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06 Mar 21:54

[New Game] Physics game, Smash Hit, released by Mediocre

by Stormy Beach

"Smash Hit" released by "Mediocre". I love the irony.

Smash Hit MediocreMediocre has a pretty good track record for creating fun games using physics and a  little bit of comedy. Many of you should be pretty familiar with the Sprinkle series and Granny Smith. Endless hours of good clean fun right there. Mediocre has announce the release of a totally different style of game today though called Smash Hit. As the name would suggest, it will be a Smash Hit. Well, hopefully anyways. In reality, you get to break a whole lot of stuff with metal balls. Being a man that likes destruction, I am definitely intrigued.

Smash Hit Mediocre Smash Hit MediocreYou will explore 50 different rooms with 11 different graphic styles. Audio effects create a crashing atmosphere filled with echoes and reverb. The games music is set to play in connection with what you are seeing, meaning that glass object movements will play into the music of each room you are gliding through. To keep you coming back, the levels are randomized. The trailer has a hint of Star Fox 64, with much better graphics, and a rather eerie look and feel. Check it out.

Looks pretty great doesn’t it? How can throwing metal marbles at glass not be a good time waster?

Smash Hit is FREE to install, but the Play Store does list ‘In-app purchases’, so that might turn some of you away. Feel free to hit the Play Store Badge below to go check it out and give it a try.

Get it on Google Play


Smash Hit Mediocre Smash Hit Mediocre Smash Hit Mediocre Smash Hit Mediocre SmashHit (1)
30 Jan 06:46

"This is a Trent Reznor Song"

by Mark Frauenfelder

Is.. this a parody of itself?

(Via Rudy Coby)


22 Jan 02:15

Voynich Manuscript May Have Originated In the New World

by Soulskill

Always a nerd classic.

bmearns writes "The Voynich Manuscript is most geeks' favorite 'indecipherable' illuminated manuscript. Its bizarre depictions of strange plants and animals, astrological diagrams, and hordes of tiny naked women bathing in a system of interconnected tubs (which bear an uneasy resemblance to the human digestive system), have inspired numerous essays and doctoral theses', plus one XKCD comic. Now a team of botanists (yes, botanists) may have uncovered an important clue as to its origin and content by identifying several of the plants and animals depicted, and linking them to the Spanish territories in Central America."

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

14 Jan 21:46

Valve’s SteamVR is Steam—for your head-mounted display

by Kyle Orland


Gaming Editor Kyle Orland does his best Lawnmower Man impersonation using the Oculus Rift.

Roughly a year and a half after moving from the computer monitor to the TV with Big Picture mode, Valve has transitioned its Steam interface to head-mounted displays this week, launching SteamVR on the beta version of its popular game distribution client.

As noted in the newly launched SteamVR section of the Steam Community website, users with a head-mounted display like the Oculus Rift Developers Kit can launch the SteamVR mode by downloading the beta client and then adding the "-vr" option to the command line launcher. One beta user told Road to VR that the mode projects "a giant floating curved screen in front of you" complete with head tracking that suffers "a little bit of lag."

The new interface comes ahead of Steam's "Dev Days" gathering of developers starting on Wednesday. That conference includes a number of sessions on virtual reality development and how it relates to Steam in particular. In one session, Valve VR guru Michael Abrash will discuss and demonstrate Valve's own VR headset prototype, which the company feels will be ready for market "in a couple of years." Abrash and company have teased Valve-developed AR glasses and VR head-mounted displays in the past.

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14 Jan 21:46

Amazing 3D Printed Geometric Sculptures By Deskriptiv

by Zeon Santos

Artists are currently using 3D printers to bring works to life that were previously nothing more than the stuff of imagination, shapes and forms generally thought of as too complicated, sharply angled and finely detailed to create by hand.

Now, unshackled artists free to play with form via printed plastic are about to get wild, and nobody comes up with crazier geometric designs than German art studio Deskriptiv. With styles ranging from hard edged and repetitive to softer edged, more organic pieces the artists behind Deskriptiv studio have forever changed the way people view 3D printing as it relates to art.

Via Hi-Fructose

14 Jan 21:40

Fast Food Restaurants Were Supposed To Be Completely Automated by Now

by Matt Novak on Paleofuture, shared by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan to Gizmodo

It's because minimum wage increases have been stifled. Most of these predictions surrounding automation happened between the 30s and 50s, from what I've been seeing. Back when minimum wage rates were increasing.

Fast Food Restaurants Were Supposed To Be Completely Automated by Now

In the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II, the food of 2015 looks incredibly familiar — it's just prepared a bit differently. Toss a miniature Pizza Hut pizza onto a pan, stick it into your Black & Decker Hydrator, tell the machine how you want it cooked, and three seconds later your pizza is ready. The appliance even slices it for you.


09 Jan 19:54

We need GMOs to feed a growing population

by Annalee Newitz

I'm not a fan of this "GMOs are bad" train that's been going on. GMOs are AWESOME. It's like computer code. We can do almost whatever we want within the realm of possibility! But with that, comes potential for problems. Back to the computer analogy, it's like assuming that computers are bad because you've dealt with a couple viruses and read about hackers on the news. Overall, GMOs are an awesome and wonderful thing. The real issues come from when the GMOs are not researched heavily enough and from the patent issues that arise due to DNA being patentable.

Now that many environmentalists are coming around to the idea that GMOs don't have to be evil, we need a more nuanced view of how we want to use GMOs in agriculture. When is it a good idea to use GMOs, and when is it overkill?


04 Jan 09:37

Move Over, Virtual Reality: Is Mixed Reality the Future?

by Jamie Condliffe

This is augmented reality you stupid asshats.

Virtual Reality has promised big since the 80s, but never quite delivered in the way many of us hoped it would. Now, though, a new form of augmented reality called Mixed Reality hopes to up the game.


20 Dec 08:50

Touching Conversations: Email Snippets Scroll By on Electro-Embroidery Piece

by Kristina Panos


[Wei Chieh Shih] really moves the needle when it comes to wearable technology. His textile design project entitled There is No Love, Just Relationships is a striking marriage of masterful hand embroidery, delicate circuitry, and careful programming.

[Wei] is using an Arduino micro to drive a matrix of surface-mount LEDs in the Hello, World video, which is a ramp-up to the scrolling text version that’s in progress. That full version is part of his residency project at Arquetopia in Oaxaca, Mexico and displays snippets of emails from his past relationships. It’s huge, with multiple matrices as large as 8×25 pixels!

No build notes could be found for this or any of [Wei]‘s similar projects, like this awesomely dangerous 200 laser diode jacket or this eerily beautiful light installation on Taiwan’s north beach. Based on the pictures, our speculation is that he is using ordinary 6-strand embroidery floss to make stem or half cross-stitches on all the paths. He then runs very thin, flexible conductor underneath the channel of stitches and solders the wires to the component pads.

If [Wei] wants another way to wear his heart on his sleeve, he could investigate these dynamic LED clothing hacks.

[via adafruit]

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, led hacks, wearable hacks
20 Dec 08:23

The Weirdest Thing on the Internet Tonight: White Rabbit

by Andrew Tarantola

And now you know where all those Matrix references come from. Lewis Carroll? Never heard of the guy.


17 Dec 20:21

Innocent caretaker of disabled child humiliated in botched sex sting

by Mark Frauenfelder

Ted Balaker says:

During an undercover pubic restroom sex sting, police in Manhattan Beach, California tackled, arrested, and interrogated an innocent man, seized his property without probable cause or a warrant, caused the man to withdraw from college (they held his computer for months, which contained all his coursework), and instead of quickly verifying that he was the caretaker of a disabled child and not the sex criminal they suspected, they held him in legal limbo with bogus charges, and humiliated him by releasing his mugshot to the media.

Now Charles Samuel Couch has filed a federal lawsuit, which alleges, among other things, that Manhattan Beach officers have a habit of arresting men during sex stings without probable cause and publicizing the arrests--something that's all too common across America, where so many delight in gawking at mugshots in which many innocent, peaceful people are mixed in with violent thugs.

"Don't Cops Have Better Things to Do?" is written and directed by Ted Balaker


15 Dec 14:52

Getting your head around the Pentagon's titanic, enormous, unauditably large budget

by Cory Doctorow

Hmm.. this is interesting.

A long, infographic-laden Mother Jones explainer tries to make sense of the US's insanely gigantic military budget, which dwarfs all US spending save Social Security. America's military owns more than 170 golf courses and manages enough land to host 93 Los Angeleses, and the Afghan/Iraq invasions have no meaningful peace dividend -- they're a permanent upward ratchet on the military budget.

The Pentagon employs 3 million people, 800,000 more than Walmart.

The Pentagon's 2012 budget was 47 percent bigger than Walmart's.

Serving 9.6 million people, the Pentagon and Veterans Administration together constitute the nation's largest healthcare provider.

70 percent of the value of the federal government's $1.8 trillion in property, land, and equipment belongs to the Pentagon.

Los Angeles could fit into the land managed by the Pentagon 93 times. The Army uses more than twice as much building space as all the offices in New York City.

The Pentagon holds more than 80 percent of the federal government's inventories, including $6.8 billion of excess, obsolete, or unserviceable stuff.

The Pentagon operates more than more than 170 golf courses worldwide.

The Budget Deal Is a Big Win for the Pentagon (Thanks, Mike!)


13 Dec 05:15

Kinetic solar system jewelry

by Cory Doctorow

Norwegian jeweler Miriel Design (AKA Josephine Ryan) has created a bunch of kinetic solar system necklaces, available in her Etsy store. Here's a set of photos of them, and here's her discussion on Reddit. The pieces vary in price, from $380-$500, depending on their complexity, but they're all flat-out gorgeous, and represent a tremendous amount of precision labor.

Miriel Design


31 Oct 01:31

Just look at this MRI of a banana.

by Cory Doctorow

Just look at it.

banana MRI for scale


30 Sep 09:03

Top UK cop calls for end to war on drugs, legalization of Class A substances

by Cory Doctorow

Pity the British establishment. Like their American counterparts, they keep insisting -- against all evidence -- that they're winning the war on drugs, that drugs are an unimaginable scourge and far worse than tobacco or booze, and that the real problem is that we're not jailing enough addicts for long enough. Despite this, well-informed, respected people continue to publicly state that the war on drugs is a public health, economic, and legal disaster. Last time, it was UK Drugs Czar David Nutt, who called banning marijuana and psychedelics "the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo" and wrote an amazing book about the awful state of drug policy.

Now, Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, one of the UK's most senior police officers, has published an editorial in the Observer comparing the war on drugs to the American alcohol prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s. He calls for drugs to be legalised, so that their sale will no longer fund criminal gangs, and for the NHS to distribute drugs -- including Schedule A drugs (cocaine, morphine, mescaline, LSD, oxycodone, psiocybe mushrooms, and many others).

If you started to give a heroin addict the drug therapeutically, we would not have the scourge of hepatitis C and HIV spreading among needle users, for instance. I am calling for a controlled environment, not a free for all. In addition, I am saying that people who encourage others to take drugs by selling them are criminals, and their actions should be tackled. But addicts, on the other hand, need to be treated, cared for and encouraged to break the cycle of addiction. They do not need to be criminalised.

The approach to banned substances contrasts sharply with our attitude towards alcohol. I am deeply disappointed that the government has not followed through on its initial support for a minimum price for alcohol. In the north-east we suffer immense inequalities in health and life expectancy due to alcohol addiction. Is it fair that alcohol-related crime and licensing costs society in my own force area alone at least £65.8m a year?

Why ending the war on drugs will cut crime


30 Sep 09:00

20 Things I Learned in North Korea

by Miss Cellania

The blogger at Wait But Why went to North Korea as a tourist and gives his/her impressions. The post is full of black humor as it contrasts what is presented on the carefully orchestrated tour for foreigners with common knowledge of the way North Korea works.

If you merged the Soviet Union under Stalin with an ancient Chinese Empire, mixed in The Truman Show and then made the whole thing Holocaust-esque, you have modern day North Korea.

It's a dictatorship of the most extreme kind, a cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined, a country as closed off to the world and as secretive as they come, keeping both the outside world and its own people completely in the dark about one another—a true hermit kingdom.

The "twenty things" are accompanied by links to videos taken during the tour, and photos and comics illustrating the points made. The writer totally oversimplifies the Korean War, which somewhat undermines the logical argument that North Koreans have it wrong, but otherwise it's an edifying account of one person's impressions of the country. Link -via reddit

30 Sep 08:22

32 helpful everyday tips

by Mark Frauenfelder

From a Reddit article, actually. Even more useful tips over there.

I'm not sure if these 32 tips really work, but I'm going to give them a try. Here are four:

  • Stop: Stop: Play. Skip advertisements in movies and go straight to the movie.
  • When receiving a call from a solicitor, simply press 9; the call will be dropped and your phone number is then put on the companies do not call list. 95% of companies support this feature.
  • If you are speeding and suddenly up ahead see a cop that clearly just tagged you, slow down and wave to him/her. Your odds of being pulled over are quite a bit reduced.
  • Get the WiFi password for many establishments by checking the comments section of FourSquare.

32 Real Life Cheat Codes That Will Change Your Life


30 Sep 06:50

Soviet plane-spotting head-gear

by Cory Doctorow

Drakegoodman scanned this 1917-ish photo of Soviet planespotters in exotic headgear; according to a commenter, the binox are focused at infinity "so that when you found the source of the sound by turning your head, you could see the aircraft creating that sound."

WTF (via Bruce Sterling)

30 Sep 06:47

Percussive Maintenance

by Miss Cellania

(vimeo link)

If your gadget isn't working, your first instinct is to give it a good whack! That worked a lot better in the days of rust and shorted out wires than it does with your computerized electronics. The movies still do it, all the time! The technique is called Percussive Maintenance, or my circle referred to it as Impact Technology (we did a lot of this at radio stations). This supercut was edited by Duncan Robson with music by Joel Robson. -via Colossal

27 Sep 14:12


Functional programming combines the flexibility and power of abstract mathematics with the intuitive clarity of abstract mathematics.
24 Sep 16:59

No detectable association between frequency of cannabis use and health or healthcare utilization

by Mark Frauenfelder

Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) "studied 589 adults who screened positive for drug use at a primary care visit." They found "no differences between daily marijuana users and those using no marijuana in their use of the emergency room, in hospitalizations, medical diagnoses or their health status."


24 Sep 01:45

John Lennon's Imagine, Made into a Comic by Pablo Stanley

by Alex Santoso

We've written about Pablo Stanley of Stanley Colors blog before on Neatorama, but the man is on a roll! Great job, Pablo! In this new panel, he illustrated one of the most iconic songs ever recorded, Imagine by John Lennon.

It's probably impossible not to read the cartoon and have the song not pop into your head. It's now probably going to get stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but hey, at least it's a catchy tune!

Sing it with me, "Imagine there's no heaven ..." (Love this song? Did you know that the lyric and concept came from Lennon's wife Yoko Ono? But Lennon said that, "in those days I was more selfish, more macho and omitted to mention her contribution." Read more about Imagine in this article by Eddie Deezen, "Imagine: John Lennon's Signature Song.")

If you wonder who the guy named "Milk" in the fourth from last panel, that's San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States in 1977. Milk was assassinated in 1978, just 11 months after taking office.

The woman named Anna in the third from last panel is Russian journalist, writer, and human rights activist named Anna Politkovskaya. She reported about the Chechen conflict and published several books critical of the current Russian government. In 2006, Politkovskaya was shot and killed in her apartment complex. Her murder remained unsolved until today.

The meaning of Imagine is a hotly debated topic, but Pablo noted in his blog, "This is NOT an anti-religion/atheist propaganda comic. The comic and the song (at least as I understand it) [try] to communicate that no matter your faith, we should all share the world in peace ... As silly as that sounds."

View the original comic over at Stanley's website.

23 Sep 02:55

FBI data shows US cops made one pot arrest every 42 seconds in 2012

by Xeni Jardin
"Residents of two states voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, but despite an increase in public support for liberalizing drug policy, American police arrested about the same number of people last year on pot-related charges as in 2011." [US News and World Report]

22 Sep 23:04

Red Velvet Quesadillas

by John Farrier

Becky McKay has a great idea for a dessert with a vaguely Tex-Mex theme. You can find her full recipe at the link. She uses cake frosting for the filling, but I'd be tempted to try a very light cream cheese filling.


18 Sep 23:35

Does a fetus feel pain? (And, if so, when?)

by Maggie Koerth-Baker

But does it perceive pain?

Across the United States, politicians are passing laws limiting abortion that are based on the idea that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation. But the science underlying this assertion is a lot more complex than it's made out to be. Most scientists don't think fetuses have the neural circuitry to experience pain until later. And the scientists whose research is most often cited as evidence of fetal pain at 20 weeks don't think their work is saying what anti-abortion activists think it does.

18 Sep 15:17

The history of Cyber

by Rob Beschizza

One of my pet peeves.

The news media now uses the word "cyber" the way smurfs use the word "smurf," but things used to be different. Annalee Newitz traces the storied history of the word.

It all started with "cybernetics," an obscure term popularized by a mathematician named Norbert Weiner in the 1940s. For his groundbreaking book Cybernetics, Weiner borrowed the ancient Greek word "cyber," which is related to the idea of government or governing. Indeed, the only time the word cybernetics had appeared before was in a few works of political theory about the science of governance.


18 Sep 03:41

House Plumbed with Beer

by Alex Santoso

All right, all right. It's obviously a viral campaign. But it's a dream of mine, so bear with me, mmkay?

New Zealand beer Tui commissioned a team of pranksters to route the plumbing of their friend's house so beer came out of every tap. Kitchen sink? Beer. Bathroom tap? Also beer. The guys wired their house with hidden cameras to catch the unsuspecting friend's reaction.

The friend, a man named Russ, came home with his wife and dog, and went to the kitchen. His wife noticed the kitchen tap dripping - but it wasn't water that came out. Rather, a dark and strange liquid ...

Now, you'd think that Russ' first instinct was to take a bath in beer (like the beer bath in the Starkenberger Brewery in Austria), but instead, he decided to investigate. Watch the man's reaction in this YouTube clip - Thanks Cole Stryker!

Well played, Kiwis. Now, when can you come to my house?

Oh, and if you think that my dream to have beer piped straight into the house is strange, just know that physicist Niels Bohr, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics, got Carlsberg to pipe beer straight from the brewery to his house. I don't know what's better, winning the Nobel Prize or having a perpetual supply of beer in the house.

18 Sep 03:31

Real Stuff: Death of a Junkie

by Dennis Eichhorn

Read the other Real Stuff stories and listen to Mark's interview with Dennis Eichhorn here.