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Tag Archives: Animals

Bat-ronaut Rides Into Space On Discovery’s External Tank

bat_shuttle

By Evan Ackerman

When space shuttle Discovery launched on Sunday, it was carrying one surprise passenger: a small, and probably quite confused, Mexican free-tailed bat. An inspection team noticed the bat sleeping about a third of the way up the external fuel tank prior to launch, but everybody assumed that the bat (affectionately named “Interim Problem Report 119V-0080″) would wake up and fly away as soon as Discovery’s engines lit. Instead, visual and infrared imagery confirmed that the little guy was still there, alive and holding on, up until after Discovery cleared the tower.

Here’s what the Kennedy Space Center had to say on the matter:

Although we remained hopeful he would wake up and fly away, the bat eventually became IPR 119V-0080 after the ICE team finished their walkdown. He did change the direction he was pointing from time to time throughout countdown but ultimately never flew away. IR imagery shows he was alive and not frozen like many would think. The surface of the ET foam is actually generally between 60-80 degrees F on a day like yesterday. SE&I performed a debris analysis on him and ultimately a LCC waiver to ICE-01 was written to accept the stowaway. Lift off imagery analysis confirmed that he held on until at least the vehicle cleared to tower before we lost sight of him.

And thus is the legend of the STS-119 Bat-ronaut.

Godspeed, little guy, godspeed.

VIA [ Space.com ]

Weird USB: CowCows And Cat Tails

weirdusb

By Evan Ackerman

USB weirdness often seems to show up in groups, and today’s examples are no exception. What I like to do is try and picture how it would look if you were to combine weird USB things into one ÜberSB monstrosity, and this combo is particularly bizarre:

catcow

It’s a USB cow with fluffy tentacles and 8 gigs of storage! Totally worth the hour it took me to photoshop. Totally.

The CowCow USB Hub comes in four colors, two of which are not found in nature, and when you plug it into a USB port, it will sound “3 cow calls.” Moo, moo, moo. $12.

The Cat Tail USB Memory Stick Tail has a capacity of 2 gigs, and is made to order in Japan for about $55. Don’t worry, though, the Cat Tail isn’t made from an actual cat.

I mean, of course not.

Sheesh.

Instead, it’s made from mink.

[ CowCow USB Hub ] VIA [ Geeky Gadgets ]
[ Cat Tail Memory ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Hyundai Dolphin Phone Is Dolphoney

hyundai-dolphin

By Evan Ackerman

For some weird reason which probably should not be analyzed too deeply, Hyundai has decided to create a cell phone based on a dolphin. For real. See the picture? Yep, it’s a dolphin phone. The side view is the only really interesting bit, otherwise the phone is mostly ho-hum, with a 240×400 touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera, MP3 player, FM tuner, and a Yamaha speaker thrown in. It should cost an unlikely $320 when it’s released in May. Here’s what the actual phone looks like:

hyundai-mb-490i-dolphin_back

Except, you know what? To my dubiously trained eye, this looks a lot more like a whale phone. See for yourself, after the jump.Continue Reading

Otters Now Taking Home Videos In Monterey Bay

otter

By Evan Ackerman

Looks like the recession hasn’t had much of an effect on California sea otters, one of whom was recently spotted in Monterey Bay with his own video camera.

“I was like, did I actually see an otter with a video camera or was I hallucinating?” [Aguirre] said.

The screen on Aguirre’s digital camera soon confirmed what he’d seen: an otter floating on its back, video camera grasped in its paws, lens aimed at the boat of excited photographers. The humans had a bad angle, but Aguirre managed to snap a single clear shot before the otter dived, video camera in tow.

“He’s the only one who got the photo,” Gideon said.

Judging by the rust and seaweed adorning the camera, the otter probably wasn’t getting much good footage. But Aguirre, who has photographed animals all over the world for more than a decade, said the otter aiming a camcorder was the “craziest” thing he’s seen an animal do in the wild.

The otter never resurfaced, leaving the photographers to speculate on the make and model of the animal’s gear. Aguirre suspects that the camera was dropped by a kayaking tourist and then picked up by the curious creature.

“I know I can go down there another million times and I will never see another otter with a video camera,” Aguirre said. “I think I have more chance of a penguin coming up to me and actually speaking English.”

I dunno, if the sea otters can somehow monetize their YouTube cuteness, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sporting MP3 players and SD cards and jetpacks.

[ Santa Cruz Sentinel ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Video Friday: Animals Using Smartphones

By Evan Ackerman

Evil hedgehog FTW!

Oh, and this is an ad for the Samsung S8300 Ultra Touch cell phone. Or something.

Whatever.

But ZOMG CUTE ANIMALS!

VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Early Bird Alarm Clock Tweets You Awake

clok-1720

By Evan Ackerman

We saw this bird alarm clock (or something just like it) in the international hall at CES this year, but I was forcibly prevented from taking a picture of it by a product rep. Go figure. Now it look like it’s coming to the US, so I can finally write it up. HA!

The Early Bird alarm clock has a bird on top of it that pulses and glows and chirps to help wake you up.

Phew, glad I finally got that off my chest, it’s been killing me. The Early Bird alarm clock will be available for $25 later this month.

[ Perpetual Kid ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

Video Friday: Charge Your Cellphone With 72 Hamsters In Jackets

By Evan Ackerman

This little hamster is wearing a special jacket with a nanogenerator in it that harvests the biomechanical energy that the hamster creates as it moves. Each generator module can produce up to 70 milliwatts, and researchers are hoping to make them smaller to power nanoscale devices, as well as to integrate them into clothing to allow you to recharge stuff just by walking around. Too bad that sounds like soooo much more work than plugging things into the wall and then lying on the couch and watching them charge that way… But I guess I could just outfit my pet rats with biogenerator jackets of their own and replace their drinking water with Jolt.

[ Technology Review ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

LaserPup Will Drive Your Pets Crazy

By Evan Ackerman

This isn’t quite the coolest pet entertainment hack we’ve seen, but it sure comes close. The LaserPup is a little device that you mount on your ceiling. It’s got a buzzer plus two servos that move a laser pointer around, all monitored via a webcam and controlled through a web interface designed to be used on an iPhone. It seems like it could totally be a sellable product, but at the moment you have to build your own… You can find a bunch of helpful instructions at where else but LaserPup.com.

[ LaserPup ] VIA [ Hacked Gadgets ]

Teddy Bear Coat Looks Warm, Creepy

bearcoat

By Evan Ackerman

No word on how many stuffed bears gave their lives to make this coat, or how your children will react if you wear it, or how much it costs. But, damn… Who comes up with this stuff?

The same people who brought you the headless chicken duck lamp, apparently:

chickenlamp

Um, can I have some of whatever you guys are on? Please?

[ Sebastian Errazuriz ] VIA [ Neatorama ]