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Towletech v.129: Stephen Hawking Joins Facebook, Space Dive, Virtual Reality Horror, Gamergate

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A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web

Road Stephen Hawking joins Facebook, accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Road Google has introduced a new email service called Inbox that hopes to ease the clutter and confusion from your regular Gmail account. Facebook also rolled out a new app called "Rooms" which allows users to create mobile forums about any topic you want. 

Road Google's senior vice president Alan Eustace beat Felix Baumgartner's free fall record on Friday, plummeting from the edge of space nearly 26 miles in the air in a custom space suit. Check out a cool video on the jump below:


Road CVS is the latest company to join the growing list of retailers who will not be accepting the Apple Pay mobile payment system over competing investments in a separate mobile wallet company. 

Batman and robinRoad Director Joel Schumacher is reportedly working on a 12-issue comic that will complete the Batman trilogy he began with the camp-tastic Batman Forever and Batman & Robin

Road At a MIT talk on Friday, Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk reiterated his warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence, calling it our "biggest existential threat." Said Musk: "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out." 

Road Banshee Chapter, a 2013 horror film produced by Zachary Quinto, has now been adapted for Oculus Rift - opening the door to a world of frightening possibilities in the future of immersive, virtual reality experiences. Check out a video of the cast and crew talk about the new edition below:


Road China has launched the first privately funded mission to the moon. 

DexmoRoad Tech company Dexta Robotics has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new Dexmo glove that uses force feedback to enable users to touch objects in virtual reality. 

Road Take a tour of the Minecraft city that took two years to build

Road DC is looking for a female director to helm its upcoming Wonder Woman film. 

Road Former NFL-er, LGBT ally, and creative wordsmith Chris Kluwe takes the "slackjawed pickletits" who support #Gamergate to task for their role defending misogyny and the harassment of women in the video game industry. 

Road Apple will reportedly be relaunching it's newly acquired Beats Music streaming platform as part of iTunes sometime next year.

Road The surprising science behind Christopher Nolan's Interstellar

Towletech v.128: Cinematic Reality, Smart Cuffs, Siding Spring Comet, Airborne Wind Turbines

Magic leap


A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web

Road Google is planning a massive push into the augmented reality field with a $500 million investment into Magic Leap - a company specializing in "cinematic reality" that claims it can deliver a more realistic 3D experience than Oculus Rift. "On Oculus Rift and pretty much every other virtual and augmented reality experience, what the viewer sees is flat and floating in space at a set distance. What Magic Leap purports to do is make you think you’re seeing a real 3-D object on top of the real world."

Road Check out this simulation that compares the spread of ebola to other diseases - illustrating how ebola kills more than other diseases, but spreads at a slower rate.

Road The U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane returned to earth this week after spending 674 days in orbit. No details on its mission have been released by the military, but conspiracy theories have bounced around ideas ranging from "space bombing" to spying on the Chinese space station. Check out a CNN video on the mysterious craft below:


Road On Wednesday, unveiled the Puls, a smart 'cuff' that makes phone calls, plays music, and monitors fitness - just don't call it a smartwatch (he said so repeatedly). Microsoft, meanwhile, is also planning on launching a fitness band of its own in the coming weeks. 

HardyRoad Tom Hardy is reportedly in the running for the title role in Bryan Singer's upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

 Road The Telegraph dives into the current age of the cyborg. “This is the frontline of the Human Enhancement Revolution,” wrote the technology author and philosopher Patrick Lin last year. “We now know enough about biology, neuroscience, computing, robotics, and materials to hack the human body.”

Road Terminator director James Cameron on why he's a proud owner of a 10-year-old flip phone: "Apple has enough people with their devices being tracked by the government. Every place you go with that thing they know exactly where you are. So you want to talk Skynet...Skynet has already won. Everyone is already wired to their computers."

Road Check out this faux-trailer for WALL-E, if the Pixar classic was a Christopher Nolan film instead (a la Insterstellar):


Road Biometrics company Zwipe is teaming up with MasterCard to create the world's first fingerprint-activated, contact-free credit card. 

Siding SpringRoad A mountain-sized comet known as Siding Spring charged past Mars earlier today at 125,000mph, and missed it by a little more than one-third the distance of the Earth to the Moon. Martian rovers were able to capture dramatic photos [such as the one to the right] of the passing comet. 

Road Popular Science looks at the possibility of using suspended animation in our future space travel - and what scientists still need to learn before we give the green light.

Road Game of Thrones casts Lost actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko) as a new, made-for-tv character named Malko.  

BATRoad The world's first airborne wind turbine will soon debut in Alaska and bring renewable energy and WiFi to Fairbanks residents. 

Road Someone (with presumably way too much free time) has built a functioning iPhone within the popular sandbox game Minecraft

Road An infographic on the 40 upcoming Marvel and DC superhero films that will be consuming your life from 2014-2020.

Google's New Android Ad Features Blink-and-You'll-Miss-It Gay Marriage Proposal: VIDEO


Google is rolling out the latest version of its popular Android operating system codenamed “Lollipop” along with a new tagline: “Android: Be Together. Not The Same.”

The tagline is a direct response to competitors who have criticized the the company’s phone OS for being fragmented. In a new ad for Android, however, Google is owning that technological diversity and translating it into real world metaphors.

“Good things happen when everybody’s invited,” Google SVP of Android and apps Sundai Pichai wrote in a blog post. “And the best part is that every time someone new joins in, things get more interesting, unexpected, and wonderful for all of us.”

The ad, which is composed mainly of crowdsourced footage from YouTube, features Alex Unick proposing to his fiancée Zach Udko. Though the clip of the proposal is quick, it’s a visible continuation of Google’s commitment to LGBT-inclusive advertisement. Last year, Mountain View-based company reached across the globe to help gay and lesbian couples in France and Chile get married by connecting them to a Belgian mayor who would officiate their weddings via Google Hangout.

Watch Google’s newest LGBT-inclusive ad AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Google's New Android Ad Features Blink-and-You'll-Miss-It Gay Marriage Proposal: VIDEO" »

Towletech v.127: 3D Printed Cars, Smart Rings, Drone Boats, E-Ink Credit Cards

3d printed car



A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web

Road Mashable takes the world's first 3D printed car for a test drive.

Road But don't get too excited for the possibility of 3D printed flying cars in the future, as Space X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained this week why flying cars might not be such a good idea after all. "If the sky was full of cars flying all over the place, it would affect how things look. It would affect the skyline. And it would be noisier and there would be a greater probability of something falling on your head. Those are not good things." You can still get excited for ground travel though, as Musk this week unveiled Tesla's all-wheel drive 'D' model.

Road Check out this NASA video showing how Orion - the spaceship that will one day take us to the Moon and Mars - will be launched on top of a Delta rocket December 4. 


Road Earlier this week, Facebook launched hyper-local advertising that can target you with ads for businesses within a mile of your current location. The company is also working on a stand-alone app that allows users to anonymously interact with one another.

PlastcRoad Introducing the Plastc card, the e-ink card that may one day replace everything in your wallet. 

Road Google chairman Eric Schmidt warns that the government's mass surveillance programs may end up "breaking the internet" In related news, Twitter is suing the federal government to protect its right to provide information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance on individuals.

Road The science behind why orange juice tastes gross after brushing your teeth. 

Road A group of engineering grad students from MIT are predicting the 2022 Mars One colonists will suffocate on the red planet a mere 68 days after arrival. "At about 68 days, the first wheat crop will reach maturity and the level of oxygen will spike. To avoid a huge fire hazard, the oxygen will need to be vented, but there is not yet a reliable way to preferentially vent oxygen without also venting the nitrogen used to maintain pressure. Thus, the colony will run out of nitrogen almost immediately. The end result, says the paper, is suffocation due to low air pressure. Well, that or the habitat explodes and the survivors suffocate outside."

Road A Japanese company has created a cloud control "smart ring" that enables wearers to control their smartphone, smart home appliances, smartwatches, and Google Glass. The aptly named Ring has already completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and can be yours for $269.99. Check out the promo video below:


Road The Boston Globe looks at the growing number of post-doctoral science students languishing without jobs due to federal funding cuts. 

Road The U.S. Navy is testing the use of "drone" boats to swarm enemy vessels. 

AtlasRoad A robot first responder that can go where humans can't. "Atlas was designed by Boston Dynamics, a leading robotics company, under contract with the Pentagon. The goal was to create a bot that could replace rescue workers in dangerous areas— Yosemite during last year's wildfires, for example, or the Philippines after a massive typhoon, or Napa, California, after the 6.0 earthquake in August. Thousands of first responders each year are put in danger, or die, at such sites. The 6-foot 2-inch, 330-pound Atlas uses hydraulically driven joints to exert massive force—one kick can turn a cinder block into crumbs. Hydraulics also allow Atlas to right itself if it's thrown off balance. When Atlas runs, range-finding sensors render the way forward in 3D so it won't trip. Tools such as screwdrivers fit onto its articulated hands."

Road In related news, tech research firm Gartner is predicting robots will replace a third of all jobs by 2025.

 Road The case for a "code" of virtual reality ethics and morality. "Most people in the modern world have been brought up in such a way that it’s both ethically and morally wrong to murder someone in real life or to abuse a child. I would argue that if our virtual experiences approach the realism of real life — which they surely will — then it would be a good idea for us to try and behave with at least a modicum of morality. This could be as simple as a code of conduct for developers and publishers of VR experiences, or as complex/overreaching as an active policing system that keeps VR users within bounds."

Road Batman's Batcave and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar get the virtual reality treatment. 

Towletech v.126: Mars Colony, Windows 10, Drone Battles, Lost



A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web.

Road Space X CEO Elon Musk reiterates the importance of establishing a human colony on Mars. "I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left."'

Road Microsoft has finally unveiled it's next operating system - Windows 10. The OS is a hybrid of the tablet-like Windows 8 and the more traditional Windows 7 and isn't being called Windows 9 because some speculate Microsoft is trying to distance itself from the notoriously user-unfriendly Windows 8.   

Road Check out this cool video of Disney using blank fondant and projection mapping to create one of the coolest cakes ever for one lucky couple's Fairy Tale Wedding.


Road Check out the Olive - the Fitbit-esque bracelet that helps you manage your stress levels by having it track and analyze your physical indicators and habits that contribute to the strain of life.  

CcRoad A Google Glass app that provides real-time closed captioning for everyday conversations. 

Road Speaking of Google, the company is reportedly developing displays that can connect like Legos to form one big, seamless picture. 

Road Hacker puts Windows 95 on a smartwatch...just because. 

Road A DIY Survival Guide for a zombie apocalypse. 

Road A NASA-backed study looks into the option of putting astronauts into a deep sleep (or "torpor") during a human expedition to Mars. "Economically, the payoff looks impressive. Crews can live inside smaller ships with fewer amenities like galleys, exercise gear and of course water, food and clothing. One design includes a spinning habitat to provide a low-gravity environment to help offset bone and muscle loss." 

Road It's all led up to this - Jimmy Fallon vs Tyler Perry in a drone battle. 


Road The best places to trade-in your old phone for an iPhone 6. 

AlcatrazRoad Check this out: Alcatraz reimagined as the lavish fortress home of a powerful tech mogel. 

Road The world's first genetically modified babies will graduate high school this year

Road Education, military and 3 other areas that will be transformed by 3D printer technology

Road NASA has revealed details of its mission to redirect an asteroid to orbit the moon and send humans to explore it in the 2020s. 

Road A visualization of the ebola spreading rate compared to HIV and other diseases

LostRoad Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse thinks the show's return is "inevitable" - "It’s like the Narnia chronicles. There are [seven] books, they were all written by CS Lewis, but they all visit Narnia at different times and different configurations and different ways. Someone is going to come up with a way to tell another Lost story. I think it’s inevitable. I don’t know what it is or how it would work, but I can’t imagine something else won’t be done with the franchise."

Road Researchers discover Egypt-sized cyanide cloud over Saturn's largest moon Titan. 

Meet Ed, Your Digitally Rendered Mancrush of the Week: VIDEO


Ed, the handsome man shown in the screen shot above, is the product of multiple months worth of animation, character modeling, and computer rendering. As life-like as Ed may appear his creator Chris Jones has admitted that he’s definitely still a work in progress. Using a blend of Lightwave, Sculptris, and Krita, Jones crafted layers of authentic musculature and realistic skin complete with perfectly rendered imperfections.

Check out the layers digital building blocks that created Ed AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Meet Ed, Your Digitally Rendered Mancrush of the Week: VIDEO" »


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