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25 May 01:50

The 'Doge' dog has died

by Lawrence Bonk

The dog who inspired the famous meme coin Dogecoin has died, according to a post on Instagram by its owner. Kabosu, an adorable Shiba Inu, was likely around 18 years old, though owner Atsuko Sato doesn’t know the exact birthdate of the rescue pup.

“She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her,” she wrote in a blog post published by The Guardian. “I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner.”

The Japanese dog not only inspired Dogecoin, but the iconic 2010 photo became the source of a vast collection of internet memes. Some have even called Kabosu the “Mona Lisa of the internet.” Sato snapped the photo two years after rescuing the dog from a puppy farm, in which she would have likely been put down. The image shows Kabosu with her paws on the sofa while giving the camera, well, a sort of grin. 

The photo became an NFT digital artwork that sold for $4 million, back when NFTs were a thing that people paid money for. As for the memecoin, it started as a joke by two software engineers but has now risen to be the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $23 billion. The price has ticked up today, likely by news of Kabosu’s passing.

Dogecoin was most famously backed by Elon Musk, even becoming available as currency to buy certain Tesla products. Other famous backers include Snoop Dogg, Gene Simmons and Mark Cuban, to name just a few.

Dogecoin has also inspired a bunch of other memecoins, from the spin-off Shiba Inu coin to cryptocurrency coins based on cats, Elon Musk and, sigh, even Donald Trump. These coins are known to be highly volatile, so invest at your own risk. Dogecoin, however, has remained mostly stable for a while now.

Musk has long-been the primary cheerleader behind Dogecoin, even changing the Twitter icon to the image of the Shiba Inu, before he pivoted to X. He also single-handily wiped out most of the coin’s value during his disastrous SNL performance and has been accused of using it to defraud investors and create a pyramid scheme.

A statue of Kabosu was erected in Sakura, Japan in November of last year. Reporting indicates that it cost $100,000 to build. “In the last few years I’ve been able to connect the online version of Kabosu, all these unexpected things seen from a distance, with our real lives,” Sato wrote. She has used the virality of her beloved Shiba inu to donate large sums to charities, including more than $1 million to Save the Children. Godspeed, you adorable pup.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
11 May 14:13

City Demands Man Hide Boat Behind Fence So Boat Owner Has Photoreal Mural Of Boat Painted On Fence

by Jason Torchinsky

You know what I hate? Stupid, arbitrary aesthetic rules in communities about things like what color things need to be painted or how garage doors can’t be open or what vehicles can be parked in a driveway. They’re ridiculous. Like the rule that Seaside, California has about how boats must be hidden by fences. Why? Who decided that a boat was so hideous to look at? Are there really people who can’t handle the sight of a boat? Unless a boat is made from rhino intestines and swastikas, I have trouble seeing how anyone would find one offensive to look at. And yet that was the gist of the letter sent from the city of Seaside to the wonderfully-named home-and-boat-owning Etienne Constable: hide your boat with a fence. So Constable, wanting to abide by the law, did just that, but with a twist: he hired a muralist to paint a realistic mural of his boat right on the fence. Because screw you, city.

The end result is something that feels like perhaps what a glass fence might look like in front of the boat, or, really, no fence at all. It’s glorious. A wonderful monument to the beauty of just the right kind of spite, the best kind of subversive compliance that both meets the requirements of the law while revealing the idiocy of the law itself.

Constable got the notice that a “coverage screen” was required to hide the hideous nauticality of the boat back in 2023, and built the required fence and driveway, and the mural was just completed this month. As you can guess, a story like this got the attention of local news:

The artist who painted the mural, Hanif Wondir, also shot this fun time-lapse video of the mural being painted:

I’m guessing the mural used a photo reference of the boat park in situ in the driveway to make sure everything looked just right, and the resulting image feels dead-on, even aligning with the real boat’s railings and roll bar behind the fence.

So far, the city has not contacted Constable to comment on the perfectly legal fence or the perfectly legal artwork shown on the fence, and for his part, Constable seems pretty pleased with all the attention his fence has been getting:

“I’m all in favor of generating a discussion and making people smile. The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected and we’re both just tickled about it.”

Really, I hope this little compliance stunt does make people actually really think about the arbitrary nature of what we decide is “aesthetic” or not. Is a plain wooden fence really more appealing to look at than a boat? Why? A fence is boring, and a boat is at least interesting, and a reminder that people sometimes do things for enjoyment. Why is that considered an eyesore? None of this makes sense to me.

This isn’t even an HOA rule, it’s a city-wide rule, which is worse. We know HOAs can tend to be petty and tyrannical for insipid reasons; that sort of crabbed thinking making it to the city level and becoming enshrined into law is just perverse. And I’m not buying any property-devaluing arguments. It’s a boat, not a tire incinerator or a hillock of cattle waste. It’s just a boat. If you can’t bear the sight of a boat that’s not on your property, then I think you need more help than even a fence can provide.

Anyway, good for you, Etienne Constable. Way to stick it to the man.



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The post City Demands Man Hide Boat Behind Fence So Boat Owner Has Photoreal Mural Of Boat Painted On Fence appeared first on The Autopian.

07 May 21:07

Michelle Yeoh just got cast to lead Amazon's Blade Runner show

by Lawrence Bonk

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on Blade Runner 2099, the sequel series heading to Amazon Prime Video. The cast list is starting to take shape, as Oscar-winner and all-around icon Michelle Yeoh is set to play a lead role, as reported by Variety.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but Variety has a source that says Yeoh will play a character named Olwen, who has been described as a replicant near the end of her life. That’s pretty much all we know about the story, aside from the fact that it's set 50 years after Denis Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049. This is likely due to the fact that we’ll be nowhere near the level of tech shown in that film when we actually hit the year 2049. The original Blade Runner, after all, was set in 2019.

Franchise creator Ridley Scott is involved in some capacity, but not as showrunner. That duty falls to TV writer Silka Luisa, who recently ran the Apple TV+ adaptation of the book Shining Girls. The show was great, so color me optimistic.

As for Yeoh, what more can be said? She won a long-deserved Oscar for her work in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once and has been involved with classic films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sunshine and Tomorrow Never Dies, among many others. She spent a few seasons hamming it up on Star Trek: Discovery, and her character is getting a spinoff film that will likely release later this year. The actress also just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, so this has been a big month. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
30 Apr 21:25

This Ballpoint Pen Has A Functional Manual Transmission And I Can’t Stop Watching It Shift

by Mercedes Streeter

When was the last time you’ve thought about pens? They’re usually disposable objects many people use daily, but probably don’t think too much about aside from when you accidentally steal one from the bank. Here’s a pen that would probably be the most fun you’ve ever had writing. A YouTuber has milled a six-speed manual pen out of copper and the coolest part is that the pen works, with each gear deploying a different color pen or a pen eraser.

If you’re feeling a sense of Deja Vu, it could be because you may have seen something similar to this before. A couple of years ago, YouTuber W&M Levsha made a different pen with a manual transmission. That pen is also a work of art, but the “transmission” portion wasn’t functional outside of being able to retract the pen.

YouTuber Maker B has taken this concept further. This pen not only has a manual transmission where each gear is attached to its own pen color, but you have to use the cutest clutch pedal in the world to change “gears.” Writing has never been so engaging.

Maker B is a channel run by a person who goes by Jony. The channel is refreshing in that it doesn’t serve up 20 minutes of people messing around and 5 minutes of actual content. Jony gets right into the project at hand and you get to watch something new get made in awesome detail. There’s no clickbait, no annoying music, and not even fancy graphics. There isn’t even any commentary to spoil the sounds of machinery and hands at work. It’s also not just for show, either, as Jony has a website where technical drawings of the projects are sold. That way, you can make your own version of whatever object you saw get made. The pen isn’t there yet, but hopefully, it will be there soon.

The pen starts life as a tube of copper. Jony slices it in two with a saw before milling little pieces of copper into the pen’s body. It’s deeply satisfying to watch how the threads on the pen’s case get made and how you can turn a cylinder of copper into the cone at the bottom of the pen.

Screenshot (955)

The real magic starts happening after when Jony turns a small piece of metal into the most adorable gated shifter. The detail is incredible here from the engraved gear numbers to the use of a paint marker to make each gear in the shifter pop.

The clutch pedal is even more amazing. It started out as a coin-sized piece of metal. A bunch of milling later and just look at the little guy!

Screenshot (958)

Screenshot (959)

With the body, shift gates, and clutch pedal made, it’s time to make the pen’s internals. As I said earlier, Jony does not explain anything in this video. Jony next makes a slender shifter complete with an impossibly tiny shift knob.

It appears the shifter acts on one of six shift pushrods. There’s also a locking pin to keep the chosen ink color in place as well as a cap with six holes in it to align each ink refill. With all of that finished, plus other small bits, Jony puts the pen together.

Here, you can see how things work. Jony arranges ink refills of five colors, plus an eraser. Each refill gets a pushrod, a spring, and what appears to be a small locking ring.

Screenshot (961)

The ink refills are then sent into the internal structure of the pen, the “clutch pedal” is connected, and the shifter is sent through the gate. The pen’s function appears to be straightforward. Choose a gear and click in to set it. If you want to change gear, hit the clutch to release the locking pin and unlock the shifter. Then, choose your next gear (color) or reverse if you want the eraser.

When I was a kid, I had several funky pens that deployed several different colors. This is exactly like one of those pens, but far more fun to play with and beautifully crafted out of metal.

Screenshot (963)

Sadly, Jony won’t be putting these into production, but the YouTuber provides a list of tools used in each creation and hopefully, the plans will be made available. Honestly, you could just ignore everything I’ve written here. Watch the video, it’ll probably be the best moment of tranquility you have all day.

Hat tip to VanGuy on our Discord!
(Screenshot credits: Jony of Maker B)

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The post This Ballpoint Pen Has A Functional Manual Transmission And I Can’t Stop Watching It Shift appeared first on The Autopian.

26 Apr 22:05

It's Been 20 Years Since NASA Drew A Penis On Mars

by Bradley Brownell

There are some anniversaries that are worth celebrating, and the “platinum anniversary” of a Martian dick is definitely one of them. Way back in 2004, when I was still a high-school junior, the scientists at NASA in charge of the Spirit rover were doing pretty much the same thing I was; scribblin’ dicks on shit. My…


29 Feb 22:01

A Neuromancer TV series is coming to Apple TV+

by Sarah Fielding

Apple TV+ has announced it's adapting William Gibson's Neuromancer into a 10-episode series. The novel debuted in 1984 and is largely thought to mark the birth of cyberpunk, which includes creations like The Matrix and Robocop. In fact, it's crazy that it has taken four decades for it to get the Hollywood treatment. 

Neuromancer follows "a damaged, top-rung super-hacker named Case who is thrust into a web of digital espionage and high stakes crime with his partner Molly, a razor-girl assassin with mirrored eyes aiming to pull a heist on a corporate dynasty with untold secrets," a release states. The story is being brought to the small screen by Graham Roland (Dark Winds, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan) and JD Dillard (Devotion, Sweetheart), who will act as showrunner and director, respectively. Skydance Television and Anonymous Content will co-produce it with support from Drake's DreamCrew Entertainment.

Production on Neuromancer has yet to start, so details like the cast and release date are still up in the air. In the meantime, you can check out the existing video game and graphic novel versions of Neuromancer and Amazon's series, The Peripheral, based on another one of Gibson's works and starring Chloë Grace Moretz. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
10 Jan 12:20

Florida Woman Had Her Entire Driveway Stolen

by Collin Woodard

If you leave things in your yard, you shouldn’t be surprised if they get stolen. People are opportunistic, and if they see your kid’s bike sitting there unsecured, they may decide it’s a perfect opportunity to give it to their kid. Heck, sometimes even entire cars get stolen out of driveways. It sucks, but it happens.…


04 Jan 17:55

This kid just became the first person to beat NES Tetris

by Lawrence Bonk

Tetris is one of the most popular and enduring video games of all time, with versions on just about every console, computer and gadget. Many of these iterations have endings baked into story modes and the like, but the original endless mode was considered unbeatable by humans, until now. A 13-year-old boy has become the first person to ‘beat’ the NES version of Tetris, 34 years after it originally released back in 1989, as announced by YouTuber aGameScout.

The reason we put ‘beat’ in quotes is due to the nature of the achievement. Oklahoma teenager Willis Gibson, also known as Blue Scuti on YouTube, didn’t access an authorized ending, as there isn’t one. Instead, he played the game so perfectly for so long that it forced a kill screen that crashed the game. These kill screens are usually caused by an overflow error that occurs when you speed the game up so much that the software can’t keep up.

The teen achieved this feat after 38 minutes of gameplay and captured the moment on video. He’s the first person to do this, but not the first, uh, entity. An AI program called StackRabbit forced a kill screen with the NES Tetris back in 2021. Score one for the humans!

This was done by incorporating a gameplay style called the rolling technique, which has players glide their fingers along the bottom of an NES controller and use that momentum to roll the controller into the other hand. When done correctly, you can hit the D-pad up to 20 times per second. The method revolutionized competitive Tetris play a couple of years back. Prior to this achievement, the 13-year-old had already broken the game’s high score record, level achieved record and the total number of lines cleared by using the rolling technique.

Gibson, aka Blue Scudi, told another YouTuber that he’s dedicating the achievement to his late father, who recently passed away in December. He also said that the gameplay session was so frantic that he couldn’t feel his fingers afterwards.

Achieving the mythical kill screen is something of a rite of passage for old-school games. If you’ve seen the documentary King of Kong, involving the arcade cabinet Donkey Kong, you know just how competitive it can be to snag those bragging rights. Players have hit the kill screen on Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Duck Hunt, and many others.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
24 Dec 22:13

Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai Is a Bloody Masterpiece

by Emma Stefansky

Early last month, and with minimal fanfare, Netflix released all eight episodes of the first season of the animated action series Blue Eye Samurai. Following a sudden and almost entirely organic rise in popularity, the show was renewed for a second season. Even the rock-star video-game designer Hideo Kojima was posting about it. Blue Eye Samurai is more than worth the hype: It deserves to be counted among the best shows of the year. The series takes the trappings of a heroic action-adventure and turns them on their head, crafting a bloody, emotional drama that is riveting from the very first frame.

Created by Michael Green (who co-wrote Logan and Blade Runner 2049) and Amber Noizumi, the show follows Mizu, a half-white, half-Japanese woman who stalks the countryside of Edo-period Japan, passing as a man in a wide hat and hiding her blue eyes behind tinted glasses. In the 17th century, the ruling Tokugawa shogunate closed its borders to the outside world and outlawed the presence of foreigners, the first episode explains. Mizu’s blue-eyed appearance is living evidence of the foreigners’ influence, seen by others as a physical defect of possible supernatural or demonic origin. She searches for four white men who secretly remain in Japan, manipulating trade and politics from inside their hidden fortresses.

Though Mizu (voiced by Maya Erskine) would much prefer to travel alone, she picks up a few stragglers along the way: Ringo (Masi Oka), a large, friendly, handless cook who dreams of becoming a warrior like Mizu; Akemi (Brenda Song), the daughter of an ambitious lord, who rebels against her father’s plans of marrying her off to build his own power; and Taigen (Darren Barnet), an accomplished dojo champion who vows to duel Mizu to the death after she humiliates him in combat. The white man Mizu hunts in Season 1, an Irishman named Abijah Fowler (Kenneth Branagh), is working alongside the merchant Heiji Shindo (Randall Park) to upend the ruling powers of Japan by illegally smuggling in a devastating Western weapon.

[Read: The 15 best shows of 2023]

If that sounds like the setup to a Game of Thrones spin-off, Blue Eye Samurai definitely has that vibe: sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, set in a period of technological and social upheaval, when the ancient traditions of honorable combat are being eroded by jealous warmongering. Green and Noizumi have cited Akira Kurosawa’s films and Clint Eastwood’s Dollars trilogy as influences, as well as a much more personal connection: Noizumi got the idea after the birth of her and Green’s daughter, who is also mixed-race with blue eyes.

To say that the show is so good that you forget it’s not live-action would be an insult to the stunning animation, every frame of which is carefully choreographed and colored. The series uses the hybrid-animation style that other Netflix shows (Arcane, The Dragon Prince) have experimented with before, but never has it looked as good as it does here. Inspired by the studied opulence and detail of Japanese murals, Blue Eye Samurai keeps to a spare color palette of whites, blacks, blues, and reds, appropriate for its tales of snow, fire, and blood. A scene where two characters anticipate each other’s movements during a duel is made to look like an ink-wash painting in motion. A later episode emulates the style of a Bunraku puppet show to dramatize another character’s tragic backstory. The style leaves plenty of room for realism, though: When any unfortunate background character gets sliced through the middle, you watch his guts plop out.

[Read: What the sexual violence of Game of Thrones begot]

The subject matter is mature not just in content—most episodes feature either nudity or theatrical blood spatter, or both—but also in theme, deftly pulling together ideas about honor, female empowerment, and the necessity of violence, while weaving in appropriate historical context. Mizu straddles many divides. The opposing relations between white Europeans and native Japanese manifest in her dual race. The gender she is and the gender she pretends to be often directly contradict each other. As a female bushi, she hews close to traditional samurai values while directly contradicting the core tenet that true warriors have always been, and must always be, male. (It’s also worth noting that, although the characters of the time wouldn’t have the same language for it that we do now, the show has left plenty of room for a nonbinary reading of Mizu’s gender, which often goes unspecified.)

Mizu is not an archetypal girlboss, and neither is Akemi, though both of them, as well as other, more minor female characters, learn what it means to use their gender as a weapon and a tool. A show in which a woman disguises herself as a man in order to be taken seriously—or spoken to at all—Blue Eye Samurai analyzes the thorny relationships between men and women. Multiple episodes take place within a brothel, where sex is a job and also a way to wield power and influence. To navigate a world dominated by men, anyone who is not a man (or, in Ringo’s case, not an able-bodied man) must learn how to play the game better than the men can.

Blue Eye Samurai also interrogates the cost of violence, and the psychological toll of a life dedicated to the killing of one’s enemies. The show toes the line between stylish action scenes where characters perform one-armed handstands to dodge attacks and sober moments where the wounds, both physical and mental, are visible. Mizu often feels doomed to succumb to the demonic influence her blue eyes betray, trapped in the void between who she is and who she wishes she could be. Blue Eye Samurai finds its footing in the push-pull between opposing forces, the gray area between identities—a balancing act on an edge as sharp as a knife.

13 Dec 11:20

Researchers fuse lab-grown human brain tissue with electronics

by Will Shanklin

In a story ripped from the opening scenes of a sci-fi horror movie, scientists have bridged a critical gap between the biological and electronic. The study, published in Nature Electronics (summarized in Nature), details a “hybrid biocomputer” combining lab-grown human brain tissue with conventional circuits and AI. Dubbed Brainoware, the system learned to identify voices with 78 percent accuracy. It could one day lead to silicon microchips fused with neurons.

Brainoware combines brain organoids — stem-cell-derived clusters of human cells morphed into neuron-filled “mini-brains” — with conventional electronic circuits. To make it, researchers placed “a single organoid onto a plate containing thousands of electrodes to connect the brain to electric circuits.” The circuits, speaking to the brain organoid, “translate the information they want to input into a pattern of electric pulses.”

The brain tissue then learns and communicates with the technology. A sensor in the electronic array detects the mini-brain’s response, which a trained machine-learning algorithm decodes. In other words, with the help of AI, the neurons and electronics merge into a single (extremely basic, for now) problem-solving biomachine.

The researchers taught the computer-brain system to recognize human voices. They trained Brainoware on 240 recordings of eight people speaking, “translating the audio into electric to deliver to the organoid.” The organic part reacted differently to each voice while generating a pattern of neural activity AI learned to understand. Brainoware learned to identify the voices with 78 percent accuracy.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15: Fadi Jacob, a visiting graduate student from Johns Hopkins University, dissects a a glioblastoma brain tumor at the University of Pennsylvania Clinical Research Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 15, 2018.  The tumor, which came straight from post-op will be dissected into hundreds of small pieces that will be used to grow tumor organdies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Human brain organoids
The Washington Post via Getty Images

The team views the work as more proof of concept than something with near-term practical use. Although previous studies showed two-dimensional neuron cell cultures could do similar things, this is the first trial run using a trained three-dimensional lump of human brain cells. It could point to a future of biological computing, where the “speed and efficiency of human brains” spark a superpowered AI. (What could go wrong?)

Arti Ahluwalia, a biomedical engineer at Italy’s University of Pisa, sees the technology shedding more light on the human brain. Since brain organoids can duplicate the nervous system’s control center in ways simple cell cultures can’t, the researcher views Brainoware (and the further advances it could spawn) as helping model and study neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. “That’s where the promise is; using these to one day hopefully replace animal models of the brain,” Ahluwalia told Nature.

Challenges for the bizarre proto-cyborg tech include keeping the organoids alive, especially when moving to the more complex areas where scientists eventually want to deploy them. The brain cells must grow in an incubator, which could become more challenging with bigger organoids. The next steps include working to learn how brain organoids adapt to more complex tasks and engineering them for greater stability and reliability.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
23 Nov 01:29

Self-proclaimed 'gay furry hackers' breach nuclear lab

by Katie Malone

The nuclear research hub Idaho National Laboratory (INL) confirmed that it fell victim to a data breach on Tuesday. SiegedSec, a group of self-proclaimed "gay furry hackers," took responsibility for the attack and claimed they accessed sensitive employee data like social security numbers, home addresses and more.

"We're willing to make a deal with INL. If they research creating irl catgirls we will take down this post," SiegedSec wrote in a post announcing the leak on Monday. 

The hacktivist group SiegedSec conducted a high profile attack on NATO last month, leaking internal documents as a retaliation against those countries for their attacks on human rights. The group commonly attacks government and affiliated organizations for political reasons, like targeting state governments for passing anti-trans legislation earlier this year.

A spokesperson confirmed the breach to Engadget on Wednesday. "On Monday, Nov. 20, Idaho National Laboratory determined that it was the target of a cybersecurity data breach in a federally approved vendor system outside the lab that supports INL cloud Human Resources services. INL has taken immediate action to protect employee data," an INL spokesperson said. The lab said it has reached out to authorities for help on how to proceed as it determines how to handle the breach. 

INL works as a Department of Energy affiliate researching nuclear reactors, among other projects like sustainable energy. It employs more than 5,000 people. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
17 Nov 01:12

AI is starting to outperform meteorologists

by Malak Saleh

A machine learning-based weather prediction program developed by DeepMind researchers called “GraphCast” can predict weather variables over the span of 10 days, in under one minute. In a report, scientists highlight that GraphCast has outperformed traditional weather pattern prediction technologies at a 90% verification rate.

The AI-powered weather prediction program works by taking in “the two most recent states of Earth’s weather,” which includes the variables from the time of the test and six hours prior. Using that data, GraphCast can predict what the state of the weather will be in six hours. 

In practice, AI has already showcased its applicability in the real world. The tool predicted the landfall of Hurricane Lee in Long Island 10 days before it happened, while the traditional weather prediction technologies being used by meteorologists at the time lagged behind. Forecasts made by standard weather simulations can take longer because traditionally, models have to account for complicated physics and fluid dynamics to make accurate predictions.

Not only does the weather prediction algorithm outperform traditional technologies to forecast weather patterns in terms of pace and scale, GraphCast can also predict severe weather events, which includes tropical cyclones and waves of extreme temperatures over regions. And because the algorithm can be re-trained with recent data, scientists believe that the tool will only get better at predicting oscillations in weather patterns that coincide with grander changes that align with climate change.

Soon, GraphCast, or at least the basis of the AI algorithm that powers its predictions, might pop up into more mainstream services. According to Wired, Google might be exploring how to integrate GraphCast into its products. The call for better storm modeling has already paved a path for supercomputers in the space. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says it has been working to develop models that will provide more accurate readings on when severe weather events might occur and importantly, the intensity forecasts for hurricanes.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
13 Nov 12:02

Terminator is back with a new anime series coming to Netflix

by Cheyenne MacDonald

Netflix is giving the Terminator franchise the anime treatment in a new series that’s set to hit the streaming platform “soon.” The company dropped the first teaser for Terminator: The Anime Series this weekend during its Geeked Week event. Details so far are scant, but we do know it’ll be produced by Production IG, the Japanese animation studio behind the original Ghost in the Shell movie and spinoff TV series.

Terminator: The Anime Series will take us back to August 1997, when the Skynet AI becomes self-aware and turns against humans. While there is no information on the cast just yet, Variety reports the series will feature entirely new characters. 

Also on board as executive producers are Skydance and Project Power writer Mattson Tomlin, who will be the series’ writer and showrunner. Netflix hasn’t announced a release date yet or shown any preview scenes, so here’s hoping we get an expanded trailer soon. The Terminator franchise has had quite a few installments, not all of them good, but going back to the beginning could be just the refresh it needs.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
08 Nov 21:58

Nintendo confirms a live-action Legend of Zelda movie is really happening

by Nathan Ingraham

It's been rumored for years, but Nintendo still managed to surprise us with a late-day announcement: a live-action film based on The Legend of Zelda is in the works, directed by Wes Ball. Ball's most recent films are the Maze Runner series, the latest of which was released in 2018. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto is producing the film along with Avi Arad, who has produced or executive produced loads of Marvel movies over the last decade-plus.

Surprisingly, the film is being co-financed by Nintendo and none other than Sony Pictures Entertainment. You know, part of the same company that owns PlayStation. Nintendo was quick to point out that it is financing more than 50 percent of the film, but that Sony Pictures Entertainment will be the the theatrical distributor.

Aside from that, there's no other detail besides this tweet from Miyamoto: 

Miyamoto goes on to say that they have officially started development on the film with Nintendo "heavily involved" in the production. He also notes that it'll "take time" before its completion but that he hopes fans look forward to seeing it.

Way back in 2015, we heard rumors from the Wall Street Journal that Nintendo and Netflix were making a live-action Zelda show, but that never came together (and there's a pretty weird story around why). But the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie was perhaps the last thing Nintendo needed to make this project a reality. And while there's plenty of time for things to go wrong between now and the movie hitting theaters, this Zelda fan is cautiously excited about the prospect of another classic Nintendo franchise making its way to the big screen.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
17 Oct 11:42

Disney is making a live-action Gargoyles show with James Wan

by Mariella Moon

Disney its turning Gargoyles, its animated cult classic from the 90s, into a live-action TV series for its streaming service. It's also teaming up with two of the most well-known names in horror films today to make it happen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Wan's Atomic Monster production company and Gary Dauberman are in the early stages of developing a live-action Gargoyles for Disney+. You may know James Wan as the creator of The Conjuring franchise and as co-creator of the Saw and Insidious franchises, in addition to directing Aquaman. Dauberman, a frequent Wan collaborator who had written the Annabelle movies, will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer.

Gargoyles ran for three seasons from 1994 to 1997. It was more complex and darker in tone than your typical Disney cartoon and revolved around a clan of "gargoyles," species of nocturnal creatures that turn to stone during the day, along with police officer Elisa Maza. The clan used to live in a castle in Scotland before they were betrayed by humans and were cursed to be frozen in stone. A thousand years later, the gargoyles wake up in New York City and choose to serve as its protectors at night. 

Of course, whether a live action Gargoyles is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how you liked Disney's remakes so far. We could only hope that Dauberman and Wan's company could do the show justice, especially since it will mostly likely use a lot of CGI to stay true to the source material. Disney has been getting a lot of flak over its use of CGI lately, which critics consider visually unappealing and subpar, including in movies like The Little Mermaid and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
12 Oct 21:06

Coin flips don’t appear to have 50/50 odds after all

by Will Shanklin

Conventional wisdom about coin flips may have been turned on its head. A global team of researchers investigating the statistical and physical nuances of coin tosses worldwide concluded (via that a coin is 50.8% likely to land on the same side it started on, altering one of society’s most traditional assumptions about random decision-making that dates back at least to the Roman Empire.

The team appeared to validate a smaller-scale 2007 study by Stanford mathematician Persi Diaconis, which suggested a slight bias (about 51 percent) toward the side it started on. The authors of the new paper conducted 350,757 flips, using different coins from 46 global currencies to eliminate a heads-tail bias between coin designs. (They also used a variety of people to rule out individuals with biased flipping techniques corrupting the results.) Regardless of the coin type, the same-side outcome could be predicted at 0.508, which rounds up perfectly to Diaconis’ “about 51 percent” prediction from 16 years ago.

The researchers found no evidence of a heads-tail bias when excluding its starting position from the data. In other words, if you pay no attention to which side the coin is on pre-flip, the odds of the outcome are equally likely to be heads or tails. 

PHI02:SPORT-NFL:PHILADELPHIA,PENNSYLVANIA,3DEC98 - NFL referee Bernie Kukar (C) flips the coin at the start of the December 3 NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Rams. The NFL instituted new rules for the coin toss following a controversial call in the November 26 game between the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Back judge Bill Leavy looks on from behind, as Eagles fan Mike Jenelli (34) looks on.

Reuters Photographer / reuters

Coin flippers in the study selected their starting position randomly (or according to an algorithm), flipped the coin, caught it in their hand and recorded the landing position. (If they flipped it over in their palm before revealing it, the opposite side it started on had 50.8% odds.) All participants videotaped and uploaded recordings of their flips to simplify collection and coding errors. “Our data therefore provide strong evidence that when some (but not all) people flip a fair coin, it tends to land on the same side it started,” the authors wrote.

The paper notes there was a high degree of variability between coin flippers. “Some people appear to have little or no same-side bias, whereas others do display a same-side bias, albeit to a varying degree.” But taken on the whole, it leads to those 50.8% odds favoring the starting side. 

The findings could even lead to (slight) financial gains. The researchers say that if you bet $1 on 1,000 separate coin flips, always betting on the side it starts on (and catching the coin rather than letting it roll on a surface or flipping it over in your palm), you’d make a $19 profit. The authors note that this is better odds than a casino’s built-in advantage for six-deck blackjack against a high-level player. They suggest that anyone making a high-stakes decision based on a coin flip would be wise to conceal its starting position.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
08 Oct 22:56

The Talos Principle 2 is the ideal blend of puzzle and story

by Jessica Conditt

Ancient, vine-draped monuments and towering obelisks protrude from the forest floor, connected by a maze of stone paths and one hyper-speed transit capsule. Statues loom among the monoliths: hooded human figures and mythological beasts surrounded by saintly geometry in gold and turquoise. I’m running down an overgrown platform by the water, sun radiating off the side of my face, trying to find the next puzzle. I take a sharp turn, the shadows shift and my silhouette is suddenly projected in front of me: waist on a slim pivot, hip joints jutting out, sticklike arms. I remember I’m made of metal and wires, and for a brief moment, I’m surprised. I forgot — I’m a robot.

The Talos Principle 2 reintroduces a post-apocalyptic world filled with the puzzles and dreams society left behind, and populates it with a race of machines who simultaneously worship humans and consider themselves to be the natural evolution of humanity. The game’s first quarter, which spans roughly seven hours, offers a beautiful and immersive playground of puzzle solving and philosophical inquiry, and it feels both grander and more cohesive than the original Talos Principle. That game came out in 2014 and featured a lone robot in an AI-powered testing ground. The sequel features an entire society of sentient machines. It also has lots of laser-powered, logic-based spatial puzzles, of course.

The Talos Principle 2

The Talos Principle 2 is set in a futuristic society of robots, and you’re the 1,000th machine to come off the line. There’s debate among the citizens about whether you should be the final addition to the group, as one of its founders once dictated, and your presence unlocks a new prophecy tied to a mysterious island. Elohim, the AI antagonist of the first game, has calmed down significantly and acts as a caretaker to the robots, gently guiding their sleep cycles with a booming voice.

Each robot has its own personality, and it doesn’t take long for these machines to feel fully human, despite their lack of meat and bones. Developers at Croteam took the time to build out backstories and individual points-of-view for each supporting character, and their conversations and arguments flow seamlessly. The Talos Principle 2 features full voice acting and branching dialogue trees with multiple meaningful responses for players to choose from. It’s not uncommon to see six to eight options in conversations, presenting discrete approaches to heavy prompts about faith, doubt, consciousness, life, death and love. This is a game for curious minds, and the dialogue system supports this with rich character development and high-quality conversational writing.

The Talos Principle 2

This robot society provides the narrative framework for actual gameplay. On the mysterious, prophesied island players encounter a series of puzzles hidden among humanity’s ruins, much like in the original game. The structures on the island are widespread and vast, but navigation is intuitive, thanks to subtle environmental cues, a compass with waypoints and directions from the other robots on the expedition team. This time around, you’re not alone (no offense, Elohim).

The puzzles themselves are devilish. They start simply, prompting players to divert laser beams into portals of the same color using connector rods, jammers, blocks, pressure pads and fans. As players progress through the riddle rooms, the game introduces new tools, like a drill that can create holes in some walls and an inverter that reverses the laser color, adding unexpected complexity to the puzzles. It’s my firm belief that the best puzzles in video games are ones that appear simple, but have a single, incredibly tricky solution buried beneath layers of almost-there answers. Nothing beats that breakthrough feeling when the entire room suddenly makes sense, the lasers align, and all the right doors slide open. The beginning hours of The Talos Principle 2 effortlessly capture this sensation, again and again.

Tetrominoes are back in the sequel, and they’re big. Not only metaphorically (the robots often theorize about the shapes’ supposed purpose), but also in physical size. I made literal bridges out of building-sized tetrominoes, swapping out pieces and rotating them on a grand scale. While this segment wasn’t particularly challenging, it was satisfying in a new kind of way.

The Talos Principle 2

In its first quarter, The Talos Principle 2 reproduces the brilliance of the original game and adds to this foundation, expanding its world narratively and mechanically. Philosophical conversations are no longer siloed in read-only terminals, though there are still datasets scattered around the map. The story’s main prompts are instead integrated into gameplay via deep, player-driven conversations with NPCs, and even a little bit of light gossip. The Talos Principle 2 has secrets to discover, personalities to explore and questions to answer — and that’s all on top of being a uniquely fantastic (and optimistic) sci-fi puzzle game.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
06 Sep 22:38

Flight Forced To Turn Around Because Passenger 'Had Diarrhea All The Way Through The Airplane'

by Collin Woodard

No really, I love flying.

A few months ago, an Air France passenger reportedly found diarrhea and blood under his seat and ended up having to clean it up himself. And since it was a full flight, there were no open seats to switch to. That’s absolutely disgusting, but somehow, it pales in comparison to the latest airplane diarrhea story. Then…


24 Aug 17:12

Amazon's Fallout series will arrive on Prime Video in 2024

by Mariella Moon

Amazon is still working on a Fallout TV series — and we'll finally find out next year whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. The company has revealed that the Fallout TV show will premiere on Prime Video sometime in 2024, over three years after it first announced that it was developing an adaptation of the franchise with the creators of Westworld. According to GameSpot, Bethesda's Todd Howard and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer presented a short teaser of the upcoming series at Gamescom's Xbox booth. 

The brief clip reportedly showed a nuclear explosion near a city resembling Los Angeles, characters crossing a wasteland and a woman emerging from one of Fallout's Vaults. And, as you can see above, Prime Video shared an image confirming LA to be the site for Vault 33. In October last year, Amazon's Prime Video X account posted a photo of characters wearing Vault 33 suits, and before that, a few behind-the-scenes images for Vault 32 leaked online

When the series was first announced, Bethesda said it had been looking for ways to adapt the Fallout games into a movie or a TV show over the past decade. The adaptation that it eventually approved, written and developed by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, will take on a "serious and harsh" tone but will also feature "ironic humor" and "B-movie nuclear fantasies."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
18 Aug 18:02

Fans are adapting 'Twin Peaks' into a PS1-style adventure game, and there's a demo

by Lawrence Bonk

You may have watched the original run of Twin Peaks so many times that you exclaim “damn fine coffee” each and every time you grab a cup, but have you ever played the story through the eyes of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper? You’ll soon be able to do just that via the magic of video games. A small French developer called Blue Rose Team has been prepping Twin Peaks: Into the Night for a while now, and it just dropped a demo of the fan-made game.

The graphics are retro and decidedly PS1-flavored, which makes sense given how the show premiered in 1990. The gameplay looks to be full of exploration, complete with conversations with the town’s many oddball residents, though there’s a survival horror element reminiscent of the original Resident Evil titles. This is also an appropriate design choice, as the show pits Agent Cooper against foes both physical and supernatural. You should expect appearances from the infamous one-armed man, the chaos agent Bob, nefarious former FBI agent Windom Earle and, of course, plenty of owls.

Beyond gameplay, there looks to be an array of video cutscenes culled from the show itself. The demo, released Tuesday, chronicles events from season one, in which Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks and begins unraveling the murder case of local teen Laura Palmer. The demo is filled with the kind of idiosyncratic quirks and metaphysical horror elements that made the OG show such a hit back in the day.

The creators have announced that the game will be free when it launches, so that should clear up any potential legal hurdles moving forward. David Lynch is busy doing his daily weather reports on YouTube or whatever, so he won’t complain, but ABC and Warner Bros. aren’t quite as chill as the filmmaker/painter/meditation enthusiast.

There’s no official release date, but the demo should keep you busy for a while. Oddly, this will be the very first Twin Peaks video game adaptation, though there’s a short VR experience. Despite never being officially adapted, the show has inspired plenty of games, from the Alan Wake series to a little-known title called The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It also goes without saying that Twin Peaks: Into the Night doesn’t delve into the events of Showtime’s Twin Peaks: The Return, so don’t expect to control Jim Belushi.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
24 Jul 21:48

Cocaine Sharks Are A New Reason To Be Terrified Of Florida

by Collin Woodard

These days, the list of reasons to stay out of Florida feels like it grows longer by the minute. But even if you take politics and stifling summer heat out of the equation (as hard as that may be), there are still plenty of reasons to be afraid of Georgia’s dingleberry. Florida Man and Florida Woman could be lurking…


08 Jul 12:12

Canadian judge rules the thumbs up emoji counts as a contract agreement

by Lawrence Bonk

A Canadian judge has ruled that the popular “thumbs-up” emoji not only can be used as a contract agreement, but is just as valid as an actual signature. The Saskatchewan-based judge made the ruling on the grounds that the courts must adapt to the “new reality” of how people communicate, as originally reported by The Guardian.

The case involved a grain buyer sending out a mass text to drum up clients and a farmer agreeing to sell 86 tons of flax for around $13 per bushel. The buyer texted a contract agreement to the farmer and asked for the farmer to “confirm” receiving the contract. He issued a thumb’s up emoji as receipt of the document, but backed out of the deal after flax prices increased.

The buyer sued the farmer, arguing that the thumb’s up represented more than just receipt of the contract. It represented an agreement to the conditions of the contract, and a judge agreed, ordering the farmer to cough up nearly $62,000, likely causing a string of puke emojis.

The farmer, Chris Achter, said in an affidavit that he “did not have time to review” the contract and the thumb’s up was just acknowledgment of receipt. Justice Timothy Keene relied on’s definition of the emoji which notes the image is used to “express assent, approval, or encouragement in digital communications, especially in Western cultures,” ultimately siding with the grain buyer.

“This court readily acknowledges that a 👍 emoji is a non-traditional means to ‘sign’ a document but nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a ‘signature’,” Justice Keene wrote.

The defense argued that giving this type of power to an emoji would open the “floodgates” to enhanced interpretations of other emojis. While the justice dismissed this line of reasoning, anyone who regularly texts the LOL emoji without actually laughing out loud is likely quaking in their boots right now.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
29 Jun 14:22

I consider myself a patient person, but 'The Password Game' might break me

by Igor Bonifacic

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s the perfect time to waste away a few minutes attempting to solve the internet’s latest obsession. If you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed some chatter about The Password Game, a browser experience that will test your creativity, patience and sanity.

Ostensibly, the goal of the game is to create a password no one hacker could possibly crack, and the experience starts out simple enough. “Your password must be at least 5 characters,” states rule one, while rule four asks that all the digits in your password add up to 25. Then, things start to become progressively more unhinged. Rule seven demands you include a Roman numeral, only for rule nine to then tell that you need a handful of Roman numerals that equal 35 when multiplied. Eventually, your password will also need to reference today’s Wordle and the current phase of the moon written as an emoji. Oh, and at one point a clock is added to the game in the form of a caterpillar you must keep alive. Don't ask. Some of the demands are so esoteric Google’s autocomplete feature has started to adapt to them.

“There are rules in this game that ensure I will never see the pearly gates,” wrote Neal Agarwal, the creator of The Password Game. Agarwal’s Twitter mentions are full of people cursing him for creating such a devious challenge. Some, however, have managed to get to the end. “I can’t believe people are actually beating the Password Game,” Agarwal wrote on Wednesday. “The human spirit is strong.” As for me, I’m scrubbing it out here at rule 15, trying to avoid doing some tricky math. But I promise you, I will succeed, even if it kills me or that damn caterpillar. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
03 Jun 09:34

Man allegedly used a Nintendo ‘Duck Hunt’ gun to rob convenience store

by Lawrence Bonk

Police have arrested a South Carolina man after he allegedly robbed a convenience store armed with a Nintendo light gun primarily used in the 1980s to play Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley and Gumshoe, as originally announced by York County deputies. The 25-year-old suspect allegedly made away with $300 in cash after donning a mask, wig, hoodie sweatshirt and the aforementioned Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Zapper gun accessory.

Police allege the suspect waved the fake gun at a clerk and demanded money from the cash register. Authorities found him down the street in a Dollar General parking lot with the fake pistol in his pants. The original 1984 accessory is famously bright orange and gray, but authorities say the suspect spray-painted his black, likely so it would resemble a functional firearm. The York County Sheriff’s Department released an image of the doctored gaming accessory on its Twitter account.

The original light gun accessory, called the Zapper, shipped with the NES and used an internal optical sensor to translate trigger presses to on-screen action. The primary use was Duck Hunt, though it worked with a handful of titles throughout the console’s lifespan.

Using a fake gun to commit a crime is no joke and has been a serious issue for decades. A 1990 study conducted by Congress found that fake guns were used in more than 15 percent of robberies. It’s worth noting that in most parts of the country, using a fake gun to commit a crime carries similar penalties to that of a real firearm, as the threat of danger is very real to victims. After all, these toy or replica guns look nearly identical to the real thing. To that end, New York State recently passed legislation banning toy guns unless they are clearly fake, such as those painted with bright colors.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
29 May 20:20

10191 Arrakeen Sandworm: The Jalopnik First Ride

by Steve DaSilva

If you’ve ever ventured to Arrakis, you’ve heard the whispers: Sandworms, the Maker, maybe you’e even heard of Shai-Hulud. You likely know them as an existential threat, the kind of enemy you can’t hope to kill, but also as an ecological necessity — their existence brings forth the Spice Melange, on which our survival…


20 May 09:04

Killer Whales Are Attacking Boats And Seem To Be Teaching The Skill To Others

by Erin Marquis

Orcas are attacking small boats in the waters around Spain and Morocco. The reason isn’t clear but let’s be real: Humans have had it coming for a long time.


20 May 08:51

'Futurama' returns July 24th as a Hulu original after a 10-year hiatus

by Peter Cao

Hulu has a bit of "good news" for Futurama fans. The streaming provider announced on Twitter today that Bender and the gang (yes, John DiMaggio will be reprising his role as Bender) will return for season eight on July 24th. After the eighth season’s announcement in early 2022, DiMaggio said in a tweet that he would not be returning to the show after a pay disagreement with Disney and Hulu, though he quickly changed course. Series creator Matt Groening and producer David X. Cohen are returning to lead Futurama once again.

As reported by Variety, the eighth season will consist of two parts, with an initial run of 10 episodes. The new season airs on Mondays, on a weekly basis on Hulu. Notably, this is the second time (or fourth time, depending on who’s asking) the show has been brought back, and the first time the show will be airing first on a streaming platform. Hulu did not announce an air date for part two, which will include an additional 10 episodes.

Futurama originally debuted in 1999, with the first four seasons airing on Fox. The show then had a new home on Comedy Central, which aired seasons six and seven, which ended in 2013. The so-called "fifth season", which was also under Comedy Central, was a series of four movies that were eventually split into short-length episodes. Now, after being canceled and renewed several times by several cable networks, the next season lives on in the streaming world nearly 10 years after the last season had aired.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
02 May 18:32

Uber Eats Driver Gets One-Star Review for Refusing to Deliver Meth

by Collin Woodard

Recently, a drug dealer near Sydney, Australia, tried out an innovative method of delivering drugs to customers: Uber Eats. And on its face, it seemed so simple. Customers could order their drugs, the driver would show up to deliver the package and the dealer would get paid through the app. Except it didn’t quite work…


28 Apr 18:15

Watch FortNine Break Down (Almost) Every Motorcycle Engine Layout

by Steve DaSilva

When it comes to cars, the differences between engine layouts are pretty simple. Unless you’re buying a Subaru or Porsche, you’ve got your inlines and your Vs, all with a cylinder count that really matters less than their displacement. But in cars, you’re isolated — thousands of pounds of metal and rubber insulate you…


01 Apr 11:10

Twitter’s recommendation algorithm is now on GitHub

by Karissa Bell

Nearly a year after Elon Musk first floated the idea of making Twitter’s recommendation algorithm public, the company has posted the source code for its recommendation algorithm on GitHub. In a Twitter Space discussing the move, Musk said he hoped users would be able to find potential “issues” in the code and help make it better.

“Our initial release of the so-called algorithm is going to be quite embarrassing and people are gonna find a lot of mistakes but we're going to fix them very quickly,” Musk said.

Notably, the code released Friday only deals with how tweets are shown in Twitter's "For You" feed. The company didn't release the underlying code for its search algorithm or how content is displayed on other parts of Twitter, though Musk said the company would "for sure" open-source the search algorithm as well.

In a blog post outlining how Twitter’s recommendations work, the company explained the various steps of the algorithm, including ranking and filtering. But Twitter users have already been finding interesting details in the code itself. For example, Jane Manchun Wong noted that “Twitter’s algorithm specifically labels whether the Tweet author is Elon Musk.” That may offer yet another explanation for why Musk’s tweets appear so often. Wong also noted that the algorithm has labels indicating whether the tweet author is a “power user” as well as whether they are a Republican or Democrat.

When asked about that aspect of the algorithm in the Twitter Space, Musk said “I agree that shouldn’t be there … it definitely shouldn't be dividing people into Republicans and Democrats, that makes no sense.” A Twitter engineer later followed up to clarify that the categories were only for “stat tracking purposes and it has nothing to do with the algorithm.” He said the labels are meant “to make sure we don't bias towards one group versus another one” though he didn’t address why Musk had his own category.

“But isn’t it weird that you have four categories and one of them is Elon,” the questioner responded. “I think it’s weird,” Musk said. “This was the first time I’m learning this.” The Twitter engineer didn’t directly respond with an explanation. The Twitter Space ended less than a minute later. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at