RoboSalmon to Spy on Fish

LiveScience has a really cool article on RoboSalmon, an underwater robot meant to spy on the real fish, is being developed at Glasgow University.

The robot has a built-in camera to broadcast images of real fish back to the operators of the device. Zoologists will use RoboSalmon to monitor various fish species in their natural habitat.

A key feature of RoboSalmon is its propulsion system. Since the robot will use its fins and tail for movement, it will be able to move through the water in a way that is more natural for aquatic creatures. Propellers make an unnatural noise that disturbs fish; RoboSalmon’s biomimetic characteristics should help it blend in.

More detailed photos here. We could use something like this in the Pacific Northwest to chase away the sea lions eating the salmon as they try to enter the fish ladders to spawn.


Geek Gift #4 – Is It Art or Breakfast?

Our fourth holiday gift recommendation for your geek family comes to us from Brookstone.

Breakfast-Art Image Toaster for US$60.

Bring the fun back into the most important meal of the day with the Breakfast-art image bread toaster! Turn your toast into a fun, festive work of art in just minutes! This breakfast-art picture-making electric toaster allows the kid in all of us to actually have fun with breakfast. Using fun image plates, this bread toaster leaves one of four playful heat imprints—a smiley face, birthday cake, sunshine or coffee cup—right on your piece of toast.

In time for the holidays you can also purchase additional art templates to leave imprints of a snowman, Santa, snowflake or a christmas tree.

  Toaster Art

Geek Gift #3 – Go Retro With Your Mobile

Our third gift idea for your special geek that has it all, is a new ThinkGeek original and just in time for the holidays – a Bluetooth retro phone to replace your bluetooth handsfree device!

ThinkGeek Bluetooth Retro Handset – it’s US$39.99 and in stock.

The folks at have taken their ever-popular Retro Handset and updated it to connect to your cell phone using Bluetooth technology. That’s right! No more tangled up phone cord. Now people will think you’re really crazy talking into a old-time handset connected to… nothing.

As with most BT handsfree headsets, it can initiate and receive calls, charge the battery through the USB cable and is compatible with Bluetooth V1.0, 1.1, 1.2. I wouldn’t recommend using this while driving though 🙂

   BT retro phone

Wii Have a Problem Here


Now just when I thought I had heard it all, along comes a class of gamers that make you wonder just how far a person will go to play their console games.  Well, the Wii has been out for a bit, and as always, there are horror stories to be told about user experiences.  By far, the most prominent complaint yet has been the malfunctioning strap for the WiiMote. (pictured below)


This device is used in a number of ways, swinging or lunging while holding it, to mimic the use of a sword, or sports equipment, etc.  To many players demise, the strap that is supposed to hold the WiiMote to your wrist while flinging around at mach speed, breaks quite easily, and has damaged or outright destroyed many TV’s, Laptops and windows across the US.  Nintendo has agreed in many cases already to replace the wrist straps, hopefully with something a bit stronger!  Too bad they won’t replace a 60 inch plasma TV, in the case of one dismayed gamer, or a 10ft piece of picture window glass in the case of another.

A group of kids in Tokyo, Japan have taken a insane initiative, and have superglued the WiiMotes to their hands.  They see it as a status symbol, and show them off in public.  Parents have dismissed this as a wacky and bizarre action, but are wary of the problems it can cause.  Some gamers in the US have taken to using duct tape or strong rubber bands to keep the device from slipping out of their hands.  In the extreme, some doctors have claimed they have been approached with proposals of having the device surgically implanted in their hand!

Now come on folks…  I’m all for playing some new games on a new console.  But to be a slave to a conotroller is just going way over the line here.  Can you say “Nintendo-Borg”?

[Found via]


Mission Impossible: E-Mail

E-Mail ExplosionCheck this place out for some serious e-mail action.  The Owner of 10 Minute Email states you can claim a temporary e-mail address through his site, which you can use for any number of reasons, not least of all, registering with websites that require validation (when you don’t want to give out your real e-mail address).  After the ten minutes expires, so does the temporary e-mail address.  Rinse and repeat as many times as you need.  Be wary though; they are currently being slashdotted, so as popularity rises with this service, websites may ban the 10minute domain to avoid your anon status.


Geek Gift #2 – You Need Some Blue Water In Your Diet?

This next gift idea is #2 on our list as each day, we present a new gift for that special geek in your life. Hey, maybe that geek is you! We found this next one on the Discovery Channel Store, it’s in stock and only US$14.95.

Blue Faucet Light –

Light up a brilliant stream of water, every time you turn on your faucet!

  • Blue light beams brightly, adding an attractive glow to any sink
  • Nightlight effect makes kids’ bathrooms more friendly in the dark
  • Elegant, soothing glow adds a surprise touch to Mom’s powder room
  • Internal pressure switch activates the light whenever the water is turned on – light shuts off when water stops
  • Installation is simple and takes only minutes

Blue Faucet

Xmas Gift for Geeks #1

Each day the next several weeks I’ll post another geek gift idea. This first geek gift on our list i’ve seen advertised on one of my favorite sites (The Daily WTF) for quite a while, in fact it’s great for non-geeks as well! Here’s #1:

Sumo Lounge Omni

Don’t call it a beanbag. Kick back and chill on this super-sized pillow by Sumo. The Sumo Lounger Omni can be used as a lounge chair, crash mat, floor pillow, loveseat; the possibilities really do go on. Sumo Beanbags are made from space age rip-proof nylon and come filled with top quality Sumo Beads. Omni is 4.5′ x 5.5′ and it only weighs 18 lbs! Available in 7 colors, it’s in stock now at a special price of $129 through Christmas. 

   Sumo Chair

Dino Nest For Sale – Eggs Included!

Want to get your significant other a one-of-a-kind holiday gift this year? As one expert states – “Dinosaurs are hotter than ever. It is a very collectible market especially for higher quality specimens”.

Now’s your chance to pick up an exceptionally well-preserved 65 million year old fossilized dino nest. To top it off, it even has some eggs broken open exposing tiny dino skeletons inside!

The nest is going up on the auction block soon and expected to fetch a mere $200K. Get the details on Reuters News.

   Dino Eggs


Scientists Levitate Small Animals

Scientists have previously experimented successfully with levitating small amounts of liquid or solid such as iridium and mercury in an attempt to find a method of transporting or storing corrosive materials without allowing the material to physically contact the container.

Now they’re upping the ante to levitating live animals and bugs, including ladybugs, a spider, ant, beetle and a fish! They levitated each for about 30 minutes without many issues with the exception of the fish not fairing too well being out of water so long (they did try adding water to the space via a syringe periodically!).

 levitate_fish  levitate_ladybug You can read the details and view larger pics on LiveScientist.

Police Track Reckless Driver on YouTube

Police took up pursuit in cyberspace after a young Norwegian posted on the Internet video of his wild car driving. Following an electronic trail that he left online, police caught him and slapped him with a real-life fine $1,300.

According to the videos the 20 year old suspect was posting, his speedometer would get to 150MPH/240KPH while cruising the Oslo highway.

Lesson learned – “loose lips sink ships”, or something like that. Seriously people, if you’re doing something naughty, either get really hardcore about ensuring your anonymity or don’t brag about it. 🙂

Instacalc Shareable Calculator

InstaCalc is a new, refreshingly different calculator. It’s also fast!

It’s not so sophisticated that you can plot equations, but you can do something on the order of a home budget, wesite bandwidth usage, salary, etc… There are basically two areas of interaction you have with the site.

One is the area you enter in variables, their value and sometimes equations in rows.

The second area is an alternative display method for results. If you’re comparing results you can have it converted to charts – Pie, Bar and Line charts.

Here’s an example for video game hardware sales.

New Clues Revealed in King Tut’s CT scan

When Egyptian scientists performed the first CT scan of the mummy of Tutankhamun, they turned up a key clue: Bone fragments from the pharaoh’s first vertebra, near the skull, were not coated with embalming fluid. This indicates the break occurred after the king was dead and is unrelated to his demise after all.

Also, a second clue was found by examining a major fracture in Tut’s left thigh bone. The femur had a thin coating of embalming resin around the break, indicating that Tut had broken his leg just before he died and that his death may have resulted from an infection or other complications. Another possibility is a fat embolism that could have acted like a clot to cause a heart attack.

Read the Seattle Times for all the (not so) gory details.

Asteroid’s Revenge

Remember the classic coin-op game Asteroids? Below is a screenshot of the original. Well now you can relive the game but with a twist! In this version *you* are the asteroid, out for revenge against the spaceships trying to avenge your brethern destroyed in the original 1979 classic. Asteroid’s Revenge is a flash based game hosted on Games Cheat Codes.

This game has pretty much all of the look and feel of the original, you turn and apply thrust to the asteroid the same way you did with the ship, your goal of course is to destroy the ships! The fun will last for about 2 minutes before it gets old, but if you were a fan of the original you at least have to try this out for that long (I didn’t see the UFO in that time, please let me know if you do). Enjoy!


EU: “More than half e-mails are spam, originator is US”

Unsolicited e-mails continue to plague Europeans and account for between 50 and 80% of all messages sent to mail inboxes. Yesterday, an EU Commissioner called on their governments to step up their fight against spam, spyware and other illegal online activities and implement EU rules to improve Internet safety. Duh.

An EU report found that only two EU nations — the Netherlands and Finland — were making progress with enforcing the 2002 law to crack down on spam.

Here’s the last piece of news that is not surprising:

The biggest culprit of EU spam remains the United States, which accounts for 21.6% of spam coming into the 25-nation EU. China is the second-biggest producer with 13.4%, while EU member France is third with 6.3%.

[Read the AP wire for more details]

Doctors Test Implant to Block Strokes

The AP wire is reporting on medical geeknews tonight:

“At least 120,000 Americans a year suffer strokes because of a common irregular heartbeat – one that’s on the rise, hard to treat and can shoot deadly blood clots straight to the brain. Now doctors are experimenting with a new way to prevent those brain attacks: a tiny device that seals off a little section of the jiggling heart where the clots form.”

[Read more at]

Outlook’s New Junk E-mail Reporting Tool

I’m using the Tech Preview version of Outlook 2007 at home. This version is pretty good at identifying junk e-mail (i get about 20-30 a day depending on how generous the spammers are feeling that day). I’ve always wished I could help the effort of refining the junk mail filters, especially for the few pieces of junk that make it through to my Inbox.

Well now I can. Microsoft has a new plug-in “Junk E-mail Reporting Tool” for Outlook 2003 and 2007; it allows you to report junk mail to Microsoft and its affiliates for analysis to help them improve the effectiveness of their junk e-mail filtering technologies.

It’s a quick and simple MSI you can get from here, note that it does *not* require a WGA check. After install, there will be a new icon on your toolbar, simply highlight the offending message, click the icon and the message will be forwarded to with the offending mail as an attachment so the good guys can read the header as well.

Note that Frontbridge merged with Microsoft earlier this year to help form some of the security features of Exchange Hosted Services.

CIA Revamps It’s Online Recruiting Site

The CIA is trying to dispel a few myths about the agency and trying to recruit more would-be agents at the same time.

They have a new personality test on their public site, as you take the quiz they dispel some of the typical misunderstandings people have about the agency. If you’ve ever worked with spooks before you know that they’re just regular ‘joes’ for the most part.

I took the quiz, the site analyzed my answers and told me my personaliy trait was more of a “Thoughtful Observer”. Some potential results included “Daring Thrill-Seeker”, “Innovative Pioneer” among others.

If you’re interested in looking at the job openings, go here and find the area of interest to you near the bottom of the page, or you can view all open positions.

 cia quiz


Sleep a thing of the past?

I’ll be the first to admit a good snooze is a most excellent activity.  But – drugs like Modafinil, CX717 and Rozerem all but remove the need to sleep, allowing for nearly a full 24 hour waking period without any sleep deprivation effects.  Studies submitted by many pretigious research facilities mark these drugs as a building wave of the future.

Sleeping Ideas

What I find strange is why anyone would want to fight off a natural function like sleep.  I know what you’re thinking too – “If I can shorten my time in bed, I can produce/work more!”, which is a classic way of trying to get that promotion or raise you want, right?  In my opinion…sleep performs a much deeper fuction than just resting the mind and body.  It provides you with a creative outlet though your thoughts and dreams.  Michealangelo and Albert Einstein are both classic examples of genius that proclaimed that some of their most brilliant ideas were born from dreams.

In essense, I suppose the promotion or pay raise might be worth popping a few pills.  Alas, I shall stick with my good old night time ritual of sleeping a good eight or so hours and let my mind wander freely.

[Found via New Scientist]

More Wristwatch Goodness From Tokyo (Home of Unique Japanese Watches) is really pushing the retro look with this one.

Straight off the wrist of a Moon Base Commander from a 1960’s Sci-Fi classic, this watch features all the things that you’d expect. Flat metal panel, cryptic flashing lights, carbon fibre style strap and display that looks like it’s gauging your oxygen level.

For an LED watch it’s not short on features either. It has time with AM & PM modes, Month, date and day-of-the-week. Plus an auto light up function every 15 mins between 6PM & Midnight (which can be activated/deactivated as required). There are a range of suitably Sci-fi light patterns using the 3 LED colors.

The best part? It’s only 9,000 Yen, with today’s currency rate that comes to US$76. How can you pass this up as a geek gift for Christmas?

  Moonbase watch