By Adam PashPosted 05.23.2008 at 12:00 pm 5 Comments
So you finally finished writing your novel and then somehow accidentally dumped it? It happens. Luckily, when you delete a file from your computer’s trash bin, it’s actually just marked for deletion. That means it can be overwritten on your hard drive by other data, but there’s a good chance it’s still intact—for a while, anyway.
A watch steals a trick from the auto industry to survive the deep sea
By John BiggsPosted 05.23.2008 at 11:30 am 3 Comments
Lose track of time underwater, and you could lose your life when your oxygen runs out. Luckily, the Eterna KonTiki Diver watch saves you from your own absentmindedness. It uses technology from the automotive industry to stay waterproof at 3,280 feet without tightly screwing down its winding stem (a step that users often forget with other mechanical diving watches).
What does the past look like from 200 miles up? A new generation of archaeologists has found that the history of civilization may look far clearer from the top of the atmosphere than it does from the bottom of a dig
By Mara HvistendahlPosted 05.22.2008 at 2:26 pm 9 Comments
If it weren’t for the landmines, Lingapura would be a great place to dig. For part of the 10th century, this pocket of northwestern Cambodia was the capital of the famed Angkorian empire, a sprawling city studded with homes, irrigation channels, and more than 1,000 temples crowned with stone lingam, or phalluses. But ever since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge dotted Cambodia with millions of landmines in the 1970s, Lingapura’s ruins have sat mostly untouched.
By David RothenbergPosted 05.21.2008 at 4:09 pm 2 Comments
Humpback whales sing some of the most beautiful songs in the animal world. It’s not just “woo, woo, woo”—their songs last 10 to 15 minutes and have a definite form, usually consisting of five or six unique phrases. Only the males sing, which has led many scientists to theorize that they croon to attract females. The hole in this argument, though, is that no one has ever seen a female whale show any interest in a male’s song.
A stronger, cheaper surfboard made of the same material as a moving box
By Mark AndersPosted 05.21.2008 at 3:54 pm 2 Comments
This surfboard's frame is cut from 16.6 square feet of cardboard and covered in transparent fiberglass.
When it came time to replace his old surfboard, Mike Sheldrake decided to build his own. But the former Web programmer didn't have the sculpting skills to carve one out of foam the way professional builders do. So he used 3-D modeling software to design a snap-together deck that's as sturdy as a conventional model and performs just as well, made from the cheapest material he could find: cardboard.
With the discovery of a bright, long-lived supernova, scientists believe they have found a spectacular new way for stars to die
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 3:31 pm 4 Comments
Heavy elements in the star's core are ejected in all directions. Not even a black hole is left after the explosion.
Meet pair-instability supernova SN2006GY, the most extraordinary explosion in the cosmos. Unlike its smaller, regular supernova cousins, which blast off the outer layers of a star and pack what remains into a neutron core or a black hole, the pair-instability supernova is a much more violent celestial finale. These events happen only in stars that are at least 150 times as large as our sun and result in total annihilation of the star. Astrophysicists contend that this type of eruption helped seed the cosmos with heavy metals like iron, a process that ultimately allowed planets to form.
Last January, an Australian engineer announced a bizarre new contraceptive for men: a radio-controlled implant that could block the flow of sperm with the click of a button. The device, which is still in the conceptual stages, is the latest in a growing number of experimental male birth-control methods—including sperm plugs, sperm dissolvers and heat-inducing gels—that don't tinker with testosterone.
The government is about to turn your oldest television into a useless relic. Instead of heaving the TV into a landfill, here’s how to give it a second life
By Dave ProchnowPosted 05.19.2008 at 4:11 pm 3 Comments
By now, you've probably heard the news: Next February, television will be broadcast only in digital. If you have cable, you're already covered. If you have an old analog set—anything that pulls in signals over rabbit ears—you can buy a converter box to receive digital signals. But what about that really old TV with the fuzzy screen that takes forever to warm up? Most sets like that can't receive cable or satellite service and don't even have any A/V inputs, so a converter may not be an option.
Before you call Antiques Roadshow, however, you should know that with a transmitter kit, a cable and some solder, you can turn it into a monitor for an iPod video, a security-camera feed or an external display for a PC. Not too shabby for a piece of equipment that used to only be good for watching The Jeffersons.
Hackers have radically transformed the latest videogame consoles
By Andrew E. RosenblumPosted 05.19.2008 at 1:38 pm 29 Comments
Ben Heckendorn’s game-console creations, from a portable Atari 2600 to a pocket-sized Nintendo 64, are famous in the modder world. But he may have topped himself with his Xbox 360 Elite laptop.
To shoehorn a full 360 into the 2.25-by-16-by-12-inch case and keep it playable, Heckendorn had to install fans and speakers and redo the internal layout of the machine several times. He then rewired the console to output the video to the 17-inch LCD display, on which he mounted an Xbox Live Vision camera for online multiplayer games.
A Q&A with the Hollywood legend and self-proclaimed Wii-addict on bringing his cinematic flair to videogames
By Steve MorgensternPosted 05.16.2008 at 12:59 pm 0 Comments
In a career that spans the heartrending drama of Schindlers List, the popcorn thrills of Indiana Jones and the flat-out cartoon silliness of Animaniacs, Steven Spielberg has demonstrated a unique cross-generational ability to capture our imaginations and manipulate our emotions. Now hes applying these talents to a new medium, developing a series of innovative videogames in collaboration with Electronic Arts.
The first, Boom Blox (released last month), embraces his fun-for-the-whole-family side. This action-puzzle game challenges players to destroy structures made of building blocks, using the Nintendo Wii remote control to hurl onscreen objects with a flick of the wrist.