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Monthly Archives: June 2009

High Speed Camera Captures Electromagnetic Quarter Shrinkage

By Evan Ackerman

Electromagnets can be used by people with too much time and electrical knowledge to crush cans, but the truly ambitious can (briefly) harness a magnetic field to shrink a quarter to about half its original size. The principle is kinda simple, really… A big capacitor sends a surge of electricity into a coil around a quarter. This creates a magnetic field in the coil, and also in the quarter, but the field in the quarter has the opposite polarity. The quarter tries to get away from the coil, but having nowhere to go, shrinks inward as the magnetic field strength exceeds the strength of the metal. The coil, on the other hand, explodes outward at mach 2. The process takes between 30 and 40 microseconds, meaning that the edges of the quarter shrink inward at about 400 mph.

This particular experiment was done by Hackerbot Labs, and Intellectual Ventures has more pics and video at the link below.

[ Intellectual Ventures ] VIA [ Bre Pettis ]

Alien Abduction Lamp Now A Final Prototype, Production Imminent


By Evan Ackerman

We’ve been waiting for over two years now, but the Alien Abduction lamp is finally almost ready for production. The picture above is the final prototype; the production version of the lamp should be virtually identical, glow in the dark aliens and all.

The UFO itself is very solid and cast in metal with a beautiful black pearl finish (you can’t really see how nice the finish is in this otherwise great photo). The antenna functions as the on off switch, and it also has a third position for pulsing light. And of course it comes complete with glow-in-the-dark aliens, real fake grass and a poor removable bovine abductee!

The biggest difference I see from the original rendering is that the cow is no longer suspended beneath the UFO. I really liked that touch, and thought it added a lot of character. I can see how it might be hard to realize in a production lamp, but maybe it could be rigged up anyway with a bit of fishing line or something.

There’s no release date or price yet, but you can sign up to have the opportunity to purchase one of the first 2000 Abduction Lamps in a special limited edition run at

[ Abduction Lamp ] VIA [ herrklein ]

Snaefell Bike Features A Literal Sidecar

Snaefell Bike (Images courtesy François Knorreck)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know what possessed François Knorreck to create the Snaefell, a handcrafted motorcycle/sports car hybrid, but the results are like a terrible traffic accident gone right. The motorcycle part of the Snaefell is based on a Laverda, while the sidecar is a mashup of a Volkswagen GTI, an Audi 80 and a Citroen Xantia. Overall the creation cost about $21,000+ to build, but what’s more impressive is that it took François 10 years and over 10,000 hours to make it a reality! Congratulations?

[ Snaefell Project – Completed!… ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

Cushionless Stool Makes Piles Of Laundry Useful

Todd Stool (Images courtesy llot llov)
By Andrew Liszewski

For some reason dirty laundry manages to avoid my obsessive desire for organization and tidiness, so it just piles up in a corner until laundry day rolls around. But instead of being an eyesore, this clever cushionless stool known as Todd puts your dirty clothes to good use.

Created by llot llov, the metal frame stool really only becomes usable once you’ve piled a few dirty garments on top, making it comfortable to sit on. And depending on the size of your wardrobe, the Todd stool can even provide a different seating experience or color palette on a week-to-week basis. Sadly though, it’s not available for sale.

[ llot llov – Todd Stool ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Microsoft Outlines Windows 7 Upgrade Program


By Shane McGlaun

We talked earlier about pricing for Windows 7 now that its launch is getting closer. The OS will debut in October, which is only months away. Many are expecting great things out of Windows 7 and it better deliver where Vista failed.

Microsoft says that anyone who buys a Vista equipped PC starting on June 26 will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 7 for free. The catch is that only certain versions of Vista are eligible for upgrade. That means if you buy a cheap computer running Vista Basic, you get no upgrade.

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Verizon Gets HTC Ozone


By Shane McGlaun

HTC makes some of the most desirable smartphones on the market. In fact, it was the company that made the first Android-powered smartphone to hit the U.S. market — the T-mobile G1. HTC had an event this week where it introduced its Hero smartphone and now it has unveiled another phone bound for the States.

Verizon Wireless will be getting the HTC Ozone smartphone. The easy to use smartphone has a bargain price of $49.99 after a $70 mail-in rebate and new contract. Features of the phone include a QWERTY keyboard and multiple connectivity options.

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LightLane Virtual Bike Lane Makes The Huge Jump From Concept To Prototype


By Evan Ackerman

Back in January, we (and the rest of the internet) posted about LightLane, a concept device that uses lasers to project a virtual bike lane to help keep cars from squishing you flat. Understandably, it was a popular idea with bicyclists everywhere, and the designers have managed to put together a working beta version. As you can see in the video, it works quite well, even in car headlights:

Does this mean it’s going to end up in production? Hopefully yes, since it’s now in “beta phase development,” although there are no details on when it might be available or how much it might end up costing. We’ll keep you updated.

[ LightLane ] VIA [ CoolHunting ]

Review – Ghostbusters (Xbox 360)


This post is syndicated with permission from

Ghostbusters was one of those games that I really wanted to like, but honestly didn’t expect much from it. After all, I’ve played some really bad games that were based on the franchise. Seriously, have you ever played the Atari game? Anyway, I was rather surprised that this game was far from bad. In fact, it’s the best games associated with a movie franchise that I’ve played in a long time.

From the moment the game loads up, you have the distinct feeling that this is the long-lost third Ghostbusters film. Only this time around you’re actually a part of the story. When I watched the opening scene and it transitioned into the Ghostbusters theme song, I’ll admit to getting chills. Not spooky chills, more like nostalgia. They even opened up with the Columbia Pictures splash.

I won’t dive into the story too much, mostly because I hate reading about too much of the plot in a review. That said, the game takes place in 1991, roughly 2 years after the second film. The team has hired a new guy to help out with the work, which is where you come in. Your character is never given a name, which is said to be so that the team doesn’t get too attached for fear of any “mishaps.” Throughout the game you are referred to as “Rookie”, and you never speak. I think this is done rather well, letting you immerse yourself more into the story.

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Windows 7 Pricing Revealed, Plus Pre-Order Discount!


By Chris Scott Barr

I’ve been running Windows 7 on two different machines since RC1 was released, and I’ve been happy with it thus far. I’ll definitely be buying a full license when they become available on October 22nd. Just how much will the different versions set me back? Well Microsoft finally gave up the details and I’ve got the full list below.

  • Home Premium (Full) – $199.99
  • Home Premium (Upgrade) – $119.99
  • Professional (Full) – $299.99
  • Professional (Upgrade) – $199.99
  • Ultimate (Full) – $319.99
  • Ultimate (Upgrade) – $219.99

The prices (mostly) fall in line with their Vista equivalents. Sure, it’s still pretty expensive to upgrade, but you’re in luck. Starting today through July 11th (in the US only) you can pre-order the Home Premium upgrade for $50 or the Professional upgrade for just $100.

[ Yahoo News ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]