MONAD Industries’ 3D Printed Futuristic Violin

I really wish this would be accompanied by a video so we could hear what this instrument sounds like! Hopefully, there will be a recording of the four 3D instruments being played later this month. I could definitely see this being played on stage with Diva Plavalaguna from The Fifth Element fame. This instrument is definitely “Nerd Approved“.



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What you’re looking at is a crazy futuristic looking 3D printed instrument called a two-string piezoelectric violin. It was created by MONAD industries of Miami, Florida and will be on display at the 3D Print Design Show in New York City on April 16th and 17th along with four other 3D instruments. All of the instruments will be played by musicians during the event.

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Blizzard’s San Diego Comic-Con Social Giveaways

I had never heard of Splurgy, or the fact that it’s an app (according to Blizzard’s description), until I noticed the Blizzard giveaway in preparation for San Diego Comic-Con 2014. The giveaway is simple: go Like everything Blizzard does on Facebook and get entered to win grab bags!


YOUR CHANCE TO WIN EXCLUSIVE SDCC LOOT!

Your Chance To Win Exclusive SDCC Loot!

Click here to enter to win 1 of 25 Blizzard Comic-Con Goodie Bags! What’s inside, you ask? The 2014 Blizzard Comic-Con Goodie Bag contains some of the exciting prizes we will be selling at San Diego Comic-Con this year:

  • (1) Heroes of the Storm Team Tee
  • (1) Heroes of the Storm Lanyard
  • (1) Diablo Whimsyshire Treasure Goblin
  • (1) Starcraft Cute But Deadly Cloaking Zeratul
  • (1) Starcraft Funko Pop! Vinyl Primal Kerrigan
  • (1) Warcraft Nether Faerie Dragon Plush

SDCC_D3_Goblin.jpg

Entering our giveaway is quick and easy, just follow the instructions on the giveaway link above. You can earn entries into our giveaway by completing a variety of social actions through the Splurgy app, including:


Want to get your hands on the items that aren’t exclusive to Comic-Con? Head to the Blizzard Gear store now by clicking here.

Greenscreen Fluffer Ninjas (BoingBoing.net)

This is just all kinds of awesome. I had no idea this was even a thing! That must provide the most awkward facial responses at dinner parties once you share what you’ve been up to in your day (or night) job. Thanks BoingBoing.


An actual job is to be a greenscreen fluffer, dressed in a chromakey gimpsuit, hidden in the background for shampoo commercials, tasked with artfully flicking models’ hair. If you’re very good at that job, you can level up to gimpsuited Superman cape-puppeteer.

The Biggest Thing In The Universe Is So Gigantic It Shouldn’t Exist At All (HuffingtonPost.com)

Awesome, huge, gigantic…are now terms completely dwarfed by an amazing new discovery! Thanks to the nerdy folk over at The Huffington Post, we’re now all in the know.


What’s the biggest known structure in the universe?

Astronomers used to think it was a “filament” of galaxies known as the Sloan Great Wall. But recent research suggests a different structure is even bigger — and its size has astronomers scratching their heads.

Meet the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall (Her-CrB GW). Check it out in the video above.

“The Her-CrB GW is larger than the theoretical upper limit on how big universal structures can be,” Dr. Jon Hakkila, an astrophysics professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and one of the astronomers who discovered the structure, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Thus, it is a conundrum: it shouldn’t exist but apparently does.”

Mysteries just like this are why astronomers scan the skies for a glimpse into the past, as they shed light not only on the early years of our universe, but also more about our galaxy, our solar system, and ultimately, ourselves.

“We are now mapping structures across the sky,” astronomer Dr. Jay M. Pasachoff, director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., who was not involved in the great wall’s discovery, told The Huffington Post. “We’re learning how the universe grew up. So we’re learning about how our cluster of galaxies grew up and how our own galaxy grew up and how our sun formed, and how the Earth formed soon there after. We’re looking back at our history.”

Because astronomers are still mapping the sky, there just may be something even grander than the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall in our universe.

“The danger of finding the biggest, or most distant, or the oldest things in the universe is always that sooner or later someone is likely to come along and find something bigger, more distant, or older than the thing you found,” Hakkila said. “So far we have not been upstaged, but it has only been about six months since we published.”

The finding was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Google Adds Quantum Physics To Minecraft (PopSci.com)

This is the climax of nerdgasms everywhere: Minecraft + Google + Quantum Physics.


It’s as trippy as you suspect.

Minecraft,” the Lego-style, build-your-own-game game, has been the canvas for some awesome projects. (For just one example: this gigantic scientific graphing calculator.) Now Google’s Quantum A.I. Lab is taking it in an even weirder direction: quantum physics.

The team created a modified version of the game, called qCraft, that lets players explore the fundamentals of the field by playing in a world based on quantum principles. From a post on Google+ announcing the game:

We talked to our friends at MinecraftEdu and Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter and came up with a fun idea: a Minecraft modpack called qCraft. It lets players experiment with quantum behaviors inside Minecraft’s world, with new blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency.

Is it a true simulacrum of a blocky quantum universe? Ha, no. But considering just how strange the field is, that probably wouldn’t make for a fun game. Instead, it’s just a way of teaching the basics, and Google admits as much:

Of course, qCraft isn’t a perfect scientific simulation, but it’s a fun way for players to experience a few parts of quantum mechanics outside of thought experiments or dense textbook examples.

You can download the game here.

How to Walk Like a Ninja: An Illustrated Guide (ArtOfManliness.com)

Just in time for Halloween. Now your walk can match your talk!


Walk Like a Ninja 3

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to learn how to walk silently through the night like a ninja. It’s an incredibly useful skill, allowing you not only to stealthily assassinate your archenemy, but also steal cookies from coworkers, check to see if toddlers are still sleeping without waking them, or sneak across your creaky wood floors to scare the bejeezus out of your roommate.

Inspired by Secrets of the Ninja by Ashida Kim. I stumbled upon this book back when I was in middle school. Definitely a fun read.

Hungry? Try A 3-D Printed Extra Cheese Pizza For Dinner (BitRebels.com)

I can’t imagine this tastes that great, but it’s probably better than some of the bargain basement brands in the grocery store. This would also open the door to essentially most baked and pastry-type items since they’ve managed the basic “dough with toppings” delivery system.


3d-printed-cheese-pizza

Researchers have been talking about 3D printing food for a long time, but when NASA decided it was time to find new ways to provide food to astronauts on long trips (like to Mars), 3D printed food became more relevant than ever. As earth’s population continues to grow fast, some people believe 3D printed food is the future of food. I have to admit, it sounds tastier than eating bugs for protein. This 3D printed cheese pizza actually looks pretty good.

It’s clear that in the future, we will no longer have huge grocery stores stocked with everything we could ever want to buy. We’ll have to get more creative about food as it relates to our survival. With over 7 billion people on the planet, and with more people born every day, there really is no other option. 3D printed food sounds good to me, especially when it’s a cheese pizza. According to news station KXAN:

“Powdered ingredients that can keep for years are mixed into individual vessels. A heated plate then receives a square of dough, a layer of sauce, and some cheese topping. Twelve minutes later – voila – an appetizing little pizza.”

The top layer of the printer is what melts the cheese. If NASA is able to send 3D printers into space, they’ll save a ton of room in the spaceship since they won’t have to pack all those boxes of food for the trip. Also, the astronauts would have a much more appealing diet than just eating space food for every meal.

This reminds me of the movie Matrix, and how they talked about the goop they had to eat each day. I’m sure they would have liked to have a 3D printer to make a cheese pizza instead of that juicy oatmeal stuff they ate. If you want to see a 3D printer create even more food, click over here to 3D Printing Industry and watch a printer make some pretty creative looking pancakes. Someday we might all have a food printer in our kitchen. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

3D Printed Cheese Pizza Looks Delish

World’s First Quantum Metamaterial Unveiled (TechnologyReview.com)

Quantum isn’t just for abstract theories anymore. It’s now comes in a working “metamaterial” variety.


German researchers have designed, built, and tested the first metamaterial made out of superconducting quantum resonators.

In recent years, physicists have been excitedly exploring the potential of an entirely new class of materials known as metamaterials. This stuff is built from repeating patterns of sub-wavelength-sized structures that interact with photons, steering them in ways that are impossible with naturally occuring materials.

The first metamaterials were made from split-ring resonators (C-shaped pieces of metal) the size of dimes that were designed to interact with microwaves with a wavelength of a few centimetres. These metamaterials had exotic properties such as a negative refractive index that could bend light “the wrong way”.

But they were far from perfect, not least because the split-ring resonators introduced losses because of their internal resistance.

It doesn’t take much imagination to think of a solution to this problem: use superconducting resonators that have zero internal resistance.

And that’s a good idea in theory. In practice, however, it is hugely challenging. Apart from the obvious difficulty of operating at superconducting temperatures just above absolute zero, the main problem is that superconducting resonators are quantum devices with strange  quantum properties that are fragile and difficult to handle.

In particular, these properties are exponentially sensitive to the physical shape of the resonator. So tiny differences between one resonator and another can lead to huge differences in their resonant frequency.

And since metamaterials are periodic arrays of structures with identical properties,  that’s a problem. Indeed, nobody has ever made a quantum metamaterial for precisely this reason.

Today that changes thanks to the work of Pascal Macha at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and a few pals. These guys have built and tested the first quantum metamaterial, which they constructed as an array of 20 superconducting quantum circuits embedded in a microwave resonator.

This experiment is a significant challenge. These guys fabricated their quantum circuits out of aluminium in a niobium resonator, which they operated below 20 milliKelvin.

Their success comes from two factors. The first was in minimising the differences between each quantum circuit  so there was less than a 5 per cent difference in the current passing through each.

The second was in clever design. A quantum circuit influences an incoming photon by interacting with it. To do this as a group, the quantum circuits must also interact with each other.

The problem in the past is that physicists had arranged the circuits in series so that the combined state must be a superposition of the states of all the circuits. So if a single circuit was out of kilter, the entire experiment failed.

Macha and co got around this by embedding the quantum circuits inside a microwave resonator – a chamber about a wavelength long in which the microwaves become trapped.

To interact with a photon, each quantum circuit need only couple with the resonator itself and its nearest neighbours. That’s much easier to do with a large ensemble of quantum circuits.

And the results  show that it worked, at least in part.

The interaction with the quantum circuits changes the phase of the outgoing photons in subtle but measurable ways. So by studying this change, Macha and co were able to work out exactly what kind of interaction was occurring.

What they saw was that eight of the circuits formed a coherent group that influenced the photons. But over time, this dissociated into two separate groups of four quantum circuits.

That raises the tantalising question of why the large ensemble dissociated into two smaller ones, something that Macha and co will surely be investigating in future work.

It also raises the prospect of a new generation of devices. “Quantum circuits…based on this proof-of-principle experiment offer a wide range of prospects, from detecting single microwave photons to phase switching, quantum birefringence and superradiant phase transitions,” say Macha and co.

All in all, a significant first step for quantum metamaterials.

Spaceship Sizes From Across The Galaxy (Massively.com)

This chart is a massive undertaking. I’m not even sure how he found “specs” for the majority of these, but major kudos to Dirk (and Dan Carlson) on this effort! Super nerdy in the best way possible.


Sci-fi ship chart compares size of ships from EVE, Star Wars, and more

Have you ever been curious about the size comparisons between an Amarr Avatar-Class Titan from EVE Online and a Universe-Class Mass Conveyor from Warhammer 40K? You have?! Well, you’re in luck because DeviantArt user ~DirkLoechel has been assembling one of the largest and most comprehensive size-comparison charts for sci-fi ships.

The chart, which is still an ongoing project, spotlights the ship sizes from many of the most popular sci-fi universes out there, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, and more than a dozen more. Heck, it even has the Red Dwarf on there.

Head over the ~DirkLoechel’s page to see more from this monstrous chart.

[Massively Editor’s note: Dirk Loechel has expanded on the original done by Dan Carlson.]

WildStar: Shiphand Missions Explained

This sounds like an interesting addition to overall game mechanics for WildStar. Basically, they’re repeatable, progressive, instanced quests (like a mini dungeon) that scale from 1-5 players so you can solo or bring friends. Definitely great that you’ll get to revisit these quests as your friends enjoy content for the first time and meet a harder challenge the more folks you bring to the party.


WILDSTAR WEDNESDAY: ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR SHIPHAND MISSIONS!

Hey, everyone!

I’m Kristen “Caydiem” DeMeza, Content Designer and a Zone Lead on WildStar. For this WildStar Wednesday, I’m here to talk to you about a special type of mission you’ll find throughout Nexus during your leveling experience: Shiphand Missions!

Throughout the sci-fi genre, one thing is plain: terrible things happen aboard spaceships. Alien invasions, rogue technologies, strange illnesses, rowsdowers stuck in the exhaust – whatever the crisis, flying through space is bound to get you in trouble. Now, we here at Carbine are huge sci-fi nerds ourselves, and since we’re putting together a sci-fi game, we wanted to bring those crazy ship experiences into play. When it’s time to make a shiphand, we get together to talk about major themes and particular moments that stood out in the sci-fi we know and love. Movies, TV shows, books, games, comics… we look at all sorts of things to find common threads among them all to draw upon. From there, we design out the mission, do a little story wranglin’, and end up with something uniquely WildStar.

You’ll find shiphands occasionally as you work your way across Nexus. A concerned pilot will be milling about by their away ship, seeking out pioneers to help them with some disaster that’s happened offworld. Take the quest, board their ship, and you’ll be whisked away to somewhere completely different to troubleshoot – which probably means literally shooting the trouble. Shiphands play like extended, sequential quests. You uncover the problems as you move through the ship and fix ‘em up. Shiphands have optional objectives if you want to go above and beyond, too – and that grateful Ekose captain at the end of the road will definitely take note of your efforts.

Leveling with friends? No problem! Shiphand missions are scalable from one to five players. Go it alone or bring in your posse; you can play it either way! And if you have a friend who hasn’t done it yet who wants a little company, you’re in luck – shiphands are repeatable. Some have random elements to spice up the experience of going back through, too. Shiphands are ideal for doing something a little more involved than a normal quest with a few friends. They’re not as challenging as dungeons or adventures; they’re just a fun vacation from Nexus for about 15-45 minutes of your time.

And those experiences vary wildly. You could end up on an asteroid, exploring the mystery behind the mining operation’s sudden silence. Another ship might take you to a space station where the whole crew has started hallucinating due to a laboratory accident – and it looks like they’re fresh out of gas masks. You may even find yourself an unwilling contestant on the Darkspur Cartel’s infamous bloodsport reality show, The Gauntlet!

It’s the goal of a shiphand mission to put you right in the thick of a classic sci-fi dilemma. If WildStar were a TV show, these shiphands would fit right in as episodes… but this time, you’re the star!

If you want to try out shiphands before WildStar’s released to the masses, sign up for beta and look for your friendly neighborhood Ekose captain and his ship – it’s patched and spaceworthy!

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