It's easy to forget that it's possible to generate electricity not by burning coal or splitting atoms, but using the power of the sea. One company has thought long and hard about the process and is set to change the way Britain generates its renewable energy. Under new plans, Tidal Lagoon Power hopes to build the world's first lagoon power plants, creating six giant structures -- four of which will be built in Wales, with two in England -- that will harness powerful coastal tides and generate as much as 8 percent of the UK's total power.
Raise your hand if you remember the Kickstarter campaign for Silvan Audio Workshop's wood turntable. It's a sleek, ornamental design featuring a slab of wood, a glass platter, supporting spikes and high-end parts from UK audio manufacturer Rega. It struck a chord with some of our readers yesterday, and especially with Joel Scilley, a longtime turntable and audio gear manufacturer operating under the name Audiowood. He's been selling "Barky," a turntable just like Silvan Audio Workshop's, since 2009. Scilley claims that the Kickstarter design infringes on his copyright, and he's asked the campaign's owner, Kent Walter, to halt all crowdfunding. He's also filed a DMCA notice with Kickstarter, so far to no avail.
Sure, your hip friends who live in that converted loft downtown have a record player -- but odds are they don't own an artisanal turntable crafted by a father-and-son team from the wood of an American black walnut tree. This is the type of turntable that Silvan Audio Workshop makes, and it's the type that the company is attempting to fund on Kickstarter right now. Kent Walter and his father seek $14,000 by March 22 to expand their workshops and produce turntables with more efficiency and speed, for all your home decor and record-spinning needs.
Where would we be without digital archives? Not playing old MS-DOS games and browsing defunct GeoCities Labyrinth fan sites while we should be working, that's where. And while some institutions are busying themselves preserving such things as classic literature, one is embarking on a far more important task: building a fully searchable image archive of all the UK's miserable concrete housing blocks. The "Tower Blocks - Our Blocks!" project is the brainchild of social and architectural historians at the Edinburgh College of Art, because how else would you manage to snag over £50,000 in Heritage Lottery funding to scan pics of ugly buildings if it didn't have something to do with art? That money will be put towards digitizing 3,500 old photos of high-rises, some of which have long been demolished, and "support local outreach initiatives" to get residents to tell of their experiences within these concrete melting pots.
If you've ever wanted to try your hand at creating some stellar beats, here's your chance. Thanks to music enthusiast Matt Daniels, all you need the keyboard that's likely already in front of you to rebuild tracks from J Dilla, Kanye West and 9th Wonder. Daniels built Sample Stitch: a website that reconstructs songs from their original samples, and in the process, reveals just how each one was created. "I wish that more people understood this process and gift, so I've recreated the process of chopping up a sample, just as a producer would," he explains. The pieces of each beat are mapped out for your keyboard, so after listening to a portion of the sample play, try your hand at Dilla's "Don't Cry," 9th Wonder's "Impressknowsoul!!!" or Yeezy's "Otis." Heck, you can even record your efforts to see just how they match up, or to add more on top of 'em. This web-based MPC will at least save you the trouble of investing before you know the extent of your talents.
[Photo credit: Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Roc Nation]
This is how it starts: you feel bad seeing the robot "dog" get kicked, and the next thing you know it's nipping at your heels, pushing you back to work in the salt mines. Instead of using the film and TV trope to illustrate how morally bankrupt a villain truly is, Google-owned Boston Dynamics employs it to show off "Spot": its latest quadruped, with an amazing ability to self-stabilize. The bot appears considerably more lithe than the AlphaDog it races up a hill, and can even roam in a tight pack with another unit. And unlike the diminutive Little Dog, Spot has a sensor-laden "head" that Boston Dynamics says helps it conquer a variety of ground cover.
Do you like podcasts? Do you like virtual reality? I'm hoping you occupy that particular sweet spot on the Venn diagram. I'm Ben Gilbert, and this is "Episode Zero" of "Three Bens in VR," the pilot episode of a podcast about all things virtual reality -- hosted by three guys named Ben! You've probably read some of the many, manypieces I've written on virtual reality right here on Engadget, and you've probably read the many works of my esteemed colleagues Ben Kuchera (of Polygon) and Ben Lang (of RoadtoVR). Regardless of our shared first name, what unites us on this show is a shared passion for the emerging medium of virtual reality.
So! Do us all a solid and give it a listen -- be warned that there's a brief section of wonky audio around three minutes in! Then let us know how you feel about the show in the comments, or via Twitter (all our handles are linked below), or however else you'd like! We want to hear it!
We've seen nanobots do some neat stuff so far (aquatic dance routines immediately come to mind), but them administering drugs inside a living organism's been the stuff of scientists' dreams. Researchers at the University of California San Diego, however, recently made it a reality by successfully administering acid-powered, zinc-based, self-destructing micromotors inside living mice. The ultra-tiny 'bots measured in at 20 micrometers long, roughly a human hair's width, and are tough enough to survive the harsh gastrointestinal environment autonomously. What's more, they destroy themselves without leaving any traces of harmful chemicals behind and being self-propelled apparently was a factor in "greatly improved" tissue penetration and drug retention. As the BBC points out, this would make them great for treating maladies like peptic ulcers and other stomach disorders.
Unlike virtual reality, it's much easier to describe what it's like using Microsoft's "mixed reality" holographic headset, HoloLens. Imagine you're wearing sunglasses with completely transparent lenses, and overlaid on the world in front of you is a rectangular box. That rectangular box is your window into Microsoft's "mixed" version of reality, meant to convey a mix of standard reality with augmented reality (overlaid images) and virtual reality (immersion).
Does it work? Yes, it works. Is it any good? That's a much harder question to answer. In its current state, HoloLens is a series of demos with varying levels of polish, meant to demonstrate the possibility of the device. More clearly: In its current state, HoloLens is far from ready for public consumption. It's an impressive demo in need of long-term investment, which Microsoft says is happening. All that baggage aside, what's it like using HoloLens?
Well, okay, that's kind of false. I will unfriend you if we're not actual, real-life friends, and I eventually forget how we knew each other. But that's not the point. The point is that my Facebook friends list is made up of people I know, or knew, in real life. They may not be people I speak to every day, or people I see in person with frequency, but they are or were a tangible part of my life: part of what makes me me. To put that more eloquently:
"I see it as my network: a digital representation of my network. An archive of the people I've encountered and come across. If I want to understand my story, my history, all of the ways that I've come about, this is one of those vehicles. It's almost like this weird digital therapy space where you can get to the heart of where you are via the people you've interacted with."
When British spacecraft Beagle 2 successfully ejected from Mars Express back on December 19th 2003, scientists expected to obtain confirmation of its touchdown on the Red Planet on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, no contact was ever received. Believing that it had been destroyed in a high-impact landing, the UK-led team abandoned the project, scuppering plans to search for signs of life on Mars. It's taken more than 11 years, but there's now finally some good news to report: Beagle 2 has been found intact on the planet's surface.
Despite having millions of dollars of imaging technology at their disposal, surgeons often have to wait until they open a patient up before deciding the best course of action. Even for the simplest procedure, knowing the actual size and composition of the affected body part can make all the difference. When British patient John Cousins collapsed in pain from appendicitis and a 3.5cm "stags head" kidney stone, he wanted to provide specialists with as much information on his affected organ as he could, so he decided to 3D-print a replica model of it.
Well, this is more than a little depressing: The politician who tried reducing NASA funding (and successfully shut it down for over two weeks) is now in charge of the senate subcommittee that effectively controls NASA. More than that, one of the most vocal climate-change detractors is now in charge of the United States Senate's Environmental committee. Let's let that sink in for a minute, shall we? Despite all the progress we've made so far with things like unmanned, deep-space space-flight and our efforts toward limiting the negative effects that humans have had on the environment, any future plans are now up in the air. Any major scientific progress is now at the mercy of Republican senators Ted Cruz and James Inhofe. With their actions and words over the recent years, the pair have proved just how little they understand about each area they're now controlling.
Fans hoping for a Neil deGrasse Tyson fix this year needn't worry if Cosmos will be renewed -- the astrophysicist will bring his popular StarTalk podcast to the National Geographic Channel. The new show will be filmed before a live audience at the Hayden Planetarium in a Bill Maher-style roundtable format featuring comedians and celebrities. Tyson said that because the established podcast is already streamed on video, the show "is kind of low-risk, I think, for National Geographic." He added that it'll let him "continue to spread wonder and excitement (of Cosmos) through Star Talk."