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Which Star Wars Droid Would NASA Want to Recruit?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t open for another week, but it’s safe to say that the seventh installment of the franchise might costar the cutest droid in that galaxy far, far away. And while BB-8 is charming, according to Brett Kennedy, a roboticist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the bot isn’t exactly practical.

“Trying to roll up and over anything is extremely difficult,” Kennedy says in the WIRED video above.

Kennedy talks through the major mechanical players in the Star Wars-verse, and says that NASA would take C-3PO to space, but not R2-D2 (though he does describe R2 as a droid that’s close to his heart). Even better? It’s one we could potentially make IRL.

“We can build an R2 today. A lot of what it does is perfectly possible with what we have,” Kennedy says. 

Kennedy also compares NASA’s Robonaut and Valkyrie droids to C-3PO. While they’re impressively similar to the fictional, gold-plated droid, C-3PO has the advantage of spine flexibility, something real-life scientists still struggle to emulate.  

Banner image screenshot via YouTube.

[h/t EW.com]

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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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