sciencehabit writes "Researchers have long hypothesized that objects weigh less at Earth's equator because the planet's spin and shape lessen gravity's pull there versus at the poles. Satellite accelerometers have confirmed this, but a digital scale manufacturer decided to test things the old-fashioned way. Enter the Kern garden gnome. When placed on a scale at the South Pole, the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator, a difference of 0.6%."
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New submitter CanHasDIY writes "Tired of waiting for the Pip-Boy or Omni-Tool to be invented? Never fear! Nokia is developing the basic technology needed to make your dreams a reality: haptic-feedback tattoos. According to the patent application, Nokia is proposing 'a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field.' Basically, the process is the same as for normal tattooing; the difference is in the ferromagnetic ink. Kind of brings new meaning to the term 'embedded device,' doesn't it?"
As a nexus of both computer programmers and other creative builder and maker types, SXSW (and Austin generally) is a great place to witness the overlap. John Zitterkopf and his pal Red, while helping to run the giant (and charitable!) LANFest at this year's event, had on hand for display a few of their own modded computer cases. John and Red are both part of Austin Modders, which helps Austinites swap tools and ideas (in-person, and via forums) for creating the kind of enclosures that computer makers simply can't — they're too time-intensive and too personalized for that. It's especially fun to see the effects that the newly widespread availability of laser cutters makes possible. (C'mon, O'Reilly, isn't it time for another Austin Maker Faire?)
1sockchuck writes "The Pirate Bay says it plans to deploy servers on airborne drones several kilometers above international waters. The site said it was experimenting with servers using Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized Linux computer. April Fools come early? Torrent Freak says the plan is real. It's apparently a literal approach to cloud computing."
This is a 15 minute video conversation with Andy Marken of Marken Communications, who has been working in technology public relations long enough to know what's what -- and then some. We had a pleasant conversation via Skype, and afterwords he sent along some excellent additional advice about how to handle do-it-yourself tech industry PR.
judgecorp writes "Google is cooling its data center in Douglas County, Georgia, using 'recycled' water that has been through the bathtubs and toilets of the surrounding community. So called 'grey' water is perfectly adequate for the data center's cooling system which relies on evaporation (the wet T-shirt effect), says Google."
sciencehabit writes "Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he's mated recently or been rejected by a female. Flies that have been given the cold shoulder are more likely to go for the booze, researchers have found. It's the first discovery, in fruit flies, of a social interaction that influences future behavior."
In this video, Brian Alspach tells you how Gamestar Mechanic helps turn kids from game players into game authors, which helps them learn a lot about programming and how computers work in easy steps while having a good time. If you're a parent, you'll especially want to read this page on their site, which will help reassure you that these folks know what they're doing, and might even (hint hint) give you the idea of suggesting that your local school should subscribe to Gamestar Mechanic, which several thousand schools already do. The price varies between free and $6 per month, which is a great deal for something that can engage children for many hours every day -- and just might keep a parent or grandparent interested, too.
An anonymous reader writes "In response to the still-raging MPAA & RIAA, a kind of reverse piracy campaign has arisen. The "Send Them Your Money" campaign urges pirates and landlubbers alike to send scanned images of American currency to these agencies. According to the campaign's webpage, 'They've made it very clear that they consider digital copies to be just as valuable as the original.' The operation gained fame via sites like Reddit and Tumblr, inspiring citizens of other countries to send their legal tender to the MPAA and RIAA."
alphadogg writes "There are holidays, and then there are holidays for nerds, and March 14 (3.14) is one of those. Based on the mathematical constant number that represents the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle, Pi Day has grown to become somewhat of a day to celebrate for mathematicians and techies. Here are 10 things to do on the big day."
An anonymous reader writes "Hot on the trail of a stolen iPad using the 'Find my iPad' feature in iOS, Police in San Jose tracked the stolen device back to an apartment complex where they then stumbled onto 750 pounds of meth. All told, the meth is worth about $35 million on the street. The seizure was one of the largest drug busts in recent memory."
Intrepid correspondent Timothy Lord writes, "I talked at SXSW with Kari Hale of League For Gamers, an organization started just a few months ago by Red 5 Studios founder CEO Mark Kern. (Kern was also team lead for World of Warcraft.) League for Gamers shares some of the goals of groups like the EFF and EPIC, but — as you might guess from the name — is tightly focused on the world of gaming. The group owes its existence to SOPA; the money used to start it up had initially been budgeted for Red 5 Studios' appearance at the most recent E3, but E3 sponsor's Entertainment Software Association's support for SOPA led Kern to withdraw from the show. Kari gave a quick rundown of the origins of the League, what it hopes to accomplish, and what sorts of efforts it's so far undertaken."
An anonymous reader writes "'The Hobbit,' a small pub in Southampton, England, has been threatened with a lawsuit by lawyers representing the Saul Zaentz Company in California. The pub, which has traded under the name for the last 20 years without incident, now faces closure if it does not change its name. It's yet another example of big business throwing its weight around to get its way. The pub's landlady said simply, 'I can't fight Hollywood.'"
Zothecula writes "Not too long ago, brothers Randy and Michael Gregg were out on a hunting expedition. It was the day after deer season had ended, yet they spied a handsome animal bedded down in the snow. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, they silently crept up on their quarry, raised their rifle, lined the deer up in the crosshairs ... and then took a picture through the scope with a mobile phone. That photo provided all the proof they needed that they had successfully stalked their prey, without bringing home an illegally-obtained carcass. It also inspired them to create the Kill Shot — a replica hunting rifle, that takes pictures instead of firing bullets." The Kill Shot isn't just for hunters. Think of how great this would be at sporting events or family reunions!
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Cambridge University have used Lego Mindstorms robots to create an artificial bone-like substance. The toy robots proved to be much easier to set up and vastly more economical than more high-tech solutions. Their research is featured in a video for the 2012 Google Science Fair."