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China To Develop a Bus That Straddles Traffic

For anyone who's ever fantasized of shrinking down their vehicle and driving under slow-moving traffic, that could one day be a reality in some Chinese cities. At least that's true for the second half of the equation: As City Lab reports, the Beijing-based company Transit Explore Bus debuted their "straddling bus" concept at the International High-Tech Expo in Beijing last weekend.

The bus design would tackle China's growing congestion problem by transporting passengers high above the road, allowing cars to pass beneath it like a giant, roaming tunnel. You can watch a small-scale model demonstration of the concept in the video above.

A special track would electrically power the bus at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. It would be capable of carrying as many as 1400 passengers at once, making it equivalent to 40 conventional buses. As travelers sit comfortably above two lanes of traffic, motorists in cars shorter than 7 feet would be able to cruise underneath as a simulation of the sky plays on panels above their heads.

Anyone who's ever been stuck behind an impossible-to-pass bus can see the benefits, but the vehicles would be good for more than just road rage. The straddling bus would consume 800 tons less fuel than the buses it would replace and emit 2500 tons less carbon. It would also be a cheaper and less invasive alternative to digging out tunnels to construct subway lines.

Two American architects proposed a similar straddling bus concept in 1969 that would have run from Boston to Washington D.C. It never made it past the design stage, but now that hyperloop pods and self-driving cars are dominating the transportation conversation nearly 50 years later, the idea seems less outrageous.

Transit Explore Bus is working on a full-sized model of the bus in the city of Changzhou with plans to test it later in the summer.

[h/t City Lab]

All images 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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