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Science

October 25, 2014

A Working Tractor Beam Has Been Tested By Scientists In Australia

This is a great month for our favorite science fiction technology becoming reality. Not only is a fully functional hoverboard on the market, but now scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have created and tested a tractor beam. While it’s not exactly what the Enterprise toted around the galaxy, it has moved small particles in tests.

And they’re very small particles at less than 0.2 mm. The really impressive thing is how far they were moved. Other tests of different technology were only able to apply a small amount of pressure on the target particle. But scientists at ANU and Keith Mann were able to move their particles a whopping 20 cm. That’s a huge improvement and an awesome advancement in technology.

The tractor beam uses a “hollow laser” to perform its magic. Within the open beam are placed gold-coated glass spheres on which a hotspot is created. The hotspots can be controlled and through a reaction with air, the spheres are moved.

The use of air reactions to actually move the particles means that this tractor beam would be unusable in space. However, scientists believe it will have great applications down here on Earth. The tractor beam could be used to clean up air pollution or to safely move dangerous particles in a lab. Regardless of its practical uses, the fact that we can now say that a tractor beam is possible is pretty awesome.

Science

October 17, 2014

New Batteries Capable of Lasting 20 Years

Earlier today, we saw an interesting story posted on the Facebook timeline of Keith Mann. New batteries are in development that are capable of lasting ten times longer than the lifespan of the current longest-lasting batteries. Scientists at Nanyang Technology University are developing the batteries, which are also capable of charging in only a few minutes.

In comparison to existing batteries, these new batteries would take approximately two minutes to charge to 70 percent, as opposed to two hours, and could be used to enhance electric vehicles by allowing them to charge in the time a traditional car would take to pump gas. Furthermore, these batteries will be able to be charged many more times than existing batteries, eliminating the need for frequent replacements.

Unlike existing lithium-ion batteries, the batteries NTU are developing substitute the anode for a gel made from titanium dioxide, a material currently used in sunscreen and some food additives. The NTU scientists say that once the batteries have been fully developed, it will be possible to adapt them for use in a variety of technologies.

Tech

New Wi-Fi Technology Developed By Samsung

According to an e-mailed press release, Samsung Electronics Co. has developed new wireless technology that can deliver data up to five times faster than the fastest modern method. Called 60 GHz Wi-Fi, the new technology will enable a 1 gigabyte file, such a movie, to be transferred over the air in less than three seconds.

60 GHz Wi-Fi is alleged to remove the gap between theoretical and realistic speeds of data transfer, with actual speeds more than ten times higher than their competitors. This will allow Brian Torchin and other active users not only to download files extremely quickly, but also to stream uncompressed, high quality videos and music directly to their phones.

The announcement came at a good time for Samsung; their quarterly sales are down 60% after heavy competition from Apple and other smartphone firms, and this could be the boost they need to get back on track. No other company can currently offer this proprietary technology, giving them a significant marketing advantage.

Bloomberg Business Week’s Jiyeun Lee reports the technology is expected to be unveiled in Samsung devices by next year. The technology will be utilized in their smartphones and tablets, as well as utilized in other fields, such as medical devices and telecommunications equipment.

Science

October 6, 2014

Nobel Prize Awarded for Trio of Scientists Who Discovered the Brain’s GPS

In October 2014, $8.8 million was awarded to John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Half the prize went to O’Keefe, a British-American scientist who trained for his postdoctoral degree at the University College London. The other half went to the Mosers, who work at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

 
When introducing the laureates, Nobel Committee secretary Goran K. Hansson said that the dual discoveries of O’Keefe and the Mosers, separated by more than 30 years, help humans know where they are and find their way from place to place. “An inner GPS,” he said.

 
In 1971, O’Keefe discovered “place cells” in laboratory rats. These “place cells” were like lighthouses on a lake, each fixed on an island. Whenever a rat passed a certain point in a box, a set of place cells activated. When he passed another point, a different set of cells lit up. Place cells activated whether the rat approached the point in light or in darkness, from any direction of the compass. Humble brag: I met O’Keefe at a fundraiser hosted by Marnie Bennett in 2011. Wonderfully friendly in addition to brilliant.
 

O’Keefe’s discoveries in hippocampal spatial mapping paved the way for the “grid cells” for the husband-wife team of May-Britt and Edvard Moser. In 2005, the team investigated sets of nerve cells in the entorhinal cortex of rats, which functioned like longitude and latitude lines. When combined with place cells, Moser’s discovery showed how rats – and probably people – navigate through complex environments.The Mosers said, “This is such a great honor for all of us and all the people who have worked with us and supported us.” O’Keefe recommended that the money “should be used for the common good.”

Researchers hope the discoveries will be used to cure Alzheimer’s.

Tech

October 2, 2014

3 Gadgets You Have To Buy This Fall

 

Technology is all about making life easier, but it’s also about making life cooler sometimes. There are some really cool gadgets out there that can improve your life, make things easier, or even make things more complicated. Depending upon what you’re looking for.

My friend, and gadget loving partner in crime Khaled Shaheen helped me come up with this list. Featuring our 3 favorite gadgets that will be on the market for the Fall release season:

  1. Whirpool Swash

This is the coolest thing to happen to home clothes washing since the washer/dryer standalone combo. The Whirpool Swash is literally a full dry cleaners, but at home. This is capable of cleaning, and pressing your shirts and pants, so that they come out brilliant and ready to go once again. Plus, at a price of only $500, almost anybody can afford to have their clothing dry cleaned at home.

  1. Aether Cone Speaker.

There are a plethora of options when it comes to wireless speakers. So what makes the Cone special? Well it’s just cooler. The design is compact, easy to use, and features a cool twisting mechanic for controlling the speaker’s power and volume level. Plus Bluetooth technology ensures you can use the speaker with all of your major devices, and online streaming services.

  1. Polaroid Cube

While the GoPro is a cool idea, the Polaroid Cube is for when you really want a portable camera. Tiny, and capable of being strapped to just about anything, the Polaroid cube is perfect for really capturing some amazing action shots. Totally waterproof, and boasting a 6 megapixel camera, combined with a wide angle 124 degree lens, this could totally change the way we think about portable cameras.

Movies

A Movie About Tetris?

Ever wonder what a movie about a puzzle game would be like? Well, according to Screenrant, you won’t have to wait very long. A movie based on the classic puzzle game, Tetris, is currently in development by Threshold Entertainment.

CEO of Threshold Entertainment, Larry Kasanoff, has stated that they are developing an “epic sci-fi movie.” While most wouldn’t expect much from a movie about moving blocks, Kasanoff claims that the company has created an imaginative story behind the popular game that has captivated millions of people.

Hollywood has tried to work movie magic on video games in the past. Producers like Tom Rothman actively pushed the idea in the past. While some have had moderate success, most film adaptations fail to impress the core audience. Even board games have been adapted to films, such as Battleship. Film adaptations of popular games perform notoriously bad in the box office, often due to their unimaginative story lines and failure to capture the essence of the game. Will a film about Tetris be another Mortal Kombat? Coincidentally, Kasanoff had a part in creating the infamously bad movie franchise.

With a number of promising video game franchise being developed into movies, a Tetris movie can either ride the wave or lead the pack. Is Hollywood grasping at straws, or do they have an solid idea in the works? Only time will tell.

Tech

October 1, 2014

Microsoft Uses Marketing Magic To Jump To Windows 10

While we all expected the next Windows to be titled, Windows 9, following the current OS 8, Microsoft threw us all for a loop yesterday. The next Operating System will actually be called Windows 10.

Microsoft’s Executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson, has said that the move is because 10 is such a massive upgrade from 8, they decided to skip 9 altogether.

Of course, the seasoned consumer knows that this is all marketing hype. Really, this means that Microsoft is finally going to address the plethora of issues that came with Windows 8, and will instead be moving back to what made the Windows operating system the standard in the first place.

Back to basics, with an interface that favors keyboard and mouse usage. Instead of focusing on the more tablet styled Windows 8.

What’s more, 10 is being made to run on a broad amount of devices. Including phones, tablets, PC and laptops. My best friend Paul Mathieson is definitely excited. He was one of the most vocal critics I personally knew, when he “upgraded” to Windows 8.

Tablet style interface just doesn’t lend itself well to the keyboard/mouse combination.

Tech

September 30, 2014

Kids Are Breaking iPhone 6’s in Apple Stores

You’ve probably heard about bendgate by now. The latest controversy involving Apple phones. Apparently, because of the nature of the iPhone 6’s design it’s possible to bend the phone. If you’re sans protective case, the plastic and metal involved is fairly pliable if you happen to be wearing tight jeans.

And a couple of investigative teens are taking a look at the problem personally, and actually visiting Apple stores, to investigate whether or not the phones can be bent.

You can see from the photo above, that yes, the phones can indeed be bent with a little bit of force.

Although Marnie Bennett doesn’t recommend destroying property that doesn’t belong to you. Probably best to leave the phones where they are, so that you don’t face criminal charges in your quest to make yourself a viral video.

Plus, now that the news is out, I’m sure the Apple employees are watching the iPhone 6 displays a little bit more closely now. Just to be sure nobody gets interested in bending any of the phones available.

Advice

September 26, 2014

The Life Hack Website That Isn’t Annoying

Life hack is a term that even I despise. So why am I writing about a website that provides life hack advice? Well, because this one is actually really cool.

The site provides tons of advice for all walks of life. Whether it be life hacks relating to fitness, your personal life, food, as well as tech advice.  Making the most of websites like Google, or Wikipedia for example.

The tips are up to 1664 and counting.  So take a little time, and see what you can learn.  I definitely found some interesting advice that I’ll be using in the future.

Games

Bungie Nerfed Destiny’s 1st Loot Cave But A 2nd Has Appeared

Bungie Nerfed Destiny’s 1st Loot Cave But A 2nd Has Appeared

If you’re like me, you’re one of the Destiny players that sunk countless hours of game time into shooting at a random hole, and killing the legions of Hive that respawned infinitely. Up until yesterday, this was one of the best possible ways to farm Engrams in an incredibly short amount of time.

Countless gamers utilized the loot cave to farm for better gear, weapons, and to level up the Cryptarch so that he would bestow better gear upon you. This was also a great way to level up weapons and armor, as the canon fodder presented an extremely fast XP opportunity.

However, Bungie nerfed that yesterday morning, and killed the beloved loot cave for Destiny’s entire gamer community.

But, as exploits tend to be, there’s of course another cave that functions pretty much the same way. Also located in Old Russia, this cave does about the same thing, although you have to stand further back, so shooting enemies is a little bit more difficult.

However, you’re presented with a perfect opportunity to continue farming engrams, and finding some really great gear, really quickly. Just make sure you take advantage of the cave now. Because undoubtedly, it’s going to disappear very soon.

Here’s IGN’s guide on how to find the new cave.