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YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

A Rube Goldberg Zipper-Zipping Machine

YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live
YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

Since the late 1980s, Purdue University has invited students to make Rube Goldberg machines accomplishing simple tasks in absurdly complex ways. Each machine has to occupy at least a 6-foot cube, perform at least 20 steps, and achieve a stupidly simple task. This year the winners made a charmingly goofy machine to zip a zipper. Here they are walking us through the process (the action starts around 3:05):

This may leave you wondering what YKK stands for. Find it and many others in our list of 56 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out.

And according to Wikipedia, here's the list of previous tasks set out for the Purdue contest:

2014 Zip a zipper

2013 Hammer a nail

2012 Inflate a balloon and pop it

2011 Water a Plant

2010 Dispense an Appropriate Amount of Hand Sanitizer into a Hand

2009 LittleBigPlanet Contraption Challenge 6

2009 Replace an Incandescent Light Bulb with a More Energy Efficient Light Emitting Design

2008 Assemble a Hamburger

2007 Squeeze the Juice from an Orange

2006 Shred 5 Sheets of Paper

2005 Change Batteries and Turn on a 2-battery Flashlight

2004 Select, Mark and Cast an Election Ballot

2003 Select, Crush and Recycle an Empty Soft Drink Can

2002 Select, Raise and Wave a U.S. Flag

2001 Select, Clean and Peel an Apple

2000 Fill and Seal a Time Capsule with 20th-century Inventions

1999 Set a Golf Tee and Tee Up a Golf Ball

1998 Shut Off An Alarm Clock

1997 Insert and Then Play a CD Disc

1996 Put Coins in a Bank

1995 Turn on a Radio

1994 Make Cup of Coffee

1993 Screw a Light Bulb into a Socket

1992 Unlock a Combination Padlock

1991 Toast a Slice of Bread

1990 Put the Lid on a Ball Jar

1989 Sharpen a Pencil

1988 Adhere a Stamp to a Letter

1987 Put Toothpaste on a Toothbrush

(Via Devour.)

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NOAA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
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Animals
Watch the First-Ever Footage of a Baby Dumbo Octopus
NOAA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
NOAA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Dumbo octopuses are named for the elephant-ear-like fins they use to navigate the deep sea, but until recently, when and how they developed those floppy appendages were a mystery. Now, for the first time, researchers have caught a newborn Dumbo octopus on tape. As reported in the journal Current Biology, they discovered that the creatures are equipped with the fins from the moment they hatch.

Study co-author Tim Shank, a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, spotted the octopus in 2005. During a research expedition in the North Atlantic, one of the remotely operated vehicles he was working with collected several coral branches with something strange attached to them. It looked like a bunch of sandy-colored golf balls at first, but then he realized it was an egg sac.

He and his fellow researchers eventually classified the hatchling that emerged as a member of the genus Grimpoteuthis. In other words, it was a Dumbo octopus, though they couldn't determine the exact species. But you wouldn't need a biology degree to spot its resemblance to Disney's famous elephant, as you can see in the video below.

The octopus hatched with a set of functional fins that allowed it to swim around and hunt right away, and an MRI scan revealed fully-developed internal organs and a complex nervous system. As the researchers wrote in their study, Dumbo octopuses enter the world as "competent juveniles" ready to jump straight into adult life.

Grimpoteuthis spends its life in the deep ocean, which makes it difficult to study. Scientists hope the newly-reported findings will make it easier to identify Grimpoteuthis eggs and hatchlings for future research.

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WWF
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Animals
Watch an Antarctic Minke Whale Feed in a First-of-Its-Kind Video
WWF
WWF

New research from the World Wildlife Fund is giving us a rare glimpse into the world of the mysterious minke whale. The WWF worked with Australian Antarctic researchers to tag minke whales with cameras for the first time, watching where and how the animals feed.

The camera attaches to the whale's body with suction cups. In the case of the video below, the camera accidentally slid down the side of the minke whale's body, providing an unexpected look at the way its throat moves as it feeds.

Minke whales are one of the smallest baleen whales, but they're still pretty substantial animals, growing 30 to 35 feet long and weighing up to 20,000 pounds. Unlike other baleen whales, though, they're small enough to maneuver in tight spaces like within sea ice, a helpful adaptation for living in Antarctic waters. They feed by lunging through the sea, gulping huge amounts of water along with krill and small fish, and then filtering the mix through their baleen.

The WWF video shows just how quickly the minke can process this treat-laden water. The whale could lunge, process, and lunge again every 10 seconds. "He was like a Pac-Man continuously feeding," Ari Friedlaender, the lead scientist on the project, described in a press statement.

The video research, conducted under the International Whaling Commission's Southern Ocean Research Partnership, is part of WWF's efforts to protect critical feeding areas for whales in the region.

If that's not enough whale for you, you can also watch the full 13-minute research video below:

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