This recent file picture shows a bullet train 500-

The bullet train is a Japanese trademark. It is, in other words, a landmark in motion. Today, 50 years to the time it made a trip for the first time, between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan is celebrating a major milestone in the history of its beloved bullet-shaped train. The Shinkansen, as it's known in The Land of the Rising Sun, has had a great run throughout its 50-year tale, like being the fastest high-speed train at one point -- China's CRH380A now holds that title. Even so, Shinkansen is still responsible for carrying more than 300 million passengers every year in Japan, making it one of the most important forms of transportation in the world, not only in its home soil.

[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

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Gizmo Vaping e-Cigarette Mod

There is a rapidly growing subculture of e-cigarette users across the globe who spend countless hours tricking out their hardware. Vape modding, as it's known, blends technical craftsmanship, engineering creativity and artistry into one -- and unbeknownst to most, it originated right here in the UK. Some do it to get better hits, while others do it to give their e-cigs a unique look. The modders are also the staunchest of users, who credit vaping with allowing them to kick the tobacco habit. But as I found out, through the process of modding, these ex-smokers may have just traded one addiction for another.

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variety of thai food in fresh market, Asia, Thailand

The authenticity of native eats can vary from generation to generation, or country to country if you're eating in a place different than where a dish was originally created. But that's not to say there aren't cases in which things are cooked and made the right way. Thailand, as you're likely aware, is home to some delicious food, and the government now wants to make sure that its most popular dishes are being represented well. To do so, "e-Delicious," a robot capable of tasting food and making sure it meets various quality standards, was built. The idea came from Thailand's Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, as she became interested in fighting against bad Thai food in Thailand and elsewhere across the world.

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Jenny Holzer's

It's safe to say that surveillance technology had a profound effect on American culture, even before Edward Snowden's leaks arrived -- there's a sense that you can never really escape the government's eye. If you've ever shared that feeling, you'll be glad to hear that there's finally an art exhibition devoted to exploring high-tech monitoring. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's newly opened Covert Operations is full of projects that not only protest data collection, but sometimes use it to drive their points home. Jenny Holzer's Ribs (above) streams real US government documents on its LED displays. Hasan Elahi's Tracking Transience, meanwhile, uses selections from an online collection of 70,000-plus photos and location info as a sort of challenge; he wants you to mimic an FBI agent trying to piece together his life. If you're interested in seeing any of these projects first-hand, you'll want to swing by the Arizona-based museum no later than January 11th.

[Image credit: Richard-Max Tremblay / Jenny Holzer]

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After running a successful initial round of crowdfunding, The Oatmeal is now looking to put the finishing touches on its plans to build a Nikola Tesla Museum. To do so, it needs a bit more help from kind souls on the internet. Despite hitting the goal amount on Indiegogo a couple of years ago, and having since received an unexpected, hefty donation from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, additional money is needed to start the actual building process on the property, one that was bought with the $1.37 million originally raised. In an effort to make things interesting, this new campaign offers to give contributors engraved bricks in exchange for their hard-earned cash -- the more you donate, the bigger brick you're going to have at the museum. But hurry because, as The Oatmeal points out, the sooner you back the project, the better location your brick will get. Eventually, the idea is to build the Nikola Tesla Museum on the land where his final lab was located, in Shoreham, New York.

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As neat as your smartwatch is, there are other existing wearables which, you know, can actually make the world a world a better place -- though that's not to say whatever you have on your wrist now is useless and for pure vanity purposes. Aptly named the Wearable Artificial Kidney, a projected started back in 2008, this medical gadget hopes to make the dialysis process better for patients, thanks in particular to its portability features. As opposed to the more traditional, stationary machines found at hospitals or in homes, which tend to be extremely heavy, the current version of WAK weighs a mere 10 lbs (around 4.5 kg.) and can be attached around a person's waist.

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US Navy drone flies two days straight using liquid hydrogen tank

Much has changed since the Federal Aviation Administration decided to start testing drones in the US for the first time. Part of that is due to the growing interest in UAVs over recent months, not only from hobbyists, but also from major technology companies including Amazon, Facebook and Google. There's certainly potential for a great deal of congestion in the skies in the near future, but the FAA doesn't believe its upcoming NextGen control system is ready to handle all the forecasted traffic from commercial drones -- not yet, at least. "We didn't understand the magnitude to which (drones) would be an oncoming tidal wave, something that must be dealt with, and quickly," FAA Assistant Administrator Ed Bolton told the Associated Press.

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If you're a resident of The Big Apple, or have ever visited, then you know that subway platforms are filled with advertisements -- even some of the cars are completely wrapped in them. This is where a new app called No Ad comes in. Built by Re+Public, a team which focuses on using technology to "alter the current expectations of urban media," No Ad is an augmented reality application that replaces ads on the New York City subway system with art. It's simple, really. All you have to do is download the app, available for iOS and Android, fire it up, point your device at an advertisement and, just like that, you'll see a piece of art show up where you would otherwise see corporate propaganda. As it stands, Re+Public has turned 100 ads across the NYC subway compatible with the No Ad app, with 50 artists contributing their work to the project. We have a hunch Don Draper wouldn't like this idea too much -- but let's face it, he's probably too drunk to care.

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Third-party developers have grown very fond of building neat stuff with the Kinect, so it's no surprise that Microsoft itself would create projects using this technology. Enter the Cube, a five-sided, Kinect-powered box which can interact with people around it -- the company describes it as a "canvas for a new kind of creative expression" and a "technological sculpture that's a venue for new types of interactive art." You can dance, or make other random body gestures, in front of it and the Cube will project that image onto one of its panels, in a rather colorful way, no less; think of it as what you would see on a game like Just Dance, but minus the layer of flashy outfits. Microsoft's Cube isn't all about the Kinect, however. Inside, there are also five computers and five projectors which, paired alongside a total of four new Kinects, are what make the magic possible. You can watch the Cube in action after the break.

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Who does want to go to space? No less, in an elevator. While NASA's been working hard for years trying to find the necessary tools to do just that, other firms are doing the same across different parts of the world. Japanese construction company Obayashi, for instance, is one of those, and today it revealed its plans to have a fully functional space elevator by the year 2050. As Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports, Obayashi says it is working to build a space elevator that can reach 96,000 kilometers (roughly 60,000 miles) into space, capable of transporting people and cargo at a much lower cost than the rockets traditionally launched from Earth. The trip on Obayashi's space elevator is said to take a total of seven days one-way, with the destination being a space station that would be built specifically for this scenario.

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Whenever NASA achieves something, row after row of neatly-dressed mission controllers all begin whooping and clapping. The reason for today's jubilation is the news that, after nearly a year, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution probe has successfully entered orbit around the red planet. MAVEN began its tour of duty at 10:24pm EDT Sunday night, and after a six-week test phase, will analyze the upper atmosphere of Mars in an attempt to understand how its climate has influenced the surface below. In addition, the information will help other white shirt-and-pocket-protector-wearing analysts to determine if, when, and how best to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. You never know, maybe MAVEN will be able to find some Methane in the atmosphere and make David Bowie very happy.

[Image Credit: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center]

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One small piece of Dirk Loechel's spaceship comparison chart

If you regularly follow geek culture, you've probably seen early versions of Dirk Loechel's spaceship comparison chart, which shows the relative sizes of vehicles from science fiction games, movies and TV shows. Well, it's finished -- and it's even more authoritative than the last time around. Get the full-size version and you'll see Babylon 5's Vorlon Planet Killer, Mass Effect's Normandy and seemingly everything in between. The chart even includes a real vessel, the International Space Station -- at 328 feet long, it seems downright puny next to its make-believe counterparts. Some story franchises have better representation than others (EVE is full of colossal ships), and you won't see moon-sized spacecraft like Star Wars' Death Star, but it's otherwise hard to imagine a more complete view of sci-fi transportation.

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Gravity. More than the name of a killer movie, it's likely something we take for granted every single day. After all, nearly everything we do is reliant on the idea that stuff stays in place when we stop holding it. Astronauts don't have that luxury, however, and when even simple tasks take a ton of effort, something relatively complex like using a 3D printer is even harder. Why would astronauts need one of those? Well, because stuff breaks in space, and replacing a busted part isn't as simple as hitting Home Depot -- just ask the crew of Apollo 13. To help get around that, the folks at Made in Space have designed a 3D printer that circumvents the lack of Earth's gravity when used in orbit. Instead of molten filament essentially "stacking" on itself to form an object like it does planetside, according to The Verge, the Zero-G Printer liquid's surface-tension holds a widget together.

Update: No launch tonight! Weather conditions forced a postponement. According to NASA, the next launch window is tomorrow night, on the 21st at about 1:52 AM ET.

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We know. It's only September, but it's never too early to start dreaming of that greatest of all gadget gatherings, the International CES. As always, the Engadget editorial team will descend upon the Las Vegas Convention Center this January to bring you all the action as the Official Blog and Online News Source of the show. And, just like last year, we're also choosing the Best of CES awards! As we comb the floor of the world's largest consumer tech trade show, we'll be looking for truly stand-out products worthy of becoming 2015's Best of CES -- but that doesn't mean we're waiting until we touch down in the desert to begin our search. We're accepting nominations starting November 1st, when we'll dish out all the info you need to know to put your device in the running.

[Image Credit: Samaruddin Stewart, AOL]

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We've seen MIT's super-fast four-legged Cheetah bot sprint on a treadmill many times, but it seems that the team at MIT is finally ready to let the thing outside. Now, quadrupedal bots traversing hill and dale are nothing new, but the Cheetah's doing so using a new algorithm and without the benefit of an internal combustion engine or hydraulics. That algorithm determines the amount of force the bot's custom high-torque electrical motors deliver, which in turn controls how fast the robot runs and how high it leaps. Using this force-based approach, the Cheetah is more stable and agile, according to the boffins at MIT, and it can maintain its balance as the speed of its gait increases. Not to mention that the electric motors are quiet, so instead of an exhaust note, you only hear the pitter-patter of robot feet. This all adds up to a robot that can silently bound across uneven ground and even jump over obstacles. It's not as fast as its furry namesake... yet, but you can hear from its creators and see its bounding baby steps in the video after the break.

[Image Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT]

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