Turn Your Quadcopter Into The Best Halloween Decoration Ever (Gizmodo.com)

This is pretty great. If I walked up to some house and this thing came at me from behind, I’d be rather startled. ūüôā

Turn Your Quadcopter Into the Best Halloween Decoration Ever

Once you realize how boring your neighborhood is from the air, that expensive quadcopter you bought should find a good home in the rafters of your garage. But don’t bury it too deep, you’ll need access to it around Halloween every year because Alton Porter has come up with the perfect use for your forgotten drone: turn it into a¬†flying banshee.

There’s no explanation of how this floating ghost came to be, but watching¬†the video¬†it’s not hard to deconstruct. All you’ll need is a hollow plastic skull, a pair of glowing red LEDs, some lightweight fabric to complete the costume, and the quadcopter you’ve already lost interest in.

Put them all together and you’ve got the perfect Halloween decoration that you can actually take with you trick-or-treating and terrorize the whole neighborhood. Just make sure you’re extra careful at the controls, because long strands of dangling fabric and spinning rotors definitely don’t mix. [Alton Porter¬†via¬†Motherboard¬†via¬†Laughing Squid]

Coke’s “Downtown In A Box” Delivers Clean Water And Wi-Fi To Africa (Gizmodo.com)

Time will tell how truly useful this will be and at what cost. The benefits of having readily available refrigeration for vaccines alone could be priceless. DesignBoom.com mentions each unit can purify up to 800 liters of water per day (or about 211 gallons).

Coca-Cola’s global distribution channels are so well-developed that a Coke can get pretty much anywhere on the planet‚ÄĒeven places where there’s no access to fresh water. But Coke is working on that, too. As part of its mission to bring drinking water to the communities it serves, the company has developed a solar-powered, Wi-Fi-equipped kiosk with a water purification system‚ÄĒand it plans to drop them in 20 countries by 2015.

Coke's "Downtown in a Box" Delivers Clean Water and Wi-Fi to Africa

The¬†EKOCENTER, as it’s called, is a modified shipping container outfitted with satellite communications and a¬†Slingshot water distiller¬†designed by Dean Kamen (yes, of Segway fame; there’s a¬†long list of other partners¬†that include IBM and UPS). The solar panels on the roof not only power the purification system and the Wi-Fi, they also act as a shelter from the sun.

In addition, each EKOCENTER may provide “basic necessities” like food, refrigerated vaccination storage and health education. The images here are from a pilot program currently up and running in Heidelberg, South Africa, and there should be at least one more installed by the end of 2013. They estimate that they could provide access to safe water to 500,000 people by 2015.

Coke's "Downtown in a Box" Delivers Clean Water and Wi-Fi to Africa

The EKOCENTER is basically an expanded, semi-permanent version of the ColaLife project, where Coke uses the¬†extra space in their crates to ship medicine. It should, of course, be part of Coke’s mandate to provide water, medicine, and healthy food to places where they’re also selling diabetes-inducing soda. But perhaps even more interesting is what Coke representative called the kiosk to New York Times¬†reporter: “We’re calling it a downtown in a box.”

The big idea here is that improved access to basic needs plus Wi-Fi can spur economic development. In fact, this is part of another one of their grand plans: The 5by20 program (so many programs, Coke!) to empower five million women entrepreneurs by 2020 (so many goals, Coke!).

Okay, perhaps, yes‚ÄĒgiving people Wi-Fi could help them to accept payments for their business or take classes or get a loan or something like that. At the very least, you’d hope these things had tons of outlets so they could serve as a charging station for mobile phones. But a “downtown”? Um, no.¬†Maybe¬†a library. But even then, it lacks the basic infrastructure (SEATING) and amenities of a true community center. Perhaps it’s up to the local residents to build these things, but to suggest that they don’t already have their own economic hubs and/or public plazas is insulting. Of course they do.

Fresh water and solar power are very nice of Coke to provide, in addition to marketing their products. But let’s just call this EKOCENTER what it is: A glorified concession stand. [Coca-Cola via¬†New York Times]

NASA Finds Water On Mars (Gizmodo.com)

This is a stunning discovery. Of course, finding clay (or water after a sample’s been super-heated) isn’t the same thing as finding drinking water, but it does mean more excitement and interest will be eyeballing NASA. I believe we need far more money spent on space (and undersea) exploration.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Just Found Water in Martian Soil

Just when you thought ol’ Curiosity was digging in for the winter, the little discovery machine came up with a doozy: It¬†discovered water in Martian soil. NASA scientists just¬†published five papers¬†in¬†Science¬†detailing the experiments that led to the discovery. That’s right. There’s water on Mars.

Impressive as it is, though, the discovery comes with some caveats. It’s not like Curiosity stumbled on a lost lake under a mountain or a stream trickling across the landscape. Rather, it found water molecules bound to other minerals in Martian soil. There’s¬†kind of a lot of it, too. Researchers say that every cubic foot of Martian soil contains about two pints of liquid water. All things told, about two percent of the Martian soil is made of up water.

“We tend to think of Mars as this dry place‚ÄĒto find water fairly easy to get out of the soil at the surface was exciting to me,” Laurie Leshin, dean of science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,¬†told¬†The Guardian.¬†She also explained how the discovery was made. Curiosity picked up and sieved a scoop of soil from the surface before dropping it into an on-board oven. “We heat [the soil] up to 835C and drive off all the volatiles and measure them,” she said. “We have a very sensitive way to sniff those and we can detect the water and other things that are released.”

Of course, this isn’t the first sign of water on the red planet. Back in June, Curiosity scooped up a rock specimen that¬†contained a type of clay¬†only be formed in neutral water telling scientists that Mars was once home to running water. And of course, scientists¬†have long suspected water once existed on the planet due to various formations across the Martian landscape. In fact, it’s widely believed that water existed in abundance on Mars, perhaps just as prominently as it does on Earth.

The discovery is important for a number of reasons, but especially exciting because of what this means for future missions to Mars. “We now know there should be abundant, easily accessible water on Mars,” says Leshin. “When we send people, they could scoop up the soil anywhere on the surface, heat it just a bit, and obtain water.” She makes it life on Mars sound so easy; now we just have to figure out how to get around that¬†the quantity of deadly radiation¬†we’ll encounter on the trip over. [Science¬†via¬†The Guardian

Update (5pm): We reached out to Dean Leshin to ask what the discovery of water meant for the larger question of life on Mars, and she replied with a shade of optimism:

Although we found water bound up in the soil particles, it’s still pretty dry. Also, we didn’t find evidence of organic molecules in the soil. So, this doesn’t have a very big bearing on the life on Mars discussion. However, we now know that our instruments are working beautifully, and our next step is to drill into rocks that may have been better places to preserve evidence or organics and of wet environments that could be suitable for life.

Robots, Humans, and Animations Dance (Gizmodo.com)

This is phenomenal.

Combine robots, 3D graphics, and actors and what do you get?¬†Box, an amazing performance by San Francisco-based engineering firm¬†Bot & Dolly.¬†It’s a short film that explores how the digital world interacts with the real world.

Originally performed live, Box is equal parts art and technical demonstration. Bot & Dolly explain:

It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

A little more on those technologies: The piece uses one SCOUT and two IRIS robotic motion control systems that are based on Kuka robots, as well as two high-res projectors. The software that makes Box happen integrates with an Autodesk program called Maya, and was designed in-house at Bot & Dolly. This could easily be a scene from The Matrix, right? [Bot & Dolly via Creators Project via Engadget]

DIY Bioluminescent Zen Fountain (Gizmodo.com)

Bioluminescence has always intrigued me. Having this in my home? That’s amazing.


Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

Bioluminescence is awesome. Essentially the production of light by a living organism, e.g. fireflies, certain types of jellyfish, etc‚ÄĒbut it doesn’t just occur in animals. There’s even some plant life that has the potential to give off that lovely, ethereal glow. And as Mark Rober shows us in the video above, you can even harness that power to become your very own natural, eerie, and totally beautiful light source.

Because fortunately for us, bioluminescent sea algae is perfect for our purposes and just happens to be¬†for sale¬†as a water mixture on our good ol’ friend, the internet.

Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

The only problem is that, to get that nice blue sheen, the water has to be constantly in motion. Which is where Rober got the genius idea to make use of a flowing zen fountain. The algae in the water will, unfortunately, eventually run out of energy and thus light, but until that happens, you’ve got yourself a fantastically clever and stunning lamp to light up the night.

The World’s Tallest Building Offers An Incredible View (Gizmodo.com)

I have friends who keep telling me I must visit Dubai soon and this view is intense. Following the Beautiful Cities Twitter feed makes me wish I was constantly traveling.


The World’s Tallest Building Looks Badass From A Helicopter

There’s a lot to¬†know¬†about Dubai’s towering Burj Khalifa. Every¬†creak¬†and¬†every inch¬†is constantly monitored and explored. But sometimes you just want to see something lit up in all its glory. And that’s the point where you get in a helicopter and go take some awesome night shots. You have access to a helicopter, right?

If not the¬†Beautiful Cities¬†twitter feed has you covered. All of the Burj Khalifa’s 2,722 feet are shining here and the buildings around it, though dwarfed in comparison of course, look psychedelic too. Really makes you forget the tower’s never ending financial woes for a minute. [Beautiful Cities]

Original Gizmodo.com Article

The Complete Visual History of Wolverine’s Costumes (Gizmodo.com)

This infographic is all kinds of awesome. Wolverine’s had over 20 costume changes in nearly 40 years; that’s better than my wardrobe. And it’s just in time for us to draw comparisons prior to next week’s release of ¬†“The Wolverine”.¬†Thanks, Gizmodo!


The Biggest Transformer Ever, Standing Next to Stuff (Gizmodo.com)

The original article has quite a few photos of Metroplex standing next to things like people, tall people, toys, keys, and even stacked coffee cups. Given he won’t fit on a shelf, where would you store him (and his individually articulating fingers)?


For some reason, we were sent Metroplex, the biggest Transformer that’s ever been made (yes, bigger than Fortress Maximus). We stood him next to a bunch of stuff. Here’s how it went.

Original Gizmodo Article

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