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This Corporate Headquarters Looks Exactly Like the USS Enterprise

For one tech company in China, the future is now—and it looks a lot like the USS Enterprise.

The headquarters of NetDragon Websoft, a gaming firm based in the country’s south-eastern province of Fujian, bears a striking resemblance to Star Trek’s iconic spaceship. According to Mashable, the firm’s "uber Trekkie" chairman planned it that way. Before construction began, Liu DeJian reached out to CBS for licensing permission, which they granted. Thanks to his efforts, the resulting $160 million structure—which took six years to complete—is the only officially-licensed Star Trek replica building in the world.

There are Enterprise-inspired touches inside the building, as well, such as 30-foot metal slides stretching from the third to the ground floor, and automatic sliding gates that cordon off work areas. In a non-Trek-related nod to the past, there's also a model of a T. Rex—his name is Stan.

Employees at other tech companies are encouraged to live long and prosper, too, but they don't get to work in a building resembling one of pop culture's most beloved spacecraft. And they don't have Stan.

[h/t The Telegraph

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Buckingham Palace Was Built With Jurassic Fossils, Scientists Find
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iStock

The UK's Buckingham Palace is a vestige from another era, and not just because it was built in the early 18th century. According to a new study, the limestone used to construct it is filled with the fossilized remains of microbes from the Jurassic period of 200 million years ago, as The Telegraph reports.

The palace is made of oolitic limestone, which consists of individual balls of carbonate sediment called ooids. The material is strong but lightweight, and is found worldwide. Jurassic oolite has been used to construct numerous famous buildings, from those in the British city of Bath to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

A new study from Australian National University published in Scientific Reports found that the spherical ooids in Buckingham Palace's walls are made up of layers and layers of mineralized microbes. Inspired by a mathematical model from the 1970s for predicting the growth of brain tumors, the researchers created a model that explains how ooids are created and predicts the factors that limit their ultimate size.

A hand holding a chunk of oolite limestone
Australian National University

They found that the mineralization of the microbes forms the central core of the ooid, and the layers of sediment that gather around that core feed those microbes until the nutrients can no longer reach the core from the outermost layer.

This contrasts with previous research on how ooids form, which hypothesized that they are the result of sediment gathered from rolling on the ocean floor. It also reshapes how we think about the buildings made out of oolitic limestone from this period. Next time you look up at the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace, thank the ancient microbes.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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