YouTube is an amazing platform that is brimming with unique content from around the world. If you have a keyword in mind, you can certainly find the corresponding video! Having said that, sometimes the internet can create videos that leave you scratching your head. In this instance, a 2003 video titled ‘Casting a Fire Ant Colony With Molten Aluminum (Cast #043) would take the cake! The strange video would feature an unknown man using molten aluminum to cast the inside of an ant colony!
If you think this story is odd, wait until you see the pictures for yourself!
Introducing the Ant Colony
In order to properly understand this story, we must first take a broad look at the typical ant colony. Noted by the hills overtop the colony, ant colonies are areas where large groups of ants nest together. Ant colonies are typically rigorously organized and ruled over by a single queen. While we wouldn’t want to step on an ant colony, we sure as heck can appreciate their splendor from afar!
A Teeming World Below the Surface
Ant colonies are most often noted by the massive hills that sprout overtop them. However, beneath the hill of dirt, you will find your way into a fascinating world teeming with activity. Ant colonies are a proverbial metropolis of biological action. Underground tunnels are dedicated to the Queen, worker ants, larvae, and pupae.
As it turns out, the movie Antz may have gotten the scope of an ant colony largely correct (in its own way)!
Beginning Our Story
Our journey begins in the deep recesses of YouTube where an unknown individual uploaded a strange video. The short video, posted in 2003, featured the aforementioned man pouring molten metal into the ant nest. To the casual observer, this video seemed to show the man engaging in an act of wanton destruction.
Had the mysterious figure just killed the ant colony for fun?
More Than Meets the Eye
The mysterious YouTube video began with the man showing a variety of close-up shots of the nest. During this time the man would also be shown preparing a bucket filled with liquid. This would turn out to be the molten aluminum that we highlighted above. Why was this man pouring aluminum into an anthill? What was the goal?
Introducing the Molten Aluminum
As it turns out, the mysterious figure was performing something now known as an anthill cast. By using liquid molten aluminum, it is possible to completely cast the inside of an anthill. Using molten aluminum and a bucket tilt allowed the mysterious figure to fill the underground ant structure with the aluminum. Hopefully, there were no ants inside!
Properties of Molten Aluminum
If you were thinking about attempting this experiment at home, you had better be careful. In order to work with molten aluminum, you are going to need to work with a furnace or kiln that can reach up to 1220 degrees Fahrenheit. You must also be prepared to maneuver the liquid around with the proper tools while understanding the immense danger involved.
A Startling Chain Reaction
While there is danger in an experiment like this, the mysterious figure handled the entire experiment with a sense of professionalism. Within seconds, the molten aluminum created a chain reaction within the nest. The nest began to screech and spit as the molten aluminum settled into place. Steam would begin pouring out of the ground like a scene from a movie!
Excavating the Ant Hill
After the molten aluminum was given time to work, the figure decided to excavate the entire structure. Using a simple trowel, the man began digging around the structure as he destroyed the majority of the nest walls beneath the soil. Once freed from the nest walls, the man was able to lift the entire section out of the ground to reveal something quite unique!
What do you think he found underground?
Unearthing a Hidden Treasure
In order to unveil his rare and unique treasure, the uploader would grab a power hose to clean the structure. In what was an incredibly satisfying moment to watch, the man washed away soil to reveal something incredible and beautiful! Once the soil was gone, the full structure of the anthill remained in a cast of molten aluminum!
Meet the World of Anthill Art
The video was posted to a channel titled Anthill Art. A cursory glance through the YouTube account would reveal dozens of other items cast in molten aluminum. As far as hobbies go, this one was pretty fascinating to stumble upon!
What makes the Anthill Art channel particularly exciting is the fact that he sells his casts online!
Analyzing the Complex Structure
More than just a piece of modern art, traditional ant hill structures are fascinating and complex. These subterranean structures feature tunnels that sprawl out in a network of mazes. The construction of an underground anthill is a wonder of nature and one that we should not gloss over!
Unveiling the Hidden Ingenuity of Nature
In order to get an accurate and intriguing look at this miracle of nature, molten aluminum can be used to create a mold of the underground structure. As the metal fills the web of tunnels, the molten aluminum begins to cool. Once completely cooled, the artist will be left with an accurate and permanent mold of the anthill below.
We wonder how some of the larger anthills appear once cast in aluminum!
Stunning Creation of Man and Nature
These works of art are as stunning to look at as they are educational. Anthill Art began creating his series of molten anthill projects in 2003. One of his largest projects ended up weighing in at an eye-popping 18 pounds!
Can you imagine having a nearly 20lb anthill structure to decorate your home with?
Anthill Art Goes Viral
Apparently, people on the internet could not get enough of the massive structure either! It would only take a couple of months for Anthill Art to amass 7 million views on his video. In the intervening years since its original upload, the video has gained a massive 94 million views. Those are prime pop-star numbers and yet viewers came to simply see an anthill!
A Sprawling World of Unique Art
Anthill art has become an increasingly popular hobby in the years since the channel went viral. now, individuals all around the world are using molten aluminum to navigate the subterranean systems below the earth. While this is a fascinating and beautiful hobby, there have been some outspoken critics!
Criticism Is Pointed At Anthill Art
It didn’t take long for detractors to come out in full force. Some individuals thought that it was particularly cruel to use molten aluminum on an anthill. After all, if there were ants left in the structure then they would surely suffer before dying a painful death. Who would want to do this to innocent creatures of nature?
Strong Negative Reactions From Certain Crowds
One commenter would go so far as to say that the works of Anthill Art had made them sick. The post gained traction on the Anthill Art Facebook page where the user exclaimed, “How can you call yourself an artist?” Others would probe the artist by saying, “Murder isn’t art.” It didn’t take long to realize that this was not an unpopular sentiment. People were mad!
The Controversy Surrounding Anthill Art
As the Anthill Art channel continued to grow, so too did his following of detractors. While others called the artist’s work ‘murder’, many more claimed that his artform was a sign of immaturity. One user stated, “Guess you never grew out of your childish need to kill animals, insects, and who knows what else.”
Rallying Cry Against Anthill Art
Detractors of the beautiful artwork would go on to claim that they ‘weren’t even a PETA supporter’ but they still felt obligated to speak out. Where do you land in this conversation? Do you believe there is anything inherently wrong with making anthill art?
Why Did He Make the Art
As the internet is prone to do, a large enough backlash was created that the owner of the Anthill Art channel felt obliged to defend himself. The man responded to critics by saying that he focused on creating molds of abandoned nests. In the rare event that the nest was not abandoned, the artist claimed that he would only cast colonies of fire ants.
What ARE Fire Ants?
If you are familiar with fire ants, you might be okay with their nests being flooded with molten aluminum. Fire ants are a type of stinging ants that can render great pain and suffering onto the targets of their ire. Fire ants are uniquely colonized by female workers with one queen ant responsible for their eggs.
Dangerous Little Critters
Fire ants would make their way over to America via a boat from South America. They can swarm their targets and begin stinging them within just ten seconds if required to protect their nest! Fire ants can both sting and bite with their sting containing painful venom.
A swarm of fire ants has been known to cause an anaphylactic shock as well as death.
Anthill Art and Responsibility
Even though fire ants are hard to like as a rule, the artist still feels obligated to do his best to protect the creatures. The artist would reveal in an interview with Metro, “I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out.” The artist would go on to point out that he only does his work ‘sparingly’ and that his yard is still overrun with ants.
Finding Support For Anthill Art
While Anthill Art may have felt chastised, he definitely had his fair share of supporters. Paul Hetherington of Buglife would go on to support the efforts of the artist. For Paul, as long as the structure was abandoned, the art could serve as a useful educational tool. Paul hedged his statement by saying that populated ant hills should be left alone, claiming that it was an extremely cruel way to kill them.
Anthill Art Continues to Grow
Despite the controversies surrounding his work, the Anthill Art Facebook page would continue to grow by leaps and bounds. While the YouTube channel continues to amass millions of views, nearly 40,000 users have begun following the artist on Facebook.
Others Take up the Medium
While the Anthill Art YouTube channel wasn’t the first to make an aluminum mold, it certainly popularized the medium. Nowadays, you can find aluminum anthill artists practicing their trade all over the world. Even though the art form has become popular, seeing a new mold never ceases to amaze us.
Truly Stunning Creations Around the World
While we are focused on the realm of anthill art, we feel obligated to teach you about the largest colony of ants on the planet. Located in southern France off the Atlantic Coast, you can find your way to an ant colony that sprawls for nearly 3,700 miles! This super colony has since made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records!
Other Explorations into Nature
While we may have brought you here to discuss anthill art, we have to showcase another insightful look into the natural world. As it turns out, Anthill Art wasn’t the only YouTube channel looking to change the conversation surrounding what goes on inside of an insect home.
Meet Dan and Lincoln Markham
Dan and Lincoln Markham are a father-and-son duo that rose to prominence on YouTube through their series, What’s Inside. The series focused on cutting open everyday objects to see what they looked like on the inside. Can you see where this is going?
Dissecting a Wasp’s Nest
The family of YouTubers would find their way to an old wasp’s nest on the internet. After ordering the wasp nest, the family decided that they were ready to cut it open to see what was inside. Can you imagine what the inside of a wasp nest looks like? We almost don’t want to know!
Birth of an Obsession
Lincoln, the youngest in the family, was the inspiration behind the What’s Inside YouTube series. Lincoln decided to cut open a series of sports balls for a science experiment at school. This would lead the young scientist to want to explore other objects such as the aforementioned wasp nest!
Welcome to ‘What’s Inside’ With Lincoln
At first, the family decided to share their videos just for fun. After all, they didn’t have any dreams of becoming famous! As with the man behind the Anthill Art YouTube Channel, fame would come for the What’s Inside team all the same. Soon the YouTube account was racking up millions of views!
What’s Inside a Wasp’s Nest?
The family had decided to cut open a wasp’s nest after seeing so many of the structures in their own yard. Dan would be forced to order an old wasp nest online like the ones in their yard were still quite inhabited by wasps! As a rule, we think it is a good idea to leave populated wasp nests alone, don’t you agree?
A Family Experiment
In the beginning, Dan was hesitant about opening the nest. After all, what if there was a wasp still flying around on the inside? Dan was eventually convinced to hack the object open thanks to the support of his young sons. Dan said, “I just bought a wasp nest for like 30 bucks from somebody in Wisconsin!”
The Big Reveal
As their dad donned gloves to open up the wasp nest, Kai would eagerly exclaim, “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.” Of course, viewers echoed Kai’s sentiment as millions of views began to rack up on the video. Finally, the moment had come. We were finally going to see what was inside of this wasp nest!
Cross-Section of a Wasp Nest
We aren’t sure what you might have expected, but the inside of the nest showed a variety of tiny compartments in hexagon-like shapes. Apparently, wasps care for their larvae by bringing them semi-digested caterpillars to eat. Can you imagine that poor and unfortunate caterpillar?
Impressed by the Reveal
Lincoln was immediately taken aback by what his father had revealed. Lincoln would exclaim, “That’s amazing” while Kai would say, “They still have dead eggs in there!” The family would comb through the wasp nest as they explored the former habitat. The family would store the remnants of the nest in their garage, unsure as to what to do with it.
What’s Next For ‘What’s Inside’?
As the episode became a hit among fans, the YouTube channel for What’s Inside would grow in meteoric fashion. The video itself has already been viewed nearly 40 million times! If you think that view count is high just check out their investigation of a rattlesnake rattle!
Becoming YouTube Superstars
Since their first videos went viral, Dan and his sons have continued to post videos to their YouTube channel. As the channel has gained in size, the family’s experiments have also gotten more unique and interesting. One video featured a Tesla battery while another video featured NBA superstar Kevin Durant!
Who Knows Where Curiosity Can Lead
Finally, the What’s Inside team would be applauded by Bill freaking Gates for their work cutting open a water filter. The founder of Microsoft would thank them for putting an emphasis on the need for clean water all throughout the world.
What do you think? Are you ready to start dissecting wasp nests and molding anthills with liquid aluminum?
Daughter Overwhelms Parents Restaurant With Customers By Posting On TikTok
A seven-second video posted on TikTok by Jennifer Le has saved her parents’ Vietnamese pho restaurant from going out of business. In the video, Le showed the empty restaurant and her dad looking sad at the register. She then asked for social media’s help to keep the restaurant in business. The restaurant is in California and was doing ok before the pandemic, but has since had trouble getting customers to dine in.
The video went viral, and within hours, it had garnered millions of views and shares. People all over the world were touched by Le’s message and began sharing the video on their social media accounts. The response was overwhelming, with people expressing their support for the restaurant and their willingness to help.
As a result of the video, the restaurant was flooded with customers, many of whom had never heard of the place before. The increased business allowed Le’s parents to keep the restaurant open and the phones are ringing off the hook. The family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and expressed their gratitude to everyone who had shared the video and visited the restaurant.
Le’s video is a perfect example of the power of social media to effect change. In just seven seconds, she was able to capture the attention of millions of people and inspire them to take action. The video also highlights the struggles faced by small businesses during the pandemic and the importance of community support in keeping these businesses afloat.
Le’s video has since become a source of inspiration for many people who are struggling with similar issues. It serves as a reminder that even the smallest actions can have a significant impact, and that we all have the power to make a difference in our communities.
Massive Sandcastle Built by Auckland Brothers Impresses Scores of Beachgoers
When you have run out of Christmas ideas, nothing beats going to the beach and letting your creative juices flow. That’s what two brothers in New Zealand did this past Boxing Day and ended up with an amazing and eye-catching sandcastle.
After building a massive sandcastle on Boxing Day, two Auckland boys gained praise from other people around Mt Maunganui’s beach area that day.
Jared and Paul Brandon spent 10 hours that day building a two-meter-high sandcastle, beginning with a sketch of the structure “on a piece of A4 paper” and beginning at high tide. The pair plans to turn this into a Boxing Day ritual.
On Christmas Eve, the brothers started strategizing on how to top last year’s one-meter-high tower on Boxing Day 2021.
Because Jared and Paul are “very competitive,” they wanted to outdo their performance from the previous year. Before beginning their construction, the two searched online for sandcastle designs after visiting Bunnings to get tools, buckets, as well as a footrest.
Both residents and visitors have expressed admiration and astonishment at the beautiful creation.
Jared chuckles, “A guy is assessing how tall it is currently with his beach umbrella.
Jared informed the media, “This one is 2 meters, so we needed a few footstools to climb up tall enough and also used a builder’s level so it didn’t topple over.
The 150-liter pail was the biggest we were able to use, and the traditional household bucket was a fairly small one. We purchased them both from Bunnings.
Paul explains, “There are a few techniques, such as two portions of water to one portion of sand.”
Then came the spatulas to shape the windows, then toothpicks for creating the roof piles, as well as the straws for blowing off the “extra sand.”
The previous night, the two worked on it until 8 p.m., and unlike last year, it is still standing.
“Time went by incredibly quickly; it seemed like we were only at the beach for five hours, instead of ten.” “Paul spoke to the press.
He claims that while working for a California hotel plus learning how to construct sandcastles as a kid-friendly activity, he acquired the skill there about eight years ago.
“Now that he’s used that knowledge and developed it, he taught me. Therefore, for the previous four to five years, whenever we had the time, we would construct a sandcastle once a year ” says Jared.
The two, who are both camera operators, intend to go much further next year and are hoping to enlist the aid of a larger family.
We will attempt to teach my sister as well as my brother-in-law to assist us as they appear interested this year. “We are striving to dredge up more relatives to get involved in creating a village in 2023.”
Man Finds $47,000 Historic Ring
England is very much metal detector country. The land outside the big cities is stuffed full of artifacts and leftovers from ancient times, ranging from before the Romans’ arrival to the Middle Ages and more. So, it’s not surprising, with the blessing of local farmers, that many a fellow with a metal detector is out there spending a Saturday or Sunday scanning through a fallow farm field to see what might be found. As it turned out, David Board was one of those hunters, and he just happened to come across a very small gold ring in one of his ventures.
Located outside of Dorset, Board was busy scanning a pasture field and had been doing so for hours. The sun was late in the sky, and Board was about to wrap up when his machine pinged a definite metallic substance under the soil he was waving the sensor over. Sure enough, pinpointing the location and then digging specifically into that spot, Board unearthed a very small gold ring.
It was in the farm soil, the ground typically tilled for planting, but this particular field had been used for cattle instead. So, five inches underground, the ring remained until Board found it and pulled it back into the daylight. At first, he chalked up the discovery to just another piece of metal from old times, he cleared off the dirt, pocketed the ring and kept going. Then, at the end of the day, Board went home and washed off his finds in the sink. It was only then that he realized what that ring actually was.
While the method of metal detecting in England gives archaeologists utter heart attacks every time they hear a similar story, the finds are generally split between the metal detector and the farm owner, unless the farm owner just waives off the matter and lets the hunters keep whatever they find. Whichever the case in this instance, the ring was no small trinket. It turned out to be an exceedingly well-crafted and rare gold wedding ring from the Medieval period and in very good condition. To be auctioned off later this year, the find is expected to net between 30,000 to 47,000 British Pounds.
The only surprise to anyone hearing the story in England these days is why the local farmers still allow detectors to scan their fields without any stake in the finds.
Gold Miners Dig Up a Lot More than Ancient Gold
Gold miners are used to finding all sorts of things from ancient times. It’s not uncommon to find relics of prior miners, old habitats, animal remains and even dinosaur fossils as they dig deep into the earth or excavate large areas. However, it’s not an everyday occurrence to find a practically intact mummy of a baby mammoth.
Based on the estimates possible on first evaluation of the mummified baby mammoth found on June 21 by operations at the Klondike gold deposit, way up in the northern part of Canada, miners discovered a baby female mammoth assumed to be probably 30,000 years old. An occasional dinosaur or mammoth bone is uncommon but a regular occurrence. However, finding a complete set of remains of a baby mammoth is extremely rare and a big news in the world of paleontology and biology. Even better, the specimen is practically complete. Most times the remains have been tampered with by other animals or hunting and scavenging. Then nature moves things around even further and separates parts. In this case, however, the baby mammoth was complete, intact and well-preserved.
Named Nun cho ga but the local tribes, the find essentially means big baby animal, no surprise. All the skin and hair is intact, which makes the find extremely valuable in terms of understanding exactly how junvenile mammoths looked and probably behaved mechanically as well as physically. In terms of scientific information, the find is huge. It’s similar to finding an entire painting by a famous artist versus just having a brush he or she might have used.
Locked away in permafrost for centuries, the baby mammoth was literally preserved in the earth’s freezer, untouched by bacteria or the elements for an amazing amount of time. Scientists evaluating the specimen guess that the juvenile likely passed away earlier, maybe from sickness, as its pack was moving since there were no predatory marks on it or scattering of remains. Or, also likely, the animal may have gotten stuck in a deep mud pit or quicksand and was quickly buried, protecting it from rot or degradation.
The last time anyone found a North American baby mammoth in good condition was in 1948, some 70 plus years ago. That one was named Effie, and was located inside a gold mine in Alaska. Additionally, another more recent find was in 2007 in Siberia. That find was estimated to be much older, at 42,000 years of age. It was comparative to the same size as Nun cho ga, which means the two together will provide some interesting comparative notes and years of study going forward. It’s enough to make a dinosaur scientist get giggly.
Pennsylvania Nurses Get a COVID Booster for Student Loan Debt
Becoming a nurse is no easy day in the park. Aside from all the clinical hours required and bookwork in classes, a candidate still has to pass their state license exams as well as figure out how to pay for the education costs. It’s quite common for a graduating nurse, whether an LN or RN, to have thousands of dollars in student loan debt. That was already a significant barrier to recruitment before COVID-19 arrived. Things only got worse as experienced nurses left the field in droves after the pandemic’s burnout.
However, Pennsylvania is hitting the problem head on. The state decided that it was going to provide a pot totaling $55 million to help reduce or eliminate student loan debt for eligible nurses. Funded by a combination of state dollars matched to federal American Rescue Plan funds for overall economic stimulus, Pennsylvania directed its internal share to help boost nursing in-state again as well as keep nurses in their careers with financial stability.
Essentially, any nurse who worked during the pandemic, was licensed by the state, and cared for COVID-19 patients will be eligible to get a $7,500 payment for student loan relief. The funds are one-time, non-recurring, but they still represent a huge wave of debt relief for affected nurses. 24,000 plus nurses responded with applications before the deadline ended, which has exceeded the estimated fund allocation available, no surprise. To deal with this surge in eligibility, the state administrators will split the funds on a prorata basis between the impacted state areas and regions, based on the number of nurses who applied. Then, within each regional pot, nurses will be selected by random on who will get the one-time payment.
Those who are selected won’t see the funds themselves. To ensure the payment is used correctly, the money goes directly to the student loan servicer provided by that nurse in their application. The first recipients will see their student loans lowered this month, in August 2022. To help deal with the demand, an additional $15 million in federal dollars was redirected to the fund as well. The allocation for an awardee is $2,500 each year for three years. This allows an easier outflow of funds versus a demand surge all at once. Which will be a considerable amount of accounting work on the state side.
The hope is that with the eventual success of the program expected in nurse retention, the same model can be used again to bolster sagging industries seeing a brain drain in Pennsylvania, as well as stabilize people being crushed by student loan debt.
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