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Eerie Drone Footage Shows Chernobyl From Above

Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

In early 2014, Danny Cooke traveled—with a crew from 60 Minutes—to Chernobyl, which was evacuated after a nuclear meltdown occurred there on April 26, 1986. The 20-mile swath of land, called The Zone, has been abandoned ever since. "Armed with a camera and a dosimeter geiger counter," Cooke writes on his Vimeo page, "I explored..." The result of that exploration is this incredible—and incredibly eerie—aerial footage of Chernobyl and nearby Pripyat using a drone.

"Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places I've been," Cooke writes, noting that he was just a year old when the disaster occurred, and the devastating disaster affected life in Italy where he lived, thousands of miles away from Ukraine. "During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of whom was my guide Yevgen, also known as a 'Stalker'. We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat. There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us."

After the disaster—which was caused by explosions at Chernobyl's Reactor Number 4—the Soviets quickly built a sarcophagus around the damaged reactor, but nearly three decades later, that structure is crumbling; as correspondent Bob Simon notes in the 60 Minutes report, "Engineers say there is still enough radioactive material in there to cause widespread contamination. For the last five years a massive project has been underway to seal the reactor permanently. But the undertaking is three quarters of a billion dollars short and the completion date has been delayed repeatedly.  ... There's still so much radiation coming from the reactor that workers have to construct the arch nearly a thousand feet away, shielded by a massive concrete wall. When finished, the arch will be slid into place around the Sarcophagus, then sealed up." You can see the full report, which aired on CBS on November 23, here.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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