Blog Posts by Melissa Knowles

  • Chinese Astronaut Becomes New Social Media Darling

    Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield made quite a name for himself while he was a commander on board the International Space Station by releasing fun and informative videos of how everyday activities are carried out in space. Hadfield is perhaps best known for his music-video remake of his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." He took his expeditions seriously but also made it a point to reach out the masses via social media and educate us non-space travelers.

    There's a new superstar in outer space. Meet Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping. She and two other astronauts are currently on board the Chinese space lab Tiangong 1.

    Just yesterday, Wang taught a science class for the enjoyment of 60 million Chinese schoolchildren. Just as Hadfield did, Wang got in touch with her audience via social media. Her lecture contained awe-inspiring examples of what makes physics in space so interesting.

    Users of the Chinese service Weibo, which is a lot like Twitter, became enamored with Wang. Users

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  • JetBlue Helps Arrange Perfect Proposal at 30,000 Feet

    What do a smitten boyfriend, an engagement ring, and a super-accommodating airline have in common? They all worked together to pull off the ultimate wedding proposal for one very lucky girl.

    Adam, from San Francisco, asked JetBlue Airlines to play a proposal video for his girlfriend, Taryn, during their flight together to Long Beach, California. The airline was happy to oblige the young man. They even kicked it up a notch by playing the video simultaneously on all 150 TVs on the plane.

    In the video, Adam details how he first met Taryn when she was a hostess at a P.F. Chang's restaurant and he was a server there. He says that at first they did not get along, because Taryn thought he was arrogant. He later persuaded her to go to his birthday celebration and then to the lake. Finally, he asked her out on a first date. That was all in 2008. As the video continues, a montage of pictures from their five years together plays. Then these words appear: "You are the girl I think about. You are

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  • Ready, Set, Go! How to Fold a Shirt in Under Two Seconds

    One of my favorite scents is that of fresh laundry wafting through the house. Sure, you can buy it in a candle, in its artificial form with names such as "clean linen" or "fresh laundry"—but there's really nothing that can replace the smell of freshly laundered garments and towels.

    Obviously, the only way to get the most authentic smell is to actually do laundry, which I do not mind doing. In fact, I'm pretty good at it. I'm even pretty good at doing the necessary activity of folding once the laundry is done, thanks to my years of working retail during college. I'm no Martha Stewart prodigy or anything, but even Ms. Stewart ain't got nothing on Dave Hax when it comes to shirt folding.

    Hax is a YouTube how-to expert who has come up with the perfect tutorial for speeding up the sometimes-tedious activity of folding shirts. If you take his advice in "How to Fold a Shirt In Under 2 Seconds" and follow the steps to a T,' you, too, can fold a shirt in under 2 seconds.

    The technique Hax uses

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  • Man Becomes Impromptu Matador Against Escaped Bull

    Seriously. We could not make this stuff up even if we wanted to. A wild bull got loose in Malaga, Spain, caused all kinds of panic, and created quite the chaotic scene. The 440-pound bull escaped from a truck onto a busy street. That's when the street became an impromptu arena, except there was no bullfighting. For more than an hour, the bull was ramming into cars, perhaps in frustration and confusion. That's when a passer-by jumped in to take a video of the action.

    A man who happened to be wearing a red T-shirt (matadors use a red cape; could this be a coincidence?) is charged by the bull. The man tries to tackle the animal to the ground as other men rush in to help him subdue the bull. The man was able to hold the bull in a headlock until the national police arrived. Once the police were on the scene, they secured the bull's legs with rope. One officer was injured and four cars sustained some damage during the ordeal.

    The entire scene unfolded Monday morning. No further information

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  • What Does 1-Billion-Year-Old Water Taste Like?

    It's summer, and as much as I love the sunshine, I am doing my best to stay hydrated. Besides central air conditioning, a cool glass of water is my seasonal BFF. A newly discovered water source is making me appreciate those glasses of water in a whole new way.

    A mile and a half below the Earth's surface, in a zinc and copper mine in Canada, are pockets of water that have been trapped, unchanged for at least 1 billion and perhaps even 2.6 billion years without being touched.

    Even though the prospect was not at all appetizing, scientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar gave the water a taste. What did she think about the ancient H2O? She said, "It tastes terrible. What jumps out at you first is the saltiness. ... It has the consistency of a very light maple syrup. It doesn’t have color when it comes out, but as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen, it turns an orangy color because the minerals in it begin to form." Lollar also said that it was way saltier than seawater.

    She said that the

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  • Baggage Handler’s Bad Behavior Goes Viral

    Nearly everyone has done it. You've gone to the airport, and either intentionally or due to lack of space, checked your rollaboard luggage. You get lucky enough to get a window seat. You settle in, because you're ready to sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. Just then, you glance out of said window, and notice a baggage handler being deliberate and careless with the bags, as he tosses them onto the moving conveyer belt. It's horrifying, and there's not a whole lot that you can do about it.

    Mark Brigman had something very similar happen to him while traveling on a China Air plane while at Guangzhou Airport. Brigman caught a freight handler doing a not-so-great job of loading boxes onto a plane. In fact, he is throwing the boxes so carelessly, that some of them are not landing right-side-up, and are instead taking a tumble off of the conveyor belt, and landing on the ground, several feet below.

    The original video was uploaded to YouTube almost a year ago, but it has taken this long for

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  • Tweens Heavy Metal Band’s Sound Will Blow Your Mind

    True talent is easy to spot. Some call it the "it" factor, and some people are simply born with it. That could not be more true for the trio behind the metal band Unlocking the Truth. The three young men from Brooklyn, New York, 11-year-old Jarad Dawkins, 12-year-old Malcom Brickhouse, and 12-year-old Alec Atkins, are skyrocketing to fame for their savvy musical skills. Jarad and Malcom met at a birthday party when they were 4 years old, and they've been making music together ever since.

    The trio started out playing on the streets of New York City. Those street performances caught the attention of Questlove, who tweeted one of their small venue gigs, which helped boost them to stardom. They recently performed on the show "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell."

    Talk about talent — and they can perform in front of a live audience on national television without breaking a sweat. They say they write songs about things in their lives, school and relationships they've dealt with. These young

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  • Newlyweds Perform Incredible Choreographed Dance Routine

    The list of things to do for an engaged couple planning their upcoming nuptials can feel overwhelming. From the venue to the flowers to the time of day and even the type of cake to be served, the choices for customizing your wedding and making it all your own are seemingly endless.

    Among the beloved elements of a wedding that couples now look forward to planning is the first dance at the reception. It used to be that a couple would choose one somewhat slow-paced or romantic song, hold each other close, and dance as the wedding guests watched. Now, some couples are taking that tradition and turning it on its head.

    Bye bye, slow music. Hello, '90s jams and choreographed routines.

    Take a look at what Dominique Morisseau and Jimmy Keys did at their wedding reception recently. As their guests watched in delight, Morisseau and Keys performed an upbeat choreographed routine of songs that span three decades. The two had their wedding reception at Detroit's Charles H. Wright's Museum of African

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  • Teachers Turn the Tables, Prank Students as Going-Away Gift

    The anthem of the summer is playing loudly somewhere. If you listen closely, you can hear it, too: "School's out for summer!" Most school-age kids are rejoicing at the thought of summer break — not having to prepare for any tests, or get up early to go to class, or figure out which perfect outfit to wear. For at least the next couple of months, it's all about leisure.

    But wait — not so fast! Before they go on that summer vacation, a lot of students attempt to pull a prank that the rest of the student body will remember them by. The teachers are usually on the receiving end of such pranks. Usually.

    One group of teachers decided to turn the prank idea on its head by playing a joke on their students. Teachers at Honiton Community College, a secondary school in the U.K., wanted to have some fun. Students in the video thought they were giving advice to incoming students; little did they know that their teachers were up to all sorts of crazy antics in the background — from dancing to kissing

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  • New Study Uses GPS Tracking to Reveal the Secret Life of Cats

    If you're a cat owner, you know that your cat has a personality all his own. That's part of the charm of having a cat. Admit it: You've often wondered what your furry feline is up to all day when you're not at home.

    A new BBC production is showing cat fans what goes on when humans are not around. The maker of "The Secret Life of the Cat" outfitted 50 cats with collars with high-sensitivity GPS devices and miniature "cat cams" to record their every move. Cameras captured events like 7-year-old Claude, sneaking out in the middle of the night to a neighbor's house where fellow cat Rosie lives. Claude makes his way into the house through the cat flap to steal food. He is literally a cat burglar. Claude's owner, Henrietta Mulnier, was completely unaware of his behavior. Mulnier said with a laugh, "I've always wondered why he never seemed to lose weight even when I put him on a diet."

    Apparently, Claude's clandestine thievery is a relatively common practice among domesticated cats. Alan

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