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THE BULL BALLS BEER:

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It's the beer that prompts the question − has craft brewing gone too far?

Yes, a brewery in Colorado will have a beer made with bull testicles on tap this month.

Wynkoop Brewing Company's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout began as an April Fool's joke, but attracted so much interest from ale afficianado's that a real product was created.

The beer contains 11.5 kilograms of bull testicles that have been sliced and roasted before being added to the brewery's traditional recipe.

Wynkoop hopes people will "go nuts for it".

MIKA: What cigar would you pair this one with....?lookaround.gif

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Watch Sean Connery Kick Daniel Craig’s Arse In This Ultimate Bond Deathmatch

The argument over the best Bond will last forever. Objectively, every actor to play the character has brought their own feel to the role — even Australia’s own George Lazenby — but we all have our favourites. Wouldn’t it be great if we could bury the razor-edged hat once and for all and pit all the Bonds against each other in a winner-takes-all deathmatch?

The cutting is perfect and all the matches clever, though my favourites are the second fight with Connery and Moore and the last one with Moore and Brosnan.

I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say that Daniel Craig’s Bond must really hate Lazenby’s.

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Headphones So Hot You Won’t Even Care How They Sound

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Renderings and prototypes of Aedle’s VK-1 headphones have been circulating the designier corners of the Internet since last spring for no reason besides their stunning design. If you fall in love with your eyes and not your ears, get excited because a limited run of 500 headphones is now up for grabs.

What’s interesting about the homegrown French audio company is that the two entrepreneurs have billed themselves as artisans. The headphones took two years to develop and the effort certainly shows. They’re built of polished aluminium and cloaked in plush leather, which is all assembled together into a subtle but elegant shape. The VK-1 headphones are available in equally beautiful carbon and silver finishes and sell for $US350.

They ship in February.

Up until now, all anybody has done is look at the headphones. The technical information about the cans doesn’t tell us a whole hell of a lot about what they sound like. They’ve got the same basic specs as comparably priced headphones, which means that we know nothing. That’ll all change in a few weeks when we finally put a set on our ears at CES.

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Tech 2013: Coolest new gadgets

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1. January 2013: BMW M Chronograph Watch

If you can’t quite stretch to the £55,000 required for BMW’s latest M3 Coupe, you might consider this, which is not only a lot more affordable, but can also sit on your wrist without crushing it to a bloodied pulp. Made of brushed, stainless steel it proudly boasts a laser-engraved BMW logo on the back, has a stopwatch function – described by the manufacturer as “accurate”, which is reassuring – plus fluorescent hand tips and hour markers. It’s waterproof to 100 metres, while a Swiss quartz movement and toughened mineral glass case provide the sturdy reliability and ruthless efficiency characteristic of the motoring giant and, in fact, German things in general.

2. January 2013: Buffalo HDW-P500U3-EU

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“Not another portable hard drive,” you cry? No. So shut it, you. For along with a standard 500GB of storage, this HDD features Wi-Fi connectivity, with a built-in battery letting you go “full wireless” for up to four hours. Accompanying Android and iOS apps mean you can access and transfer fi les on your smartphone or tablet and USB 3.0 support means it’ll swap data with compatible laptops at ten times the speed of boring old USB 2.0.

Price: £100 | Buffalo-technology.com | Out now

3. January 2013: Colorfly C3

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For true audio connoisseurs there is no substitute for the pure and untrammelled sound of CD quality- and-above audio. For these people, the Holy Grail is the Colorfly C3, which costs £550 and resembles something from a 1970s computer workshop. This,

its baby brother, supports tunes in the uncompressed WAV and FLAC formats, with quality up to 24-bit/48KHz. Just 8GB of storage won’t allow more than a few Steve Vai or Rush albums to be stored, but rest easy, lovers of lengthy and exquisitely well-produced concept albums, there is a microSD slot.

Price: £149 | Colorfly.eu | Out now

4. January 2013: Globalgig Hotspot

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Severe food poisoning. Unfinished hotels. Abduction by terrorists and being chained to a radiator for four years. These things can spoil a holiday, but they’re all preferable to 3G roaming charges. Now, this international Wi-Fi dongle lets you have at data in the UK, Australia and USA on up to five devices, at up to 7.2Mbps. Rates are quite reasonable; contracts are one month, rolling ones.

Price: £80, Monthly contracts £15 FOR 1GB, £25 for 3GB OR £25 FOR 5GB | Globalgig.com | Out now

5. January 2013: Mission SX Series

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A huge amount of R&D went into making this speaker range and, with talk of “elastomer chambers”, “pistonic cone movement” and “self damping to quell break-up modes,” it wins this month’s prize for most impressive yet incomprehensible press release. With all-new drivers housed in securely mounted, cast-aluminium shells they should sound superb. For an extra £100 you can get them in piano black or piano rosewood lacquer.

Price: Stand-mounts: SX1 £699, SX2 £849, Floor-standers: SX3 £1,499, SX4 £1,799, SX5 £1,999, Centres: SXC1 £499, SXC2 £699 | Mission.com | Out now

6. January 2013: Musical Fidelity EB-50 earbuds

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These earbuds have been designed from the ground up by British hi-fi supremos Musical Fidelity. By cramming 6mm balanced armature drivers into the “military spec” aluminium casing, the effect is a high-quality amplifi er that nuzzles up to your inner ear, then coos and booms into it with an impressively wide 10Hz-20KHz range. A similarly broad range of ear tips, ear hooks and shirt clips should ensure a fi t as well tailored as a Savile Row suit.

Price: £150 | Musicalfidelity.com | Out now

7. January 2013: Memoto Camera

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All manner of potential tech archness continues to churn from crowd-sourced funding site Kickstarter’s cash teats, and Memoto is the latest gizmo to soar past its funding target. The life-logging, five-meg camera is a bit like the Autographer but actually exists in real life, and automatically takes two geo-tagged photos per minute, organising them into a timeline of your day/week/year/existence.

Price: £175 | Memoto.com | Out: TBC

8. January 2013: LaCie Porsche Design P’9223 Slim

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LaCie teams up with Porsche Design to make an instantly cooler-than-the-next, not distantly-related-to-a-supercar-brand storage device. It ain’t high science, but it works. This external, 120GB SSD is crafted from aluminium, is 64mm thick and looks like it was separated from the MacBook Pro at birth. It hits transfer speeds of up to 400MBps thanks to super-speedy USB 3 compatibility. And can a Porsche car do that? No it cannot.

Price: £130 | Lacie.com | Out now

9. January 2013: JBL OnBeat Micro

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When Apple unveiled the Lightning connector on the iPhone 5, it offered both a new charging solution and the opportunity for third-party manufacturers to flog new docks and accessories to the faithful. Already, the first Lightning audio dock is here, with dual 5W speakers, five hours of AAA battery playback and built-in digital signal processing. It’ll charge your iPhone 5 when hooked up to the mains and there’s also a USB port for anti-Apple heathens to connect non-Apple products too.

Price: £80 | JBL.com | Out now

10. January 2013: House of Marley Get Up Stand Up

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Bob Marley was a musical icon who stood for freedom, spiritual and political emancipation. How apt, then, that there’s now an iDock made of birch wood that bears his name. No, okay, it’s not, but go with it. It’s got twin 11.4cm woofers for, erm, “jammin’” plus 2.5cm tweeters, but it doesn’t just have, ahem, “one love”. As well as docking for pre-Lightning connector iPhones there are two line ins, so there won’t be an “exodus” of Android devices.

Price: £300 | thehouseofmarley.com | Out now

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Great post Mika

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Hot Chocolate Tastes Much Better In An Orange Cup

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Scientists have discovered that an orange or cream-coloured cup definitely makes chocolate taste better, while a white or red cup will not enhance the flavour. The discovery demonstrates once again that our taste buds are definitely influenced by the colours our eyes perceive.

Published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, the research by scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University involved 57 participants. They had to taste the same type of hot chocolate in cups of four external colours — white, cream, red and orange — and white interior.

The results were clear: all of them thought the chocolate in the orange and cream cups was better than the others, even while it was the exact same type. Some even said that the chocolate in the cream cups tasted sweeter and was more aromatic.

We already knew that the colour of food itself may affect our perception of taste. A spicy food, for example, will be perceived as hotter as the same food if it’s redder. We also knew that recipients may affect the flavour but the relationship is still not well understood. There are no common rules and it changes depending on the food itself, says Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, one of the authors of the study:

"The colour of the recipient where you serve food and drinks can enhance some of its attributes, like flavour and aroma. There’s no fix rule to tell which colour enhances what food. This varies depending on the type of food but the truth is that the effect is there. Companies should pay more attention to the recipient because it has a a lot more potential than what you imagine."

The same team made other experiments that confirm all this. One showed that strawberry mousse tastes more intense and sweet in a white plate as opposed to a black one. Soda and lemon-based beverages are more refreshing and lemony in a blue can, while those in pink recipients are perceived as sweeter.

Coffee is affected too, with a brown packaging making its taste stronger and more aromatic, red making it less strong and yellow or blue making it smoother.

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Grace Your iPad Mini With The Sterile Charm Of An Apple Store Display

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If you’re worried about friends, family or co-workers breaking or even scuffing up your new iPad Mini, this heavy-duty acrylic security base is reminiscent of what Apple uses to protect its hardware in its stores.

Made from clear acrylic that’s over an inch thick at one end, the case can even be secured to a surface with an adhesive backing or tamper-proof screws. So there’s little risk of theft too.

At two pounds it completely negates the reasons most people would buy an iPad Mini in the first place, namely it being light and compact. So consider this an $US80 insurance policy more than anything.

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MIKA: ...WHYYYYY!?lost.gifloser.gif

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Personal Hovercraft Concept Has No Price, Will Probably Cost Several Limbs

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Seeing as Back to the Future-style hoverboards that can A: support the weight of a person and B: Move, are a little beyond science right now, this all-terrain hovercraft currently being tossed around at Mercier Jones will have to do.

It’s still a concept and seeking a fair chunk of funding, with an earlier attempt on Indiegogo raising a mere $US4000 of the requested $US50,000, but the “targets” for technical specifications will have you crossing your fingers. Mercier Jones hopes to get the thing floating 20cm off the ground and travelling at a top speed of 128km/h, with a cruise speed of 56km/h.

80km/h in 10 seconds should be possible and its 38L tank will last it five hours at cruise speed. Noise-wise, inside it should be about 70db, a bit louder than a normal conversation.

The official site doesn’t list a price — even a tentative one — and there’s no way to know how far along Mercier Jones is to showing off a working prototype, but we can always live in hope.

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Hot Chocolate Tastes Much Better In An Orange Cup

xlarge.jpg

Scientists have discovered that an orange or cream-coloured cup definitely makes chocolate taste better, while a white or red cup will not enhance the flavour. The discovery demonstrates once again that our taste buds are definitely influenced by the colours our eyes perceive.

Published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, the research by scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University involved 57 participants. They had to taste the same type of hot chocolate in cups of four external colours — white, cream, red and orange — and white interior.

The results were clear: all of them thought the chocolate in the orange and cream cups was better than the others, even while it was the exact same type. Some even said that the chocolate in the cream cups tasted sweeter and was more aromatic.

We already knew that the colour of food itself may affect our perception of taste. A spicy food, for example, will be perceived as hotter as the same food if it’s redder. We also knew that recipients may affect the flavour but the relationship is still not well understood. There are no common rules and it changes depending on the food itself, says Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, one of the authors of the study:

"The colour of the recipient where you serve food and drinks can enhance some of its attributes, like flavour and aroma. There’s no fix rule to tell which colour enhances what food. This varies depending on the type of food but the truth is that the effect is there. Companies should pay more attention to the recipient because it has a a lot more potential than what you imagine."

The same team made other experiments that confirm all this. One showed that strawberry mousse tastes more intense and sweet in a white plate as opposed to a black one. Soda and lemon-based beverages are more refreshing and lemony in a blue can, while those in pink recipients are perceived as sweeter.

Coffee is affected too, with a brown packaging making its taste stronger and more aromatic, red making it less strong and yellow or blue making it smoother.

Cool..looking for brown packaged cigars only from now on .ok.gif

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Cool..looking for brown packaged cigars only from now on .ok.gif

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We had a different House of Marley iPhone speaker thingy in our office xmas raffle (see below)

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I don't know why you would want one when you could just use a portable bluetooth speaker like a Jawbone.

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I think I'll stick with this Oyster Stout!

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We had a different House of Marley iPhone speaker thingy in our office xmas raffle (see below)

borback_1.jpg

I don't know why you would want one when you could just use a portable bluetooth speaker like a Jawbone.

Pretty cool stuff!

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Trailer For The 2013 Evil Dead Remake

Remaking a classic is always a dangerous endeavour, especially when it’s something as cult as Evil Dead. Fortunately, this new take has original director and writer Sam Raimi’s approval, so it’s about as legitimate as an Evil Dead remake can get. Well, as legitimate as it can get without Bruce Campbell.

Much like recasting the roles of Han Solo or Indiana Jones with someone other than Harrison Ford, slotting a new actor into the Ash role would be the definition of madness so instead, the remake will feature entirely new, low-profile, chainsaw fodder including Jane Levy (Suburgatory, Shameless), Shiloh Fernandez (Jericho) and Jessica Lucas (Friends with Benefits, Cult).

An article on First Showing states that Raimi is on-board as producer, with Fede Alvarez (Panic Attack) as director. Both had a hand in writing the script, with the first draft penned by Juno and Jennifer’s Body writer Diablo Cody.

Going by the trailer, it looks to have the most memorable scenes from the first film, including that, uh, notorious one with the vines. If you saw the NSFW tag and were hoping for nudity, well, you’re going to be disappointed. What it does have is crazy amounts of blood, gore and gratuity, so much so even the most hardcore of horror lovers will shudder.

According to IMDB, the film is set for release in Australia on May 2, a couple of weeks after its April 12 appearance in the US.

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This Is Not How You Want To Spend 10 Hours On A Plane

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This is not a mile high club you want to be a part of. On a flight yesterday from Reykjavik to New York, a drunken passenger got so unruly that the flight crew had to restrain him to his seat… with duct tape and zip ties.

According to Mezane, the Redditor that snapped the picture:

"He drank an entire bottle of some duty free alcohol. Then he tried grabbing the women who were sitting next him screaming that we’re going to crash. Finally he started choking a guy next to him and that’s when a huge crowd restrained him and tied him up. This was 2 hours into a 6 hour flight. Edit: Did I mention that he was spitting on random people on the plane!"

Well, isn’t he the charmer.

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How Mars May Have Looked If It Was Covered In Water

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By now, we all know that Mars was once home to water and may have even supported life. But what would the planet have looked like when it was lush and verdant?

According to Kevin Gill, like this. Created using elevation data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this rendering shows what Mars would have looked like if water was present on the surface. It reveals a massive ocean on one side of the planet, and one of the longest valleys in the solar system, Vallis Marineris. Elsewhere, over on the left you can see the peaks of Olympus Mons, Pavonis Mons, Ascraeus Mons and Arsia Mons poking up out of the atmosphere. Gill explains how he made the image:

"This is a view of the Western hemisphere with Olympus Mons on the horizon beyond the Tharsis Montes volcanoes and the Valles Marineris canyons near the centre. The height of the clouds and atmosphere are largely arbitrary and set for the sake of appearance and coverage over the exaggerated terrain elevations (~10 times elevation exaggeration). The eye is about 10,000 km (~6,200 miles) from the surface.

A two dimensional digital elevation model was first rendered in jDem846 (an open-source learning project of mine) using the MRO MOLA 128 pix/deg elevation dataset. In that model, I picked a sea level and scripted it such that terrain at or below that level was flat and blue.

The resulting model was then brought into GIMP were I painted in land features using a NASA Blue Marble Next Generation image for the source textures… I tried to envision how the land would appear given certain features or the effects of likely atmospheric climate."

Obviously, there’s a fair deal of artistic licence involved in creating a render of what Mars would look like as a planet supporting life. But that doesn’t stop the image being a fascinating insight into the possible past life of Mars — and a refreshing change from seeing it as a dusty red ball.

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US Military Tested A Tsunami Bomb That Could Rival The Nuclear Bomb

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We’ve all seen the destruction that tsunamis can cause. It doesn’t play around. But back in 1944, the US military wanted to play around with tsunamis in hope of creating a man made tsunami bomb — basically setting off 10 large blasts in the ocean to create a 10m tsunami that would pulverise and drown a city.

New Zealand author and filmmaker Ray Waru discovered these man-made tsunami bombs were set off in the top secret operation of “Project Seal” during World War II. Around 3700 bombs were detonated during the testing and the tests revealed that a successful tsunami bomb would require “about two million kilograms of explosive arrayed in a line about five miles from shore”. Not exactly chump change.

Waru told the UK Telegraph:

“Presumably if the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might have been tsunami-ing people,” said Mr Waru. “It was absolutely astonishing. First that anyone would come up with the idea of developing a weapon of mass destruction based on a tsunami … and also that New Zealand seems to have successfully developed it to the degree that it might have worked.”

Project Seal only lasted about a year and I’m kind of glad it never became a real weapon of mass destruction. We’ve seen what happens when real tsunami hits, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

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The Gigantic Aeroscraft Is Finished — And It’s Awesome

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Good news, people! The gigantic Aeroscraft — a new type of rigid aircraft that is neither a blimp nor an aeroplane — is complete.

This thing can change the way we understand travelling, as well as military transportation. You can see a video of its first move here.

According to the company, “the final configuration and vehicle systems integration functionality testing has been completed as the Aeroscraft subscale demonstration vehicle reaches the finish line.” The aircraft will enter a flying tests phase over the next 60 days. After they are done with the testing, they will build the full scale version. Yes, this gigantic aircraft is only a small version of what’s coming. Imagine that.

Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak thinks that “this is truly the beginning of a vertical global transportation solution for perhaps the next 100 years.” Indeed, it may become just that. Imagine having the capability of transporting huge amounts of material or people across any distance, without the need of any ground infrastructure.

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The civilian versions would be able to offer air cruises at any altitude. Just like a cruise ship but over land.

Imagine taking the most awesome trip over a three or four days, from New York to San Francisco, slowly flying over the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains, watching the incredible scenery while sipping on a cocktail or comfortably having dinner and Cigar (One can dream!) in a restaurant with huge glass windows.

Then, at night, you will sleep in your comfortable room. That’s what the full-size Aeroscraft will be able to offer and I will be the first one in line to experience it.

There will also be cargo and military versions too, capable of transporting anything from ISO-standard containers — like any cargo ship — to tanks and hundreds of soldiers.

I can’t wait to see these giants cruising over Earth’s skies.

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Video:

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Move Over GPS, A New Positioning System Has You In Its Sights

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GPS is now so widespread that we take it for granted. But it’s not always perfect — so what if a new technology could achieve more than those triangulated military satellites in the sky?

In fact, a team of researchers has been mulling exactly that, and come up with a new positioning technology called Locata. New Scientist explains:

"Instead of satellites, Locata uses ground-based equipment to project a radio signal over a localised area that is a million times stronger on arrival than GPS. It can work indoors as well as out, and the makers claim the receivers can be shrunk to fit inside a regular mobile phone. Even the US military, which invented GPS technology, signed a contract last month agreeing to a large-scale test of Locata at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico."

You see, GPS often struggles with indoor environments and big cities: towering concrete buildings make it hard to get a signal, and tight road and pedestrian networks mean inaccuracy is problematic. By contrast, Locata already has accuracy of 18cm along any axis, and claims to be able to get that number down to 5. Crazy.

The technology is, however, still in its early days, and it would take some impressive performance and marketing if it’s ever to supersede GPS. Chances are then that it would work alongside GPS, creating a hybrid system which combines the best features of both technologies.

In fact, such a thing already exists: Leica is trialling a briefcase-size Jigsaw Positioning System which is being used to guide drilling in the gold mines in Western Australia. How quickly that can translate into a consumer product remains to be seen.

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Watch This iPhone 5 Survive A 100,000-Foot Fall From The Upper Atmosphere

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Sound Cylinder First Listen: A Spectacular, Portable Sound System

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The built-in speakers on gadgets are nearly always garbage, and tablets and laptops are the worst of the worst. No one uses the built-in crap if they can avoid it, but portable speakers are either inconvenient or terrible, and so most of us are banished to a life of headphones. Well the new Bluetooth Sound Cylinder from Definitive Technology is the most elegant portable sound system I've seen.

Definitive Technology is one of those audio brands that’s known for colossally expensive gear that only the most exacting nerds with plenty of cash would ever buy. And then, out of nowhere, the company’s engineers pop out a mobile accessory. Don’t you love it when that happens? We do, especially when it’s so well designed and lovely sounding.

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Carrying from Definitive Technology’s expertise in home theatres sound, the Sound Cylinder is like an awesome little sound bar for your tablet or laptop. Simply slide the gadget into the little groove which the company says will fit any tablet and many laptops. It fit perfectly on an iPad and my 13-inch MacBook Pro.

From there, you can use the Sound Cylinder as a stand on the bottom, or if you’re holding the tablet, have it sit on top. Similarly, if you’ve got your laptop open, just slide it on to the top of its screen. There’s even a little whole so it doesn’t block your computer’s camera.

Indeed, the aluminium and magnesium design is pretty slick, but what really blew me away from listening to the little package for a few minutes in the office was how good it sounds. Forget everything you think you know about small Bluetooth speaker systems, the Sound Cylinder proves that smart engineering can make tiny speakers sound great. It’s the first time we’ve heard something so small deliver such clear sound across frequencies. The little tube projected beautifully so that at a moderate volume it was clearly audible at 20 yards away.

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The Sound Cylinder is a 2.1 system with two 32mm mid/high-range drivers and a 43-mm side-firing woofer.

That sub’s a little larger than what you usually see on portable Bluetooth speakers, which likely contributes to the baby bar’s great sound. Oh, and the USB-rechargeable battery is supposedly good for a 10-hours, which is totally respectable.

Sound cylinder will cost $200 and will be available in February.

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It’s Super Easy To Lock People Out Of Facebook By Claiming They’re Dead

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In this new world of social media, plenty of your accounts are going to soldier on after you die. Get ready. But in the meantime, it’s easy — too easy — to convince Facebook just about anyone is dead, at which point the site will lock down the account as a memorial until the supposed corpse argues otherwise.

The vulnerability was discovered by one Rusty Foster, who was unfairly Facebook-killed, after whichBuzzfeed tested out the process on one of its own. It’s as easy as can be.

In order to submit a “memorialisation request” all you have to do is fill out a short form including the target’s name, one of the emails associated with the target’s account, your relationship to the target (which you can just lie about) and “proof of death”.

As for proof, Facebook will accept something as flimsy as an online obituary of the same name, even if it’s for a person of a different age in a different state, who even spells his name differently.

Once your account is memorialised, there’s not much you can do other than filling out a form that basically says “Hey, I’m alive” and waiting. In Rusty’s case, the issue took days to resolve. Memorialisation doesn’t delete or destroy anything, but it’s definitely a hassle for anyone who isn’t dead, and it’s ridiculously easy to fake. Hopefully Facebook will button this up soon, or the ensuing memorialisation prank wars could start racking up casualties.

Here’s to hoping you have a unique name.

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USS Zumwalt’s Deck Looks Like It’s Part Of An Imperial Star Destroyer

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This image is so unreal that it feels like a sci-fi illustration more than a photo. It looks like part of a spaceship — perhaps some structure from an Imperial Star Destroyer — instead of the 1000-ton deckhouse of the new destroyer USS Zumwalt.

The fact is that the futuristic USS Zumwalt will actually look more like a spacecraft than a traditional destroyer (see the rendering below). First of a new class of ships for the US Navy, the 183m guided missile destroyer is being built in modules at Bath Iron Works’ Ultra Hall, in Bath, Maine.

It’s the last part of a puzzle that started in 2011. Back in April 2012, the second of the modules rolled out of the Ultra Hall, a 4500-ton block which was the largest ship module ever moved at their factory. As they manufactured new modules, workers were assembling the others at the dry dock.

The image shows the deck-house being craned onto the deck. They are now integrating it with the ship’s hull, connecting all those pipes and tubes.

According to the company, everything is moving as expected, with the launch and christening of the new ship planned for this year.

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10 Crazy Things People Use To Make Booze

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Sometimes you just don’t have the right resources to make a decent drink. But if you get enough sober, thirsty minds focused on the problem, humans can find some pretty creative ways to come up with alcohol.

Did you really think something like a lack of grapes or a shortage of barley could keep mankind from getting its swerve on? No way. We’re way too clever for that. Here’s the proof.

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Carrots

You wouldn’t think that this particular vegetable would be good for making booze, but carrots are at least a little bit sweet.

Sweetness = sugar, and sugar is what yeast can devour to make into alcohol. According to this recipe, carrots are peeled, chopped and then boiled until they’re mush. Sugar is added (which is almost cheating), as is yeast. The result: Carrot wine. It’s less alcoholic than grape wine, but it still comes in sweet or dry varieties.

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Maple Sap

The same tree goo that makes syrup can make spirits. First, tap some holes into the right maple tree at the right time in spring. As the temperatures fluctuate between night and day, a sugary sap oozes out from the trees. Where there’s sugar, there’s some human trying to make booze out of it. The Vermont Spirits distillery’s Vermont Gold Vodka is a fine example. It’s made from 100 per cent maple sap, which is then fermented and triple-distilled. The result was lightly sweet, quite smooth and made me think of pancakes. I could have polished off a case of it.

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Sour Apples

If you read Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire, then this one will be familiar to you. All our illusions of Johnny Appleseed planting sweet, delicious apples are lies. Lies, I tell you! Most of the apples Johnny planted were sour enough to pucker your kisser, but they had one very appealing attribute: they made excellent booze. The apples’ juice fermented into a tasty cider, and industrious frontiersmen distilled it down into a spirit known as applejack. A few companies still make it. I’m personally partial to Cornelius Applejack — each bottle is made from over 60 pounds of Hudson Valley apples, then aged in bourbon barrels at Harvest Spirits’ New York distillery.

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Mouldy Fruit and Ketchup

Get ready to supress your gag reflex. As we learned in our visit to San Quentin, prisoners just have to work with what’s available. Inmates stash the fruit they get at meals and toss it into a plastic garbage bag. By some accounts, they let it start to rot. Then they sweeten it with whatever they can get their hands on — sugar, drink mixes, even ketchup. Yeah, ketchup. Because the prisoners have no direct access to yeast, they just toss in a few slices of bread and hope for the best. After many days of fermenting, you end up with pruno (aka prison wine). Some guys take the pruno and distil it into lightning, which can be as high as 160-proof. Both beverages are extremely dangerous.

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Milk

Hey, milk’s kinda sweet, right? Sure! Once again, where there’s sweet, there’s sugar — and the potential to make alcohol. Another product from Vermont Spirits distillery is the very delicious Vermont White. Milk sugar is extracted from milk and then used to make a sweet, fermented liquid. It’s then triple-distilled and filtered through charcoal. The result was remarkably smooth and had just a hint of sweetness. Highly recommended.

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Cactus

How do you wet your whistle when you live in a dry arse desert? Make booze from cactus, of course. The maguey cactus, which growing even in very arid parts of Mexico, has a sweet heart. The juice inside was first fermented to make a milky drink called pulque. Craving a higher octane experience, folks began roasting and then grinding these hearts to make a mash which could then be fermented and distilled. The result? That smokey spirit known as mezcal. The maguey’s cousin, the blue agave cactus, has an even sweeter heart, and it can be used to distil most tequilas of the worth drinking.

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Potatoes

Potatoes!? They aren’t even sweet! As the Russians can tell you, it doesn’t matter — they’re chock full of starch. There is an enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars during the mashing process, which provides plenty of food for the yeasties. It’s then fermented and distilled. Most vodkas you find are grain, but a good potato vodka called Chopin, from Poland, is extremely smooth. It’s quite nice, if you go for vodkas.

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Rice

Y’know what Asia has a lot of? Rice. So, naturally, people there have found all sorts of ways to ferment and distil it. The most popular way to ship it in the West is in the form of sake, a rice wine that can be very sweet or very dry. In Indonesia they have brem, a Balinese rice wine that looks, tastes and smells like alcoholic soy sauce. It is disgusting. Once the rice becomes wine, it can be distilled into many different forms. When I visited Indonesia, some locals got me to try arak, a Balinese rot-gut moonshine that was literally poured from a gas can. There is very little that I remember from that night.

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Beets

As long as we’re digging things out of the ground and getting drunk off of them, let’s try some beets. These root veggies are very high in sugar and there are recipes all over the internet for beet wine. Now, to be fair, every recipe I’ve seen calls for a lot of added sugar which probably is mostly responsible for the fermentation. But the beets add a nice, earthy flavour, not to mention that distinctive tongue-staining colour. Dwight Schrute approves.

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Honey

This is a golden oldie. As our opportunistic ancient ancestors learned, some bees can make a hive out of a hole in a tree. Rainwater could then flood the bees’ hives, making a sweet soup. If enough wild yeast could blow in there, it would start the fermentation process. Say a few thirsty humans stumbled upon these vacated nests and drank some of the sweet fluid inside. Then, presto! Suddenly your 19th great grandfather started to look a little more attractive to a local lady. One thing led to another, and eventually, that’s how you got here. Today, mead (a.k.a. honey wine) can be produced in a controlled environment, like my closet — here’show to make it.

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USS Zumwalt’s Deck Looks Like It’s Part Of An Imperial Star Destroyer

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Looks more like the rear section of an AT-AT Walker.

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