Thursday, February 28, 2008

Military Steps Up War On Blogs

Posted by kdawson on Thursday February 28, @03:21PM
from the don't-post-don't-read dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The military's war on blogs, first reported last spring, is picking up. Now the Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read. One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'"

Endangered turtle seeks prosthetic flipper

Picture the saddest thing you can think of. Now imagine a sea turtle with only one flipper, who's stuck swimming in a never-ending counterclockwise circle -- over and over, round and round, getting absolutely nowhere. Which sucks worse?

That's the fate of Allison, an injured sea turtle discovered by tourists off the Texas coast. The unfortunate amphibian was missing three of her flippers -- most likely lost after a run-in with a motor boat -- but has been kept alive with antibiotics and force-feedings of squid. Her life, such as it is, could go on indefinitely in captivity, round and round, round and round, but with even two flippers she might have a chance of a semi-normal existence back in the wild.

Subsequently, she's on the hunt for a prosthetic replacement.

Professors at the University of Texas are on the job, creating the turtle limb in the same way they'd make a nose or an ear -- then testing it in sea water to make sure it won't dissolve in the ocean.

So keep your eyes peeled next time you're vacationing in the gulf. You might just catch a glimpse of the bionic turtle! Now, if only Allison could solve crimes and fight criminals -- we'd have ourselves a mini-series.

Orlando Bloom: Water conservationist, or just needs to bath more often?

When you're hot, famous, and rich, you get to do whatever you want. Just look at Orlando Bloom. Clearly concerned with his water usage and all-around environmental impact, the actor reportedly doesn't bath or wash his clothes. (And when I say "reportedly," I mean that it was "reported" on Star magazine's website, which means that this information comes from a highly credible yet anonymous "source" -- and could not be more true!)

But it seems the star's eco-friendly ways have been derailed by his stupid planet-hating girlfriend. Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr, who Bloom's been shacking up with, has a problem with the smell, and has demanded that he start showering, wash his clothes, stop sleeping with the dog, etc.

Lame. Here is a man who was walking the path to a healthier environment, but thanks to the overly-delicate olfactory glands of some lady friend, he's sending us spiraling towards global drought conditions. Shame on you, Miranda Kerr, shame on you!

Granted, if a Victoria's Secret model asked me to do anything -- really, no matter what it was -- it'd be done in a heartbeat. So it's cool Orlando, I understand.

Researchers working to teach creepy baby robot to talk

The iCub robot was already doing pretty well for itself in the creepiness department, but a group of researchers from the University of Plymouth are now working to take things one big step further, by teaching the so-called "baby robot" to talk (as opposed to teaching it baby talk). That will supposedly be done over the next four years, during which time the researchers will work with language development specialists who normally study how parents teach children to speak. Eventually, they hope that the robot will be able to perform basic tasks like stacking wooden blocks, and be able name objects and actions so that it can speak basic phrases like "robot puts stick on cube" or "I want more life, father." What's more, while the research hasn't even begun yet, one of the professors involved sees it as nothing short of a milestone, saying that "the outcome of the research will define the scientific and technological requirements for the design of humanoid robots able to develop complex behavioural, thinking and communication skills through individual and social learning." Unless the robot gets some ideas of its own, that is.

[Image courtesy of BBC News]

Microsoft Internal Emails Show Dismay With Vista

Posted by kdawson on Thursday February 28, @01:14PM
from the you-scratch-my-back dept.
bfwebster writes "Microsoft is currently facing a class-action suit over its designation of allegedly under-powered hardware as being 'Vista Capable.' The discovery process of that lawsuit has now compelled Microsoft to produce some internal emails discussing those issues. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has published extracts of some of those emails, along with a link to a a PDF file containing a more extensive email exchange. The emails reflect a lot of frustration among senior Microsoft personnel about Vista's performance problems and hardware incompatibilities. They also appear to indicate that Microsoft lowered the hardware requirements for 'Vista Capable' in order to include certain lower-end Intel chipsets, apparently as a favor to Intel: 'In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded.' Read the whole PDF; it is informative, interesting, and at times (unintentionally) funny."

AIBO matches real dogs in chasing away loneliness, research claims

While robot / human relations seem to be fairly solid at the moment, it looks like the fight has long since been on between canines and their robotic counterparts. Some researchers at Saint Louis University compared Sony's AIBO with a mutt named Sparky at three different nursing homes, to see how residents would respond. Maybe Sparky just isn't that affable, but the researchers found that AIBO and his living breathing competition were both equally successful in alleviating loneliness. AIBO also has the added advantage of, erm, cleanliness, and is easier for senior citizens to take care of, so it looks like Sparky is pretty much out of a job. Get used to it, buddy, it's called outsourcing.

[Via Tech Digest]

IBM Measures Force Required To Move Atoms

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday February 28, @10:18AM
from the i-bet-i'm-strong-enough-to-do-that dept.
Tjeerd writes "IBM scientists, in collaboration with the University of Regensburg in Germany, are the first ever to measure the force it takes to move individual atoms on a surface. This fundamental measurement provides important information for designing future atomic-scale devices: computer chips, miniaturized storage devices, and more." I've attached a video if you are interested.

NASA to Demonstrate Moon Rover

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday February 28, @11:10AM
from the 0-to-60-in-never dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA will this week demonstrate its lunar robot rover equipped with a drill designed to find water and oxygen-rich soil on the moon. NASA said the engineering challenge of building such as drilling system was daunting because a robot rover designed for prospecting within lunar craters has to operate in continual darkness at extremely cold temperatures with little power. The moon has one-sixth the gravity of Earth, so a lightweight rover will have a difficult job resisting drilling forces and remaining stable.The project is just one demonstration of the collaboration NASA is utilizing to bring together its next moon shot. For example, Carnegie Mellon was responsible for the robot's design and testing, and the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology built the drilling system. NASA's Glenn Research Center contributed the rover's power management system. NASA's Ames Research Center built a system that navigates the rover in the dark. The Canadian Space Agency funded a Neptec camera that builds three-dimensional images of terrain using laser light, NASA said."

Where's Our Terabit Ethernet?

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday February 28, @11:52AM
from the i-already-made-a-bandwidth-pr0n-joke-today dept.
carusoj writes "Five years ago, we were talking about using Terabit Ethernet in 2008. Those plans have been pushed back a bit, but Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe this week is starting to throw around a new date for Terabit Ethernet: 2015. He's also suggesting that this be done in a non-standard way, at least at first, saying it's an opportunity to "break loose from the stranglehold of standards and move into some fun new technologies.""

Wipe clean, wipe green: a guide to eco-TP

A lot of attention gets paid to going green in the bathroom. Eco toilets, recycling human waste, celebrity wiping habits, a lot of time gets spent on this issue -- and it may be justified. The NRDC estimates that if every household in the US switched just one roll of 'virgin' toilet paper with a roll of the recycled stuff, it would save 423,900 trees.

Here's the problem: the bathroom tissue aisle at the supermarket can be a frustrating place. It's a decision that you really don't want to spend much time on, yet when you get to the aisle there are a bajillion different choices. If you want to get in and get out quick, you've got to have a "go-to" brand. Here are a few suggestions:

  • 365 recycled TP is at the top of the Nation Resources Defence Council's list. It wins out with using over 80% of post consumer waste, and of course it's chlorine free. The only downside is that it's only available at Whole Foods, since it's their house brand.
  • Seveth Generation toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper, with a minimum of 80% post consumer waste. It's bleached with a earth friendly chlorine-free process. Find Seventh Generation products.
  • Eco-Soft is Green Seal certified, so you can rest assured that you're getting a product that's good you the environment -- although it may not be super soft on your bum. The "soft" in Eco-soft is referring more to its soft impact on the environment. It's available in 2-ply, but as far as comfort goes -- think institutional.
Cascades 100% Recycled toilet tissue is chlorine free, and the company claims to use 80% less water than the industry average to produce its fine bathroom tissue.

Are solar panels really green?

Are solar panels really worth their eco-footprint? The debate on small-scale renewable energy devices continues to go back and forth as we, the consumers, try do determine whether we're doing harm or good by investing in these nascent technologies. While a professor at UC Berkeley says that solar panels -- in their current form -- are really nothing but a financial sinkhole, Vasilis M. Fthenakis of Brookhaven National Laboratory gives solar manufacturing two green thumbs up.

The environmental impact of producing the 3 main types of photovoltaic cells is relatively small -- the greenest being the thin-film cadmium telluride cells. These findings are based on a PV cell's lifecycle analysis, not on their viability as a mass energy source. Per GWh, solar panels produce far less emissions than a typical power source like coal. In other words, if all of our power magically came from solar panels, it would reduce our nation's energy emissions by 89%.

That said, a solar setup costs around $90,000 to install and produces a whopping $19,000 - $51,000 worth of electricity over its lifetime. That's not exactly the kind of equation that makes me want to run to the bank and get a loan.
Related Link

Researchers Transmit Optical Data at 16.4 Tbps 2550km

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday February 28, @08:41AM
from the someone-compute-the-porntential dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "The goal of 100 Gbps Ethernet transmission is closer to reality with the announcement Wednesday that Alcatel-Lucent researchers have recorded an optical transmission record along with three photonic integrated circuits. Carried out by researchers in Bell Labs in Villarceaux, France, the successful transmission of 16.4 Tbps of optical data over 2,550 km was assisted by Alcatel's Thales' III-V Lab and Kylia, an optical solution company. The researchers utilized 164 wavelength-division multiplexed channels modulated at 100-Gbps in the effort."

Microsoft Firefly: Hungry Hungry Hippos for Surface

Oh boy, if ever there was a worthy use case for a giant $10k multi-touch table, it's a serene port of Hungry Hungry Hippos called Firefly, which Microsoft developed as a proof of concept for Surface. Just gather them into your jar. Go on, gather 'em up, those 100,000 fireflies aren't going to gather themselves. Video after the break.

Professor decries robotic killing machines, clearly prefers to do killing himself

So the military is continuing down the totally inevitable path of computer-controlled autonomous robo-warriors capable of fighting deadly human battles on our behalf -- and out come the naysayers like U of Sheffield prof Noel Sharkey, who, at The Ethics of Autonomous Military Systems conference in London, decried the bots' self-determined killing abilities as "a threat to humanity" -- especially if they're captured and re-purposed by terrorists to do their evil bidding. Sharkey exclaimed that he's "worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies [him]," but -- and we're just gonna throw this out there -- what if being oppressed by a race of automatons run amok were actually an improvement over our corrupt governments of men? Isn't that a possibility, too? We're certainly going to keep telling ourselves it is, thankful we've somehow managed to not be overthrown by our own creations. Thus far.

Wave Powered Boat to Sail From Hawaii to Japan

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday February 28, @07:50AM
from the clean-sailing-ahead dept.
CaroKann writes "In the middle of May 2008, Kenichi Horie, an adventurer known for such feats as paddling a pedal powered boat 4,660 miles from Hawaii to Okinawa in 1993, will be sailing a wave powered boat from Honolulu's Hawaii Yacht Club to the Kii Channel in Japan. The boat, a 3-ton catamaran named the Suntory Mermaid II, works by virtue of the fins located at the front of the boat. These fins "generate thrust force by moving up and down like the tails of dolphins and whales and absorbing the energy of the waves." The system can propel the boat no matter which direction the waves come from. Because the wave propulsion system absorbs the energy from the waves, a passenger on the boat will experience a smooth ride. With a top speed of about 5 knots, the journey is expected to take about 2 to 3 months."

ZeroFootprint tells you how dirty you are

I am one sad, sorry sack of carbon. According to website ZeroFootprint Toronto, my planetary ecological impact is embarassingly high, to a point where I'm probably personally responsible for the imminent extinction of several endangered species.

Built in partnership of the City of Toronto and a number of corporate sponsors, Zerofootprint Toronto allows residents to complete a short quiz and find out how their personal CO2 emissions compare with their fellow citizens down the street and across the country.

The questionnaire asks about things like how you travel, what you eat, and how diligent you are about recycling, before spitting out your carbon footprint in annual metric tonnes of CO2. Once you've gotten your results and realized how disgusting you are, you can move on to the next section, which gives tips on actions you can take to improve your performance and asks you to pledge to actually do them.

The site also includes forums to chat and exchange ideas with like-minded folks, as well as a marketplace to find local green businesses.

So how'd I do? Well, my number was just north of 15 tonnes per year (versus the national average of 10.1 tonnes and the Toronto average of 8.6 tonnes), mostly because I got on a few planes last year. However, if I don't fly, I'll be back in average territory, and if I stop heating the house, I'll be a carbon superstar.

Related Link

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NASA Plans to Smash Spacecraft into the Moon

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday February 28, @04:15AM
from the hit-it-hard dept.
djasbestos writes "NASA is planning to smash a spacecraft into the Moon in order to look for hydrogen deposits in the poles. More notably, it will impact with significantly greater force (100x, per the article) than previous Moon collisions, such as by the Lunar Prospector and Smart-1 probes. Admiral Ackbar was unreachable for comment as to the exact location and size of the Moon's thermal exhaust port."

Killer Military Robot Arms Race Underway?

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wednesday February 27, @04:21PM
from the skynet-unavailable-for-comment dept.
coondoggie writes to tell us NetworkWorld is reporting that one researcher seems to think that a military robot arms race may be imminent between both governments and terrorists. "We are beginning to see the first steps towards an international robot arms race and it may not be long before robots become a standard terrorist weapon to replace the suicide bomber, according to professor Noel Sharkey, from the Royal United Services Institute Department of Computer Science. [...] Currently there is always a human in the loop to decide on the use of lethal force. However, this is set to change with the US giving priority to autonomous weapons - robots that will decide on where, when and who to kill, according to the professor."

The ultimate time capsule: all the seeds in the world

If a really scary thing ever happens to the entire biosphere, we'll be ready. Sort of. This week in Norway, the Norwegian government opens a vault everyone's calling the "doomsday" seed vault. They built their underground bunker way up in the really cold part of Norway, in the Svalbard islands. These islands must have been the inspiration for that polar bear kingdom in "The Golden Compass", though there are, unfortunately, no armored, talking bears guarding the vault - just regular, non-verbal polar bears, who are plenty scary on their own, thank you. The vault holds millions of seeds underground, packed in foil, at subzero temperatures, which means they could be dormant for hundreds or thousands of years without dying. It was constructed so that these seeds would be protected in the case of disaster (nuclear? asteroid hitting the planet? the Singularity? we've got the straight dope on end-of-the-world scenarios, here). More prosaically, however, the vault could also prove useful in the case of agricultural foul-ups that might render some seeds extinct in their original forms.
Related Link

Alaskan Village Sues Over Global Warming

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wednesday February 27, @01:30PM
from the quit-pissin-in-our-pool dept.
hightower_40 writes to mention that a small Alaskan village has sued two dozen oil, power, and coal companies, blaming them for contributing to global warming. "Sea ice traditionally protected the community, whose economy is based in part on salmon fishing plus subsistence hunting of whale, seal, walrus, and caribou. But sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm waves and surges that lash coastal"

Grand Canyon tsunami?

If you're planning on rafting through the Grand Canyon for spring break, you might want to check your travel dates with the Department of the Interior -- it could end up being a pretty wild ride. That's because river authorities are planning a man-made flood for sometime in March. The wall of water will be released from the Glen Canyon dam, raising the flow by 41,000 cubic feet per second -- that's 5 times the normal rate -- for 3 days.

The idea is to simulate a flood, flushing out non-native fish while reshaping beaches with the abundance of new silt flowing through. Native fish like the humpback chub rely on the beaches for breeding grounds, beaches that have been constantly eroding since the Glen Canyon Dam was built in 1963. It seems counter-intuitive, but the rush of water released from the dam will actually restore beaches, not wash them away.

Environmental groups argue that this kind of flooding exercise should be done regularly to help maintain the beaches. After all, the Grand Canyon was once a warm and muddy stretch of the Colorado River, prone to erratic flooding. Now it's more like a regulated pipeline -- a pipeline that you can raft down.
Related Link

Giant Sheets Of Dark Matter Detected

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wednesday February 27, @12:48PM
from the universal-coffee-filter dept.
Wandering Wombat writes "The largest structures in the universe have been, if not directly found, then at least detected and pounced upon by scientists. 'The most colossal structures in the universe have been detected by astronomers who tuned into how the structures subtly bend galactic light. The newfound filaments and sheets of dark matter form gigantic features stretching across more than 270 million light-years of space — three times larger than any other known structure and 2,000 times the size of our own galaxy. Because the dark matter, by definition, is invisible to telescopes, the only way to detect it on such grand scales is by surveying huge numbers of distant galaxies and working out how their images, as seen from telescopes, are being weakly tweaked and distorted by any dark matter structures in intervening space.' By figuring how to spot the gigantic masses of dark matter, hopefully we can get a better understanding of it and find smaller and smaller structures."

Silicon womb" enters human testing in the UK

In-vitro fertilization may soon become much more effective, if a new device dubbed the "silicon womb" comes out of testing successfully. Currently test-tube embryos are developed in an incubator, but the .2-inch long silicon womb, produced by Anecova, allows them to be implanted inside the mother for up to four days, during which time they're exposed to the uterus through 360 40-micron holes. The goal is to develop stronger, more resilient embryos for eventual pregnancy, but a small test in Belgium has so far proven inconclusive as to the device's effectiveness -- and some researchers doubt it'll work at all, since the embryos will be located in the uterus rather than the fallopian tubes where they would naturally develop. Still, there's hope that the environment inside the uterus will be an effective substitute -- to quote one researcher, "it's a lot closer to a fallopian tube than a plastic tray." 40 women are signed up for testing starting today, but results aren't expected for some time.

Colder winter this year, with the most snow since '66

Well, guess what, many parts of the world are having a colder winter this year, with more snow. Lorne Gunter, in a column in Canada's National Post asks, does this mean global warming isn't real?

According to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. Snow cover over North America, Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966. The Arctic Sea ice has not only recovered, according to the Canadian Ice Service, but it's 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

Gunter makes this point, "If environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmists are being a tad premature."

Obviously, this is all much more complicated than isolated data points, and scientists agree that global warming is real and is happening. On the flip side, Gunter's collection of observations contrasts with what Nigel Taylor, one of the UK's most respected gardeners, concluded this year, "There is no winter anymore."

[Via PlanetSave]
Related Link

Asteroid Mission Competition Announces Winner

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday February 27, @07:58AM
from the too-close dept.
Riding with Robots writes "The Planetary Society invited participants to compete for $50,000 in prizes by designing a mission to rendezvous with and 'tag' a potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroid. The asteroid Apophis was used as the target for the mission design because it will come closer to Earth in 2029 than the orbit of geostationary satellites. The winning mission design is called Foresight, and calls for the use of off-the-shelf parts to undercut the price of other proposals. Here's a PDF of the winning proposal."

Spray painting the glaciers before they're gone

Quick! The glaciers are disappearing faster than ever before -- so before they're gone completely, don't miss your chance to spray paint them with graffiti!

At this point you may be asking yourself: "Huh? What kind of dumbass would want to tag an enormous chunk of disappearing ice?" This kind of dumbass, apparently.

Jan Philip Scharbert, a German tourist, was photographed adding his personal touch to the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand. Fortunately, those photographs led to his arrest.

The silver lining, however, is that after he was apprehended the little eco-tagger was sentenced to clean up his unfortunate art project. And what's even better, is that during the 1 1/2 days it took Scharbert to undue his handiwork, he was "severely dressed down" (which I can only assume means: "continually lambasted with expletives") by passing glacier guides and tourists. Take that!

So now the glacier is as good as new, and Scharbert is back in Germany. With any luck, his future artistic endeavors will be restricted to illegibly funky bubble-letters on train cars and amorous exclamations on highway overpasses.

[via BoingBoing]
Related Link

Homegrown security bot heckles vagrants, longs to be a real cop

Rufus Terrill's stocky handmade robot is more than your average drinking buddy -- in fact, the four-foot tall, 300-pound robotic security guard makes it his job to discourage vandals and vagabonds from marring the streets of Atlanta. The inventor is an engineer-turned-bar owner who got tired of drifters and thieves hanging around his business undeterred. Rather than calling in the professionals, he constructed a remote controlled robot that can flash a spotlight, blast out water and resist even the toughest of 40oz. cans that inevitably come its way. Best of all, he can even make the creature talk, and apparently, its array of scare tactics has been fairly effective thus far. Talk about protecting and serving.

[Via MetaFilter]
David passed me the Mom song. It is pretty funny, watch it here.

Reactor Shutdown Darkens South Florida

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday February 26, @06:49PM
from the glowing-in-the-dark dept.
grassy_knoll asks, "So how fragile is the electrical grid, and just what technical problems could shut down five reactors?" "Five reactors at a nuclear power plant in Florida had gone down on Tuesday and two were now back online amid a massive power outage in the southern state, CNN reported. The report on the Turkey Point nuclear plant came as four million people had lost electricity in Miami and elsewhere in Florida, with traffic signals out and major delays on roads, authorities and media said."

If IP Is Property, Where Is the Property Tax?

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday February 26, @08:36PM
from the making-the-world-safe-for-mickey dept.
nweaver writes "In a response to the LA Times editorial on copyright which we discussed a week ago, the paper published a response arguing: 'If Intellectual Property is actually property, why isn't it covered by a property tax?' If copyright maintenance involved paying a fee and registration, this would keep Mickey Mouse safely protected by copyright, while ensuring that works that are no longer economically relevant to the copyright holder pass into the public domain, where the residual social value can serve the real purpose of copyright: to enhance the progress of science and useful arts. Disclaimer: the author is my father."

Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Boardroom

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday February 27, @02:41AM
from the to-say-nothing-of-the-pocket-protector dept.
buzzardsbay writes "Yes, it's all in good fun to point out the mismatched belt and shoes and the atrocious hairstyles, but honestly, I'm committing three of these errors right now! Is that why I can't get a key to the executive washroom? Or is it my rebellious attitude and pungent man-scent that's keeping me down? The shocker in here was pigtails on women... I love pigtails on women!"

Astronomers Say Dying Sun Will Engulf Earth

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday February 27, @12:03AM
from the fire-next-time dept.
iamlucky13 writes "A minor academic debate among astronomers is the final fate of the earth. As the sun ages and enters the red giant stage of its life, it will heat up, making the earth inhospitable. It will also expand, driven by helium fusion so that its outer layers reach past the earth's current orbit. Previously it had been believed that the sun would lose enough mass to allow earth to escape to a more distant orbit, lifeless but intact. However, new calculations, which take into account tidal forces and drag from mass shed by the sun, suggest that the earth will have sufficiently slowed in that time to be dragged down to its utter destruction in 7.6 billion years. "

Encyclopedia of Life Launches First 30,000 Pages

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday February 27, @05:15AM
from the sure-is-loud-in-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes to let us know that the Encyclopedia of Life opened up to the public today with its first 30,000 pages in place — and, according to the AP, promptly crumbled even before being Slashdotted. (The site seems fine now.) We discussed this project last year when it was announced. The Telegraph has an overview of the launch, and reports that only 25 "exemplar" pages on the site are fully fleshed out to the extent scientists hope eventually to attain for all species; the other few tens of thousands are expanded placeholders. The project hopes to begin taking input from citizen-scientists late this year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Buzzing, copter-inspired Blowfly alarm clock goes on sale

We see far too many fabulous ideas that simply never make it to market for one reason or another, but after a lengthy stint in proverbial purgatory, the Blowfly alarm clock has hit production. The design looks a bit more mainstreamed that previous conceptions, but the functionality remains in tact and looks to be the perfect annoyance to force you to rise in the early AM. Sporting a shiny black base, blue backlit LCD, large-format numbers, and the obligatory mini-copter launcher, this alarm clocks purportedly blasts the chopper into the air whenever you're supposed to awake, and unless you get up, catch the flying object, and place it back into the clock, that awful screeching nose simply will not cease. So if you're the world's worse snooze abuser, and you don't mind stumbling around your room with eyes half closed, you can cure that late arrival syndrome for just DKK299 ($53).

Fire alarm bell repurposed for waking the dead

For those who could easily sleep through a tornado (or similar), there are a plethora of alarm clocks out there designed to wake even you up. Still, there's nothing like crafting a suitable alternative yourself, and the folks over at Hacked Gadgets decided to exemplify overkill in their latest concoction. 'Course, a "fire alarm bell alarm clock" is pretty self-explanatory, and while it certainly doesn't come through as loud over YouTube as we're sure it is in person, there's still ample reason to click through and peek the video yourself.

[Thanks, Alan]