Given that we’re merrily spinning into the abyss thanks to too many tech innovations getting out of hand once the wrong people get their paws on assorted digital keys to the kingdom, the robot apocalypse is rushing ahead full steam and right on schedule with the assistance of some humans who should know better. Still, it’s nice when one is rewarded for one’s curiosity about our future metal and plastic overlords.
Video call service Oovoo dropped off a few interesting robots around NYC a little while back as a test to see if people would react to them correctly and as you an see, only a few nailed the proper responses and were rewarded handsomely for their bravery. Nice. Be kind to that not so immobile human-shaped mechanical being and you get some nifty prizes. I kind of wish I was around Manhattan when this happened as I know the robot playbook to a T at this point and would have won something fun while realizing we’re one step closer to that technical takeover.
On the other hand, Boston Dynamics? You’re starting to scare me more than ever. BigDog was bad enough, but your new and improved Atlas robot is speeding up the nightmares of many on a few fronts. As you can see from this video, it can walk across uneven terrain with little trouble other than looking like a drunken sailor on leave which will fool and lure some fat cop right up to it in time for a disarming surprise. I bet it’s somewhat bullet resistant and has an unhealthy craving for a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.
I’m also betting it remembers stuff like some jerk knocking it around with a freakin’ hockey stick while it’s just trying to do the job of a soon to be out of work American (who’ll no doubt mistakenly blame Mexico for all this job-stealing technology hen they should blame who they work for for saving money by ending those jobs over the border). I’m also betting that jerk with the hockey stick sleeps in a home with quintuple locks on the doors and a laser fence around his property. You know how that abusing your workers stuff ends up, right?
Ah, Robots… you just kill me sometimes. Um, wait – that came out wrong. Eeep.
If you’re a Marvel Comics fan, your Uncle Milton needs your assistance with a new project, stat! “Who’s your Uncle, now?” NO, not that Uncle Milton. The other one who’s still around that makes all those cool science-themed gadgets and gizmos that sometimes pop up as usefully educational gifts from time to time. That’s who! Anyway, Uncle Milton is going to be introducing the Marvel Avengers Tesseract 20Q game this coming fall and they want Marvel fans from anywhere on the planet to go HERE and help out with the artificial intelligence by playing a few games that will help the 20Q become a smarter product. Your heroic efforts will not go unrewarded, as smarter toys and games is something that makes for endless reply value.
Now, you KNOW you can trust your Uncle Milton, right? Sure, the Tesseract 20Q may seem as if it’s somewhat *sinister*, but that’s actually part of its appeal. Hey, if it does happen to have cosmic powers after all, the worst thing that could happen is you beat it once and get a free trip to Asgard. Well, provided that Tesseract hasn’t been *borrowed* (again!) and is in the hands of some nefarious would-be world eating alien presence. Which would most likely mean you may want the Avengers HQ phone number in your speed dial. Just in case.
Anyway, go test out that 20Q and make sure to follow Uncle Milton at the links below:
One of the best things about Toy Fair can be those moments between appointments when you hit the show floor and stumble into a story idea (or when someone stumbles into me and gives me a story idea). What usually occurs is either someone swings a product sample out that stops me in my tracks (“Whap!” Ouch. – it’s happened!), or I happen to slow down because I see something that makes me want to stop and chat with the person or people running the booth. In the case of The Young Scientists Club, it was the latter and thanks to a non-active volcano in the middle of a board game… Continue reading →
And now, a tiny little science lesson for all you boys and girls out there. Now, now. Don’t run away! This is an easy lesson. Those pics above are the results of me storing a couple of water bottles from the Nintendo World Store grand opening at room temperature for nine years. *Boo!* But also *yay!* Oh, why am I so conflicted, ladies and gents? Because it’s SCIENCE in action, folks! Okay, well… I would have stored them in the fridge here, but let’s see now… I had a few more of those bottles and DID store them in the fridge here only to find out a bit more about how people work.
You see, boys and girls, some people tend to come by to visit for a spell, look in your fridge and take stuff out to drink if you let them do so. For some of these people, small and unimportant looking bottles of water seem to be a magnet. I’d gather that some of those people didn’t want to seem greedy or imposing, so they went for the smallest thing they saw. An odd thing indeed, as I’m a pretty damn generous guy who doesn’t care what you take out of the fridge. Well, provided it’s not a bottle of water that’s hard to replace.
So, yeah… that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had in terms of a storage solution and Plan B didn’t work out so well either. Oh well. science is fun, though, isn’t it?
Ugh. So, a few days ago we got a nice snowfall and today we got temperatures up a bit and a nasty rain for a good part of the day. Of course, it wasn’t enough to melt the snow and it was slippery and gray and suicidal walking weather the rest of the day. Looking outside now, the sky is an awful yellowy gray and the forecast has temperatures dropping way past freezing (as in close to zero or so in some areas). Which means ALL that yucky gray slush will turn to super slippery and super lumpy ice to skate and dance on badly by Tuesday. Wonderful. If I don’t break my head or bust my ass on the way to the library this week, I may post some fun stuff.
The ONLY good thing is I don’t have to worry about freezing my behind or other parts off because I know THE secret to not being cold when it’s very cold out. NO it’s not booze. Booze makes you drunk and colder and dead if you’re tipsy and slipsy on the icy pavement and fallsy on your head or slidesy under a moving bus skidding towards the bus stop sideways on the bumpy, lumpy ice that was slush and a few days before that, snow… Continue reading →
Okay, so it’s not actually THAT hot out today, but yes, today is that day where the sun and earth are closest, which may not be any comfort at all to those of us who dislike the freezing weather and wish that closer hit star would do some rapid melting of what’s on the ground while super-heating the air around so it’s… well, just like that silly film clip above. Hey, silly – actual science doesn’t work that way and besides, things are already disrupted here enough (hotter, stranger summers and colder, stranger winters have been a thing for a while now). Oh, I know Perihelion isn’t a “day” to be celebrated like a traditional holiday – it’s just a term at the end of the day. So don’t go zipping into that big box party store looking for decorations any time soon.
You can however, get a fine start on next year’s Perihelion by going out and getting a few dozen boxes of glow in the dark stars of assorted sizes and a current map of the solar system and make a heroic attempt to recreate what’s on that map on your walls and ceilings. Er,I hope you live in a REALLY big house and don’t mind guests wondering who decorated your entire place like it was a planetarium gift shop. Or you could just do what everyone else here in the US does and wait until Aphelion (which is around July 4th) and get a free fireworks show as a backdrop for that non-holiday. One of those is a lot less maddening to accomplish (in most cases)…
Well, I figured SOMEONE would try and make a life sized TARDIS that actually flew one of these days, but the guys at Flyonix did so and made a trio of really fun and funny professional quality videos documenting their process and the initial (and unfortunately first and only) flight of their blue boxy bird. As you can see, things didn’t exactly turn out as well as some of you would like. Well, at least they weren’t crazy enough to put a person inside, right? Of course, you Who purists might be a bit miffed that this version of the TARDIS wasn’t bigger on the inside and all that, but hey – you can only go SO far with actual reality, you know….
Of course, this probably won’t stop them from making a new attempt and yep, I want them to at LEAST get one up, flying and landing safely just so I can like to see an actual TARDIS ride pop up in an amusement park somewhere in the world. Heck, you’d think it would have happened already, but I guess since Disney or Universal hasn’t bought Doctor Who yet (and we certainly don’t want to see THAT happening, correct?) and slapped a themed section into one of their parks, it won’t be a “thing” to experience outside of some fan fiction (eek) or inventors with too much time on their hands and plenty of moxie. Wait… did I just use “moxie” in an sentence in the 21st century? Yes, I did. Time travel DOES exist!
So, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters today and yes indeed, STL Ocarina wants to get you in the mood for the film with a lovely little tune played by an actual elf. Okay, so it’s NOT an elf, actually… but hey, that video and tune make you BELIEVE there are and that’s all that counts, correct? And yes, you can still snap up that 6 Hole Lord of the Rings Ocarina you’ve been eyeballing. Did you know that people who play any type of musical instrument over time tend to be sharper when it comes to picking up on mistakes? Well, there’s a University of St. Andrews study that says it’s all due to learning how to play an instrument and sticking with it. Who says you can’t learn anything new these days? Now go get yourself or someone else a nice playable gift this year!
They’re baaaaaaack! The last time I reviewed a few products from KontrolFreek, they ended up disappearing from the home office when some friends popped over, checked them out and decided that I owned them some freebies for making the trek all the way up here or something. Yeah, guess who’s not getting invited back, chumps? Anyway, fortunately, Casi over at KontrolFreek was kind enough to shoot over a set of the new FPS Freek Phantom (MSRP $19.99) and after playing through Call of Duty: Ghosts and a few other FPS and non-FPS games, it’s safe to say that they perform exactly as expected. Which would be pretty darn fantastic.
As noted in my earlier review, the FPS Freek series of analog stick toppers adds height to those sticks and precision to your movements, allowing you to use LESS pressure when moving normally, sprinting or shooting in games, allowing for more accuracy and less funny looking thumbs after extended play sessions. It’s all ergonomics, people – that’s all you need to know and even if you’re the most skeptical buzzard on the block, one try should convince you within seconds that this is the way to go if you’re a big shooter fan. I’d say you club-fisted gamers will NEED to learn to not jam those sticks around because you might occasionally pop one of the Freeks off an Analog stick (they’ll snap right back on). But other than that, this is money well spent if you’re a fan of those high-action shooters and want that extra edge in solo or online play. Anyway, go boogie on over to the KF site, check out what they have to offer and feel free to check out their upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One lineup, as they certainly aren’t going to forget about you next-gen owners one bit. yeah, you KNOW you want that extra edge…
So, let’s talk American Science and Surplus. Established 1937. Sells overstocks, surplus science gear, military ephemera and all sorts of other stuff you may not have thought you’d NEED but will find a use for once you have it in your hot little hands. Yup, they’re STILL around! I used to get their hilarious catalogs for a few years and bought quite a number of inexpensive items I used in many a shenanigan, as emergency gifts and even as parts of assorted costumes when I used to traipse out of the home base on Halloween. I’d forgotten all about them after a few moves and not renewing my catalog subscription, but when talking to a friend recently about how kids taking science in school don’t have access to actual chemistry sets OUTSIDE of the classroom, a light bulb went off and I immediately thought of A.S.S (or A.S. & S. if your ears are burning or grinning too much right about now).
Anyway, I’d ramble on about all the great deals they have and how you need to boogie on over to check out their site for a laugh once you start reading about some of their items (and clicking the optional hand drawn pictures of each, which adds another layer of fun to things) as well as how you should sign up for a catalog yourself. However, I’ll let you do just what this paragraph says at your leisure, as I hate telling people what to do. Unless it’s something like “Please give me some money so I can buy stuff from A.S.S. (oops, A. S. & S.) and maybe buy something for YOU as well!” Or something like that. It’s been a long day already for me (but you still need to check out that site!)…