Watch 60 Years Worth of Space Junk Accumulate in 60 Seconds

Our tendency to not clean up after ourselves isn’t limited to our home on Earth. Since Sputnik was launched by the Soviets in 1957, tons of debris have been steadily accumulating within our planet’s orbit. The junk ranges from retired satellites to solitary bolts, and the problem gets worse with each passing year.

To put this relatively new issue into perspective, astronomer Stuart Grey of University College London created a computer simulation showing how rapidly space junk has amassed around the Earth over the course of six decades or so. He used data from to map the precise location of each piece of debris.

Not only is space junk messy, it’s also incredibly hazardous. These objects orbit the Earth at such high speeds that they pose a threat to any spacecraft they come in contact with, no matter how small they are. And the more pieces of junk that accumulate, the more they will interact with one another, which could eventually create a domino effect of collisions that could have disastrous consequences. Fortunately, scientists have been hard at work researching possible solutions, though some seem more plausible than others. One proposal includes rocket engines that convert space junk into fuel, and another idea suggests that giant lasers are the answer. You can check out the full simulation in the video above.

[h/t: Gizmodo]

Banner images via YouTube

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:


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