The atomic clocks that keep satellites and your smartphone on time
The US Naval Observatory is home to a set of incredibly precise atomic clocks that record America’s official time. Its clocks are relied upon for a vast range of functions, from providing the time on your smartphone lock screen to keeping GPS satellites accurate in their calculations.
Thousands of Twitch.tv viewers beat massively multiplayer ‘Pokemon’ game
After 16 days, the hive consciousness of Twitch Plays Pokemon has successfully beaten Pokemon Red. Early this morning, thousands of chat participants navigated through the final fight with Blue, a major milestone in a “social experiment” that has effectively turned Twitch.tv into a huge crowdsourced gaming platform.
Lenovo smartphones designed by Ashton Kutcher are coming this year
Ashton Kutcher is helping Lenovo design a line of special edition smartphones. The Hollywood star and noted tech enthusiast was brought on board as a product engineer back in October, and you’ll see the first devices influenced by Kutcher arrive sometime this year. According to Lenovo executive David Roman, Kutcher’s role in shaping the company’s hardware is very real. “I know on one level, it sounds corny,” Roman said in an interview with Recode. But he insisted that Lenovo’s partnership with Kutcher represents far more than a publicity grab. “He not only sees himself as an engineer, but he is an engineer. If he sees a problem, he wants to solve it.”
These writers aren’t critics. They’re the cinematic equivalent of the crime-scene investigators of CSI; examining the tiniest clues to uncover previously hidden meanings. (Negroni is also responsible for The Pixar Theory, “an award-winning theory about how all of the Pixar movies exist in the same universe and tell one, cohesive story.”) In most cases, the directors of these films deliberately left their work open to interpretation. But forensic cinematologists aren’t interested in interpretation. They only want explanations.The misguided detective work of the CSI: Cinema Scene Investigators / The Dissolve
Goodbye Xbox, hello erotica: the interactive romance of Silkwords
In 2013 Boyd Multerer was leading development on the Xbox One, a console Microsoft hoped would become the standard platform for cable television, streaming video, and next-gen games about gladiators and martial artists. It was one of the most high-profile product launches of the year, with billions of dollars and the reputation of a multinational giant at stake. He was also working on a tiny, self-funded e-zine of interactive romance and erotica.
Decrypting the most mysterious book in the world
After 600 years, the secret language of the Voynich manuscript may finally be understood
Yota’s latest E Ink smartphone takes a great idea and makes it pretty
YotaPhone is an Android smartphone with a regular touchscreen on one side and an E Ink display on the other. It’s been around for well over a year now, and in our time with previous prototypes we’ve been impressed with its premise, if not Yota Devices’ execution. At MWC this year, the Russian carrier-turned-manufacturer is showing off an all-new prototype it believes solves many of the original model’s flaws.
The 530-pound Exosuit is a submarine you can wear
The six-and-a-half foot tall, 530-pound aluminum suit looks like something out of an action movie. In reality it has an entirely different — and more intriguing — purpose. Come this summer, scientists will be using the suit, known as the Exosuit, to dive up to 1,000 feet into the ocean with the aim of collecting and studying bioluminescent fish. At such extreme depths, despite almost no visible light, a bounty of mysterious, glowing fish thrive. And with the Exosuit, scientists will observe these fish like never before. (via
Play it again: ‘Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy’ review
Some things never change. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Since the first game launched on the Nintendo DS in 2007, the Professor Layton series has been one of the best reasons to own a Nintendo handheld. The games artfully blend puzzle solving and an ongoing whodunit narrative into a fantastic experience that has spawned six games, a mobile spin-off, and even an animated film. This week Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is launching on 3DS, a game that closes the loop on the series’ second trilogy. It exemplifies everything that’s great about the franchise: it tells an engaging story, is filled with wonderful characters and challenging puzzles, and features absolutely beautiful art and animation. The continued adventures of a puzzle-loving archaeology professor from London and his young apprentice are nothing if not charming. But, in terms of how it plays, it’s almost identical to every other Layton game before it. Across six games and two platforms, the series has barely changed at all. So why can’t I stop playing it?
Meet Moov, the fitness tracker that turns Siri into your new personal trainer
Nikola Hu is running wrong. He’s loping along, leaning back as he goes. Suddenly a voice emerges from his phone: “Your cadence is low. Try swinging your arms legs and arms faster.” Hu’s phone knows he’s has running injuries before, so it’s hypersensitive to how his feet land on the ground. “Lean forward and land mid-foot to soften your impact,” it tells him. He obliges, and the voice comes back immediately. “Good job!”
British surveillance reportedly collected webcam images from millions of Yahoo users
Britain’s surveillance agency is said to have captured images from millions of Yahoo users’ webcams as part of a broad program running from 2008 through at least 2012. According to the Guardian, the GCHQ was able to intercept webcam images from more than 1.8 million users over a period of just six months in 2008. The images were used for intelligence by gathering metadata and testing facial recognition technology — though they were reportedly taken from users who had not been suspected of wrongdoing. Yahoo denies having knowledge of Optic Nerve and calls the alleged program “completely unacceptable.”
Code.org turning the ashes of ‘Flappy Bird’ into a phoenix of coding education
The wildly simple yet infinitely frustrating game Flappy Bird is no more, though it continues to live on in countless clones. Now Code.org, the non-profit aimed at teaching people how to write code, has created a tool to make your own Flappy Bird game while learning some code at the same time.