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SpaceX Made History Again by Landing a Rocket on a Droneship

Last Friday, a SpaceX rocket stuck a spectacular landing on a platform floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Like a pencil balancing on a flaming eraser, the rocket remained perpendicular as it touched down near dead center of its target on a droneship named Of Course I Still Love You. That's right: We’re finally starting to get good at this.

The rocket, a Falcon 9 first-stage booster, represents more than just another first for SpaceX. (In December 2015 a Falcon 9 nailed the landing on a return to Earth—the first time that's been done, too.) The vessel will be towed to Port Canaveral, Florida, where its creators intend to test it and potentially put it right back to work. Speaking to the press after the landing, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of reusability. “In order for us to really open up access to space, we've got to achieve full and rapid reusability," he said. "And being able to do that for the primary rocket booster is going to have a huge impact on cost." 

A Falcon 9 costs about $61.2 million out of the box, making reuse a green choice for more than one reason. The company hopes to get 10 to 20 launches out of each rocket, although, Musk added, with "minor refurbishment you could get to 100." 

Musk described the exhilarating success as "another step toward the stars." It was surely also a welcome development after several failed missions in the last few years, including this explosive tip over in January when a Falcon 9 attempted to land on a droneship called Just Read the Instructions.   

Elon Musk’s mother, legendary model Maye Musk, took to Instagram to beam about her son’s success.

Huge smile for successful @spacex launch and Falcon 9 landing. #stillsmiling #sohappy #editorial

A photo posted by Maye Musk (@mayemusk) on

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]

Header image from YouTube // SpaceX

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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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