Alex Santoso's Blog Posts

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Love is Love: Donkey and Emu Have Fallen in Love

A donkey and an emu have given a new spin to the phrase "love is love."

Rescued from an abandoned farm in South Carolina, the male donkey named "Jack" and the female emu named "Diane" are "in love," according to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

"They like to cuddle and even sleep together," Jennifer Gordon of the rescue told The Charlotte Observer.

Rescuers are also finding it hard to house the donkey and emu in separate pens, as both animals become extremely agitated at such attempts.

The donkey is jealous to the extent of attacking other donkeys who have gotten "too close" to the Emu in the pen.

Learn what fate awaits this love struck duo over at Live Science.

(Image: Carolina Waterfowl Rescue)

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How Many Fake Accounts Are There on Facebook? Here's a Clue: 1.5 Billion Fake Accounts Were Removed in Just the Past 6 Months

There's been a lot of news reports over fake news and Russian interference of the elections on social media. And surely you've heard that there's a lot of fake accounts on Facebook. But exactly how many is a lot?

Engadget summarizes Facebook's latest transparency report, covering the first half of 2018:

... at a high level Facebook says it removed over 1.5 billion fake accounts from April through September, up from the 1.3 billion accounts it removed in the previous six months. If you were wondering just how widespread false content and accounts are on the platform, wonder no more.
While Facebook is able to pull down more than 90 percent of instances of adult nudity and sexual activity, child nudity / sexual exploitation of children, fake accounts, spam, terrorist propaganda and violence and graphic content, there are two categories where its content moderation falls down. Facebook only found and removed 14.9 percent of bullying and harassment before users reported them; it also only found 51.6 percent of hate speech violations before users reported them (timeframe was July through September of this year).

Read the rest over at Engadget

(Image: own photo)

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"Human Spider" Climbed Another Skyscraper

Alain Robert pulled the stunt of climbing the 662 ft Heron Tower in London without any safety gear and was arrested once he reached the top. Due to alerting emergency services, he was sentenced and charged for his adventure:

The 56-year-old grandfather ... reached the top in around 45 minutes, to cheers from the crowd which had formed below, and immediately handed waiting police officers his passport and the number of his lawyer.
Before the stunt, Robert told Sky News his targets when climbing a building are "going to the top" and "to stay alive".
"When you are climbing, as I'm not using any safety devices, when life is at stake, I guarantee that you are focused," he said.

Read the rest of the story and view the nerve-wrecking video clip over at Sky News

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Creating Fireflies With LEDs in the Sumida River

For the inaugural Tokyo Hotaru Festival, 100,000 LED lights were placed in the Sumida River to resemble the fireflies that once inhabited it. Powered by 100% solar power, the beautiful display kicked off the summer festival.

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What Does a Baby Elephant Suck for Comfort?

Babies suck their thumbs, but what's a baby elephant to do? Why, it certainly has something that it can do for comfort ...

Image via u/Orangth

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The Toy Monkey that Escaped Nazi Germany, Then Led to the Discovery of a Long-Lost Family

This small, worn out toy monkey looks like an ordinary albeit well-loved toy, but it's nothing short of extraordinary. It escaped Nazi Germany, and 80 years later, helped a war-torn family come together.

The toy monkey belongs to Gert Berliner, who lived in Berlin in 1930s as a young boy. When the Nazis took control of the city and started rounding up Jewish men, Gert's parents managed to help him escape from Germany through an underground railroad operation:

In 1939, at the age of 14, he had to say goodbye to his parents, Paul and Sophie Berliner. He boarded the train in Berlin, bound for the city of Kalmar, on the Baltic Coast. He had a small bag and there wasn't much he could bring. But stashed away in his suitcase was the toy monkey, his talisman ...

Orphaned when his parents were murdered in Auschwitz, Gert thought that he had no family left. From that point on, wherever Gert went, the toy went with him. Eventually, it ended up in a museum in Berlin as a war memento.

And that's when the toy monkey changed Gert's life one more time ...

Read what happened next over in the story by Uri Berliner, Gert's son, over at NPR.

(Image: Jacobia Dahm/NPR)

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The King of Pop Was A Wannabe Spider-Man!

Michael Jackson, the king of Pop, took the meaning of Marvel fandom to a whole new level in the late 90s. This comic book fan wanted to play Spider-Man so badly that the only way he could think of making this happen was to attempt to buy Marvel.

Another source reveals that he was also vying for Professor X’s role in the X-Men series and even went to the auditions.

Meanwhile, Marvel legend, the late Stan Lee, who knew Michael Jackson at a personal level, confirmed that Michael Jackson did discuss with him the strong desire to play Spider-Man.

Maybe there was more to his song “She is going Hollywood” than we could realize. Hmmm ...

Learn why Jacko’s dream didn't materialize and what Stan Lee thought about his potential as a super hero over at this post by Stewart Perrie over at LADbible

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Frog Ladders Help Frogs Escape Roadside Drain Death Traps

In the U.K., over half a million amphibians get trapped in drains every year. A small group of British conservationists are saving the day!

“The amphibians are coming to breed and then hitting the road, getting across the roads, hitting the curb, along the curb and into the drains. And then that’s it - end of story for them, game over,” said Tim Jenkins, a ladder fitter at WART.
“By installing the amphibian ladders, it enables them to get back out of the drains and back to their breeding pools and doing what they should do and making more amphibians.”

Read the rest of the story over at Reuters

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Satanic Temple Sues Netflix for Depicting Its Baphomet Statue as a "Symbol of Evil"

The Satanic Temple was offended by The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina presenting their Baphomet statue as “the devil.” Now Netflix and Warner Brothers have a lawsuit on their hands:

Satan “is a literary figure symbolic of the eternal rebel in opposition, rather than the personalization of evil,” per the Temple. A key tenet of members and supporters of the Temple is that Satanists deserve as much protection and respect as followers of any religion.
The Temple “commissioned ... Baphomet ... to be a central part of its efforts to promote First Amendment values of separation of church and state and equal protection,” the complaint stated. “Defendants’ prominent use of this symbol ... associated with evil, cannibalism and murder blurs and tarnishes” the Temple’s Baphomet.

Read the rest over at HuffPost

Image: @LucienGreaves

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The Sand Mafia

There's sand everywhere - heck, there are whole deserts filled with sand - but in reality, the world is actually running out of construction grade sand.

As sand becomes a scarce resource, there's a rise in criminal enterprises that traffic in sand. Call them, the Sand Mafias:

“Sand mafias” are groups of criminals that illegally dredge sand from areas where extraction is prohibited. Since they’re not following laws, all environmental protocols are ignored. Often rivers are illegally mined, destroying the habitat for fish and fishermen. Sometimes land from private villages is even taken over by these mafias.

And like their Sicilian namesakes, Sand Mafias regularly resort to violence, and even murder:

This problem is particularly rampant in India. A number of murders have allegedly been committed by these sand mafias to keep journalists and agitators quiet. In a recent murder, journalist Sandeep Sharma was run over by a truck after he secretly filmed a police official agreeing to a bribe in exchange for allowing sand mining in a crocodile sanctuary. According to the editor of the local television channel where Sharma worked, he was denied police protection after receiving threats. The editor also told the Guardian that police confiscated Sharma’s camera with footage of the bribe agreement and never gave it back.

Read the rest over at this intriguing article by Erik Brown over at Medium

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When a Restaurant Asked Musicians to Play for Free, This Musician's Reply is Priceless

Appreciate people for their work or you may get a viral whooping. This musician’s

response to a Craig’s List ad looking for free musicians totally won the Internet over.

via boredpanda

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How NASA Fixed the Hubble Space Telescope: By Jiggling It!

When one of NASA's highly advanced equipment in space broke down not long ago which had been later repaired after a few weeks, sources reported that they succeeded by doing the "have you turned it on or off" approach.

But of course in real life, things aren't that simple. Turns out, NASA did not fix the Hubble Space Telescope by turning it on and off (if only it was that easy).

No, they actually had to jiggle it a bit:

On Oct. 18, the Hubble operations team commanded a series of spacecraft maneuvers, or turns, in opposite directions to attempt to clear any blockage that may have caused the float to be off-center and produce the exceedingly high rates. During each maneuver, the gyro was switched from high mode to low mode to dislodge any blockage that may have accumulated around the float.

Hubble Operations Project Manager Patrick Crouse told The Washington Post:

“At a high level, if people want to call it jiggling around, I suppose they can,” he said. “But we were trying to do very particular activities we thought would clear the problem. It certainly wasn’t as simple as turning it off and turning it back on.”

(Image: NASA)

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These Are The Only Four Surviving Original Manuscripts of Poetry in Old English

For having given birth to the modern English language, you would think that Old English - the now defunct language spoken in medieval Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers - would have a lot of surviving written records.

But in case of original manuscripts of poetry in Old English, there are only four surviving books. Four. That's it.

Josephine Livingstone wrote this interesting article over at The New Republic about them:

They are: the Vercelli Book, which contains six poems, including the hallucinatory “Dream of the Rood”; the Junius Manuscript, which comprises four long religious poems; the Exeter Book, crammed with riddles and elegies; and the Beowulf Manuscript, whose name says it all. There is no way of knowing how many more poetic codices (the special term for these books) might have existed once upon a time, but have since been destroyed.
... the main attraction lay in a quiet little vitrine: all four Old English poetic codices, side by side. They don’t look that impressive to the casual eye. The exhibition room is dark and cold, to keep the books safe from damage. The manuscripts are brown, small, almost self-effacing. There’s no outward sign of how important they are, how unprecedented their meeting.

What makes these four books so special? Read the full article to find out.

Image: British Library Board

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Love Letters from the Battlefields of World War II

Some of the most touching love stories are those that blossom through deep struggles and extreme situations like war.

Harley Rustad of The Walrus learned of one such love stories when his mother handed him a worn box, torn at the edges, containing dozens of envelopes, tied with yellowed string in small bundles.

The letters were love letters, sent by Rustad's grandfather, who wrote to the love of his life from the battlefields of the Second World War:

The Canadian soldier, Harry Mac­donald, my grandfather, had sent Jacquelyn Robinson dozens of letters, spanning several years—letters written in spidery cursive by candlelight as rain ­pounded down on corrugated rooftops or amid the blasts of nearby shelling. His letters were often rushed or cut short, with some started and finished with hours or even days in between. He ­frequently apologized for his messy handwriting, hoping his words would be legible. One letter, sent five days before, written in haste, contained a question for which he anxiously awaited a reply. The letter had begun with a familiar two words, “Dear Jacquie,” and ended with a ­question: “Will you marry me?”
He signed the bottom of the page, folded the sheet, and slipped it into an envelope and carefully wrote a Vancouver address. Now he waited, not knowing what would come first: death or a reply.

Read the rest of the fascinating story over at The Walrus.

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All of Stan Lee's Cameos

As you know, Stan Lee passed away. To celebrate his life, let's watch this neat YouTube clip: Every Stan Lee Cameo Ever.

RIP Stan Lee 1922-2018

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Sadness Circuit Found in Human Brain

Ever wonder if there was some kind of switch in your brain that would cause you to feel sad or emotional? Well, researchers think that there may be a part of your brain greatly connected to having the blues.

Scientists may have caught a glimpse of what sadness looks like in the brain.
A study of 21 people found that for most, feeling down was associated with greater communication between brain areas involved in emotion and memory, a team from the University of California, San Francisco reported Thursday in the journal Cell.
"There was one network that over and over would tell us whether they were feeling happy or sad," says Vikaas Sohal, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF.
With this discovery, it may be possible for scientists to better understand mood disorders and hopefully, find a more direct treatment that could ease their condition.

Read more over at NPR | The original research paper over at Cell

Image: Andrew Mason/Flickr

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Dutch Prisons are Being Converted into Hotels and Apartments Due to Lack of Prisoners

How would you like to stay for a night or two in a Dutch prison? No, not as a criminal, but as a guest. Recently, the Netherlands has been converting some of their prisons into hotels and apartments because they are struggling to fill them.

It doesn't mean that their law enforcement authorities are not doing their job effectively. It's just that their approach to resolving crime focus more on rehabilitation than incarceration.

“The Dutch have a deeply ingrained pragmatism when it comes to regulating law and order,” René van Swaaningen, a professor of criminology at Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam told The New York Times. “Prisons are very expensive. Unlike the United States, where people tend to focus on the moral arguments for imprisonment, the Netherlands is more focused on what works and what is effective.”

Read the rest over at Amusing Planet

Image: Het Arresthuis

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Why You Should Be More Scared of Netflix

Streaming has become the trend nowadays and Netflix takes a big chunk out of that market. Not only does it give you the best blockbusters on-demand, but it even creates its own content that would suit a variety of tastes and preferences in the market. And it only costs less than $20 a month!

But there's something that we need to worry about when it comes to this entertainment giant ...

Todd Van Luling wrote this intriguing article over at HuffPo Life:

Just because individual users don’t share so-called fake news or problematic content on Netflix as they do on other platforms, that doesn’t mean Netflix isn’t offering what can also be considered “fake news” and problematic content.
Look at the myriad documentaries and docuseries Netflix adds every month, many of which make dubious claims that wouldn’t withstand scrutiny from a fact-checker. (Often, Netflix will deem new documentaries and docuseries as Originals even if it didn’t have a major role in their creation, essentially putting its stamp of approval and ownership on these dubious pieces of journalism.)
Last year, The Ringer examined the various conspiracy documentaries Netflix and its competitors hosted, including multiple films that argued 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government. (Netflix has since removed the most troubling examples.) Earlier this year, Slate had a follow-up that examined the less overtly insidious conspiracies Netflix has peddled, such as those involving aliens and the pyramids or powerful cults that rule the world. Many of these documentaries can still be found on the service.

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Stephen King's "The Shining" Takes Inspiration from This Eerie 100-Year-Old Hotel

The Shining is probably one of the scariest horror films in history but its origins actually take inspiration from the 105-year-old Stanley Hotel in Colorado. The author, Stephen King and his wife, apparently stayed there for a night to see whether it was truly haunted.

According to the staff, the Kings arrived a day before the hotel was set to close for winter, and that night, they were its only guests. King wandered the maze-like hallways, drank at the bar and stayed in room 217 (Kubrick changed the room number to 237 for the film).
Now, 37 years after the publishing of that book, the Stanley fully embraces its "Shining" reputation.
The 160 guest rooms come equipped with an uncut version of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 big-screen adaptation of "The Shining" on continuous loop on channel 42.

Read the rest of the article by Darian Lusk over at CBS News

Photo: Miguel Vieira from Walnut Creek, CA, USA - Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Uploaded by xnatedawgx, CC BY 2.0/Wikipedia

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The King of the Netherlands Has Been Secretly Flying as Co-pilot for 21 Years

The chances that you would fly in the same plane with a celebrity may seem to be quite slim seeing that most of them would probably fly on private planes or business class so you won't be able to have a personal encounter with them.

Moreover, these people would usually have guards around them to provide security so the chances get slimmer and slimmer that you would be able to get close.

But what if, you find yourself on the plane with royalty. Not just that, but they are actually serving as the co-pilot who is flying you to your destination.

Recently, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander revealed that he has been serving as co-pilot twice a month for the past 21 years, flying commercial passengers incognito. Though it is known that he had been a "guest pilot" before ascending the throne, what was unknown until now was that he often flew as king with KLM Captain Maarten Putman:

Willem-Alexander once said that if he had not been born in a palace, his dream would have been to fly a big passenger plane such as a Boeing 747, so it is no surprise that he intends to retrain for the updated plane.
He told De Telegraaf that he never used his name when addressing passengers and was rarely recognised in uniform and wearing his KLM cap. However, he admitted that some passengers had recognised his voice.
"The advantage is that I can always say that I warmly welcome passengers on behalf of the captain and crew," he said. "Then I don't have to give my name."

Read the full story over at the BBC.

(Photo: Natascha Libbert/@KLM)

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Eric Chien Wins 2018 World Championships of Magic with This Mind-Blowing "Ribbon" Magic Trick

But how ?!

Watch how young magician Eric Chien performs his magic trick "Ribbon," which won him the 2018 World Championships of Magic, as organized by FISM or the International Federation of Magic Societies.

via Twisted Sifter

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Every Item 99 Cents and Up Or Less

Technically, anything you can buy in any store in the world fits that description, right?

Spotted by u/shroderrr

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Giant Spiders Made of Light

As part of this year's Amsterdam Light Festival (previously on Neatorama), French artist collective Groupe LAPS created a light illusion of a giant spider on a bridge.

The giant spider is actually made from 80 individual spiders, and light effects give the illusion that the spiders are crawling over each other.

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Granpa Takes Pokemon Go to the Next Level with His Homemade Rig that Holds 11 Phones

You might consider yourself an expert Pokemon Go player, but you're nothing compared to Chen San-yuan.

Chen, a 70-year-old grandfather from Taiwan, became famous when people began noticing him around town with a special rig on his bicycle that let him play Pokemon Go with multiple phones.

Now, a new photo has emerged showing Chen with 11 phones attached to a body rig, instead of a bicycle. He even carries a portable charging station in a small bag so he won't run out of juice while chasing rare Pokemons!

via Motherboard and The Verge

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This Scene from Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke was Drawn by Hand and Took Almost Two Years to Finish

Fans of Japanese anime classic Princess Mononoke would recognize the scene at the beginning of the movie, where a monster called Tatarigami appeared.

The animation is remarkably fluid - so much so that most people would assume it's CG (or computer generated). But @hitasuraeiga explained:

“The leading scene in Princess Mononoke where Tatarigami appears isn’t CG; it’s drawn by hand. The part where the snakes move sluggishly was so difficult that–even though the scene is only a couple of minutes long–it took one year and seven months to finish! It apparently took a total of 5,300 drawings. One of the artists explained, ‘It gradually got so confusing to draw that it ended up bogging us down.'”

via SoraNews24

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How Do You Take a Sonogram on a Swimming Whale Shark?

Answer: with a jetpack, of course!

Little is known about the reproductive health of whale sharks, said Dr. Simon Pierce of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, "Whale shark breeding is a mystery. Only one pregnant shark has been physically examined so far, back in 1995 in Taiwan."

So when divers spotted a huge female whale shark in the waters north of Galapagos, a team of researchers hurried on over there to see if they could take an ultrasound image of its organs.

But how do you perform an ultrasound scan underwater?

The team conducted scans using a 17 kg ultrasound system in a waterproofed case. Whale sharks have tough protective skin, more than 20 cm thick on some individuals, so the 30 cm penetration of the ultrasound waves proved a challenge – not to mention the difficulty of carefully checking the whole belly area of a gigantic shark while it is swimming. Dr Matsumoto had to use a propellor system mounted on his air-tank to keep up with the sharks.
“We use some interesting technology anyway, but working with the Okinawa team was something else”, commented Dr Pierce. “I felt cool by association. We saw dive groups a couple of times at the site, and I can only imagine what they thought – why is that guy diving with a briefcase? And a jetpack?”

Read the rest over at Marine Megafauna Foundation

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15 T-Shirts for STEM Day

I Love Stem by happinessinatee

Today, November 8, is the National STEM Day.

To help you celebrate all things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), take a look at 15 of NeatoShop's neatest STEM inspired T-shirts. Click on the images to view them.

See More: Science T-Shirts | Math T-Shirts

The Good Thing About Science by kgullholmen

Learn About Gravity by Steven Rhodes

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Those High Tech Self-Driving Cars Are Actually Taught by Poor Kenyans

Quick: think of a place you'd associate with self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.

Chances are, you'd think of Silicon Valley and not Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya (actually, the largest slum in all of Africa).

But the poor Kenyans from Kibera actually play an important role in teaching self-driving cars how to drive by providing "training data" that computers can understand.

Dave Lee of the BBC reports:

Each day, Brenda leaves her home here to catch a bus to the east side of Nairobi where she, along with more than 1,000 colleagues in the same building, work hard on a side of artificial intelligence we hear little about - and see even less.
In her eight-hour shift, she creates training data. Information - images, most often - prepared in a way that computers can understand.
Brenda loads up an image, and then uses the mouse to trace around just about everything. People, cars, road signs, lane markings - even the sky, specifying whether it's cloudy or bright. Ingesting millions of these images into an artificial intelligence system means a self-driving car, to use one example, can begin to "recognise" those objects in the real world. The more data, the supposedly smarter the machine.

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Artist Covered Entire Kitchen in Millions of Glass Beads

Artist Liza Lou spent five years covering a life-size replica of a kitchen with millions of tiny glass beads.

Every surface, from the overflowing sink to the bag of potato chip and cereal boxes, are covered with the colorful glass beads.

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The Only Man in American History to Become a Pair of Shoes After His Death

Meet George Parrott, AKA "Big Nose George," an outlaw in Wyoming who was hanged by an angry mob in 1881 for attempted train robbery. As Parrott had no family to claim his corpse, a doctor named John Eugene Osborn took it as part of a study of the brains of criminals.

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Profile for Alex Santoso

  • Member Since 2012/07/17


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