Alex Santoso's Blog Posts

What’s A Weird Thing Your Family Did That You Thought Was Normal Till You Moved Out?

It all started with this tweet by podcaster Georgia Hardstark, who asked her Twitter followers what weird thing their family did that they thought were completely normal, until they learned otherwise. "We kept birthday candles in the freezer," Hardstark added.

More than 2,000 tweets answered her questions, including these gems:

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Insulated Shorts

Ever seen an insulated vest and thought to yourself, there has to be a pants-equivalent to that thing? Well, wonder no more: insulated shorts do exist. But ... why? Are they meant to keep only the upper half of your legs warm?

Via Gear Patrol


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Raven Amos' Gallimaufric Science Art Show

If you're in Anchorage, Alaska, here's a neat art event that you should check out: NeatoShop artist Raven Amos and her husband Scott Elyard are having an art show called Gallimaufric Science.

Info for the opening day (May 4, 2018 - today!) and the rest of the month, as well as the fundraiser.

Thanks Raven!


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University Installed "Cry Closet" for Stressed Out Students


Image: @aJackieLarsen

Psst, college students - are you stressed out? The University of Utah has the solution that is just in time for final exams. Behold, the "Cry Closet," a safe space where you can cry out the stress of college life in convenient privacy.

Titled "A Safe Place for Stressed Out Students Otherwise known as The Cry Closet," the whole thing is actually an art installation by senior Nemo Miller (@Nemosanartist) who made it as part of an assignment for a woodshop techniques class.

Written in front of the closet are the five rules of using the closet:


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Human Bone Daggers


A human bone dagger (top) and a cassowary bone dagger (bottom). Image: Hood Museum of Art/Dartmouth College, Dominy NJ et al. Royal Society Open Science, 2018.

Forget your puny pocket knives - the people of Papua New Guinea know that if you want your friends and foes to take you seriously, you need a bone dagger.

Bone daggers are often carved with decorative patterns and used for hunting, fighting and for ceremonial purposes, as well as to signify social status - and even though most are made from the thigh bones of cassowary birds, the Sepik tribesmen of Papua New Guinea know that the best are made from human bones. And not just from any humans. "Human bone daggers have to be sourced from a really important person," said study author Nathaniel Dominy to LiveScience, "You can't just take the bone of any ordinary person. It has to be your father or someone who was respected in the community."

Now, science has discovered the technical reason why human bones make for better bone daggers. Dominy wrote in a paper published in Royal Society Open Science:

"We found that human and cassowary bones have similar material properties and that the geometry of human bone daggers results in higher moments of inertia and a greater resistance to bending.

"Data from finite-element models corroborated the superior mechanical performance of human bone daggers, revealing greater resistance to larger loads with fewer failed elements."

All in all, human bone daggers are twice as strong as cassowary daggers.


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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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Which Way is the Windmill Rotating?

According to Michael Pickard and Gurpreet Singh, the creators of "The Windmills of Your Mind" illusion, the dots of the windmill are always at constant speed and direction throughout the video clip.

So why did your mind see both clockwise and counter-clockwise movement? The answer, the two researchers at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, said, is that perceived direction is changed when the dot pitch is changed (by removing alternate dots or using alternate light and dark colors).


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This Urinal Shows You Ads While You Pee

No place is safe from advertisement anymore - not even the restroom.

Mr.Friendly, a Dutch toilet company, has created a high-tech urinal with neat features like waterless/flushless function and anti-bacterial surface. But the unique feature here is the built-in display with an automatic sensor that'll play advertisement while you pee.


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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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Heating Up by Cooling Down, Just Another Craziness That Is Quantum Physics

Let's face it: nothing makes sense in the topsy turvy world of quantum physics. Light can be both wave and particle. Schrödinger's cat is both dead and alive. Things can simultaneously sync up, even when they're separated by a large distance.

Why, it's enough to make Einstein throw up his hands and despair!

Well, add this to the weirdness that is quantum physics: quantum systems can heat up by cooling down.

Nemoto and her team examined a double sub-domain system coupled to a single constant temperature reservoir. Each sub-domain contained multiple spins -- a form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles such as electrons and nuclei. The researchers considered the situation where the spins within each sub-domain are aligned with respect to each other but the sub-domains themselves are oppositely aligned (for instance all up in one and all down in the second). This creates a certain symmetry in the system.

As time progresses, the components of the subdomain decay in a process called relaxation.

"Usually, we expect both domains to decay to the reservoir temperature; however, when the two domains coupled with a reservoir maintain a certain symmetry, the decay process can apparently heat the smaller domain up, even beyond the high temperature limit," Nemoto said.

See if you can understand what's going on in this article over at Science Daily, then tell the rest of the class, mkay? (Image: Future Quantum Physicist by Mike Jacobsen)


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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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NeatoShop April 2018 T-Shirt Giveaway

Psst! Want two FREE T-shirts? Click here to enter our April 2018 T-shirt giveaway, in celebration of NeatoShop's Sci-Fi & Fantasy sale (hurry - sale ends April 18, 2018).


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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:

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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:

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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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Should You Tip Before The Meal?


(Image: Monkey Business Image/Shutterstock)

You've experience this before: after you place your order, the cashier smiles at you and turn the touchscreen to face you to reveal a tip option. How much do you tip? Fifteen percent? Twenty? Or - gasp - none at all?

Now, I understand tipping at restaurants after the meal service. In this case, you can decide how much to tip based on how good of a service you received. I also understand putting a buck or two in a tip jar by the cash register.

But there's no mistaking the new trend of tipping ten, fifteen, or even twenty percent of the bill at the register - before you receive any service.

Eun Kyung Kim wrote in this intriguing article over at TODAY:

Today, it’s nearly impossible to avoid deciding whether to add an extra dollar or two onto a bill for products or in businesses people never previously associated with gratuities.

“I don’t call it a guilt trip, but a guilt tip,” said Thomas Farley, an etiquette expert and modern manners coach.

“With that big ‘no tip’ button staring us in the face, and you know two seconds later that screen is going to be spun back around to the person who just waited on you, suddenly we feel we’re being cheap if we don’t give any kind of a tip.”

What do you think of this premature tipping (or "guilt tip" as Farley in the above quote called it)?


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April 2018 T-Shirt Giveaway

The weather may not know it yet, but Spring is here - and soon (if it's not already), it'll be time T-shirt weather all the time. So let's celebrate with a neat Sci-Fi and Fantasy T-Shirt sale over at the NeatoShop. For a limited time, all Sci-Fi and Fantasy T-shirts get up to 20% off.

And because we love you, how about if we make this Sale extra fun with a T-shirt giveaway. Here's how to enter:

1. Visit the NeatoShop and take a look around to find your favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy designs.

2. In the comment below, tell us your favorite Sci-Fi T-shirt and your favorite Fantasy T-shirt, as well as the artists' names.

3. That's it! There's no step 3.

One entry per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified. We'll pick three winners at random. Each winner will win both of the shirts they selected.

The winners will be notified through our comment system below, so be sure to use a valid email address. (Did you win our previous giveaway but didn't claim the prize? Be sure to white list @neatorama.com so you won't miss the notification email) Good luck, everyone!


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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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Mayochup: Yay or Nay?

Sure, we already have Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing, but that won't stop Heinz from coming up with the Mayochup (or should it be Ketchonaise?).

So, Neatoramanauts, do you want this Mayochup?



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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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Super Cute Shiba Inu Latte Art


image: @peliman

Love Shiba Inu and coffee? Take a look at these wonderful Shiba latte art by Mr. R Drinks in Taipei, Taiwan. The mini Shiba Inu head is actually marshmallow, which floats in the drink and watch you with its serene smile as you slurp your coffee.


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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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Profile for Alex Santoso

  • Member Since 2012/07/17


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