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American Girl

Meet Luciana, the New American Girl Doll Who Wants to Be an Astronaut

American Girl
American Girl

The American Girl company has been to colonial Williamsburg, the Midwestern frontier, and 1960s Detroit. Now, the latest addition to their lineup of strong girl characters dreams of going where no American Girl doll has gone before: outer space. As ABC News reports, American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year is Luciana Vega, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut.

The new character was developed with help from experts at NASA. Astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, former NASA chief scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan, NASA’s manager of strategic alliances Maureen O'Brien, and CEO of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Dr. Deborah Barnhart were instrumental in making Luciana’s accessories and scientific ambitions believable.

“American Girl was very attentive to the technical and engineering details of Luciana,” Dr. Deborah Barnhart said in a behind-the-scenes video. “It was far beyond just creating a product”

The story of Luciana, an American girl of Chilean descent, begins when she receives a scholarship to attend space camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Her goal is to become the first person to travel to Mars, and her three-book series follows her as she builds the STEM foundation necessary to realize her dream.

“I’m convinced that Luciana’s stories will convince girls to maybe think, I could work for NASA, I could become a scientist, I could become a planetary geologist some day,” Dr. Ellen Stofan said in the video.

The full Luciana line, which includes her books, space camp accessories, toy Mars habitat, and 18-inch doll is now available in stores, online, and through the American Girl catalog.

[h/t ABC News]

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Watch a Robot Solve a Rubik's Cube in .38 Seconds
iStock
iStock

The record for fastest Rubik's Cube completion is impressive, just 4.69 seconds as of September 2017, but the record held by a robot is hard to believe—even when you see it with your own eyes.

Blink and you might miss the feat accomplished in the video below, shared by The Kid Should See This. In it, a robot transforms the jumbled kid's toy into a cube with perfectly uniform sides in just 0.38 seconds, a time that earned the machine the record for fastest Rubik's Cube completion by a robot in March 2018.

The secret to the robot's remarkable Rubik's Cube skills is a smart software that can determine the color of each square from webcam images. From there, it calculates the exact movements necessary to produce a perfect cube, and then it makes them in a fraction of a second.

The biggest issue for the team wasn't engineering the robot to be super fast: It was making sure the cube didn't fall apart as it was being scrambled. To their surprise, they only destroyed four toys during the process.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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New LEGO Set Recreates Jurassic Park's Iconic Velociraptor Chase Scenes
LEGO
LEGO

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, is skulking into theaters on June 22. That makes now the perfect time to revisit the original film in LEGO form.

This LEGO set, spotted by Nerdist, depicts some of the most suspenseful scenes from the 1993 movie. There's the main computer room where Ariana Richards's Lex shows off her hacker skills while Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) struggle to keep a hungry dinosaur from barging in. Just like in the film, the door features a deadbolt lock that's velociraptor-proof (though, unfortunately for the characters, the detachable window is not). Other Easter eggs hidden in this part include a map of Isla Nublar and a screener saver of LEGO Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight).

In the neighboring room, you'll find the cold storage unit where the dinosaur embryos are kept, along with the fake shaving cream can Nedry uses to steal them. The final section is the kitchen, where Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex are stalked by the velociraptor. There's less room for them to hide in the LEGO version compared to the movie set, but there is at least one functioning cabinet for Lex to tuck herself into. Closer inspection reveals even more details from the film, like the lime-green Jello Lex is eating when the raptors first arrive and the step ladder the gang uses to escape into the air ducts during the final chase.

LEGO Jurassic Park set.

LEGO Jurassic Park set.

LEGO Jurassic Park set.

The Jurassic Park Velociraptor Chase set is currently available from the LEGO shop for $40.

[h/t Nerdist]

All images courtesy of LEGO.

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