Dan Nosowitz is PopSci.com's Associate Editor. He has previously written for Fast Company, SmartPlanet, the Billfold, and Splitsider, and got his start at the gadget blog Gizmodo. He is also the founder and editorial director of Oh Em Gee., a pop culture criticism collective based in Montreal. Dan holds an undergraduate degree in English literature from McGill University. You can follow him on Twitter.
Most of the wireless carriers have scaled back on coverage at CES, but AT&T is still here, loud and proud, announcing a host of phones for the upcoming year. It's a sort of similar situation to last year with Verizon; AT&T is finally rolling out their LTE network, and they're using CES to announce the first round of phones. And a lot of them look great! Here's what you'll see trickling into AT&T stores this year.
At the very first press conference of this year's CES, LG started things off by making my (pretty nice!) TV feel like the 32-inch CRT that's in my hotel room. There are precious few details about this guy, including when (or if) it will ever go on sale. But based on my limited time with the screen, crammed in with a hundred other people at the press event, I am very, very impressed.
This week's Images of the Week gallery, the very first of the new year, is appropriately grand. It includes: this Buckyball-looking kite (yes, kite), apes with iPads, new art from Ai Weiwei, the globe in a water droplet, and much more.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati performed an experiment on a type of the widespread and unnerving wolf spider that shows that these invertebrates may be much more complex than we give them credit for. The spiders were capable of observing, remembering, and mimicking mating dances, just like cast members on Jersey Shore.
Roku, makers of, you know, the Roku, introduced a new product this morning, to be called the Streaming Stick. It's a teeny little device that looks mostly like a Roku-branded USB flash drive, but instead of a USB plug, it has a particular kind of HDMI plug. You plug it right into your HDTV's HDMI port, and, theoretically, you have a brand-new connected TV that you can even control with your regular remote.
I have a vague memory of an exercise in elementary school in which, among other contrivances, the students smeared Vaseline on a pair of non-prescription glasses in order to simulate the effects of old age. As good as that science was, some researchers over at MIT created an impressive full-body aging simulation, complete with bungees (to bend the body and make everyday tasks more difficult) and a jumpsuit (because old people like jumpsuits (I think)).
In honor of this festive holiday season, we've included in this week's roundup of amazing science and tech galleries some festive shots of our own. Pictured above is a nearby spiral galaxy that looks, if you're a NASA scientist who has been recently bonked on the head, like an outer-space wreath. There are also cute baby animals this week. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
Biometric security is often focused on the more boring anatomical parts, like the pads of the fingers (ehhh) or the eyes (who cares). So little attention has been paid to the security possibilities of the butt. Well, not anymore: researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo have come up with a car seat that measures the precise contours and pressures left by your posterior.
Attentive followers of dentistry developments that we are, we've been following the story of the plasma brush for awhile now. And it seems like it's making some serious progress: human clinical trials are supposed to begin in early 2012, and there's also a video (below) of the World's Bravest Dentist shooting a plasma beam into his own mouth.
I'll start you guys off with a quote here: In talking about Sony's new battery technology, which uses old cellulose product like newspapers and cardboard to generate electricity, the BBC says: "Their work builds on a previous project in which they used fruit juice to power a Walkman music player." Thank you, crazy Sony recycling-engineers.
As the days get colder, we look to our Images of the Week gallery for comfort. Why yes, this incredible space pic does look like a snow angel! Why yes, I would like a 3-D printed advent calendar candy!
And then there's a picture of an octopus. Because it is scientifically proven (note: requires loose definition of "science") that the octopus is the World's Most Awesome creature. Awesomeness rises above seasonality sometimes. Enjoy the gallery!
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the newest and best Android smartphone we've ever used (read our review here), had a few key facts kept under wraps for a surprisingly long time, most importantly price and release date. Official word just came in last night: the Nexus is on sale at Verizon stores today (Thursday), at a price of $300, all of which is about as expected.
The Nexus has 32GB of non-replaceable storage, so it's priced on par with phones like the iPhone 4S. You'll need a 4G plan, since the Nexus uses Verizon's frankly awesome 4G LTE network.
Unlike here in New York, where telling a cabbie to take you to even some of the most common intersections often result in a response of "Okay, how do I get there?", London cabdriver tests are notoriously difficult and complete. You don't just pass the test--you earn "The Knowledge," or the ins and outs of a massive and complex city from end to end. And, it turns out, the level of training needed to pass the test actually changes the structure of the brain, according to a new study.
HP has spent the last year or so, as the new owner of the WebOS mobile operating system, alternately making arbitrary decisions about the platform's future and making sure to not release any nice hardware for it. After the company ignominiously shut down WebOS for good this summer, we thought that was it for the best smartphone platform nobody used--but today, HP surprised us with an announcement that WebOS will be going open-source.
Here's the thing about the Galaxy Nexus: It is the best Android phone available now by such a huge margin that I am prepared to say that shoppers should either buy it or steer clear of Android entirely. And that has nothing to do with its hardware.
I am putting forth a call to arms: Let us not care so much about hardware, Android friends. Let us not pay mind to mobile processor clock speed, to millimeters of body thickness, to HDMI-out ports and docking stations and removable batteries. The Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone because its software was designed for humans. More than any other 'Droid previous, using the Galaxy Nexus just makes sense. And for that we can thank its stock install of something called Ice Cream Sandwich.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.