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You Can Teach Your LEGO Robot How to Do Anything, Including Fart

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LEGO’s new programming kit, LEGO Boost, is aimed at parents who really want their kids to learn how to code. The regular LEGO pieces come ready to assemble into a robot, which you then use an app to control. Co.Design tried the toy out, and spoiler: You can program it to fart.

Toys that teach coding basics are all the rage. There’s the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, Kano, the Root robot, and plenty of others. LEGO’s app essentially turns code into the virtual equivalent of the company’s trademark bricks, letting kids stack commands one on top of the other to make their robot come to life, with flatulence and all.

The kit comes with instructions to make five different kinds of machines: Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder. The cat, in this case, is the one with a gas issue, but Vernie can probably be programmed with bloating issues, too.

The LEGO Boost is expected to hit shelves in the second half of 2017. Watch it fart in Co.Design’s video. The sound is really quite realistic.

[h/t Co.Design]

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How Poop Makes the World Go 'Round
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Poop is a gross—yet essential—part of the circle of life. Plus, without it, we may not have gloriously sandy beaches, a healthy ocean, thriving terrestrial ecosystems, or even fruits like avocados. Confused as to how this icky waste benefits the wider world? Joe Hanson, host of It’s OK To Be Smart, explains in the video below. For example, parrot fish eat coral, which are tiny, living polyps atop mountains of coral skeletons. The fish can’t digest the bony parts, so they poop it out. The final product is sand—as much as 2200 pounds per fish per year. (So yes, when you're lounging on the beach, you may be sitting on fish poop.) Meanwhile, giant marine animals like whales and whale sharks also poop, but their bowels blast out more than 13,000 gallons of nutrient- and iron-rich waste per pooping session. In turn, this excrement nourishes plankton, allowing them to produce more than half the oxygen we breathe and absorb millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Curious to learn more about how the stinky stuff makes the world go 'round? Watch the full video below.
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Dinosaurs Were Plagued By Parasites (Their Fossilized Dino Poop Tells Us So)
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Even mighty prehistoric giants like Tyrannosaurus rex were plagued with parasites, according to Gross Science host Anna Rothschild. In the video below, Rothschild explains how scientists have discovered evidence of several types of creepy critters inside fossilized dinosaur poop, including flatworm and roundworm eggs, and cysts resembling those of present-day amoebas.

Ancient parasites might have afflicted more than just the dinosaurs’ guts, too: For example, scientists have found a biting fly with a malaria-like parasite inside its intestines, preserved in 100 million-year-old amber. This fly may have once fed on dinosaurs, meaning dinos may have suffered from the same infectious disease as humans. Meanwhile, another variety of parasite may have caused T. rex to develop flesh-eating ulcers in their mouths and esophaguses. Some researchers even believe that dinosaurs could have had giant tapeworms snaking their way through their intestines.

As scientists continue to dig up dino poop, they may discover even more pesky organisms inside the prehistoric dung. In the meantime, take consolation in the fact that even the fiercest creatures that likely ever walked the planet weren't above the tiniest indignities of nature.

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