With the holidays approaching and families arriving from out of town, it's not always easy to find a little peace and quiet. It's also increasingly difficult to find the kind of place that often provided that quiet: a good, old-fashioned library.
It's not that libraries are going away. They're just changing dramatically.
When Adafruit Industries, a leader in open-source hardware manufacturing, published a Bitcoin mining tutorial last summer, helping people mine the controversial digital currency to purchase Adafruit products was not the goal.
"We didn't think about that at all," said Phil Torrone, Adafruit's co-founder. "I wish we were that clever."
But that's just what happened. Yesterday, New York's Adafruit, which sells a wide range of tools and equipment designed to help people learn electronics, began accepting payment in Bitcoins, and already, its customers have used Bitcoins they earned using Adafruit's mining tutorial … Read more
What if you could play, say, the game Cooking Mama and virtually taste the dishes you make? Or watch "Iron Chef" (still the best cooking competition ever on TV) and taste the dishes alongside the judges?
Nimesha Ranasinghe and his team at the National University of Singapore have built what they call the Digital Taste Simulator, an electrode that sits on the tip of the user's tongue and re-creates flavors.
It works by sending tiny alternating currents and slight temperature changes into the tongue that fool it into "tasting" four flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. "We have found noninvasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations," Ranasinghe said. … Read more
Most of us will never have the chance to float about in the International Space Station and look down on the blue globe and swirling clouds of the Earth below. We mostly settle for stunning photographs. Soon, we'll be able to settle for near-real-time streaming video online.
Canadian company UrtheCast is installing two cameras on the ISS today. Once in operation, they will live-stream high-def footage of the Earth through UrtheCast's Web platform. Basic accounts for taking a peek at the views will be free. Users will also be able to access time-lapse compilations.… Read more
As always, this Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah) holiday week will be all about food, friends, family, Black Friday shopping -- and one large space snowball's existential journey around the sun that will either annihilate the comet or turn it into a majestic and luminous celestial body for a brief period of time.
On second thought, I don't recall one of those things from last year. That's because Comet ISON is on target to make a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the sun on Thanksgiving afternoon. Basically a rock from deep space covered with tons of ice and snow, Comet ISON has been winging its way past Earth and our neighboring planets in recent weeks on a "sungrazing" course with our nearest star.
It will reach its point of "perihelion," where it comes closest to the surface of the sun (within only 730,000 miles) on Thanksgiving afternoon and then whip around the other side of the star and head back in our direction. If ISON survives this closest encounter with the sun, it could become one of the brightest comets seen in recent decades or longer as it passes by on its way back out of the solar system in December.… Read more
George Takei, famous for his role as Sulu on "Star Trek", as well as his more recent role as an Internet-conquering social-media star, has joined the ranks of Bruce Willis and One Direction by offering his own branded perfume. The spray-on cologne is dubbed "Eau My," a punny reference to his catchphrase, "Oh myyyyy."
Takei teased fans, asking them to guess the name of the new fragrance. His Facebook followers offered up some real gems, including "Old Space," "Takei Me Now," and "Red Shirt."… Read more
While most of the US are roasting turkeys and splooshing cranberry sauce out of cans, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station will be floating high above the Earth, enjoying a Thanksgiving meal of their very own out of bags.
The menu isn't so different at first glance. There will be turkey, yams, green beans, dressing, potatoes, and cobbler. It's the details that make it all sound a little less appetizing than a meal cooked with gravity. The smoked turkey is irradiated, the yams are thermostabilized, and the green beans are freeze-dried.… Read more
UPP, or Unilateral Pricing Policy, is a way for TV manufacturers to force retailers to keep manufacturer-specified pricing. As in no crazy discounts to move stock, no doorbuster deals, and no (let's be honest here) price competition. The price is the price is the price. Break that price, and you risk that company banning you from selling its products.
Shockingly, this is legal. Read on for more info.… Read more