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Amazing Hand-Operated Instrument Plays With the Help of 2000 Marbles

It took two full years, but Martin Molin from the Swedish band Wintergatan managed to create a truly novel instrument. The large wooden machine runs with a hand-crank on the side; when the player turns the wheel, thousands of marbles inside the machine start to move. Using a conveyor system, the marbles plummet onto various sound-making objects. The majority of the sound comes from the vibraphone, which is a xylophone-like instrument that plays as the marbles fall onto the various keys. Using plugs, the player can manipulate what keys the marbles are hitting and when. 

Besides the vibraphone, there are also levers on the side that control the bass, snare, and kick drum. As the marbles hit the various instruments, they fall into funnels that bring them back into the machine for continuous play. There's also a breakdown arm, which stops the huge wheel from spinning when the user is done playing. Adorably, "Wintergatan Marble Machine" is written in wire at the bottom alongside spinning wooden stars.

You can learn more about the building process through Molin's prologue videos on YouTube.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Header images via YouTube.

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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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