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An Out-Of-This-World Advertisement

Ever since its launch in 1998, the International Space Station, or the ISS, has served as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory for scientific research in various fields such as astrobiology, astronomy, physics, and others. But it seems that the ISS will not only be just a laboratory soon. It might also become a shooting location in the near future.

Estée Lauder, a multinational cosmetics company, has secured an out-of-this-world shooting location—the International Space Station.
A face cream called “Advanced Night Repair" will be part of the “first purely commercial activity in NASA's new regime,” according to reporter Mark Harris, who broke the news in New Scientist.
Up to 10 bottles of the beauty product will be bundled into a cargo resupply run to the station this fall, so that NASA crew members can shoot videos and images with them in the microgravity environment.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Mark Harris/ Twitter/


The World’s Oldest Sperm

Paleontologists discovered the world’s oldest animal sperm in Myanmar. The sperm was found frozen inside a tiny crustacean in a blob of tree resin dated 100 million years old! It was found in the body of a female specimen, indicating that she must have been fertilized shortly before being trapped in amber, as Rappler details: 

To make the find even more special, the sperms were also described as "giants," measuring up to 4.6 times the size of the body of the male. 
"This is equivalent to about 7.30 meters in a 1.70-meters human, so it requires a lot of energy to produce them," Renate Matzke-Karasz of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, co-author of the study, told AFP. 
The ostracod was also a new species that the scientists have named "Myanmarcypris hui."

Image via wikimedia commons


India’s City That Never Sleeps

Madurai City is bustling with life all hours of the day. From markets that are considered as a hub of old legends and trades to temples that depict colorful stories of the land through its art and architecture, the city is a great place to visit (once this pandemic is over, of course). The city’s Meenakshi temple is the finest example of Dravidian architecture. The 2000-year-old temple holds a legendary golden tank that supposedly drowned unworthy manuscripts. Check out more reasons to visit Madurai City via the Lonely Planet’s piece here. 

Image via the Lonely Planet


The Smallest And Lightest Full-Frame Camera Ever Made

You don’t have to use heavy and massive DSLRs for full-frame photography, because Sony has now created the market’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera! The Alpha 7C can still give photographers the performance they need despite its small size, as it carries a 24.2 megapixel 35mm full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor that gives its user all the image definition and low light performance they’ll need. The camera is also powered by a good image processing engine. Hypebeast has more details: 

The camera is powered by a BIONZ X image processing engine, with 15 stops of dynamic range and support for ISO sensitivities up to 51,200, expandable up to 204,800. Other performance features include artificial intelligence-driven auto-focus with real-time tracking, burst modes of up to 10 frames per second, and 4K video shooting. Its external hardware comes in the form of a tilting three-inch LCD touchscreen, a 2.35 megadot XGA OLD Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder, built-in Wi-FI connectivity, and USB-C support.
For the avid photographers out there, Sony’s new full-frame Alpha 7C is now available for pre-order over on Adorama, going for $1,800 for the body.

Image via Hypebeast 


How Can We Protect Photos We Posted Online?

The Internet has provided us with accessibility and efficiency when it comes to sharing information with other people. With a few clicks, we can now easily obtain the information we need. More people can also easily upload and share their original content, and more people can also easily steal their content. Most don’t think twice before copying content or downloading and using images without the original poster’s permission. Light Stalking provides details on how we can prevent people from stealing our content online. Check their full piece here.  

Image via Light Stalking 


This Girl Wanted A Hamster So Bad

... that she filled the house with hamster photos!

When Laura Carns was asked by her daughter Susie to give her a hamster, she refused. But then Susie asked again. And then again. This went on all summer.

One day, when Susie asked once more, Laura, before leaving the house to visit a friend, answered her grumpily, “No, for real.” This could have been what triggered her 15-year-old daughter to take drastic actions. Enlisting the help of her little brother and her boyfriend, Susie launched her hamster campaign at home, while her mother was away.

When Carns arrived home that day, she was shocked to find her house covered in hamster photos. Everywhere she turned, she saw hamsters. From inside the freezer to up on the ceiling, Susie and her team didn’t miss a single spot. They’d even made a very well-thought-out PowerPoint presentation and left it open on a laptop for Carns to find. 
“Probably the strangest place I found a hamster picture was under the lid of the toilet,” Carns said. 

This wasn’t the first time that Susie launched campaigns, but according to Laura, this was the first time that she “came home to such a full-throttle attack”.

Carns posted a video of her house covered in hamster photos to TikTok, and as the internet pleaded with her to get that kid a hamster, she soon admitted defeat.
Not long after the campaign was launched, Susie brought home her new best friend, Snow. She is absolutely thrilled with her new hamster and couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. 

What dedication!

(Image Credit: Laura Carns/ The Dodo)


The Ghost Towns of Lake Urmia

Solmaz’s grandfather ran a lakefront hotel in the tourist port city of Sharafkhaneh — the city where Solmaz spent his childhood in. During summers, he would spend his days on the shore of the salt lake Urmia, the largest lake in the Middle East, and the sixth-largest salt lake on the planet. But things changed when the lake dried up. Tourism and agriculture in that town suffered. But it wasn’t the only town that suffered; other towns near the lake suffered, too. Eventually, those cities became ghost towns.

In its heyday, this lake was the largest natural habitat for Artemia brine shrimp, which are uniquely adapted to saline environments, as well as an essential stopover point for migratory birds such as flamingos and pelicans. It remains a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, but the lake has lost about 88 percent of its surface area during the past three decades. A recent study concluded that increasing temperatures and a changing climate helped to dry out the lake, combined with booming agriculture in the region.

But those who benefited from the lake would now want it to be taken away from them.

The vast consequences of this environmental catastrophe have finally triggered a coordinated effort to save the lake. The Iranian government has created a national lake restoration committee and aims to invest $5 billion over 10 years. In the past two years, above-average precipitation has helped to turn the tide.
Experts say it may take decades for the lake to return to its former glory, but the improvements are giving hope to residents living around the lake.

More about this story over at Atlas Obscura.

(Image Credit: Solmaz Daryani/ Atlas Obscura)


These Maps Will Help You Track Wildfire Smoke

The recent wildfires in the western states of California, Washington, and Oregon are one of the biggest ever recorded. These fires bring hazy skies and smoke not only to those states, but also to states as far away as Toronto.

These hazy conditions are not mere annoyances. As Luke Montrose, an environmental toxicologist, wrote recently for Fast Company, air pollution from wood smoke is a serious public health concern. Smoke from large wildfires can travel thousands of miles, across states, countries, and even oceans… 

If you want to track the movement of the wildfire smoke, then you might consider looking into the interactive maps of AirNow, NOAA, Esri’s Active Wildfire Story Map, and NASA.

See the links to these sites over at Fast Company.

(Image Credit: Esri/ Fast Company)


Contemporary Films Reimagined as Vintage Book Covers

Designer and illustrator Matt Stevens launched an art series called Good Movies as Old Books, in which he designs book covers in minimalist fashion to lure a reader in. If you've seen the movies, you'll understand the concept that the semi-abstract cover illustrations are trying to convey.

See all of them at Stevens' site. These can be purchased as individual art prints or a collage of all of them at Stevens' store. -via Colossal


Why We Don't Like Our Underground House

Have you ever considered living in an underground home? Caves made great homes for prehistoric families, but they don't have the features modern people consider necessary. You can build an underground home, or buy one. However, you can't inspect construction that is covered with soil, and there may be conditions that you don't expect until they happen. MizBejabbers and her husband purchased an underground home in Arkansas in 1994. The story of what they've gone through since then may remind you of the movie The Money Pit. She outlined a list of problems, beginning with flooding.  

Location makes all the difference. I do not advise building on a hillside, but if you do, make sure that you have an oversized drainage system. Water can’t flow underneath our concrete slab like it can with a house built on a foundation, and the French drains in the atrium cannot handle a deluge.

One particularly stormy night, a torrent poured into the front atrium from the street above the house and flooded the great room. We finally gave up mopping and just opened the doors. We swept water out the back doors as a river poured through the front door. Luckily, the carpet had been removed years ago.

You have to feel sorry for anyone who lives for 26 years in a home they don't like, but it was a big investment, and it appears that anyone who could provide relief either went out of business or died. Read the details of her ordeal at dengarden. -via Digg


Liquor Store Employees Are Sharing Their Wildest Stories Of Underaged Customers

Underage drinking is taken a lot more seriously now than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Liquor stores can lose their license by selling booze to anyone under 21, on the first offense in some states. So liquor store employees, if they've been there any time at all, have stories about teenagers trying to get around the rules. A redditor asked, "What is the craziest instance of underaged kids trying to get booze you've ever encountered?" Some the answers are pretty funny.   

2. "I had a guy come in to try to buy booze with an absolutely terrible fake tattoo (tattoos and alcohol have the same age restrictions here). I'm guessing he thought that if he had massive tribal tattoos down his arm we would just assume that he was old enough. He'd clearly done them with a felt tip pen, but it was a hot day so the sweat was making them drip down his arm."


3. "This dude came in and tried to buy a handle of whiskey. Looked super young to me, like 14–15 max. He started telling me how he needs to get drunk because his wife just left him and his four kids behind...I ask to see his ID, he awkwardly pulls out his student ID from the local high school. I told him we couldn't sell him the liquor, but good luck with the four kids."


Read 16 of the funniest stories from liquor store employees at Buzzfeed.


50 First Dates, 2020 Edition

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore made a sequel to their 2004 film 50 First Dates, 16 years later. there's a lot to update her on. It's actually a promo for The Drew Barrymore Show. -via Boing Boing


The Van That Drives Upside-Down and Backwards

This custom 1985 GMC Van will make your head turn if you see it apparently levitating down the street. It appears to be gliding across the ground upside-down and backwards, even while its wheels spin forward. A look inside through the gullwing door shows the rear (or forward, depending on your point of view) mounted engine and two seats.

-via Born in Space


Hell on Wheels: Temporary Cities of the Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad changed the American West by enabling travel and cargo shipments all across the country. Even as it was being built, it was settling the West. As railroad crews inched along building the tracks, far away from the comforts of the east, entrepreneurs traveled with them to provide services and profit from the worker's pay. The temporary camps they set up along the way were called Hell on Wheels.

“The history of any one of these places is the history of them all … It was entirely formed of large tents. Every other tent was either a gambling den, or a ‘drinking saloon,’ or a dancing hall – with adjoining chambers that go down to hell. There were sixty woman in the town, not one of them virtuous, all of them belonging to the vilest grade of criminal life.

Every night in the large tents (they are a hundred feet long by sixty wide) there are lewd dances, and drinking and gambling, and every variety of obscene and criminal indulgences. Every man goes armed; every man and every woman drinks; every one of both sexes gambles, and, of course, fights, are frequent and murders not uncommon.”

This is not news to those who followeed the television series Hell on Wheels. However, any time the encampment lasted for some time, say, several months, there would be some who decided to stay put. This meant the beginning of a permanent town, or even a city, many of which still exist today. Read about the temporary towns of the Transcontinental Railroad and the settlements they left behind at Geri Walton's blog.  -via Strange Company 


Goodbye, Nintendo 3DS

It has been over nine years since the release of the Nintendo 3DS, and now it is time to say goodbye to one of the most beloved Nintendo consoles. It has been confirmed that “the manufacturing of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has ended.”

The announcement comes a little over a year after Nintendo said the Switch Lite wasn’t going to replace the 3DS.
“We’ll continue to support our 3DS family of systems as long as there is demand,” said Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser at the time.
It looks like there is no longer enough demand.
It’s not a surprise that the end has come for the 3DS, and to some extent it’s not that surprising that it had as long of a run as it did—nearly 10 years! Its predecessor, the DS, was around for just as long, and remains Nintendo’s top-selling console with 154 million units sold.

Now it is time for the Nintendo Switch to shine. But the legacy of 3DS will live on.

(Image Credit: Evan-Amos/ Wikimedia Commons)

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