Archive for June, 2012

Video: Boy Gets Harpooned in the Face!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Just…Is there really anything to say? Sixteen-year-old Yasser Lopez was diving off the coast of Florida with friends when one of these said friends accidentally fired a harpoon…into his FACE!

Although the three-foot harpoon somehow missed any significant area of his brain, Lopez is still having trouble remembering the incident, has a loss of feeling down the left side of his body and will be in recovery for several months.

Guess who’s gonna impress the ladies when him and his friends sit around and start talking about their scars and how they got them?

Harpoon…in the face!

[Local10 News Miami]

Video: Easter Island Statue Walks!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

This fall a collaboration between NOVA & National Geographic will show how scientists think primitive culture may have moved the five-ton, ten-foot-tall Moai statues on Easter Island.

[National Geographic YouTube Channel]

Is this How R2-D2 Rolls Down Stairs?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

It’s a skateboard that can roll down stairs. Royal College of Art graduate Po-Chih Lai adjusted the trucks so they adjust to the stress of the steps. But more importantly, is this how our favorite sassy droid gets out of a building in case the fire alarm goes off and the elevators are off limits?

Let’s just hope this video doesn’t make it to Skaro, or else we are all screwed.

[Gizmodo]

Florida Zombie-Like Attacks Continue!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

A decade from now when society looks back on what brought about the zombie apocalypse, Florida will probably be referred to as ground zero.

Once again, this time in Manatee County, Florida, law enforcement had to resort to using multiple tasers to subdue 26 year-old Charles Baker. Did you catch that part where we said “multiple tasers”? It took six bullets at close range to stop the “Causeway Cannibal” during the now infamous incident in Miami involving a bathsalt-induced face-chewing attacker of a homeless man.

Baker went to visit his kids who were staying with their grandparents.

Upon entering the house, Baker proceeded to throw furniture, scream and then, like other recent zombies, began removing his clothes.

Jeffrey Blake, owner of the house made an attempt to restrain Baker. Baker bit into Blake’s biceps.

Authorities believe Baker was under the influence of some kind of drug.

Anyone care to yell out what that might be? Anyone?

We’re hedging bath salts….

You probably are too.

[WPTV]

Customizable Dolls Take Creepy to a Whole New Level!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Every time you think dolls couldn’t get any creepier…SURPRISE!

This new evolution of the doll species is taking it to a whole new level.

Produced out of London and Helsinki, Makie dolls are a new breed of doll for the ‘maker’ set. Featuring a buffet of customizable features, Makies allow their owners to choose the doll’s face, nose, jaw, smile, hair, clothes, hands and feet. MakieLab (the creator of the doll) also hopes that people will modify the doll in creative ways so they’ve thought ahead by allowing space in the doll for wires, battery packs and even a Lilypad Arduino set (a user-programmed motherboard of sorts) that fits perfectly inside its head.

Currently in alpha, MakieLab is hoping that this doll will be a hit with their target demographic. 3D printing techniques are being used to create the head, hands, feet and even the body. Bioplastic material is used in the process and can be recycled into other items for the doll so that nothing goes to waste when a Makie is created. As MakieLabs moves out of the alpha phase of testing they’ll be including “paints, colours, makeup and add-ons to help you turn MAKIE into the creature of your imagination.”

Yeah…they said ‘creature’. NOT ‘doll’.

MakieLabs is aiming for the fences with their doll. The dolls and articles about them are popping up all over the place right now. Online social networks which are geared around the doll are on their way along with other ways to get the doll interacting with online features the company is creating.

They’re hoping that people will go crazy in customizing these things.

We’re hoping that only happy people who love dolls make them.

Waking up in your house realizing you’re strapped to your bed like Gulliver and having a doll or two in your face saying (let’s face it…SOMEONE’S going to make these things talk eventually), “Back off! I wanna buy a customised human” (that caption is taken directly from underneath the image used in this post that’s on their site).

So…what have we learned today, kids? Yep..dolls are still creepy.

But dolls with moveable eyes and an Arduino-enabled brain?

Horrific.

Sleep tight!

[Makie.me]

Minority Dissent: How Wired Missed the Precogged Future that Wasn’t

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Wired magazine is celebrating the ten year anniversary of the Steven Spielberg film MINORITY REPORT in an article that talks about the secret summit where technologists were invited to imagine the world of 2080 (revised to 2050 for the film) as well as a piece that covers all of the ideas MINORITY REPORT introduced that now have become a reality. There’s only one problem, for avid futurists, MINORITY REPORT was already mired in the past. The film didn’t so much predict the future as much as retread ideas that had been around in the 60’s several of which were already outdated by the release.

In a section that measured up 10 key technologies from the film, the Wired staff judged how accurate the predictions were. They failed to mention how a number of the technologies they credited to the “idea summit” were already in use. For some technologies they dismissed they seemed to have entirely missed current areas of research. Here’s a look at Wired’s list and our thoughts:

Iris recognition: Retina scanning, the first biometric security measure using the eye was commercially available in 1981. This method was first discussed in the 1930’s. More advanced iris scanning was in practical use before the release of the film.

Self-driving cars: The vehicles in MINORITY REPORT used a specially built highways system because they couldn’t imagine cars ever being able to drive themselves on the roads and highways we use today. While the futurists were locked away in their hotel conference room deciding this, hundreds of miles to the north, the nascent Google was already laying the groundwork for a technological revolution that would see robotic cars drive the California highway less than a decade later.

Spiderbots: Robots built like spiders were already available in toy stores. Keen watchers of Return of the Jedi remember one lurking around Jabba’s palace. The Michael Crichton directed film RUNAWAY featured hundreds of them trying to kill future cop Tom Selleck.

Predictive policing: A core idea of the story by Philip K. Dick, this concept has been around for decades. Law enforcement agencies have been using computer modeling for years to try to predict and apply resources to trouble spots. Psychic policing always has been and will be a fantasy. Predicting crime and stopping it before it happens is child’s play anyhow; real cops use time travel to go back and fix things after they happened.

Holograms: Holograms have been a staple of science fiction forever. In Wired’s run down, Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms makes the statement, “The problem with Star Wars-style 3-D projected in mid-air is that the physics don’t work.” Which physics do you speak of? Better not tell these researchers here who have managed to do this feat by using lasers to generate plasma excitations in free floating oxygen and nitrogen molecules. Other researchers are experimenting with water jets and dust particles suspended by sound.

Sick sticks: In MINORITY REPORT cops could tap you with a baton that made you lose your lunch. Stun wands, sonic disruptors and fields were already either in use or being tested by the military long before MINORITY REPORT. The idea of a weapon that made you lose bodily control actually goes as far back as Tesla.

Personalized billboards: We were already being bombarded with personalized ads on the web via tracking cookies since 1996. Max Headroom explored the impact of this in 1987.

Gestural interfaces: Wired hailed the hand waving interaction of Tom Cruise’s with the police computer as futuristic. For anybody that remembers the Nintendo Power Glove, it was an artifact from the past (1990 to be exact). By the time MINORITY REPORT was released, researchers were already moving away from the idea of using gloves, to actual visual imaging systems that could recognize what your hands are doing. 20 million Microsoft Kinects later, the glow gloves scene from MINORITY REPORT is as laughable as a brick phone or a pager.

E-Newspapers: Digital paper was a laboratory demo in the 1990’s and a much theorized technology before then. While Wired says this could hit the mainstream in the next five years, they must have missed the issue of Esquire 4 years ago that featured this on the cover. The real question is in the iPad age, will we ever go back to traditional-sized newspapers when e-paper becomes dirt cheap? Stanley Kubrick looked a lot more prescient in 1968 than the futurists of MINORITY REPORT thirty years later.

Jetpacks: Wired writes off the jetpacks of MINORITY REPORT as implausible tech included for cinematic purposes. We’re going to take Spielberg’s side on this one. Since the release of MINORITY REPORT we’ve found that the military has made use of jet-assisted bat suits and we’ve seen daredevils use personal rocket propulsion to perform stunts every bit as exhilarating as what was in the film. For anyone saying don’t hold your breath for a practical jetpack, the same could have been said for remote controlled drones controlled by your phone (now available in toy stores) or rockets that land themselves (now being tested).

Japanese Scientists Grow Crude Liver in a Dish!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Something straight out of a science fiction story is becoming a reality in Yokohama, Japan right now: regenerative organs.

There have been tons of attempts, theories and even a small handful of groundbreaking work concerning regenerating new organs, veins, tissue and even blood using stem cell research. It often sounds almost fantastical at times considering the small amount of work that’s actually been produced from the field.

Japanese researchers revealed at the International Society for Stem Cell Research last week that they’ve reproduced a liver-like tissue in a dish.

Their findings have yet to be published but there is a lot of buzz taking place on the internet this morning about this news release.

Our imaginations and the media will probably go crazy talking about the possibilities of this breakthrough. The reality is that this is about as crude an example of a regenerated as one could possibly get. It’s still got a long way to.

Using various cell types and what reads like a hipper, less late-night grave-diggy version of Frankenstein, researchers have basically taken human skin cells back to an ’embryonic state’, reprogrammed them, let them begin to grow, added various other cells to the process and created a very primitive ‘liver bud’, a very early stage of liver development.

As primitive as this ‘liver’ is right now, the tissue does contain blood vessels that worked when the tissue was transplanted under the skin of a mouse.

There’s no doubt where this amazing technology is headed and that its goal of recreating human organs is going to happen given time.

And, George Daly, the director of the stem-cell transplantation program at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts in charge of last week’s session, said:

“It blew my mind.”

[Nature]

Noob Hypnotist’s Show Goes Wrong

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Like a padawan who just learned about the force, 20 year-old newbie hypnotist, Maxime Nadeau was hired to put on a year-end show for the all-girl College du Sacre-Coeur in Sherbooke, Quebec.

People were having a great time, the show went well, everyone enjoyed the demonstrations of making fools out of half-asleep friends, show ends and everyone leaves…

Except for the girls apparently who were still in some kind of trance-like state.

According to witnesses, several girls who’d been sitting at nearby tables watching the show had also been ‘put under’, had their heads lying on their tables and seemed a little out of it.

One girl seemed to be in a trance-like state for five hours when the 20 year-old hypnotist decided to call his mentor who lived about an hour away.

Some girls were complaining of nausea and headaches. One girl even claimed it was like an out-of-body experience.

Nadeau’s mentor Richard Whitebread, showed up to wake the girls from their hypnotic state.

In an excerpt from one article, we learn why the girls went into such a deep trance (probably the best reason ever and will become a great blurb for future shows):

“After travelling for one hour, Whitbread used a stern voice to awaken the girls, blaming his trainee’s good looks for the students’ hypnotic states.”

All of the thirteen girls affected by Nadeau’s good looks and his show were brought out of their stupors and returned to normal. School principal Daniel Leveille told reporters:
“We also wish to gather all relevant information before talking to the media about this unfortunate event which, fortunately, did not leave any consequences.’

Next time, Principal Leveille? Just hire an ugly hypnotist and everything’ll be just fine.

[Global News]

Lame ‘Causeway Cannibal’ Copycat Attack

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Zombie-like activity keeps rearing its ugly, face-biting head.

Once again the Sunshine State is reporting another flesh-biting incident. This one, however, is just a faux zombie inspired by the ‘Causeway Cannibal’ case in Miami from a couple of weeks ago.

After getting pulled over by police for running a red light while doing 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, 21 year-old Giovani Martinez then proceeded to fail a sobriety test given to him when officers noticed the open beer can and spilled beer on the front seat. He was arrested and take to the Naples jail where he became unresponsive.

Martinez was then transported to a nearby hospital where he suddenly went ballistic.

During the transition from the gurney to the hospital bed, Martinez began punching and kicking whoever was in range. After biting into the arm of one of the attending nurses and spitting the blood in their face, Martinez said that not only would he eat their faces like the guy in Miami but he’d also rape their wives.

More punches and flailing followed for the next twenty minutes before officers were finally able to get Martinez secured.

Our sad little ‘wannabe’ zombie attacker now faces three counts of felony battery and a DUI.

[WPTV Miami]

Podcast: Big Things Have Weird Beginnings

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

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The three amigos are reunited yet again in this thrilling episode of the podcast. Justin is rightly ridiculed for refusing to lower his expectations for the already far overachieving Voyager probe. Andrew and Brian debate the feasibility of searching for Dyson Spheres. AND FINALLY all three really hash out their feeling on Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Tears are shed. Blood is spilled. Things get weird.

Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s BRAND NEW BOOK Hollywood Pharaohs just click on the image below.

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Adele Song Wakes Girl from Coma?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Seven-year-old Charlotte Neve was in a coma. A brain hemorrhage and several horrific strokes due to an aneurysm brought on by a rare disease no one knew she had put her there.

Doctors told her mother, Leila Neve, saying goodbye was the next step.

Before this ugly turn of events, Charlotte and her mother would sing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” together when they’d hear it on the radio.

Here’s where it gets weird.

After the news from doctors that Charlotte wouldn’t make it, Leila sat down on the bed and began singing “Rolling in the Deep”.

A faint smile suddenly spread across Charlotte’s face. Doctors were astonished. When her mother stopped singing? Charlotte would return to her previous state. Nurses in the room at the time excitedly told her to keep singing. Almost as soon as Leila did, Charlotte’s smile returned. Everyone in the room was stunned.

Two days later Charlotte had started speaking and sitting up in bed. She recovered so quickly that doctors decided to remove the plug from her head that had allowed them to remove excess blood to see if she could function without it. She could.

Since then Charlotte has made a drastic recovery and left doctors scratching their heads.

While she has suffered memory loss and partial blindness in one eye, Charlotte continues to rebound, is taking speech therapy, has returned home and is getting back to doing what she loves…dancing.

Did Adele’s song actually trigger a ‘reboot’ because of her memory of her and her mother? Was it just a coincidence of timing? Who knows. Medical staff in the room are calling it a miracle.

Whatever the case, an awesome little girl’s getting a second chance at being an awesome little girl.

Still would’ve been cooler to wake up to ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ or maybe the theme from the Olympics.

[Telegraph UK]

Soldiers Scale Walls With Vacuum

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Grappling hooks are so 1985.

Check out this thing.

Looking a LOT like some kind of steampunk version of Spiderman’s climbing apparatus circa 1944, the vacuum-powered gear in this video was developed by students at Utah State University for an Air Force competition in order to secure a $100,000 grant to continue working on this contraption.

Their next step is to use the money they won during this competition to develop a much stealthier version that doesn’t sound like your mother’s coming for your room with a Dyson.

[YouTube]

Black Plague Victim in Oregon!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Black Plague. Wiped out over a third of Europe back in the day. Everyone’s happy it’s gone and we’ve all moved on to live happy lives without any more talk of this contagion nick-named ‘Black Death’…or have we?

About a week ago, in Oregon, a good samaritan to mice attempted to rescue one such rodent from the jaws of a cat instead of just leaving the food chain unbroken. Guess what he got for breaking the rules?

The Black Plague.

It’s still out there lurking around just biding its time. Apparently it turns out that people still get the plague more than you think. One of the most feared contagions in history still affects between 1,000 and 3,000 people EVERY YEAR..WORLD-WIDE!

‘The Plague’ still hangs out in fleas and rodents where it just waits to get into your system when said animals decide to taste-test your precious skin.

Symptoms sound ridiculously enjoyable…chills, delirium, rotting flesh, broken blood vessels, meningitis, respiratory failure, coma, oh…and death. According to even more fun stats on the plague, only 1 out of 7 people afflicted with it end fatally.

Currently our ‘patient zero’ from Oregon is listed in critical condition with an 86% chance of being able to get back to normal.

Hopefully we’ve all learned a lesson: Cats eat mice. Let them.

[Death + Taxes]

Man Uses Eyes To Tweet Request to Die

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

“Hello world. I am tony nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet.”

With the exception of a mention of something called ‘locked-in syndrome’ this isn’t a ground-breaking or particularly interesting tweet, right?

But after doing a search to find out what ‘locked-in syndrome’ is? It gets very interesting.

The Twitter post came from Tony Nicklinson (@TonyNicklinson), a 57 year-old man who suffered a major stroke seven years ago that left his body completely paralyzed with one small exception…his eyes.

Using special hardware and software that follow his eye movements, Nicklinson is able to use only his eyes to construct his posts to Twitter.

Nicklinson’s main purpose in learning to do this is somewhat heartbreaking and precedent setting…he wants to die.

Before his stroke, Nicklinson was a doer. He now believes his life is “dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable”. He began using Twitter to appeal to the high court that a doctor should be allowed to lawfully end his life.

In less than three days, Nicklinson’s Twitter account has gained over 12,000 followers who are watching this heart-wrenching yet inspiring story unfold.

While many people are still haters of the insanely sky-rocketing advancement of technology right now? Watch the video to see how advanced tech is doing something awesomely weird that simply couldn’t be done before… giving a human being in this condition a voice.
[The Guardian]

Teens, Guided by Teacher, Cut Themselves to Release Demons.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Because Florida isn’t already weird enough now that they’ve added bath salt-created, face-eating zombies to the list, a literacy teacher at Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center in St. Petersburg has been jailed for performing what appears to be some kind of strange ritual involving seven children!

Just before sunrise on a Saturday morning, Danielle Harkins was with these seven children around a small fire near the St. Petersberg Pier. Harkins told the children their bodies needed to be rid of demons by cutting their skin open. Once they’d let the supposed demons out, they’d have to burn their wounds closed to prevent the demons from returning.

Police were tipped off when one of the teens sent a text message to a friend. That friend showed the message to the parents of the teen that sent it.

While none of the teens that attended the weird ritual are really opening up as to why they gathered that morning, some details have emerged. One teen suffered a cut on the neck from a broken bottle which had been cauterized by a heated key. Another teen suffered second-degree burns when the flame from a lighter Harkins was using to burn a hand-wound kept going out. Harkins then doused the teen’s hand in perfume and ignited it.

At this point no one knows the reasons behind the gathering or the bizarre ritual except for Harkins and the teens who were there.

[Miami Herald]

Weird Things Podcast recording 6.18.12

Monday, June 18th, 2012
Watch live video from Justin Robert Young on www.justin.tv