberint d’Horta.

Cann and Bourached said that they hope the results help projects on other lost works of art and also challenge the popular doubt that “algorithm can be creative, or innovate.”

“We argue that the use of machine learning as an artistic tool can ultimately broaden creative insight and widen the landscape of inspirational ingenuity by human-AI collaboration,” wrote Cann and Bourached.

The Crouching Beggar and Old Guitarist are not the only Picasso works that cover hidden paintings. Earlier pieces are usually painted over by artists, especially when a fresh canvas is hard to come by due to inadequate funds. A portrait of a man resting his hand on his head underneath Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901) was found by researchers in 2014.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Picasso.

Beneath the Old Guitarist (1903-04), Pablo Picasso’s popular Blue Period painting is...

Cool Stories Lifestyle

6 Great Candy-Free Halloween Treats Kids Love

Although candy is a traditional way of greeting the trick-or-treaters that find their way to your door on Halloween, sometimes it is good to be a little bit different. Why not try some of these fun, spooky surprises that are 100% candy-free and give the kids a real treat this year.

Spooky Halloween-themed glow sticks

These will light up the kid’s faces when they see these funky Halloween glow sticks. Instead of a straight stick, this pack of 12 lights comes in all sorts of spooky designs.

Choose from skulls, jack o’ lanterns, stars, axes, tridents, and skulls! These amazing favors will have kids reaching away from the candy and picking up something different for the celebration.

Fearsome Stampers

These scary stampers are going to be a real hit this Halloween. The pack has lots of different spooky designs including ghosts, mummies, witches, pumpkins and lots more cool designs.

The ink used is not toxic and is fully washable so the kids can have fun stamping cards, art, and anything else that takes their fancy.

Traditional Play-Doh

Play-Doh always goes down well but these special Halloween colors are going to win the day. These are the treats that most parents will thank you for.

Less candy is always good, but these one-ounce containers come in a variety of Halloween-themed colors – orange, purple, green, black and white and can be used long after Halloween to keep the kids occupied.

Super-Cute Wind-up monsters

These monsters are completely adorable because let’s face it, Halloween is not all about being scary!

These come in packs of 12 and include all the popular monsters like mummies, skeletons, vampires and a few other creepy items like fangs and eyeballs. They can even race against each other so the fun can keep going well into November.

Halloween pencils with giant erasers

Pencils and erasers make great treats plus they are useful for doing homework!

The packs contain 36 pencils in lots of spooky designs including bats, black cats, ghosts, witches and vampires. At around $13 for a pack of 36, they are not going to break the bank and kids will overlook the candy to get their hands on them.

Squishies

Who doesn’t love those soft and completely smushy squishies? Certainly they are popular with kids and the Halloween versions will have everyone beating a path to your door.

As with regular squishies you squeeze them and then they slowly go back to their shape, but these are in spooky Halloween designs. They are also great to use as prizes if you organize any Halloween games.

These are the 6 non-candy Halloween treats we chose but there are many more out there to choose from. Not only do they mean less candy but it also helps kids with food allergies join in with all the fun. So this year why not get creative and take a look around for more great candy-free Halloween treats.

Although candy is a traditional way of greeting the trick-or-treaters that find their way to your door on Halloween, sometimes it is good to be a little bit different. Why not try some of these fun, spooky surprises that are 100% candy-free and give the kids...

Cool Stories Tech News

Robotic Contact Lenses Allow You to Zoom In on Blink-Command

Everything robotic is on the rise!  As of late, researchers at the University of California San Diego have explored the idea of contact lenses that will zoom in on objects by blinking twice!  They are called “soft robots” which actually copies elements found in living organisms. They can be integrated with a human body and this is one of the projects that is taking center stage.

The researchers have actually created a prototype contact lens that’s controlled by the movement of your eye.  You can simply blink twice to zoom in and out from an object.  These biomimetic lenses are made from elastic polymer films designed to respond to the electric signals that are generated by eye movement.

The layers that expand or contract will change the thickness of the lenses which changes the amount of light that passes through. Actually, this technology is not new, it’s very much like eye-tracking technology that allows people to control their wheelchairs.

Soft Robots

Due to many unique features, soft robots have been extensively explored to work in collaboration with humans.  The latest development of soft robots can be either controlled manually or through a pre-written program.

The researchers explained that current developments have created a human/machine interface that uses electrooculographic signals that are generated by the movement of the eye to control motions and change the focal length of a biomimetic soft lens.

The motion and contortion of soft lenses are achieved by actuating areas of the dielectric polymer films which copies the mechanism of the eyes in people as well as in most mammals. In a recent study, the system has the potential to be used in visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotic in the near future.

This is really an amazing breakthrough that could allow your eye to see things more clearly and even zoom in on very small objects that the human eye has difficulty seeing. From there, the sky’s the limit.

Everything robotic is on the rise!  As of late, researchers at the University of California San Diego have explored the idea of contact lenses that will zoom in on objects by blinking twice!  They are called “soft robots” which actually copies elements...

Cool Stories Earth Humans Are Awesome Nature & Tech

Amazing Footage of Hurricane Dorian’s 40 Mile-Wide Eye

Footage by the hurricane hunters flying directly into the eye of hurricane Dorian was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane Dorian was 50 to 60 miles off the coast of South Carolina and footage of the storm was shot by Lt. Kevin Doremus from the cockpit of the NOAA aircraft, named Kermit. This aircraft is a four-engine Lockheed WP-3D Orion.

Along with cleverly naming one aircraft “Kermit” the other WP-3D aircraft that was involved was named “Miss Piggy”. The 2 NOAA aircraft have performed regular flights into Dorian to collect valuable data which helps forecasters to make better predictions and clearer understanding of the storm.

These planes are designed to measure pressure changes, wind speed, humidity, and other factors during this very long mission which lasted for more than 12 hours.

There is a shot of the planes going through the powerful winds and driving rain of the eyewall before entering into the eye of the storm which was very calm with amazing clear blue skies.

The eye of the storm varied in size from approximately 50 to 60 miles wide. Doremus told Newsweek the eye was a lot smaller than the previous fights into the storm, and in some cases was only 5 miles wide!

After that, the storm grew to more than 60 miles wide. The Washington Post reported the storm increased in size with hurricane-force winds and tropical storms that extended outward by 25 to 220 miles from the center.

During the following Thursday, Nick Underwood, hurricane hunter, posted a video of an NOAA plane flying into Dorian’s eye that showed an enormous “stadium” effect that can be clearly seen.

The eyes of hurricanes, as well as cyclones, usually have traits of “stadium” effects because the clouds of the eyewall are curved in a way that actually resembles an arena or stadium appearance.

Flying through the eyewall of a hurricane where the winds are at their strongest can be very dangerous. The NOAA planes are not normally harmed by the strong winds, which is absolutely incredible.

Flying Kermit and Miss Piggy

It’s quite common that airliners fly in jet streams with winds exceeding 150 miles an hour over the US during the winter months. It’s the shear or sudden change in horizontal or vertical winds that can harm an aircraft, causing the planes to lose control.

NOAA pilots and crew routinely, but never casually, fly in high-wind environments of hurricanes and are not worried about their planes being torn apart. NOAA aircraft do not fly through tornadoes. However, pilots and crews are constantly monitoring for any hot spots of severe weather and shear which they can pick up on with radar, especially to avoid really serious situations.

Lt. Kevin Doremus, referring to Dorian, said the storm was actually pretty easy to fly through when he captured his video. The storm was slowly deteriorating from a Category 3 to a Category 2 and there were very little up and downdrafts that are normally found in a Category 4 and 5 or rapidly intensifying storms.

They had been watching Dorian from a tropical depression up to a Category 5 and said this was, without a doubt, the smoothest flight they had been on since previous flights that entered the storm a few days before.

On Friday, at 5 AM EDT, Dorian was 25 miles east of Cape Lookout in North Carolina with sustainable wind speeds of 90 miles per hour. It was moving northeast around 14 miles per hour and was expected to remain in motion through Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According to a statement, Dorian remained a powerful hurricane while it moved along the North Carolina coast over the next several hours. It was forecasted to become a tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds through Saturday night as it headed to Nova Scotia.

Footage by the hurricane hunters flying directly into the eye of hurricane Dorian was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane Dorian was 50 to 60 miles off the coast of South Carolina and footage of the storm was shot by Lt...

Cool Stories Funny Stories

Area 51 is Back in the Limelight

Over the past couple of months, UFO followers have gone absolutely nuts! They are flocking to the Nevada desert that is close by the famous, secretive US Air Force military base after a joke was posted on Facebook sometime back this year.

Over two million people said they would attend the event and race through the base to find these “so-called” aliens!  It seems more and more people are not using common sense!

Recently, the organizers of this event decided to cancel for fear of safety, worrying this could turn into another Fyre Festival.  The Fyre Festival was a fraudulent luxury music festival created to promote the company’s app for booking music talent.

Canceled? Who Cares!

Even with the cancellation, people have flocked to small towns like Rachel, NV with a population of 54 residences.  Their sole intent is to meet up with other alien hunters.  To the insane, one fan performed the perfect Naruto run, passing a live news broadcast at the scene.

Should you not know, a Naruto run is performed by leaning forward with your arms stretched out behind you while running!

Area 51 is a military site that is closed off to the public and has been rumored to have evidence of alien contacts.  Shortly after the event gained momentum, the US Air Force issued a very strong warning that people should stay away as this is a training site for American armed soldiers.

A spokesperson for the US Air Force, which I paraphrase, said they are always ready to stand by protecting America and her assets but this recent lure of the conspiracy theory has obviously made the place difficult to resist.

This phenomenon is based on a blend of interests in aliens and swirling government conspiracies, wanting to know something no one knows.

Residents of Rachel have been preparing for the influx of people from around the US as well as other places.  They are installing outdoor floodlights, fencing, and “No Trespassing” signs.  They have organized a radio-equipped neighborhood night-watch fearing there will not be enough food, water, garbage containers, or even toilets to support this mad dash.

There is also a fear that people will flock into the desert with absolutely no knowledge about the climate conditions which during the night hours can drop below 5°C.  People are arriving in shorts and flip-flops and will probably come face-to-face with snakes, scorpions, and other creatures.

Officials are concerned about people becoming angry when they don’t find what they are looking for and cell phone service will become overwhelmed.  Visitors will not find a gas station closer than 45 miles away!

In a nutshell, people will not find what they are hoping for and even though the creators on Facebook called the whole event a fraud, it doesn’t seem to be stopping people from invading this area and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.

Quite honestly, people, this conspiracy theory has been around since the 50s when people were worried about Nuclear weapons and there is absolutely no proof of aliens living in Nevada.

Over the past couple of months, UFO followers have gone absolutely nuts! They are flocking to the Nevada desert that is close by the famous, secretive US Air Force military base after a joke was posted on Facebook sometime back this year.

Over two million...

Cool Stories Entertainment News

Dan Aykroyd is Returning to Ghostbusters!

Actor Dan Aykroyd has recently announced that he will star in Jason Reitman’s latest sequel, Ghostbusters which is the third installment of the classic 1984 movie Ghostbusters. The original was directed by Jason’s father, Ivan Reitman.

Aykroyd said most of the original cast will also be in the film along with some new faces. Although he really does not work in films these days, he could not pass down Ghostbusters.

Speaking of cast members who were in both of the other two Ghostbusters, Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray will also be on board. Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, and Ernie Hudson were in the original 1984 Ghostbusters and the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II.

Female Version Comments

Reitman drew a lot of criticism after his comments regarding the release of the film with the female cast starring Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy. Reitman said he would not make the Juno of Ghostbusters movies but this Ghostbusters film is one big love letter for all the Ghostbusters films.

Reitman did receive a lot of negative feedback regarding his comments that had fans believing he didn’t think the 2016 film was worth the attention of Ghostbusters fans. He commented on Twitter that wasn’t the case, he thought the film was great!

He said his comment came out all wrong that he actually liked Paul, Leslie, Melissa, and Kristen work on the 2016 Ghostbusters film directed by Paul Feig. He firmly believes it was an amazing film.

Feig said on Twitter that Jason was his biggest supporter at a time when he couldn’t do anything to get a film made. He also said that Reitman was a big supporter of his film Ghostbusters Answer the Call. He looks forward to seeing the newest film in the Ghostbusters galaxy.

Jason Reitman’s newest Ghostbusters film is marked for release in 2020. Fans from around the world are anticipating another great round with all the pack-bearing cast as they, once again, take on the ghoulish beings as first encountered in the 1984 movie.

He said he has a great deal of respect for Feig’s work and the incredible actresses who made the film a huge success. But he did say that this newest sequel will follow in the footsteps of the original film.

Actor Dan Aykroyd has recently announced that he will star in Jason Reitman’s latest sequel, Ghostbusters which is the third installment of the classic 1984 movie Ghostbusters. The original was directed by Jason’s father, Ivan Reitman.

Aykroyd...

Cool Stories Science

Hubble Spots a Big, Weird Blob of Star Gas

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see that they’re no longer just diamonds in the sky.

Take NGC 2022, for example, which can be found in the Orion constellation. When you see what it looks like through a telescope, it’s fantastic. It’s a star approaching the end of its life.

Different stars do different things when they age, depending on their size and makeup. When thinking about stars and the effect they have on us, the most crucial one to keep tabs on is our very own Sun. Eventually, it will become a red giant, just as NGC 2022 has done.

A Planetary Nebula

NASA explains in a new blog post:

“When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red. These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space. More than half of such a star’s mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas. At the same time, the star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.”

What is left is planet-like in appearance, which is why it’s called a planetary nebula. This all may sound fascinating and exciting, but the effect of our Sun becoming a red giant will be devastating for our planet. Planets that closely orbit stars headed toward the end of their life are swallowed up completely. Others are stripped of their atmosphere.

In our case, most likely Mercury and Venus will be swallowed up, but Earth won’t. However, all life on earth is sure to be eradicated because of the intense heat of the star.

Don’t run off and start panicking, though. We’ve still got about 5.4 billion years till this all goes down, and till then, the sun will very gradually get brighter and hotter.

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see...

Cool Stories

Massive Avocados Can Make 12 Avocado Toasts

With the rise in popularity of everything avocado over the last decade, nothing gets the public more excited than an avocado as big as a large zucchini; such an idea seems like it could only be the stuff of dreams – until you meet the farmers of Purdue University Crop.

Turns out a 13-inch, “long-neck” avocado is very real, and they’re being grown in Florida! In fact, they’ve been around for quite some time already. So, what’s the deal with these gigantic avocados? Could they possibly taste as good as the smaller Hass ones we’re so used to?

The good news is that these avocados, called “Persea Americana Russel” are just as tasty as Hass avocados are. Miami Fruit co-founder Edelle Schlegel told NBC’s Today Show, “Our long-neck avocados are thick, creamy, savory, and slightly sweet.”

Got to Eat Them Fast

The bad news, however, is that they ripen just as quickly! “Our ‘long-neck’ avocados do ripen quickly, just like the regular avocados that you would find in a grocery store,” a spokesperson for the company said. He also shared with INSIDER that a chef discovered that just one of these avocados can make 12 slices of avocado toast!

Originating in the small village of Islamorada in the Florida Keys, the long-neck avocado is typically harvested throughout August and September in southern parts of Florida. It can weigh anywhere between 24 to 40 ounces – typical avocados are usually around 6 ounces – and grow to about 13 inches long.

While the brand is currently sold out of their long-neck avocados for the season, you can already pre-order some for next year. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try growing them yourself!

Trees are available for purchase, and Purdue has said that these avocado trees are excellent additions to home gardens since it’s highly likely you’ll reap a good number of avocados each year. However, they’re meant to grow in warm, humid climates like Florida, so if your home is somewhere like Colorado, you’ll just have to pre-order for next season now!

With the rise in popularity of everything avocado over the last decade, nothing gets the public more excited than an avocado as big as a large zucchini; such an idea seems like it could only be the stuff of dreams – until you meet the farmers of Purdue...

Cool Stories Funny Stories Tech News

Have You Ever Wondered Where The Smiley Face Emoji Came From?

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or scowling.

Whether you want to end your message on a high note, add a smile in the middle of your text, or wishing someone a happy birthday, there’s an emoji for you.  We use them in messages on social media, in our emails to one another, or in other ways to convey an emotion or sentiment.

What you might not know, where did the original smiley come from?  This concept actually started back in the 60s when Harvey Ball created the very first smiley face drawing.  Over the years, the image began to change and develop into smiley emoji drawings that we all love and enjoy to use.

How It All Began:

Graphic artists, Harvey Ross Ball created the first smiley face without giving it much thought, let along turning it into an international icon!  Possibly, he was just doodling while coming up with ideas in his head for his next project.

He was originally hired by State Mutual Life Insurance Company as a graphic artist to produce an image that would encourage their employees to smile more often during their time at the workplace.

It took him less than 10 minutes to draw this cute smiley face and was only paid $45 for his artwork.  While the image probably did nothing to ramp up morale in the workplace, this smiley face caught on like wildfire!

It was printed on buttons, posters, shirts, etc.  Even though Ball never copyrighted the design, saying he was not a man of means or money, his smiley face continued to gain in popularity in our culture.  Before he knew it, even the company workers stood up and took notice of his simple cute drawing.

How The Smiley Face Evolved:

Through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the little yellow smiley face started to evolve and soon became an image of happiness and peace within pop art and started appearing on tee-shirts and posters.

As mentioned earlier, Ball never claimed the copyright but someone else stepped up to the plate to promote and commercialize this little yellow face.  Franklin Loufrani, a French journalist, was a driven man and he decided to attached this smiley drawing to all his positive newspaper stories and received a lot of attraction from readers.

At one point, he copyrighted the image and made a lot of money selling just about anything he could with the image printed on it.  He named the image simply “Smiley” and started the Smiley Company selling tee-shirt transfers to anyone who wanted to show off this positive image.

Even though the image was created long before the cell phone, this French journalist’s company played an enormous role in the production of the 21st-Century Emoji!

The Birth Of The Emoji:

If you’ve ever wondered how this little smiley face ended up on the internet, we’ve got you covered!  Scott E. Fahlman was a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon. He is the man who got the idea that would eventually lead to becoming known as an Emoji.

He decided it would be a great idea to have some visual way to express emotions that are funny to text messages, especially at the closing of a message with either a happy or sad face.

Then, Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese interface designer started sending out cartoons in his company messages that were emoji-like faces.  So in some ways, he is the one who created the emoji!  He used a 12 x 12 grid to produce the pixel images such as laughing faces, hearts, and of course, the original smiley face.

This new concept remained only in Japan for almost 10 years.  Meanwhile, Loufrani’s son Nicolas was working on the smiley replication of emojis.  He created an amazing 470 emojis during 1999 and licensed them out to phone companies for a price.  Finally, in 2010, emojis hit the public internationally with 722 emojis being released on iPhone and Android devices.

Now in the age of cell phones, there are approximately 3,000 emojis available for our devices. It’s almost impossible for any of us to imagine not having these emojis for our messages.  Though I must look back and say it’s a shame that Ball only received a total of $45 for a design that was formed in his head alone.

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or scowling.

Whether you want to end your message on a high note, add a smile in the middle of your text, or wishing...

Cool Stories

Designing Abstract Aerial Art that Can Only Be Viewed From Above

There are so many amazing and beautiful natural things that you will never notice or realize unless you view them from above.  JP and Mike Andrews have shared amazing sights and patterns that can only be seen from above by creating their own work as “abstract aerial art”.

They use drones called DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Pro.  They will find scenes that are literally all too perfect to be real and are, sadly, ignored.

Above Down Under

UK photographers started in 2016 when they visited Australia.  They wanted to know how much more they could view of remote areas from above.  They bought their first drone and headed to the outback. They quickly became in awe of what they discovered.

They grabbed the perspective of the drone to capture textures of the earth, swirls of patterns, symmetry and amazing colors.  The more they were drawn into what they were viewing and photographing, the more committed they became.

Each landscapes changes, exposing a truly magnificent and somewhat strange world that we live in.  The more they photographed these images, the more they were amazed at what they were actually looking at! Now, they are sharing these images to the world.

There are so many amazing and beautiful natural things that you will never notice or realize unless you view them from above.  JP and Mike Andrews have shared amazing sights and patterns that can only be seen from above by creating their own work as...

Animals Cool Stories Science

A Pocket Shark That Glows in the Dark!

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been identified, according to a study published in the  Zootaxa journal.

Named the American Pocket Shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis) was identified as a new species based on an analysis performed on a single 5½-inch-long male that was caught in the Gulf in 2010.

In Louisiana, researchers from Tulane University applied several different techniques including X-ray imaging and high-resolution CT scans to examine the specimen.  It was determined it was a different species of the pocket shark  (Mollisquama parini)  that was ever reported.  In 1979, a pocket shark was captured in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Only two ever captured

Director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute, Henry Bart, said in the history of science, these are the only two pocket sharks ever captured or reported.  He said that both sharks are separate species and from different oceans.

They are both extremely rare and the fact that only one pocket shark was reported from the Gulf of Mexico, this new species emphasizes how very little scientists know about the Gulf, especially in deeper waters. This has led scientists to question how many new species might be in the Gulf, yet to be discovered.

Both M. mississippiensis and M. parini have similar characteristics, they both have two rather large “pockets” near their front fins and gills. In a paper, the latest pocket shark has a fluid that glows and then attracts prey.

Even though both species have similarities, they also have notable differences, according to the Tulane scientists.  The M. mississippiensis has fewer vertebrae than the shark found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  Also, the species found in the Gulf has many light-producing organs known as photophores which have been found all over the body.

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been...

City Life Cool Stories

Urban Hacking: 5 Inexpensive and Cool City Hacks

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be adapted in order to grow.

Urban hacking is one of the most direct ways we have of shaping our city into what we want it to be, and these hacks often lead to permanent solutions. Urban hacks range from taking over disused public squares and installing seating for seniors to bringing humor and fun to everyday scenes.

What urban hacking does is turn public space and urban landscape into a huge playground where people can express their creativity and better their city. Here are 15 inexpensive and cool city hacks to be aware of!

  1. Shopping Cart Sports by Florian Riviére

Florian Riviére is a French artist and activist that has come up with many different city hacks. His project “Don’t Play, Play” encourages people to stay in the parking lot of shopping centers instead of going inside.

For this purpose, parking spots are modified with white tape to turn them into courts for sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball, etc., using shopping carts as nets or structural supports.

  1. Wanderest Chair for Seniors Attached to Light Poles

Light poles can easily become the backrest for seats with “Wanderest”, from designer Nichola Trudgen. This leaning stool can be easily attached to any octagonal or circular light pole and they’re installed in retirement areas where there’s no public seating available.

  1. Info Pillars

Info pillars can be found in Toronto and they often show advertisements instead of actually useful information for people who are exploring the city on foot.

They also block important sections of the sidewalk, making it difficult for pedestrians. That’s why the creative team known as cARTographyTO hacked 35 of these info pillars and replaced the ads with maps, sculptures, art, and chalkboards.

This got the public’s attention, of course, and it encouraged them to reconsider the use of these info pillars.

  1. Tram Track Skateboarding

In Bratislava, Slovakia, the width of the tram tracks match perfectly with the width of a standard European pallet.

When this pallet is modified with parts to keep it in place, it becomes a sort of skateboard that zooms across the city with minimum effort, guided by a map of the city.

This project from Slovakian artist Tomas Moravec is meant to serve as a new transport vehicle that changes spatial perspective of users and the life of the city as well.

  1. Urban Terrasse: Adaptive Furniture by Damien Gires

In France, designer Damien Gires takes octagonal cardboard boxes and places them in anti-parking posts on sidewalks, turning them into mini tables for adjacent cafes.

This project is known as Urban Terrasse, and it’s meant to make sidewalks more functional and to encourage cafe patrons to get more involved with their city environments because it shows them it’s in their best interest.

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be...