Apr 15, 2014

Was this the world's first emoticon?

posted by Larra Morris

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The emoticon might be older than we thought. This passage of text, which includes a cheeky smiley, is taken from Robert Herrick's 1648 poem To Fortune—and it might be the first ever use of an emoticon.

Literary critic Levi Stahl thought the punctuation might be a typo in his copy of of Hesperides, but he checked out the authoritative two-volume edition of Herrick's work published last year by the Oxford University Press and found the exact same thing. Stahl has since claimed that that it could well be an intentional invention of the smiley, as the poet's work is generally cleverly written with smart, underlying humor.
via Gizmodo

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Apr 15, 2014

Paper airplane folding & launching machine

posted by Laura Domela

via Geekologie

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Apr 14, 2014

Disney & Relativity Media are now in a bidding war over Maker Studios

posted by Laura Domela

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Looks like YouTube network Maker Studios is even hotter than we previously thought — entertainment company Relativity Media just started a bidding war to purchase it.

Although Disney made its own bid a few weeks ago and the Maker board is slated to vote on it this week, Relativity Media has just made an offer for $500 million in stock, plus $400 million in stock if Maker meets certain financial targets, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Relativity has also reportedly offered an additional $100 million “bonus pool” to “key talent and executives” at the network.
via Venture Beat

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Image Credit: Photo via NoBizPlan

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Apr 14, 2014

New Banksy art explores the role of technology in our lives

posted by Laura Domela

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One new confirmed piece by graffiti artist Banksy, as well as one new suspected piece, in the United Kingdom has been revealed. The confirmed piece — currently featured on Banksy’s website — is a stencil of two lovers embracing with mobile phones behind each other’s backs. The specific location of this piece is currently unknown.
via Laughing Squid

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Apr 14, 2014

Dutch test glow-in-the-dark road of the future

posted by Laura Domela

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There's a half-kilometer stretch of road in the Netherlands that looks a bit like something out of the movie Tron, thanks to new luminescent markings that glow green in the dark.

The photoluminescent paint, a sort of amped-up version of what is found on many wristwatches, charges up during daylight hours and then turns emits the green hue at night along the short test patch of N329 highway in Oss, according to Dutch companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans, a road construction firm.

"It's almost radioactive," says artist Daan Roosegaarde, who envisioned the project as being a sort of "Route 66 of the future," according to Wired, which says part of the ultimate vision is for "weather markings — snowdrops, for instance, [to] appear when the temperature [reaches] a certain level."
via NPR

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Apr 14, 2014

This tiny generator can power wearable devices using your body heat

posted by Larra Morris

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Many wearables have decent enough battery life, but you know what'll make them even better? If we never have to recharge them at all. That's why researchers have been developing small power sources that can generate electricity using body heat, including a team from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. This particular group has designed a new light and flexible generator made out of thermoelectric (TE) substances printed on glass fabric. It's far from being the first TE generator out there, but it's a huge departure from the usual bulky and rigid ones.
via Engadget

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Image: KAIST

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Apr 14, 2014

Lab-grown cartilage used to perform nose reconstruction surgery

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers from Switzerland's University of Basel have performed the first successful nose reconstruction surgery using engineered cartilage grown in the laboratory. The cartilage was spawned form the patient's own cells in an approach that could circumvent the need for more invasive surgeries.
via Gizmag

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Image: University of Basel

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Apr 14, 2014

Anybody with a printer can make these origami-inspired robots

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots are really expensive and hard to build. Two MIT scientists want to change all that with inkjet printers and techniques borrowed from origami.

MIT robotics experts Ankur Mehta and Daniela Rus recently published a paper that describes a system for designing and building print-and-fold robots. That's 2D printing, too, not 3D printing. Their process "uses cheap and easily available software and hardware tools and raw materials, making [building robots] accessible to a casual hobbyist."
via Gizmodo

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Apr 11, 2014

UPS delivery trucks don't turn left in the U.S.

posted by Laura Domela

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This sounds like some sort of ridiculous April Fools' joke, but turns out it's actually true - UPS delivery trucks rarely turn left in the US. The strategy was devised by engineers to increase efficiency and save on fuel. After significant research, they found that that one of the main causes of idle time resulted from drivers making left turns, essentially going against the flow of traffic.

Since then, UPS estimate they've managed to save 10 million gallons of gas, reducing their carbon emissions by 100,000 metric tons – the equivalent of 5,300 cars off the road for an entire year. TV programme Mythbusters even tested out the theory for themselves, and it genuinely works. Watch the clip below.
via Huh

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Apr 11, 2014

This part of your brain makes you fall for casino tricks

posted by Laura Domela

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It’s not just the scintillating lights, absent clocks, and free-flowing booze that coerce you to continue the irrational act of gambling—against all odds—on chance-based games when you visit Vegas. New research suggests it’s also the bedeviling work of a prune-sized hunk of gray matter that’s folded deep inside your cerebral cortex.

The insula is a small part of the brain, but it packs an emotional punch. It helps us feel some of our most powerful feelings, including love, anxiety, and hunger. Patients who damage their insula can experience these emotions and cravings in unusual ways. And that makes them highly sought after for trials by scientists—researchers who want to understand how this slice of the neuron pie affects our daily lives. High-profile research published seven years ago, for example, showed that these patients had an easier time than others in kicking cigarette addictions.
via Pacific Standard

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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