Snowzilla Returns – The Frosty Fiend Reigns Terror On Anchorage Officials

 Snowzilla

Snowzilla is a 16 foot snowman, he’s so big the base snowball of his body is as large as a pickup truck. He has appeared in recent years on the lawn of an Anchorage Alaskan home, but had recently received a cease and desist order from the city to ensure he’s not reborn again this Winter like a Phoenix from the North Pole.

Well this frosty fiend has mysteriously appeared again, this time to reign terror on city officials and to irk a few neighbors. The homeowner swears he’s not responsible for this magnificent monster of snow.

The Anchorage Daily News has the details on Snowzilla.

Holiday Battle: Good vs. Evil?!?

We all know one of those super nice people. They help old women across the street, never leave the toilet seat up and give you their last French fry. It’s those charity working, compliment giving, birthday remembering niceys.  Or maybe you know one of those bad-ass naughty doers—the no good, rotten, nasty meanheads.  They’ve flipped us the bird, flirted with our significant others, AND stole your friggin’ parking spot yesterday.

  image_3979

Well, it’s holiday time and just as Santa would have it – here’s your chance to put those peeps on the Global Naughty or Nice List – and give credit or a kick to the balls where it’s due.  So join your fellow geeks in a  quest to expose, for better and for worse, the goody goody…and the not so well behaved…

What’s the funniest thing about the whole list?  Check out where Jesus sits in the list….

Scientists Discover New Forest, Species on Google Earth

GreenDino

Found on Digg:  Scientists discover new forest, species on Google Earth.

Best Digg comments:

– FTA: "…a new member of the Gaboon viper family of snakes that can kill a human in a single bite." Thanks Google. Thanks a lot.
– Google, saving all our ***** one thing at a time
– Oil companies and poachers have Google Earth Pro. The possibilities are endless…
– Wake me up when they find dinosaurs… or dragons.

Tetris Bracelet!

Following with the Tetris theme from the other day, I found this slick Tetris bracelet from a private designer.  It’s a clear resin bracelet, with a unique handmade Tetris design imbedded inside, with a large “GAME OVER” printed on it.  Now I’m not much for jewelry, but I’d have to take an exception for this piece of gaming bling 🙂

tetpic1 tetpic2

Seems they are in limited supply, so email the designer quick if you want one!

Top Articles For The Week 12/21/08- Computer Science, Anime, Zombies and the Easter Bunny

 I love geeknews

During this last week I’ve had a little more time than usual to look at the Geeknews traffic, later in the week I’ll discuss the year’s most popular topics and solicit your feedback. Below you can see that there’s quite a variety of topics comprising the top 15 pages with the most views this week. Interestingly, two in particular have been pretty popular lately even though they were posted much earlier in the year – one is a motivation poster I created sitting at #5, and at #10 is my take on what women should wear to a tech conference.

1. Who Needs a Computer Science Degree When There’s Wikipedia

2. The Little Mermaid Cosplay

3. The Women Of Sci-Fi And Their Provocative Poses – Amanda Tapping – Amanda Tapping queries always rank pretty high on incoming referrals.

4. Christmas Gifts For Geeks – 11/18/08

5. Motivational: Embrace Diversity

6. The Women Of Sci-Fi And Their Provocative Poses

7. More Geeky Christmas Gifts

8. Crack/Keygen Sites That Are Safe To Use

9. Extra-Wide Contacts = Anime Look

10. What do women wear to tech conference?

11. Superhero Or Stripper, You Decide – Superhero Strippers, interesting combination.

12. Beauty and Braaaaains! – Almost anything related to Zombies attracts geeks.

13. Anime Easter Bunny

14. Cosplay Gone Bad

15. Geeky Christmas Gift – Dr. Horrible @ US 9.99

Mmm, Smells Like Beef (New Burger King Cologne)

Burger King body spray

The wife sent me this news article about a Burger King cologne, not for me to consider for Christmas, but she thinks it’s something you might be interested in knowing about. If you’re not familiar with BK, it’s a fast food restaurant that competes directly with McDonald’s

Is this April 1? This has to be another of their viral campaigns by BK, right? Geeks, do *not* wear this. Ladies, do *not* date someone that would wear a cologne that made them smell like "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat".

If you want to see the flash-heavy BK site firemeetsdesire.com advertising this, knock yourself out. Else, here’s the AP story:

By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Looking to beef up your mojo this holiday season?

Burger King Corp. may have just the thing. The home of the Whopper has launched a new men’s body spray called "Flame." The company describes the spray as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

The fragrance is on sale at New York City retailer Ricky’s NYC in stores and online for a limited time for $3.99.

Burger King is marketing the product through a Web site featuring a photo of its King character reclining fireside and naked but for an animal fur strategically placed to not offend.

The marketing ploy is the latest in a string of viral ad campaigns by the company. Burger King is also in the midst of its Whopper Virgins campaign that features an taste test with fast-food "virgins" pitting the Whopper against McDonald’s Corp.’s Big Mac.

Burger King Holdings Inc. shares rose 15 cents to close at $20.53.

See more news stories on the universal disgust over thishere’s google news on this topic.

The Coolest Blocks Around.

I doubt that Alexey Pajitnov had any idea in 1985 that when he designed Tetris, it would be one of the most popular games in video gaming history.  Here we are 23 years later, and you can find it on every popular computer type, gaming console, handhelds, cell phones and PDA’s.  And being so wildly popular, there is bound to be fan designed products dedicated to the game, such as tshirts, mousemats, stickers, etc.  But I have to say, the wildest, and dare I say “Coolest” product I’ve seen dedicated to Tetris, is the ICEBLOX.

 compozice-ctverec1 14_iceblox-blue

14_tetrice02 14_tetrice04

Now you can chill out with your favorite drink and play Tetris like one cool customer!

Hemp-Mote Smokes The Competition.

Dhreck, a dedicated modder went ahead and made a Wiimote and Nunchuck shell entirely out of hemp. Why would he do this? I believe the operative question is “why not?” And yes, it is an actual Wiimote under there, it’s not just some hemp mockup. It is fully functional, and ready to use in game play.

hemp-mote1 hemp-mote3

The Hemp-Mote is absolutely playable, all buttons, accelerometers and the infrared camera accounted for. Unfortunately its exterior is also quite fragile and prone to degeneration, being in the raw state that it is.


Using saws and files I removed most of the hard plastic shells, then rebuild the underlying shapes using modeling putty. After Smoothing the result out with fine grained sandpaper I give the whole a quick black paint job to ensure eventual gaps didn’t stand out too much. Ta-daa!, a base to wrap stuff around.

It continues to amaze me the lengths some people will go to to enhance their personal game play.  I’ve sanded a few edges here and there and shortened or lengthened cables, but this level of modding takes the virtual cake !  That being said, I want one!

CNN Meteorologist: Manmade Global Warming Theory ‘Arrogant’

Global Warming

Unprecedented snow in Las Vegas has some scratching their heads – how can there be global warming with this unusual cold and snowy weather?

BusinessMedia.org is reporting CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate and the recent Las Vegas snowstorm didn’t impact his opinion. Myers explained on CNN’s Dec. 18 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming.

That he would state his opinion publicly shouldn’t be a surprise, we’re seeing the other side of the debate now become more public as scientists and other influential people are coming forward to dispute global warming with their own arsenal of facts.

For instance, skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of man’s activities, scientists are criticizing a recent Associated Press report on global warming, calling it “irrational hysteria,” “horrifically bad” and “incredibly biased.”

Watching the debate unfold in the coming years is going to be very interesting.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Back in the day, the Ghostbuster movies were teh bombage!  I’m glad to finally see Atari Run with a newer version of this namesake with a fresh approach and using the latest in video and programming technology to produce it.  This is a definate must buy for me next June!

Check this awesome HD trailer:

Besides….who would pass up a chance to drive the Ecto-1, arguably one of the most famous vehicles in movie history 😉

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry "First Lady of Star Trek" – RIP

Majel Barret-Roddenberry

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (23 Feb 1932 – 18 Dec 2008; age 76), the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry who nurtured the legacy of the seminal science fiction TV series after his death, has died. She was 76 and died of leukemia Thursday morning at her home in Bel-Air.

Majel was a recurring actress in the Star Trek franchise and was the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry from 1969 until his passing in 1991. This association with Roddenberry and his most famous creation has earned Barrett the title "The First Lady of Star Trek."

Though she played many characters in the Star Trek franchise such as the ship’s computer voice on multiple series as well as the mother of Deanna Troi, I was always fond of her role as Nurse Christine Chapel working side by side with ‘Bones’ on the original series.

Patrick and I attended the Star Trek Convention in Vegas a few months ago and she made an appearance on the main stage, I recall telling Pat at that time that she looked very sick, pale and gaunt in the vendor room where she was trying to sign autographs.

Rest in peace Nurse Chapel.

Nurse Chapel

Firefox 3.0.5 Released

In the same trend as earlier…firefox

Firefox 3.0.5 has been released. It boasts a few minor updates, but does patch up some gaping security holes nicely. Additionally, those of you who speak Bengali, Hindi and Latvian (among others) will be excited to know that you can now have Firefox in your language.

Here’s the brief:

Firefox 3.0.5 fixes several issues found in Firefox 3.0.4:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Official releases for the Bengali, Esperanto, Galician, Hindi, and Latvian languages are now available.
  • Replaced the End-User License Agreement with a new “Know Your Rights” info bar on initial install.
  • When installing multiple signed XPIs simultaneously, previous versions of Firefox would fail.
  • Fixed several issues found in the accessibility implementation.
  • Added the ability to send OS-specific system notes in the crash reporter.

Follow the links to find out everything there is to know.

Source: Firefox Website

Chrome Stealing Ground from IE?

googlechromelogoI came across an interesting article from Ars Technica today. I thought a bunch of my fellow geeks would be interested in the read.

Microsoft is apparently suffering from the effects of Chrome’s success. Not that I’m excited about all that too much; I’m not a huge fan of Chrome and I’ve found IE to be a nice solid browser.

With out further adieu…

Chrome, apparently, will not remain in an indefinite period of beta testing for the rest of its life. Speaking to The Times, Sundar Pichai, Google vice president, stated that the browser will exit beta in January. Google, meanwhile, is exploring its distribution options and examining the various ways it might improve its market share. “We will probably do distribution deals,” Pinchai told The Times. “We could work with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and have them ship computers with Chrome preinstalled.”

So there you have it… Microsoft is going to be under the gun when the OEM deals start rolling. Could it be that someone is challenging Microsoft on their level for the first time in a decade?

To read the rest of the article, visit Ars Technica.

Royal Navy Completes Windows for Submarines™ Rollout

Windows for Submarines (clicky)

Windows for Submarines is the program undertaken by the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to equip the nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet with a Windows-based command system.  The transition to the Windows for Submarines command system on HMS Vigilant, a Trident nuclear missile submarine, was completed in just 18 days. BTW, Windows for Submarines is not the official name of the program, it’s Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG). It’s considered “Next Generation” because it’s the first time that commercial PCs and off the shelf software are being used for a system that is at the heart of the submarine’s mission.

From the Register:

The Royal Navy and BAE Systems plc were pleased as punch yesterday to announce that their implementation of Windows for Submarines™ is complete ahead of schedule. Windows boxes on Ethernet LANs are now in control of the UK’s nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet.

The comments on the Register story are pretty good, here’s one of my favorites:

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?

**click**

You do not have to correct permissions to launch this application. Please log in as the Administrator

**Clickety Click**

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?

**Click Click**

trident_nuke.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. Sorry for any inconvenience. Do you want to send an error report to Microsoft?

4 Apple Related News Stories You Need To Know

Steve Jobs the Grinch

The week is only half complete and already it’s a bad week for our favorite developer of consumer devices – no, not Sony silly, Apple. There are four reasons why it’s a bad week for Apple:

  1. Is Steve Jobs Dead or Dying?
  2. So long Macworld, so long fanboys
  3. France Liberates the Jesus Phone
  4. Apple cancels Christmas

1. Is Steve Jobs Dead or Dying?

Apparently Steve Jobs is dead or dying due to a reoccurrence of his pancreatic cancer and AAPL stock was downgraded overnight because of it. Well, it was partly due to that and partly because Apple is silent on Job’s health and his succession plan. He was looking pretty sickly last Summer at a conference and the rumor mill has been churning ever since.

This has had an impact on the stock, down over 6% so far today. If you hold AAPL stock this is an excellent time to re-evaluate your position.

AAPL

2. So Long Macworld, So Long Fanboys!

MacWorld

Macworld Will Be Apple-less after an 11-year run.

That’s right, not only have they let it be known that Jobs won’t be the keynote speaker for Macworld Expo (adding further credence to the “Jobs is sick again” rumors), Apple has announced that it’s no longer attending the “fanboy con”. This surely leaves a hole in the Apple community according to the blogosphere. In my opinion, by deciding to drop the conference historically used for their big announcements like the iPhone or iPod, they are essentially killing this conference and it may reduce the big bang that occurs at each product launch.

Some speculate that this is a wise decision to cease catering to the fanatics and instead focus more on the developers and on their own release schedule. Here’s relevant snippets from Marketwatch.com on that theme:

Other analysts had a more positive take….noting that Apple has made past moves to pull out of trade events so it can better introduce products on its own schedule.

The Macworld show is owned and operated by media company IDC, not Apple.

“I think Apple wants to get away from the tyranny of MacWorld where it is forced to introduce new products on IDG’s schedule, rather than its own,” wrote Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. in a report Wednesday.

So without Jobs, will the faithful make the MacWorld pilgrimage?

3. France liberates Jesus Phone from Orange

Jesus Phone

Apple’s ability to deal in exclusive deals seems to have run its course, the latest government to balk is the very liberal French. The French national competition council (Conseil de la concurrence) announced today that the iPhone will no longer be available for just Orange subscribers in that country. Naturally Orange will appeal the ruling to the courts.

An exclusive deal with a carrier was a very smart move on the part of Apple….that is, back when the iPhone was a novelty and unproven. Today this sort of deal just doesn’t make sense unless Apple is essentially raping profits from the carriers through this strategy compared to unlocking it for any supported mobile network.

4. Apple Cancels Christmas

Apple finally showed their hand this week by taking away one of our favorite holidays. Surely there will be a backlash? Is Steve Jobs the Grinch? 🙂

Relish my ghetto image editing skillz?

Steve Jobs the Grinch

Researcher Designs Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper

 Jumping Robots

The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration.

The ‘Jollbot’ has been created by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It’s hoped his creation, which can jump over obstacles and roll over smoother terrain, could be used for space exploration or land survey work in the future.

One of the major challenges that face robots designed for space exploration is being able to move over rough terrain. Robots with legs are generally very complex, expensive to build and control, and encounter problems if they fall over. Wheels are a simpler solution to this, but are limited by the size of obstacles they can overcome.

To solve the problem, Rhodri and colleagues in the University’s Center for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies have been looking to nature for inspiration – designing a robot that jumps obstacles in its path like an insect.

You can read much more information on this from the Bath University Press Release.

Umibozu: Your Newest (Meta) Search Engine

Marc Castejon is the main developer for Umibozu, a meta-search engine. He contacted me today to tell you about his public alpha release and see if you can try it out and spread the word. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a meta-search engine think of it this way – have you ever made the same search query at Google, Yahoo and Live while trying to locate something on the web?

And have you wished you could improve the results?

Welp, you can with Umibozu. Umibozu leverages the public APIs provided by Google, Yahoo and Live to query those engines using your one query. It then returns the top results from each and displays them side by side, allowing you to choose the one that suits you, and if you create an Umibozu account you can vote on the results.

Here’s a snapshot of my search for “Geeknews” on Umibozu –

umibozu

 

Well done Marc!

What Is That?

As I sit here in my freezing home (24 degrees, and falling), I have come forth to entertain you once again.  Or, to at least massage your brain with this picture of some random mysterious object 🙂  Appearances may be deceiving, so don’t pop off with your initial answer without thinking about it!

WIT0243       WIT0243a

Drop your guesses in the comments, as usual….

How To Destroy An Inbound Asteroid

How do you keep this…           Asteroid Tara

From turning into this…?           Barringer Crater

 

Don’t bother talking to Bruce Willis for tips, for starters you talk to the Geophysics and Planetary Sciences folks at the Tel Aviv University.

They’re examining asteroids from the standpoint of learning what it will take to deflect or destroy an asteroid that is found to be the harbinger of doom to mankind. More specifically, they’re studying not just the makeup of asteroids and their rotations and direction of movement, but also more esoteric aspects like the “YORP Effect” which predicts an asteroid’s rotation and acceleration influenced by sunlight to gain more clues.

Read more about these scientists.