Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.
FACE of the day: Patrick Kane 16, has become the first person in the UK to receive a revolutionary bionic hand which can be manipulated by remote control. He can control it with a smart phone app, which programmes the hand into a raft of pre-set grips.
Patrick, from London, lost his hand when he was a young child. He was fitted with the i-limb ultra revolution yesterday and has described its functions as “priceless“. It costs around $50,000.
It’s the little things that are important, like being able to hold a glass while you pour into it, or being able to cut up the food on my plate, rather than having someone else do it for me.
Says the company behind the wonder, Livingston’s Touch Bionics:
Utilizing its pulsing and vari-grip features, the i-limb ultra is the only prosthetic hand with the ability to gradually increase the strength of its grip on an object. This can be very useful in situations where a firmer grasp is required, such as tying shoelaces tightly or holding a heavy bag more securely.
We’ve come a long way, baby:
These prosthetics made by Felix B. Weinberg, in Baltimore, Md., include a manÂ’s hand, a womanÂ’s hand, two eyes, and an ear, shown May 10, 1951. The lifelike portions of the body are made of soft pliable plastics for use by the patient. Date: 10/05/1951
White House speechwriter William Safire’s letter to President Nixon on the failed moon landing of 1969
AS we in the know know, the 1969 moon landing never happened. But in case what never happened, never happend badly and the mission failed, speechwriter William Safire wrote to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. He wanted to outline a plan should Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reach the moon’s surface but fail to return home. Buzz had a prayer. But the US needed a statement.
THE new iphone. It’s coming! Aren’t you excited too? I know I am because it’ll be just fabulous allowing me to pose even more effectively as a cool and in touch sort of person. You know, rather than the fat middle aged man I actually am.
The knowledge that the new iPhone is coming is revealed to us by the Wall Street Journal:
TAIPEI—Foxconn Technology Group has resumed hiring assembly-line workers in China after a postholiday freeze, in the latest sign that customer Apple Inc. is gearing up for production of a new iPhone.
YOU FACEBOOK friends want to wish you a happy birthday. Dan Hopper saves them the bother. This is what your Facebook wall looks like on your birthday:
THIS can only go well for anyone interested in controlling human thoughts. Researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a tiny device for triggering happy thoughts. It’s a tiny wireless injectable LED device that shines light on mice brains to generate a reward.
“Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure.”
What could go wrong?
“If people could print off … sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they’re at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense… In the near future we will need to protect a digital border instead of just locating physical objects as we do now. If it’s made of atoms, you’ll be able to print it… [it] will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations”
PEOPLE who say old-folks are useless clearly are idiots aren’t they? For a start, old people are the main source of institutionalised racism and without pensioners, the makers of fig rolls would go out of business overnight. Pensioners are so useful that they even help us all when they’re dead.
The steel hips, plates and screws from legs and skulls can be collected after they’re cremated and the metal is sent off for recycling, used by automobile and aeronautical industries.
IT’S 1983. The first video game “World Championship” is underway. Twin Galaxies remembers when it was all lacquered whipped hair and lettering ironed onto T-shirts. In the best traditions of US-based ‘World’ sporting event, only North Americans entered:
Twin Galaxies first Coronation Day Tournament is recognized as history’s first video game “World Championship”—held January 8-9, 1983 at the the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard in Ottumwa, Iowa, USA.
Co-sponsored by Twin Galaxies and ABC-TV’s That’s Incredible, the event featured nineteen of North America’s top players competing on five current titles: Frogger, Millipede, Joust, Super Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, Jr.
The top three finalists won complimentary subscriptions to Joystik, RePlay and Playmeter Magazine and were invited to compete on the “That’s Incredible” finals in Los Angeles.
The show was aired to an international TV audience on February 21, 1983.
NOKIA made the game, Snake, as popular as Tetris and infuriated mobile phone users the world over. Controlling the near formless blocky greedyguts was a nightmare once you got stuck into it for a couple of minutes, constantly chasing a lifeless square of food in a cold, desolate environment.
The snake, of course, wasn’t allowed to touch its own tail or it would die, so what happens when you complete the game? Once you run out of space, surely the only thing left for the snake to do, is to devour itself?
GAMERS are derided for their social skills, often depicted as lonely people, sat in their mum’s spare room, pale and wan. However, that’s a complete nonsense. That’s like saying movie fanatics are all 3 feet tall and live inside tinfoil pyramids eating socks.
People who play video games, believe it or not, have sex. But which gamers are the best in the bedroom? Well, thank god someone did a survey to find out exactly that!
IN space no-one can hear you scream. But can they see you sob? Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted it “hurts to cry” in space. Then he showed us why. The tears have nowhere to go. They just roll around your face.
IN Roadrage Instant Karma, the Volvo driver moves to undertake the bikers who are spread across the road. The Volvo ends up in a bad place. The bikers give him the finger and drive on. But karma is not about retribution and punishment. It’s about intention. The Volvo driver never meant to injure the bikers. He just wanted to get by. And they weren’t letting him pass. If the bikers’ brand of karma is right, it is they who’d best watch out:
IN London a Lamborghini Miura SV burns. The fire brigade were in no hurry. And no-one in London has a fire extinguisher:
GOOD new for women in Chennai, India, who have their knickers stolen to order by perverts. Scientists have placed GPS tracking devices in lingerie. Manisha Mohan, co-developer of Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE), says her gadget has other uses:
“The lingerie, laced with modules of global positioning system (GPS), global system for mobile communications (GSM) and also pressure sensors, is capable of sending shock waves of 3,800 kV as well as alerts to the girl’s parents and police.”
Touch her knickers and get a shock. And if she touches, them, say, to got to the toilet, she also gets a shock. Great idea, Mohan. But why no camera? She adds:
“The shocks can be emitted up to 82 times.”
ON the Guardian ‘s Comment Is Free site – oh, the irony – Bob Garfield says people who consume news for free on the web are “looters“.
Those consumers cheerfully using the web to sample content from all over the world via news websites, blogs and aggregators are essentially picking the inventory clean. Oh, and when they get the stuff home, the goods aren’t what they used to be. And some of the stuff has a sour smell to it.
Anyone who cares deeply about quality, independent journalism should pray for paywalls and other subscription models to take hold. Because in the world of the smart and the desperate, desperate always has the last word.
Because news is a commodity? Opinion is only worthwhile opinion if it is paid for and sanctioned by a big brand? So says the man in the Guardian, the paper that loses a fortune, supports State-control of the media, doesn’t pay its interns, wants to colonise the world, is confused about economics, and won an award when the profitable News of The World (Britain’s best-selling newspaper) died.
Now read on. Or don’t.
DILLON Marsh is a photographer.
Assimilation. In the vast barren landscapes of the southern Kalahari, Sociable Weaver Birds assume ownership of the telephone poles that cut across their habitat. Their burgeoning nests are at once inertly statuesque and teeming with life. The twigs and grass collected to build these nests combine to give strangely recognisable personalities to the otherwise inanimate poles.
BEHOLD! The “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” will make it impossible for your iPhone, iPad or iPod to fall corner-first down and shatter the screen. It works on any device – including TVs in rock star’s hotel rooms.
Files at theU.S. Patent and Trademark Office illustrate a mechanism that shifts the centre of balance as the device falls. Before it hits the ground, the mechanism causes the product to twist in mid-air. The crash will result in minimum damage.
INVENTOR of the day is Sean O’Connor. He invented theBatter Blaster – the pancake / waffle mix in a can. He says:
“We’ve had quite a few emails from dads, divorced dads or single dads, that are like, ‘Hey Batter Blaster, I can make heart-shaped pancakes for my girls on the weekends and I’m a hero.'”
WE’VE featured those Russian dash cams on Anorak before. In this video of life on the open road, two Russian truckers exchange wing mirrors. As the camera moves away, the two drivers continue to row. They might well still be there, swapping and shredding each other’s stuff, the duo stood on a pile of ex-trucks and clothing, still fighting as the sun sets…
THE 25 most bizarrer and adventurous aircraft ever invented.
AN internet meme is based on a single photo. If that picture is of you, and you’re deemed to look like a douche, a good guy or a nutjob, then it’s hard cheese. Your internet persona is now set. Bad Luck Brian might win the lottery. But he’s till Bad Luck Brian. Success Kid has yet to sit any meaningful exams. Does everyone love Good Guy Greg? Is there no-one who has bad word to say about him? It’s a little known fact that Scumbag Steve has donated a kidney to Nelson Mandela, saved a bag of kittens from a canal and is working on a cure for cancer.
Here are the meme heroes in real life:. Featuring: Bad Luck Brian, Success Kid, Really High Guy, Hipster Barista, Sudden Clarity Clarence, Good Guy Greg, First World Problems, Overly Attached Girlfriend, Sheltering Suburban Mom and Scumbag Steve.
THIS should be a spoof but unfortunately it isn’t: they’ve managed to get the economics of this situation entirely the wrong way around:
As bidding topped £680m, the Czech regulator pulled the plug on the 4G auction, saying that to continue would risk pushing cripplingly high prices onto the winner’s customers as well as delaying deployments – both to the detriment of the country’s citizens.
The Czech Republic was hoping for a fast deployment, and the regulator had placed a reserve of 7.4bn Czech Koruna (£250m) on the bands being auctioned off, but with four operators determined to divide the bands into three bundles, the bidding got out of hand and the regulator decided to pull the plug rather than taking the money.
This is insane.