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Heroes

See the historic launch and landing of the first rocket to return from orbit in 1 piece.

Rocket science is alive and as awesome as ever.

If you've been dying for some rad space news since NASA completed its last space shuttle mission in 2011, it's finally here.


Photo by SpaceX/Flickr.

SpaceX made history on Dec. 21, launching the first rocket to reach orbit and touch back down on Earth in one piece.

Photo by SpaceX/Flickr.

Once in orbit, the SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a payload of 11 satellites for communications firm Orbcomm.

GIF from SpaceX via ShantiUniverse/YouTube.

Reaching orbit and dropping off the luggage was the easy part. The landing is what scientists were most worried about.

SpaceX needed a pick-me-up this year after two failed attempts to land Falcon 9 rockets after making their orbital deliveries.

The first one exploded on impact at the platform.

The second one was little clumsy on the landing and tipped over into the ocean before also exploding into a scatter of pricey debris.

But the third time was the charm. The mission was flawless from start to finish.

Onlookers were ecstatic as the flares dimmed and smoke cleared to reveal the standing rocket, especially at mission control.

GIF from SpaceX via ShantiUniverse/YouTube.

And SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was obviously in a great mood.

The success of this mission has huge implications for the future of space exploration.

Launching rockets hasn't exactly been the most efficient endeavor. Right now, most rockets are one and done.

They use expendable launch systems — boosters break away from the rocket to lighten its load once their propulsion stages are complete, "falling back to Earth as expensive junk," wrote The New York Times.

Explosion at launch? Better luck next time. Successful launch? Great! But you're still going to have a build a new rocket because that one is hereby a museum piece.

Reusable rocket boosters can significantly reduce the costs of future space exploration missions.

Not only would they make it cheaper to send satellites into orbit, cargo shipments to the International Space Station, or rovers to other planetary bodies, but they can also open a whole new market for commercial space travel.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

According to Musk:

"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space."

"A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before" — until now, that is. And Musk has an ambitious vision for how this victory of rocket science can one day serve humanity.

Eventually, he hopes it can create opportunities for human settlements on Mars.

Like the debut of single-celled organisms, the emergence of multi-celled plants and animals, and the development of human consciousness, Musk sees the prospect of multi-planetary life as an important evolutionary milestone.

If (or when) that day comes, let's just hope humans have evolved to better appreciate how precious the worlds we inhabit really are.

Watch the historic Dec. 21, 2015, launch and landing of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket booster:

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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