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Photographer Captures Otherworldly Images Inspired by UFO Sightings

In the late '60s and early '70s, an unusual amount of UFO sightings were reported by citizens of the small town of Pudasjärvi, Finland. Even though Finnish photographer Maria Lax wasn’t around to experience them firsthand, a family connection to the phenomenon inspired her to make it the subject of her latest project.

The idea was first planted after she came across a copy of Pudasjärven Ufot during a visit to her parents’ home. The book is a collection of first-person accounts of UFO sightings compiled by her grandfather, Soini Lax, when he was working as a journalist in the '70s. Fascinated by the contents of the book, Lax took it upon herself to reach out to some of the people her grandfather had interviewed decades earlier.

She's since spoken with a dozen people, many of whom shared stories of being followed in the deserted woods by mysterious, bright lights. “The area is surrounded by a huge wilderness so you can imagine how eerie something like that is,” Lax told WIRED. “The people often describe these lights as beautiful and changing in color, and completely silent.”

She’s now attempting to capture the mood of these experiences through a series of experimental photographs published on her Instagram page. The pictures paint scenes of strange lights in isolated areas, and witnesses peering out of windows illuminated by bright colors. Her process involves seeking out places reminiscent of the accounts she’s gathered and using available light from sources like passing cars and long exposures to create the eerie effects.

The project is meant to work as a companion to her short film Lights, which will explore similar themes and visuals. For more of her stunningly creepy photography, check out Maria Lax on Instagram.

[h/t WIRED]

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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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