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Virtual wound will teach medics how to treat soldiers

Field medics have ways to practice their craft before they're helping soldiers on the battlefield, but it's hard for them to understand how wounds work until they're involved in a life-or-death rescue. UCLA scientists may have the tool these medics need, however: they've developed the first detailed injury simulation to show medics what to expect. The virtual gash could make you a bit queasy (sorry!), but it's uncannily accurate. A mix of fluid dynamics and in-depth mechanics (such as bones, skin and vessels) makes sure that blood flows much as it would from a real person.

Kobe Bryant decides to announces his retirement online

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement at the end of the NBA season through the web and social media — not by press conference. Sure, Twitter retirement announcements aren't a new thing: Shaq did so in 2011, not to mention David Ortiz and Steve Nash. It wasn't a completely Twitter-specific announcement. He linked to his farewell message / poem in full on The Players' Tribune (a site launched by fellow former-athlete Derek Jeter). The site, which allows pro athletes to self-publish (and say what they want to), meant Bryant gets to say his piece -- although it's not specific That said, it's already been retweeted over 70,000 times, and half an hour later, the NBA followed up itself on Twitter. The response was so strong that Jeter's site crashed under the strain. It's back online now, so if you'd like to see a portrait of Bryant whispering his farewell sonnet into a basketball, here's where to go.

Turning sunlight into clean fuel is now cheap and simple

Scientists have already produced artificial photosynthesis, but it has been an exotic process until now. You aren't about to replace the oxygen-giving plants around your home, in other words. However, researchers at Florida State University researcher have found a way to make it practical. They've developed a single-layer manganese oxide material that efficiently traps sunlight and makes it easy to break down that energy into hydrogen and oxygen. Current light-gathering techniques, like solar cells, frequently need multiple layers just to work at all -- this would be far cheaper and simpler to make.

Must Reads

  • DARPA wants to protect critical infrastructures from cyber attacks

    Hackers have been breaking through a lot of government agency's defenses these past years, and DARPA thinks it's high time to do something about it. Pentagon's mad science division has launched a new program called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS), which aims to develop...

  • FCC hires a privacy guru to help lead its telecom investigations

    If you want proof that the Federal Communications Commission is getting serious about privacy, you only need to look at its latest recruit. The agency has hired Jonathan Mayer, one of the masterminds behind Do Not Track browsing, as the chief technologist for its Enforcement Bureau. He'll help lead investigations...

Scientists show that gene editing can 'turn off' human diseases

Gene editing has already been used to fight diseases, but there's now hope that it might eliminate the diseases altgether. Researchers have shown that it's possible to eliminate facial muscular dystrophy using a newer editing technique, CRISPR (Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) to replace the offending gene and 'turn off' the condition. The approach sends a mix of protein and RNA to bind to a gene and give it an overhaul.

App turns your writing into trippy 3D images

It's easy to imagine a piece of art in your head, but making it real is another matter if you're not an artist. Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply describe what you wanted? WordsEye is trying just that. Its beta web app lets you describe a scene using natural-language text, and uses statistical parsing to translate that into a 3D image. You can name objects and their qualities using terms that are as fuzzy or exacting as you like, including relative concepts like position. It's easy to use, although the results can be more than a little surreal -- just look at the pictured rat on a cat on a Christmas cow if you need proof.

The Pirate Bay won't be blocked on its home turf

Numerous countries order their internet service providers block The Pirate Bay, but its home country of Sweden won't be one of them... at least, for now. A Stockholm court has ruled that Sweden can't make ISPs block the piracy site, since those companies aren't responsible for what their customers do. The networks aren't participating in any crimes, according to the ruling -- they're just the delivery medium.

Amazon and Jeremy Clarkson hint at the future of delivery drones

Former Top Gear co-host Jeremy Clarkson isn't just working on a new motoring show for Amazon... he's helping the internet giant pitch its vision for delivery drones, too. Amazon has unveiled a splashy new Prime Air ad where Clarkson shows off a new, more powerful drone design (with promises of a "whole family" of others) and outlines how these robots would ship a pair of running shoes. All you'd have to do is place your order and plunk down a marker to tell the drone where to land. From there, the robot would use its mix of horizontal and vertical propellers to ferry your cargo (up to 15 miles from its home base) in 30 minutes or less. You'd even get a heads-up when the drone is close, so you wouldn't have to worry about someone swiping your package the moment it arrives.

VW reportedly knew its fuel economy figures were wrong a year ago

If one report is accurate, Volkswagen execs didn't just know that their cars' emission estimates were fishy -- they knew the fuel efficiency figures were off, too. German newspaper Bild claims that top brass was aware of misleading fuel economy estimates about a year ago, or months before it became public. Former CEO Martin Winterkorn reportedly went so far as to yank one model off the market, the Polo TDI BlueMotion, because its fuel consumption was simply too far off the mark (18 percent above estimates).

The AfterMath: A week of excesses

Too much food? Too many bargains? With a handful of antacids nearby, we hope you've enjoyed this Thanksgiving week. Following in tradition of all that indulgence, we're all about size and excess here at TAM. Nuclear-powered data centers, puffy nuggets of gold, huge numbers of user names hacked... and a suggestion for next year's Thanksgiving dessert. We'd suggest you start making room now.

Inhabitat's Week in Green: Tesla Model S recall, and more!

When a problem comes along, you must fix it. This week Tesla noticed a defective seatbelt in one of its Model S sedans, so the automaker immediately issued a recall for all 90,000 vehicles on the road out of "an abundance of caution." In other transportation news, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin beat out Elon Musk's SpaceX in the race to develop a rocket that can return intact from space. Porsche announced plans to offer a hybrid version of one of the most-loved sports cars of all time. We also spotted several outlandish infrastructural hazards: a three-day traffic jam snared drivers in Kenya and a highway suddenly lifted towards the sky and splintered into pieces in California.

Professor saves home with smart sprinklers from 3,000km away

Deadly bushfires have swept across South Australia this week, destroying countless properties and natural spaces. One ingenious professor was able to save his rural home, however, by remotely activating sprinklers using a smartphone. Simon Maddocks, the President and Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, had been notified of the fires by friends and messages sent by the Country Fire Service (CFS). He was sitting comfortably in his Darwin office, far from danger, but knew his wheat farm on the other side of the country was at risk. Maddocks started tracking the flames from over 3,000 kilometers away using CFS maps on his phone before connecting to CCTV cameras at his house.

Amazon's new Fire TV can talk to your connected home

Amazon's Echo speaker and 4K Fire TV just got much better at handling around-the-house tasks. The Fire TV now controls smart home devices with a simple voice command -- you can ask it to dim the lights right before you start a movie. It'll search for local businesses and restaurants, too, in case you want to get some sushi when you're done watching. The Echo already has these features, but you can now ask it when a TV show starts to make sure you catch that big season premiere. Both the Echo and Fire TV upgrades are relatively straightforward, but they'll mean a lot if you're tired of bringing out your phone to ask simple questions.

This 'Super Mario Bros.' watch will cost you $18,950

How much of a Nintendo fan are you? Enough that you could spend as much as you would on a car, just to show the world where your allegiances lie? You'll want to talk to luxury watchmaker Romain Jerome, then. It just unveiled a limited edition Super Mario Bros. mechanical timepiece that marks the 30th anniversary of the plumber's adventures in style. And we do mean style: its 46mm case is made out of black titanium, and the three-layer dial is loaded with enamel-coated pixel figurines to remind you of Mario's early days. It's quite posh-looking, then, although the eye-watering $18,950 price will likely rule this out unless you're a high roller with some fond gaming memories. On the plus side, that ultra-rare Nintendo World Championship cartridge suddenly seems like a bargain.

E-paper sneakers change your style on the fly

If you're the sort to buy multiple pairs of sneakers just to make sure your footwear is always fashionable, you might soon have a way to save a lot of money. David Coelho is crowdfunding ShiftWear, or sneakers that have color e-paper displays in their sides. You only need a mobile app to change your look at a moment's notice (there are promises of a shoe design store), and you can even use animations if you're feeling ostentatious. The shoes are machine-washable, and the e-paper consumes virtually no power if you're using static imagery -- there's even talk of walk-to-charge tech that would save you from ever having to plug in or swap batteries.

Apple's next iPhone reportedly ditches the headphone jack

Apple's quest for ever-thinner, ever-smarter devices may produce another casualty: your iPhone's headphone jack. A rumor at MacOtakara claims that the next iPhone might drop the 3.5mm port and use the Lightning port for audio instead. The move would let Apple slim its phone even further (reportedly, over 1mm thinner than the iPhone 6s) and take advantage of Lightning's features, such as headphone-based DACs and app launching. You'd have to use an adapter for any conventional wired headphones, or else make the leap to Bluetooth.

The NSA's mass US phone surveillance ends tonight

The National Security Agency's long-running mass phone surveillance program is coming to an end. As promised, the USA Freedom Act will forbid the NSA from indiscriminately collecting Americans' call metadata at midnight on November 29th. Agents will have to get court orders to collect data from telecoms regarding specific people or groups, and then only for six months at a time -- they can't just scoop up everything in case something useful turns up. The NSA will still have access to five years' worth of legacy data through February 29th, but that's as far as its access will go.

For a while now Ben and Felix have been making and selling single handed accessibility controllers. In this episode Ben will tear down the XBox One gamepad and show you how to do mods of your own, from the pin-outs to the connections for the directional pads. Visit The Ben Heck Show community on element14 for links to the build files, suggest projects and sync up with The Ben Heck Show team!

If your wallet is bursting at the seams with credit, gift and loyalty plastic, the Coin universal card is supposed to lighten the load. Just add all your information to the app, sync it with Coin and get ready to buy all the things with a swipe or an NFC tap. Except when you can't. While the premise and feature set are intriguing, and in some cases helpful, in practice, it feels like too little too late. With Apple Pay, Android Pay. Samsung Pay and others already working on the future of transactions, Coin might might have missed the boat.

The best Cyber Monday deals

So you successfully emerged from Black Friday shopping relatively unscathed, and you've got the cash for an extra tech gift (or, let's be honest, a treat for yourself). Where do you go to spend that dough? Don't worry: we've rounded up some of the best gadget discounts for Cyber Monday, the online-focused shopping event that follows the Thanksgiving weekend. If you're looking for a 4K TV, a game console for the family or a PC upgrade, we have what you need.

Most of these deals won't last beyond the day itself (November 30th), but keep an eye on the dates. A few of them are already active or will stick around for at least a day longer, so you may not be out of luck if you're traveling when Cyber Monday kicks off.

[Lead image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Ahhh, the holidays. What a lovely time of year to catch up with the extended family and do a quick bit of shopping at enormous discounts. The truth of the situation, however, is often less relaxing than it sounds. Family get-togethers can be taxing, especially when you factor in the state of politics today and the obligatory "drunk uncle." Black Friday (which apparently starts on Thursday now) has become a frantic shopping battle, with everyday folks emboldened by insanely low-priced waffle makers. That's OK, technology is here to help you regain your inner zen. Breathe deeply, try to find a quiet corner and join us in the gallery below for some helpful gadgets to bring you serenity when you need it most: Now!