This Friday, NASA will launch an Atlas V rocket that will be contain a very special payload - three secret Lego minifigs. "Not only will the rocket be carrying Juno, a space probe that is being sent to Jupiter to study the fifth planet from the Sun, but there will be a few unique stowaways. The figures spent $15,000 carving these 1.5-inch tall figures out of solid blocks of aluminum to make sure that they don't cause the spacecraft to crash into Jupiter by accident. The beardy guy with the lightning bolt on the left there is Jupiter himself, next to him is his wife (and, uh, sister) Juno holding a magnifying glass, and rounding out the trio is Galileo, who's got a model of Jupiter in one hand and a telescope in the other. It is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter in 2016, where it will spend a year orbiting the gas giant, and and crash into the planet’s surface."
Remember the iPad app for Skype that was released earlier and then pulled off from the App Store? The Skype for iPad now is officially released for the iPad on the Skype blog. Available in download in the iTunes App Store. Skype for the iPad is free, though you’ll need to pay fees if you’d like to make calls to regular phone lines.
Australian Jacob French is walking across Australia while wearing Star Wars stormtrooper armor for Starlight Children’s Foundation(a charity focused on improving the lives of sick children). French is making quite a few friends along the way, including the local authorities... "Starting in July 2011 I aim to walk from Perth (Western Australia) to Sydney (New South Wales). Over the course of the trek I will cross 4 states and cover approximately 5000km's in modified stormtrooper armour. The plan for now is to push a lightweight buggy with needed supplies an average distance of 35-40km's for 5 days a week until the trek is complete."
Five years ago, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island opened the first all-glass, undersea restaurant. Now to celebrate their anniversary, they offered guests the chance to not only eat under the sea, but sleep under it as well. "The 12-seat restaurant, which sits 16 feet below sea level of the Indian Ocean, was converted into a private bedroom suite for two, complete with a private champagne dinner and breakfast in bed. The view of the vibrant coral reef that surrounds the encased clear glass is utterly breathtaking. " [ Undersea Restaurant ]
The UK's first gold-dispensing ATM machine has been installed at Westfield shopping centre in London. It will dispense various sizes of 24-carat gold coins and bars in a matter of seconds. The machine also updates the prices every ten minutes, keeping the profit margin in-line with the ever-changing rate of bling blocks. It lets you buy up to $10,000 worth of gold in one go. Just slide your credit card in and you're good to go.
The steepest roller coaster in the world. Debuting in mid-July in Japan's Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park, the Takabisha rollercoaster features a 130 foot drop at 121 degrees. Including seven major twists over 1000 metres of track, and a nerve-jangling drop of 43 metres.
ThinkGeek has teamed up with Minecraft developer Mojang for some cool gear to decorate your home or office. The Minecraft Foam Pickaxe is a full-size replica of the stone pickaxe from within the game. While fans won’t be using the pickaxe to mine actual cobblestone, the durable EVA foam is a perfect companion to the Minecraft Sticky Note Cube. It is a pixilated cube of sticky notes for your desk. The axe will sell for $19.99 and the note cube sells for $9.99.
Nintendo has unveiled it's new console, dubbed the Wii U, a new video game system that will use a new touch-screen controller to play games both on and off the TV screen. The Wii U is tablet-like controller, features a 6.2-inch touch-screen display, motion control, two analog sticks, a stylus, a front-facing camera, a full complement of buttons, an accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble capabilities, a microphone, and stereo speakers and HD graphics. The controller will be able to be used as a secondary screen for the Wii U in a number of ways. You'll be able to use the controller's screen to augment the action on your TV, or you can also use it for supplementary materials such as maps or inventory screens...and for less graphically games, you will be able to play a full game right on the controller or on the TV, your choice. Scheduled to release in 2012 sometime between April and December.
The injection is called RISUG, which stands for "reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance." Let's just get the uncomfortable bit out of the way first: you can't just be injected anywhere, the doctor has to stick a needle into your scrotum. Twice. Yeah, bad times, but you'll deal, and here's why: after two tiny injections taking all of 15 minutes, study after study has shown that the injection is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. You won't suffer any side effects at all, it lasts a minimum of 10 years, and it's completely reversible with another few injections. Here's how it works: a non-toxic, positively charged polymer gets injected into the little tube that your sperm pass through on their way from your testicles to, you know, out. The polymer doesn't actually block the tube, but it stays there, and when sperm (which have a negative charge) pass by, the charge differential from the polymer zaps them. All of them. Every time.
From the U.K.'s Vodafone comes this colossal phone charger (or a rather standard-sized 18-wheeler). It weighs 44 tons, has a retractable staircase and also a secure bank of lockers that can charge 2,000 cellphones of different makes all at once. Check out the video after more.
The Hüttenpalast in Berlin is a new hotel concept, created by Silke Lorenzen and Sarah Vollmer. Situated in a former vacuum-cleaner factory are a cluster of renovated old campsite caravans, each available to stay in for the night. Bookings and enquiries, here.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a report on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. In a blog post, Rear Admiral Ali S Khan, assistant surgeon general and director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, drops a lot of practical knowledge on the zombie-fearing masses, knowledge that — suspiciously — would also help during, say, a hurricane or disease outbreak...So what do you need to do before zombies, a kit filled with water, food, meds and the like... [ link ]
Apple finally announced it will release the white iPhone 4 tomorrow around the world. Here in the US it'll come in both AT&T and Verizon flavors. The pricing remains the same: $199 on contract for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB. Of course, you could have some patience and wait until September for the iPhone 5.