This is truly unbelievable: Lego has built a 1:1 scale model of the X-Wing fighter using an astounding5,335,200 bricks! It's as big as the real thing, capable of fitting the real Luke Skywalker—and Porkins.
As you can see in these exclusive Gizmodo images and video, it reproduces the official $60 Lego 9493 X-Wing Fighter. But instead of being 560-pieces and a few inches long, this model uses more than five million pieces and it's 11-feet tall and 43 feet long, with a 44-foot wingspan. Just like the real X-Wing—and 42 times the size of the commercial Lego set.
Bambi Note: Very cool stuff! I also recently saw a lifesize Lego Bobba Fett also on Buzzfeed, and another one on Flickr.
Telling gamers that the Xbox One is an ad-centric experience and attempting to spin it like a positive doesn't actually work. Sure, people may engage with a new type of advertising at first, but that's not because they actually like or value the ads -- it's because the experience is new and different. According to Xbox staff, the new console is exciting because "the 360 console wasn't built with advertising in mind, it was more of an afterthought... whereas this new one is going to have advertising in mind."
Well, that settles my mind. I was terrified that the Xbox One wouldn't be able to show me interactive ads in the middle of game.
If this keeps up, I'm going to run a contest: "Who wrote this Xbox One story? Microsoft -- or the Onion?"
When NASA's Mars rover Opportunity blasted off from Cape Canaveral in 2003, many onlookers expected a relatively short mission. Landing on Mars is risky business. The Red Planet has a long history of destroying spacecraft that attempt to visit it. Even if Opportunity did land safely, it was only designed for a 3-month mission on the hostile Martian surface.
Few, if any, imagined that Opportunity would still be roving the red sands of Mars--and still making discoveries--ten years later.
On July 7, 2013, Opportunity celebrates the 10th anniversary of its launch and more than 9 years on Mars.
Opportunity is celebrating by driving. The rover is currently en route to "Solander Point," a place on the rim of Endurance Crater where a treasure-trove of geological layers is exposed for investigation.
After nine-plus years of traveling, Opportunity recently set the US space program's all-time record for mileage on another planet. The milestone occurred on May 15, 2013, when the rover drove 80 meters, bringing its total odometry 35.760 kilometers or 22.220 miles.
The previous mark had been held by the Apollo 17 moon rover, which astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt drove for 35.74 km (22.21 miles) across the lunar surface in December 1972.
Over the years, Opportunity's travels have been punctuated by hundreds of stops to photograph and sample the Martian landscape. The surface of Mars of today is bone dry and hostile to life as we know it. Opportunity's mission is to hunt for places where it wasn't always so, places where ancient water might have nourished life forms native to Mars.
So far so good; the rover has found abundant evidence that liquid water was once present. For the past 20 months, Opportunity has been "working" the rim of Endeavour Crater. There, Opportunity found deposits of gypsum probably formed from groundwater seeping up through cracks in Martian soil. Also, Opportunity has also found signs of clay minerals in a rock named "Esperance".
"A lot of water moved through this rock," says Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the mission. "These results are some of the most important findings of our entire mission."
Solander Point, where Opportunity is heading now, has two key attractions:
For one thing, while Opportunity's most recent stop, Cape York, exposed just a few meters of geological layering, Solander Point exposes roughly 10 times as much. A visit to Solander Point will be like reading a Martian history book.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, there are north-facing slopes at Solander Point where the rover can tilt its solar panels toward the sun and ride out the coming winter. The minimum-sunshine days of this sixth Martian winter for Opportunity will come in February 2014.
If Opportunity survives another year--and who now would bet against it?--the rover might yet break the all-time extraterrestrial driving record set by Lunokhod 2, a Soviet robotic vehicle that traveled an estimated 26 miles (42 km) across the Moon in 1973.
After that lies the 26.2 mile mark. In other words, stay tuned for the first Martian Marathon.
To follow Opportunity and other rovers on Mars, please visit http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/
Bambi Note: Awesome! 10 yrs! Hard to believe it's been that long! Seems like yesterday.
More than two dozen jurors started with a pool of 23 concept cars introduced at the most recent Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York auto shows, then pared it down to three winners in three categories for the twelfth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. The trophy-bearers are said to be those "vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry," and lead their classes in the Concept Car, Concept Truck and Production Preview divisions.
There's a press release below with more on the awards and the reasons behind each choice.
2013 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners Announced
Charlotte, NC, July 1 - The winners of the twelfth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced today. The awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 23 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season's auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and New York.
The Production Preview Vehicle category is for those vehicles based on a model that has already been announced or planned for production. The finalists in this category included the Acura NSX, the BMW i8 Spyder, the Subaru WRX STI, and Tesla's Model X.
Building on its prior success with a Coupe variant, BMW's i8 returns in a Spyder variant to take the honor of 2013 Production Preview Vehicle of the Year. "BMW has done a masterful job of building anticipation for the launch of its electric-vehicle brand," said juror Mark Phelan. "The i8 Spyder is a super car for the Green movement."
The Concept Car category recognizes those vehicles where passenger carrying is the primary intent. The finalists in the Car category were the Honda EV-STER, Hyundai's HCD-14 Genesis and Veloster C3 Roll Top, and the Toyota Corolla Furia.
Marking its fourth competition as a category finalist, and the brand's second visit to the awards podium, Hyundai takes the 2013 Concept Car of the Year award with its HCD-14 Genesis concept. "Hyundai's HCD-14 introduces future premium vehicle design, advanced 3-D gesture-based technology controls and spirited driving dynamics," said juror Bob Kroupa. "Its rear hinged back doors and fastback coupe design add to the WOW factor."
The Concept Truck category recognizes those vehicles where cargo carrying is a significant consideration. The finalists in the Truck category were the Ford Atlas, the Kia Cross GT, the Nissan Resonance, and the Volkswagen Cross Blue.
Marking Ford's ninth time as a finalist in the Concept Truck category, and the second time as the winner of the category, the Ford Atlas concept takes the 2013 award for Concept Truck of the Year. "Ford has put all its best big-truck thinking into this concept," said juror Chris Poole. "The Atlas certainly looks the business-big, buff and tough, yet nicely tailored too. And it brims with 'better ideas:' fuel-saving stop/start system, aero-enhancing active grille/wheel shutters, hitch and trailer backup assists, and lots more 'practical tech'."
From amongst the segment winners in the Car, Truck and Production Preview categories, the Hyundai's HCD-14 Genesis posted the highest overall score to earn the top award as Most Significant Concept Vehicle of the 2013.
Additional information and details regarding the nominees, the selection jury and the award winners can be found by visiting http://www.northamericanconceptawards.org on the web.
Additional Juror Quotes -
Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis
Jim Scoutten - Hyundai Styling continues to advance, with the Mercedes S-Class as the target.
Chris Poole - Hyundai's California Design center has been turning out some impressive work, and I think the HCD-14 is one of their best. The ultra-clean coupe-like styling has both flair and presence, and I like the grille; it reminds me of certain early Ferraris. The interior is wild, but I applaud the lack of a center stack-provided Hyundai has figured out new controls that are at least as user-friendly. If the next production Genesis is anything like this stunner, I say, bring it on
Thom Cannell - HCD-14 boldly inspires fear - in hearts of German and British luxury carmakers. We think it embodies the strength of German engineering with the bespoke sophistication embodied in older British and French classics. Presented in full modernity, the car simply deserves to be built as a World Class world vehicle.
Bob Kroupa - Hyundai's HCD14 introduces future premium vehicle design, advanced 3-D gesture-based technology controls and spirited driving dynamics. Its rear hinged back doors and fastback coupe design add to the WOW factor.
Jeff Taylor - Hyundai has stepped up mightily in their concept production and execution delivering two intriguing vehicles.
Ryan Gehm - Simple, sleek outside; cool, high-tech inside. The human-machine interface - fully functional eye-tracking and 3-D hand-gesture recognition, in lieu of traditional center stack/controls - makes this concept a standout.
Chris Poole - Ford has put all its best big-truck thinking into this concept. The Atlas certainly looks the business - big, buff and tough, yet nicely tailored too. And it brims with "better ideas:" fuel-saving stop/start system, aero-enhancing active grille/wheel shutters, hitch and trailer backup assists, and lots more "practical tech." Atlas is billed as a forecast of the next-generation F-150. I imagine it will cause a few sleepless nights for Chevy, GMC and Ram.
Bob Kroupa - Ford, the perennial truck sales leader, showcases its Atlas concept with a massive chrome grill, making Atlas a worthy name for this concept truck. Behind the Atlas frill is Ford's next generation Eco-Boost powertrain for improved economy.
Gary Vasilash - The Ford Atlas isn't simply about making a visual statement vis-à-vis what a contemporary light-duty pickup ought to look like, but it is well thought out from the standpoint of being a truck that people can live with (e.g., the active wheel shutters, for example, help with the aero, which helps with the fuel efficiency, which helps with the day-to-day use of the vehicle).
Mark Phelan - The furor around the Atlas shows just how much interest there is in improving the efficiency of pickup trucks. That class of workhorse vehicles is in for major changes. The Atlas may be a harbinger of where the industry is headed.
BMW i8 Spyder
Thom Cannell - Of all our final candidates, none reaches as far, as quickly, and as beautifully as the i8 Spyder. Fast, efficient, otherworldly gorgeous, this is a classic even before production.
Bob Kroupa - BMW presents their open cockpit beauty, the i8 Spyder. It is plug-in, hybrid-ready reaching 20 miles on the electric charge. A supplemental gasoline engine rated at 220HP moves the Spyder for an additional 380 miles. Gull-wing doors add to the sizzle of this around-town two-seater concept vehicle.
Tom Crosby - Stunning looks, green for the times (100 MPG), and sure to have BMW's awesome handling DNA.
Mark Phelan - BMW has done a masterful job of building anticipation for the launch of its electric-vehicle brand. The i8 Spyder is a super car for the Green movement.
For much of "The Blues Brothers,'' Jake and Elwood race from place to place: along Lower Wacker Drive, under the L tracks, over a gaping 95th Street bridge as it opens, and through a south suburban mall.
The chases usually end with one or several of Illinois' finest in some sort of pile-up. When the film was released in 1980 it set a record for the number of cars crashed in a movie, according to the Internet Movie Database.
In his review, Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert called the chases "incredible'' and "sensational.''
Whereas in movies today computer graphics are often used to enhance a stunt, filmmakers had no such aid when they were shooting in 1979. "That was all real,'' director John Landis said.
Bambi Note: Great read!
As Darren so eloquently described the other week, 200mph is unarguably “the worst car move of all time”. Judging by the oh-so-shit visual effects, it looks as though zero cars were irreparably destroyed or damaged during filming, however. And as we know,destruction on a grand scale sells. With that in mind, here are the 9 movies for which the greatest number of cars were sacrificed. Because you know, it’s fun destroying stuff.
Bambi Note: And they have the videos in the article too! Wish I could watch them all!
9. Ronin (1998) - 80 cars destroyed
8. Bullitt (1968) - 'More than 80 cars' destroyed
7. Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) - 93 cars destroyed
6. Blues Brothers (2000) - 104 cars destroyed
5. Blues Brothers (1980) - 103 cars destroyed
4. G.I. Joe (1987) - 112 cars destroyed
3. A Good Day To Die Hard (2013) - 132 cars destroyed
2. Fast and Furious - Fast Five (2011) - 260 cars destroyed (NOTE: Fast and Furious 6 has 400 used in the film, but no one knows for sure how many survived yet according to the article).
1. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011) - 532 cars destroyed (they were all fit for the junk heap already though according to the article).
Two more contenders were sent in by readers (eagle-eyed Redditors) which included: The Matrix Reloaded (2003) had 300 loaner cars from GM destroyed! And Junkman (1982) at more than 150 cars killed per H. B. Halicki.
According to the article, with the addition of these two last films, that brings the grand total for just these 11 films - a whopping 1,946 cars destroyed!
The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, has died aged 88.
Engelbart developed the tool in the 1960s as a wooden shell covering two metal wheels, patenting it long before the mouse's widespread use.
He also worked on early incarnations of email, word processing and video teleconferences at a California research institute.
The state's Computer History Museum was notified of his death by his daughter, Christina, in an email.
Her father had been in poor health and died peacefully on Tuesday night in his sleep, she said.
Doug Engelbart was born on 30 January 1925 in Portland, Oregon, to a radio repairman father and a housewife mother.
Even worse, half of all US states leave enough information in the records that YOU can be clearly identified. Action Alert!
Hospitals and other medical organizations are supposed to be bound by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to keep medical records private. Patient information that is shared is supposed to be stripped of key identifying information (this is known as the Safe Harbor rule). However, HIPAA and other privacy legislation is riddled with loopholes—so many that it has been estimated that over 800,000 organizations can access your records.
Here is one big, fat loophole: state public health agencies are exempt from Safe Harbor rules when they sell private medical records as part of a health database. When this medical data is cross-referenced with other public information (such as news reports and other databases), it can reveal your identity.
Apple said Tuesday it’s hired the services of Paul Deneve, the former boss of luxury fashion house Saint Laurent Paris (formerly Yves Saint Laurent or YSL). However, in keeping with its usual style of not giving anything away until it really has to, the Cupertino company declined to give any details as to the responsibilities Deneve will be taking on, saying only – and somewhat mysteriously – that he would be involved in “special projects”.
Commenting on the appointment, a spokesperson told Bloomberg, “We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple. He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”
An enterprising Hacker News user has built a Raspberry Pi server that's entirely run on solar power, along with instructions on how you can, too.
My Raspberry Pi Project - This web server is running on a Raspberry Pi (Model B) powered 100% by Solar energy
Meet Rachel Law, a 25-year-old graduate student from Singapore, who has created a game that could literally wreak havoc on the online ad industry if released into the wild.
Her creation, called "Vortex," is a browser extension that's part game, part ad-targeting disrupter that helps people turn their user profiles and the browsing information into alternate fake identities that have nothing to do with reality.
People who use the browser tool, which works with Firefox and Chrome, effectively confuse the technologies that categorize web audiences into likely running shoe buyers, in-market auto buyers, or moms interested in cooking and football.
"I think targeting is harmful when confidential information, such as your medical issues or criminal records, is used against you as a form of price discrimination. Retailers should not be able to discriminate based on health history, whether or not you've committed a crime before, your sexual preferences or history, etc., because this is private information pertaining to an individual," she said.
"I like to imagine in the future targeted advertising becomes a targeted choice for both advertisers and users," she said. "For instance, if a user decides to go shoe-shopping for summer, he or she could equip their browser with the cookies most associated and aligned with shopping, shoes and summer ... users can choose what kind of advertisements they want to see."
Bambi Note: Another great take on this over at MathBabe Blog here: Guest post, The Vortex: A Cookie Swapping Game for Anti-Surveillance
There was a moment of panic in the open source community this week when a developer on the MariaDB fork of MySQL discovered that Oracle had quietly changed the license on all the man pages for MySQL from GPL to a restrictive proprietary license two months earlier. Prompted by the bug report, Oracle's staff quickly discovered that an error had been made in the build system and promised to immediately undo the change and restore the GPL to all of MySQL. Problem solved!
All the same, the incident was a wake-up call to many. Although there's no reason why they should and have promised not to do so, Oracle could change the license for MySQL, or indeed any of the open source projects it owns, at any time without notice. Oracle is able to do this since, unique among the rest of the open source community around each project, they are not themselves bound by the open source license.
This unique power exists in turn because Oracle owns the entire copyright to MySQL, even to parts of it the company has not written. Why is that? It's because all contributors to the code have to sign a "contributor agreement" assigning ownership of the copyright to Oracle, which is not alone in this. Sun before them used contributor agreements to get full source ownership, and many other projects do the same.
What are contributor agreements, and why do they exist? The need for them often arises from the interaction with open source and certain approaches to business. They meet a need, but they can come at a significant cost to the health of the project. If you're starting a new project, it's worth understanding the bigger picture with a practical guide to the assumption that "everyone uses contributor agreements" because not everyone does. I'm by no means the first to tread this ground; this old but comprehensive article by LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks ends with a useful list of other articles.
Bambi Note: Three page article. Must read. As is LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks' article Some Thoughts on Copyright Assignment noted in the last sentence above.
Two HIV-positive patients in the United States who underwent bone marrow transplants for cancer have stopped anti-retroviral therapy and still show no detectable sign of the HIV virus, researchers said Wednesday.
The Harvard University researchers stressed it was too early to say the men have been cured, but said it was an encouraging sign that the virus hasn't rebounded in their blood months after drug treatment ended.
The first person reported to be cured of HIV, American Timothy Ray Brown, underwent a stem cell transplant in 2007 to treat his leukemia. He was reported by his German doctors to have been cured of HIV two years later.
Dear LibriVox Friends,
LibriVox needs your help. We have just launched a new funding drive, and if you’d like to donate without hearing all the rest you can do so here:
Donate to LibriVox.
For those who need more convincing…
LibriVox was started in August 2005 by a ragtag bunch of book lovers who’d never met each other, who thought it might be fun to make audio versions of public domain books and give them away for free on the Internet. By October of 2005 we shocked ourselves by producing eight (8!) books, and had twenty more on the go, and some 200 volunteers signed up to help us out.
Sometime around then, we then formalized our mission:
“To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the Internet.”
… and we got to work figuring out how to help more people make free public domain audiobooks.
7,000 Audiobooks, 100 Million Downloads
Since then, some 40,000 souls have registered on our volunteer forum, and we’ve gone on to publish almost 7,000 free public domain audiobooks, in 29 different languages. Our books have been downloaded well over 100 million times (last time we took stock of download numbers was more than a year ago!). Some of our most popular titles have more than a million downloads.
We continue to work towards our goal of recording every public domain audiobook, with almost no budget at all, with day-to-day LibriVox activities — recording and making available public domain audiobooks — continuing to run with no paid staff, but instead powered by thousands of dedicated volunteers.
LibriVox: an Oasis of Bookishness on the Internet
LibriVox has always been a kind of oasis on the Internet.
We have the most polite and friendly Internet Forum most people have ever visited.
We don’t have a foundation, or professional fundraisers, or staff toiling away somewhere. We don’t have offices, we don’t have lobbyists. We’ve been taken under the wing of the Internet Archive (for legal and financial reasons), but we operate completely independently, and we like it that way.
What we like doing is making audiobooks of public domain books, and giving them away for free to anyone who wants them.
And we ask that you consider helping out so that we can focus on that — and not on raising money!
Bambi Note: Librivox is a great friend to us and providing through it's many volunteers the ability to access to all Public Domain works in audio format. It is a daunting task and so many have already been done! It's a great project worthy of our consideration for use and help, IMHO.
OpenCulture - The best free cultural & educational media on the web
The percentage of U.S. women overdosing on prescription painkillers has increased sharply in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between 1999 and 2010, the proportion of deaths from painkiller overdose increased 400 percent among women, while rising 265 percent among men.
“Prescription painkiller deaths have skyrocketed in women," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference today (July 2). "Mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are dying of overdoses at rates we have never seen before," Frieden said.
While men remain more likely to die of a prescription painkiller overdose, deaths among women have increased at a higher rate, and are catching up to those of men, Frieden said.
Bambi Note: This information was on all the big major networks' websites as well. Big deal. 400 increase in the last decade is a real danger sign. And the latter half of that decade (2008-2010) were the beginnings of the big financial fiasco here and abroad. I would hate to see the numbers for both men and women if they were to have done it from 1999-2013.
If the cosmos is a numerical simulation, there ought to be clues in the spectrum of high energy cosmic rays, say theorists
One of modern physics’ most cherished ideas is quantum chromodynamics, the theory that describes the strong nuclear force, how it binds quarks and gluons into protons and neutrons, how these form nuclei that themselves interact. This is the universe at its most fundamental.
So an interesting pursuit is to simulate quantum chromodynamics on a computer to see what kind of complexity arises. The promise is that simulating physics on such a fundamental level is more or less equivalent to simulating the universe itself.
Bambi Note: Trying to determine if The Matrix does exist, eh? ;)
“On this day, the Fourth of July, 2013, I call for a new American revolution, declaring our independence from the surveillance state and government control of information,” called out Drake, invoking cheers from the audience.
He proclaimed that the U.S. government has become the very type of tyrannical government the Founding Fathers fought against in the first American revolution.
“We now have a government breaking the promise of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” he said, “How dare they! How dare they!”
A large coalition of civil rights and privacy groups and potentially thousands of websites will stage protests on the Fourth of July to protest surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency.
As part of the Restore the Fourth campaign, many website members of the 30,000-member Internet Defense League plan to display a protest of NSA surveillance and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Websites participating include Reddit, where Restore the Fourth originated, WordPress, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, and Cheezburger.com.
Organizers of Restore the Fourth are also planning live protests in dozens of U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.
WE’RE PROTESTING TO RESTORE THE FOURTH AMENDMENT:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...”
JOIN A PROTEST IN YOUR AREA...
Bambi Note: They also have a blog posting here that attempts to get the focus off the messenger and back onto the issues of freedom and privacy and the spying on our Citizens.