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Courtesy Nickolay Lamm
Courtesy Nickolay Lamm

A Doll to Combat Unrealistic Male Body Image

Courtesy Nickolay Lamm
Courtesy Nickolay Lamm

Women aren’t the only ones who are negatively affected by the unrealistic bodies they see in popular media. While eating disorders and body image issues are often categorized as a problem for women, they also affect men. By one estimate, 10 million American men will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime. Even more lust after a virtually unattainable body, one that’s lean and muscle-bound. A quarter of men with normal body weights think they’re underweight.

As a way to spotlight male body image issues, Nickolay Lamm—the creator of a doll with the proportions of the average 19-year-old woman (one who even gets periods!)—has launched a male version.

Boy Lammily, named after designer Lamm, is built according to the proportions of the average 19-year-old man, using data provided by a University of Michigan anthropometry researcher.

Image Credit: CourtesyNickolay Lamm

Lamm says his dolls are meant to show that real bodies are beautiful. After he launched the female Lammily in 2014, he started to get requests for a male version.

“I feel men also feel pressure in the form of not being tall, not having enough hair, not having enough muscle, etc,” he told mental_floss in an email. “I think those are things which few talk about because, as a guy, you're kind of expected not to worry too much about your appearance and because women face beauty standards on another level.”

Image Credit: Getty Images

The new doll doesn’t have a six pack or toned biceps, unlike Ken (who is an apt mirror of the male model holding him in the image above, from the 2011 International Toy Fair Nuremberg). Boy Lammily has a figure more akin to the “dadbod.”

You can get your own realistic dude doll via the Boy Lammily crowdfunding campaign. Early backers can snag one for $17.

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Courtesy of Tomáš Kašpařík
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Design
Take a Virtual Ride on This 90,000-Piece LEGO Roller Coaster
Courtesy of Tomáš Kašpařík
Courtesy of Tomáš Kašpařík

A thrilling new POV video puts you in the front seat of a roller coaster made completely out of LEGOs. Spotted by Gizmodo's Sploid, the coaster was built by LEGO enthusiast and YouTuber Tomáš Kašpařík (aka Chairudo) in 2017, and was recently installed in a Prague toy store for its Czech RepuBRICK exhibition, opening March 6. While not quite life-size, the 4.5-foot drop is nothing to scoff at, especially if you're looking through the eyes of a minifigure.

Inspired by El Toro, a wooden coaster at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure, the detailed structure took nearly 800 hours to build. The feat of LEGO engineering is made of almost 90,000 pieces and features a total of 85 feet of track. The whole design measures more than 21 feet long and almost 4 feet wide.

To get an idea of just how impressive the toy coaster is, check out the videos below. You can also scroll through these photos for a look at the detailed features built around the ride, including landscaping work, crowds of visitors, and other, smaller amusement park rides.

If you like this LEGO creation, you might want to check out Chairudo's previous works, like the detailed amusement park that's currently on display alongside the coaster in Prague.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Melanie Gonick, MIT
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science
MIT Scientists Are Building Biomedical Research Labs Out of LEGO Blocks
Melanie Gonick, MIT
Melanie Gonick, MIT

When it comes to microfluidics, precision is everything. Researchers in this field—which analyzes the behavior and control of tiny amounts of fluids— can use a miniscule, flat chip etched with channels (a "lab-on-a-chip") to control the mixing of liquids at a microscopic level. Now, Co.Design reports that MIT scientists have invented a system that achieves the same results using material that most people would recognize: LEGO blocks.

In their study published in the journal Lab on a Chip, the scientists explain how LEGO fits perfectly into their research. They started out carving grooves into LEGO bricks about 500 microns wide—about the width of handful of human hairs—and sealing them with clear film. Next, they built pathways for fluids by interlocking the blocks so the end of one channel lined up with the start of another.

Assembling a custom microfluidics lab this way takes seconds, which is nothing compared to the involved and costly process of building a lab-on-a-chip from scratch. The same blocks used in one configuration can also be deconstructed and rearranged to create a whole new design. As is the case with the traditional chips, the LEGO-based lab can be used in biomedical research to filter fluids, sort cells, and isolate molecules.

The scientists didn't choose LEGO blocks just because they're fun—they're also practical. The plastic toy blocks are some of the most uniform materials available for building modular systems. The molds used in LEGO factories have to meet strict standards, so only 18 pieces of every million created are technically imperfect.

But LEGO toys aren't the ideal building blocks for every microfluidics study. They don't work for experiments performed on the nano-level, and their plastic structure isn't tough enough to stand up to some chemicals. The MIT scientists are looking into developing protective coatings and possibly molding their own LEGOs from stronger materials to open the door to even more research in the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

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