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This Smiling Volcano Is Clearly Having a Great Day

Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video, Inc. recently took a flight with Paradise Helicopters to film molten lava from high above as it trickled into the ocean near the Hawaiian Islands. Part of the video features an excellent shot of the volcanic cone, Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The crater is about six miles from the ocean and part of the rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano. In Kalber's video, you can see lava in the crater shift, then break apart to form two eyes and a smile. Eagle-eyed Jeannie Curtis spotted the happy coincidence and took a screenshot of the video to share on Facebook. The portrait is wonderfully at odds with its destructive medium.

Human beings are predisposed to detect familiar images in random places. The phenomenon is called pareidolia and is the cause for us seeing faces in everything from car headlights to electrical outlets.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

Primary image courtesy of Vimeo.

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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