Watch this sponge-like concrete soak up 4,000 liters of water in one minute.

Now this is some cool concrete.

When it rains, it pours. And for people who live in flood-prone regions, that's a problem.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


Flooding, unfortunately, is not going away. In fact, in many areas, it's only getting worse.

(Thaaaaanks, climate change.)

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.

"While no single storm or flood can be attributed directly to global warming," the National Wildlife Federation notes, "changing climate conditions are at least partly responsible" for increasing bad weather — a reality that's burdening poor regions of the earth more so than developed ones.

And it doesn't help that more people are moving into cities. Global urbanization is transforming once perfectly permeable landscapes into concrete jungles where water can't drain into the earth. This can make for a flooding nightmare.

That's one reason this innovative concrete is so damn cool.

All GIFs via Tarmac.

It can soak up 4,000 liters of water in about one minute.

Seriously. 4,000 liters of water ... in just one minute.

Magic? Nah, just science.

It's called Topmix Permeable, it's created by U.K.-based company Tarmac, and it's fantastic. Empty space between concrete particles allows water to drain through its surface freely, emptying into permeable layers and the soil below. Unlike standard concrete, Topmix Permeable acts as a reservoir during downpours, storing water below its surface.

This could allow for concrete jungles to become spongier concrete jungles.

The concrete, however, is not without a few caveats. Because it can store water, it can't be installed in cold climates, where that water would routinely freeze and wreck the concrete. And while Topmix Permeable works great for low-trafficked areas with relatively light loads — think parking lots, residential streets, sidewalks, and bike paths — it would not hold up on, say, a busy expressway.

Still, its permeable ways could make a big difference in warm, urban areas that see a lot of rainfall.

This concrete could be a literal lifesaver one day.

Tarmac hopes its concrete will help cities reduce fatalities and injuries due to flash flooding, as excess surface water on streets and sidewalks can be dangerous, Business Insider Australia reported. Less surface water means less slippage, and that could mean fewer tragedies.

In the meantime, though, it's just a whole lot of fun to watch in action.

Watch Topmix Permeable do its work below:

Heroes

Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

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via SNL / YouTube

Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

He's played memorable roles in "Annie Hall," "Pulp Fiction," "Wedding Crashers," "Batman Returns," and countless other films. He's also starred in Shakespeare on the stage and began his career as a dancer.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

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