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Teenager Builds a 'Record-Breaking' Chain of 15,524 Dominos

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It takes only a few minutes to topple a chain of 15,524 dominos, but the glory of breaking a world record lasts much longer. Lily Hevesh, an 18-year-old who goes by the name Hevesh5 on YouTube, claims she did just that by constructing the spiraling display in the video below.

Hevesh is a professional domino artist who runs a YouTube channel featuring videos of her intricate installations. Recently, the channel hit 1 million subscribers, but instead of resting on her laurels, Hevesh resolved to break an unofficial world record held by 101gabed, a fellow YouTube domino artist .

The teenager teamed up with two friends to build a chain longer than 101gabed's "record-breaking" domino chain, made from 12,610 dominos. Hevesh's chain contained nearly 3000 pieces more, and took two days to complete. On Saturday, April 8, she declared victory by posting a video of the accomplishment.

You can watch the entire process below, but keep in mind that Guinness hasn’t officially verified Hevesh’s achievement, nor do they have an actual category for it. For now, we’ll have to take the young domino artist's word for it that her large-scale arrangement is the “longest” in the world.

Hevesh will have to settle for one official world record: In 2016, the teenager—along with 18 other participants—made it into the Guinness Book. You can find them listed under the category for "most dominoes toppled in a circle field." (For those curious, it's 76,017.)

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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How Common Is Your Birthday? An Interactive Map Can Tell You
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by James Hunt

At some point in their life, everyone counts back from their birthday and tries to figure out what anniversary, special occasion, or other excuse might have happened to their parents nine months before they were born. To make this backtracking exercise easier—and give us the chance to do it for a much larger population—data journalist Matt Stiles created an interactive "heat map" showing the most common birthdays in the United States for individuals born between 1994 and 2014.

Click on the map and you'll quickly notice that July, August, and September are by far the most common birth months. It's no surprise that nine months prior you'll find the dark and rainy period of October, November, and December when—to put it delicately—people have to make their own entertainment.

According to Stiles, "People generally seem to have time for baby-making during their time off. Several of the most common birth dates, in September, correspond with average conception periods around Christmas. September 9 is most common in this dataset, though other days in that month are close. September 19 is second. Following a customary gestation period, many of these babies would, in theory, have been conceived on December 17 and December 27, respectively."

But that's not all we can tell from the chart. When you take into account the fact that some people get to choose their child's birthday because of induced and elective births, they tend to want to stay away from the hospital during understaffed holiday periods.

"The least common birthdays in this dataset were Christmas Eve, Christmas [Day], and New Year’s Day," Stiles concluded. "Dates around Thanksgiving aren’t as common. July 4 is also at the bottom of the list. Conversely, Valentine’s Day ranks relatively high, as you can see in the graphic, as are the days just before a new tax year begins."

Amazingly, though it only comes around every four years, Leap Year babies aren't as uncommon as you might think: February 29 ranked 347th out of 366 on the list.

You can play around with the interactive graphic, and see the full ranking of birthdays, here.

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