This isn't very high tech, but it's amazing nonetheless. Learn how to, step by step, make a golfball-sized fireball that you can toss around in your hands. Impress your friends! Don't burn the house down! Seriously -- don't burn the house down.
This isn't very high tech, but it's amazing nonetheless. Learn how to, step-by-step, make a golfball-sized fireball that you can toss around in your hands. Impress your friends! Don't burn the house down! Seriously -- don't burn the house down.
There was a time when I saw the Google Street View car a lot in my town. It became almost a daily event. And then as quickly as it came, it disappeared. Now, in attempt to leave no stone unturned on this planet, Google is taking it to the trail.
In their blog post this week, Google introduced the Trekker, a 40-lb backpack with one of those big-balled camera systems, to span rugged terrain those little hatchback cars can't handle. The ball has 15 cameras inside that capture images every 2.5 seconds.
On its first outing to the Grand Canyon, the Trekker was able to capture 360-degree images of the landmark through its Android-controlled platform. The Street View team is continuing this week through the South Rim in the Grand Canyon National Park, as well as the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail.
So, aside from rugged terrain and national parks, where else could the Trekker go? How about Venice? The narrow streets and unpredictable water has made it virtually impossible to get shots of the famed streets through traditional Google means. That's just one of the places they hope to get into. For now, panoramic views of their current travels will be up on Google Maps within the coming weeks.
Were you one of the millions of people across the globe who tuned in to watch the live YouTube stream of daredevil Felix Baumgartner's historic leap from the edge of space? If so, you also helped break a record.
"We congratulate Felix Baumgartner and the entire Red Bull Stratos team
for their successful mission, and for creating a live stream with the
most concurrent views ever on YouTube," the blog post stated.
According to All Thing D, the previous record for a YouTube livestream was set during the London Olympics when 500,000 people tuned in. Baumgartner shattered that record before he even stepped out his launch pod, as 7.1 million people tuned in as he made his ascent.
But something tells me the YouTube record will remain a bit overshadowed. In case you need a refresher, here are the other records Baumgartner broke: highest jump from a platform (128,100 feet), longest freefall distance (119,846 feet) and maximum vertical velocity (833.9 mph or Mach 1.24).
That last record makes Baumgartner the first human to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft. If you missed the live stream of the supersonic freefall or just want to relive the glory, check out the video below.
You remember MacGyver, right? That guy on CBS that could create a life-saving tool out of a paperclip and a rubberband? Or just about anything else lying around? Me neither, I was too young to have ever watched that show, but since I've seen a lot of pop culture references to it in my lifetime, I get the gist. The U.S. Navy is funding a project to build a robot that uses the same turning-scrap-into-tools method as the popular '80s secret agent to help trapped troops.
The robot's brain will be based on software developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Data gathered from the surrounding environment, will be combined to identify objects and decide whether they can be used to aid in a situation. For example, if the bot is trying to find a way to climb out of an area, and it sees a bunch of debris lying around, it will stack the scraps and build a way out.
But it won't be easy. Professor Barbra Webb from the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics told the BBC, it's harder than it seems. " Vision alone is not enough to tell you if an object can support your weight or be used as a lever -- you need to interact with it physically to understand its physical possibilities."
A robot named Golem Krang is standing by, though, waiting to be the first to try it out. If it works, researchers hope to use this technology to help rescue trapped military personnel without having to endanger any other lives.
The possibilities for vacationing are endless. You can go on a cruise, take a nature hike or visit a luxurious spa. And the places to sleep are even more abundant. If you want to try something out of the ordinary when it comes to hotel accommodations, how about a B&B apartment built from shipping containers?
The Container House is a vacation apartment in Majorca, Spain, that has an open floor plan, a rooftop bedroom, outdoor deck, swimming pool and BBQ area all inside the 70 sq ft (7 sq meter) wooden boxes. The modules come together to create an apartment that can comfortably house three people even though it only has one bedroom and one bath. It's also got typical vacation home amenities like a full kitchen and a washer and dyer and is about 10 minutes away from the airport in the middle of the action in the center city Palma.
The shipping container modular homes are available at $1,259 per week or around $113 a day. Ok, not everyone can jump on a plane and go to Spain, but if you think your apartment is too small to have style and be comfortable, take a look at this place.
Tallest Ferris Wheel Coming to NYC: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled plans to build the world's tallest Ferris wheel in Staten Island. The 625-foot-tall attraction, dubbed New York Wheel, will give 1,440 riders a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty and skyline of downtown Manhattan.
The ride is part of a new development on St. George waterfront that will include a 100-shop outlet mall and a 200-room hotel. City officials hope that the privately funded development draw tourists to New York's least-populated borough and then only one not accessible by subway. The New York Wheel is expected to be turning at the end of 2015. via Yahoo News
Sony DEV-5 Digital Recording Binoculars: $1,999.99
Sony essentially fused together two high-quality camcorder optics into one ergonomic product. The result, their DEV-5 Digital Recording Binoculars, are a real treat for folks who like to explore nature or attend live sporting events. As you'll see in this video I shot, they also make a nice accessory when out for a helicopter ride (or similarly scenic/aerial escapades).
From the start, they felt solid and natural in my hands. The viewfinder, diopter-adjustable for each eye, offered a sharp field; and their ability to quickly autofocus when panning across subjects at varying distances kept it so. I was impressed with their 10X optical plus 10X digital zoom (for a total of 20X, as highlighted in the last few seconds of the video) and image stabilization. They did well in low light. The buttons -- including a dedicated 2D/3D switch -- all felt intuitively placed. And the menu (seen through the viewfinder) was easy to navigate.
Of course, two grand feels like a lot to spend, given that other camcorders with similar or better zooms are much less expensive. But ignoring the price tag, having a great set of geotagging, stereo audio and HD video recording binoculars is very cool.
When it comes to diving into the waters of self expression, British artist Sue Austin is as freewheeling as they come. As the 2012 Paralympics kick off this week in London, Austin has been making waves with a series of performances and film screenings of "Creating the Spectacle," a theatrical video of Austin as she navigates the deep in her underwater wheelchair.
According to the project's website, the work's "unexpected juxtapositions" aim "to excite and inspire by creating images that transform preconceptions."
"When we started talking to people about it, engineers were saying it
wouldn't work, the wheelchair would go into a spin, it was not designed
to go through water -- but I was sure it would," she said.
Austin's wheelchair is powered by two dive propulsion thrusters under her seat. To steer, Austin slips her feet into an acrylic, U-shaped fin reminiscent of stingray wings. She also uses floatation devices for buoyancy.
Austin modified a standard-issue wheelchair from Britain's National Health Service (NHS) because it "is one of the most ubiquitous images of disability" and she wants this project to leave "a legacy of attitudinal change" in regards to the public perception of disability.
"The Oceanography department at the University of Plymouth,
where I did a BA in performing art, said it
would make their courses accessible to students with disabilities."
Visit Creating the Spectacle's website to learn more about the project, film and live performances. In the meantime, grab your scuba gear and take an enchanting trip under the sea with Austin in the following video.
Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad was pulled out of the water earlier today en route to the Florida Keys from Cuba. Four days into her bid, she was in the middle of a storm, suffering from jellyfish stings despite donning a high-tech wetsuit that was supposed to protect against them.
Originally Nyad, 63, wanted to attempt the roughly 100-mile crossing without a wetsuit. She'd been adamant about pursuing the massive swim with as little aid as possible, notably refusing a shark cage like the one used by Australian Susie Maroney in her historic 1997 swim.
Sharks aside, jellyfish are so dangerous that the groups governing marathon swimming changed the rules to allow wetsuits. The catch: the suits can't contain neoprene because that kind of material provides unfair floatation. So Nyad collaborated with the California-based company FINIS on a high-tech hooded sting suit that would "allow her to avoid the painful stings of the box jellyfish." While the suit's exact specifications aren't public, the suit did meet the new requirements.
Nyad had blogged that the custom sting suit was actually harder for her to swim in than a regular bathing suit, but at night the jellyfish threat increased. In a video of Nyad demonstrating the suit she said, "The jellyfish are becoming an issue worldwide and for ocean swimmers, we're beginning to have to resort to tactics like this." Nyad's exposed skin got smeared with black-tinted anhydrous lanolin to prevent rubbing and help with warmth.
Nyad didn't encounter any jellyfish on her first try in 1978, but they thwarted her attempt last summer. "I experienced that jellyfish sting last year for 41 hours," she said in another video. "I'm lucky I lived through it frankly." This time, they struck again through her custom suit, their venom slowing her average pace. She got zapped nine times yesterday.
Ultimately, it was a large tropical storm that finally forced a weakened Nyad from the water. Her 64th birthday is tomorrow.
Photo: Diana Nyad at first light during her latest attempt to reach Florida from Cuba. Credit: Christi Barli.