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BlackBerry Z10 Hands-On: It’s Like A Smartphone, Only Civilised

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The first thing you probably do when I say the words “new BlackBerry” is either laugh, yawn or offer sympathy to the poor idiot that thought those were intelligent words. But pity me no longer, readers: the BlackBerry 10 is here, and it serves as proof of life for a company we all thought was long gone.

The Z10 is the crown jewel in BlackBerry’s swathe of announcements today. It sports a 4.2-inch, 1280×768 screen with 356 pixels per inch, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 16GB of internal storage space, support for microSD expansion, an 1800mAh battery and the fabled BlackBerry 10 operating system.

There are a bunch of new bells and whistles in BlackBerry 10, which include more apps, more content, a better way to organise work and social life so you don’t have to carry two phones and the same super-secure communication and email platforms we came to love from BlackBerry all those years ago.

The hardware looks stunning, with the Z10 sporting a textured rubber back cover, curved edges and a big, beautiful screen.

The bezel on the front of the Z10 supports gestures much in the same way that the bezel on the BlackBerry Playbook did. Swipe up and you’ll unlock the phone. Up and to the right and you’ll land in the new BlackBerry Hub which organises all of your messages and social networks in the one place. Swipe down and you’ll find a whole lot of quick access buttons for your settings, while sliding right will drop you into your app drawer.

The front page isn’t so much the tiles and tiles of apps we’ve come to know from other smartphones, instead it’s a view of all the apps and windows you have been using most recently. Because the Z10 is without a physical home button, much has been made of the need to simplify how people multitask between apps. Rather than exiting an app or double tapping a button to jump into another part of your phone, BlackBerry just want you to swipe via the bezel. Believe it or not, that’s actually strangely intuitive and can be done easily with one hand.

As far as using the device is concerned, I’ll go on the record and say that the keyboard is actually pretty difficult to use. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet or maybe it really does blow, but it seems too cramped to use and the tactile feedback isn’t nearly strong enough, so you don’t know if you’ve tapped that character or not if you’re typing while walking. BlackBerry’s new autocomplete feature that lets you throw words into your typing space is also pretty confusing. Methinks more practise is required.

The camera has what’s known as TimeShift technology installed, which is a lot like Best Face on a Samsung Galaxy phone. Take a few seconds of video and you’re able to spool through and pull a still image out of it that doesn’t make the scene look like it was shot by Michael J. Fox. That’s a nice feature, as are the nifty image and video editors that come pre-installed, but the camera doesn’t perform well in low-light. Not at all.

Keyboard and camera gripes aside, however, the Z10 feels really slick. It’s easy to forget you’re using a BlackBerry to be honest.

While the hardware is nice, good-looking and fast, the real stand-out on both the Z10 and the QWERTY keyboard-boasting Q10 is the new operating system.

BlackBerry 10 feels like a hybrid operating system: it’s as pretty as iOS, as interesting and card-like as webOS and as free and open as Android. Actually if I had to choose, it feels most like Android.

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It’s smooth, easy to navigate and different from anything you have ever used before. It’s like a grown-ups version of Android: it’s built better for business and personal stuff, it looks more mature and it doesn’t flash stuff in your face every 10 seconds. Also, there’s no obnoxious overlay or skin to get in your way or slow you down.

The Z10 will go on sale with Telstra and Optus in March. We’ll have a full review up soon.

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This Is What The First Lunar Base Could Really Look Like

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We have seen many concepts, but this is the most realistic plan yet for humanity’s first Moon Base. It will be more efficient and cheaper to build than any other alternative, as it uses 3D printing to quickly transform raw lunar soil into habitable domes.

Also? It looks awesome.

The lunar soil structure will provide both radiation and temperature insulation. Inside, a lightweight pressurised inflatable with the same dome shape will be the living environment for the first human moon settlers.

The European Space Agency and architectural firm Foster + Partners are now working on the technology to make this a reality.

According to ESA’s human spaceflight team’s Scott Hovland: “3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth.”

The logic is that if 90 per cent of the stuff we need to build the base is already on the moon, we only have to ferry the 3D-printing robots (you can look at one below) and the lightweight parts, like the inflatables and the solid connector and entry segments. This will make this idea a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

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Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group says that their construction 3D-printing technology has already produced entire structures under extreme conditions on Earth, so it’s perfectly reasonable to do the same up there:

"As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials. Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic."

The team has already came up with a way to use the same technologies under the Moon’s environmental conditions, devising “a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts. A hollow closed-cell structure — reminiscent of bird bones — provides a good combination of strength and weight.”

They produced this 1.4-tonne sample as a demonstration of how these hollow cell walls would work:

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That block is all built with simulated lunar material and magnesium oxide. That turns the moonstuff into a pulp that can be sprayed to form the block. Then, they apply a binding salt that “converts [this] material into a stone-like solid.” Quite impressive.

According to Enrico Dini — the founder of UK-based Monolite, the company that builds the 3D building printers — they are now printed at 2m per hour. He says that their next generation will speed up to 3.5m per hour, which is enough to complete an entire building in one week.

If they keep up that kind of progress, a full structure on the moon will be a reality within our lifespans.

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Great article Mika

Makes sense to me ,bury the moon base as much as possible dafter from strikes and radiation

Cheers

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This Must Be The Secret Door To Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude

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Here’s the secret door to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Or its toilet pipe. Or just an awesome photo of an ice column in a tunnel carved in the rock near Lake Tahoe. In any case, a beautiful image.

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Spider Blamed For Sydney House Explosion. Yes, Really.

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Spiders are evil, there’s no doubt about that, but today the threat from the eight-legged beasts got real. NSW Police are blaming a spider for a deadly house explosion that nearly claimed the life of an elderly woman. You won’t believe this until you read it.

Police were called to a home in the Sydney-suburb of Kirribilli following an explosion inside the home of a 66-year old woman.

The woman reported seeing a spider on top of her washing machine and she naturally grabbed the bug spray and had at it. The eight-legged crawly fled underneath the washing machine, which is where the trouble really began.

The woman sprayed bug spray underneath the machine which fire fighters believe ignited when it came into contact with the hot engine of the machine, which had been running at the time.

The explosion also blew up the washing machine, which more than likely killed the spider in question.

Police, however, are incredibly thorough, and added at the end of their report:

"There was no sign of the spider."

Good work, cops. Let this be a lesson to all of you: never trust a spider.

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These Are All The Cables That Carry The Internet Under The Sea

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The internet connects us all, but it’s easy to take for granted what a crazy accomplishment that is. After all, plenty of us live on different land masses. We’ve got to get that sweet, sweet internet across the deep blue sea somehow, and these are the underwater ‘net pipes that get the job done.

TeleGeography has just updated its Submarine Cable Map for 2013, and the result is a fully interactive picture of the countless tendrils of internet that we’ve laid deep down on the ocean floor over the past decade and a half.

You can peruse the staggering (but very slow to load) interactive map over at TeleGeography’s website, or you can scoff at the idea of dropping a whole $US250 to buy a physical copy.

Yes, there’s quite the multi-tentacled beast down in the depths, lurking below the waves. It just happens to turn out that we put it there.

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How A Film Crew Captured Four Simultaneous Volcanic Eruptions

A volcano erupting on its own is no big deal; they’re like earthquakes, no one cares unless it’s catastrophic. But to have four separate volcanic cones — each fed by separate magma sources — all erupting within 180km of one another simply doesn’t happen. Ever. This must be what witnessing Haley’s Comet was like.

The Moscow-based Airpano film crew captured the spectacular scenes of the Tolbachick volcano above after rushing to the barren wastes of the Kamchatka Peninsula after a shoot of Mumbai’s five-star hotels.

After battling -31C air temperatures, boot-sole-melting ground temps and stiff 15m/s winds, the team was able to utilise a pair of RC hex-drones and capture generate this incredible panorama of the area. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

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Fireworks Truck Explosion Takes Out Massive Bridge In China

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A horrible thing has happened today in China’s Henan province. A truck loaded to the gills with fireworks — intended for the country’s upcoming Lunar New Year celebration — fired off its wares on a busy highway, resulting in six minutes of the most brightly lit, celebratory destruction in recent memory.

How bad was it? According to the AP, the boom took out an 80m stretch of elevated highway, sending cars in a 30m freefall to the ground. Two dozen cars are totalled, at least eight people are dead, many more injured, and the dust literally still has yet to settle.

Investigators still aren’t sure what caused the maelstrom in the first place, but at least one thing is certain: this was an awful event, made all the more so by how bright and booming it must have been.

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The Columbia Shuttle Disaster Happened 10 Years Ago

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On February 1, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia, NASA OV-102, disintegrated upon re-entry at the end of its 28th mission to space. The tragedy killed the seven brave crew members, in a moment of sadness we’ll never forget.

Space travel has always been a feat of pride for humans. It shows how awesome we can be. We might be small in the universe but we’re capable of feats much bigger than us. It makes the moments of our successes in space more triumphant and the moments of failure intensely sad.

May they rest in peace and forever be remembered for what they accomplished.flower.gif

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Smartphone Bow Turns Your Handset Into An Archery Simulator

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Securing at least an honourable mention for the most over-the-top smartphone accessory, the BowBlade promises to turn aspiring iOS and Android archers into modern day Robin Hoods (or, sigh, Katniss Everdeens) who are never in risk of accidentally sending an arrow flying dangerously off-target.

The rectangular bow uses flexible, swappable blades instead of a taut string so it’s easier to draw and fire while still providing a good amount of resistance for a workout. And it also reduces the risk of injury for those whose only archery experience is Nerf weaponry.

A smartphone mount and a string-activated stylus allow the $US185 version of the BowBlade to be used for gaming with augmented reality archery titles. But a $US200 exercise version with stiffer blades is also available for those who care more about their figure than a high score ranking.

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Why Iran’s New Indigenous Stealth Fighter Will Never Get Off The Ground

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On February 1, 2013, Iran unveiled its indigenous fighter jet named “Qaher 313″. The prototype of the Q-313 (or F-313 according to the stencils applied to the aircraft), was presented to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and publicly displayed as part of the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies held in Iran to celebrate the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution.

In the previous days, the Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi had said: “The aircraft will be different from the other fighter jets Iran has already made.”

Iran’s new fighter jet doesn’t look like any we’ve ever seen before. Turns out, as The Aviationist explains, that’s because it maybe possibly almost definitely can’t fly.

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Indeed, based on the first photographs released by the FARS News Agency, the new stealthy jet has a really peculiar design. It features hard edges and those distinctive edges and angle of the US F-22 and the twin tail shape much similar to that of the F-35 Lightning II.

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The Q-313 has large, seemingly fixed canards, and little wings whose external section is canted downward.

The canopy material is at least odd (based on its transparency, it looks like plexiglass or something like that).

The cockpit seems to be basic (a bit too much for a modern plane — note the lack of wiring behind the front panel and the presence of few instruments, some of those similar to those equipping small private planes…)

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The nose section is so small almost no radar could fit in it.

The air intakes are extremely small (they remind those of current drones/unmanned combat aerial vehicles) whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.

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And, above all, the aircraft is way to small.

Look at the following image showing an Iranian officer sitting on the ejection seat in the cockpit.

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It looks like this pilot is in a miniature plane.

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Summing up: the shape is interesting with some innovative features but the Q-313 displayed on February 1, 2013, seems to be nothing more than a large mock up model (not properly sized to accommodate a real pilot).

Update: There is a video allegedly showing the Q-313 in the air:

Even if it is not the first flight of the aircraft as some of The Aviationist readers say, the way the depicted plane flies is suspect. It seems a radio-controlled scale model more than a modern fighter jet.

Furthermore, as someone pointed out: if the Qaher 313 actually flew, most probably Tehran would release footage of its takeoff and landing.

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Was This Photo Of The Mars Curiosity Rover Taken By An Alien Or What?

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This is, without a doubt, the best photo of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. Taken on a Martian flat spot calledJohn Klein, the image was just published by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It looks she asked someone passing by to take her camera and shoot the picture.

In reality, the photo is a composition of multiple photos taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on February 3, 2013.

According to NASA “the self-portrait was acquired to document the drilling site,” but we all know they did it because it is freaking awesome.

This is how the made the magic happen:

"The rover’s robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic. MAHLI, which took the component images for this mosaic, is mounted on a turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic."

Clever! The result is truly outstanding.

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This Single Molecule Drives Cancer Cells To Suicide

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A team of researchers has identified a single molecule, called TIC10, that kick-starts the body’s tumour-destroying systems — causing a chain reaction that can kill cancer dead.

In a series of experiments in mice, the researchers, from Pennsylvania State University, found that TIC10 activities the gene for a protein called TRAIL — that’s short for tumour-necrosis-factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand — which causes cancerous cells to commit suicide. Wafik El-Deiry, one of the researchers explains:

“TRAIL is a part of our immune system: all of us with functional immune systems use this molecule to keep tumours from forming or spreading, so boosting this will not be as toxic as chemotherapy.”

A series of experiments provided evidence that TIC10 works on a wide range of tumors, including breast, lymphatic, colon and lung cancer. While the TRAIL protein has been targeted in the past, it’s never been exploited as successfully — something the researchers put down to the small size of the molecule TIC10. There’s a hidden benefit too, because TIC10 seems to cause healthy cells to join in the fight too. Nature explains:

"
t seems that TIC10 activates the TRAIL gene not only in cancerous cells, but also in healthy ones. This gives it enormous potential to create a ‘bystander effect’, in which apoptosis – or cell death – is induced in cancer cells immediately next to healthy ones. Healthy cells are also stimulated to increase the amount of TRAIL receptors on their cell surface. These receptors can then bind to the adjacent cancerous cells, triggering their demise. “It’s almost like TRAIL-plus – it does so much more,” says El-Deiry."

Of course, this initial testing has all been done in mice — and it remains to be seen if it will work as well as in other creature. That’s why the next step is to test the molecule in humans. Keep those fingers crossed.

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New Evidence Confirms That An Asteroid Did Indeed Kill The Dinosaurs

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For most of us laypeople, it’s an accepted truth the dinosaurs were wiped out by a big ol’ asteroid that smashed into the Earth. For scientists, however, there has always been some question as to whether or not that was actually the case. New revelations have proven that we dummies were right in our gross oversimplification all along.

It’s been known for a while that there was a catastrophic asteroid collision millions of years ago while dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It was definitely about 14km wide, and definitely hurtled into Chicxulub, Mexico, leaving a 180km wide crater.

Likewise, it definitely caused an explosion two million times bigger than the biggest thermonuclear device ever, launching an epic dust cloud that blocked out the sun.

But according to previous evidence, all that could have happened as early as 300,000 years before the actual extinction of dinosaurs, meaning there might have been different/additional cause.

Turns out probably not. Go figure, but that catastrophic impact was enough to do the trick, according to a new paper published in Science. Scientists from Europe and the US have been able to look at the crater’s dust and narrow the impact down to a mere 11,000 year window, which is incredibly small in geological terms.

As it happens, the impact was practically simultaneous with the mass extinction. Sure, Earth hadn’t been at its strongest immediately before impact, but it was definitely the asteroid that kicked off all the dying.

So that’s that. Mystery (re)solved, and lucky for us, the story hasn’t changed. Good thing too — it’s such a good one.

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What And How Do U-2 Spy Plane Pilots Eat During Their Missions?

Here’s a fascinating look at what and how the USAF’s finest pilots eat while flying our favourite spy plane: the A-12. Second only to the A-12 Oxcart and its brother, the SR-71 BlackBird, being a A-12 pilot is an extremely physically demanding job, often requiring 12 hours of flying.

Watch Ssgt Suzzett Stalesky — an airspace physiologist and U-2 launch and recovery technician — explain how they eat their tube food, another aerospace classic on itself. The video also includes some great sequences of the U-2 itself.

According to Stalesky, most pilots eat about tube per hour. They really have to watch out their food intake because they are not allowed to defecate in the suit. Their favourite tubed food: caffeinated chocolate pudding, which gives them a little kick while they are in the aircraft, and chicken a la king.

Other foods include peaches, hash browns with bacon, cinnamon applesauce and key lime pie.

It seems these are all new. Stalesky says that they have a chef creating new stuff and, once the pilots give the OK, they will start putting them in production.

Thanks to Airman 1st Class Drew Buchanan — the video producer — for sending this in.

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The Walking Dead First-Person Shooter Looks Intense

The first gameplay trailer for Activision’s The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is here, and it looks intense.

There is already a Walking Dead game out that is an emotional rollercoaster to play. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct looks like a less nuanced version of that for the first-person shooter crowd.

The good news is that Activision got Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker to voice the Dixon brothers for the game, and it sounds awesome.

Survival Instinct is out March 19 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. March 26 for Wii U.

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This Is Probably The Best Video On YouTube

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People did some awesome stuff in 2012. Thankfully, action cameras exist so that all this insanity can be shared with the world. Some kind soul has put it all together against a bangin’ soundtrack to make what I’m calling the best video on YouTube.

The video features everything from crazy animals, snowboarding flips, parkour insanity, Felix Baumgartner, awesome cosplay, BASE jumping and the hottest cars, dance moves and girls* 2012 had to offer.

It’s called “This Is What The Internet Is Made For”, and I’d have to agree.

Update: Why must all good things come to an end? The video was taken down, unfortunately, but another kind soul has compiled a list of all the videos that the compilation covered. You can find that here.

Update 2: It’s ok, there’s a mirror. Video is back up!

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Julian Assange Preps For Australian Senate Race

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Getting yourself on the docket for an election is tough no matter where you are. I’d say it would be tougher for a political refugee like Julian Assange, though. Assange recently flagged his intention to run for the Federal Senate, and now despite the adversity, Assange is on his way to the race.

The Age reports that the founder of Wikileaks has this week had his registration for electoral enrolment was handed to the Australian Electoral Commission in Melbourne, signalling the start of Assange’s run for a Victorian Senate seat.

Assange will reportedly be backed by a 10-man Wikileaks party full of activists for the cause. The party’s registration was presented to the AEC yesterday by a group of Assange supporters, including his father, a Sydney-based architect.

Would you ‘Vote 1 Assange’?

MIKA: Hell YES!2thumbs.gif

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Would You Want To Fly Underwater In This Winged Wetsuit?

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There can be no denying that designer Guillaume Binard’s “Oceanwings” look slightly ridiculous. But with the promise of letting you fly underwater, they’re a strangely tempting prospect too.

The idea is that the winged wetsuit lets you glide effortlessly through the water, like a… well, like a fish, we guess. In fact, a video made by Jérôme Espla, below, does a good job of making that look like a reality. But the big question is: would you try it out?

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Watch Top Gear Korea Crash The Cobra Attack Helicopter They Were Using

Top Gear is an international sensation, so much so that now Korea has its own version, and has since 2011. The Top Gear brand is synonymous with insane stunts that pit man’s greatest machines against each other set to tense music and shot with spectacular skill, but all of that went horribly wrong one day on the set of Top Gear Korea when a challenge ended in a Cobra attack helicopter crashed into the ground.

The original challenge was to race the helicopter against show host Kim Jin Pyo and his Corvette ZR1. After a few laps and what looks like a tightly clinched victory for Kim Jin Pyo, the helicopter nose dives into the desert, immediately enveloping it in a thick cloud of dust and smoke.

Nobody was seriously injured in the crash, but it is sickening to watch. Don’t try these stunts at home, kids.

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What The Hell Is This Weird Shiny Object On Mars?

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The Mars Curiosity Rover has been busy snapping photos (selfies too) of Mars and found something… strange. A small, shiny, metal-looking “protuberance” sticking out from the red planet. Is it some secret lever to open up a world where Martians exist? Or some random space junk? We don’t know.

You can see it in the picture above and see it zoomed in on the bottom right hand corner. If you look carefully, you can even see the protuberance’s shadow. Whatever it is, it looks a lot different from the red rock that it sits on. What in the hell?

People have suggested wild theories for the metal looking object but it’s probably just some part of the rock that is less susceptible to erosion (compared to the rest of the surface). Or maybe it’s a weird lighting trick that Curiosity is playing on us. Or a grave for a dying robot? Or who knows. The object, which is only half a centimetre tall, was found by the Curiosity Rover on January 30, 2013. We might never know what it is.

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The Bone Luge: Gross, Weird, But More Than Just A Gimmick

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There’s a growing trend among boozers in some parts of the world: sucking down shots through beef marrow bones. Yes, the Bone Luge sounds macabre, savage, disgusting and fratty, but don’t let the name fool you. It’s a high-end (read: expensive) affair, but all the pomp isn’t just for show. It’s actually, you know, good.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What the Hell Is It?

A typical Bone Luge starts with a fancyish appetizer at a fancyish restaurant. You want to order the roasted beef marrow bone. It’ll arrive, generally sawed in half, lengthwise, with garlic toast and a couple of other accouterments. That right there will generally run you $US15-$US20. Scrape that fatty marrow out onto your toast, and enjoy as your arteries cry out for mercy.

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When you’re done eating, you’re left with a hollowed-out bone. Here’s where the luge comes in. You’re going to order a glass of booze (more on which kind in a moment). You put one end of the bone up to your mouth, tilt the bone up, and pour your drink down the other side. Do it right, and it’s perfectly funneled into your mouth.

Why Would I Want to Do That?

It sounds like a disgusting gimmick. No better than drinking beer out of a helmet, right? Wrong. In fact, you’re adding a distinct and pleasing dimension to your drink: umami.

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter. It is the savoury flavour (different from salty), that coats your tongue and lingers. It is our tastebuds’ response to the amino acid L-glutamate. Human breast milk is extremely high in glutamate (more than ten times the content of cow’s milk), so most of us first encounter the umami flavour while nursing, which may explain why many find it to be calming, soothing and satisfying. Umami is also known to be a flavour enhancer. Bone marrow is teeming with the stuff.

That’s not all. When you bone luge, the alcohol carries some of the excess fat present in the marrow residue with it. Even in small amounts, this adds to the richness of the drink. Because the fat is still liquid on the warm bone, it mixes instantly with the beverage as your drinking it. The effect is very similar to a fat wash, where something like bacon fat is infused into a spirit, frozen and then strained out. Except with the luge it’s an instantaneous effect. Pouring it down the warm bone also serves to heat the alcohol, slightly, which further releases the aroma.

The combined effect is subtle, but distinctive. It doesn’t really alter the flavourof the drink very much, but it adds that hard-to-articulate, rich, savoury element. There’s a bit more smoothness to it, and the experience really lingers. After you’ve finished your drink you’ll continue to notice the flavours evolve on your tongue for a good while after. And yes, I would have thought it was all just hype, too, if I hadn’t tried it myself. It’s really not about the spectacle (which is actually mildly embarrassing), it’s all about the flavours.

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What Booze Should I Luge?

There’s no one answer to this. Since the trend started taking off, people have been luging everything from hard spirits, to wines, to cocktails. There are a few general guidelines you should follow though.

  • Choose something that you would normally want to sip and savour. This isn’t a shot, exactly, in that that point isn’t to get wasted. You’ll probably end up pouring the drink a bit at a time so you can really take it in. You’re probably going to want to go top shelf.
  • You want something that will be enhanced by the addition of that savoury umami flavour. This isn’t everything. In fact, some things are going to overwhelm it. Basically: don’t use scotch. Its flavours are so strong that you’d probably miss the more subtle new ones.
  • Likewise, if the proof is too high, the alcohol burn will totally overwhelm your tastebuds and you’ll miss the ride. So 80 proof is probably the absolute max you’d want to go (maaaaybe 86, but you’re really pushing it). Simply put, if you keep it lower, you’ll be able to taste everything better. Similarly, you want a room-temperature drink. Not only will you be able to taste it better, but it will more efficiently carry the warm fat off the bone.

So where does that leave us?

The two most popular beverages for bone luging are brandy or a nice dry sherry. Fino sherry (which is what I tried) is a fortified wine, which means it’s slightly stronger the most traditional wines. On its own, it doesn’t do much for me, but through the luge I found it to be mouth-watering, and far more complex. It brought out all kinds of flavours that were already in the wine, but that I hadn’t noticed before.

Brandy (Larressingle VSOP Armagnac, in this case, which was very tasty) has much more flavour of its own, so when taken through a bone luge it is still the predominant flavour. But still, the savoury marrow really complements the smoky, sweet flavours, and the resulting combination is very warming. It made me want to curl up by a fire and lick my lips for an hour.

Others are partial to sipping bourbon through their bone, or tequila. In both cases the umami flavour would be a nice complement to the smokiness of the spirit, but the higher proof may detract a little. There’s evidence that people have sipped a Manhattan through a bone luge, which sounds like a great idea; you’ve got the sweet smokiness of bourbon or rye, plus the aromatics of the vermouth, and a slightly lower alcohol content than a straight up spirit. The website boneluge.com has many more intriguing pairing suggestions and various sage advice.

Whose Idea Was This?

There’s some debate about when the first bone luge really was (cavemen?), but credit for the modern bone luge is generally given to Jacob Grier of Portland, OR, who was out with some friends during Cocktail Week 2010 and, well, one thing lead to another, and he found himself drinking tequila out of a marrow bone. He convinced the restaurant Metrovino (where he’s head bartender) to add the bone luge to the menu, and it’s been spreading ever since.

The bone luge officially went mainstream when Anthony Bourdain said, “I’m aware of this practice. It’s extremely anti-social and against all standards of decency. So I think we should do it,” while at a bar in Toronto during an episode of No Reservations. The rest is TV history.

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Where Can I Do Them?

The short answer is pretty much anywhere they serve marrow bones. These are generally somewhat pricey restaurants that specialize in meat. There are plenty of places in New York City to get marrow bones, but a special shout-out goes to the good people at Prime Meats in Brooklyn who were kind enough to humour my “research.” Be somewhat selective in your choice of restaurant, as you don’t want to do it anywhere that takes themselves too seriously lest you receive scornful looks.

Of course, if you’d rather a bit more privacy, you can always roast marrow bones at home, but you may want to leave sawing the bone length-wise to the pros. But hey, a bone shot-glass world would just as well, I think.

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Julian Assange Preps For Australian Senate Race

Getting yourself on the docket for an election is tough no matter where you are. I’d say it would be tougher for a political refugee like Julian Assange, though. Assange recently flagged his intention to run for the Federal Senate, and now despite the adversity, Assange is on his way to the race.

The Age reports that the founder of Wikileaks has this week had his registration for electoral enrolment was handed to the Australian Electoral Commission in Melbourne, signalling the start of Assange’s run for a Victorian Senate seat.

Assange will reportedly be backed by a 10-man Wikileaks party full of activists for the cause. The party’s registration was presented to the AEC yesterday by a group of Assange supporters, including his father, a Sydney-based architect.

Would you ‘Vote 1 Assange’?

MIKA: Hell YES!2thumbs.gif

We have enough criminals in our Parliament as is. Hell NO!

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We have enough criminals in our Parliament as is. Hell NO!

Has he been proven a criminal or 'Suspected'?nyah.gif

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Holy Moly, Check Out This Awesome F-18 Cockpit Video

http://youtu.be/nw0gjw1XIIk

I love the GoPros or whatever cameras the people at the Carrier Strike Group 8 used to make this awesome video. It shows the complete experience of flying a VFA-103 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower.

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Has he been proven a criminal or 'Suspected'?nyah.gif

Yep, he breached his bail conditions.

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