Inspired by the popular game Clash of Clans, Great Big Story set out to get an inside look at competitive hot air ballooning from the reigning world champion Rhett Heartsill.
So, how do participants compete? They take turns throwing markers from their balloons as close as they can to a set of targets, one-meter-by-one-meter Xs. And the sport isn't entirely solo. Heartsill relies on his sister, Kate, for much of the direction. On the ground, she helps him navigate to the target and sends up a helium balloon to gauge the wind conditions.
Learn more about the surprising sport in the full video from Great Big Story below:
What Pop Culture Gets Wrong About Dissociative Identity Disorder
BY Kirstin Fawcett
January 17, 2018
From the characters in Fight Club to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, popular culture is filled with "split" personalities. These dramatic figures might be entertaining, but they're rarely (if ever) scientifically accurate, SciShow Psych's Hank Green explains in the channel's latest video. Most representations contribute to a collective misunderstanding of dissociative identity disorder, or DID, which was once known as multiple personality disorder.
Experts often disagree about DID's diagnostic criteria, what causes it, and in some cases, whether it exists at all. Many, however, agree that people with DID don't have multiple figures living inside their heads, all clamoring to take over their body at a moment's notice. Those with DID do have fragmented personalities, which can cause lapses of memory, psychological distress, and impaired daily function, among other side effects.
Learn more about DID (and what the media gets wrong about mental illness) by watching the video below.
Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
BY Jay Serafino
January 16, 2018
You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.
Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.
The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”
The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.
With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’sin bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.
To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below: