Author Archive

Google’s ATLAS Robot About to be Unleashed – Mankind Should Probably Start Worrying

Monday, January 26th, 2015

In 2013 Boston Dynamics introduced its ATLAS robot to the public. It was a little creepy because the thing walked around sort of like a child learning to walk around…

Like this…

The only thing making us all feel relatively safe from the narrowing uncanny valley of movement that the robot was able to mimic was that the thing was tethered to a thick umbilical cord of necessary cables that provided electricity and signals.

It also kept the thing safely chained in a lab.

That’s changing…

The cord is about to be cut in an upcoming robot competition to help ATLAS become a completely free-range robot.

Like this…

While we’re excited that ATLAS will be used as a rescue robot in environments too deadly for our soft, fleshy bags of bones to enter and rescue humans…we know it’s only a matter of time before things go awry…

Like this…

[Walyou]

Opportunity Rover Celebrates 11 Years on Mars

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

What was supposed to be a hopeful three month mission has quietly stretched into an unbelievable journey.

Opportunity bounced onto Mars back in 2004. During that time the little rover has traveled twenty six miles and transmitted a lot of data back to help us understand the ancient history of that planet and it’s make up.

The video above will let you relive the excitement of the crew that put “Oppy” up there and you’ll probably smile and hi-five your nearest coworker when you those first transmitted photos, from Oppy’s eyes to ours, pop up on the screen.

It’s a pretty awesome moment in the history of space exploration.

[Gizmodo]

Nightmare Shark Caught Off Coast of Australia – Has Been Terrifying World for 80 Million Years

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

That nightmarish thing in the photo above isn’t a screen-used graboid prop from Tremors.

Nope.

That’s an actual creature that lives in our oceans…you know…that giant mass of water that you swim in when you vacation?

Caught off the coast of Australia by a fishing trawler, that thing is a six-foot long monster known as a frilled shark.

Frilled sharks haven’t evolved in almost 80 million years simply because a nightmare is always going to be a nightmare. On very rare occasions frilled sharks are found close to the surface because they’re dying. “Close to the surface” is around 4,000 feet below the surface.

Simon Boag of the trawling company that caught the creature:

“It does look 80 million years old. It looks prehistoric. It looks like it’s from another time! It has 300 teeth over 25 rows, so once you’re in that mouth, you’re not coming out.”

According to a marine conservation society in California there is a report of a frilled shark from 1880 measuring in at 25 feet.

Next time you go splashing around in the ocean for fun just remember…

These live there.

[NatGeo]

Government Releases 130,000 UFO Files to Public – Aliens Chuckle Because We Still Know Nothing

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Lots of ufologists, saucer-chasers and hunters of little green men became super-excited recently. John Greenewald of the BlackVault.com and his continuous efforts to petition the government via the Freedom of Information Act to release Project Blue Book’s files concerning strange things in the sky paid off in spades as thousands of documents were given to the world.

Greenewald has put all of those reports in The Project Blue Book Collection, an archive on his site where you can sift through all of the files from the infamous UFO project created by the government decades ago.

That excitement was short-lived when those same ufologists, saucer-chasers and hunters of little green men realized that all the secrets they’d been waiting for just aren’t there.

According to a lot of online chatter in the extremely chatty community of extraterrestrial enthusiasts, it’s all gone back to square one because of censored documents and allegedly missing reports of some of the more infamous ufo cases.

Is this just a handout to keep the noise level down on a vast, active community who believe aliens are already living among us?

Is the government holding out on deeper, more pressing secrets?

Or are we just alone on this little freaking blue marble and hoping that we’re connected somehow to something bigger than all of this?

[ABC News]

[video] Falcon Rocket Goes Boom in Epic Explosion

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

For those that haven’t seen it or listened to the last episode of WeirdThings where we discuss what happened.

Here’s the video of the Falcon rocket going all Hollywood explosion-ish during its attempted soft landing on the autonmous barge after returning from a resupply mission to the ISS.

According to posts on Twitter by Musk, a shortage in hydraulic fluid used by the stabilizing vanes caused the rocket to land in an almost horizontal position. Once the rocket hit the deck of the barge and leftover fuel in the take ignited?

BAM!

An explosion so awesome Michael Bay just hung his head in shame.

Musk responded to the event with his usual no-big-deal-shrug, a smile and let everyone know what was up via Twitter:

“Next rocket landing on drone ship in 2 to 3 weeks w way more hydraulic fluid. At least it shd explode for a diff reason.”

In two to three weeks we’re pretty sure there’ll be cigars and champagne all over SpaceX celebrating the successful landing of a completely reusable rocket.

[Gizmag]

Researchers Create Off-The-Shelf Cloaking Device

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Two scientists, John Howell and Joseph Choi, of the University of Rochester have taken a couple of lenses, set them in a particular configuration and tah-dah! You can now hide your Harry Potter puppet in plain sight without anyone ever judging you for have a Harry Potter puppet in the first place.

Over the years we’ve talked about and posted several projects that’ve used elaborate and fancy technology to produce some pretty lackluster attempts at a real cloaking device.

Coined the Rochester Cloak, the layout of four lenses allows the viewer to actually look at the object from varying angles while still keeping the object completely invisible.

There are still a lot of limitations and we’re really far from throwing a blanket over our heads and walking out the front door of a house party that’s gone bad.

But then again…this discovery came about because some science-loving dad helped his son with a science project over the holidays.

[Rochester.Edu]

Shining’s Stanley Hotel Looking for a Hedge Designer

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

The next time someone goes crazy in the Stanley Hotel and begins hunting someone with an axe in the snow, you could possibly be the level designer.

Because a kid thwarted someone suffering from cabin fever all those years ago, the folks over at the Stanley have decided to crowd-source the refurbishment of their next level hedge maze by having a competition to see who can build a better people-trap.

You’ve got until the end of this month to come up with a design so get to work….

Just don’t overdo it because, “All work and no play…”

[Gizmodo]

Because the Ocean isn’t Scary Enough…Robosquid

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Robots. We just can’t stop building them even though countless movies tell us where it’s all headed. Not only can we not stop trying to emulate ourselves mechanically, a small portion of the robotics community can’t stop trying to emulate creatures from the animal world.

One of the latest creations by a group called FORTH (Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas) is a tiny little robot trying to emulate the natural actions of octopi and squid.

The video above showcases the features and development of the robot as it goes from having bare legs to more efficient webbed legs to carrying an object in a couple of its legs (check out the little yellow ball it’s carrying) to going for a swim out among more natural life in the actual ocean.

It’s fascinating and almost relaxing to watch as it pulses through the water.

Relaxing until someone attaches tiny laser-guided torpedoes to it.

[Spectrum IEEE]

Idaho High School Catches Ghost or Possibly a Predator on Surveillance Video

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

In mid-September, surveillance cameras at Pocatello High School in Idaho caught what paranormal investigators are calling a human-looking figure wandering the halls during the winter break.

After seeing the video, you’ll probably shake your head, “Nope. Predator.”

During the video, lights repeatedly act strange and flicker on and off before the arrival of the figure. Then the figure makes its appearance outside of the men’s restroom. This knocks out the whole ghost theory.

Pocatello High School has been around since 1917. Over the years it’s been more like Sunnydale with stories of weird activity from suicide pacts to shadow figures to a mysteriously playing piano to the ghost of a drowned boy who died in the school’s pool.

Paranormal investigators were called in to look over the security footage. While excited about the footage, they can’t determine what it is. Shadow figure? Prank-playing science teacher who discovered invisibility? Predator? Sue Richards?

No one’s sure what strolls the halls of Pocatello High…but now it’s been caught on camera so let the hypotheticals begin!

Best part of the story for you long-time fans of Weird Things?

The paranormal group is called SPIRO.

[Idaho Local News 8]

Say Goodbye to Lawn Gnomes and Flamingos…
You Can Now Buy Full-Size Inflatable Tanks

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Some of you probably live in a neighborhood that’s got a small population of lawn gnomes or a colony of flamingos. The only message that those ridiculous, overdone pieces of plastic and resin are going to send your neighbors is that you’re friendly, sweet and that you’ve gone soft.

For a measly $300 you can send a message to everyone in the neighborhood and your HOA to just take a step back. For about $1200 you can have a small army and some piece and quiet.

[Technobob]

Predator Might Be Hiding on Rosetta’s Comet – Based on the weird sound we’re hearing

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

The jury’s out on what’s causing the sound (which is far, far below the level of human hearing) and a whole lot of theories are being tossed around about it. Everything from magnetic fields to ionization of particles shearing themselves from the traveling comet is suspect at this point.

“This is exciting because it is completely new to us. We did not expect this and we are still working to understand the physics of what is happening.” – RPC principal investigator Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier

Until there’s an answer, which probably won’t be soon because space is just weird, we’re going to assume that the comet is either harboring a Predator who’s looking for payback, the mobile rehearsal space for a marimba-playing Cantina Band member or that we’ve discovered the dial-up connection for an alien race.

[KDSK.com]

Boy Inhabited by Ghost of Deceased Soldier?

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

A four-year-old Virginian boy is being inhabited by the spirit of a deceased soldier tragically killed in a bombing.

His mother states that he’s talking about things that a boy his age wouldn’t know anything about.

In a moment straight out of the creepiest movie his mother states:

““He just starts crying hysterically and I say “What’s wrong Andrew?” and he says, “Why did you let me die in that fire?’”

So…Damien from the Omen, the twins from the Shining…and Andrew from Virginia.

[WTKR]

Monster Hunter claims this is the Loch Ness Monster – Looks remarkably like…whatever you want it to be

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Jonathon Bright, a paranormal investigator who’s started adding ‘Monster Hunter’ to his resume – because who WOULDN’T want ‘Monster Hunter’ on their resume – has started sharing a photo that might be the famous camera-shy creature that has become legendary.

“Three years ago, I came to Scotland to investigate the Nessie legend and took thousands of photographs. It took me six months to look at them all and I found this one which I showed when I spoke at the Scottish Paranormal Festival in Stirling this week. After I had finished there, I came north to spend more time searching for an answer to the Nessie story. My picture is a talking point. Some people will say it is physical and the monster, others will say it is a trick of the water, others will say it is a hoax.”

It would be great if this was in fact the mysterious animal that everyone says lives in the Loch.

It would be even greater if a professional photographer with ninja-like focusing skills and a decent camera would add “Monster Hunter’ to their resume.

[The Scotsman]

Double Rainbow Causes Fishermen To See Ghosts

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Two fishermen in Wisconsin have come forward to say they’ve captured something strange in a series of photographs they took of an always-magical (and probably portals to other dimensions) double rainbow.

After getting home and examining their photos of an often mythic and elusive double rainbow, one of the men noticed what appeared to be a figure with glowing eyes.

Not only did the double rainbow cause the fisherman to see some kind of apparition…

The spill-over from the magnitude of the double rainbow also caused the news station to make one of the strangest news pieces we’ve ever seen about an alleged ghost sighting.

[The Blaze]

Paranormal Investigator Stabs Self in Murder House

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Back in 1912, a little house in Iowa became a grisly crime scene where 8 people (6 of them were children). They were all beaten and stabbed to death and to this day, no one has found out who the murderer was. Over the last couple of decades the house has become a destination for paranormal investigators from every corner of the globe.

It’s probably going to get even more traffic now that a paranormal investigator has apparently stabbed himself.

Just after midnight local police got a call from the house stating that a lone paranormal investigator from Wisconsin, Robert Laursen Jr.,needed medical attention from an apparently self-inflicted stab wound.

Details on his condition and his own story about what happened have yet to be released.

[New York Daily News]

VR Interface Allows You to ‘Touch’ Holograms!

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Like an elaborate version of the famous Pepper’s Ghost effect where a projection appears to interact with a real world person, this incredible floating haptic interface will absolutely blow your mind…

Because unlike Pepper’s Ghost? You’re actually able to physically feel and interact with said projection!

During the video several scientists working on the project show how it works by giving quick demonstrations to illustrate what’s actually happening. What’s actually happening is nothing short of witchcraft or sorcery or the future kissing your eyeballs and saying, “I’m finally here, guys! Jetpacks and hoverboards due out next week!”

Sure it’s overkill instead of just touching an actual monitor but think about doctors ‘feeling’ their way through a replicated cadaver to learn about the body or perform practice surgeries without it being detrimental to an actual living being?

But what we’re all really thinking is, “When do we get a Danger Room or a Holo-freaking-deck already!?”

[Gizmag]