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NASA Releases Adorable 'Little Planet' Selfie of Mars Rover


NASAJPL-CaltechMSSS // Little Planet: Andrew Bodrov

In the three years since Curiosity landed on Mars, NASA has released a lot of excellent selfies of the rover—but this one might be the best of all.

On day 1065 of its mission, Curiosity used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to snap a panorama from Mount Sharp. Photographer Andrew Bodrov digitally stitched 92 images together to create this adorable “little planet” selfie. (The arm used to snap the photo isn’t in the image, but you can see its shadow.)

Curiosity is positioned over a target known as Buckskin in an area on Mount Sharp called Marias Pass, where, according to NASA, the rover “detected unusually high levels of silica and hydrogen.” The rover had bored into the rock with its sample-collecting drill just days before its three-year landing anniversary, and the powder sample was taken into the rover’s on-board laboratory for analysis.

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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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