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US Air Force Finally Has Enough F-35s To Fly A Decent Formation

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Here you have it, people: four F-31A Lightning IIs returning in formation to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. According to the USAF, “pilots with the 33rd Fighter Wing began flying the formation for the first time at Eglin AFB last week.”

After so many production problems and delays, only now they have enough planes to do it.

That didn't last long, they've all been grounded because they found a crack in an engine blade on one of them.

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That didn't last long, they've all been grounded because they found a crack in an engine blade on one of them.

The Trillion Dollar F-35 Is Grounded Yet Again

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In what is becoming almost as consistent as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, the F-35 —America’s trillion dollar joke of a fighter jet — has been grounded again. I don’t even know how many times the fighter jet has been grounded now, I’ve lost count. This time, it’s because of a crack in a turbine blade of the engine.

According to the Department of defence, all F-35s in the Air Force, Navy and Marines have been grounded after an engine inspection revealed the crack on the engine blade.

Inspectors found the crack in an F135 engine installed in an F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. This is the conventional take-off and landing version of the joint strike fighter.

The Air Force has shipped the cracked engine to Pratt & Whitney’s engine facility (it makes the engines) in Connecticut for further evaluation. It’s supposed to be only a precautionary measure but it’s yet another embarrassing failure for the F-35. Whether it’s parachutes being loaded the wrong way or power systems affecting the temperature or software bugging out in simulations, there’s always something going wrong with these planes. Maybe some things just aren’t meant to be.

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12 Watches That Cost More Than Your House

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Shelter? A warm hearth and roof over your head? Who needs any of that when you can blow a half million bucks on swanky, hyper-complicated timepieces like these? Even if they don’t keep perfect time, our friends at Oobject have assembled 12 of the most intricate examples to date.

Be sure to also take the time to check out the world’s first wrist watches, a few worn in space, and the maths class-banned calculator watch.

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Thomas Prescher Double Axis Tourbillon pocket watch

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Mysterious Automatic Double Axis Tourbillon

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Mercedes 320 Tourbillon Watch

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Zenith Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Zero-G

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Azimuth Twin Barrel Tourbillon

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Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 3 Watch

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The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical $US275,000-400,000

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Cartier’s Cadran Love Tourbillon Watch

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C1-Tourbillon Gravity

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Greubel Forsey GMT Tourbillon Watch

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Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Crystal Tourbillon Watch

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Celsius X VI II Papillon Tourbillon $US250K Mobile Phone

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Flying's fun isn't it!

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I miss old Kai Tak. It was fun watching people's tv in their apartment as you came in to land... though, you never saw the end of the show they were watching...

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Scientists Find Lost Continent In The Indian Ocean

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Scientists have found proof of a sunken continent in the Indian Ocean. According to a study published inNature Geoscience, the continent “was separated from Madagascar and fragmented into a ribbon-like configuration by a series of mid-ocean ridge jumps during the opening of the Mascarene ocean basin.”

No, its name is not Atlantis. According to the team’s investigation, the continent existed between India and Madagascar before it was lost to the ocean between 83.5 million and 61 million years ago.

The researchers came to this conclusion after finding zircons more than 1971 million years old on the beach of Mauritius:

The zircons were assimilated from ancient fragments of continental lithosphere beneath Mauritius, and were brought to the surface by plume-related lavas.

The scientists used this information and plate tectonic reconstruction to map the continent, which was a slice of land that they called Mauritia. According to the scientists, Mauritius and the Mascarene Plateau “may overlie [this] Precambrian microcontinent”, located 10km under the surface.

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The Science Behind Coffee And Why It’s Actually Good For Your Health

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Coffee isn’t just warm and energising, it may also be extremely good for you. In recent years, scientists have studied the effects of coffee on various aspects of health and their results have been nothing short of amazing.

Here’s why coffee may actually be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

Coffee Can Make You Smarter

Coffee doesn’t just keep you awake, it may literally make you smarter as well. The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

Caffeine’s primary mechanism in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. By blocking the inhibitory effects of adenosine, caffeine actually increases neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Many controlled trials have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, demonstrating that caffeine can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function.

Bottom Line: Caffeine potently blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, leading to a net stimulant effect. Controlled trials show that caffeine improves both mood and brain function.

Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat and Improves Physical Performance

There’s a good reason why you will find caffeine in most commercial fat burning supplements. Caffeine, partly due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, both raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids. Caffeine can also improve athletic performance by several mechanisms, including by mobilising fatty acids from the fat tissues.

In two separate meta-analyses, caffeine was found to increase exercise performance by 11 to 12 per cent on average.

Bottom Line: Caffeine raises the metabolic rate and helps to mobilise fatty acids from the fat tissues. It can also enhance physical performance.

Coffee May Drastically Lower Your Risk Of Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes is a lifestyle-related disease that has reached epidemic proportions, having increased 10-fold in a few decades and now afflicting about 300 million people. This disease is characterised by high blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. In observational studies, coffee has been repeatedly associated with a lower risk of diabetes. The reduction in risk ranges from 23 per cent all the way up to 67 per cent.

A massive review article looked at 18 studies with a total of 457,922 participants. Each additional cup of coffee per day lowered the risk of diabetes by 7 per cent. The more coffee people drank, the lower their risk.

Bottom Line: Drinking coffee is associated with a drastically reduced risk of type II diabetes. People who drink several cups per day are the least likely to become diabetic.

Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s

Not only can coffee make you smarter in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world and a leading cause of dementia. In prospective studies, coffee drinkers have up to a 60 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia (16, 17, 18). Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, characterised by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Coffee may lower the risk of Parkinson’s by 32 to 60 per cent.

Bottom Line: Coffee is associated with a much lower risk of dementia and the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Coffee May Be Extremely Good For Your Liver

The liver is a remarkable organ that carries out hundreds of vital functions in the body. It is very vulnerable to modern insults such as excess consumption of alcohol and fructose. Cirrhosis is the end stage of liver damage caused by diseases like alcoholism and hepatitis, where liver tissue has been largely replaced by scar tissue. Multiple studies have shown that coffee can lower the risk of cirrhosis by as much as 80 per cent, with the strongest effect for those who drank 4 or more cups per day. Coffee may also lower the risk of liver cancer by around 40 per cent.

Bottom Line: Coffee appears to be protective against certain liver disorders, lowering the risk of liver cancer by 40 per cent and cirrhosis by as much as 80 per cent.

Coffee May Decrease Your Risk of Dying

Many people still seem to think that coffee is unhealthy. This isn’t surprising though, since it is very common for conventional wisdom to be at exact odds with what the actual studies say. In two very large prospective epidemiological studies, drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death by all causes. This effect is particularly profound in type II diabetics, one study showing that coffee drinkers had a 30 per cent lower risk of death during a 20-year period.

Bottom Line: Coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of death in prospective epidemiological studies, especially in type II diabetics.

Coffee is Loaded With Nutrients And Antioxidants

Coffee isn’t just black water. Many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the final drink, which actually contains a decent amount of vitamins and minerals.

But this isn’t all. Coffee also contains a massive amount of antioxidants. In fact, coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables combined.

Bottom Line: Coffee contains a decent amount of several vitamins and minerals. It is also the biggest source of antioxidants in the modern diet.

Take Home Message

Even though coffee in moderate amounts is good for you, drinking way too much of it can still be harmful. I’d also like to point out that many of the studies above were epidemiological in nature. Such studies can only show association, they can not prove that coffee caused the effects. To make sure to preserve the health benefits, don’t put sugar or anything nasty in your coffee! If it tends to affect your sleep, then don’t drink it after 2pm. At the end of the day, it does seem quite clear that coffee is NOT the villain it was made out to be. If anything, coffee may literally be the healthiest beverage on the planet.

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very cool thread MIKA! thanks! perfect10.gif

Many thanks for reading, glad you like it.2thumbs.gif

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What The White House Looked Like In 1950 After It Was Totally Gutted

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In 1948, the White House was almost abandoned. After it had been burned by the British in 1814, and endured the stress of the addition of modern amenities like plumbing and electricity, it was on the verge of being condemned. Staircases were sagging, a fresco in the East Room was held in by scaffolding, and it was actually dangerous to be inside. In fact, the 1948 social season had to be cancelled.

US President Harry S. Truman told Congress that while it might be “more economical” to tear it down, that would be destroying a very important national monument. So in 1950 it was completely and totally gutted.

Every column, every wall, every single piece of the inside was taken out and put into storage. Check out these amazing photos of the White House during the reconstruction, taken from the National Archives’Flickr account.

A view of construction work from the outside.

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Iron beams holding up the original walls.

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The White House’s East Room.

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The main corridor of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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The skeletal walls of the bedroom and sitting room.

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Above, the Oval Study. Below, the Blue Room. Part of the floor was removed to install steel shoring columns.

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Remnants of the East Room fireplace.

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The shell of the White House.

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Carbon Fibre Flask: At Least Your Booze Will Survive The Apocalypse

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When World War III finally starts and the planet is decimated by nuclear bombs, facing a post-apocalyptic future will be a lot easier with a swig from this seemingly indestructible flask. Designed by Oakley working with The Macallan, The Flask — as it’s called — is made from such Tonka-tough materials as carbon fibre, food-grade steel and aerospace-grade aluminium.

Keen-eyed observers might notice similarities between the flask’s design and RED’s digital video cameras, and given RED was founded by the owner of Oakley, it’s not a stretch to assume the two companies are sharing their industrial-minded design talent.

If The Flask seems right up your alley, you’ll want to act fast. Only 100 are being produced, and even at just over $900 a pop there’s a good chance they’re still going to sell out quickly.

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Make A Candle Out Of Toilet Paper And Butter

No power and you need a light source? This DIY candle from Instructables user The King of Random builds a candle from household staples: butter and toilet paper.

The project looks pretty easy, as you can see in the video above. You’ll need a suitably sized piece of butter (cut a typical 250 gram block in half and keep the paper around it). To make the wick, cut a sheet of toilet paper and roll it. (The video recommends a quarter of a sheet but that’s based on a smaller US butter “stick”, so you may need to experiment a little.)

Dig a hole to place the wick using a toothpick and then insert it. When you’re done, you have a candle that will actually burn for hours. Butter may not seem like a likely source for light, but it will do the trick.

Make a Butter Candle – Emergency Candle McGyver Style!

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Horrifying 30m Sinkhole Swallowed A Man Sleeping In His Bed

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Last night, a man awoke to a very real nightmare as the floor of his bedroom collapsed out from under him. The sinkhole that spawned beneath his home in Florida simply enveloped the room — and its sole occupant — with no warning, leaving almost nothing behind.

The man’s brother, elsewhere in the house, rushed to the scene but found no sign of the man. Hillsborough county fire rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico put it this way:

When he got there, there was no bedroom left. There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up. …We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn’t see anything compatible with life.

But she stopped short of saying the man is presumed dead.

Sinkholes are common in Florida, especially its central regions, because the majority of the state is on a foundation of limestone.

The natural (and unnatural) acids in rain eat away at that foundation slowly over time, weakening it until the surface snaps without warning, devouring whatever lies above. There’s not much anyone can do to prevent them beside just staying out of the way. Be glad your morning has been going a little bit better.

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Watch What Happens When You Try To Skydive With An Umbrella

Mary Poppins flew with a magical umbrella, but can you actually soar with one real life? Pretty much — provided you have the right umbrella, which pro skiier Eric Roner did. He captured the crazy feat captured with a GoPro Hero 3.

Roner cuts loose from the bottom of a hot air balloon holding an insane umbrella contraption, and your stomach drops with him. He didn’t pilot his parasol all the way to the ground, but can you blame him? You ever try landing an umbrella?

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This Insane Rope Swing Looks Like Heart-Stopping Fun

There’s crazy things you can do like racing jet skis. There’s extreme stunts you can pull like sky diving. There’s insanity like base jumping. And then there’s this: jumping off a canyon and swinging yourself on a 90m rope swing. You come oh so close to hitting the canyon but pull away at the last moment. It’s heart stopping fun.

What’s incredible is that you can see the fearless bunch who jumped onto the rope swing get a little uneasy throughout the jump. You can see the progression of each jumper’s faces, going from pumped to excited to screaming to eye widening, natural fear to realisation that they might die to realisation that they won’t die to pumped to excited to screaming again. It’s awesome. I wish I had the balls.

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Baby Reportedly Cured Of HIV

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It may sound hard to believe, but doctors from Mississippi are saying that for the first time, an infant has been cured of an HIV infection. The New York Times relays reports from doctors who say the infant had tested positive for HIV on five separate occasions and now, at age two and a half and off drugs for an entire year, the child shows no signs of the virus in its body.

Shortly after its birth to an HIV-positive woman, the child had been treated with antiretroviral drugs just 30 hours after its birth, an uncommon practice. The thought is that this aggressive treatment contributed in large part to the apparent annihilation of the virus by crippling the virus before it could cripple the immune system.

From the New York Times:

If further study shows this works in other babies, it will almost certainly change the way newborns of infected mothers are treated all over the world. The United Nations estimates that 330,000 babies were newly infected in 2011, the most recent year for which there is data, and that more than 3 million children globally are living with HIV

If the report is confirmed, the child born in Mississippi would be only the second well-documented case of a cure in the world, giving a boost to research aimed at a cure, something that only a few years ago was thought to be virtually impossible.

There are, of course, caveats. Outside experts have not yet been able to completely verify the claims. And while it seems clear that the child no longer tests positive for HIV, there’s yet to be rock-solid confirmation that it ever was HIV positive in the first place. But Dr. Deborah Persaud, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and lead author of the report on the baby and other outside scientists say they are certain the child was in fact infected. “It’s proof of principle that we can cure H.I.V. infection if we can replicate this case,” she said, announcing the discovery.

Studies are already being planned to see if similarly aggressive treatment can work in other HIV-positive infants, and if this cure can be widely verified, understood, and replicated, it stands as a huge step forward in the fight against HIV and AIDS in children, and eventually, the fight against HIV and AIDS on the whole. For the moment, it’s an instance of an individual child being functionally cured, not “a cure” per se, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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Watch This Bartending Robot Pee Ingredients Into The Perfect Cocktail

It’s one thing to have a robot make drinks for you. It’s another to have a robot make drinks for you in style. “Shake” does the latter, though maybe it’s style isn’t quite up your alley. But however you feel about its trio of peeing statues, you have to admit the automatic shaker and coiled cooling system is pretty sweet.

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How To Build An Ice Hotel

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In the tiny arctic village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, dusk lasts most of the day at this time of year. Against the dramatic and ever-evolving pink and purple sky sits a structure that looks like a cross between a sleek nightclub and an igloo from outer space: Lapland’s storied IceHotel, the world’s largest and longest-running luxury hotel made entirely of frozen water.

How do you build a hotel out of ice — and make it luxurious to boot? Mental Floss’s Jessanne Collins explains exactly how the IceHotel was born, step by frozen step.

A sprawling single-story structure built annually on the pristine banks of the frozen Torne River, the IceHotel is in its 23rd incarnation. In the late ’80s, Yngve Bergqvist, who led white-water rafting trips on the Torne during the long arctic summers, invited some ice sculptors to create a winter river attraction. The result was an ice art gallery — a small igloo on the frozen river in which art work could be displayed. After a couple of years, an adventurous group asked if they could spend the night in the igloo. Afterward, they raved so much about the experience that Bergqvist decided to build a proper hotel. The first IceHotel was erected in the winter of 1989-1990. These days, it attracts 60,000 guests who want to spend a night in one of its 65 rooms. Of these, 15 are one-of-a-kind “art suites” — among this year’s are a UFO-themed room and a fairytale forest-designed and sculpted by visiting artists from all over the world.

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Staying in the hotel is kind of like camping out in a meat locker. The inside temperature is a constant -5C. Even the bedframes are carved ice — but a mattress, a reindeer pelt, and a sleeping bag make sleeping quite cosy. In the lobby’s Ice Bar, patrons huddle in heavy parkas, thick mittens and snow pants. With the exception of a few cushions, every surface is gleaming ice-including the glasses in which the cocktails are served.

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The hotel betrays a minimalist aesthetic that’s a hallmark of Scandinavian design. And the frozen architecture lends a serene quality even when the lobby is crawling with tourists. But when I visited on an impossibly clear and cold week this winter, the most remarkable thing about the place was going on behind the scenes: Amid the hustle and bustle, the IceHotel team was already quietly at work on the assiduous process of building next year’s hotel. It takes 1000 tons of crystal-clear ice cut straight from the river and 30,000 cubic metres of a pasty-white man-made mix of snow and ice that’s called, cutely, “snice”, to build the hotel each year. In a few months, everything from the king-size bedframes to the benches in the bar would be reduced to puddles — or, more precisely–reabsorbed into the river.

The Big Freeze

Building the ice hotel isn’t so much an annual process as a never-ending one. But if you had to specify a starting point for the endeavour it would be sometime in November, when the river freezes over. That’s when the production team, led by production manager Alf Kero, sections out a 1300sqm swath of ice with red plastic rods typically used to mark snow-covered roads. All winter long, Kero and his team will cultivate and monitor this patch-which will eventually become the raw material for the next year’s hotel.

An average of two meters of snow blankets the village over the winter, but workers plow this special patch of river with a front-end loader to keep it clear of precipitation. This ensures that the ice grows downward, into the still waters of the river below, rather than hardening upward. The result is ice that is crystal-clear, free from bubbles and cracks, and it’s this naturally formed glass-like ice that the hotel has made its trademark.

In December, during the weeks that the sun doesn’t come above the horizon, the entire river, which reaches depths of more than 18m, is frozen solid. Because of all that ice, the temperature in Jukkasjärvi can be 10 to 20 degrees colder than the nearby mining city of Kiruna, just 18km to the east. But by February, as the days are beginning to lengthen, the river is slowly beginning to thaw from its bed up. This is when the team begins to gear up to harvest the ice for the next year’s hotel, carefully monitoring its thickness. When it’s around a metre thick, usually in early March, it’s time for the harvest to begin.

Building Blocks

The ice patch is gridded out into squares that measure roughly 1.85sqm, and then the team slices the ice using a vertical saw mounted on a front-end loader, specially designed for the task by the team with the help of a local construction firm. Each cube, weighing nearly two tons, is lifted out of the river with a forklift. “The river flow is quite gentle in the area where we pick up the ice blocks,” Kero tells me, “but the ice can be slippery and at times it can be very windy so it is important to wear suitable safety equipment and ensure that the staff is trained and working in teams, never alone.” Altogether, the team harvests 5000 tons of ice this way.

Once a block is out of the river, the crusty top layer is sawed off, and then the blocks are sorted by clarity. The clearest of them are designated for use in the hotel rooms and to manufacture glasses-for the hotel’s bar and three more Ice Bars the IceHotel runs, in Stockholm, Oslo and London. During the summer, while the temperature outside reaches the 60s and the sun stays up all night, the giant blocks sit in two giant sub-freezing warehouses.

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You can still visit the IceHotel in the summer — right now, the production team is busy building an IceBar and sample rooms that are open inside the hotel’s hangar — like art centre each year. Once that’s done and the ice harvest has been completed, the team turns its attention to the planning of next fall’s hotel. “The first steps are a number of creative brainstorming meetings, where we set out the plans for the architecture and art,” says Sofi Routsalainen, a member of the Art and Design group, which oversees the production of the hotel. Over the summer, they’ll carefully choose the 40 artists who will create next year’s art suites from 200 applicants.

Winter Is Coming

As winter begins to descend, it’s time to get ready to start construction on the new hotel. It takes a team of about 100 people — including builders, artists, lighting engineers, snice casters, tractor drivers, and the art and design group — to build the structure. In October, as the river begins to freeze, the production team prepares the grounds and wall moulds and makes sure electricity and sewage are in order, while they wait for the temperature to drop. A support wall is erected out of steel vaults.

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When the ground freezes and there’s been a week of temperatures below -7C, it’s time to start spreading snice for the hotel floor.

Snice acts like a paste and looks like the crust that builds up in a malfunctioning freezer. It’s made by pumping water from the river and blowing it through “snow cannons”, which results in tiny ice particles mixed with air. The substance is structurally stronger and more resistant to the sun than sheer ice, and has the insulating qualities of snow. A hotel built of pure ice would be much colder inside, and would melt quicker in the spring.

To construct each corridor of the hotel, a row of arch-shaped steel vaults are erected, and then sprayed with snice and left to set for a few days. Once they’ve frozen, the vaults are lowered onto skis and pulled out with a tractor. Internal walls are built using the same process. Once the corridor is divided into a number of rooms, doors are cut using a chain saw, and the LED lights are installed. (There’s no plumbing — if hotel guests have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, they must venture to an attached warm building. Ask me about this some other time!) When the rooms are completed, the team stocks some of them with extra ice blocks — these will become the art suites.

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For more than two weeks each November, the visiting artists chosen to create the year’s art suites work in the freezing rooms, using chisels and chain saws to carve the rooms they have planned. Then in early December, once the reception area, bar, and at least one wing of rooms are ready, the hotel officially opens for business. From then until the structure becomes unsafe to occupy in April, visitors will fill their days with ice sculpting lessons and snowmobile sojourns. They might even attend one of the 150 weddings celebrated each year in the ice chapel. As for the nights: those are spent out on the frozen Torne, watching for the Aurora Borealis-and learning the value of a good down sleeping bag.

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Batman Is Real, And He’s Operating In Northern England

British Police have released a statement this week with words in it they probably never thought would be strung together in any official capacity. They have confirmed overnight that a vigilante dressed as Batman brought a man wanted for burglary into the police station before disappearing into the night. Best of all? It was all caught on tape.

Police in Northern England apprehended a man brought into the station by a man dressed as the caped crusader. It wasn’t as flashy as the Christian Bale Batman suit, instead it was more like 1960′s Adam West Batman had let himself go a bit.

The man the Batman deposited with the rozzers was allegedly wanted on charges of burglary.

“The person who brought the wanted man into the station was dressed in a full batman outfit. His identity, however, remains unknown,” police said in a baffling statement.

Interestingly, local news outlets have an interview with the woman who claims to have sold the Batman suit to the vigilante, and she irresponsibly revealed the man’s street to the media. Now he’ll have all the villains over causing trouble.

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Here’s What All Those Suits Do In The Iron Man 3 Trailer

The latest Iron Man 3 trailer dropped overnight, and now we’re all waiting with bated breath until the film hits cinemas in late April.

The last 20 seconds of the new Iron Man 3 trailer features Tony Stark calling his amazing new legion of Iron Man suits to a battle at a dockyard, but who is in those suits if not Stark?

4chan — of all places — seems to have the inside scoop on what all of those suits actually do, and the simple answer to the previous question is that they’re all automated.

io9 writes up what all the suits actually do, and if they’re on the money then Iron Man 3 is going to be a nerd parade of autonomous super-suits.

Spoilers: The report — which is spolier-laden also — says that Stark has suits that he reverse engineered from the Asgardian Destroyer in Thor, a suit designed to go to space after Stark’s near-death experience in The Avengers, aquatic armour to recover stuff blown into the ocean be The Mandarin (Iron Man 3‘s baddie) and the Heavy Brute armour, also known as the Hulkbuster.

Either way, I can’t wait for Iron Man 3.

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Carrie Fisher Will Play Princess Leia In Star Wars Episode VII

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The gang is getting back together for the next Star Wars movie. We already knew Harrison Ford was going to become an old Han Solo and now, Carrie Fisher is saying that she’ll reprise her role as Princess Leia. Is this a good thing?

Carrie Fisher confirmed with the Palm Beach Illustrated that she’ll be back as Princess Leia in Episode VII and explained where she thinks her character is now, saying:

Elderly. She’s in an intergalactic old folks’ home [laughs]. I just think she would be just like she was before, only slower and less inclined to be up for the big battle.

Fisher joked that she would still wear “the bagel buns and the bikini” in Episode VII which, well, probably wouldn’t spawn a million Halloween costumes like it did after Return of the Jedi. Fisher had previously said she’d back in Episode VII last year but later claimed she was speaking ‘tongue in cheek’. This time feels a little more solid. So if Princess Leia is in the fold now and with Han Solo already committed, does that mean old man Luke isn’t so far behind?

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Electronic Sensor Tattoos Can Now Be Printed Directly Onto Human Skin

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Thanks to the same people that brought us the stick-on electric tattoo and stretchable battery, we’re now looking at a future of electronic sensors that can be printed directly onto human skin.

At least for now, it seems like the sensors will be mainly used for medical purposes; they’ll be able to monitor skin hydration, temperature, and any electric signals from muscle and brain activity. And unlike their stick-on precursor, these skin-printed tattoos don’t use the easily-washed-off polymer backing, which, as it turns out, wasn’t even necessary in the first place.

Instead, the Rogers research group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that printing the electronic mesh directly onto skin caused the sensor (which is held together and remains flexible thanks to special serpentine wires) to become 1/30 the size and even conforms better to that body’s natural bumps and curves. With the help of a “very robust” spray-on bandage, that sucker has a good two weeks before it begins to flake off.

With these advances and the current massive interest in wearable, body-monitoring tech, it’s only a matter of time before health-tracking diehards demand taking wearable to within. What’s more, these sensors could even be hooked up to interact with any number of external devices.

The possibilities are truly exciting and mildly terrifying. But whether we’re ready for it not, the future, it seems, is here.

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Watch SpaceX’s Grasshopper Hover 80m In The Air

http://youtu.be/WFAfF1aTjNI

When we last saw SpaceX’s Grasshopper, it had just finished a test flight that carried the vertical takeoff/landing rocket up to 40m. A couple months later, it’s now hovering in at around 80m!

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Watch The Real-Life Terminator Hand-Tie Shoes And Deal Cards

The last time we saw Bebionic’s V3 prosthetic hand in action was in a sterile promotional video showing it doing everything from buttering up a slice of bread to manipulating a Rubik’s Cube. It was rather impressive, but this clip is even moreso since it demonstrates how life-changing the prosthetic hand can actually be in a real-world situation.

Nigel Ackland lost his arm in an accident six years ago, and even though he was fitted with a V3 just last November, he’s already able to use it to help tie his shoes, deal cards, and even make a cup of coffee while navigating his kitchen.

It’s not only surprising how capable the hand is but also how quickly Nigel’s been able to learn to rely on it for all the day-to-day mundane tasks he only recently wasn’t able to do.

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Of Course This Fiat 500 Ad Was Banned In Australia

abarth500-640x360.png

I love Fiats. The souped-up Abarth versions are even better. What I don’t understand is the marketing were thinking when they put this ad together for the Super Bowl? The company has just had it banned for being too sexual and reportedly advocating dangerous driving.

mUmbrella reports that the Advertising Standards Board ruled against Fiat over the ad, which upheld complains saying that the ad was too sexual.

You be the judge. By the way, the translation of what she’s saying is below:

What are you looking at? Uh!?

What are you looking at?! (slap)

Are you undressing me with your eyes?

Poor guy…you can’t help it?

Is your heart beating? Is your head spinning?

Do you feel lost thinking that I could be yours forever?

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Virgin Galactic Nearing First Rocket-Powered Test Flight

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The photo you see above was taken on February 28 when the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites team tested, for the first time, the rocket that will power its first test flight before going into orbit. It was a raging success.

It’s hard to believe that Virgin Galactic has been around since 2004, when they first tested the SpaceShipOne. But it wasn’t until 2009 that Sir Richard Branson rolled out SpaceShipTwo to a crowd in the Mojave. It was then that people actually started to take the sub-orbital space tourism service seriously.

While there hasn’t been that much to update on publicly since then, the privateers have been quietly chugging along in the desert and might actually launch later this year. After receiving an experimental launch permit from the FAA last year, and a series of successful test flights and ground rocket tests and the above test, Galactic just might start sending folks up into space.

While it isn’t a trip to Mars or the moon, did anyone think we’d be sending normal people into space 10 years ago? Baby steps.

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