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Over the last few weeks, every person who has come into my home has gone through the same sort of rough conversation.

"What's that?"

"It's a new device that I'm testing. Do you like it?"

"Not really, it's a bit creepy."

This, then, is what happens when you live with Mother, which has finally begun to ship after getting so much attention when it launched in January. In essence, it's a device that's designed to connect the ordinary parts of your home to the internet, but is that something you really need?

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On top of laser weapons, passenger jets and space stuff Boeing is also, weirdly, building an ultra-secure Android smartphone called "Black" (not to be confused with the Blackphone). According to the Telegraph, it's now enlisted BlackBerry's help to make it even more secure, though it's not clear how, exactly. Blackberry CEO John Chen said "we're pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform" and quickly added, "that, by the way, is all they allow me to say." The Boeing Black smartphone recently cleared the FAA FCC and comes with all the stuff a spook or G-man could want.

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The Problem Solver

When you've been stuck on a problem or that creative spark just won't come, the chances are you've turned to a cup of coffee to get things moving. A quick java infusion can certainly help, but studies also suggest that alcohol can also have a positive impact on your creative cognition.

University of Illinois Professor Jennifer Wiley determined that a person's "creative peak" comes when their blood alcohol level reaches 0.075, lowering their ability to overthink during a task. Medical Daily reports that marketing agency CP+B Copenhagen and Danish brewery Rocket Brewing wanted to help drinkers reach their imaginative prime, so they decided to create their own beer to do just that.

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It's far from a done deal, but the FCC has taken a step towards putting internet TV service on a par with cable and satellite. On Friday it announced the adoption of a proposal (previously floated by chairman Tom Wheeler) that would give TV providers that stream their channels over the internet, the same access to content that satellite and cable TV services have. So far, internet providers aren't classified as a "multichannel video programminng distributor", but if they were that could have forced programmers to negotiate with the likes of Aereo, instead of merely suing them. Even as cord-cutters celebrate, there are some restrictions even with the new proposal -- this plan wouldn't affect Netflix, Amazon or Hulu -- but it could make things easier for PlayStation Vue or Dish Network's planned internet TV feed.

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Since Venus is closer to Earth than Mars -- both in size and distance -- it would be a much more convenient candidate for manned exploration. There's just a slight hitch: the average temperature is 850 degrees F, and the atmosphere is 90 times denser than ours. In other words, you'd die in the opposite way that Quaid nearly did in Total Recall. Probes have been sent to the planet's surface, but the Russian Venera 13 survived the longest at just 127 minutes in 1982. As it does, NASA has figured a way around all that. In IEEE Spectrum, it outlined a study called HAVOC to build a floating "city" of astronaut-manned zeppelins that would hover 30 miles above the planet.

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Liu Fulong's homebuilt

If you think the coffee table you've been building in your spare time is pretty sweet, just wait until you get a load of what Liu Fulong has been making. The Shengyang, China resident recently finished his own electric armored car after four months of work, despite having no formal training in automotive design. As you might guess from the photo above, the "armored" label is based more on appearance than functionality. That wooden body probably wouldn't stop many bullets, and the missiles are purely cosmetic. But hey, the car underneath works -- Liu can get around at a respectable 30MPH (faster than his previous 20MPH project), and he factored in crucial elements like lights, mirrors and spare tires. Is this safe? Probably not, but it's proof that you don't need to be a wealthy entrepreneur to build your own eco-friendly ride.

[Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images]


A sample from UCLA's lens-free digital microscope

High-powered microscopes are useful for spotting cancer and other diseases in cells, but they're expensive and complicated. Your local physicians probably won't have a microscope on hand, and you'll probably need at least some skill to use one. However, UCLA scientists have developed a lens-free microscope that could put this tissue scanning power in the hands of many more people. The device creates a holograph-like image of your sample using a CCD or CMOS sensor (like that from your camera) to detect shadow patterns cast by a light source, and reconstructs them in software to present what you'd actually see. The result is a microscope that's just as effective as its conventional optical brethren, but should also be much cheaper and simpler.

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The National University of Singapore's quantum physics imagery
Wrapping your head around quantum physics is tricky, no matter how well-educated you are -- if it were easy, there wouldn't be problems making quantum computers. However, researchers at the National University of Singapore believe they've found a way to make things simpler. They've determined that wave-particle duality (where quantum objects behave like waves) is really a manifestation of the uncertainty principle, which limits your ability to know two related properties of a quantum particle. As it turns out, you can rework the math for wave-particle duality to apply to certain uncertainty relations. They're just two sides of the same coin.

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How would you change Acer's Iconia W3 tablet?

If you want to judge a gadget on its true strengths, stick several in a room full of Engadget editors and see which one they swarm around. For that alone, Acer's Iconia W3 was a winner as soon as the eight-inch full-Windows tablet arrived in the office. When Dana Wollman was able to wrestle it away for a review, she found that there was much to love, including the reasonable price, free copy of Office and the long battery life. The only demerits were due to a slightly cheap build quality and imperfect keyboard - but you have to expect a few compromises when a product costs $380. What we want to know, dear friends, is what did you like, what did you hate, and what, if anything, would you change?


Monitoring the brain of a teen suffering from game addiction

Online game addiction is a real problem, and some countries are willing to take drastic measures to get these players living a healthier lifestyle. Need proof? Just look up. Photographer Fernando Moleres recently visited an internet gaming rehab camp in Beijing, and saw the facility monitoring the brain activity of addicts using the elaborate device you see above -- the camp wants to see that your mind is changing. The facility also relies on a mixture of medicine, military social structure and psychotherapy to set patients straight. It's hard to know if these "tough love" measures are truly effective, but their very existence reveals just how widespread compulsive gaming has become.


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