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Heroes

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' was re-created with bacteria. It's as cool as it sounds.

What do the Chicago skyline, a cat, a subway map, a Van Gogh, and a skull all have in common?

They've all been re-created into beautiful masterpieces using... bacteria.


BOOM is right. And BOOM is bacteria, too.

The American Society for Microbiology held its first-ever Agar Art contest last year, challenging microbiologists to mix science with art.

Their main rule: to use microbes as the paint and agar (a jelly-like substance) as the canvas.

Let's just say I'm glad I wasn't a judge — it would have been a tough call. After 85 submissions came rolling in, it's evident that science and art can overlap in a very special way.

Here are the top three winners:

1. Neurons

Submitted by Mehmet Berkmen of New England Biolabs, with artist Maria Penil.

2. NYC Biome Map

Submitted by Christine Marizzi, an educator at a community lab. This art piece was created as a collaboration between citizen scientists and artists at Genspace: New York City's Community Biolab.

A subway map! Ahh. I love this description of it:

"Microorganisms reside everywhere, yet they are too small to be seen with the human eye. New York City is a melting pot of cultures - both human and microbial - and every citizen has a personalized microbiome. Collectively, we shape NYC's microbiome by our lifestyle choices, and this unseen microbial world significantly impacts us."

3. Harvest Season

Created by Maria Eugenia Inda, a postdoctoral researcher from Argentina working at Cold Spring Harbor Labs.

People's Choice Winner: Cell to Cell

It had the most Facebook Likes! Created by the group that won first place, Mehmet Berkmen with artist Maria Penil.

When the idea of bacteria goes from "ew" to "interesting!" ... that's awesome.

Bacteria is so normal and EVERYWHERE (you're entirely covered with it, sorry), but it's still often seen as such an icky thing. This is one way to show it in a different light and have a lot of fun doing so.

There were many submissions that didn't win the art contest but are still a sight to behold — like this version of Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Whaaat!


Here on Facebook.

Or this butterfly that almost looks real.

Here on Facebook.

And then there's St. Louis. Hey there, St. Louis.

Here on Facebook.

Looks like it was picture day for one petri dish.

Here on Facebook.

What a cool competition and a way to show that science and art don't have to be seen as opposites.

Left-brained, right-brained, whatever. We tend to box ourselves in to thinking we're only good at certain things. But ... says who? Just go for it.

You can see the rest of the amazing submissions on Facebook. Feel free to share them too! They worked hard, guys.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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