Rocket Car Will Hit 1000mph in 40 Seconds, Empty Bowels in About 5 [Rocket Car]

via Gizmodo by John Herrman on 10/23/08

Britain’s Minister of Science Lord Drayson is announcing today the commencement of the Bloodhound rocket car project, which will propel current land speed record-holder and RAF Pilot Andy Green to speed of over 1000mph. This is another step in the sporadically intense fight for the fastest car in the world, but the Minister has a half-hilarious, half-reasonable excuse for it: it’ll get British students interested in taking advanced science classes. Nobody really cares about stuff like that because, well, 1000mph.

The first part of the run will be propelled by a jet engine, originally designed for the Eurofighter. After the Bloodhound reached 300mph, propulsion duties will be taken over by an experimental “bespoke” hybrid rocket, during which time the driver will be subjected to 2.5Gs of acceleration force until he hits 1050 mph. The whole process will take about 40 seconds, amazingly.

Naturally, possible blackouts, horrific crashes and mechanical malfunctions are all in the cards here. Dont’ worry though — according to the Times, he is preparing in the most ludicrous way possible: “He will practice… in a stunt aircraft, flying upside-down over the British countryside.” No date for the run has been set, but we should get a few more details after the Minister Drayson’s formal announcement today.

[Times Online]

Rumor: Xbox 360’s defect rate was as high as 68%


via Xbox 360 Fanboy by Dustin Burg on 9/8/08

According to VentureBeat’s own Dean Takahashi and his numerous insider sources, 68% of all the early manufactured Xbox 360 consoles were defective and Microsoft knew it. Takahashi does mention that it’s common industry knowledge that “early yields on electronic goods are almost always lousy”, but in the case of the 360, the problem was never fixed and production of the defective consoles went as planned. Because, you know, Microsoft had launch plans to stick to.
Again, this is all rumor seeing that Microsoft would never admit to such knowledge or such high defective rate numbers, but let’s say they knew that 68% of all their consoles had a potential for failure. If so, shame on them, but we think they learned their lesson.

[Via Eurogamer]


Do You Fear Monthly Internet Service Limits?

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 8/29/08

Comcast dropped the bomb the other day that it’ll be placing caps on Internet service — 250 GB per month. When a customer goes over, they’ll be contacted by Comcast and asked to curb their usage, and there’s also a possibility that the company will charge $15 for every 10 GB over the limit.

Considering Comcast is the country’s second-biggest Internet provider, this should affect tons of people (yours truly included), and in general, I’m wary of new limits on services. On the other hand, 250 GB is a whole lot of uploadin’ and downloadin’; SFGate reports that the average user only utilizes about two or three GB per month. Of course, setting a limit now could set a precedent and usher in eventual lowered limits.

What do you think — are you bummed that Comcast is capping usage, or does it not make a difference to you?


When GPS Leads You Astray. . .

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 4/20/08

Is it just me, or are the amounts of GPS horror stories increasing? Who can forget the man who drove his truck into a cherry tree, or the woman whose GPS led her directly into a river?! Crazy but all true!

Well here’s another one for you (it looks serious, but thankfully there weren’t any major injuries). According to the Seattle PI, a driver of a bus carrying a girls softball team hit this 9-foot bridge when a GPS navigation system routed him the wrong way. And yes, the driver just so happened to miss the ginormous yellow clearance sign on the side of the bridge (the bus measured 11-foot, 8-inches high).

GPS units have certainly got me lost a few times, but – knock on wood – I haven’t had any accidents because of them! Have you?


Ultima Tower is two crazy miles high, wants to be green

via DVICE by Kevin Hall on 4/3/08


How tall is too tall? I guess we’ll know once one of these crazy building concepts ends up getting built — if it subsequently falls down, that is.

The Ultima Tower is a conceptualization by designer Eugene Tsui and it’s built around alleviating city congestion in this increasingly congested world. It’s debatably attractive shape is inspired by termite mounds and, instead of trying to brave the winds as your ordinary block-like skyscraper, it slopes gracefully to a point from a 7,000-foot-in-diameter base. The Ultima Tower is designed to provide good ol’ self contained arcology living, takes advantage of renewable wind energy, has its own water supply at its base and throughout the tower, and uses reflecting mirrors to boost the amount of natural light throughout.

I wonder what construction firms think when they look at concepts like this? At least Tsui made it aerodynamic — it’d be a pain if it created some drag against the Earth’s orbit.

Ultima Tower, via Inhabitat

A TV so big it needs to go on the outside of your house


via DVICE by Adam Frucci on 2/7/08


At this point, having a 60-inch TV won’t win you any neighborhood mid-life-crisis contests, as everybody is getting giant TVs these days. Now, you need to take it to the next level if you really want to prove to everyone how desperate you are to distract yourself from the looming shadow of death’s cold grip.

What could be better than installing a gigantic drive-in theatre screen on the side of your house? You can’t get a TV much bigger, and it shows that you’re in touch with your childhood in the era of drive-ins while staying rooted firmly in the present. Wait, you were alive when drive-ins were still popular? Man, you are old! No wonder you’re freaking out.

The Cool Hunter, via BornRich

This $6 million home theatre setup is better than yours

via DVICE by Adam Frucci on 2/8/08


How much would you be willing to spend on a home theatre? $1,000? $5,000? Maybe
you’re loaded and don’t mind dropping upwards of $50,000? Hey, good for you.
Guess what? No matter what your answer, your setup really sucks compared to
Jeremy Kipnis’ $6 million home theatre setup.

What do you get for that kind of money? Well, you get a screen with four
times the resolution of 1080p HDTV, a ridiculous 8.8 channel surround sound
setup with 16 speakers, and bragging rights for life. It’s got a “laboratory
grade” 18-foot-by-10-foot screen and a $100,000 projector. Overkill? Sure, but
if you’re gunning for the sweetest setup on Earth, that’s the only way to

Audio Video
, via Gizmodo

iPhone Firmware 1.1.3 Video and Evidence Confirms Update Is Real, Breaks Unlock, Third-Party Apps


via Gizmodo by Jesus Diaz on 12/29/07


Here’s a video of the iPhone Firmware 1.1.3. Update: It is very real, according to Natetrue and the evidence he has provided to us. Knowing that the mighty Natetrue has recorded it and the details he has shared with us, we are inclined to think that the new 1.1.3 leak is very real indeed. Like before, the update breaks the unlock and the third-party apps, patching previous vulnerabilities at the same time. The battle between Apple and the iPhone Dev Team continues. The video shows how to move icons around in the Springboard, wobbling to indicate they can be dragged and dropped around, which is kind of an Apple-meets-Nintendo touch:

(UPDATED 9:40PM – Originally posted at 7:05PM: We talked with natetrue and he has given us a lot of new information about the firmware upgrade. Full update after the jump)

We had some doubts, but now we can tell you we are sure: the new firmware 1.1.3 is real. Or like Nate says: “if it is a hoax, they did a buttload of work.” The fact is that it installs normally and it works perfectly, according to all the evidence that Natetrue has brought to our attention. We believe this evidence because it’s technically sound and it has been provided by one of the most respected and veteran iPhone hackers and the author of the popular app iBrickr.

Nate says that “it installs on the phone no-questions-asked and for that you need to have Apple’s private key, which i can confirm that the iphone hacker community does not have—as much as we would love to have it.” Indeed, Apple’s private encrypted key, used to authenticate all accesses to the iPhone most-private guts, hasn’t been uncovered yet by anyone in the world.

In other words, no firmware upgrades can be installed without the knowledge of this key. Furthermore, the idea that someone would have access to this key and spend months to create a fully functional firmware update, with key new features and without any documentation whatsoever seems just absolutely silly.

Effects on unlocks and Third-party applications
According to Nate, the update breaks AnySim’s unlocks. Logically, you can’t unlock this update using AnySim and there’s no alternative to iTunes for activation. If you want to activate, it will only work using iTunes and a standard AT&T account. As he points out: “that is the only way we have been able to activate so far.” Nate tried to upgrade an AnySim 1.2u iPhone and it failed. Even while he was able to force it to boot, the phone refused to activate even with a normal AT&T SIM card. “I suspect it’s due to the fact that the baseband could not be upgraded to the 1.1.3 ‘required’ version”, he pointed out.

Nate didn’t try other updates or solutions, like iPhone Sim Free or any of the hardware-based ones, like TurboSIM. In theory, these should work just fine, but jailbreak and activation would be absolutely impossible for the time being. We would have to wait until the update gets released in the open to try new alternative activation methods.

Your favorite third-party apps will be gone too, with no possibility of return for now. The update fixes the bugs which allowed “the jailbreak method we were using for 1.1.2, locking us out again, as expected.”

Other effects
Like previous firmware upgrades, whatever is in the user partition remains unchanged. Only the Apple-owned part is affected by 1.1.3. So for those of you who claim that this is a fake because it says “Nate” in the network instead of “AT&T,” that’s the reason. Nate changed the network name in 1.1.2 using Erica’s Make It Mine program. The changed network name, like with 1.1.1 and any other previous firmware, is kept through firmware upgrades.

New features and future releases
The list of new features are confirmed too: all are correct, but he couldn’t confirm if they are the only ones or not.

Many of you would be wondering how this could have happened, knowing the extremely tight security around the iPhone firmware updates. We don’t know, but apparently the leak has occurred because “someone wanted to help the unlock effort.” The source of the leak is completely anonymous, even to Nate and the rest of the people who have had access to the upgrade.

Why the update hasn’t hit Torrent yet? According to Nate, the code could be watermarked to catch any leaks “so for now it’s screenshots and videos.” Also, distributing it won’t make much sense at this point: according to Nate the iPhone 1.1.3 Firmware update could hit as soon as next week.

Stay tuned for more updates. [ – Thanks Nate for your insight and Markus for the tip]

Optimus Tactus, the next big keyboard idea from Art.Lebedev Studio

Sent to you by UnoDude Thinking via Google Reader:

via DVICE by Charlie White on 12/28/07


Here’s the next forward-thinking keyboard idea from the Art.Lebedev Studio—this Optimus Tactus is a keyboard that has no keys. Along with its touchscreen substituting for physical keys comes flexibility, giving you choices of how big those graphic keys can be. When you’re not typing, you can even substitute a video screen instead of the images of keys in front of you.

Not a real product yet, this is a design concept from Art.Lebedev, with no pricing or release date attached thus far. That might mean a long wait for such an innovative keyboard, if the company’s Optimus Maximus keyboard is any indication. That one’s been in the works for nearly two years, and is just now in the pre-order stage. We really like this design, but we’re not holding our breath waiting for it to be available.

Via Art.Lebedev Studio

Things you can do from here:

What’s Inside: NyQuil, Fortified With Powerful Narcotics!


One of the many wonder-pharmaceuticals that can be derived from coal tar, acetaminophen was used for nearly a century as a painkiller and fever reducer before anyone figured out how it worked. We now know that as the drug breaks down in the body, it turns into a cannabinoid: yes, stoners, the same type of compound that makes marijuana so irresistible. Doctors also once thought acetaminophen made users more talkative and outgoing. Current research suggests this idea was half-baked.

Dextromethorphan HBr
A cough suppressant. Well, actually, in the body it becomes dextrorphan, a cough suppressant, and levorphanol, a painkiller five times as powerful as morphine. Like PCP and ketamine, DXM is also an NMDA receptor antagonist, so the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists it as a “dissociative” drug. Twelve times the recommended dose of NyQuil leads to distorted perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment — dissociation — from the environment and oneself. For people whose bodies are unusually slow at metabolizing the drug, even low doses of DXM trigger full-blown “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” psychedelic trips.

Doxylamine succinate
Officially, this ingredient is on the label as an antihistamine. But it is equally useful as a sleep aid, providing a nice, convenient one-two… Zzzz.

Citric acid
Citric acid has proven somewhat effective as a flu killer, but only if you spray it into your nose. Because NyQuil is meant to be swallowed, not snorted, its presence here is probably to add a little tang, and possibly to act as a low-level preservative.

Hooch has been used as a folk remedy for the common cold for centuries (despite the fact that it doesn’t work). But according to Procter & Gamble, alcohol’s sole purpose in NyQuil is to serve as a solvent, keeping the top three ingredients in solution.

Polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol
Chemical cousins used as thickeners. NyQuil’s consistency is somewhere between water and honey, but not because it needs to be. Drug marketers know many people prefer medicines in syrup form.

Sodium citrate
In other contexts sodium citrate is an anticoagulant; most likely it is used here as a buffer to maintain the acid-base balance of all the other ingredients.

P&G isn’t talking, but we suspect the cloyingly repulsive taste of NyQuil is to ensure that you can swallow a tablespoon or two but can’t drink enough of the stuff to start seeing Jesus.

High fructose corn syrup
A dash of sugar helps that tablespoon or two go down.

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