They Were Playing Around With Google Maps When They Spotted Something They Couldn't Explain

Do you believe in aliens? It seems impossible in the vastness of the universe that we’re completely alone as intelligent beings, but there’s no way for us to know for sure.

There was a time when many people thought we were getting some pretty clear signs of intelligent life when crop circles started popping in open fields across the world. Sadly, as the press got wind of the new phenomena, it came out that it wasn’t aliens making crop circles, but just regular, bored humans with too much time on their hands.

Still, crop circles are amazing to behold. Thanks to the power of Google Maps, you don’t even need to rent a helicopter to get a good view of them. All you need is an Internet connection.

1. That’s one good-looking crop circle.

2. I guess that’s supposed to be a jellyfish?

3. Product placement.

4. It’s almost perfectly symmetrical.

5. A corn maze made to look like cartoon characters.

6. Warning: Biohazard.

7. This one isn’t technically a circle, or made of crops, but it does look pretty cool. It’s carved right into the South African soil.

8. Mysterious figure 8s.

9. Is that the Star of David?

10. Something about that triangle makes me think “conspiracy theory.”

11. Now that’s what I’m talking about! A real-looking crop circle.

(via Make Use Of)

These crop circles are beautiful, but it’s a little discouraging to know that they were probably all made by humans rather than aliens. But who knows? Maybe there is a genuine crop circle or two on this list. I have heard before that aliens love to use FireFox…

Vintage Photos Of China That Show Just How Much Has Changed In The Last 100 Years

China is quickly overtaking the United States and Europe in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. It’s not crazy to imagine China as the world’s sole superpower a decade or two down the line — but that wasn’t always the case. Most people forget that China has been enduring constant change since the 1800s, which continues today.

Looking at pictures of sprawling cities and huge factories, it’s easy to forget that China used to be a largely agrarian society. These vintage pictures of China and the island of Hong Kong by Scottish photographer John Thomson show what that life was like between 1886 and 1872, long before China became the economic superpower it is today.

A Cantonese schoolboy in Hong Kong.

A bride-to-be in Beijing.

A boat operator.

Escaping the mid afternoon sun.

Lounging on the terrance of a Chinese teahouse in Hong Kong.

A Cantonese family of 5 in Hong Kong.

Cochrane Street in Hong Kong.

Street near the Hong Kong’s old Wanchai Market.

The HMS Princess Charlotte.

A Cantonese woman.

Looking north from Pedder Street.

An old cemetery.

Lyndhurst Street in Hong Kong during the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit in 1869.

Cantonese trading vessels off the shore.

Hong Kong City Hall.

(via: Vintage Everyday)

I can barely imagine what modern life is like in China, let alone how it must have been in the late 1800s. I don’t think anyone in these photos could have predicted the kind of powerhouse their country would become a few centuries later.

I Thought Her House Looked Beautiful, But When I Saw The Outside...I Gasped

Tonita Fernandez has a beautiful home in Seattle, Washington that she describes as “shabby chic.” The interior is decorated with refurbished Craigslist and thrift store finds, pretty lace, and rustically charming decor. She decorates for the holidays, loves entertaining guests, and tends to her chickens that live in a coop on her property. Fernandez’s life sounds typical for someone living in the wilderness of Washington state, except for one tiny detail…literally. Her adorable home is only eight feet wide and 24 feet long.

Inspired by a childhood playhouse and a small cottage she previously lived in, Fernandez decided to have a home away from home custom-built for her. To save for the cottage, she gave up her $100/month cell phone. She dubbed her house “the menopause cave,” and uses it as a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Check out her fairytale-worthy abode below.

Fernandez had her house custom-built in Arkansas, even though she lives in Washington. It took her seven years to save up for the dream living space.

When the house was finished, it was transported to Washington with a U-Haul.

The adorable house is only eight feet wide and 24 feet long. It has a cute porch that sits four adults comfortably.

On Fernandez’s property she has a chicken coop, her tiny house, and a storage shed. The storage shed is actually bigger than the house!

The cottage features a small kitchen and living area, two loft “bedrooms,” a reading nook, and a small bathroom. Here it is all dressed up for Valentine’s Day.

Fernandez enjoys entertaining in her house, and says four people have no problems eating at her tiny table.

Naturally, one of Fernandez’s Christmastime guests is Santa Claus. Here he shows us just how big the sleeping lofts are. Be careful not to fall off, Saint Nick!

Fernandez gives her house holiday makeovers throughout the year.

The cottage even has a small, fake fireplace. She found the mantle on Craigslist for $100.

Behind the table you can see a bookshelf for storage and a few cabinets. She bought many of the fixtures and decorations secondhand, and enjoys imaging how they were used in their “first lives.”

Here’s a view of the galley kitchen. The white surface is a stealthy two-burner stove top.

The refrigerator and freezer have plenty of space for food.

The bathroom has a fully functional toilet, which Fernandez notes is rare for a tiny house. It also has a small, shallow bathtub.

Naturally, the chicken coop is just as adorable as the tiny home. The chickens enjoy pink wallpaper and a chandelier in their house.

Her chickens and roosters seem to approve.

(source Shabby Chic Tiny Retreat)

Tiny houses always make me consider simplifying my life. To think that Fernandez gave up her cell phone to save for seven years — that blows my mind! But the house also shows me that even if you don’t want to commit to living in a tiny house year-round, it’s still a great way to get away from the stress of everyday life. What do you think of Fernandez’s woman cave? Could you give up your smartphone for a little slice of heaven?

This Dog Did Something Incredible For A Boy With Autism -- Get Me Some Tissues!

Assistance dogs have been proven to help people with physical disabilities time and time again. Guide dogs help the blind get around, hearing dogs help the deaf function within an aural world, and a whole range of other service dogs help out all sorts of disabled people.

While there haven’t been that many conclusive studies about dogs helping mentally disabled people, it’s clear that the companionship of animals can drastically improve the life of someone with Asperger’s syndrome (often characterized as a milder form of autism).

In Joey Granados’ case, a Pit Bull helped him hug his mother for the very first time…

On the left is Joey, 14, with his two younger brothers.

He was first diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was seven years old. He’s a math wiz and can recite a book from memory — learning isn’t the issue here. It’s the social aspects of life that have always given Joey a hard time.

This is Roxy.

Joey spotted her online on the Best Friends Animal Society’s website. They were having an adoption event where adopting a dog only cost $10. He immediately fell in love. For his mother, Amanda Granados, this was the perfect opportunity for her to indulge her son’s pleas to adopt a puppy companion.

When they met, it was as though there was no one else in the room besides Joey and Roxy.

The pup ran up to him immediately. She doesn’t notice his disability — all she sees is a boy that will love her unconditionally.

Not only has Roxy become Joey’s very best friend…

She’s helped him overcome social issues he’s been struggling with his entire life. He’d never been able to make friends before, and he’d never hugged or kissed his mother. The first time he gave his mom a kiss on the cheek was the day Roxy came home with them.

Roxy’s unconditional, nonjudgmental love and companionship have opened up Joey’s horizons entirely.

Mom says, “For all those years, he wouldn’t hold my hand, he wouldn’t hug me — it was all part of the autism — but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection.”

Without Roxy, Joey would probably still have been able to grow into a functioning adult, since his Asperger’s doesn’t affect your capacity to learn…

But the quality of life when you’re able to overcome social anxieties — to gain social functionality — improves tenfold. Roxy is truly a lifesaver.

(via Today, Distractify)

Joey says, “If I’ve been having a bad day, Roxy can hear a tone in my voice…[s]he runs up to me to give me a giant hug and lick me to death and do almost anything she can to make me happy.” There’s something inexplicably magical about the love between a dog and their human. In this case, a family saved a dog from a shelter, and in turn, Roxy saved Joey from a life void of social and physical interaction. If that’s not a success story for the books, I don’t know what is.

You Won't Believe What Deserted Area These Amazing Animals Call Home

In 1986, the biggest nuclear accident in history occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, releasing massive amounts of radioactive particles across the USSR and Europe. It uprooted the lives of 500,000 plant workers.

But today, Chernobyl is garnering attention for a much cuddlier reason. As part of an effort to study the lingering effects of radioactivity in the area, scientists have set up a network of cameras in 84 locations on a nature preserve. Unintentionally, the researchers stumbled upon some amazing candid photos of local wildlife. Thankfully, they’re decidedly adorable, normal animals and not mutant piles of radioactive goop.

In the first four months that the cameras were installed, scientists caught over 10,000 beautiful photos of animals like these. They prove that nature is stubbornly carrying on even after the devastating Chernobyl disaster.

The fact the animals are returning to the 30-kilometer zone is a really good sign that radioactivity in the area is dwindling.

The Przewalski horse is an endangered species that was reintroduced to the area as part of the conservation effort.

The network will help scientists track the animals so that they can eventually install collars that will monitor their exposure levels.

Until the system’s nightcams caught these photos of grizzly bears, researchers had no idea the fuzzy guys had returned to Chernobyl.

You can check out more pictures and learn more about the TREE project at their website. The half-life of the radioactivity in Chernobyl may be daunting, but it’s a good sign that the animals see this as a viable habitat once again.