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The 10 Geekiest Lego Creations

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I know, to some extent, all Lego creations made by anyone over the age of 10 are a little geeky, but it takes things to a whole new level of nerdiness to create something based on your favorite sci-fi movie or video game. Even so, the hardest part of writing this article wasn’t coming up with 10 amazingly geeky creations, but deciding which ones not to include. That’s why aside from the geekiness of the subject matter, I had to take into account how much work each project took to make a reality. After all, if there’s anything geekier than a nerdy Lego creation, it’s taking an unbelievable amount of time to construct said design.

Mario Brothers Animation

Making a Mario screen out of your favorite interlocking brick toys is pretty geeky, but taking the extra step to turn the design into a stop motion animation is what makes this Mario Brothers Lego project stand out from the crowd.

Thriller Video

What could be better than a stop-motion Lego recreation of one of the world’s favorite video games? How about a 13 minute long, shot-for-shot remake of one of the most memorable music videos ever created? The dancing might not be as good as the original, but you have to admit, they still have pretty good moves for minifigs.

The Dark Knight Trailer

There are tons of Lego-animated videos on the net, but this one earns a spot on this list thanks to the incredible editing done to really make the shot-for-shot remake of the trailer look like a perfect (albeit Lego-ized) copy of the original. This just might be the most epic-looking Lego video I’ve seen so far.

The Matrix Bullet Scene

This video, made in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the release of the first Matrix movie, took over 440 hours to make. Scene by scene, the quality shows and even those that aren’t fans of the film are certain to be impressed with the level of detail put into filming this incredible Lego remake.

Monty Python’s Crimson Permanent Assurance

If you’ve seen “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” then you’ll remember the introductory scene filled with accountant pirates performing hostile takeovers of other companies. Flickr user gotoAndLego’s Lego recreation of the company’s pirate ship is delightfully faithful to the original –it even includes working interior lights.

M.C. Escher’s Relativity

Andrew Lipson and Daniel Shiu have done a few faithful recreations of MC. Escher pictures, but their massive stairway-filled labyrinth created after Escher’s “Relativity” is my favorite. On Lipson's website, he attempts to explain how the feat was mastered, but personally, I like to remain in the dark, so the illusion seems all that much more mystical.

Star Wars Jawa Sandcrawler

Yes, there are tons of Lego Star Wars works (some of them are even officially manufactured by Lego), but how many of these actually light up, move on their own and can pick up droids? Equally impressive: Marshal Banana’s 10,000-piece LEGO sandcrawler has a fully detailed interior complete with a host of characters from the movie. That’s why this one stands out even with so much competition.

Pinball Machine

While the raised bumps on a Lego brick make them seem like a less-than-ideal material for building a pinball machine, Gerrit Bronsveld and Martijn Boogaarts were able to challenge that idea with a 20,000 block machine that took over 300 hours to complete. While the standard metal ball proved too heavy for the Lego motor, the creators were able to substitute a glass ball in its place and the game was all the rage at the LegoWorld exhibition in the Netherlands where it was debuted.

The Most Useless Machine

While most machines are made to accomplish some type of task, the most useless machine ever was created solely for the sake of creation. If that weren’t a geeky enough objective, the entire point of the Lego version was to create something that existed solely for the point of creating it…in Lego.

Rubik’s Cube Solver

Yes, you read that right. This amazing Lego machine uses custom-made software and a Lego motor to rotate and solve Rubik’s Cubes. The future of geekery is now.

I’m sure any Lego fans reading this will have their own favorite geeky creations. If you’re one of those Lego lovers, feel free to share your links and stories of the geekiest Lego creation you’ve ever seen or made.

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Animals
Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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