Jan 31, 2013

This Smart Mirror Lights Up at Your Very Presence

You're so beautiful. That is, at least according to Simple Human's newest sensor mirror that automatically lights up when it sees your face.

That's kind of poetic, but don't get all narcissistic weirdo and fall in love with a cordless electronic looking glass. Not after what happened last time. Still, the USB-charging, $200 sensor mirror makes for a quirky addition to your bathroom vanity, with a system called tru-lux that mimics natural light, so you don't look as ghastly as you might under harsh fluorescent bulbs. Besides, it's ok to be a little bit into yourself. This is just extra validation. More here.

This Sleeping Bag Is Every Sub-Zero Camper’s Dream/Nightmare

Whether you prefer to spend your summers in the Arctic or simply miss the suffocating warmth of a mother's womb, Nemo's newly launched Canon -40 sleeping bag may just cure what ails you (unless it's the latter in which case please seek professional assistance).

The 850-fill goose down sarcophagus features two vented "gills" on the front of the bag along with zippered arm hole openings on either side, which could come in handy when cooking, moving around base camp, or escaping from your heat-smothering nightmare.

The PrimaLoft insulated Stove Pipe hood design, however, is really what sets the Canon -40 apart from other sub-zero sleepers. Nemo apparently looked towards the Inuit communities of the high north for inspiration, and the questionably sufficient air hole mimics their centuries-old design by essentially pre-warming the freezing air before you inhale. Given the all-encapsulating design, it's hard not to wonder how someone prone to tossing and turning would fare and/or live to see morning. We'll be left wondering for a while longer, as the Canon -40 won't hit the market until fall of 2013 for a cool $1000 a pop. More here.

A Heart-Shaped USB Hub Is Full of Love and Ports

Hearts are cheesy, sure, but they're also fun and adorable—especially this time of year. Buy into the silliness of Valentine's Day with these cute little USB hubs.

They're made by GreenHouse, which you could surmise is a Japanese company, based on the fact that the hubs are so kawaii! Each one has four USB 2.0 ports a piece and come in pink, red, and gold for $26 a piece. They might be girly and sappy, but don't lie, you want to embrace that part of yourself. More here.

Jan 30, 2013

The 64GB Surface Pro Will Have Just 23GB of Usable Space

The Verge has learned that the 64GB version will offer up just 23GB of space to the user.

It seems the Windows 8 install, built-in apps, and a recovery partition will consume 41GB of the total storage space, leaving just 23GB—that's 36 percent—of storage for the user. Perhaps it's time manufacturers started quoting available storage space in their ads, too? More here.

iPhone Owners Run Up the Biggest Bills

A new report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals that iPhone owners run up the biggest cell phone bills—spending far more than other smartphone users.

The report reveals that 60 percent of iPhone users—or at least, those who were polled—spend more than $100 per month on their plans. Above that, 10 percent spend $200 or more—and only 6 percent spend $50 or less. Compare that to Android, where 12 percent pay less than $50.

So, why do iPhone users spend more? It's almost certainly down to the fact that, through necessity, iPhone users tend to be on more expensive data plans to begin with. More here. 

Jan 29, 2013

A Beautiful Look at the Galaxy that Will Collide With Us In 4 Billion Years

In four billion years, Andromeda will collide with the Milky Way. That will be an amazing view—but until then we have to look at it from a distance. This new photo by the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory shows a beautiful view. From NASA:
The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size. Herschel's ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.
I just can look at these space images all day long. More here.

The 128GB iPad Is Real and It’s Here

As expected, Apple let a 128GB iPad out of the bag today. And there's almost zero chance you should buy it.

The new iPad has the same retina display as its brothers, and the same design, and the same guts, with one notable exception: a metric crap-ton of storage. More storage than any decent or sane human being could ever want from a pure tablet, at a cost—$800 for Wi-Fi only and $930 for 4G—that no decent or sane human being could ever want to spend on one. Do you know how much laptop that kind of money can buy you? You're almost at Surface Pro/MacBook Air levels of expenditure for an A6X chip and Temple Run 2.

Even if you're the type of person who flocked to the mega-storage iPods of yore, don't be lured in by Big Poppa iPad's siren song. Unlike the heady days of 2007, your music and movies andDon't Trust the B— downloads live in the cloud now, not on your device. That's where Apple and everyone else has been pushing people for years, precisely because gigundo-storage devices are expensive and absurd and absurdly expensive for the common man.

And that's okay! Apple doesn't expect you to buy a 128GB iPad, not unless you're a professional-grade buyer, like an architect or a supervillain, with all the resources and massive AutoCAD storage needs that implies. The 128GB iPad is like a $300/head steakhouse dinner. It goes on the corporate account.

Like all the other iPads, the new kids come in black and white, and you can buy them starting next Tuesday. Or rather, your IT manager can. More here.

Jan 28, 2013

Does Apple Have a Fancier iPad 4 Up Its Sleeve

Scraps of evidence are appearing across the internet, so 9to5mac claims, that point towards Apple maybe, possibly, perhaps readying an update for the iPad.

9to5mac has reported that devs are finding code in the soon-to-be-released iOS 6.1 that point towards a new device, featuring 128GB of storage. Adding some fuel to that fire is a new set of SKUs, leaked by a "high-profile U.S. retailer", which point to a new "ultimate" version of the iPad.

In the past Apple has referred to its storage options as "Good," "Better," and "Best", so the use of the "Ultimate" signifier could suggest a premium iPad is waiting in the wings—potentially offering up that rumored 128GB of storage.

It's possible, then, that Apple is adding an extra model to its existing iPad range—perhaps for special customers or internal use, given its large capacity, which is expensive and doesn't fit with the growing trend of migrating to the cloud. Another possibility is that Apple is giving its whole iPad range a light spring-time spruce up—though that seems rather less likely.

The final option, of course, is that it's all speculation that amounts to nothing. We'll have to hold on and see. More here. 

This DSLR Really Is Good Enough to Eat

Valentine's is just round the corner, and what better sweet treat to get your gadget-loving partner than a full-size replica of a Canon D60 made from chocolate?

Nothing, that's what. This amazing model was made by Etsy seller Hans Chung, who has hand-crafted a mold in the shape of a D60 so that he can make solid chocolate versions of the camera. It's intricately detailed; an amazing likeness. So far he's made three of the things for friends and family—one has already been eaten—but he plans to make a further five and sell them as a limited-edition run.

The limited edition chocolate cameras will be maufactured in the buyer's choice of chocolate from the Guittard Chocolate Company product line, and come presented in an acrylic display case. They'll also be chilled while they travel by FedEx—or if you live in San Francisco, you can pick one up in person.

The only downside: the chocolate cameras will cost a cool $500 each. For which you could actually buy quite a nice real camera. More here.

Jan 27, 2013

You Can Run Android 4.0 in Its Entirety Right on Your PC

Running certain Android apps on your desktop is nothing new with Bluestacks, but now you can get the whole dang OS running on your PC as a native application thanks to a little program called WindowsAndroid.

Developed by a start-up in Bejing called SocketeQ, WindowsAndroid not only lets you mess with Android apps on your computer, but emulate an entire 4.0 ICS device on there, complete with all the settings and everything else. It's available for download from SocketeQ's site, if you'll give them your email address and—as you should be able to guess—it runs on Windows Vista, 7, and 8 exclusively.

WindowsAndroid will also make good use of the computer it's running on. It supports big resolutions, cranks up performance using your PC's guts, and can make use of your mouse and keyboard in addition to a touchscreen monitor if you have one. You can also side-load apps by dropping the .apks in the right folder. But for the moment, that's the only reliable way to get fun stuff on it, because Google Play doesn't recognize the hardware. More here.

Jan 26, 2013

This Tiny Pet Quadcopter Could Be Your Own Personal Cameraman

Who doesn't want to be the star of their own reality TV show? Well OK, sane people. But if you count yourself among the former, there's good news for you. A new, tiny quadcopter called the MeCam is just begging to be your ever-present cameraman. And you best take it up on the offer, there's no way you could find a human that willing.

MeCam is an upcoming product from the San Francisco-based company Always Innovating, and it promises to change self-centered video documentation forever, potentially. The copter would have a battery of 14 sensors to keep it from running into walls and other people, and would be voice controlled. You could shout at it to go "up" or "down" or just tell it to follow you like a flying, robotic member of the paparazzi (or a flying puppy), and call it a day. During its acrobatics, it'd be recording you, of course, and you could beam that footage to your smartphone and have it stream there, or shunt it over to YouTube or Facebook if that's your cup of tea.

There's no word on what kind of camera the MeCam would have, but that's probably because Always Innovating doesn't plan to build them itself, but rather to license out the technology to others. Still, when all is said and done, AI expects that the little guys could be as cheap as $49, which is frankly a steal for a pet quadcopter that doesn't constantly film you. The video is almost just a bonus. It's a little way off, but AI predicts the first licensed copters could hit shelves in 2014. Does it sound a little to good to be true, especially at that price-point? Sure. But here's to hoping. Who wouldn't want a pet quady, right? More here.

Researchers Will Restore Damaged Depth Perception with Electronic Eyes

Our depth perception doesn't work without two eyes. However an estimated 285 million people worldwide suffer from some form of visual impairment in at least one theirs. The loss of sight in just one eye also means the loss of one's ability to accurately judge short distances. However, a team of researchers have devised an ingenious solution to restore binocular vision.

With natural binocular vision, our eyes view objects at slightly varying angles from one another to produce a pair of distinct perspectives which our brains then interpret as a single 3-D image. The Mono-glass system, developed by a team from the University of Yamanashi, replicates this process using commercially available components as stand-ins for the non-functional fleshy bits.

The current design iteration of Mono-glass relies on Wrap 920AR augmented reality glasses, normally used for working in Autodesk 3ds Max, to act as artificial eyes, generating images with a pair of integrated cameras. The team's custom software then processes this information to calculate the relative distance of each item in the field of view and synthesize the data into a single image. This image is then displayed in the patient's good eye with close objects appearing in focus while progressively distant items grow increasingly blurry, like the one below. More here.

Jan 25, 2013

A Wearable Sleeping Bag That You Might Actually Wear

This wearable sleeping bag isn't the first time someone's designed bedding you can stay in all day long—that honor probably goes to Selk. But it is the first sleeping bag you can wear that doesn't make you look like you're wrapped in a ridiculous puffy spacesuit.

At night, Doppleganger Outdoors' wearable sleeping bag entombs you in a cocoon of fiber filled polyester, keeping the cold out with sealable sleeves and a bag that wraps around your legs and feet. But the bottom half of the $130 sleeping bag can actually be removed in sections, turning it into a long winter coat, or a shorter jacket when you need the freedom to move around. Not only is it a more comfortable approach, but you can also roll up and compress the bottom section so it's small enough to stash in a pocket, helping keep your camping kit as minimal as possible. More here.

An All-Wool Beanie Makes Single-Digit Temps Almost Bearable

It's so cold you have to duck when you walk down the street to block the wind from freezing your face. Oh wait, then your head's iced over. You know what'll keep it warm? This all merino wool knit cap from Best Made.

This cozy hat gets its cred from tests on the frigid streets of New York City and snowy mountains of St. Elias National Park in Alaska. Both cold places, both places where you're screwed without a some head protection. A hat makes you instantly warmer. When you're comfortable and toasty, nine degrees with a wind chill isn't as bad. More here.

Jan 24, 2013

You Can Squeeze 2.2 Petabytes of Data Into One Gram of DNA

Scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute are squeezing unparalleled amounts of data in to synthetic DNA, and now they've achieved something absolutely amazing: they can store 2.2 petabytes of information in a single gram of DNA, and recover it with 100 percent accuracy.

The researchers have encoded an MP3 of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I have a dream" speech, along with all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, into a string of DNA. Scaled up, that represents a storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram. What's amazing, though, is that they've managed to achieve that whilst also implementing error correction in the complex chains of molecules, allowing them to retrieve content with 100 per cent accuracy.

The technique uses the four bases of DNA—A, T, C and G—to achieve the high information density. It is, understandably, still incredibly expensive: creating synthetic DNA and then sequencing it to read off the data is getting far easier, but it's still a time- and cash-consuming business. Keep hold of your hard drives for now, but DNA could represent a viable storage solution in the future. More here.

Would You Wear These Crazy Shoes?

These sneakers are, according to Reebok, the "the first all-terrain athletic shoe". They're supposed to echo the utility of an all-terrain vehicle, and take mud, snow, grass, and sand in their stride. But let's not ignore the fact that they look completely and utterly weird.

In many ways they have all the trappings of a normal sneaker: padded tongue, supportive collar for ankle protection, nicely breathable upper and... oh my God look at those lugged soles.

These things seem to be designed to make the wearer look like a clown. Or a space explorer. Perhaps even an alien. They were certainly not designed to make you look normal. More here.

Jan 23, 2013

It’s Impossible To Wake Up Grumpy With This Sunny Silicone Egg Mold

No matter how bad your morning is going, this adorable $12 Sunnyside egg mold is sure to brighten your day—unless you're some kind of monster. Its clever design traps and holds an egg's yolk so it cooks in the shape of the sun, while the egg whites are free to flow and solidify into the shape of a fluffy cloud.

Just add some bacon seagulls, and maybe some hash brown mountains, and you've got yourself a picture perfect breakfast. More here.

Nobody Would See You Coming on This Beautiful Transparent Bike

From certain angles you can barely see this beautiful bicycle—because it's made from the same strong, lighthtweight and transparent plastic used in fighter jet canopies. It's the perfect stealth bike.

A concept put together by Designaffairs, this bicycle—aptly called Clarity Bike—is built from a polymer called Trivex. First used in helicopter windscreens and then in fighter jet canopies, the material is incredibly light but can withstand major shocks. It's also resistant to extremes of heat and cold, and can be injection moulded—so it would be perfect for making a bicycle.Designaffairs explain:
We believe that the Clarity Bike could be a giant leap forward in bicycle frame engineering and production. The design takes advantage of an advanced polymer which combines high impact resistance, lightweight properties and a gentle flexibility that usually would only be expected on an old Italian steel frame.
If this thing could be made affordably, they could sell an absolute ton—and I, for one, would be at the front of the queue. More here.

Jan 22, 2013

The Mathematically Most Efficient Way to Sort Socks

Computer scientists around the world have been stumped by a vexing mathematical problem for ages: How does one go about sorting a large pile of socks when said socks are different? How does one model the plane of possibilities? The solution has arrived, and it's much simpler than you think.

Mr. Kottke reports the findings of his own personal study, which it turns out is simpler than anything science has otherwise come up with. More here.
1) Throw all your socks out.
2) Go to Uniqlo and buy 15 identical pairs of black socks.
3) When you want to wear socks, pick any two out of the drawer.
4) When you notice your socks are wearing out, goto step 1.

Suction Cup Viewfinder Makes Your iPhone Slightly More DSLR-Like

If you're a professional photographer who's reluctantly embraced the iPhone as an occasional alternative to your DSLR, you're gonna love Photojojo's latest smartphone accessory. It's a suction cup viewfinder that sticks your iPhone's display letting you block out all the distractions around you and frame your shots the same way you would with your full-sized camera.

For $30 it includes a complementary app that generates a smaller preview window on the iPhone's display that the viewfinder is designed to cover, as well as an easy on-screen guide so you know exactly where to position it. It even works with iPads, as long as you're willing to deal with everyone around you shaking their head in disbelief while you hold your giant tablet up against your face. More here.

Who Cares If They’re Probably Impractical? These Wooden Knives Are Stunning

There's probably a good reason the master knife makers of the world traditionally choose steel and other metals for their blades, instead of maple. But even if these wooden knives, designed by The Federal, aren't as durable or lack the heft of a traditional blade, they'd still make a gorgeous addition to any kitchen, particularly one sporting a butcher block counter.

So that the knives are safe to use on foods, easy to clean, and won't become visible histories of the meals you've prepared through stains, the wood is sealed . And the thin steel edge that serves as the blade is actually about twice as wide as it appears, with the opposing side invisibly sliding into the wooden part of the blade where it's secured with flush-mounted rivets. More here.

Jan 21, 2013

A 3D-Printed Hamburger Would Cost You $300,000

Making fake meat in a lab sure isn't easy, but 3D printing promises to revolutionize the process. The only downside: a 3D-printed hamburger will set you back $300,000.

Growing meat in the lab is a long-studied avenue of research. But now 3D printing could make the process quicker. The BBC explains:
Instead of traditional ink or a material like plastic, the 3D printer cartridge contains something called bioink made of hundreds of thousands of live cells. Once printed in the desired shape, the bioink particles naturally fuse to form living tissue. This process of bioprinting biomaterials is similar to attempts to print artificial organs for transplants - but the result could well end up in your frying pan.
The real benefit is related to the shape of the meat we eat, though: burgers, steaks and plenty of other cuts have lateral dimensions that are much bigger than their thickness. That makes them perfect candidates for 3D printing, which could theoretically speed up the process of making lab-grown meat. But just like the devices used for prototyping products using plastics, bio-printing is still in its infancy—and so incredibly expensive.

So while there's certainly promise—after all, a Dutch team has already showcased a small piece of 3D-printed artificial meat which was 2cm long, 1cm wide and about 1mm thick—current estimates suggest a whole hamburger created in this way would cost $300,000. Not quite competing with McDonald's yet, then. More here.

Jan 20, 2013

Google’s Making Moves to Kill the Password

Passwords are long and complicated and hard to remember. And that's only if they're good passwords. No matter how you slice it, passwords are annoying and on top of that, they're not even all that secure. Google knows that all too well, and it's pushing for the next big thing. A ring maybe. Like for your finger.

Google's been getting behind two-step verification for a while, and although that's more secure than a standard password, it's also more annoying. Hardly a perfect solution. In a paper to be published later this month in IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine, Google's President of Security Eric Grosse and Engineer Mayank Upadhyay are pitching alternatives like cryptographic card for your USB, or some kind of (presumably NFC) ring.

Google's got some software in the making that'd allow this kind of stuff to log you into a browser without involving any sort of software in the middle, just you and your browser. But even in the best possible future, it won't kill passwords completely. So long as your little key can be separated from you, you'll have to have a PIN or something, and the more conveniently short the PIN, the more important it is you don't loose that key. Still, it beats straight passwords and two-step verification annoyances. And the sooner the password can finally be laid to rest, the better. More here.

Jan 19, 2013

Kim Dotcom’s Mega Is Now Open To the Public

Mega, Kim Dotcom's big, flashy new copyright-dismantling file-sharing/storage site with encryption up the wazoo has finally launched. You can head on over and sign up right now. That is, so long as the site can hold under the crazy traffic. So far, it looks like it's getting crushed. But different people are experiencing different things.

Angled Lens Case Turns Your Smartphone Into a GoPro

G-Form's made a name for itself with extreme phone and tablet cases that can protect a gadget during falls from over 100,000 feet. But since rarely are any of us in a situation where we fumble and drop our toys from space, the company's new G90 case that turns your phone into a GoPro-like action cam is a little more exciting.

The case is of course completely waterproof, and designed to protect your device against falls, collisions, and other run-ins with gravity. But it's biggest innovation is a 90-degree angled lens and mirror that makes it easier to mount your protected phone length-wise. It's a more aerodynamic approach, and the larger lens also expands your smartphone camera's view to a full 140 degrees, depending on its own lens.

Expected to drop—safely—in June, the G90 will actually be available for a wide variety of devices including the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 (oh really?), and even the latest iPod Touch. More here.

Jan 18, 2013

Ticking Teeth Skull Watch Walks the Line Between Clever and Morbid

Skull-based accessories are usually only popular with a certain demographic who've embraced the morbid side of life. But damned if this Last Laugh watch from Mr. Jones hasn't crossed the border into mainstream territories with a clever mechanism that shows the hour and minutes on the skull's teeth.

Powered by an automatic mechanical movement that basically means just wearing the watch keeps it wound, the Last Laugh is a little pricey at $260 for what is essentially a clever sight gag. More here.

Jan 17, 2013

A 3D Printer That Actually Looks Like it Belongs in Your Home

Cubify's colorful 3D printers look like coffee makers, and that's exactly the point—they're a natural fit for your home. And they might be just the ticket to making this 3D printing thing stick with normal people.

The Cube is kind of the opposite of Makerbot's at-home 3D printer, the Replicator, which is a big bulky 32-pound industrial beast. The Cube, on the other hand, is a 19-pound, adorable sewing machine-sized apparatus, and it's totally something that fits right in with your other appliances. To top it off, it's $1400, compared to the Replicator's $1750 starting point. For $50 more you get Cubify's design software to make the printable creations of your dreams. (Real talk: They should include the software for free.)

As a company, Cubify might actually have the right understanding—its founder, Chuck Hull, was actually the first person to patent a 3D printer all the way back in 1983. Though it took him a good 30 years to have a product on the market, the Cube looks really promising. More here.

Patent Hints at Laser-Controlled Google Glasses

With Google's Project Glass still very much in its awkward developmental stages, the best method of controlling it remains up for debate. This patent, though, suggests that a laser-projected control pad might be in the running.

Currently, Project Glass uses a touch pad that runs down the side of one of its arms. Trouble is, that means reaching up every time you need to adjust a setting. This idea, though, would use a laser projector to throw a control pad onto any surface that you're looking at: wall, desk, arm, whatever. Then, a small camera would interpret finger movements in the region of those buttons and turn them into commands. Simple.

This is well-trodden ground, of course: there have been oh-so-many laser projectors designed to throw a keyboard onto a desk in front of you. But they were static; Google's offering would be much trickier to pull off and use. More here.

Jan 16, 2013

There Are Easier Ways to Stack Chairs, But Come On: These Are Awesome

These new chairs by designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance disassemble for storage. No, this isn't the most efficient way to stow furniture away, but it's a neat idea.

Instead of folding up, the "Market" chair's curtain of slats rolls up like a blanket, leaving the frame bare so that it'll fit neatly together with another. If you want chairs that simply stack, you can stick to aluminum. More here.

Vacuums Double as Ponytail-Making Machines

Dads of the world, take note: you don't have to leave the hairstyling to mom. Got a vacuum? Great. Got one of those snakey tube attachments? Perfect. Pop a rubber band on that bad boy, suck your daughter's hair up in the tube, and voilà! A perfect ponytail. Cue touchdown dance.

Be careful, though. One false move and, instead of a cleanly coifed child, you could have a very bald, very upset kid on your hands. Regardless, whoever thought of this is dad of the year. More here.

Jan 15, 2013

Apple Stock Hits a Nine Month Low

Apple's stock took a sharp jump downwards at the opening bell this morning, continuing the rough slide it's been on since the last quarter of 2012. The stock is currently trading around $488 a share. Back in September of 2012, at its peak price of $705 a share, Apple was far and away the world's most valuable company, a crowning achievement for a company that had its share of dark days in the 1990s. But with the loss of its iconic leader, Steve Jobs, and recent flubs on software such as new Maps app, investors seem to have lost much of their confidence in Apple.

"The company has never traded on its profit, it's the exact opposite of Amazon," said trader and Stocktwits founder Howard Lindzon. "Apple has been rewarded for its innovation. The market is expecting more magic. Apple is kind of stuck, for a company that executes so flawlessly. They are printing money, and the market doesn't care." More here.

Coffee or Tea? Don’t Choose Because This Cup Is Two-Faced

If you didn't get your flu shot, you might fall victim to what has now actually turned into an epidemic. And that means you'll temporarily trade your morning coffee in for a steady drip of tea. But fear not, this reversible cup suffers from multiple personality disorder, meaning it's appropriate for whichever hot beverage you prefer.

Depending which way you look at it (literally), the adorable little mug looks like either a tea cup or a coffee mug. For $18 you're basically getting two adorable mugs—a wonderfully indecisive accessory for indecisive people. More here.

Jan 14, 2013

This Is What a Virus Infecting a Cell Looks Like

This isn't a cartoon tree or some strange piece of modern art. In fact, it's what researchers from the University of Texas at Austin saw when they managed to observe a virus in the act of penetrating a cell.
In the image, you can see a T7 virus (red) burrowing its way into an E. coli bacterium (green). The six yellow strands are actually rudimentary legs, which allow the virus to crawl over cells to find a weak spot and then infect them.
The image is the first time scientists have observed a virus inserting its tail into a cell to infect it. It's believed that the process allows it to infect a cell directly with its DNA. The weirdest part? The fact that this all happens in your body, too. More here.

Jan 13, 2013

The World’s Tiniest Clock Is Just One Atom

Holger Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, and his colleagues were interested in breaking down time-telling to its simplest possible forms, and a single-atom clock seemed like a good place to start. The whole concept relies on Broglie's matter-wave hypothesis, which states that a particle of matter can behave like a wave. That means it'll oscillate in a normal pattern that can be used as a clock.

It's not quite that simple though; a single atom will oscillate too fast to be read. So the researchers basically split a cesium atom in half, and had one half move back and forth. Because this movement dilated the oscillation of that half, and the scientists knew exactly how they'd disrupted the atom, they were able to use all the data to calculate the oscillation of the original atom, and essentially make a single atom clock out of it.

A one-atom clock is awesome, but not exactly great at its job. It's only about as accurate as the first atomic clocks, and one billion times less so than the nuclear clocks we have today. Still, it's an impressive accomplishment. More here.

Awesome Window Washers Dressed Up As Spiderman When They Visited a Children’s Hospital

Cleaning windows at a hospital can be totally awkward for everybody involved so All Children's Hospital in Tampa Bay got creative by having their window washers dress up as Spiderman while they cleaned their windows. It brightened up their entire day.

A superhero of a job, I'd say. I'm glad the kids got a kick of it and more hospitals should do the same (if they don't do it already). More here.

Jan 12, 2013

Even The Department Of Homeland Security Wants You To Disable Your Java

There was that vulnerability that affected like a billion computers, and Apple went so far as to remove Java plugins from all OSX browsers. Now even the Department of Homeland Security is in on the act with a special message: "Yo, shut off that Java jazz".

The Java exploits can make your computer (Mac or PC) vulnerable to all kinds of nasty stuff from ransomeware to assorted other virus-y goodness. There are plenty of "exploit kits" out there to help script kiddies get their jollies by messing with your stuff. As such, the Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Readiness Team put out a notice saying "Due to the number and severity of this and prior Java vulnerabilities, it is recommended that Java be disabled temporarily in web browsers."

Oracle plans to release a patch on Tuesday that will fix the bulk of the problems by closing up a whopping 86 vulnerabilities, meaning that for the time being, you've got at least 86 vulnerabilities to worry about if you've got Java on. In the meantime, you best disable that stuff. More here.

Astronomers Found a Star Almost as Old as the Universe Itself

The universe is a big, ancient place, and we've barely scratched the surface of what it contains. We've also found some real gems, like this one: a star that's almost as old as the universe itself.

Sitting 190 lightyears from our solar system, HD 140283 was found almost a hundred years ago, and has been studied by astronomers ever since. Scientists knew the star was old due to it's composition of primarily helium and hydrogen, but it wasn't until now that they were able to narrow down its age and come up with any sort of number. It turns out that is roughtly 13.9 billion years, actually older than the universe—but there's a 700-million-year margin of error, which gives it plenty of room on the right side of the universe's birth.

Astronomers knew of another star that was almost this old, but the reading on this star in particular is far more likely to be accurate. It almost definitely is the oldest star we've ever seen. More here.

Jan 11, 2013

Asus Claims the Title of World’s Smallest Wi-Fi Router

Amongst all of its Windows 8 PCs and tablet announcements, Asus also quietly revealed what it's boasting as the world's smallest Wi-Fi router. And with a form factor only slightly larger than a well-equipped flash drive, the WL-330NUL Pocket Router is the perfect accessory for minimalist road warriors.

Weighing in at just 25 grams, the 802.11b/g/n router includes an ethernet port on one end for sharing a wired connection, and a USB cable on the other for stealing power from a computer. It can also be plugged into an outlet if you want to spare your laptop's battery. For ultra-thin notebooks lacking an ethernet port, the WL-330NUL doubles as a USB ethernet adapter too. As for pricing and availability, that's still to be announced. More here.

Jan 10, 2013

Puregear’s Retro Game Cases Completely Justify Covering Your iPhone 5

In February they'll be available in three different versions for $30 a pop: a traditional boxy maze, a circular maze, and a pseudo-pinball machine that works more like The Price Is Right's Plinko.

They look about a hundred times more addictive than Angry Birds, don't require a Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth, or a battery. And they'll help keep your iPhone 5 from getting all dinged up when you get frustrated at navigating that tiny ball and throw your smartphone across the room. More here.

Whoever Had the Idea to Make Bread Knives That Look Like the Alps Is a Genius

Commemorate your recent European travels and turn any loaf of bread into a pile of shredded crumbs with this trio of knives that feature serrated edges mirroring the silhouettes of the Alps. Pricing and availability haven't been locked down yet, but the famous peaks include the Zurich Panorama, the Lake of Constance Panorama, and the Berner Alps Panorama. They're all about form, not function, so make sure you have a way to display them instead of burying the set in a knife block. More here.

This Fork Yells at You When You Overeat

Forget smartphones, 2013 is the year of the smartfork. A company called HAPILABS has just introduced their tech-laden HAPIfork. What’s the point in squeezing a bunch of microchips into a utensil, you ask? Why, to keep a watch over you as you shovel food in your mouth, of course.

This fork checks how fast and how much you are eating. If it starts to think you are overdoing it, it’ll let you know by administering a vibrating jolt. It’s like having a really mean, four-tined friend with you at the dinner table. It’ll then shoot that information to your phone so you can never forget what a glutton you were. Cool!

In all seriousness, wrapping your brain around portion control can be tricky so if this fork wants to help with that, more power to it. HAPIfork will launch in 2014 at a suggested price of around $100. More here.

Jan 9, 2013

Here’s Your iPhone 5 Battery Case

Mophie tends to be the first to market but it looks like iBattz might squeak one in first. With two 2200mAh batteries, both the Mojo Refuel and rugged Moro Armor can recharge your iPhone 5 up to three times, says the company.

The Refuel is expected to be available next month for $89.90, while the Armor will be available in March for $99.90.

A third case, the AquaSeal Hi5 is waterproof and comes with a detachable 2500mAh battery. No word on pricing or date. More here.

This Wireless Blender Is Your First Step to a Cord-Free Kitchen

Magnets can do more than just heat your meals—they can power the rest of your cooking gadgets as well.

The Haier Cordless Blender is the first such device to part ways with power outlets. Instead, you install a power transmitter (read: induction coil) in your kitchen counter top and place the blender on that. More here.

Jan 8, 2013

This Is the Most Embarrassing Furniture Ever

If you really hate your guests, looks no further than Jay Watson Design's thermochromic furniture. Before they sit down it looks like any normal old table and bench—but when they rise, their sweaty ass will leave a large bright patch that would make any man blush.

Made of solid oak, its surface is coated with thermochromic paint, so that when it's exposed to heat its color changes temporarily. Yes, just like those Hypercolor shirts you wish you could forget. At $1,850 it might be a little expensive for a practical joke—but then maybe you liked your Hypercolor all those years ago? More here.

Jan 7, 2013

Kingston’s HyperX Predator Flash Drive Is the Easiest Way To Misplace a Terabyte Of Data

Last year at CES Victorinox surprised everyone with a one terabyte flash drive that the company estimated would sell for almost $3,000. It sounded too good to be true, and given there's been no sign of it since last January, it apparently was. So can Kingston fill the void left in our hearts with its new HyperX Predator one terabyte USB 3 flash drive? Let's hope so.

With promised read and write speeds topping out at 240MB/s and 160MB/s respectively, filling the HyperX Predator with your data won't be a week-long chore. And availability is promised to be as soon as the first quarter of 2013, although pricing info hasn't been revealed just yet. But with the company's 512 gigabyte model coming in at $1,750, you can safely expect it cost a small fortune. More here.

USB 3.0 Is Going To Double Speeds

USB data transfer is about to get a hell of a lot faster. The USB Promoter Group is rolling out SuperSpeed USB, a supplement to USB 3.0 due out later this year that should surge your speeds two-fold.

SuperSpeed USB is supposed to give you 10 Gbps USB data rate, which is the same as Thunderbolt. It's also expected to feature better data encoding for transfers, more efficiency power efficient ports, and best of all, compatibility with existing devices. Later this year when you download a movie or a CD, it could take much less time thanks to the new standard. More here.

Jan 6, 2013

The Messier You Are, the Harder This Dust-Detecting Samsung Vacuum Sucks

Samsung shows it's still in the housecleaning game with a trio of new stealthy vacs, including the champagne-tinted SC96 which uses a multi-chamber design that's promised to deliver longer suction while being a lot quieter than its predecessors.

The sound dampening is made possible through a customized airflow design which keeps the rushing wind to a dull roar, but the vacuum is also able to automatically adjust its suction level on the fly thanks to sensors that detect the amount of dust and dirt that's being drawn in. So if you're a neat freak, you'll be rewarded with a whisper-quiet cleaning routine. And if you're a real-life version of pig pen, the $450 SC96 will ramp up the suction in an attempt to tackle your mess. More here.

Jan 5, 2013

Move Over GPS, a New Positioning System Has You in Its Sights

GPS is now so widespread that we take it for granted. But it's not always perfect—so what if a new technology could achieve more than those triangulated military satellites in the sky?

In fact, a team of researchers has been mulling exactly that, and come up with a new positioning technology called Locata. New Scientist explains:
Instead of satellites, Locata uses ground-based equipment to project a radio signal over a localized area that is a million times stronger on arrival than GPS. It can work indoors as well as out, and the makers claim the receivers can be shrunk to fit inside a regular cellphone. Even the US military, which invented GPS technology, signed a contract last month agreeing to a large-scale test of Locata at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
You see, GPS often struggles with indoor environments and big cities: towering concrete buildings make it hard to get a signal, and tight road and pedestrian networks mean inaccuracy is problematic. By contrast, Locata already has accuracy of 18 centimeters along any axis, and claims to be able to get that number down to 5. Crazy.

The technology is, however, still in its early days, and it would take some impressive performance and marketing if it's ever to supersede GPS. Chances are, then, that it would work alongside GPS, creating a hybrid system which combines the best features of both technologies. In fact, such a thing already exists: Leica is trialling a briefcase-size Jigsaw Positioning Systemwhich is being used to guide drilling in the gold mines in Western Australia. How quickly that can translate into a consumer product, though, remains to be seen. More here.

This Is Supposedly a Photo of a Photo of Samsung’s Galaxy S IV

So this really horribly shot picture is supposedly a press photo of the Galaxy S IV. There's a small chance it's Samsung's next smartphone, but to be quite honest, it looks like someone snapped a picture of something that was Photoshopped.

But in the off chance it actually is the S IV, what are we actually looking at? The bezel is slimmer, the home button is gone, and the phone looks thinner overall. SamMobile, the source of the photo, also claimed the new phone will have a 5-inch display, 13-megapixel camera, and Jelly Bean out of the box. Obviously Samsung is going to release a follow up to the S III—it's a good phone and it continues to sell well.  More here.