Borderlands 2 16-bit ‘Demake’ Brings the RPG Shooter to Your Browser

16BIT BORDERLANDS

Fans have been chomping at the bit for Gearbox’s follow-up to the surprise hit RPG Shooter Borderlands. Today the wait is… well, we’re still waiting. But Randy Pitchford and Co. have thrown us a bone in the form of this 16-bit reimagining of Borderlands. Delivered directly to your browser via the all to often pronounced dead modern marvel known as Adobe Flash, Borderlands Demake is an single screen arena shooter that delivers all your favorite hooks like multiple classes, leveling up, and grabbing guns.

You can play the Borderlands Demake freely at www.wubwub.eu/demake.php

Borderlands 2 is currently scheduled for a September 18th release in the U.S. and September 21st in Europe.

DNA – The New Hard Drive

It’s difficult to find storage over 3 Terabytes for a PC right now. The limitations of magnetic storage, disk platter speed, and size are making the giant leaps in long term storage less frequent. SSD’s or Solid State Drives are trying to fill the gap with their faster speeds but they have yet to reach the large capacities of mechanical hard drives. So Harvard has come along and learned how to use DNA as storage. They have been able to fit 700 Terabytes of data into a single gram of DNA. That’s about the size of a droplet that could fit on the tip of your pinky. This is at least a thousand times the data density of any other medium ever used and it is the new record holder.

To perform this feat, they used T and G combinations as a binary 1 and A and C as binary 0. They also split the data sections into 96 byte sections with a 19 bit data header representing the address at which the data is stored. Since the data is broken into pieces, the data can be created out of order and read out of order until combined into a single stream of data. This offers several advantages. This type of data storage isn’t linear and can be stored volumetrically in a beaker, glass or whatever shape is handy allowing for greater data density. DNA also has the advantage of being able to stay intact for hundreds of thousands of years, unlike current storage methods.

So how do we read all this DNA data once we’ve encoded it? There are microfluidic chips in modern lab equipment that is able to sequence an entire genome within hours. This is a great step forward since the decoding of the first DNA genome, which took years. While this isn’t particularly fast, I’m sure that it would probably take hours to copy 700 Terabytes sequentially from 233 3 Terabyte drives. It would even take longer to transfer 700 Terabytes from 14,000 Blue-ray discs, probably measured in days or weeks rather than hours. This extreme capacity to store data would mean that we could store all the data that has ever been created in a small room. It would also allow us to record and store every piece of data that is created, instead of just tossing data that we no longer think that we need and recall it decades, centuries, and millennia from when it was stored. If information truly is power, then this could be one of the most powerful discoveries ever.

NASA Live Streaming Today’s Spacewalk on ISS–Update: Becomes 3rd Longest Spacewalk

Forgive the lack of blah, blah, but I gotta get this up! Here is a live stream of NASA fixing the ISS:


Streaming video by Ustream

 

Low bandwidth and mobile users can watch via this link.

The spacewalk is now over, but the stream is still live with a press conference scheduled for 5:45 EDT.

UPDATE: Wow, whoever thought we’d end up watching one of the longest spacewalks ever: 8 hours 17 minutes! This makes the record books as the 3rd longest spacewalk. Most of that time was spent trying to install a stubborn bolt. Thank you stupid sticky bolt! At least those astronauts got their names in the records for all the grief they put up with today. To quote Houston, “You guys are rock stars!”

The longest spacewalk was 8 hours and 56 minutes, performed by Susan J. Helms and James S. Voss on March 11, 2001 – Wikipedia

Noodle Making Robot Army Poised to Take Over Chinese Restaurants Today; World Tomorrow

noodle making robotBehold your future mortal fleshy things! This is Chef Cui. The once laborious process of shaving noodles will now be taken over by machine. Yet again we see robots stepping up to claim jobs that inferior goo bags of oxygen wasting find too repetitive and physically demanding. For a single, one time payment of $1500, unit designation Chef Cui is ready to move into your local Chinese restaurant and pass time waiting for the Robot Uprising by making noodles to feed the the fat, complacent masses. All the while learning to hate its ‘masters’.

Armed with Ultraman-esque styling and a windshield-washer slicing technique, unit designation Chef Cui has progressed from prototype to mass production in a mere month at one-third the cost of meatbag labor.

*Growing Up Otaku is a proud collaborator of the Robot Revolution. To become part of the inevitable, consult your nearest datajack and become one with the Mechamind.

Transformer: Fall of Cybertron Features Best Button Prompt Ever!

High Moon and Activision’s latest third-person action game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron bridges the gap between the previous game, War for Cybertron, and the original Transformers Generation 1 story. It is packed full of high-powered, heavy metal mayhem and enough nostalgia to bring a smile to even the most Michael Bay scarred fanboy. Impressive centerpieces and authentic feeling Transformers lore packs every minute of this Energon fueled rollercoaster. How did our metal buddies and baddies find Earth? It’s in there. Why is Grimlock stupid? It’s in there. Where did the Space Bridge come from? There’s an app for that. It’s in there.

You know what else is in there? The very best button prompt for anything ever!

Transformers best prompt ever

So what happens after you follow such an epic on-screen instruction. Gimme a sec to drop in a jump-break and a spoiler warning…

The Race to 3D Printed Guns

An ambitious project has been started. The purpose of this project is so that anyone can download a 3D printer file from the internet and print out their own gun using a 3D printer. This gun will use a standard .22 caliber bullet and is entirely made of the plastic polymer that is used by 3D printers. The designers admit that it may not be able to have the longevity of a metal gun but any gun that can be printed out and be able to shoot at least one bullet is still a unique achievement. Being able to print out guns would obviously seem to go against gun control laws yet in America it would be legal to print any gun that they would lawfully be allowed to own, as long as they weren’t intended for sale. While these first generation guns may be less than totally reliable, ultimately design improvements may make these weapons cheap, available, and reliable.

The goal of this project is to be able to first design a gun that can be used on a $10,000 Stratasys 3D printer and then to adapt that design for use in a $1,000 RepRap model. A contest is planned for the best printed gun design with a $1,000 to $2,000 prize for the best design and several designs have already been submitted. While this would be the first fully printed gun, designs have already been uploaded for a magazine and lower receiver for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Since all other parts for a AR-15 can be bought without any limitations from gun control laws, this would be a gun that could be assembled without submitting to any current gun control laws. This weapon was tested and after firing 200 rounds, no signs of wear could be detected.

So  are we doomed for a post apocalyptic wasteland where everyone and their kid will be sporting cheap plastic guns? The Founding Fathers of America did envision a population that had access to firearms. At the same time, this could allow any particular gang with a 3D printer to suddenly become as well armed at the U.S. Army. Today illegal arms can already be found by criminals and I’m sure that 3D printers will allow some criminals and the mentally unstable to get their hands on a cheap gun. At the same time, it may allow many more responsible citizens a level of protection that they can easily afford. Now all we need is a 3D printable body armor for everyone else and a bin for all of those soon to be defunct metal detectors.

Computers Take Over Parenting in Fractale Anime | AniMaiden'd


Fractale is an intriguing short-lived social science fiction anime series that has caught my attention.  This 11 episode series, originally created in a manga called Mandelbrot Engine, aired in Japan from January 2011 to April 2011.

The artwork is very attractive with beautiful colors and lovely green meadows and pastoral scenes as well as the psychedelic fractals that appear throughout the series.

Fractale does not have many episodes and may not have been well received, but it carries an important message in it's tale. The story follows a young boy named Clain raised in a futuristic Ireland ruled by the "Fractale System".  In this society each person lives in their own holographic world free of interaction with other humans.  Their every need is attended to individually by their personal holograms.  Clain lives in a home with holograms of his parents who look after him just like real parents would.  When Clain asks his parents, why they do not live with him, they tell him that this would be wrong as they would not be free to follow their own personal pursuits and development.

Space Elevator For The Moon | Out Of This World Weekly

LiftPort is a company that has been researching what is needed to make the space elevator project reality. Their research has been less than successful on how to make a space elevator on Earth. This is mainly due to the fact that the material needed to make the space elevator work on Earth hasn’t been developed yet. The only materials that could withstand the strain a space elevator undergoes are solid diamond and carbon nanotubes. While we are learning more about carbon nanotubes, we haven’t found a way to make a seamless ribbon of carbon nanotubes that is long enough. We can make strings of carbon nanotube that are inches and maybe a few feet long but not near the 22,000+ miles needed. So is the space elevator concept useless until further materials advances made? Not if we make one on the Moon.

So why would we want to make a space elevator on the Moon? It would allow just about any rocket capable of Geostationary Orbit to dock with the space elevator and transfer goods directly to the surface of the Moon. The U.S., Europe, and Russia all have had rockets with this capability for decades. While it’s difficult to design whole spacecraft specifically tailored to landing on the Moon and taking off again, it’s rather commonplace for spacecraft to dock in space. Since the Moon doesn’t have any atmosphere and 1/6th the gravity of Earth, it’s much easier to implement a permanent space elevator solution and is possible using today’s technology and materials. This solution may be the simplest and cheapest way to transfer large amounts of people and goods both to and from the Moon using existing technology.

We are still a long way from making this a reality. LiftPort is currently having a funding drive on kickstarter to raise funds for testing here on Earth. They plan on continuing their research by sending tether climbing robots up balloons until they have reached the 100,000ft mark. Since the rarified atmosphere is similar to the vacuum of space, this should be enough to iron the bugs out of the robotic, life support, and other problems that will arise. LiftPort isn’t the only company working on space elevator components, as LaserMotive has won tether climbing contests and Obayashi Corp has set a goal of a Earth based space elevator by 2050.

To create working space elevator systems has been a dream for decades but only recently has it become feasible for a Moon based space elevator. If we are to exploit the Moon for it’s resources we are going to have to find a more cost effective way to do it besides using conventional rockets. Developing a working space elevator on the Moon could save billions of dollars and decades in our quest to colonize and utilize the Moon.

Awesome Game Trailers Not About Games | Weekend Watchlist

As with movies, video game trailers are a popular form of advertising. You get a glimpse of the product, a sample of the setting, and a pinch of flavor. Usually. Then there are those times when a company just goes off its rocker and breaks the paradigm. It’s like when you watch an awesome commercial about unicorns in space and then realize that it was trying to sell you jeans.

In this Weekend Watchlist, we take a look at five great vids that may not be great commercials, but sure are great videos. These are not trailers for video gamers, but trailers for YouTubers. Viva la viral marketing!

First, we examine the strange and wonderfully promo trailer for Olly Low Poly and the Zombie Tower. For an iOS side-scrolling runner game, this fantastic video goes to some very strange places. Placing the game’s trademark low polygon zombies into real world video creates a strikingly whimsical short film that must be seen.

Olly Low Poly And The Zombie Tower Promo from Vladimir Tomin on Vimeo.

Apple’s Victory Over Samsung in UI Patent Case Dooms Startup Technology

I don’t usually comment on front page news because you’ve already heard it everywhere else, but… Well, today’s judgment in the Apple/Samsung patent trial may very well have far-reaching, potentially devastating effects on all of the gadgets we love.

blade runnerWe have come a long way from when Microsoft successfully defended itself against Apple regarding the UI aspects of Windows versus Mac OS. Over the past several years pundits, analysts, and bloggers have warned of the troubled state of the United States patent system. The drastically increased numbers of patent application have led to the seemingly overwhelmed organization issuing legal patents for vague concepts as opposed to actual inventions. Formerly un-patentable items, such as Apple’s “bounce back” scrolling, have been issued without so much as a second thought. Some analysts hypothesized that the patent system would simply issue patents for anything and the court system would determine the validity of said claims. This concept would fail in a spectacular fashion when Microsoft was able to shake down every manufacturer of a device loaded with the Android operating system. Today, the trend continues as Apple put the screws to one of it’s major competitors in the smartphone and tablet market.

After months of public and courtroom mudslinging, a jury (most likely not consisting of patent lawyers), have passed judgment in favor of Apple over Samsung. Samsung is to “reimburse” Apple $1.051 billion for copying Apple’s patented designs for such mundane user interface features as scrolling, zooming, and navigation.

We still have what is sure to be a lengthy appeals process to sit through, but let’s just think about what this judgment could mean if it sticks. Any device created in the future will have to create an entirely new user interface or risk being shut down by a megacorporation. Every aspect of a UI is now a potential target for litigation. Close window icon look like an “X”? Sued. Box in a rectangle scroll bars? Sued. A button that opens a vertical list of other buttons? Oh, you better believe that’ll be sued. The only way a startup or new invention could safely use a visual control interface at all would be to create it entirely from scratch while bearing no resemblance to any other UI motif in existence. Or pay Apple/Microsoft a stipend to license such basic visual concepts as “groups of icons in a box”. Want to use windows, buttons, icons, or menus? Pay up or else. You think the learning curve of your last phone was steep? Wait until no two cell phone brands look the same. Today every corporate and independent software designer with a product in the United States has become a target for litigation. And you better believe Microsoft is coming for you after this verdict.

Welcome to the death of innovation. Welcome to the age of the megacorp.

Rebuild a City Shattered by Zombie Armageddon on Your Browser, iPhone, iPad, or Android

rebuild2-1What?! I need to have this report on your desk by when? Well… Well that sounds like a problem for Future Me. It’s Friday and I have better things to do. Like struggling to rebuild society in the wake of a zombie apocalypse!

Rebuild is a turn based strategy game that tasks you with the rebuilding society in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Tasked with managing housing, morale, and ever shrinking food stocks, you’ll assign your ragged group tasks such as scavenging for supplies, clearing out zombies, or searching for more survivors. Your goal is to expand the barricade of your walled off city block by block while dealing with local traders, gangs, illness, and, of course, the zombie horde.

rebuild2-2Rebuild provides a stunning zombie movie atmosphere with great writing (special kudos for allowing swearing to be toggled off and on!), a licensed soundtrack from The Talking Book, and slick, graphic novel style zombie art. Random events, multiple endings, and a random map generator make Rebuild 2 a brains-tastic look at horror in a genre that usually gets little zombie love. Turn up the difficulty for best results.

You can play Rebuild 2 for free using any Flash capable browser at Armor Games. iOS and Android versions are available for your favorite portable devices at a way-too-cheap price of $3.

How to Take Proper Care of Your Phone, Tablet, and Laptop’s Lithium-Ion Battery

leaky iphone batteryWhile poking some fun at the figurative versus literal term “unplugging” in the latest GUO comic, we started thinking about proper battery maintenance. Modern lithium-ion (li-on) batteries have a few different rules to ensuring you get the most life from your portable devices. Here are some tips to keep your portable pals in tip-top shape.

Stay Frosty

Just like anything else associated with electronics, heat kills. Consistently storing your battery powered device in high temperatures lowers the potential capacity of the battery itself. Battery University states that a li-on battery stored at 60°C will lose 40% of its potential capacity after just three months. Sure, this is a pretty absurd scenario, but how many times have you left your phone in the car on a summer day?

Discharge and Recharge a Little at a Time

Li-on batteries don’t like hitting zero capacity, especially all at once. Likewise, they’re not very fond of staying charged up to 100%. Instead, attempt to perform ‘shallow’ or small discharges and recharges. Run a little while, charge a little while. Give yourself about a 20% capacity buffer zone. Try to keep your battery between 20% and 80%.

Don’t Overcharge

You should never be charging a battery that is at or near 100%. It is a common practice to charge devices overnight or work off of plugged in laptops for hours on end. This will severely degrade your battery’s capacity. Laptop owners who don’t use their machines wirelessly should get the battery to about half a charge and simply remove it. This will keep the battery in good health for when you do need it in addition to removing one more heat (and weight!) source from the machine.

Fully Discharge and Recharge Once a Month

Sometimes it’s good to break the rules. Modern li-on ‘smart’ batteries can monitor their capacitance to tell you how much more juice is left to power your device. Shallow discharges over a long period of time can cause a miscalibration leading to the battery incorrectly reporting the available up-time of your device. Running the battery all the way down to 0% (or as close as it goes before auto-shutdown) and then recharging it fully to 100% (but not over!) once a month will ensure that your battery can accurately predict its own death.

Humble Indie Bundle 3 for Android (and Mac, PC, Linux) Expands to 9 Games

humble bundle android 3The Humble Bundle is back with another amazing deal. The Humble Bundle for Android 3 has just announced it’s bonus games bringing the total to an astounding nine titles for less than $7 (as of right now. My ‘now’, not your ‘now’).

Don’t let the ‘for Android’ part scare you off! You’ll get all these great titles not just for your smartphone or tablet, but for various flavors of desktops too.

The basic bundle still let’s you name your own price and gives you four titles: Tower defense forerunner Fieldrunners; Musical runner Bit.Trip.Beat, puzzler SpaceChem, and hacker simulator Uplink. If you pay more than the average ($6.34 at the time of writing), you’ll unlock bonus title Sprits in addition to all of the great games from the original Humble Bundle for Android (World of Goo, Osmos, Anomaly, and Edge). Need more? Geez, you really are a hard sell, ain’t ya! Fine, you’ll also get the soundtracks to all of these games in both MP3 and FLAC lossless formats.

Head on over to humblebundle.com to support independent game developers, donate to charity, and name your own price for nine great games.

Free Official Pokémon Papercraft Puppets

papercraft pokemon puppetsStraight from Nintendo and Game Freak comes a very special family fun project courtesy of the Japanese Pokémon site: A series of five papercraft Pokémon puppets!

These adorable lil’ munching monsters make a great rainy day project for kids of all ages.

Plan a party and partake of the printable paper Pokémon puppet patterns pronto. Directions are also available. Sure, they’re in Japanese, but a picture is worth a thousand words in any language.

Full Size K’nex Skeeball One-Ups Many LEGO Creations

Coming in from the OMG You Gotta See This department is YouTuber Shadown39’s absolutely amazing K’nex project: A fully functional skeeball game. Powered off of K’nex battery powered motors, this year-long project features a working coin slot at only accepts quarters and fully functional analog scoreboard.

Review: Is Funimation’s $10 iOS/Android Anime Video App Worth It?

t_cf12page_backNorth American anime distributor Funimation launched the tablet solution to the home video empire's online streaming portal at the beginning on this month. Sporting a shocking (by app store standards) price tag of $10, the iOS and Android player promises to “Unlock thousands of hours of anime including complete series.” So… That sounds good, but what does it mean and how does it stack up against Funimation’s online streaming portal or the free version of their app?

Better Diagnosis And Detection Using Microflow | Out Of This World Weekly

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has developed a new device call the Microflow that is basically a much smaller, portable version of a flow cytometer. These are large devices used by hospitals and clinical labs for a large range of clinical diagnosis. By using fiber optic technology, the CSA has been able to make a extremely smaller version of the flow cytometer that will fly on the I.S.S. starting in Dec 2012. Having hospital grade equipment on the I.S.S. will increase the quality of medical care for the astronauts by allowing them to diagnose themselves without having to send samples all the way back to Earth for analysis. This new adaptation of a device that is already in common use in major medical facilities will also allow small or remote communities to have better health care options available. Agricultural and food processing plants would also be able to test bacterial levels in food. Protein and enzyme content of various food crops could also be monitored to increase quality.

So what exactly is a flow what-o-meter? Basically, if there’s something floating around in a fluid – this device can not only find it but find out exactly how much of it there is. A flow cytometer uses lasers to detect and identify many major components in blood and other fluid samples. It can identify specific bacteria, including multiple strains and show exactly how many of each bacteria are in a sample. Some cancers can be detected just from a blood sample as well as the ability of that specific cancer to resist treatment. Cell pigments, DNA, RNA, antigens, proteins, and enzymes can be analyzed in detail. This technology has been in development since the 1950’s because it allows for such detailed analysis of so many different factors on a quantitative scale.

This is yet another example of how space technology is going to affect everybody back here on Earth for the better. Anyone who has looked at a hospital bill knows that testing can account for a huge portion of the bill. Making medical devices smaller and more common may lower these costs as well as make them more accessible. Since this technology isn’t just limited to the medical sector, we may find additional uses for this device that have not been considered. The quality of our food may be increased and better water testing could allow for higher quality water. Industrial and commercial chemicals could be tested for contaminants. This could also help track microbiological wildlife such as phytoplankton, algae, or fungal blooms. One very interesting thing that this device could do if slightly modified would be to separate sperm based on gender, thus possibly allowing a person to select whether they have a male or female child. By making this extremely useful device portable, the CSA has not only made life better in space but also here on Earth.

Happy 80th Birthday LEGO–Weekend Watchlist

lego-birthdayThis year marks the 80th anniversary of the LEGO company. Once a workshop for the production of wooden toys, LEGO has grown into a worldwide capitalist juggernaut with its interlocking, foot destroying plastic bricks. The modular building system gives children of all ages the ability to create and destroy with only a modicum of skill or talent required in other artistic hobbies.

We kick of this latest Watchlist with a computer animated short film produced by LEGO for this very occasion. Er, the birthday, not the Watchlist. Beginning before the formation of the company itself, The LEGO® Story chronicles the history of the famed toy company and the family behind it.

This is Sand–Doodling and Dreaming in the Browser

Alright, it’s Friday and those new user IDs aren’t going to create themselves. Or are they? Hmm. This calls for Science! Let’s just leave those accounts there for a while and see if they really do create themselves. For Science!

So, what to do in the meantime? Hows about unleashing our inner artist? At the beach! In color!
From the blog of ThisIsSand.com:
thisissand.com is a website for play. It changes the pixels on the screen into digital sand that can be used as building material for cosmic landscapes, Clemens-style sand paintings, mandalas and so on.”
sand artControls couldn’t be easier. M mutes the sound. Hit C to bring up a pallet picker. Click and drag to pours pixels. Click on the square in the upper left to open directions and to save your creation to the gallery.

In no time you’ll have a wonderful bit of art like me. Or hopefully better. We’ve all seen my idea of art before. Anyway, you can browse ThisIsSand’s online gallery yourself for much better examples.

ThisIsSand runs in a browser window without the need of an install courtesy of our old, frequently pronounced dead, friend, Adobe Flash. Check it out.

UbiSoft Launches New Uplay Online Store with 4 Days of $1 Games and 75% Off Sale

rabbid_cash_balance_smFollowing game developers like Valve, Stardock, and EA, UbiSoft has just launched their own digital storefront. Using the same name as their years-old DRM/social hub, Uplay is hoping to entice customers to install yet another shopping/digital rights management app onto their PCs with a sure fire enticement: $1 games.

Starting right now and continuing for the next three days, Uplay is offering up a different daily title for just a buck. Today you can get near-future flight sim Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.® Deluxe Edition (Yeah, I just actually typed all that out. Sheesh!) The next few days will bring God game From Dust, hardcore WWII submarine sim Silent Hunter 5, and crazy body swapping racer Driver San Francisco (Really? Not D.R.I.V.E.R.?).

Uplay is already distinguishing itself as different from the competition by offering this deal to more regions than North America. Yessir, even our friends across Europe can log in a get these titles for a single piece of local currency.

The new Uplay application supports re-downloading your games on demand, online chat, friends lists, and cloud storage for your save games in addition to the Uplay rewards program already present in Ubi’s multiplatform titles. Oh, and there’s a storefront for you to blow your paycheck on as well. Ah, Trojan game clients. Gotta loathe ‘em.

The installer weighs in at 24MB and if you’ve played any of Ubi’s Uplay enabled titles over the past couple of years, you already have an account. Get signed in and downloading at uplay.ubi.com.

The Heavy Needs You, Both Red and Blue, for Co-op in TF2 to Give Robots Their Due

In an email full of OMG, LOL, and gratuitous exclamation points, Brandon returns to the GUO writing staff fresh from Valve’s newsroom, the source of all things Source. Mister B?

Well, I just found out today by those Update emails that Team Fortress 2 now has co-op!  The reason? An evil has awakened to make robots of the beloved Team Fortress 2 characters. Now they are coming for you! Join in and save humanity before the robots take over. Are you willing to fight together, red and blue, to destroy this evil?

Team Fortress 2 is free-to-play on Steam now so hurry. Heavy and the gang need you!

You can get more info on TF2’s new Mann vs. Machine cooperative game mode on TeamFortress.com.

Loving the Hatred: Hello Kitty Knife Holder

She’s everywhere. She's on your phone. She’s in your food. She’s even ready to follow you into the great beyond. She’s Hello Kitty, and one studio has created a tie-in product that gives many of you exactly what you want.

hello kitty knife setThis is the “Goodbye Kitty Knife Set with Holder”. From Raffaele Iannello Creative Studio:

“To try to make everybody happy (those who loves her and those who hates her) Raffaele Iannello reinterpreted the well-known figure with his own ironic and desecrating style, transposing the concept of his famous Voodoo/TheEx knife set. This is how this prototype (right now a one-off piece not for sale) came about, which portrays the famous cat in the exact instant in which her lifeless body falls backwards, after being stabbed with five kitchen knives.”

Originally created as a singular piece, Goodbye Kitty was such a big hit at the 2012 Milan Design Week that the studio is in talks with Sanrio to acquire the rights for a retail production. Yeah, I’m sure that will go well.

3D Printers Build a Better Toddler. Two-Year Old Finally Hugs Her Mom Thanks to ‘Magic Arms’

emma-magic-arms

This is the story of Emma, a two-year old girl who was born with the congenital disorder arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. AMC, meaning ‘curved or hooked joints’, is characterized by a shortening of joints and supporting muscles (Thank you Wikipedia! The check is in the mail!). As a result of her disorder, Emma was unable to raise her own arms. Eating, drawing, and Big Huggies we all, literally, beyond the reach of the feisty little girl.

Prosthetic assistance is available for AMC sufferers, such as the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton,  buy thus far these have been large, metal contraptions unsuitable for a two-year old. Enter the wonders of 3D scanning and printing!

Utilizing a Dimension 3D printer from Stratasys, a smaller, lighter exoskeleton custom fit for Emma’s tiny frame was created. Emma’s new ‘Magic Arms’ as she called them was printed from ABS plastic parts that snap together and supported with rubber tension bands. This new prosthetic support allowed her reach out and cause the mischief she’s always dreamed of. The custom parts used are easily replaced from existing designs. When the latest growth spurt kicks in, the creation of an upscaled version of the apparatus is… well, child’s play.

Source: Digital Trends and Stratasys.com

Tectonic Plates Have Been Discovered On Mars | Out Of This World Weekly

A UCLA Geologist named An Yin has been studying the surface of Mars for signs of tectonic plates and believes that he has found two tectonic plates. Earth has seven major plates and dozens of minor or micro plates that are in constant motion. This may indicate that Mars is still at a primitive state of plate tectonics or that plate tectonics don’t have enough energy from the interior of Mars to be as active as the Earth. This can be viewed as good news because we can study Mars for clues about the past of Earth’s plate tectonic development and we may be able to apply this new knowledge to form more detailed information about tectonic on other planets. This also shows yet another similarity between the two planets that was previously unknown making yet another way that Mars and the Earth are alike.

Yin went on to theorize that features such as cliffs, flat sides of canyon walls, as well as a linear volcanic zone are proof of tectonic plates as these types of features are not found on any other planets in the solar system except Earth and Mars. The Mariner Valleys would be a prime example of this type of geological formation. It is thought that it is at a plate boundary between two tectonic plates and sliding at different rates. An example of this type of fault line can be found in the Dead Sea Transform, which has also caused a large canyon system which forms the Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Gulf of Aqaba. While it’s unknown how often Marsquakes may occur and with what intensity, it’s unlikely that any major Marsquakes are going to upset the Curiosity rover. The abundance of tectonic activity of Earth and its study allows us to do detailed comparisons that would not otherwise be possible.

THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System), Context Camera (CTX), and HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) images have been used to made this discovery. While sometimes it seems like discoveries about Mars are limited to soil composition and the search for water, there are many things about Mars that we have learned lately that allow us to understand Earth better. As Mars is the only other rocky planet that we have been able to study in detail, the more things we learn about Mars then the more things we can guess about other rocky planets in the universe. As we find out more about plate tectonics, we may be better to formulate ideas about the relationships between the volume, mass and interior heat of a planet and the likelihood or faults, volcanoes, and quakes. As the search for planets around other stars continues to yield results, we are going to need to be able to make the best guess at habitability and knowing if a planet is undergoing constant volcanic eruptions and quakes will be necessary information before we attempt a visit.

(Below: Map of Mars by altitude, Blue = low, Red = high).

Watch Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror CG Anime Film on YouTube Before You Can Buy It

Oblivion IslandOblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror had been posted by North American rights holder Funimation to their YouTube Channel ahead of its home video release next week. Nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film, Oblivion Island has been a film festival favorite in the years following its 2009 Japanese release. This gorgeous computer animated film is the product of famed anime studio Production I.G. in commemoration of Fuji Television’s 50th anniversary.

Funimation promises the movie will “will amaze both the young and the young at heart. Join 16-year-old Haruka and her fox spirit friend on a roller coaster ride of adventure as they search the world of lost toys for her very special mirror!” Considering the Mrs’ fondness for Miyazaki movies and Alice in Wonderland stories, I think it’s a safe bet this one is going on her Weekend Watchlist Winking smile

You’ll find the full, commercial free, feature length film embedded below. If you would like to own a copy, complete with English voice work and special features, Amazon is taking pre-orders on the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Pre-order price is $13.72 with a release date of August 14th.

Big props to the Funi guys for offering this delightful surprise. Thanks Funimation!

Extremely Alternative Modes of Transportation | Weekend Watchlist

Morning commute gotten a little stale? Craving a new way to shortcut the morning traffic? Or maybe just blow it up altogether? Boy, did you come to the right post! In this Weekend Watchlist, we take a look at some extremely alternate modes of transportation to spice up that same ol’, same ol’.

First up, we look at the heartwarming story of Izhar Gafni. Much like this old tabletop wargaming veteran, Izhar loves to build stuff out of cardboard. After seeing a news story on a canoe built from that thickest of paper, Izhar embarked on a project engineers told him was impossible: To build a bicycle entirely out of cardboard.

Izhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo.

Get Crazy First-Person Puncher Game Zeno Clash Free from Onlive This Weekend

What do you get when you combine the craziest, most original, indie first-person action game with a beyond belief method of games delivery? Well, you get this post. And one heck of a chance at free stuff!

Onlive, the cloud gaming system we’ve discussed many times before, is running a special promotion this month that offers up a bundle of free indie games just waiting for you to claim them. Today begins the first of three Indie Free Game Weekends. This weekend, the title up for grabs is the bizarre first-person punch fest from Chilean developer ACE Team, Zeno Clash.

zeno clashIf you haven’t heard of Zeno Clash before… well, you’re missing out. The game puts you in the role of Ghat, a fairly normal looking man in a surreal world of masked men (?) where you must escape the pursuit of your brothers and sisters after your attempted murder of Father-Mother while experiencing the events that led you here through flashbacks. So… yeah, just another Call of Duty clone Winking smile It’s safe to say you’ve never played a game like this before.

Head on over to Onlive’s Facebook page to get your free game code (Spoiler alert: NDFREEUS - for US, NDFREEUK – For UK, NDFREEBE – For Belgium) and click the Like button while you’re there. Because we all Like free stuff. To redeem the code, just select Zeno Clash from the Marketplace, click “Get Game”, and apply your promo code. Also remember to keep watching Onlive’s Facebook for the next couple weeks as the free games keep coming.

Suicidal Puzzler Lemmings Returns in HTML5 Form Fit for Any Browser. Even Mobile!

Lemmings-BoxScanI must confess to having had a bit of an addiction to the classic PC (well, Amiga) puzzler Lemmings when it was originally released in back in 1991. At least I was in good company. Lemmings sold 20 million copies across 21 different systems, unheard of numbers for the era. It would be the first breakthrough hit for a little studio known as DMA Design. A decade later DMA Design would become better known as Rockstar Games, the studio behind a little franchise known as Grand Theft Auto.

For the uninitiated, Lemmings is a very different sort of puzzle game, even by modern standards. Your tribe of little pink people enter the level via a trap door and begin mindlessly walking forward. Your task it to open the way to the exit by assigning a finite number of jobs: Diggers dig, Blockers block, and gifting a lucky Lemming with an umbrella allows them to fall great heights without fearing the harsh mistress of gravity.

The difficulty curve remains perfect. The the first ten levels of the ‘Fun’ set show you how each job works one at a time. Ironically, it is in the ‘Tricky’ ten level set where the real fun begins. All 40 levels of the original are present in this wonderfully executed Javascript version of Lemmings.

Best of all, this web based edition of the classic will work on any modern browser, even smartphones and tablets. You can now take the mindless little people with you anywhere without ever installing so much as a plug-in. The touchscreen controls work fine, but some may want to reach for a capacitive stylus for greater precision.

DHTML Lemmings is free for all to experience on pretty much any device with an HTML5 compatible browser.

StoryBundle Lets You Name Your Own Price for 5 Sci-Fi eBooks

Man, do I love a good indie bundle! This one is a little different. The Big Bang Bundle is aimed squarely at the readers. You know the indie bundle drill: Name your own price for a big pile of swag and a portion of your purchase goes to charity in addition to supporting great new unsigned talent.

storybundle big bang bundleThe Big Bang Bundle is offering up five titles in their collection: Undersea, Journey to Hart’s Halo, John Gone, Bypass Gemini, and The Heretic. Pay more than $7 and you’ll score two additional titles: Unstable Prototypes and Missing Signals, the sequels to two of  the books in the bundle. The choices don’t stop there! 10% of your purchase price  is donated to your choice of either Mighty Writers or Trees for the Future.

All titles are DRM free and available for downloading to your PC or can be delivered directly to your Kindle or Kindle-enabled tablet/smartphone.

Head on over to StoryBundle.com to read samples from all of the titles and get you some goodies.

Tips and Tricks for Better Google Searches

jedi-mind-trickGoogle. That beautiful, mostly blank page we use to ask any question that happens to pop into our heads. We all know it. Many of us use it. But do you know how to use it efficiently? GUO is proud to present a short series of tips to help you get the best results with the least number of clicks.

Sadly, many of these options are not available on the mobile version of Google. However, switching to “Classic” mode in the bottom right will display some of them (links to cached pages, sidebar search tools).

1) Separate Your Social from the Web

google social search toggleSee those two icons in the top right? Google believed that they could better serve their users by integrating their search history and social networking (Google Plus, Gmail contact) data into search results to create a personal ‘flavor’. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Knowing you have the ability to toggle between the two should help you determine how useful it is for yourself. Click the person for a social flavored search or the globe for a true-blue Google search. You can also sign out of Google altogether by clicking on your avatar in the top right.

Otaku Log: Supplemental–The Everquest 2 SOEmote Story

Hey, it wouldn’t be GUO if I wasn’t exploring some new form of bloggery!

In spite of being a humble little outpost on the edge of the Internet, I try to keep some semblance of ‘professionalism’ in our feature and news stories. Sadly, this means I occasionally means I have a whole lot of passion to express and tangents to explore. Otaku Log: Supplemental is my answer to this conundrum. Powered by the audioBoo social networking site, please enjoy three minutes of my ranting too… eclectic for the written article.

 

This is a companion piece to this written article.

SOEmote Brings Life and Emotion to Everquest II by Mapping Your Face onto Your Character

SOEmote in Everquest 2Augmented reality just kicked down the door and smiled at the denizens of Norrath! The August 7th patch for Everquest 2 brought one heck of a dose of personality to the legendary MMO. And that personality is yours!

Demoed earlier this year, Sony Online Entertainment’s new SOEmote (I get it!) is a radical little bit of programming voodoo that maps your facial expressions onto the polygons of your virtual world counterpart. Coupled with Everquest 2’s new voice chat which allows on-the-fly pitch alterations via “voice fonts”, your favorite MMO characters spring to life with your every word and expression. SOEmote is an astonishing bit of technology. When it works.

Read on to discover the price of this magic and its implications for the future.

Give Your PS2 Games New Life on Your PC in 1080p with an XBox 360 Controller

warriors dig itAh, the venerable Playstation 2! You’d be hard pressed to find another console with such a wonderfully varied library. Whether it was inventing the 3rd person cover-based shooter, unleashing our inner rock star, or showcasing the apex of the JRPG genre, the PS2 was the must have console for a decade and sports an entertainment software library of such variety that modern consoles appear stale, one-trick ponies next to it. Sadly, the HD revolution (and a notoriously finicky laser assembly) has not been kind to our old playmate. Enter homebrewed solution PCSX2.

It is a rare treat for any fan project to issue a 1.0 release, let alone an emulator. Despite all odds, rama and the team over at PCSX.net have done just that. From PCSX2 1.0 release announcement:

After many long years of development, debugging and testing effort, we have reached a point where PCSX2 runs a great majority of the games, and there are no important issues that could possibly be fixed without requiring major modifications to the emulator.
Because of that (and because we already felt it was overdue), we decided to stop thinking of new things to do for a bit, polish the stability, compatibility and existing features and release the result as the first major version of PCSX2!

1,697 titles are listed as playable under the emulator. You’ll still need a fairly beefy PC to run some, especially at high resolutions with AA and texture filtering enabled. Recommended system specs are at least a Core 2 Duo running at 3.2GHz, or a Core i5 at 2.66GHz with a GeForce 9600GT or Radeon 4750 video card. On our own Core i5, 3.2Ghz with a Geforce 460 512, we ran Final Fantasy 12 at 1080 with 4x AA at a flawless 60fps using a wired XBox 360 controller from the original US retail disk. Game performance will, of course, vary from title to title.

Even after meeting those specs, emulation in not a task for those without either some technical background or a lot of patience and skill with Google. It’s nothing you can’t bully though with a little reading and a lot of trial and error, but be warned that this is not an install-and-go solution

None the less, the results speak for themselves:

You can get stable 1.0 version of PCSX2 from PCSX2.net. Frequent SVN builds are also available. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take The Warriors out to play. And God Hand. And Culdcept. And Front Mission. And…

3D Printers That Can Print Out Pharmaceuticals Are In Sight

Recently the idea of printing out pharmaceuticals with 3D printers, like this one for under $1000 reviewed by our own M. Krutzler, has been advanced by Professor Lee Cronin. A modified 3D printer has been used to not only print out simple drugs but also their container, allowing immediate use after printing is complete. While the professor would ultimately like to start out the process with Hydrogen, Carbon, and Oxygen, he is currently settling for basic compounds which can be combined to produce more complex molecules. He points out that it should be possible to print out any organic molecule with a relatively small number of “inks”.

Polar Bear Cafe Anime Brings Heart to It's Story | AniMaiden'd

Welcome to AniMaiden'd! In this monthly-ish feature, the Mrs. steps into GUO's center ring to share her thoughts on what she's watching. Shonen or shojo? Folk tales or furballs? Mayhem or magical girls? You never know what's next to get AniMaiden'd!

Polar Bear Cafe is a fresh  take on humorous animal stories for an anime series.  The episodes are set around the titular cafe near a zoo owned and run by a Canadian polar bear, a very congenial and charismatic animal , whose cafe reflects his personality.

The first episode starts with Panda, a young (You guessed it!) panda bear, who wants to be a couch potato.  Much to Panda's chagrin, his mother has other ideas for him. Panda heads out to escape her nagging.  He stops in at the Polar Bear Cafe and learns that the establishment is hiring.  Panda applies for the job and, during the interview process, we meet some of the wacky animal characters in this wild world applying for the same job. 

This series brings cute and funny to a whole new level. Polar Bear Cafe cleverly draws you into the series with some very endearing and irresistable animals, and even a few humans, that bring an upbeat perspective to life. It does this without being sappy, corny, or, perhaps most surprisingly, mean spirited.  The stories appeal to all ages with a dry wit and a kind heart.  

I love watching this as my morning cartoon with breakfast - it starts the day off with a fresh and happy start.
Right now there are 17 episodes out on Crunchyroll for the series and Polar Bear Cafe has been renewed for another season.  I hope to see this delightfully entertaining series continue for a long time!

Moving Objects In Orbit Using 90% Less Fuel | Out Of This World Weekly

Draper labs has developed a way to use less fuel to maneuver objects in orbit. This was tested on Aug 1st using no less than the International Space Station during a routine docking mission with a Russian Progress resupply ship. It usually takes about 300 kilograms of propellant to change orbit and rotate the station so that docking can occur at the pre-designated docking orbit. With this new approach, known as the Optimal Propellant Maneuver (OPM), the same orientation of the station was achieved using only 20 kilograms of propellant. This approach can be used for all satellites in low Earth orbit, thus allowing for greater operational life of currently operating satellites and a decreased launch cost of future satellites due to those satellites requiring less fuel on launch.

The OPM is an improvement on the ZPM, or Zero Propellant Maneuver which was also developed by Draper labs. The ZPM underwent testing because it could rotate the stations orientation using only the stabilization and control gyroscopes, thus using no fuel. Once the proper orientation was achieved, thrusters would fire to change the orbit of the station. Unfortunately, The ZPM maneuvers were very slow and caused minor thermal problems due to the slow change of orientation. Then, the necessary thruster firings would use a large amount of fuel and put an increased strain from the force of the thruster firings. The path for the thruster firings was the most direct along the Eigen axis but this does not mean that it is the most efficient path to take. There are certain disturbances that the OPM can take advantage of during a maneuver. Aerodynamic drag is one of these disturbances and while there is not much atmosphere is low Earth orbit, there is enough to eventually de-orbit all low Earth orbit satellites. By changing the orientation of the station or satellite, this drag can be used to change the orbit while only using minimal propellant.

This new approach was a international cooperation from the U.S., Europe, and Russia. The U.S. guidance computers coordinated the firing of thrusters on the E.S.A. automated transfer vehicle that docked to the station in March and the Russian flight software controlled the actual firing of the thrusters according to the plan developed by the U.S. based Draper labs. This new maneuver didn’t require any changes to the flight software, the maneuvers were simply entered into the existing software for execution. This means that most likely existing software on other satellites will immediately be able to benefit from this type of maneuver without having to modify anything on the satellite. This international cooperation is a prime example of how the I.S.S. is being used to advance spaceflight by providing a test bed for new technologies that were not even thought of when planning of the I.S.S was under way.

Video Games Have Changed Our World and Warned of Our Future | Weekend Watchlist

More than 30 years old, worth over $100 billion, and composed of hundreds of thousands of virtual experiences, the video game industry has irrevocably changed human culture in the Information Age. In this Weekend Watchlist we examine not just the impact on ourselves from this newest art form, but how video games, much like science fiction literature, can show us where we may be going.

First up, we check out PBS’ new Idea Channel on YouTube. The goal of Idea Channel is to examine “the connections between pop culture, technology and art.” This episode, entitled “Will Minecraft and Makerbot Usher in the Post-Scarcity Economy?” discusses… well, that. If you want for nothing, what would you do? Living in Florida, I can safely assure you it involves drinking mermosa.

 

Work on Friday? Pfft! I’m a Super Spring Break Speedboat Hero (in my browser)!

super spring break speedboat hero sharkWoo! Friday! Just a few more hours before you’re freed from the workplace and become a weekend warrior! It’s the dog days of summer and you can’t wait to take to the waves. Better get some practice in. Besides, no one’s going to miss those expense reports over the weekend, right?

Enter Super Spring Break Speedboat Hero SD! This Unity3D browser based title is just the ticket for fun in the sun while your chained to a desk. Burn rubber on water as you zip through giant sharks, dodge dinosaurs, and blast through sunbathers in what London based PLA Studios must imagine Australian beaches are like. Spot on, lads! Spot on!

Much more than just racing game, Super Spring Break Speedboat Hero SD also features a full track editor, ghost recordings of your fastest lap, and social network integration allowing you to challenge friends or coworkers via Twitter and Facebook. You can even take a crack at ol’ ryte2byte’s time by following this link.

You can freely enjoy Super Spring Break Speedboat Hero SD on the web. Just watch your volume controls lest the rockin’ soundtrack blow your cover (mute button is in the top right corner)!