In more news to terrify you, the US Army has released photographs depicting their new laser-guided lightning gun blowing up a car. They’re calling it the Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) because it’s important to make the ability to call down lightning with a laser pointer sound safe.
Liu Yang, China’s first-ever female astronaut, had a night shift on Shenzhou 9 a couple of days ago – which is apparently sort of dull in space too, because she entertained herself by going through some Tai Chi exercises. In space. And since the spacecraft returned to earth today, we get to see what that looks like.
Sony is in the process of rebooting the subervisve, anti-fascist 1997 film Starship Troopers – also known as the movie with a post-Doogie Howser, pre-Barney Stinson Neil Patrick Harris. The reboot follows the trend of such franchise remakes as RoboCop and Total Recall, where satire and irony get cut out and replaced with 3D and totally slick graphics.
So hey, we’ve had a pretty cool look at the future thanks to Google’s I/O Keynote yesterday – where they covered the new Nexus 7 tablet, the Nexus Q media orb, and the awesome, skydiving-filled Project Glass demonstration that you’re really, really going to want to watch, after the jump.
Attention time geeks: a leap second has been scheduled for June 30, 2012. The month will be one second longer, to re-synchronize Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is based on an atomic clock, and Universal Time (UT) which is based on the earth’s rotation. Basically it’s a cool moment where your clock will legitimately read 23:59:60.
The Economist has surprised everybody by doing something fun, using the United Nations’ World Drug Report 2012 (released yesterday) to generate a map of the world’s heaviest weed users. The Pacific island of Palau wins easily, with nearly a quarter of people aged 15 to 64 having smoked pot in the past year. South Africa does okay, too.
‘Robot and Frank’ stars Frank Langella as an old man forging an unlikely bond with his Peter Sarsgaard-voiced robot butler, which starts off as an odd-couple comedy and then turns into a heist film, because Langella used to be a jewel thief. It looks pretty great, and they loved it at Sundance. Take a look.
A tour operator in Nepal calling itself ‘ZipFlyer’ claims to run the world’s fastest zip-line, a 1.8km line that drops 600m, attaining speeds of 160 kmph. Honestly I’m not sure what kind of speeds zip-lines are supposed to be clocking so those numbers don’t mean much, but the helmetcamera bits in the video look insane. Have a look.
The European Commission is drawing pretty widespread condemnation for releasing a video — ostensibly aimed at getting girls into science — which pretty much depicts female scientists as sexy models in short skirts who hang around bunsen burners, giggling. Take a look at what lady scientists apparently look like in Europe after the jump.
It’s been more than a decade since the last Jurassic Park sequel, and Spielberg’s royalty checks are starting to run a little dry, so writers have been hired to develop the script for Jurassic Park 4, taking it in a ‘completely different direction.’ So long as that direction still involves cloned dinosaurs and lots of money.
You know that thing where you post a comment on Facebook and immediately regret your decision? Well, Facebook sure does. Which is why they’re rolling out a comment-editing functionality over the next few days. Rest easy, people whose grammar falls apart whenever they get excited.
The trailer for Dredd – the gory, R-rated adaptation of the gritty post-apocalyptic comic book 2000AD – has been released. The film was shot over the last two years on set in Cape Town, because apparently Cape Town is the best place to film a post-apocalyptic landscape in. Take a look after the jump.
So hey, there’s a proposal getting quietly pushed through a little-known UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union, which represents a huge power grab on the part of the UN with regards to regulating online content. The proposal – a potential threat to an open Internet – is chiefly being pushed for by China and Russia.
Celestica, the Toronto-based manufacturer that produces hardware for Research In Motion, have announced that they’ll be stopping production of BlackBerry hardware over the next three months, and charging the company $1 billion for unsold BlackBerry inventory. Between the BlackBerry 10 smartphone getting pushed back to late 2012, and new iPhone rumours, this could sort of be RIP RIM.
Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before the word ‘irony’ stopped being able to quite cover it. The German bank Sparkasse Chemnitz have launched a Karl Marx credit card, after the father of Communism won in an online voting poll for new credit card designs. Somewhere a grave is spinning.
Broad Sustainable Building, a Chinese construction company, is aiming to assemble an 838m-tall building in Changsha, a city in southern China, beating the Burj Khalifa in Dubai by 10 metres. What’s more, they’re looking to build the thing – dubbed SkyCity One – in 90 days because, well, why not.
Within the next few days, every single Facebook user will be met with a request for a verified phone number, which will apparently help users “stay in control” of their accounts. This is partially a response to security breaches at LinkedIn, Last.fm and eHarmony, but it’s also because Facebook wants to know more stuff about you.
Skype have just introduced a new ‘feature’ called Conversation Ads, which displays advertisements during audio calls. Which sucks. To nobody’s surprise they’re trying to spin the feature as somehow good for users – apparently the ads “could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.”
So there was this scene towards the end of the first season of Game of Thrones – that popular, high budget, swords/sorcery/nudity show that HBO’s running – where a bunch of heads were lined up on spikes. And director’s commentary from the recently-released Season 1 DVD has revealed that one of the heads belonged to ex-president George Bush.
Sweden has been handing its Twitter account to a different citizen every week for the past seven months. Which has been great for the most part, with priests and lesbian truck drivers representing the country – except the latest @sweden handler has been catching some flack for trying to figure out “whats the fuzz with jews.”
Spanish activists are raising a large private fund to pay for a civil action suit against Rodrigo Rato – the former chairman of Bankia, one of the banks central to the Spanish financial crisis. The fundraiser is following the usual decentralized online-activist structure, with members organizing themselves under the #QuerellaPaRato (“Lawsuit for Rato”) hashtag.
A new concept restaurant has met with some recent success. Dinner in the Sky has diners, dining table and waitstaff hoisted some 50 meters into the sky with a crane, where they can enjoy a high-altitude gourmet meal. The latest branch just opened up in in Brussels – take a look after the jump.
As the American government continues its internal adoption of cloud computing services, Google and Microsoft have been scrambling for contracts – what with their being lucrative and influential and such. Sucks to be Google, then, because the FAA just awarded $91 million to Microsoft to have their platform transition to the Microsoft Office 360 cloud service.
Bob Welch, formerly Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist and succesful soft-rock soloist of the 70′s, was found in his Nashville home yesterday, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 65. Police reports say that Welch’s body was found by his wife in the mid-afternoon, along with a suicide note.
Ha! Model Melissa Stetten found herself getting hit on by vaguely-famous actor Brian Presley on a flight out of Los Angeles. Using this new thing called ‘the internet,’ she identified Presley as a married, outspoken Christian with a five-year-old kid. So she livetweeted his ridiculously awkward attempt at hooking up with her. Watch it unfold below.
In news that you want desperately to be surprised by, but just can’t, the creators of the Tupac-ogram have announced that they’re working on an Elvis Presley hologram, for making film and television appearances – and, depending on how unsettling they can get the reincarnated star to look, on tour.
Marking another notch in the slow build-up to the sequel to that thing you used to like to quote, here’s the teaser trailer for Paramount’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. There’s no hint of story, but it reintroduces the Channel 4 News Team and offers some vague one-liners. Which I guess is what sequels are all about.
Oh hey, that V-for-Vendetta-themed hacker collective is back, this time with a 1,7 GB lump of data that they claim “used to belong to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics.” The file was uploaded to the Pirate Bay yesterday, and allegedly contains “internal emails, and the entire database dump.”
So there was a NATO summit ongoing in Chicago over the weekend – which naturally attracts a couple of protest groups, members from the “Occupy” movement among them. It also attracted police and Homeland Security, who proceeded to handcuff protesters, detain them at gunpoint, and ram into a crowd of them with a van.
Because apparently having your own talk show for starting a thing on the internet isn’t enough, recent polling of Australia’s Labor Party suggests that the Wikileaks founder is reasonably likely to get elected to the Australian senate, should he choose to go ahead with plans to run.