Thomas Edison once took a break from electrocuting animals to turn his attention to making dolls for little girls.
Because he was the go-to guy at the time for recording voices, he thought it might be cool to make those dolls speak.
And just like his animal displays that weren’t really the thing anyone who loves animals should watch…
His dolls weren’t really the thing that anyone who loves children enough to get them a talking doll should ever consider giving…
Inside the dolls rests a fragile wax cylinder with grooves on it like a vinyl record. Using a microscope and computers to study the cylinders and create an accurate image that can be virtually played and heard, an engineer and a physicist have, unfortunately for those of us who sleep, brought the sounds of the dolls back to life…
You can hear the complete recordings in the video below.
BEFORE you press play on that video (we’re sure some of you just went for it anyway) put down whatever it is you’re eating.
This is a ribbon worm called a Gorgonorhynchus. When it senses nearby prey it launches what looks like a root out of its face. Anything caught in those flinchingly terrifying ‘roots’ get hauled into the worm’s belly.
Hanson Robotics (no the “MmmBop” band hasn’t regrouped and out to destroy us with robots blaring their only memorable song as retribution) has been hard at work creating our future robot overlords in the form of…um…us.
Recently on display at the AsiaWorld Expo in Hong Kong, Han’s fiberglass bust is covered in a new, extremely life-like rubber compound called Frubber which if fitting since Han was created by an ex Disney Imagineer who’s now looking to take things to a whole new level of interactivity and realism.
Han is able to interact on a limited level with humans and can understand and carry on very basic conversations with those near him. Besides Han’s incredibly realistic expressions based on the conversation that he’s having, sensors in his eyes actually help him look directly into the soft, squishy soul of any human he’s actually speaking with.
Ripped right out of hundreds of science fiction, comic book and horror stories comes news that a Russian man has decided to be a medical guinea pig or possibly a pioneer….
By having his head removed and attached to another body.
Suffering from a severe case of spinal muscular atrophy, Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old Russian man has volunteered to become the first person to go through the process of a head transplant.
Last December, in a TedTalk, Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero claimed it’s possible and he was the guy to do it.
Spiridonov says he’s really got nothing to lose as his condition and quality of life deteriorate:
“I’m very interested in technology, and anything progressive that might change people’s lives for the better. Doing this isn’t only an excellent opportunity for me, but will also create a scientific basis for future generations, no matter what the actual outcome of the surgery is. This technology is similar to the first man to walk in space. This is because in the future it will help thousands of people who are in an even more deplorable state than I am.”
The cost and time to transplant Spiridonov’s head onto it’s new body? 11 million dollars and 36 hours of surgery.
Other doctors in the field are calling this a fantasy and a horrible idea that should never even be considered.
We’ll know in 2017 after 36 hours of surgery…
In the broken-English words of Dr. Canavero during the opening of his TedTALK:
“Are you sitting tight? I’m about to give you one hell of a ride.”
In a move only he could’ve seen coming…you know….because he’s who he is…the Amazing Kreskin has opened the gates on a new dating site…
A site for “enthusiasts of the paranormal, the unexplained, the mystical, the implausible…”
While we’re pretty sure the guy-to-girl ratio will probably be a lot like a magic club, Kreskin is predicting (yeah…we know) great things for the site:
“I have a feeling that it’s going to take on a dimension that I never realized.”
With Kreskin’s foresight that online graphic design will eventually swing back around to the geocities-era of the internet, the site will probably lure a niche market of older folks who have seen, captured or smelled a bigfoot or been abducted by time-traveling Atlanteans who need love just like the rest of us.
Which brings up some questions: What sort of beings are looking for love? Will they all be human or other things in diguise? Are there vampires and werewolves worried about the fall out from a public tryst in light of the Twilight movies? Are there off-world species seeking to swing it with a human for a cheap thrill on their way to somewhere else? Are the reptilians using the site for some sinister plot? Will other creatures find that someone special without having to brave daylight, pitchforks and torches?
Or is it just a bunch of lonely, probably really nice people just looking for a little companionship in a big and often harsh, ridiculing reality?
Since the first announcement of the Mars One program, people have either picked up the story and hailed it with headlines trumpeting our colonization of the red planet or they’ve been standing there with confused looks slapped on their faces. Media outlets have just accepted that Mars One is taking us to Mars and we should all be excited.
Now the curtain has been lifted on Mars One…
By an actual finalist who’s basically packed his bags and walked away from it all.
Joseph Roche, one of the final candidates for the one-way trip to Mars, has walked away from the program recently and is revealing everything that he’s experienced during his time with Mars One.
Originally media and Mars One reported that 300,000 potential one-way ticket holders had applied.
Roche claims it’s less than 3,000 applicants.
Mars One boasted of the lengthy interview process.
Roche says it came down to a 10 minute Skype interview.
Mars One claims that there are billions behind this whole program.
Roche revealed that applicants contribute financially by spending money on Mars One merchandise to earn points.
Mars One’s selection process sounds more like a cross between filling out a Jelly of the Month Club application, joining Amway and learning that QVC is going to launch one in every ten callers to the moon if they also purchase the bonus steel cutlery set.
Roche’s revelations came about because he’s worried just how badly this entire “program” could affect the popularity that space exploration is currently enjoying:
“My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face. If, as a result, people lose faith in NASA and possibly even in scientists, then that’s the polar opposite of what I’m about. If I was somehow linked to something that could do damage to the public perception of science, that is my nightmare scenario.”
In response to Roche’s claims and the interviewer, Elmo Keep, the man behind Mars One, Bas Lansdorp responded to the allegations that Mars One is quickly falling apart:
So what is actually happening at Mars One? Who knows. But even with the two year delay Lansdorp announced? The first Mars One unmanned mission is only five years away.
In 12 years we’re either going to look back and laugh at Mars One…
Or we’re going to be crossing our fingers and holding our breath when those first four astronauts are sitting in a rocket aimed at the sky.
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…
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.
The cord is about to be cut in an upcoming robot competition to help ATLAS become a completely free-range robot.
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…
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.
That nightmarish thing in the photo above isn’t a screen-used graboid prop from Tremors.
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…
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.