You'd think notorious watchmaker Tokyoflash would be run by a gang of mad scientists determined to drive people crazy with their incomprehensible timepieces.
But during a recent visit to its headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, I found a positively tranquil office housed in a charming and rare prewar building.
I was quickly given some hands-on time with the Kisai Rorschach, a recent creation that uses an e-paper display from E Ink to create inscrutable inkblots that would have made Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach proud. … Read more
Forty-five years ago today, a group of techies sat in a room in San Francisco, eagerly awaiting what would become known to some as "the mother of all demos."
The occasion was the demonstration by Douglas Engelbart, director of Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center, of, among other things, the world's first computer mouse. Many have since credited that December 9, 1968, presentation with helping to launch the personal-computing revolution.
The demo was actually of a number of projects that Engelbart and his colleagues at SRI were working on. But it's the mouse that won … Read more
Trying to wrap your tongue around a phrase or short poem with repeated sounds is something humans have been doing for centuries -- at least that we know of; the practice probably goes back further than recorded history. We grew up giggling over tongue twisters like "Betty Botter bought a bit of butter" and "she sells sea shells by the sea shore" (and some more sweary variants).
Researchers at MIT now claim that they've conceived the most difficult tongue twister ever: "pad kid poured curd pulled cod." According to the lead researcher, psychologist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, the phrase tripped up test subjects with high frequency -- so much so that the team offered a prize to anyone who could say the phrase 10 times quickly at last week's meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in San Francisco. … Read more
The Periplaneta japonica species of roaches love the heat just as much as any other cockroach, but they also laugh in the face of freezing temperatures, making them the polar bears of the cockroach world.
Periplaneta japonica is well known in Asian countries, but was just recently confirmed as taking up residence in the United States. Rutgers insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista published their squicky findings in the Journal of Economic Entomology.… Read more
Santa is like the NSA, FBI, and CIA all wrapped up in one jolly red package. He's slipperier than James Bond and more elusive than Big Foot. He might know when you're asleep and when you're awake, but does he know that you just dropped $6,500 on a stakeout kit to catch him?
OpticsPlanet has added the $6,500 Santa Stakeout Kit to its catalog just in time to gear up for the holidays. One of the kit's key pieces is an Opmod Ghillie Suit in Snow Camo, to help you blend in with your snowy surroundings and reduce the chance of Santa spotting you first.… Read more
Open the picture menu of any modern TV at right at the top there is Picture Mode. These presets have names like Sports, Dynamic, Cinema, Movie, and so on. If you've ever cycled through these you can see the image change quite dramatically.
There is potentially a lot going on between these modes, and learning what they're doing can help you find what the best mode is for you. … Read more
The National Security Agency, along with its UK counterpart, the GCHQ, has taken to video games to spy on alleged terrorists, according to a new report.
The Guardian reported on Monday that leaked documents obtained from Edward Snowden show that the NSA several years ago determined that online games could be a breeding ground for terrorist activity. In response, the US and UK set out a plan to monitor activity on popular games, World of Warcraft and Second Life. Xbox Live gaming was also targeted in that effort.… Read more