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June 2011

Minecraft Beta 1.7 Update: Pistons!

Detached from the future 1.8 update and released earlier due to the features (namely, Adventure Mode) of the upcoming 1.8 update being too meaty to push out soon, the omniscient Notch took some of the finished bits that were planned to go in along with the 1.8 update and shoved it into update 1.7, which is out now. The update list this time around is small, but it brings one of the biggest changes ever to hit Minecraft: Pistons, blocks that allow clever players to make automated devices. Another big addition is a new tool, shears, which not only removes wool from sheep, but allows players to collect placeable leaf blocks -- a monumental addition for anyone who has ever tried their hand at Minecraft topiary (which was the worst until now). Head on past the break to check out the update list, as well as the recipes for both types of pistons and the shears.

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Spoilery Spoilers About Ridley Scott’s Prometheus


The entire synopsis of Ridley Scott's Prometheus has been leaked. Which means spoilers. Oh so many spoilers. Check after the jump to see the basic set-up to the film.

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Man Turns in Found Bank Bag Containing $17,000, Gets Fined $500

Earlier this month, Robert Adams, 54, found a Chase Bank bag that contained $17,000 near a Walgreens ATM. Being the nice guy that he is, he drove over to a Chase Bank and turned the bag in, rather than make it his partner on a spending spree. Instead of a hero's welcome for being honest and turning in the found $17,000, he ended up being fined $500. When Adams initially turned in the bank bag, he claimed he found the bag outside a newspaper stand in Rolling Meadows, when in actuality, he found the bank bag near a Walgreens ATM in Midlothian, which police confirmed via security footage. It's alright if you cannot locate Rolling Meadows or Midlothian -- the point is that Adams technically lied about where he found the bag and thus, filed a false report, which is why he ended up being fined for turning in a load of found money. Adams claimed he lied about where he found the bag simply because it was a hot day and he just wanted to go home and he felt more comfortable filing the report with Rolling Meadows police. "I wasn't looking for a reward. I was just doing the right thing," he said, and now probably knows to just take the next bank bag he finds that is stuffed to the brim with cash for himself instead of turn it in. (Chicago Tribune via reddit)

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Invitations for 9-year-old’s Harry Potter Birthday Party Delivered by Balloon Owl

There's An Apparate For That

According to Backs-Pace, this was how one mother of a nine-year-old delivered the invitations to her kid's Harry Potter themed birthday party. We. Wholeheartedly. Approve. (via Diary of a Death Starlette.)

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World of Fourcraft Turns NYC Foursquare Into Huge Game of Real-Life RISK

Whether you love it or hate it, RISK has been a board game staple ever since its release. Over the weekend at Game Hack Day NYC, a team of seven people modded Foursquare and turned New York City into a giant game of RISK. Using Foursquare and Google Maps API, World of Fourcraft allows players to swear allegiance to one of New York City's five boroughs, then when a player checks into a borough, the game acts as though the player just put a new army on a territory, and an algorithm decides which team controls which neighborhood based on the number of people checking in. Ricky Robinett, a member of the World of Fourcraft team, felt Foursquare and RISK weren't addictive enough, and aims to add a leveling-up style feature that would make frequent users' checkins more effective at claiming and securing territories. As if Foursquare needed to get more addictive. Check out the game over at its website.

(World of Fourcraft via Mashable)

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If Women Ruled World of Warcraft

i'll just leave this here

A bunch of World of Warcraft community Youtubers and Machinima makers (Machinimists? Machinimators?) got together to give us all a look at what personal interaction in WoW might look like if gender ratios were reversed and men were treated to some of the same stuff that many female players are now. ...I love my current guild and and very grateful that I was able to find another online home where I didn't get asked "Ugh. Why do you play a female dwarf?" on the monthly. (via WoW Insider.)

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Sony Announces New Management, Kaz Hirai Replaced as SCEI CEO, is Now Chairman

For the past few months, Sony has been dealing with a little too much bad press: They remove the PlayStation 3's ability to install a Linux operation system, a well-known hacker responds to the removal and Sony takes legal action drawing the ire of the homebrew crowd, then -- as we're all well aware at this point -- Sony's PlayStation Network got hacked, a load of sensitive user information was stolen, and Sony finally had to shut the service down entirely in order to rebuild it from the ground up to make it more secure. After all of this, current CEO of Sony Corporation Howard Stringer was asked to step down at Sony's 94th annual shareholders meeting two days ago. Obviously, the company has been experiencing a bit of turmoil lately. It seems the first corporate response to this turmoil is to shake things up a bit at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., appointing Kaz Hirai as Chairman and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Andrew House as President and Group CEO, filling Hirai's former positions. The change is expected to take place starting September 1, 2011. Sony also announced the retirement of the current Chairman, Akira Sato, effective starting August 31, 2011, and Ken Kutaragi, known as "The Father of the PlayStation," has retired as Honorary Chairman, effective two days ago. These are some big changes over at Sony, which happened to have fallen directly after the PlayStation Network mess has finally cleared up. One can only wonder how the company will fare going forward, or if the shareholders will get their wish and Howard Stringer will step down. (via GamesRadar)

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Its Name Is Grillex [Video]

Its name is Grillex and it appears to have an affection for several memes. Beyond that, you'll have to make your own sense of it.

(via Reddit)

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Jon Favreau Gets Harrison Ford to Sit Down For an Interview [Video]

We Have Done the Impossible and That Makes Us Mighty

Notoriously interview-averse Harrison Ford has delighted us all by granting his Cowboys and Aliens director Jon Favreau a seven-part interview ahead of the release of their movie. In the clips we've selected for your viewing pleasure, Ford and Favs discuss hats, improvising for George Lucas, and what happens when Ford reads a science fiction script. (Hint: be glad the script doesn't feel pain.) There also may or may not have been a promise -- by Ford -- to make a naughty film with co-star Daniel Craig.

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Smelly Robot Armpit is an Attempt to Create Relatable but Non-Anthropomorphized Robots

Yes. It's a robotic armpit. Yes, it has hair. Yes, it can sweat and emit smells. Why? Well, thats a more interesting question than you might think. FOR SCIENCE!! plays a significant part for sure, but Kevin Grennan, the creator of this, interesting, uh, thing, has the overarching nature of human-robot relationships in mind. In a recent interview, Grennan mentioned that he feels that anthropomorphized robots with externally human appearances endorse a human-robot relationship based on the falsehood of this simulated appearance. On the other hand, he is more interested in robots that interface with humans on a more basal, primal, intimate level, in this case, through smell. While the armpit shown above is only a prototype, Grennan has designed a few complete robots that would utilize this technology by having glands that sweat and emit smells that are intended to affect the behavior of the humans around them. These prototypes include a bomb-defusal robot that can emit a smell of fear (why you want a scared bomb-defusal robot is beyond me), a surgical robot with a smell that encourages trust, and an assembly line robot with a scent that could supposedly increase the productivity of nearby females. All in all, it certainly is a unique approach to robot-human relations, but the question is: can you appropriately react to subtle scent cues when they are given off by a robot with frightening, fleshy, hairy, sweating mounts haphazardly grafted onto it? They all smell like fear to me. Check out some sketches of these Lovecraftian-cyberpunk nightmares after the jump.

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Things We Saw Today: Bill and Ted and The Doctor

Things We Saw Today

Something to think about re: that Bill and Ted sequel. (via Fashionably Geek.)

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Geekolinks: 6/29

Muggle Quidditch Might Become an Official High School Sport

There's An Apparate For That

In the hearts of many Harry Potter fans, Quidditch has always been a sport. I joined my college's Quidditch team for exactly a day, at which point I realized how thoroughly un-athletic I was and how little I knew about time management my freshman year. Still, it was a fun day, and I wish I'd stuck with it. Now, students at Keller High School are rallying for the sport, creating an officially sponsored school club which already has over 80 members, divided among four teams (can you guess the team names?).

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Band Releases Song On Playable, Edible Chocolate Record

Scottish band FOUND has released their song "Anti Climb Paint" on an edible chocolate record. Created by baker Ben Milne of Fisher & Donaldson, the idea for the 7" record came out of wanting to collaborate with the band.

Milne is friends with the members of FOUND, who filmed the video for the song in the bakery’s kitchen. The band includes Ziggy Campbell (lead vocals, guitar), Tommy Perman (bass guitar, synth) and Kev Sim (electronics, percussion) who describe their sound as an unusual mix of garage rock, melodic pop and glitchy electronica. While the chocolate record will be released for only a very limited run, this is one sweet idea that will certainly attract attention. But what we really want to know is what happens to the sound when it starts to melt?

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Help Some Engineer-Artists Finish Their Steampunk Pirate Ship

A Lesson in Humility

Just because they felt like it, and because they had the talent and the dedication to make it possible, a group of engineer-artists in Portland, Oregon built a land-sailing steampunk pirate ship. Built from scratch and made out of 80% reused or recycled materials, now her creators are asking the public for help in finishing their project, which they say helps participants to "share their individual technical and artistic knowledge and skills with each other and their supporters.". To help them out, go here. (Boing Boing via Lost Machine)

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Report: Myspace to be Sold to Specific Media for Only $35 Million [Updated]

We knew the fallen social network Myspace was being shopped around on the cheap, but back then, News Corp. was looking for a $100 million offer -- still much cheaper than the initial purchase price of $580 million. Now, however, AllThingsD is reporting that the fallen social network has even further to fall, and is being acquired by ad-targeting firm Specific Media for the (comparatively) paltry sum of $35 million. AllThingsD claims sources say the deal should be closed today, and News Corp. will keep a very small stake in the company, around less than five percent. The deal supposedly includes cutting half of Myspace's staff of 400, and it is speculated that Myspace's higher-up staff, such as CEO Mike Jones, will only remain for an interim period. Remember when Myspace was the king of social networks and people used "Myspace me" just like they use "Facebook me" now? One can only wonder if Facbeook will eventually suffer the same fate. UPDATE: CEO Mike Jones reportedly sent out an email to employees confirmed the sale of Myspace to Specific Media. Head on past the break to see the email, which also states that Jones is leaving the company.

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There Will Be a Full-Sized (at Least on the Outside) TARDIS Replica at San Diego Comic Con

It Goes Ding When There's Stuff

Geek Girl Diva spilled a delightful bit of news about a certain blue box appearing at the QMx booth at San Diego Comic Con next month. The fun news is that it opens up and will be available for pictures. What's that? It opens up, you say? I do say, and I think I know what your next question is.

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Bad Chinese Government Photoshop Turns Into Meme

From the country that brought you Top Gun scenes as Air Force footage, introducing, blatantly fake Chinese government Photoshop. Thats right, ladies and gentleman, this photograph is not authentic. When reading over a story about the inspection and construction of a new country road, somebody decided that the real photos weren't pretty enough for the Chinese government homepage. As a result, this monstrosity got whipped up and posted on the first page. Boisterous laughter and a series of spoofs ensue. Check a few out after the jump.

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon–Not Much More Than Meets the Eye


The latest and final installment in Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise lives up to its promotional hype and meets expectations. That is to say: it is an action packed visual spectacle that is a wonder to behold, but is devoid of either a meaningful plot or strong characterization. Also, occasionally it showcases fighting robots. Originally based off the  children’s toy line and it’s subsequent cartoon show, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not for children. It earns its PG-13 rating through a plethora of violence and death that would make the movie seem far darker, if it was not constantly counterbalanced by the goofiness of many of the characters and situations.

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Pen With Silver Ink Can Draw Circuits that Actually Work

Some scientists at University of Illinois have developed a pen that essentially draws circuit diagrams that will actually work, but no, you can't use it to draw a hamburger that you can actually eat because this is science, not magic, unfortunately. The pen uses a silver solution (the element, not the color) that allows the wielder to draw working electronic circuits on a number of different surfaces.

Printers have used metallic ink to print circuits for a while now, but this pen, while being cheaper and more versatile, also adds a little bit of unique, artistic flair to the process. This, combined with the fact that the ink will maintain connectivity even after being folded, could make some waves in the worlds of disposable electronics and electronic art. Sure, this thing probably isn't going to change the whole world, but the parts of it that it does change should be pretty awesome.

(via Short Sharp Science)

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