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Cape Vyatlina: The Russian Stonehenge

This is Cape Vyatlina, a place located in the Russian Far East. This place has been dubbed as the Russian Stonehenge because of its peculiar feature: man-made stone towers. Hundreds of stone towers line up at the beach and everyday, new stone towers are erected.

The tradition of building towers at Cape Vyatlina by stacking stones of various sizes on top of each other started in 2015, when a group of activists from Vladivostok built 155 such monuments in celebration of the city’s 155th anniversary. Many of these original towers, some up to 3.5-meters-tall, were destroyed by the collapse of a nearby grotto, but other locals and tourists took it upon themselves to restore them and even add to their number. Today, there are several hundreds of these hand-stacked stone towers covering the beach at Cape Vyatlina and building them has become somewhat of a superstition.
It’s said that building a stone tower at Cape Vyatlina can make your greatest wish come true, so it’s no surprise that stacking stones has become a tradition among visitors to this remote place. For others, the practice is almost meditative in nature, as erecting these structures requires lots of patience and concentration. Whatever the motivation behind each builder’s actions, there’s no denying that the towers make quite a sight.

Would you build a stone tower in this place in order to make your greatest wish come true? I certainly will do when given the chance to go there. Sounds like fun.

(Image Credit: Kisenia Anatolievna/ Instagram)


Taiwan's Rainbow Village: Why The Only Resident Hand-Painted All The Buildings

97-year-old Huang Yung-Fu was the only resident left in his village and the government wanted to tear it down to build a more modern apartment complex. This was the only place Huang could call home as he had been born in China but migrated to Taiwan after the war.

“When I came here, the village had 1,200 households and we’d all sit and talk like one big family,” Huang shared with BBC. “But then everyone moved away or passed away and I became lonely.” With nowhere to go, he turned to art to ease his suffering.

Learn more about his story on My Modern Met. -via This is Colossal

(Image credit: Steven R. Barringer/Street Art Utopia; Wikimedia Commons)


The First African Samurai

The Japanese called him Yasuke. The records are scarce, so it's not clear what his original name was, or where he was originally from. Yasuke had been a slave and a child soldier, and was eventually hired as a valet and bodyguard by Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. They arrived in Japan in 1579, where feudal warlord Nobunaga Oda noticed him -as did everyone else.  

Oda had never seen an African before. And like the locals in Japan's then-capital of Kyoto, he was awed by Yasuke's height, build and skin tone, according to Thomas Lockley, the author of "African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan."

"When Yasuke got to Kyoto (with Jesuit missionaries), there was a massive riot. People wanted to see him and be in his presence," says Lockley, who spent nine years researching and writing the book, which was published last month.

Oda believed Yasuke to be either a guardian demon or "Daikokuten," a god of prosperity usually represented by black statues in temples. He tried to rub the pigment from Yasuke's skin, believing it was black ink. Once convinced Yasuke was real, he immediately threw a feast in his honor, says Lockley.

Already a trained warrior, Yasuke soon learned Japanese martial arts and the language. He fought with Oda as a samurai in 1581 and 1582. Read about the life of the African samurai at CNN. -via Metafilter

Also: Chadwick Boseman is set to play Yasuke in an upcoming movie.


Biotech Revolution: The Next Scientific Innovations of the 21st Century

In the latter half of the 20th century, we focused our research efforts on setting foot on the moon, exploring the uncharted regions of space, and building spacecraft that could bring us to the stars and back. It was the era of physics and engineering.

Susan Hockfield, a neurobiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes that the next scientific frontier is the confluence of biology and engineering.

New technologies are increasingly being built out of biological parts. The idea of biological engineering, or using inspiration from biological structures to build things, has been in people’s hands and minds for a while. What’s new is the acceleration of these kinds of technologies.
It’s important because when we look at the challenges we’re facing, in terms of population growth and our food resources and our water resources and our healthcare resources, it’s pretty clear that if we’re going to go from our current 7.7 billion [people] to over 9.7 billion by 2050, we’re going to need some new technologies in order to increase productivity without using up all the resources on Earth.

(Image credit: ejaugsburg/Pixabay)


How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)

Like if you think it's wrong to remake this classic.


Pluto's Secrets That Could Change Our Prospects in Space

Pluto has a buried ocean. If there's a water source in this dwarf planet at the outskirts of our solar system, then that might mean there is a possibility that other planets, exoplanets, and worlds in the universe are also hiding oceans underneath their surface.

A gassy insulating layer probably keeps Pluto's liquid-water ocean from freezing solid, a new study reports. And something similar could be happening under the surfaces of frigid worlds in other solar systems as well, study team members said.
"This could mean there are more oceans in the universe than previously thought, making the existence of extraterrestrial life more plausible," lead author Shunichi Kamata, of Hokkaido University in Japan, said in a statement.

-via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)


Space Farming: How to Grow Fresh Crops and Maintain Food Variety

A lot of research has been conducted to see the viability of sending humans to make settlements in space. There are a few essentials that need to be taken into consideration. Food will be the most critical however, at the moment, we don't have the technology to produce a variety of food in space. So that's where NASA's experiment comes in.

Past food experiments on the International Space Station used seed bags (also called pillows) that receive water from syringes, which astronauts push into the bags. While this water is enough for lettuce to grow, tomatoes and similar crops use more water.
The new method lets astronauts cultivate romaine lettuce seeds in 12 passive orbital nutrient delivery systems (PONDS). PONDS units are less expensive than the seed bags and can hold more water, while providing more room for roots to grow.

(Image credit: David Saint-Jacques/NASA)


Run, Don't Walk, From the River of Ice That Is Chasing You

The ice-filled Lena River in Pokrovsk, Yakutia, Russia is a torrent of frozen death. The videographer must move quickly to escape before he is consumed by it.

The Siberian Times explains that the ice is breaking up. In another week or so, this river, which flows into the Arctic Ocean, should be ice-free.

-via Aaron Starmer


Autistic Guy Who Couldn't Speak as A Child is Now Giving a Commencement Address

Actually, he could speak as a child, although he couldn't speak on his own. Bruno Youn, when he was 3 years old, could only mimic what he heard and recite poetry, but he was not able to come up with his own words or communicated his thoughts. Upon recognizing this, his mother brought him in for testing and found out the bitter truth: Bruno had autism.

“I could not cope with the idea,” said Josette Thompson, a Seal Beach physician. “I couldn’t have a child with autism. Never talk. Never have a job. Never get married. You lose all those dreams for your child at once. I couldn’t go there.”

But if back then Josette had a peek into the future, she might not have worried too much about his son.

On Saturday, Youn, now 22 years old, will walk across the stage to receive his diploma at Claremont McKenna College. But before he does, he will stand before an audience of hundreds and do what his senior class elected him to do: deliver the student commencement remarks.
In four years at the small, highly selective liberal arts college in the Pomona Valley, Youn has grown from a freshman who avoided people, spending most of his time holed up in his dorm playing video games, into a campus leader.
He majored in philosophy, politics and economics, and will graduate with Phi Beta Kappa honors and a 3.8 GPA. He worked on policy research at Claremont McKenna’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government. He was selected for a prestigious post as one of two student fellows to host and moderate panel discussions with high-profile figures for the college’s Athenaeum speakers program.
He has worked with political campaigns. He has had a girlfriend and made lots of friends.
“I have left behind me a trail of broken stereotypes,” Youn plans to say in his commencement speech.

(Image Credit: Gina Ferazzi/ Los Angeles Times)


A Corny Concerto (1943)

We've seen a lot of Robert (Bob) Clampett in here lately (Time for Beany, Beany and Cecil, the story of Tweety Bird) and now we find him near the top of his game at Warner Brothers in 1943's A Corny Concerto.

A great way to introduce your kids to classical music, as this cartoon was intended as a parody of Disney's Fantasia and Silly Symphonies theatrical cartoons. The only Clampett Warner's cartoons that best this one are The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, and The Old Grey Hare, which are not available in their entirety on YouTube. More's the pity.


Clotilda Found

The last American slave ship was the highly illegal Clotilda. Mobile, Alabama, businessman Timothy Meaher commissioned the ship to bring in 110 enslaved people from Africa in 1860 to show that it could be done, even though importing slaves had been illegal for 50 years. After its mission, the ship was burned to the waterline to hide the evidence. In January of 2018, the Clotilda became a nationwide story when a reporter thought he found the wreck, but it turned out not to be the notorious slave ship. However, that story led to funding through AHC and National Geographic Society and Search, Inc. to look further. Because the Clotilda was both custom-built and insured, there are documents that describe its uniqueness. An area of the Mobile River that had never been dredged was scanned, and many shipwrecks were found.

Most were easily eliminated: wrong size, metal hull, wrong type of wood. But one vessel, labeled Target 5, stood out from the rest. It "matched everything on record about Clotilda," says Delgado, including its design and dimensions, the type of wood and metal used in its construction, and evidence that it had burned.

Samples of wood recovered from Target 5 are white oak and southern yellow pine from the Gulf coast. The archaeologists also found the remains of a centerboard of the correct size.

Metal fasteners from its hull are made of hand-forged pig iron, the same type known to have been used on Clotilda. And there’s evidence that the hull was originally sheathed with copper, as was then common practice for oceangoing merchant vessels.

No nameplate or other inscribed artifacts conclusively identified the wreck, Delgado says, "but looking at the various pieces of evidence, you can reach a point beyond reasonable doubt."

Read the story of the Clotilda and the discovery of its final resting place at National Geographic.


What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

The audacity of President Kennedy's 1962 pledge to send Americans to the moon before the decade was over is almost forgotten today. To go to the moon, we would have to revolutionize computer technology, built rockets no one had built before, and send astronauts into an environment we knew nothing about. But we did it, in an event often called the biggest accomplishment of the 20th century. Fifty years later, it's hard to recall what those days were really like. Each step of the space program's progress got publicity, but the American people weren't really on board with it until the moon landing drew near- they were more concerned with Vietnam and the unrest surrounding the Civil Rights movement. Most people thought the moon shot wasn't worth the money. A senator polled the American Astronomical Society and found only about a third of the astronomers thought the moon mission had "great scientific value." But what about President Kennedy? Not long after Kennedy gave his famous speech at Rice University, he held a cabinet meeting that included NASA officials to work out the budgeting and schedule for such a mission.  

The president was being as clear as he possibly could. It was fine to fly to the Moon, but the point of such urgency—the tripling of NASA’s budget in just two years—was to reach the Moon before the Russians. It didn’t seem clear to the people in the White House cabinet room that day, but the only reason they were there at all was that Kennedy needed to beat the Russians. Not because he needed to fly to the Moon.

“Otherwise, we shouldn’t be spending this kind of money, because I’m not that interested in space.”

Prominent scientists and even former president Eisenhower bemoaned the NASA spending that could have been used for something else. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for the moon mission, NASA accomplished the impossible anyway. Oh, there's a lot more about the Apollo 11 mission that will probably be new to you in an excerpt from the forthcoming book ONE GIANT LEAP: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman, at Smithsonian.


Mr. Rogers and Neighborhood Trolley Enamel Pin Set

Mr. Rogers and Neighborhood Trolley Enamel Pin Set

It's a beautiful day in your neighborhood. It's a beuatiful day in my neighborhood. It's a beautiful day to invite Mr. Rogers to be your neighbor with the Mr. Rogers and Neighborhood Trolley Enamel Pin Set from the Neatoshop

The Mr. Rogers and Neighborhood Trolley Enamel Pin Set features a friendly Fred Rogers pin and a cheerful Neighborhood Trolley pin. They make the perfect bag, backpack, or outfit accessory. Buy them for yourself or as a gift for friend. They are a wonderful way to make the most of this beautiful day. 

Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great buttons. New items arriving weekly. 

Don't forget to stop by the NeatoShop to check out our huge selection of designs and custom imprintable items. We specialize in curvy and hard to find sizes. We believe that fun and fabulous people come in every shape and size. 


Astrobees Make Space Debut

NASA has sent three new members to the International Space Station who will be accommodating scientists and other researchers who are going to make a stop or even stay at the ISS. They are called the Astrobees, flying robots who will help astronauts with their missions.

“The main purpose of the Astrobee platform is to provide a zero-gravity testbed for guest scientists to try out new robotic technologies in space,” says Maria Bualat, Astrobee project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, in a press statement.
“Astrobee will prove out robotic capabilities that will enable and enhance human exploration. Performing such experiments in zero gravity will ultimately help develop new hardware and software for future space missions.”

(Image credit: NASA's Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)


Is Technology the Cause of Depression and Anxiety in the Current Generation?

The answer may be yes according to a study. Conventional wisdom also says yes. However, there is no causal data — no definitive proof. In other words, the studies are inconclusive.

The studies we have so far on the relationship between digital technology use and mental health — for both teens and adults — are more than inconclusive. “The literature is a wreck,” said Anthony Wagner, chair of the psychology department at Stanford University. “Is there anything that tells us there’s a causal link? That our media use behavior is actually altering our cognition and underlying neurological function or neurobiological processes? The answer is we have no idea. There’s no data.”
Several researchers I spoke to — even those who believe the links between digital technology use and mental health problems are overhyped — all think this is an important question worth studying, and gathering conclusive evidence on.
If technology plays any small part in the rise in teen anxiety, depression, and suicide, we ought to know for sure. And if the ubiquity of digital devices is somehow remolding human psychology — in the ways our brains develop, deal with stress, remember, pay attention, and make decisions — we ought to know that too.

This begs the question: How do we find more conclusive answers? The answer is, in simple terms, by asking better, more specific questions.

(Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen/ Pixabay)

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