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Watch a Ping Pong Ball Rip Through a Soda Can at 500 MPH

Anyone who has ever played a spirited game of ping pong knows that the plastic balls are relatively fragile. But those delicate spheres can do some serious damage—when turned into 500 mph projectiles. In a new video (above) from Tested, hosts Norman Chan and Kishore Hari are joined by Zeke Kossover from the Exploratorium in San Francisco for an experiment involving a ping pong ball, a soda can, and a device called a "vacuum cannon."

The reason ping pong balls don't hurt when they're thrown is because of air resistance. As Kossover explains: "The ping pong ball, for its size, has a lot of air resistance. They're about two and a half grams, and they're fairly large for two and a half grams, so the wind resistance slows them down super fast. Even if you were to hit it at 60 miles an hour, by the time it gets to the other side of the table it's only going about 10 miles an hour." The key to getting the ball to move faster is to remove air from the equation, which is where the vacuum cannon comes into play.

After sealing each end of the cannon's tube with mylar sheets, Kossover draws the air out of the tube with the vacuum, then punctures one end so that air is allowed to rush back in. According to Kossover, that leads to about 45 pounds of force pushing on about two and a half grams (.00551156 pounds) of ping pong ball. In other words, it's a whole lot of energy barreling toward the unsuspecting aluminum can.

Watch the full experiment above, or check out the GIF below to skip to the satisfying result.

Images via Tested on YouTube

[h/t Nerdist]

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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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