Nick Gilbert
at 09:30 AM Nov 8 2011
The Cargo Guitar team
Tech // 

We don't know how easy it would be to actually play this thing, but it at least looks pretty cool - a team of artists/engineers have set up a parabolic musical instrument that glows in the dark inside a cargo container.

Rebecca Boyle
at 08:30 AM Nov 8 2011
Uli Benz/Technical University of Munich
Robots // 

A new robot face can display a realistic virtual visage from any angle, making telepresence somewhat less (but maybe actually more) creepy by using actual human features. Mask-Bot, as it's known, displays three-dimensional heads on a transparent plastic mask.

Clay Dillow
at 07:43 AM Nov 8 2011
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Debora McCallum
Space // 

NASA may be temporarily out of the manned spaceflight game, but that doesn't mean it isn't preparing to realise all of our most technologically compelling sci-fi fantasies. The agency's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has awarded three researchers funding to study three different means of creating a tractor beam--a ray of laser light than can trap and pull objects in the opposite direction of the beam.

Julie Beck
at 07:41 AM Nov 8 2011
Cassi Saari
Tech // 

This week's step forward in conforming to the beauty standard at any cost is a laser that can turn brown eyes into blue ones. The treatment, developed by Stroma Medical's Dr. Gregg Homer, takes only 20 seconds to perform, but is irreversible. Aside from giving you the piercing stare of an Arctic wolf, the procedure could also impair your sight, experts warn. Brown eye pigment helps to prevent problems such as glare and double vision. Removing it could leave the eye with no way to control the light getting in.

Dan Nosowitz
at 05:15 AM Nov 8 2011
Sam Kaplan
Tech // 

Our sister site Popular Photography just released their annual Pop Awards list, in which the best, most influential, and flat-out coolest photography gear gets rounded up for your perusal. This year looks like a great crop, ranging from cameras of all sizes to bags, studio strobes to software, and lenses to tripods. If you're thinking about buying anything image-related, check out this list before you make a decision. Read more at PopPhoto.

James Bullen
at 16:38 PM Nov 7 2011
UNC Charlotte
Science // 

Want to earn thousands, or even millions of dollars by analysing data and recognising patterns? Teams of mathematicians and scientists are already doing exactly that through a website that asks users to solve problems for cash rewards.

James Bullen
at 15:26 PM Nov 7 2011
Fraunhofer IPA
Robots // 

We hope none of our readers ever find themselves in an emergency situation. But if you do, don’t worry if a robotic spider comes crawling towards you - it’s there to help.

Danika Wilkinson
at 14:31 PM Nov 7 2011
Michelin Design
Cars // 

Commuting - it's something we all do, and something we all hate. While there's no way of avoiding it, these latest innovations could still make commuting just that little bit awesome.

Nick Gilbert
at 12:06 PM Nov 7 2011
NASA, ESA and J.A. Muñoz (University of Valencia)

Black holes, while sounding big and fearsome, are in fact, tiny. So small that they cannot be observed at all. Their huge mass, thanks to their previous lives as high flying, supermassive stars, plus their tiny size is what makes their gravitational influence so great. What this means for science is that the only way to learn about black holes is by watching how they affect surrounding matter, but even that can be difficult. However, a team of researchers have made use of the Hubble Space Telescope and, you know, a giant lens made of suns to study the accretion disc of a quasar to minute levels of detail.

Nick Gilbert
at 11:44 AM Nov 7 2011
Ion
Tech // 

We've had this Ion Copy Cat handheld scanner from Planet Gadget sitting around in the office for a few weeks. Obviously, it's useful for boring things like scanning documents, scanning photos, scanning other documents you didn't scan the first time, and so on. But, we thought, given we can just carry this thing around with us, we might as well stretch the brief and find out what else it can be useful for.

Nick Gilbert
at 10:11 AM Nov 7 2011
NASA/Cornell/Arecibo

Space is big. Really big. In fact, it's so vastly, mindbogglinglybig that the actual chance of an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier hitting anything is quite small. Peanuts, really. This Tuesday night, though, an asteroid will pass close by, without quite hitting, the earth. It will actually skip in closer than the Moon.

Staff Writers
at 14:00 PM Nov 6 2011
Science // 

Another week, another suite of stories on everything from the protein in your blood to red hot electric sports cars. And of course another picture from Baarbarian to dazzle the eyes.

Sean Kane
at 15:39 PM Nov 5 2011
ESA
Science // 

Today, the six crew members of the Mars 500 mission have "returned." The six, comprised of three Russians (a surgeon, engineer, and physiologist), an Italian Colombian engineer, a Chinese astronaut instructor, and a French engineer, have lived in a sealed chamber in a Moscow parking lot.

Clay Dillow
at 13:31 PM Nov 5 2011
Gordon Flood via Wikimedia
Tech // 

At Paddy Power - Ireland's largest bookmaker - teams of quants and risk analysts set the odds on 12,000 to 15,000 events a week - everything from horse races and other sporting events to speculation on the name of Beyoncé's unborn child. Within these events, there are 60,000-70,000 individual bets, or "markets," to be made. And every market needs a set of odds - some kind of calculation of the probability that a specific outcome might occur, based on available data. But how does a bookmaker know what data is good and what data is bad? How can it build safeguards into predictive systems so it doesn't get burned?

Clay Dillow
at 12:22 PM Nov 5 2011
NERSC; Design: Caitlin Youngquist/LBNL Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt/LBNL
Space // 

Plasma is a really interesting substance. By understanding it, we can learn all kinds of things about how stars work, what's actually going on when they explode, and hopefully one day work out how to harness nuclear fusion to provideenormousamounts of clean energy. Thankfully, the Hopper supercomputer is working on that.

 
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