Artificial soil from lava rock can help to grow food in space

A new research has looked in to the chances of how plants respond to low levels of gravity and a particular hormone that can help the plants to grow in the challenging conditions of space. The research has succeeded in growing plants in high-tech planters that make use of artificial soil that is made from lava rock. The focus of the research is to find a way for plants to grow directly in water and the nutrients supplied through water instead of the soil.

Since there is a short of soil in the space it is important to find a way to get nutrients to the plants without relying on earth. A team at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space which is a part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Social research department (NTNU), has collaborated with the researchers from France and Italy to find new ways to grow and cultivate plant-based foods in space. The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space has been testing the high-tech planters that are made by the NTNU’s technical workshop.

The planter helps to regulate water, nutrients, gas, and air that the plants require. The tests are conducted in the climate-regulated chambers in Netherlands, where the team has been investigating how the plants use nitrogen in particular and how the levels of nutrients that are available affect the amount of water that the plants consume. Silje Wolff, a plant physiologist at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space had explained, “We found that plants can, in a way, ‘smell’ the amount of nutrients available to them”.

Wolff added that when the nitrogen concentration is too low the plant will absorb more water and thus more nitrogen until it reaches an optimal level. The plant also has a mechanism that turns on when the nitrogen level is adequate. It then adjusts the nitrogen as well as water absorption down.

Photo Credits: Digital Trends

Some not-so-ordinary facts you don’t know about Vladimir Putin

Think you know your international politics? Maybe you’re more familiar with those topics that were once taught to you in school, like the First and Second World Wars, or more recently, the US Presidential elections. Today, one of the most prominent political figures in the world has to be Vladimir Putin. The President of Russia, now in his third term, a man who was responsible for bringing his country out of severe economic depression and making it a substantial player on the world political stage.

More recently, he was in the news for allegedly ordering a smear campaign against then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, instead siding with Donald Trump.Who is this man? And what makes him such a force to reckon with? Here are some ordinary and maybe not-so-ordinary facts about Vladimir Putin –

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on October 7, 1952 in a communal apartment block in what is now St. Petersburg. The Putins stayed on the fifth floor of the complex. Before Vladimir’s birth, the death of his two elder brothers, one still in infancy and the other due to diphtheria caused his mother a lot of heartache.

Once upon a time, Vladimir Putin was actually married. He and Lyudmila Putina tied the knot in 1983 and were together for over 30 years. They divorced back in 2014. They have two daughters together, Maria Putin and Katerina Tikhonova, an acrobatic dancer.

Putin was named TIME Person of the Year. His mugshot was on the cover of the magazine, shot by renowned photographer Platon. That image of Putin went on to win the World Press Photo of 2008. Legend has it that the Platon was so enamoured by Putin, that he spent over $2000 calling up his acquaintances and boasting about his experience!

At the age of 11, a young Vladimir Putin began training in judo, much to his mother’s chagrin. He went on to earn his eight black belt in 2014.

Putin is actually an avid animal lover. He held a nation-wide competition to name one of his dogs, and settled on Buffy. His Akita Inu he named Yume. His admirers have gifted him a number of animals, including a Siberian tiger, a dwarf horse and a goat.

The Russian President is one for adventure sports. While he is not ruling the country, he is out in the wilderness swimming, riding horses, hiking and keeping himself fit in nature.

Putin was once a part of the KGB, the Russian Secret Service. He even rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

His paternal grandfather, Spiridon Putin, once worked as a chef in the house of Lenin, and even in the house of Stalin. He was also a great influence in Putin’s life.

Apart from being fluent in Russian (obviously), he is also well versed with German. When Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel visited his country, he acted as her translator. However, Putin isn’t that great with English, though he learnt bits and pieces during his time with the KGB.

Putin never cared for religion, and considered himself an atheist during his younger days. But then after his wife met with an automobile accident, and there was a fire in his house, he turned his sights on God. Now, he is a devout follower of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Thanks to his love for all things sports, he managed to convince F1 boss Ecclestone to bring F1 racing to Russia.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Disgusting Delicacies People Eat In The Far East

If you thought eating soggy fries and cold pizza was unappetizing, then you are in for a shock when you read about this super-fresh (and sometimes so fresh that they’re actually alive) dishes that our fellow human beings relish in different parts of the Far East. Though it is important to respect foreign cultures and not judge, we can’t help but judge and feel extremely squeamish when we come across these disgusting delicacies people eat in the Far East. Be warned.


There are those who are against abortions, because the entire process is considered painful. But there are stories and images that have emerged of the Chinese who feast on human foetuses for health and sexual improvement. The dish isn’t easy to come by (obviously), and the preparation for it is just as painstaking. The unborn infant is stewed for hours on end in special herbal formulations along with chicken and voila! You got yourself some baby soup. Yes, yes, look away.

Monkey Brain

We aren’t referring to the psychological term of a wandering mind. This is an actual delicacy that involves the eating of the brain of the monkey while it is still alive. Quickly, here’s the process before we ourselves wretch up our lunch – tie monkey to table – knock monkey’s head till skull cracks open – pull out live brain – savor the feast while the little primate screams in anguish for a quick death. We’re sorry.

Ying Yang Fish

Recently a video surfaced of what looked like a live frog’s head and the body being chopped up and eaten right then and there. The same goes for this Taiwanese specialty, where the fish is pulled out of water and made to swim in boiling oil. It is then placed on a plate for serving, while the fish is slowly being cooked to death. Bet you won’t be eating anything close to something fishy for a while, right?!


This dish has, in fact, reached all the way to the Land O’ The Free – North America. It’s inhumane to say the least (but after what you just read, your tastebuds might be numb anyways). A half-growing baby duck is consumed from the shell. When you crack the duck egg, what you find is partial egg – partial duck beak and body. It is an infamous aphrodisiac and customers are actually in awe of how the egg is fit for consumption at just the right time. Disgusting.


Sushi is relished all over the world. Fresh raw fish and pungent dips are part of the Japanese thoroughfare. There is also the beloved little pufferfish, similar to the one we saw in Finding Nemo. However, it is terribly toxic, with an almost instant death if consumed incorrectly. There is only a small part of the fish that is safe for human consumption. Only super trained chefs and highly scrutinized restaurants with permits can serve this deadly sushi. Eat at your own risk.

Snake Heart

Anthony Bordain tried this dish and nearly gave up before he even started. Live cobras are grabbed from their cages and their hearts are literally cut out in front of the customer. Still beating, still alive, still gasping – the cobra heart is to be immediately swallowed, straight down the throat, beating all the way down to the stomach. You may then consume a strong bit of alcohol to forget the terrible experience altogether.

Shark Fin Soup

This is plain torture and whoever came up with this dish should have their feet bound with a rock and sent to the bottom of the ocean to die, much like the creatures they torture for their pleasure. As the name suggests, shark fin soup, probably one of the most expensive and famous delicacies to come out of the Far East, is made by cutting the fin of a shark and serving it in soup form. The rest of the shark is then sent back to the ocean, to sink to a slow, helpless death.

Fish Sperm

Fish and sperm are generally known to be salty, so we’ve heard. And combining the two is apparently a savored dish as well. Cod sperm is either served raw and fresh or stewed or fried, much like sweetbreads. Maybe if you didn’t know what you were putting in your mouth, it would be alright. But if you did, would you actually swallow it?!

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Top Torture Methods That Make Brutal History

If you think that Guantanamo is hell on earth for criminals who are locked up for heinous crimes, you may swallow your words when you find out how those accused of committing a wrongful deed and asserted by the ruler came to meet their end. In short, inhumane is the word of the day. From maiming to boiling the perpetrator alive, there are the most shockingly creative ways that justice was apparently served. You will be glad to be living in modern times where being thrown in a jail with a tub of petroleum jelly is the most scary part of serving your sentence.

Here are the Top Torture Methods That Make Brutal History:

Judas Cradle

Judas Cradle Torture Device

Judas Cradle

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Sounds like a metal band, no? Well, this is no Iron Maiden, this is a medieval torture device known as the Judas Cradle. The victim was tied by the hands and legs and made to dangle above the pyramid-like structure. As the person fell asleep and his/her body began to relax, the tip would poke the genital area. This device was used for those who were accused of being against the Catholic church or following paganism. You wouldn’t get impaled altogether, but the slow force of the pyramid head would hurt the gentle human parts.

Rat Torture

Rat Torture Device

Rat Torture

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Game Of Thrones fans would be familiar with the scene where Arya Stark, Gendry and Podrick are locked up in Harrenhall and where she is picked up by Tywin Lannister to be her cup bearer, but not before she witnesses random prisoners being picked up for torture. One of the methods was the infamous rat torture. The person was made to sit with a bucket of rats tied to his/her stomach. The end of the bucket was slowly heated and the scurrying rats would literally gnaw their way out of the scalding bucket through the person’s abdomen, resulting in a scary death of torn guts.

Brazen Bull

Brazen Bull Torture Device

Brazen Bull

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Another horrifying and slow death was meted out through the Brazen Bull. As the name suggests, a hollow carved brass bull was placed over a fire and the victim shoved inside. As the bull heated up, the person would literally be roasted alive inside the bull, while tube fittings made their agonized screams sound like a raging bull. It is said that the creator met his end through his own invention, after he was craftily led to enter the bull by an appalled king who was justifiably shaken by the creation. However, many victims would later be led to their own heated fate in a similar way.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden Torture Device

Iron Maiden

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So, since we spoke about this earlier, we need to “Up The Irons!”. Here is another torture device made of nightmares: think, sealed in a spiked coffin. And no, it isn’t punk mummy art. A standing iron coffin shaped like a human was where the prisoner was led and then the coffin door would shut tight, causing the victim to be nearly suffocated in the small space, not to mention speared through in the front and back. It would take a while before the person bled out or ran out of oxygen, whichever happened first. Good news, if any, is that there is no sufficient evidence to suggest anyone was made to endure the maiden.

The Rack

The Rack Torture Device

The Rack

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Braveheart comes to mind when one thinks of this method of torture. During the Medieval ages, the prisoner would be bound at both ends – the hands and legs and executioners would crank the ropes so that the victim’s limbs would be torn from their body in what would be a frightening way to die. Imagine the pain, suffocation and noise as you realized your own body was literally being torn apart.

Water Torture

Chinese Water Torture Device

Chinese Water Torture

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We all know the modern water boarding torture maneuver by interrogators today. In the past as well, water was used to harm victims and lead them to a slow death, but not before going completely insane in the process. The Chinese, known for their twisted ways of meting out a painfully prolonged death, used to tie a victim’s head in a small box-like device and drops of cold water would one by one drop on to the top of the head. It slowly froze the person’s brain, but not before they went mad with the sensation.

Which Of These Oreos Flavors Have You Tried?

Our favorite cookie, in good times and bad, Oreos has been there to keep company with our glass of milk. Though everyone loves the original biscuit sandwich – two dark chocolate cookies with a delicious vanilla cream in the centre – Oreos have come up with a long list of “Limited Edition” flavors that really puts other competitors to shame. All hail the Oreos Flavored Cookies. Which Of These Oreos Flavors Have You Tried?


Filled Cupcake Oreo

Filled Cupcake Oreo

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The Filled Cupcake Oreo came with the regular two dark chocolate biscuits on the outside and chocolate on the inside, with white cream in the core. Though it does sound exciting, there were many saying that it tasted like a regular chocolate with vanilla Oreo and ultimately didn’t live up to its hype. But that’s a good idea in any case, no? Review

5 Hollywood Couples Who Give Us Relationship Goals

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Hollywood’s favorite man, Tom Hanks and fellow actress, Rita Wilson have been married now for over 27 years! That’s something hard to imagine in the film industry, what with Hanks being surrounded by beautiful leading ladies as well. But it seems that this union is here to stay. In an interview at the Outfest Legacy Awards in Los Angeles, he was asked about the secret to a long marriage. “I wish there was a secret, you know,” he said, “We just like each other. You start there.” If that isn’t adorable enough, he added, “I still can’t believe my wife goes out with me.” And we melt in a puddle.

7 Myth-Busting Holiday Traditions

When the holiday season comes about, people are usually in a hustle and bustle to buy gifts, set up the Christmas tree, host parties, drink till they’re nauseated and eat more than they can digest – that’s just the holiday spirit! We may have grown up in a home with a different culture, but some of Christmas’ most popular ones have somehow been passed from generation to generation, mostly in the West but also around the world. Today we are here to bust those myths. As a grown up, you need to know the truth. And we are here to tell you 7 Myth-Busting Holiday Traditions:

5 Shocking Facts About The Lion King

In case it hasn’t happened already, you’re childhood is about to be ruined! When we are little cherubs, everything was about bubbles and balloons – basically, we were innocent to the ways of the world. But it’s time to change all that. Here are 5 Shocking Facts About The Lion King that will have you questioning everything:

Do you remember the beginning of the movie when something is sung as the sun rises to the world of Simba? Yes, we all did sing along but had no clue to what it meant – it was Zulu and the exact words were: “Here comes a lion, father; Oh yes, it’s a lion”. Fascinating, right? Imagine what it would sound like if it was sung in plain English!

8 surprising food history facts!

Let’s know some food history facts of how they came into being and how they were discovered! They are indeed surprising!

1. In ancient Egypt, onions were an object of worship. In Latin, onion translates to large pearl. Egyptians buried them with their pharaohs and presented baskets full as funeral offerings.

3 astounding aquatic creatures

Here are some really interesting and unimaginable tasks these aquatic creatures can perform. This will blow your mind for sure!

1. Pufferfish can blow up in size – It is also known as the blowfish because feels it is in danger it can blow itself up to a size of a grapefruit. They develope this inflatability because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. In lieu of escape, pufferfish use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water (and even air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less palatable.