Friday, September 28, 2012

Gadgets: Working NES Zapper

NES Zapper Modded into Working Laser Gun

The geniuses over at North Street Labs have made the dreams and wishes of gamers real by turning an old NES Zapper light gun into a working dangerous laser gun.  The gun was modded to fit a 2W+ blue laser that could fit your needs for popping balloons, providing a useful tool for a meeting / presentation or even burning a hole in pesky dogs that attempt to mock your duck hunting skills.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Gadgets: Laser Bike Light

Laser Bike Light:
“The best way to stay safe while biking is to stay visible to those you share the road with. And while concepts for laser-based systems that create a highly visible virtual lane around your bike have existed for years and years, they’re finally real (and cheap!) now.

A Korean company called Slancio makes this rear safety light that includes a requisite set of flashing red LEDs, but also a pair of lasers that produce a thin set of lines on the road on either side of your bike. Not only do they add to your visibility at night, they also create a safe space around your bicycle that most drivers and other riders will subconsciously stay clear of. It’s a brilliant idea that’s made all the more amazing with a $20 price tag that makes these a no-brainer upgrade for your ride.”
You can purchase this product here for $18.99.

Architecture: The Brain

"The Brain" by Olson Kundig Architects

Architecture: Keelung Harbor Service Building

Keelung Harbor Service Building by Neil M. Denari Architects

Link Round-Up: September 21, 2012

If you've seen the billboard comparing Jesus to Mithras, here's Wikipedia on the topic.

Infographic: Who Believes the End of Civilization Is Near? A new global survey has found that 1 in 10 people believes that the end of the world will occur sometime in 2012, when the Mayan calendar ends. Whether inspired by media attention or conspiracy theories, the anxiety about an impending doomsday extends beyond just a tiny fringe group of believers.

The Best Way To Eat A Cupcake (Never Do The Stuff-In-Mouth Again)

Google now does Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Try it yourself.

Time's 50 best websites 2012.

Photo: Intersection

"Intersection" by Navid Baraty

Friday, September 21, 2012

Music: Our Biggest Challenge

The latest Symphony of Science video is out, and it's all about climate change and global warming. This latest video, created by musician/producer John D Boswell, the is everything we've come to expect from the series: auto-tuned, quirky, catchy and loaded with great footage and audio of icons from both science and science fiction.
"A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. "Our Biggest Challenge" is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheep."

Video: The First Film Shot With Google Glass

We've seen Google Glass, the project responsible for the filming, augmented-reality-providing glasses, jumping out of planes, but this is the first actual, edited film made with them. Diane Von Furstenberg's show at New York Fashion Week featured models wearing the glasses, and the designer herself wore them as well. The footage was edited into a pretty amazing insider look at how a runway show feels.

Tech Links: September 21, 2012


Samsung Pays Apple $1 Billion Sending 30 Trucks Full of 5 Cents Coins


MakerBot shows off next-gen Replicator 2 'desktop' 3D printer


The AntiSec hacking group claims to have released a set of more than 1 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) allegedly obtained from breaching an FBI agent's laptop via a Java vulnerability. The group claims to have over 12 million IDs, as well as personal information such as user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses. There's a tool to help you check if your device is in the list.

Ben Kuchera, a video games journalist who has written for Wired, Ars Technica, and now the Penny Arcade Report, discusses the seedy underbelly of Kickstarter promotion.

How Child Porn And The Other Awfulest Things Ever Get Scrubbed From The Internet

Reading & Discussion

Amid plagiarism reports, Coursera adds honor code reminders... leading some to questioned why students would even choose to cheat when they can’t earn academic credit for completing courses.

Internet Pirates Will Always Win

Metacritic Presents Real Problems for the Industry

Think Like a Dandelion: Back in 2008, Cory Doctorow observed some key points of the web’s information and monetary economy that remain unresolved. Four years later, Steven Johnson dives deeper into what the Internet “wants.”


Man or Computer? Can You Tell the Difference?  Could you be fooled by a computer pretending to be human? Probably

Stanford biologist and computer scientist discover the 'anternet' | School of Engineering: A collaboration between a Stanford ant biologist and a computer scientist has revealed that the behavior of harvester ants as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.

Voyager to Solar System: 'Bye-Bye'


A working, cross-platform Java 7 exploit is now in the wild. It's apparently a pair of bugs, working in tandem; neither, alone, would be enough to escape the Java sandbox, but together, any machine, be it Windows, Mac, or Linux, can be instantly and silently compromised, simply by viewing a malicious web page. Only Java 7 is vulnerable, but because of the way Oracle schedules patches, it may be unfixed until October.

You can test your machine for the flaw; if vulnerable, you'll want to at least disable Java in your Web browser, if not remove it altogether. On Firefox, NoScript will provide a little protection, by not running Java code unless you click it, but the vulnerability remains.


Google Glass Hits Runway With Diane Von Furstenberg at New York Fashion Week


How to build a Solar Mobile Charger in 5 minutes. Full instructions here.

Photo: Space Shuttle Flight Decks


I’ve played enough video games during my tenure to safely assume that I could easily jump behind the joystick of one of these beauties and immediately be sailing at a smooth near-lightspeed. It’s gotta be that easy, right? My secret to success: mash every button until it does something you want. Ben Cooper took these absolutely gorgeous fisheye shots of the space shuttle flight deck interiors, with prints available at launchphotography, to post up on your wall and gaze longingly at.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tech: Baxter Manufacturing Robot

Baxter, A Manufacturing Robot That Can Work With Human Coworkers

Baxter is a new manufacturing robot designed to perform repetitive tasks normally done by unskilled labor while working "elbow-to-elbow" with human coworkers. Sonar and cameras allow the robot to detect humans in order avoid colliding with them. What's more, Baxter doesn't need to be programmed. He can be trained by simply walking him through the motion required to complete a new task. The hope is that Baxter's relatively low cost (US$22,000) will provide small business with an alternative to offshore manufacturing.

Factoid: Smith

In The Matrix Reloaded, the license plate on Agent Smith's car reads "IS 5416," which is a Biblical allusion to Isaiah 54:16, which reads "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy."

Source: The Easter Egg

Photo: Last Launch

"Last Launch" by Dan Winters

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gadgets: The Popinator

Via: Engadget

Popcorn manufacturer Popcorn, Indiana has been tinkering with their Popinator Project, a machine that launches popcorn directly into your mouth on the verbal command "Pop."  It's not for sale.  Let's face it, this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Otherwise, the first moron who chokes to death on a stray corn kernel would posthumously own the company.  You can, however, see the prototype in action in this video.
We are constantly coming up with new flavors, new packaging, and new innovations for popcorn. However, the one thing that never changes about popcorn is the way we eat it. Well, what if there was a way to change the way people eat popcorn by making it more fun?

Gadgets: LittleBits: Opensource Electronic Modules

littleBits (spelled lower case L, upper case B, all one word) is an open source library of electronic modules that snap yogether for play and prototyping.

littleBits consists of tiny circuit-boards with simple, unique functions engineered to snap together with magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming, just snap and play. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. Just as LEGOs™ allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Architecture: City in the Sky

Architect Santiago Calatrava built the Portugese “Oriente Station” in the city of Lisbon. Built from 1993 to 1998, the train station was a preparatory part of the ’98 World Expo. But the station is not only that of a train, but passengers are able to connect to the underground system, taxis, airport and various trains.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tech: 3D-Printed Exoskeleton

3D-printed exoskeleton gives a little girl use of her arms:
Two-year-old Emma was born with a rare disease called arthrogryposis that makes it so she can’t raise her arms without assistance. Through the use of 3D printing, a Delaware hospital created a mobile plastic exoskeleton that now allows Emma to use her arms for many things.

3D printing ensures that a new exoskeleton can be created if Emma breaks or outgrows it. Emma is now on her second 3D-printed jacket and calls the device her “magic arms.”

The video was created by 3D printing business Stratasys, which recently merged with Objet in a $1.4 billion deal. A Stratasys 3D printer was used to create Emma’s jacket.
Source: nextbigfuture

Photo: Bugs Under Electron Microscopes

Creepy Bugs Under Electron Microscopes are scarier than anything seen in a Hollywood monster movie. A plea to all mad scientists: please stop working on that laser/genetic manipulation/radiation dose that might make these huge.





"Education is not the transmission of information or ideas. Education is the training needed to make use of information and ideas. As information breaks loose from bookstores and libraries and floods onto computers and mobile devices, that training becomes more important, not less. Educators are coaches, personal trainers in intellectual fitness. The value we add to the media extravaganza is like the value the trainer adds to the gym or the coach adds to the equipment. We provide individualized instruction in how to evaluate and make use of information and ideas, teaching people how to think for themselves. Just as coaching requires individual attention, education, at its core, requires one mind engaging with another, in real time: listening, understanding, correcting, modeling, suggesting, prodding, denying, affirming, and critiquing thoughts and their expression."
- "Don't Confuse Technology With College Teaching" by Pamela Hieronymi, August 13, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Science: Researchers ‘Incepted’ Dreams in Rats

Researchers ‘Incepted’ Dreams in Rats. Are Humans Next?
Inception is real!
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning manipulated the dreams of rats. The study underlined and built upon what we already know about the link between memory and sleep, but also could pave the way for the engineering of dreams.
Read more

Researchers ‘Incepted’ Dreams in Rats. Are Humans Next?
"Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning manipulated the dreams of rats. The study underlined and built upon what we already know about the link between memory and sleep, but also could pave the way for the engineering of dreams.

Scientists already know that the hippocampus was hard at work during the night, replaying the day's events. That process is necessary for consolidating memories. Researchers did not know, however, whether those events could be manipulated by outside events.

The researchers, Daniel Bendor and Matthew Wilson, used two audio cues to manipulate the rats during the day. The rats quickly learned that one tone indicated that they could find food by turning left; the other tone indicated that they could find food by turning right. During this entire process with the maze, the researchers recorded their brain activity."

Source:  Medical Daily

Friday, September 7, 2012

Featured Site: Exobrain

Exobrain is a Brainstorming tool and interactive web application that lets you visualize your thoughts, finds unique connections between words, and pushes past obvious ideas.

Link Round-Up: September 7, 2012

Highly Appropriate & Funny Comic Convention Information Signs

College Humor released a funny series of comic convention specific warning signs that might actually come in handy, if they were real.

5 guys from New York documenting the city’s amazing pizza culture.
Good Riddance Paypal: Elliot Jay Stocks eloquently explains why PayPal have all the power of a bank and yet none of the responsibility.

Greatest Star Wars Collection In The World

How to make an Origami Business Card Holder.
I would love an Instacube in my old office.

Interesting list of ‘Internet Habits‘ by Wells Baum.

The sweetest call-out to fill a Community Manger position ever: Impress A Penguin

Typodarium is represents a daily dose of typography for the typeface obsessed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Archeology: Jantar Mantar Observatory

These remarkable constructions appear to all intents and purposes as if they could have been built to create the set for a new science fiction blockbuster set on a planet light years away from Earth. Yet these are centuries old instruments, designed and used in Jaipur, India, to explore the heavens. Their production was ordered by a great Maharaja in the early decades of the 18th century and they have been in constant use ever since.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Link Round-Up: September 3, 2012

Google brings its Street View cameras into the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is their largest special Street View collection to date: 6000 panoramic images, including the Apollo 14 module, the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Firing Room #4 and Space Shuttle Orbiters Atlantis and Endeavour. Intro Video.

How tall can buildings get, anyway?

The Information Is Beautiful 2012 Awards shortlist has been announced. Categorizes include: Data journalism, Data visualisation, Infographic infodesign, Interactive visualisation, Motion infographic, and Tool or website is a subscription service that has found some creative thinkers, bloggers and creators of lovely things – and offered them a channel to share what they produce with us. Or, put more simply, for $25 a quarter a clever person sends you something that will hopefully interest, amazed or make you feel good. You can see a list of the contributors here, and subscribe right away.

Ten things you may not know about the solar system