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What's Inside an Etch A Sketch?

You probably know a lot about the Etch A Sketch, the classic drawing toy that debuted in the '60s, but do you know how it works? The father-and-son team behind the YouTube channel What’s Inside? decided to take one apart and find out.

After breaking through the outer plastic layer, Lincoln and his dad Dan discovered … a lot of aluminum powder. That silvery dust coats the screen of the Etch A Sketch and is responsible for providing a blank canvas for users. The knobs control a metal pointer that's fitted onto two crossed metal bars.

When you adjust those knobs to create a picture, the metal pointer moves, dragging along the screen and wiping away the metal powder. Those lines you see on an Etch A Sketch are actually just the blank spaces where the aluminum has been swept away. Shaking the toy covers the screen in a fresh coat of powder so the artist can start all over again. Learn more of the toy's inner workings in the video above.

[h/t SPLOID]

Primary image courtesy of 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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