NASA Wants To Capture Asteroid, Turn It Into Space Station | Out Of This World Weekly

NASA is seeking funding for a project that would capture one of the many asteroids that pass between the Earth and the Moon .  This asteroid would be slowed down and stabilized then turned into the equivalent of a space station.  This new asteroid space station would allow us to have a launching pad staging area for us to reach destinations farther than the Moon like Mars.  Our current space station si not designed to re-fuel or re-supply spacecraft for longer voyages and no other station is being planned that would have those capabilities.  Capturing an asteroid would give us that kind of platform to launch into interplanetary space without the need for a base on the Moon.  Since this mission hasn’t been planned for in NASA’s budget, it may be a long shot yet even if this idea is shot down now it definitely isn’t going to go away.

Comic: A Very Special Card Just for You


A Hot Cup of JoCo for Christmas

As is tradition here at Growing Up Otaku, we turn to the Internet’s favorite troubadour, Jonathan Coulton, as he checks in with the residents of Chiron Beta Prime.

From all of us at GUO to you, Happy Holidays! We love you!

Remember, it could always be worse Winking smile

World’s Oldest Christmas Recording Now Available Thanks to Digital Transfer

Wall family wax cylinder recordingThe Museum of London had used digital scanning to recreate what is believed to be the world’s oldest Christmas themed recording. Miraculously preserved all this time on the original wax cylinders used by phonographs of that era, these recording have not been heard in more than a hundred years as it was believed that the act of playing them would destroy it forever. This new digitizing process created by The British Library was so successful that 24 of the 26 recordings created by the Wall familly, dated from 1902 to 1917, have been recovered.

Read more and listen for yourself at MuseumOfLondon.org.uk.

Stop the Spread of Holiday Cheer with Garden Gnome Carnage

Let’s get our holiday Flash gaming on!GARDEN GNOME CARNAGE

While Kongregate user M3nTo5 gives the most succinct review of Garden Gnome Carnage:

At first I was wtf. But then I was wtf.

I’ll try my best to do this awesome game justice. You see, they bring Christmas. You hate Christmas. Fortunately, your house is on wheels and you’re a lawn gnome on a bungee cord tied to the chimney. Roll your house from side to side to get swinging and knock those jolly elves out of the sky, off of your house, and into the netherworld. Spacebar lets you pull bricks off your home and chuck ‘em as makeshift projectiles, but pull too many and your house will get shorter. Don’t forget to let the cat in! The shift key calls in handy-dandy airstrikes for when things get out of hand. And then there’s Emma, but we’re not gonna talk about the bonus round.

Garden Gnome Carnage is great fun. Play it for free at Ludosity.com in your favorite Flash enabled browser.

Close Sun-like Star Tau Ceti Could Have Two Habitable Planets | Out Of This World Weekly

A new technique has been used to filter out noise in data to reveal that Tau Ceti may have one or two habitable planets.  Tau Ceti is only 12 light years away (70 Trillion miles) and is the second nearest star that closely resembles our own sun.  Recently, the closest star to resemble our Sun in the Alpha Centauri system was found to have an Earth sized planet.  Tau Ceti is slightly smaller, cooler, and less bright than our own Sun, which means that the habitable zone is closer to Tau Ceti.  The two planets that could be habitable are Tau Ceti e and f, with e being at the near edge of the habitable zone and f being at the outer edge of the habitable zone.  The discovery of yet another star that is similar to the Sun having planets in the habitable zone reinforces our chances of ultimately finding another planet to settle that is like our own.  

A Festival of Geeky Christmas Lights | Weekend Watchlist

r2d2 christmas lightsSubtlety? Bah. Good taste? Bah. A Jedi craves not these things. We’re going big and flashy on this edition of the Weekend Watchlist. Join us as we brighten the neighborhood with a geektastic festival of lights!
As is current fashion online, all roads lead to Gangnam Style. Here’s a synched Christmas light show choreographed to the famous tune.

Video: NASA Explains Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday

You still there? I ‘m pretty sure I am. Seems this whole doomsday thing might have been a little blown out of proportion. Of course if you believe those eggheads that did stuff like put men on the moon, the world was never actually scheduled to end. Below is NASA’s own ScienceCast. This episode is entitled “Why  the World Didn’t End Yesterday”.

How sure were they? Well, not so sure enough that they held the video. This video was published on December 11th Winking smile

The 12 Geeks of Christmas (Decorations)

In spite of our insular nature and desire to reside to remain secluded in dark, Dorito filled techno-caves, Christmas is a wonderful time for geeks. It is a time when friends and family members, occupied with their brick-n-mortar shopping bonanzas and holiday baking, are too busy to take notice when when we slip out to the workshop for a little DIY decorating. Nothing is off limits and even the neighbors can’t complain as the ‘Spirit of the Season’ shields even the most adventurous gadgeteers from petty social concerns such as ‘taste’ or ‘safety’.

Today, Growing Up Otaku salutes these inspired inventors and ambitious artists in our 12 Geeks of Christmas Decorations Special!

2011 cthuhlu treeElders first! Coming to us from Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome is this terrifically tentacled tree.  Sporting a plush Cthuhlu and 50 tentacles, this display best represents the madness of the season.Fa La La La Fhtagn!


 

AppWatch Keeps an Eye Out for Sales on Android Apps You Want

appwatch androidSkinflint iOS users have long had a private bargain shopper in the form of AppShopper (Whoops! Looks like AppShopper just got pulled. Enjoy your bonus news story ;). Now Android users can create their own personal computer monitored wish-lists with AppWatch.

Search for titles available on the U.S. Google Play store and add them to AppWatch using Google Play’s Share function. Once logged, you’ll be notified of any update or price changes to the titles selected. Not only is this a great way to watch for sales on new goodies, but keeps tabs on older apps to see when updates may add new features.

AppWatch is available for free from Google Play.

Fan Made Original Trilogy Christmas Cards

Star-Wars-Christams Cards- by-PJ-McQuadeLooking to put a little pew-pew in your jingle-jingle? Artist PJ McQuade has just the ticket. Check out these classic Star Wars trilogy Christmas Cards.

You can check out PJ’s full portfolio of work at his website. Prints of his work, including these cards, can be ordered via Etsy.

Hi-Tech S&*%: Smartphone Controlled Super Toilet

satis_smartphone_toilets-561x440Japanese toilets are already legendary in the west for their bevy of over-the-top functionality. Lixil attempts to one-up even this high standard by adding integration with everyone’s favorite gadget, smartphones.

The Satis G, E, and S type toilets are scheduled for release in Japan this February and feature a bevy of features such a flushing, seat warming, and music selections. While many of these features are already available in other toilets, usually via wall mounted touchscreen control panels, Satis leverages the power of your pocket PC by allowing owners to maintain a log of their… logs.

Man, I sure hope it updates Facebook and Twitter! That’s some dirty messaging!

Of course, we here are GUO are already integrating smartphone technology with the porcelain god.

Universal Constant Proven To Be Constant | Out Of The World Weekly

It is very important to science that physical constants stay constant.  If the speed of light was constantly changing and we didn’t know about it, it would send our world and our scientific calculations into chaos.  There are other constants that are just as necessary.  We keep measuring them to make sure that they are not changing but let’s fact it – a couple hundred years may not be enough time to notice a change in the 13.7 billion year old universe.  So some Dutch scientists at the University of Amsterdam looked through the Effelsberg 100m Radio Telescope at a distant galaxy that is 7 billion light years away looking for proof that the fundamental constants of the universe were not changing.  They compared the specific light features associated with a simple alcohol called methanol to those associated with methanol here on Earth.  Their measurements confirmed that the methanol 7 billion light years away was nearly identical to the methanol here on Earth. 

Crafty Christmas | Weekend Watchlist

The holiday season is chock full of excuses for getting all kinds of artsy-crafty.what with all the trees to trim and gifts to give. With so much to do and so much ground to cover even the most creative DIYer may find themselves in need of a little inspiration. Warm up the hot glue gun and roll out the duct tape because in this edition of the Weekend Watchlist Growing Up Otaku salutes these masterful makers with some ideas to keep you crafting around the Christmas tree.

Frist thing’s first. Let’s get that tree decorated! Otaku style! Who needs boring ol’ balls when you can just grab yourself a batch of capsule toys or figures and get hanging. From Pokémon to Princesses, Avatar or Angry Birds, you can get figure sets for nearly any franchise you favor. Can’t find figures? Hit up your favorite search engine for some papercraft ones! Tie on some ribbons or hot glue hooks and you’ll have a pretty pine as unique as you.

Less Than 2 Weeks Before Christmas Wii-U is Easy to Find

WiiU at Best BuyI happened to make a rare voyage into the world of brick-n-mortar retailing earlier this week and was surprised to find a good number of Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii-U, stacked up in the middle of the floor. Yep, even the coveted black "Deluxe Set”. Checking around town, both virtually and physically, revealed the same situation: Plenty of Wii-U consoles for anyone looking for one. I even returned to a local Best Buy store a couple times to confirm that I simply had not happened upon them during a restocking. Sure enough, the same stack of consoles still dominated the aisle in front of the registers. It appeared to be a box or two short of where it was during my previous visit, but there were ample supplies.

The Wii-U launch has appeared rather mishandled to me. Nintendo really hasn’t done a very good job in demoing the system during it’s year long publicity ramp-up. Even at launch, casual conversation revealed that many people still didn’t know that the Wii-U was an entirely new machine as opposed to a tablet add-on for the original Wii console. One of the system’s most interesting features, TVii, that promised to consolidate your cable and digital viewing worlds into a single browsing experience, has been delayed until next year. There have been stories of long update times and shoddy launch software, but these are par for the course in the launch of any new device, particularly Internet connected ones.

Could the younger and more casual audience Nintendo typically captures have moved on to other platforms, such as the XBox 360 or even tablets, or is this the first sign of a greater trend away from dedicated set-top boxes for gaming needs? Is there still a place for $300+ consoles requiring $60 pieces of software in a world where your phone or social network can deliver a ‘good enough’ gaming experiences for less than $5 or even free? Perhaps people have just finally gotten over the '’Must have now!’ mentality of early adopters and elected to wait for the inevitable price drop in six months. Maybe Nintendo has simply lost it’s touch when it comes to inspiring fans.

Regardless, you have to feel sorry for the guy who bought a Wii-U console for $750 on eBay.

Horror? Linux Drops Support for 386 Based Systems

buy a 486 - Rise of the Triad Easter EggLinus Torvalds, father of the free, open source, Unix clone Linux, announced that the latest build of his alt-OS darling will no longer support 80386 class processors. This being the Internet and all, there is sure to be some measure of nerd rage vented about the fact 386 operators will not being able to install the latest OS on their devices. However, this move has nothing to do with the lack of power in the venerable CPUs of yesteryear and everything to do with saving Linus and company’s sanity. The latest update post on git.kernel.org explains:

“"This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit
  of complexity:

   24 files changed, 56 insertions(+), 425 deletions(-)


... which complexity has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted  to change SMP primitives, for years.

Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels  anymore.  Sniff."

I'm not sentimental.  Good riddance.”

Intel manufactured 386 class processors from 1985 all the way through the year 2007. Speeds of these chips ran from 16 MHz all the way up to a blazing 40 MHz. That’s MEGAhertz, mind you. Not the 1000 times faster GIGAhertz. Math co-processors were not a standard component of the CPU and most 386 motherboards included a socket for its inclusion later. While wholly obsolete for use in PCs long before 2007, the chip would continue to find use world-wide as part of embedded systems and in some early smartphones such as the BlackBerry 950.

As Apogee’s FPS Rise of the Triad told you back in 1994 when you shrunk the screen all the way down for better system performance, it’s time to buy a 486.

RGB Classic Games Brings DOS Emulation to Your Web Browser

rgbgamesWell, wonders never cease. RGB Classic Games (available online at ClassicDosGames.com) has taken all your old gaming buddies from yesteryear and bundled ‘em up with DOSbox and a little Java magic, and brought them to your favorite browser window.

This nostalgic treasure trove brings back all those old memories in their CGA/EGA/VGA glory. Travel back to a time when floppy disks were floppy and online meant dialing into a BBS with popular favorites like the original shareware versions of Doom, Duke Nuke’em, Abuse, Zork, Rise of the Triad, and 300 more. You’ll even find a selection of titles that have since been released as freeware such as One Must Fall 2097 and ZZT. Relive the RTS magic of Warcraft before there was World involved. Behold Lucasarts’ reinvention of the adventure game with Loom. Puzzle over the fact that no one could create a good sequel to Alone in the Dark. Check out the polygonal pectorals of Lara Croft in her very first tomb raid. Marvel at the fact that many titles sported more hours of gameplay in their free, demo versions than some modern $60 releases.

Warm up the Java applet, pop some Guns N’ Roses into the ol’ cassette player, and head on over to ClassicDosGames.com.

Boeing 360 Degree Video Puts You in the Cockpit of the 787 Dreamliner

787 dream pass

Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company, has launched a new online experience that puts you right in the middle of the cockpit of their shiny 787 Dreamliner passenger jet. The 787 Dreamliner Dream Pass features a collection of 360 degree videos featuring takeoff and landing procedures as well as up-close looks at the aircraft itself. This Flash powered feature even allows users to toggle between pilot commentary and actual in-flight radio chatter.

Take it out for a spin at Boeing’s NewAirplane.com.

Blisteringly Fast Free-to-Play Sci-Fi MOBA-ish Action-RTS AirMech Live Streamed | Twitchy Tuesday

airmech

Well, that certainly was an awkward title. But how best to describe F2P indie strategy shooter AirMech? Depending on how many gray hairs your sporting, this next statement will find you either squealing for joy or scrambling for Wikipedia.

Remember Herzog Zwei on the Sega Genesis? Airmech is that game! But online! And free!

Taking control of the titular vehicle, a giant robot that can transform into an aircraft, players build tanks, rocket launchers, and infantry and airlift them across a cavernous map to capture bases and blow up the other team’s HQ. Pulling aspects from a myriad of genres like real-time strategy, twin-stick shooters, and massive online battle arenas, Airmech is a carefully crafted  whirlwind of twitchy tactics. With solo, co-op, and competitive multiplayer, there’s a whole bunch to look at.

And look we did! The live show is over now but you can relive all the arcade strategy as Elizabeth, Lou, and Brandon join yours truly for this thorough look at this genre defying indie game via the YouTube video below.

You can try AirMech for yourself for free at Carbon Games, Steam, or the Chrome Web Store.

You can catch up on all of our previous video projects, including Twitchy Tuesdays, on the Growing Up Otaku YouTube channel.

Nintendo Brings Official Pokémon App to iOS with a Side of Pain to the Pocketbook

ios pokedex detailReleased to the Japanese iTunes store last month, The Pokémon Company’s official iOS version of the legendary pocket monster guide, the Pokédex, comes to North America for Apple’s mobile devices. This iOS version of the Pokédex supports Retina display for it’s cavalcade of 3D rendered critters, search functions using multiple criteria (Egg Group, Ability, type matchup, and learnable moves), and a ton of stats for planning your perfect party.

Sadly, this first official iOS release for a Nintendo affiliated company comes with a whole list of caveats. Pokédex for iOS, a $2 app, only includes the latest batch of Pokémon (#494 to #647). Other Pokémon are broken down by region and come via in-app purchase at an outrageous SIX BUCKS PER REGION. Want the original, classic Pokémon like Pikachu? Kanto region (#1 to #151) is $5.99. What about those Johto adventuring buddies like Togepi (#152 to #251)? You guessed it. ANOTHER $6. Want to complete your Pokedex? Duh. Gotta catch ‘em all, right? That will cost you a nickel short of $26!

Even moving past the price tag, Pokédex for iOS can’t help but be a disappointment for those expecting a real-life version of the the legendary encyclopedia prominently featured in so many games, television shows, and movies. This app eschews the traditional bright colors and personality for a bog-standard presentation that only the most generic of app construction kits could produce.

Finally, a quick warning of the system requirements is in order. This seemingly simple encyclopedia of childhood delights states that your Apple device needs to support and be updated to iOS 6.0 (or later).

Nintendo has finally brought one of their biggest IPs to a platform other than their own. It should be a joyous time for both the young and young-at-heart. Unfortunately a bland presentation and outrageous pricing scheme makes us wish they hadn’t bothered.

Pokédex for iOS is available now from iTunes for $1.99. Or you could just point your web browser at Bulbapedia.

Code: Breaker Brings Intrigue to Funimation | AniMaiden'd

GUO's latest featured anime series is Code: Breaker, This new show is currently airing on Funimation and is based on a manga with the same name..  This shonen style anime packs a punch with a dark story line and plenty of martial arts fighting.

It begins with a high school girl, Sakura Sakurakouji, witnessing a mysterious event on her way home from school one day,  She sees people being burned alive with a blue fire as a boy her age remains unharmed and stands over the people.  She goes back to the scene with the police and there is no sign that this ever happened.  The next day, the boy with the blue fire joins her high school class.   Sakura becomes obsessed with finding out what is going on and follows the mysterious boy named Rei Ogami around to try to learn more about him.  As the story develops, she learns that he is the sixth "Code: Breaker" and is a member of a team of assassins working for the government.

Rei Ogami has a very cold personality .  As an assassin, he is very detached and has no qualms about killing.  This contrasts Sakura, who is a warm, caring, young girl who feels that killing is wrong.  Sakura wants to stop Ogami from killing people.  She wants him to find another solution when stopping evil.

As the story unfolds in a roller coaster fashion, surprise and betrayal are always just around the corner.  The story keeps moving and twisting as it goes. Each episode brings another new discovery that will make you look forward to the next episode to see what it will bring.  Good and Evil are not so clear in this story.  The lines blur as one questions the actions of Ogami, the antihero of this story. Code :Breaker delves into the morality of killing and what is a good reason to kill or is there a good reason to kill?

The art style is sharp with a modern look to it.  The animation flows well with the fast past action of the story.      The result brings a realism to the overall feeling to the show.

Code: Breaker is subtitled only right now on Funimation.  It is a new show that has some exciting, fast paced episodes.

NASA Claims World Won’t End Dec 21 2012, Asks For Christmas Present | Out Of This World Weekly

Every few years another doomsday comes and goes without incident.  The folks at NASA have looked into claims that the world will end on Dec 21, 2012 and have declared that we will all survive.  The big prediction was made by the ending of the Mayan long count calendar. NASA assures us that just as the Earth and time do not end on your calendar at home when Jan 1st comes around, both time and the Earth will not end when the Mayan calendar comes to an end. 

Another doom prediction comes from the ancient Sumerians, who predicted that a planet named Nibiru is set to collide with the Earth in Dec 2012.  It also happens that they predicted that this would happen back in May 2003 but when nothing happened, they seem to have arbitrarily moved the date up a few years and crossed their fingers.  Needless to say, the folks at NASA haven’t found any new planets in our solar system lately, especially not ones that are on a collision course with Earth. 

Weekend Watchlist | Robot Bugs

robotic-bugs-023We has two notable items posted on the blog this week. First, our very own Out of This World Weekly space tech columnist, Louis Jorgl, debuted his first video production with The Technology Report discussing our future with robotics. Secondly, we bid a teary-eyed farewell to NASA’s first spidernaut, Nefertiti. Growing Up Otaku salutes both of these momentous events in this Weekend Watchlist by unceremoniously smashing them together. Join us now as we bust out the magnifying glass and gawk at the strange world of robotic insects.


 

Our first feature takes us back more than four years to Robert Wood’s amazing robotic flies from the Museum of Modern Art’s “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibit.

iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7 Blend Test

The rash of affordable tablets are sure to have put these new touchy computers on the top of many people’s holiday wish lists, but which one to get? Sure you can look at speed tests, browser tests, and even drop tests, but Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec and star of one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns to ever grace the Internet, has a better idea. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

For those of you unfamiliar with the online antics of Blendtech, yes, the Wildside blender is very real.

Nokia Uses Orchestra to Create Ringtones for Lumia Windows 8 Phones

nokia-lumia-920t-color-rangeMost ringtones suck. Yeah, even I couldn’t dance around that one with a bunch of flowery language. Fortunately, one company has finally decided to do something about it.

Nokia has partnered with audio production company Epic Sound and hired the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra to record 25 original compositions (dubbed “miniatures”) for use as ringtones in their phones. A few of these recordings are already available on the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920. As it turns out, classical music snippets are the second most popular category of ringtones.  Nokia sound engineer Aleski Eeben explains that the new tunes were designed from the ground up to be “distinctively ring tones: they are short, and they all have a functional sounds element.”

So, why the orchestra? Your standard ringtones are cranked out by synthesizers in a studio. Asbjoern Andersen of Epic Sound explains:

“There’s a lot of thought, effort and new ideas put into the devices – not only in terms of the hardware, but also in the overall user experience and design of the products.

The Nokia mobile sounds are heard around a billion times a day, so a lot of work is put into ensuring that they would stand repeated listening in a lot of different environments and to give the products a unique, organic sound you don’t normally hear on mobile devices.”

Frankly, the new line of Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices have been the only smartphone to really catch my attention this year, particularly the Lumia 920. A refreshing change from the traditional black slab running something vaguely resembling Windows 3.1, these new color coordinated pocket computers really tickle the lizard-like bit of my brain looking for the latest shiny thing. It’s good to hear (er, no pun intended) that these new handsets are going to be as easy on the ears as they are on the eyes.

Source: The Telegraph

NASA’s First Spider in Space Passes Away

Nefertiti space spiderThe worlds first (known) Spidernaut passed away on the morning of December 3rd, less than a week after having been relocated to the “Insect Zoo” exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Nefertiti, a Johnson Jumper spider, was one of a batch of creepy-crawlies delivered to the International Space Station in July as part of the YouTube Space Lab series of experiments. There she learned to adapt her native hunting practices to zero gravity and capture less lucky spaceborne insects.

After a 100 day stint on the orbiting laboratory, Nefertiti returned to Terra Firma in October. Under the watchful eyes NASA, the spidernaut successfully readapted to a gravity-centric world.

Nefertiti was moved to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on November 29th. It seems that living in the spotlight would be the heroic fly-sucker’s undoing. Actually, this species of spider only has a typical lifespan of one year. Nefertiti was 10 months at time of death. The space bug’s remains will remain on exhibit at the museum.

Let Nefertiti stand as an example to all the rest of you creepy bugs out there: You can do it! Get the hell off my planet!

As Software Adapts and Changes, So Must Our Criticism. Scribblenauts Remix (iOS) Re-Reviewed

scribblenauts remix christmasSoftware is much more fluid and organic today than it used to be. Developer updates pushed to an constantly connected audience frequently changes a program from it’s initial form in response to fan feedback or developer inspiration. Critical analysis of software must adapt to these new rules of the road in order to maintain relevancy and usefulness. Fortunately documents on the Internet can have their ones and zeroes rearranged to keep pace with the medium and continue to provide pertinent information.

With this in mind we have appended our article “Review: Scribblenauts Remix (iPhone/iPad): Wet Stinky Angry Birds vs Lazy Zombie Robot Ninjas” to better reflect the current content and price point of the title. We have also changed our original score of 4/5 to a 5/5.

3D Printed AR-15 Rifle Receiver Fires Six Live Bullets

3d printed AR15 partDefense Distributed, the folks behind the Wiki Weapon project, have achieved a new milestone. Following the repossession of their Stratasys Mojo 3D printer, the intrepid group has soldiered on in their quest to produce the world’s first 3D printable firearm. In the following video Defense Distributed takes a a 3D printed lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle out to the firing range. The weapon fires six rounds before breaking.

The design used is from MakerBot’s free public repository for 3D models, the Thingiverse. The “Reinforced AR-15 Lower Receiver” model was produced by user HaveBlue, but had not actually been tested as a part of a gun before.

While perhaps not performing up to the standards Defense Distributed had hoped, the test firing of this part has led the group to gather invaluable data for use in refining the design.

Two weeks ago, Defense Distributed applied for 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. According to Wikipedia, 501(c)(3) exemption applies to “corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.” Organizations operating under 501(c)(3) status are frequently referred to as “Friends of…”

Struggling to Survive Live in Indie Survival Horror Sim Miasmata | Twitchy Tuesday

miasmataWe’re going indie on this Twitchy Tuesday’s live stream with the beautiful new survival game Miasmata. Prepare to take a tumble off a hill while searching for drinkable water with myself and The Mrs. on our quest to create a cure for the plague. Of course it’s not all falling and drowning. Somewhere out there in this tropical paradise turned graveyard a… thing… is hunting us.

The show’s over for this week, but you can relive all the spills and chills below as we strive to survive yet another live broadcast. Experience the magic we preach about everything wrong with modern, big budget gaming and shriek like little girls at the sudden appearance of The Creature. Really! Honest to God live screaming.

The Future Of Robotics | The Technology Report

The Lou formerly known as The Great One launches his new video project today, The Technology Report, so click your like buttons together and give him a warm welcome.

I’m going to be trying something new by moving into the mid 20th century by using video reporting.  Seems like video is what all the kids are watching these days, so let’s see how it goes.  I’m sure I’ll get better as I get some practice at this, so please hang in there as we at GUO work out the details.  A thousand thanks to my video producer and technical assistant, Michael Krutzler.  Please feel free to comment here or on YouTube.


Cambridge story:  http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/humanitys-last-invention-and-our-uncertain-future/

Humand Rights Watch and Harvard Law:  http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/11/19/ban-killer-robots-it-s-too-late

Robot Combat League via Entertainment Weekly:  http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/11/20/robot-combat-league/

Water Found On Mercury | Out Of This World Weekly

Mercury is hot.  800 degrees Fahrenheit hot during Mercury’s 29 Earth day long daytime.  The extremely close proximity to the Sun makes this the least likely place in the Solar System to find water.  Even so, NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury has used 2 instruments to confirm water on that planet with the help of the Arecibo radio telescope here on Earth.  It seems that ice water is able to exist on Mercury in deep craters near the poles of the planet.  These craters never see sunlight and thus never reach the excruciatingly hot temperatures that would melt the ice almost instantly.  Since there is no atmosphere on the planet, the heat on the day side is not distributed through the atmosphere to the polar regions.  This unexpected discovery is mirrored by the discovery of water in the form of ice on the Moon, which has also been found in deep craters near the poles that never see sunlight. 

Deal! Cthulhu Christmas Calendar is Free for iOS Today

cthulhu christmasDecember is a maddening time of the year. You got the crazy shopping, insane decorating, nerve-racking family visits, and upsetting bankruptcy paperwork all crammed into a 31-day period were everyone is expected to be nice and love one another. In such mind rending times, why not commit to a quiet minute each morning with the original gods of madness, Cthulhu and Friends?

Cthulhu Christmas Calendar comes to us from Red Wasp Design, the folks behind the turn-based tactical iOS game Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. In this new advent calendar app you’ll greet each new day with a shriek as Big C, Nyarlathotep, and all their crazy buddies greet you with adorably insane artwork and break your sanity with a bit of trivia from the H.P. Lovecraft created mythos. Best of all, this celebration of Christmas madness is free today!

Do some pointy-clicky over at iTunes and grab Cthulhu Christmas Calendar and Cthulhu Christmas Calendar HD today. You’d be mad not to!

Behind the Blog: December 1, 2012

Behind Blog button 2Well, that was a trying month if you’re unlucky enough to be living in the Northeastern United States. Good to see you and yours again! We’ve been sitting down here pounding away at our keyboards yammering on and on about the latest flotsam and jetsam of geekery to wash up on the shores of the Internet. Man, I bet you missed a bunch of stuff what with the lack of electricity and all. Lucky for you I’ve got this slide projector all set up with a fresh batch of clips about how we made it all. Wait… Were are you going?

Come on! It’s getting cold out there and I won’t take “No” for an answer. Seriously. Now sit down. Good. Now I’m just going to put these handcuffs on and… Perfect! Now, if you’ll direct your attention to this first slide, you’ll see all the pain behind the posts, the thoughts behind the themes, and the numbers behind the nuance. Welcome to Behind the Blog!

£20,000 RFID Enabled Scrabble Board Brings Championship Play Live to the World

SONY DSCThe Prague Mindsports Festival has pulled out all the stops (and pennies from their piggy bank) in their quest to bring champion level Scrabble to the world live via the ‘Net. In what may very well be the highest tech boardgame translation ever, the folks at Mind Sports International (MSI) have embedded every Scrabble tile in the game with an radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip. The complimenting board and trays are where the real magic happens. It takes 225 RFID antennas to read every space on the board. This information is captured by the nine mainboards inside and relayed back to a central system where a real-time recreation of the gameboard is presented alongside streaming HD footage of the players. As for the customizable LED lighting around the board… Well, that just makes it look cool!

MSI’s CEO explains "Our goal was to help bring popular Scrabble tournaments to life, whilst reaching a wider audience by capturing tournament play in a technologically advanced and engaging manner.”

The Prague MindSports Festival is running December 1st through the 4th featuring classic games like Bridge, Backgammon, Poker, Scrabble, and Risk. New gaming hotness will also be represented in the form of League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournaments. For more information, game schedules, and live streams, check out www.PragueMindSportsFestival.com.

Microsoft Turns the Other Cheek in New Internet Explorer Viral Video

TROLLS---1992-001No one likes trolls. How much of the Internet’s storage space do you think is taken up by the irrational, unproductive ravings of hate mongering forum posters just looking to spoil some fanboy’s fun? I bet it’s a lot! I’m also willing to be that an easy 20% of that would be single line digs at Microsoft’s “Internet Exploder” web browser. Yup, right up there with any mention of the iPhone or a picture of a girl with cat ears. Geez, you’d think nerds of all people would know better.

Now imagine that your day job is hammering away at MS’ publicly ridiculed window to the web. Imagine that you had a chance to create IE’s next viral marketing campaign aimed squarely at those who have wasted gigabytes of data slandering the very app you and your buddies work so hard on. What would you say? Would you give back all the venom you’ve been subjected to, or would you play it Ghandi style? I think it’s safe to say which way most of us would go.

In their latest YouTube video, the team behind Internet Explorer does the unthinkable. The IE dudes take clear aim at the Internet’s most unwelcoming of netizens not with anger or disgust, but acceptance. In the process they reminds us all that it’s okay to change you mind.

In a move of the greatest irony, the caretakers of IE’s YouTube channel have disabled comments for this video, but I guess we all know what they’d say.

On a related note, if you’re one of those classic geeks out there who understands the mystical language of Code, do check out the outrageously funny Karaoke Web Standard from “The Browser You Loved to Hate”.

Apple’s Steve Wozniak is Stabbin’ Suckas with Danny Trejo in Vengeance: Woz With A Coz

Well, this finally happened: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has taken to the “mean streets” to pump bad guys full of lead in his first video game appearance. Not bizarre enough? He’s teaming up with the terrifically terrifying giant Mexican movie man Danny Trejo (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete, and…er, Spy Kids) for the iOS video game tie-in to Trejo’s upcoming film, Vengeance.

In this 16-bit styled runner game, The Wizard of Woz must shoot, stab, slide, and jump his way through the many levels of Fusion City to recuse his wife, J-Woz, from the clutches of Ricardo White. Armed with his trusty translator app, Woz fully voices his own character with authentic Spanish exclamations upon death such as “Tortillas!” or “Chihuahua…” So… not only is one of the founding fathers of home computing now a violent video game character, but a racist one. Yay?

woz with a causeVengeance: Woz with Cause boasts a storyline written by Steve himself, multiple upgradable weapons, secret crosses to find, big boss battles, and the ability to swap between Wozniak and Trejo during your revenge fueled murder spree across Fusion City.

Vengeance: Woz with Cause is $0.99 on iTunes.

Om Nom Nom and Eat Up… Your $50 iPhone Case?

960最終

Sick of Thanksgiving leftovers? Chow down on this rice cracker iPhone case!

Be it nuclear proliferation, natural disasters, Aztec calendars, broadband metering, or plain ol’ zombie apocalypse, mankind is constantly teetering on the brink of extinction. You need to be ever watchful for opportunities to secure food, water, and shelter at all times. Fortunately Mariko of ikiiki-ys.com has your back on the food securing front. Behold the “Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case”!

Inspiration struck Mariko a month ago. Being a senbei (Japanese rice cracker) artist, Mariko longed for a way to make the tasty snack hip again rather than allowing it to languish under the stigma of being “old people food”. Her solution? This lovingly handcrafted iPhone 5 case. Perfect for the hip, happening, and all too used to paying through the nose for accessories!

Sadly, the Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case isn’t so great at actually protecting your pocket pal. The website is very upfront with customers about the likelihood of this tasty case breaking in a variety of circumstances such as:

・Before arrival: 9%
・Affixing to iPhone 5: 76%
・Using touch screen: 18%
・Touched by friend: 81%
・Turning up the volume: 50%
・Connecting to PC: 54%
・When the user is upset or annoyed: 65%
・Putting in pocket: 89%
・When dropped: 120%

960最終None the less, Mariko states the probability of the Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case being delicious is 100% and great for protecting you from the munchies. Seeing as how honest they are about durability, I can’t imagine their yumminess chances being wrong.

You can order the Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case direct from Mariko at ikiiki-ys.com for 3,818 yen (that’s almost $47 US!), but be prepared for a wait. Every case is handmade by Mariko herself and she’s only cranking out three a day. Delivery times are already running over a month.

Pentagon Decides Robots Won’t Kill People, People Will

110204-F-1162D-019Advancements is autonomous weapon systems have been on a lot of people’s minds lately (Thank you, Call of Duty: Black Ops II). From armed Predator drones to the Navy’s new X-47B unmanned stealth fighter (pictured right), military robots with a license to kill are rapidly moving from the realm of science fiction to science fact. While the U.S. military hasn’t quite the technology to go all Skynet on the world yet, forward thinking military minds are already making sure that who lives and dies isn’t going to be decided strictly by the numbers.

On November 21st, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed a directive which makes it clear that it is the policy of the Department of Defense that “Autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force.” Not only will this policy keep the killing in the hands of creatures with a conscience, but will lessen the risk from cyber attacks on autonomous vehicles that could lead to a loss of control. You think it’s bad a virus can lock down your hard drive? Imagine if it hijacked your stealth fighter!

You can read the full Department of Defense directive on autonomy in weapon system for yourself over at Crytome.org.

LEGO: The Lord of the Rings Live Stream | Twitchy Tuesday

LEGOLOTRThe cast of Growing Up Otaku had a blast during our Scribblenauts live stream last week that we’re doing it again! The streaming part that is. This week we’re taking a look at what happens when two well loved yet well worn franchises splice genes. Spoiler alert: Great fun! We were so impressed with Traveler’s Tales latest LEGO title that we’re bringing it to you live. We’ve ironed out the bugs from our maiden broadcast, added some new tech, and caffeinated the hamsters running our equipment, so this should be a much smoother (and more accessible) show.

Join The Mrs. and myself as we embark on an epic quest to collect uncountable numbers of LEGO studs and chuck jewelry at volcanoes in this perfectly plastic, family-friendly retelling of the Tolkien classic.

The show is over, but you can catch a recording of our live play through of The Two Towers after the page break. In this episode you’ll find out that Brandon makes us hungry for Chinese food, Elizabeth indiscriminately wields the ban hammer, and bragging about your Internet connection live causes it to die.

Sword Art Online brings Online Gaming to Life through Anime | AniMaiden'd


If you have ever wondered what it might be like to live in an online game, Sword Art Online brings to life a world where this is possible. This anime series visits this concept with an intriguing story line and is based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara, The first episode was aired on July 7th 2012 and is currently showing on Crunchyroll.

The story takes place in 2022 and begins with players logging into play an online gaming system that is still in beta.   When the game finally goes live, the players find out that the creator of SAO has designed the  game so that if any player's avatar dies while playing the game, the player will die in the real world and any player that attempts to log off and remove the visor and helmet they are wearing to play this game, will also die.


The story seems to be fairly straight forward when it starts but as it continues, the plot twists and turns quite nicely. Characters can be killed off during the game play and even important characters can die unexpectedly. The personalities are developed in interesting directions that keep viewers watching. The artwork is beautiful and works well with the animation to make a very beautiful world come to life. 


In the unreal worlds of Sword Art Online, very real questions about life become the focus. As the main characters, Kirito and Asuna develop through the story, they explore life and what is truly important. They face some surprising challenges as they discover who the creator of SAO is and as the show progresses, new surprises are around every corner.

There are 24 episodes and they are scheduled to run through the end of the year.  Be sure you don't miss this one on Crunchyroll.


Making Sure The “New Spacecraft Smell” Doesn’t Damage Spacecraft | Out Of This World Weekly

By now, we all have experienced that “New Car” smell associated with new cars, electronics, and other select products.  What many of us don’t know is that this smell isn’t a good thing.  While it does mean that the product is newly manufactured and most likely unused, the smell itself can be dangerous.  The smell is a product of Outgassing, where atoms, ions, or molecules have adsorbed to the surface of the product and are now re-entering the air around the product.  The reason “New Car Smell” doesn’t smell like anything else in nature is because it is not natural.  It is most likely the result of a combination of extremely harsh chemicals from epoxies, lubricants, solvents, and paints.  These combinations of chemicals can be dangerous to humans and also to complex equipment like spacecraft.  Luckily, a team of NASA engineers have developed a new way of neutralizing these gases and protecting us from the effects of outgassing. 

Leftover Turkey | Weekend Watchlist

Tired of turkey? Tough! This Weekend Watchlist we’re talkin’ turkey ‘bout turkeys!

First stop, The White House where President Obama  grants the traditional Thanksgiving pardon to Cobbler, this years Thanksgiving entre’. This video is the official release video from the U.S. Government.

For American Thanksgiving, GUO Presents A Quad-Rotor Turkey That Drops Pumpkin Pie

Utah Aerials cobbled together coat hangers, zip ties, poster board, and a remote controlled quad-copter to create this homemade, dessert laden UAV. So…^^title^^. Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s Inside Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity Cube? Spam

curiosity spam22 Cans, the new game design studio from visionary designer Peter Molyneux, embarked on a bold experiment this month with their first title “Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube”. The free mobile app for iOS and Android invites players to co-operatively chip away and a massive digital cube billions of “cubelets” in size. At the center waits a secret that only a single person will ever see. A secret Molyneux has described as “life-changingly amazing by any definition.” In spite of occasional server overload, Curiosity boasts more than 920,000 players working together to chip away at the boulder in one of the largest online co-operative projects yet.

curiosity kickstater spamEvery few layers a picture will appear on the normally monochromatic cube. Previous picture layers have included stained glass Biblical scenes, model airplane instructions, the Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath, pages from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and a 360 panorama of a walled desert city. On Wednesday, November 21st another of the Curiosity cube’s rare picture level’s was reveled. In a change from the wonderful and whimsical images presented previously, this latest level was a blatant six-panel advertisement for Molyneux’s own Kickstarter campaign to fund a video game.

Classy…

Your Brain Sounds Like Free Jazz Piano Music

Soon to be performing in a coffee shop near you, give it up for Your Brain!

journal.pone.0049773.g008Chinese researchers have measured and translated the pip-pop-dzop of your gray matter’s brainwaves into music fans of future jazz are sure to be clamoring for. In 2009, the international open access research journal PLOS ONE took a stab (figuratively) at translating EEG readings into music. This new attempt doubles down on the data by combining readings from both an EEG and fMRI. This new EEG-fMRI music better reflects the actual workings of the human brain. It is hoped that the analysis of brain based music can be used to further unravel the mysteries of the mind and could be useful in new bio-feedback therapies.

This is the 30 second performance of Subject A  (a 31-year-old woman) at rest.

And this lively ditty is 30 seconds of Subject B’s (a 14-year-old girl) brain at rest.

Subject C (a 2-year-old female) would not rest and instead responded with a song that went something like “But I don’t waaannaaaaa!”

For the full, educated explanation as to the science and methodology behind this experiment or to download MP3s of this mind made music, check out the full article on PLOS ONE.

Finally, Scribblenauts Comes to the PC! And We’re Streaming It Live!

scribblenautsSure, people love their Halos and Calls o’ Duties, but me… I LOVE SCRIBBLENAUTS!!! Long time GUO readers know that I am the naughtiest scribe to never scribble naught. Thus it gives me great joy to announce that the epic puzzle sandbox word game Scribblenauts is making its way to the PC where it can finally be enjoyed with the peripheral it was always destined to be played with: A keyboard!

Much more than more of the same, Scribblenauts Unlimited now includes a story mode, open worlds, and an object creator that allows you to take your twisted creativity to whole new levels. All out of ideas? Borrow someone else’s creativity using Steam Workshop.

Scribblenauts Unlimited is now on sale for Windows based PCs for the very reasonable price of $30 at your favorite retail and online software stores. 3DS and Wii U versions are also available if your prefer to roll Nintendo style.

Obviously such an event of geektastic proportions deserves a little hoopla. As such, GUO is taking our first stab at this whole live streaming thing that’s all the rage. Join The Mrs. and myself as we take our first steps into the puzzling new world of Scribblenauts Unlimited.

Update: Show’s over, but you can catch a replay of the fun at after the page break or at our Twitch.tv page. Feel free to skip around in the video as we had some technical foibles getting started and had to restart the stream at about the 1hr40min mark. It was a full house as The Mrs, Brandon (via Facetime), myself, and the Twitch community came up with the craziest ideas possible to solve equally bizarre puzzles.