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This Theme Park Is Getting a Space-Themed, Virtual Reality Roller Coaster

With the upcoming releases of cutting edge headsets like the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift, 2016 is expected to be a breakthrough year for virtual reality. Now it looks like one of the year’s most memorable VR experiences might happen not at home, but at a theme park, where thrill-seekers will have the chance to strap in for the ride of their lives. 

The British amusement park Alton Towers has just unveiled a new ride called “Galactica” that brings the roller coaster ride experience to virtual reality. After strapping into the ride, riders don the Gear VR headsets that will lead them through their intergalactic adventure. For three minutes, passengers will soar through a virtual space landscape as their bodies—lying face-down in the physical world—are sent around a track. The ride’s narrative centers around a fictional space tourism company called Galactica, taking each rider on their first trip through space, starting with a thrilling launch through a warp tunnel into the unknown. 

Motion sickness is a concern with any type of VR, and was a major consideration when figuring out how to apply the technology to a thrill ride. To tackle the issue, the coaster was outfitted with shoulder straps that will make it difficult for passengers to look left or right. This limits the rider’s individual movements and leaves the motion to the ride, which is something the park can control. The passengers' heads will be free to move up or down however, and the park claims that sensors on the gear will ensure the visuals are always perfectly matched up to the rider’s point of view. And to prevent any expensive equipment from falling off mid-ride and raining down on unsuspecting parkgoers, an advanced tethering system has been developed to keep the headsets in place. Galactica will be ready for takeoff when the theme park reopens this April. 

[h/t: Engadget]

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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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