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See a Scale Model of the Solar System in the Nevada Desert


“I have the world in my pocket somewhere.”

Wylie Overstreet was speaking somewhat literally when he uttered that phrase during a 36 hour trip to the middle of nowhere in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. He and fellow filmmaker Alex Gorosh ventured to an expansive dry lake bed in order to build a to-scale model of the solar system, filmed all the while to beautiful effect.

The team started with a blue marble to represent Earth (inspired perhaps by Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin, who’s quoted at the beginning), then measured the distances and traced the orbits of the planets, with a sun measuring a meter-and-a-half in diameter at the center of it all.

They needed seven full miles of empty space to accurately model the solar system. After putting the planets in place, they used lights to trace the orbits in order to show just how expansive it really is. The resulting time lapse—filmed from the top of a nearby mountain—is a gorgeous and awe-inspiring view of our place in the universe, all from right here on Earth.

To view “To Scale: The Solar System” click here, or check out the video above.

[h/t The Kids Should See This]

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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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