MarkWhittington writes "A Spanish company has created a bed that will make itself. Ordinarily I am excited about just about any technological advance, but this one leaves me wondering what it's good for. It might be that as a rather slovenly housekeeper, I do not see the purpose of making a bed. The idea of being able to bounce a coin off of a sheet that has been stretched tight seems to have been an invention of moms and drill sergeants to torment people. Why make up a bed in the morning when it's just going to be unmade that evening (or sooner if one likes an afternoon nap?) When I was a lad, dreaming of the wonders that awaited in the 21st century, among the flying cars, colonies on the moon and jet packs, self-making beds somehow escaped by imagination, even as my sainted mom forced me to make mine before heading out to school."
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theodp writes "GeekWire reports on the techno-dance routine that preceded Microsoft's Windows Azure presentation at the Norwegian Developers Conference this week, which featured a group of women jumping around on stage to a song that included several drug references and the line: 'The words MICRO and SOFT don't apply to my penis.' In a strange effort to be inclusive, a monitor displaying the lyrics added, 'or vagina.' The official Windows Azure YouTube channel has posted an apology for 'a skit that involved inappropriate and offensive elements and vulgar language,' and said it's actively looking into the matter. Hey, could've been worse — at least @ASUS wasn't live-tweeting the event!"
jfruh writes "Booth babes," promotional models paid to showcase products, are ubiquitous figures at tech trade shows. Ever wonder what they think of their jobs? Well, it may not surprise you to learn that standing up for eight hours in heels isn't much fun. Some enjoy the work, while others don't enjoy being the subject of stares. And one model adds that 'The industry is now moving towards making models show more skin.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "A scenic mountain village in Austria called Hallstatt has been copied, down to the statues, by a Chinese developer. Residents of the original Hallstatt attended Saturday's opening in China for the high-end residential project, but were still miffed about how the company did it. 'They should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agree with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not,' says hotel owner Monika Wenger. People in Hallstatt first learned a year ago of the plan when a Chinese guest at Wenger's hotel who was involved with the project inadvertently spilled the beans. Minmetals staff had been taking photos and gathering data while mingling with tourists, raising suspicions among villagers. The original village is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a $940 million housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a country famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard. 'The moment I stepped into here, I felt I was in Europe,' says 22-year-old Zhu Bin, a Huizhou resident. 'The security guards wear nice costumes. All the houses are built in European style.' This isn't the first time a Chinese firm has used a European place as inspiration. The Chinese city of Anting, some 30 kilometers from Shanghai, created a district designed to accommodate 20,000 residents called 'German Town Anting' and in 2005 Chengdu British Town was modeled on the English town of Dorchester."
derekmead writes "I'm not sure that Dutch artist Bart Jansen had political commentary in mind when he created the Orvillecopter — combining a stuffed cat with a quadrotor, and naming it after Orville Wright — but indeed it's art, whose meaning will lie in the eye of the beholder. And for those that say stitching up a dead animal around the guts of a helicopter and flying it around is 'sick,' what of the massive drone industry, which, more than just producing a symbol, actually is creating flying death?"
An anonymous reader writes "Sho Yano this week will become the youngest student to get an M.D. from University of Chicago. He was reading at age 2, writing by 3, and composing music by his 5th birthday. He graduated from Loyola University in three years — summa cum laude, no less. When he entered U. of C.'s prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine at 12, it was into one of the school's most rigorous programs, where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees. Intelligence is not Yano's only gift — though according to a test he took at age 4, his IQ is too high to accurately measure and is easily above genius level. He is an accomplished pianist who has performed at Ravinia, and he has a black belt in tae kwon do. Classmates and faculty described him as 'sweet' and 'humble,' a hardworking, Bach-adoring, Greek literature-quoting student. And in his own words, 'I may not be the most outgoing person, but I do like to be around people.'"
eldavojohn writes "The title of this hard-hitting piece of journalism reads 'Powerful 'Flame' cyberweapon tied to popular Angry Birds game,' and opens with, 'The most sophisticated and powerful cyberweapon uncovered to date was written in the LUA computer language, cyber security experts tell Fox News — the same one used to make the incredibly popular Angry Birds game.' The rest of the details that are actually pertinent to the story follow that important message. The graphic for this story? Perhaps a map of Iran, or the LUA logo, or maybe the stereotyped evil hacker in a ski mask? Nope, all Angry Birds. Describing LUA as 'Gamer Code,' Fox for some reason (popularity?) selects Angry Birds from an insanely long list in their article implying guilt-by-shared-development-language. I'm not sure if explaining machine language to them would alleviate the perceived problem or cause them to burn their desktops in the streets and launch a new crusade to protect the children."
SicariusMan writes "The age old question: do Guinness and other stouts' bubbles really sink, or is it an optical illusion? Well, some mathematicians have figured it out." Full paper via arXiv; From the article: "To analyze the effect of different glass shapes, the mathematicians modeled Guinness beer containing randomly distributed bubbles in both a pint glass and an anti-pint glass (i.e., an upside-down pint). An elongated swirling vortex forms in both glasses, but in the anti-pint glass the vortex rotates in the opposite direction, causing an upward flow of fluid and bubbles near the wall of the glass."
A lot of us are going to be standing over a grill today cooking for friends and family. Here's an article that lists some of the best gadgets to help you grill like a geek. Whether you want some high-tech tongs, thermometers you can monitor from your phone, or a complete grilling station with wi-fi, there is bound to be a tool here that will make your day easier and a lot more fun.
ananyo writes "Chemists in the UK have made a five-ring polyaromatic hydrocarbon and dubbed it 'olympicene'. The molecule is just a couple of nanometers wide and can be regarded as a little fragment of graphene. Strictly speaking, of course, the molecule might constitute an 'unofficial use' of the motif and land the scientists in court for copyright infringement."
New submitter mrnick writes "Eric Simons, 19 years old, was working at incubator Imagine K2 in Silicon Valley, which was hosted at AOL's Palo Alto campus. His grant money eventually ran out, but his access badge kept working, so he moved into AOL's office. He slept on a couch, took showers and washed clothes in the office gym, and ate for free in the cafeteria, all the while working on his new start-up. He was able to get away with this for two months before being discovered by security guard."
An anonymous reader writes "First we had a superhydrophobic spray that meant no dirt or sweat could stick to your clothes. Then a hydrophobic nanocoating was created for circuit boards to make them water resistant. Now MIT has gone a step further and solved one of the ongoing problems of using condiments: they've figured out how to make a food-safe superhydrophobic coating for food packaging. It means ketchup and mayonnaise will no longer be stuck to the insides of the bottle, and therefore there will no longer be any waste. What's amusing is this seems to be a happy accident. The MIT team was actually investigating slippery coatings to stop gas and oil lines clogging as well as how to stop a surface from having ice form on it. Now their lab is filled with condiments for continued testing of their food-safe version."
ananyo writes "From the Nature story: 'Scientists from Archimedes to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are said to have had flashes of inspiration while thinking about other things. But the mechanisms behind this psychological phenomenon have remained unclear. A study now suggests that simply taking a break does not bring on inspiration — rather, creativity is fostered by tasks that allow the mind to wander.' The researchers gave 145 students 2 minutes to list as many possible uses for an everyday object (the creative thinking task). Participants then either rested, undertook a demanding memory activity that required their full attention or engaged in an undemanding reaction-time activity known to elicit mind-wandering. A fourth group of students had no break. The researchers then set the students a second set of unusual-uses tasks and found those that had, in the interim, been set the undemanding task that encouraged mind-wandering performed an average of around 40% better than they did before. The students in the other three groups showed no improvement."
New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"
lukehopewell1 writes "A Penn State robotics student has gone to the effort of building a working, automated turret from the video game series Portal. Powered by a webcam, Arduino boards and hacked up USB-missile launchers, this is one serious piece of kit that is just as adorable as its in-game counterpart. "