Alex Santoso's Liked Blog Posts

Assassin Bug Lives Up to Its Name, Has Not One But TWO Distinct Venoms


Image: Jiayi Jin

With a name like the "assassin bug," this little insect better has something really awesome to live up to the badass moniker.

And it does: in a research paper recently published in Nature Communications, entomologist Andrew Walker and colleagues at the University of Queensland, Australia, discovered that the assassin bug Pristhesancus plagipennis has not only one venom, but two distinct ones stored in separate glands.

“We wanted to see if assassin bugs had venom that was similar in composition to other venomous animals due to convergent evolution, or if the different feeding physiology would result in a different composition,” [Walker] said. And when their research began, essentially no one has looked at their venoms—”almost nothing was known about them.”

But what they found was much more surprising: the animals are equipped with two different venoms, which are made and stored in distinct compartments—a first for any venomous animal.

Christine Wilcox of Science Sushi has the intriguing story of the dual-venomed assassin bug.


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This Algae Species is Like a Living Opal


Image: Martin Lopez-Garcia, et al./Science Advances

All that glitters is not gold ... sometimes, they're opal.

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have discovered an iridescent algae species called Cystoseira tamariscifolia that got its dazzling colors from its light-controlling crystals inside its cells.

"We have living jewels in the environment," study author Heather Whitney said to Gizmodo, "It’s a Fabergé seaweed":

Looking at it under a microscope reveals a shimmering iridescence. An even closer analysis reveals two to three fat-filled vesicles in each of its cells, according to the paper published last week in Science Advances.

Inside these sacs, lots of spherical fat globules arrange themselves into a three-dimensional lattice, similar to the lattice structure that silicon dioxide takes in opals, to give the alga its special iridescent property. Not only that, but it appears that the algae can choose to order and disorder the spheres to control how light is scattered (or not) inside cells.


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Girl Brought Cardboard Cutout of Michael B. Jordan to the Prom

No date for the prom? No problem!

When a teenager named Dee found herself without a date to the prom, she decided to bring the man of her dreams - Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan - albeit in cardboard cutout form.

"After not being able to get a prom date from procrastinating and waiting til the last minute, i spent 3 hours making my sexy prom date," Dee tweeted.

Now, the crafty teen is campaigning to meet the real Michael B. Jordan.


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Medieval Man Had Sword Attached to His Amputated Arm


Image: Ileana Micarelli et al./Journal of Anthropological Sciences

Even Captain Hook would be so jealous of this medieval man!

Archaeologist Ileana Micarelli from the University of Rome discovered a tomb at the Longobard necropolis of Povegliano Veronese in Veneto, Italy, which contained the remains of a medieval man who had attached a sword to his amputated right arm.

He had his right arm bent at the elbow, the arm laid across his torso. Next to it was a knife blade, the butt aligned with his amputated wrist. Also at the amputation site, archaeologists found a D-shaped buckle, and decomposed organic material - most likely leather.

This suggests a leather cap over the amputated limb, a buckle used for fastening - and a knife attached to the cap, although the purpose is unclear. However, given the advanced healing of the bone, it is clear the man lived for a long time after his hand had been amputated.

Read the full story over at Science Alert.


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Golf Carts Are More Expensive Than Teslas and Porsches in This Corner of Hong Kong


There's a million bucks worth of golf carts in the picture above (image: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Forget Teslas and Porsches! There's a new hot ride in Hong Kong that's more expensive than luxury cars: golf carts!

Want one? It'll cost you more than a quarter million dollars.

Anjali Cordeiro of Bloomberg has the story:

On the two-lane streets of Discovery Bay — a residential development about a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Hong Kong — the golf carts are both the transportation of choice and an investment play for the wealthy. The buggies can sell for more than HK$2 million ($255,000) in the upscale neighborhood that’s home to airline pilots, bankers and lawyers.

Business executives drive them, expatriates love them and nannies ferry kids to school in them. Private passenger cars aren’t allowed in this neighborhood, and the Transport Department has capped golf-cart licenses at about 500. The supply crunch has transformed these slow gas-guzzlers into luxury transportation. Some buyers view them as investments — renting them out or reselling to make money.


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KFC Hot & Spicy Chicken Pieces Look Like Flames in These Ads

KFC Hong Kong's new ad campaign for their "Hot & Spicy" fried chicken is ON FIRE!

Designed by art director John Koay of Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong, the print campaign uses fried chicken instead of fiery explosions. Clever (and yummy!)

via Campaign Brief Asia and Design Taxi


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The Shady Gray Diamond Optical Illusion


(YouTube clip by MasikBon Origami Paper Crafts)

So. What color is that diamond-shaped piece of paper?

Give up? The secret is revealed below:

Continue reading

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Math is Beautiful

Go on, whip out that calculator and confirm the mathemagical equation above. From @Pickover.


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Surreal Photography of Erik Johansson


Image: Erik Johansson

We've featured some of Erik Johansson's surreal photography before on Neatorama, but I just came across this 2010 interview of the Swedish photographer by Matilda Battersby of The Independent, so it's a great excuse to show you another one of his masterpieces.

Find out many, many more excellent surreal photographs over at Erik's website and Instagram.

This one above is called "Full Moon Service" and you can find the Behind the Scenes video clip below:

Continue reading

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Water Bags Glass Sculptures by Dylan Martinez


Image: Dylan Martinez

A bunch of plastic bags filled with water? Tricked ya! Those are actually hollow and solid glass sculptures by Dylan Martinez titled "H20/SiO2." Gorgeous!


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The Cobra Whisperer

Need to get rid of a wild cobra? Who you gonna call? This cobra whisperer, of course.

Take a look at how the man pins the cobra's tail so it can't get away, then distracts the cobra with his hand and picks it up with the other. Then comes the cool part: he gently strokes the snake's back to relax it before he simply coils it and puts it in the bag.

Does anyone know the story behind this short clip?


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Remember the Time We Bombed the Moon?


Image: Mortar launcher placed by Apollo 16 astronauts in 1972 (NASA)

No, not a Hollywood movie. Humans actually did bomb the Moon. Twice, actually.

Astronauts aboard the Apollo 16 and 17 actually set off explosive devices on the lunar surface, as part of seismic experiments to determine the structure of the lunar regolith.

Erik Klemetti of Rocky Planet has the story:

... to get details about lunar subsurface structure, geologists needed more than just natural Moonquakes. That’s where the “active” seismic comes in. For the Apollo missions, a system was developed to set off small explosions directly into the ground to produce a “thump”. Then, geophones set up in a line on the Moon’s surface picked up information about the waves. Nineteen thumper explosions were set off by Apollo astronauts to help map the ground beneath the experiments set up near the lunar module.

However, we need to generate large explosions so we can “image” deeper into the lunar subsurface. To that end, a mortar was brought to the Moon by both Apollo 14 and 16 to fire rocket-propelled grenades over a kilometers from a seismic station set up by the astronauts (see below). The idea was to launch the mortar along an array of geophones to record the blasts and their resultant seismic waves and reflections over a wider area than the “thumper”.


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Rainbow Grilled Cheese: Yay or Nay?

We've featured rainbow grilled cheese before on Neatorama back in 2016 - that time it was in Hong Kong. It seems that the culinary creation has now hit the States. Here's one by Ice Cream Garden LA.

So, would you eat one?



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Kid Sends Fan Mail to Fish


Image: Monterey Bay Aquarium

"In the past, penguins and sea otters have periodically received fan mail," said Ken Peterson, the communications director of Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, "but this very could well be the first fish fan letter."

Let's call it fin mail then! (I love how it's addressed as "Attn: Fish")


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Robotic Flying Fox Bat by Festo

We've featured many wonderful machines by Festo before on Neatorama (including this robotic bird), but the robotics and technology company may just have created its most fantastic flying robot yet.

Meet the BionicFlyingFox, an ultra-lightweight flying robot that can fly semi-autonomously with the beats of its flying membranes.


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The Fish With a Switchblade In Its Face

The Pacific and Indian oceans are dangerous places, so the stonefish is always ready for a fight. It's even packing a switchblade ... in its face.

W. Leo Smith was dissecting a stonefish that was once his own pet, when discovered a switchblade-like device in the cheeks of the fish. Fifteen years later, he and his colleagues at The University of Kansas published the research paper that explained the mechanism behind the "lachrymal saber" of stonefish.

To help the stonefishes deploy the switchblade, an unusually large number of muscles and ligaments attach to bones comprising the lachrymal saber system compared with species outside the stonefish family, according to the researchers.

“There can’t be any other reason for those muscles and ligaments except to control this mechanism,” said the KU researcher.

Read the rest of the story over at KU News (Image: William Leo Smith/The University of Kansas)


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Why This School Bus Driver Braids a Girl's Hair Every Morning

After her mother died two years ago, 11-year-old Isabella Pieri went to school with messy and tangled hair. Her father tried to help, but styling a girls' hair was well outside his area of expertise.

Enter Isabella's bus driver, Tracy Dean.

Every morning, Dean takes the time to brush and braid Isabella's hair before she drives the girl to school.

Zoe Weiner of TODAY has the story:

After more than a year of riding on Dean’s bus, Isabella noticed that the driver had been helping a fellow classmate style her braids before school every morning. She eventually approached Dean and asked if she could have help with her hair, too. “Isabella just said, ‘Hey, will you do mine if I bring a brush?'" Dean recalled. "And I was just thinking to myself, 'Oh thank you, Lord.'"

(Image: Tracy Dean)


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Night Owls Are More Likely to Die Sooner Than Morning People

Bad news, night owls! Turns out that we're going to die sooner than those annoying morning people.

A new study by researchers at the University of Surrey and Northwestern University found that people who liked to stay up late were more likely to die within the six and a half year-long study period than those who were early risers.

"Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies," Dr. Kristen Knutson of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to The Telegraph. "It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment."

Sarah Knapton of The Telegraph has the full story.

You know what this means: time to adapt and change our sleeping habits into mid-afternoon narwhals (Image: Hoot! Night Owl by ivejustquitsmoking)


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Italian Coffee King's Ashes Stored in an Urn that Looks Like a Moka Pot

You may not know the name Renato Bialetti, but you may have one of his coffee pot in your kitchen. That's right: Bialetti was the man who turned the Moka Pot, the stove-top espresso maker, into a household icon.

When Bialetti died in 2016, his three children decided that it would be fitting to put his ashes inside an urn shaped like a giant Moka Pot (Just don't ever mistake what's inside for coffee grounds.)

Vincenzo Amato of La Stampa has the video clip and story (in Italian) - via BB-Blog


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Write Like a Famous Musician: Handwritings of Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg turned into Fonts

Now, you too can write like some of the world's most famous musicians and songwriters, thanks to Nicolas Damiens and Julien Sens of Songwriter Fonts. The duo have designed fonts from handwritten notes and letters of musicians like Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg.

The fonts are free to download, but are for personal use only. Check it out over at Songwriter Fonts (Update 4/12/18: No longer available).


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Every Front Page of the New York Times Since 1852

My, how The Gray Lady has changed over the years!

Josh Begley compiled every front page of The New York Times since 1852 in this Vimeo clip. It's neat to see photographs starting to make their appearance in the newspaper - first as black and white photos, and then as color photos.

(The first edition of The New York Times was published on September 18, 1851. Want to read the first published issue? Wikimedia has it).


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Anatomy of More TV Shows


Image: John Atkinson / Wrong Hands

It's been nearly four years since John Atkinson's last Anatomy of TV Shows comic panel, but hey, you can't rush genius. A TV crime show that starts with a grisly scene, supermodel in the lab, and "enhance"? I think I saw that!


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The Original Version Hal 9000 Didn't Have a Calm Voice At All

The preternaturally calm voice of HAL 9000 the supercomputer in Stanley Kubrick's epic "2001: A Space Odyssey" wasn't always so. In fact, at first, HAL - to be played by Martin Balsam - was supposed to have a voice embued with human emotion.

Adam Balsam, the actor’s son, told [Gerry Flahive] that “Kubrick had him record it very realistically and humanly, complete with crying during the scene when HAL’s memory is being removed.”

But that just didn't work for Kubrick:

We had some difficulty deciding exactly what HAL should sound like, and Marty just sounded a little bit too colloquially American,” Kubrick said in the 1969 interview. Mr. Rain recalls Kubrick telling him, “I’m having trouble with what I’ve got in the can. Would you play the computer?”

Kubrick had heard Mr. Rain’s voice in the 1960 documentary “Universe,” a film he watched at least 95 times, according to the actor. “I think he’s perfect,” Kubrick wrote to a colleague in a letter preserved in the director’s archive. “The voice is neither patronizing, nor is it intimidating, nor is it pompous, overly dramatic or actorish. Despite this, it is interesting.”

Gerry Flahive writes this interesting piece for The New York Times about the origin of HAL 9000's voice, including why it sounds so ... Canadian.


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We Finally Learned Just How Old Chewbacca Was in this New Trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story

A new trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story was released today - and we get to learn just how old Chewbacca was (hint: our favorite Wookiee was really, REALLY old - no wonder he groaned a lot).


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Jonathan Elliott's LEGO cars


Image: Jonathan Elliott

If you love cars and LEGO, then Jonathan Elliott is the man you'll love. Check out his Flickr page for mini LEGO cars - from 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SL to 1976 Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer - he's got 'em all (including some very neat build videos, too).


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Sewing Thread Art by Cvern


Image: @cvernart

This is neat: Slovenian artist Sašo Krajnc (AKA Cvern) creates amazing portraits with only a single sewing thread.

Krajnc is able to create shadings by overlapping black threads - the more black threads overlap in a certain part of the image, the darker the shadow.

Visit Krajnc's Instagram for more examples - via Oddity Central


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Urine Trouble Act: States Move to Ban Fake Urine

The opioid crisis in the United States has led to an unexpected rise in demand for ... fake pee.

To be sure, people have long tried to beat drug tests by providing other people's urine, but authorities say that the preferred method nowadays is to use synthetic urine, creatively smuggled in the pants of the person to be tested.

The rise of the use of fake urine has now prompted many states to enact laws banning their sale:

Mississippi’s bill was dubbed the “Urine Trouble Act,” drawing snickers and groans in the State House. But its sponsors and others said that the jokey name belies a real problem: Truck drivers, people who operate heavy machinery and others can use the synthetic liquid to easily thwart a drug test, potentially creating public risks. ...

Mississippi state Rep. Willie Bailey (D), speaking at a hearing in Jackson, held a bottle of fake urine that came with instructions suggesting that users could microwave it to achieve body temperature. He said the substance has been a “hot seller” in truck stops statewide. “They can’t keep it in stock,” he said.

Katie Zezima of The Washington Post has the full story. (Image: P(ee) by triagus)


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Circle in Circle Optical Illusion

The balls seem to be moving in circular orbit, but when you take a closer look, you'll see that each ball is moving along a straight path. This clever "circle in circle" optical illusion, built by YouTube user veproject1, is based on the mechanical design by 16th century Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano.

Check it out - via The Awesomer


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Crocheted Infinity Gauntlet


Liz Ward of Amigurumi Barmy has crocheted an Infinity Gauntlet that would give Thanos' version a run for the money. Better yet, Ward is selling her custom-made gauntlet on Etsy (or if you're crafty, you can crochet it yourself based on her crochet pattern).


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The Tear Gun


Photo: Ronald Smits/Design Academy Eindhoven

After many months of enduring the struggles of living as a foreign student at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Yi-Fei Chen decided to channel all of her frustrations into her design project.

The end result is the Tear Gun, which collects the user' tears and then freeze the tears into a bullet and shoots it at the target of his or her frustration:

Her upbringing in Taiwan has instilled Yi-Fei Chen with a deep respect for authority. Disagreeing with your teachers is considered rude, and rudeness must be suppressed. Coming to the Netherlands for a master’s degree was a shock to her system. Within Western higher education, students are taught to question authority and expected to take a critical attitude. For many students like Chen it can be a confusing and emotional journey to adapt to such a new set of circumstances. The pressure they feel to step outside their own comfort zone may even cause drastic responses.

Chen has visualised her personal struggle to toughen up and speak her mind with a striking metaphor: she has frozen the tears she shed during an incident where she had to speak up but couldn’t, and built a gun to fire them. Next time a teacher puts her on the spot, she will be ready to respond with equal force.

Check out the video of the Tear Gun project:

Continue reading

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Profile for Alex Santoso

  • Member Since 2012/07/17


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