Exclusive: New Year's Noise Maker App

2015 is quickly drawing to a close and aGupieWare's exclusive New Year's Eve Noise Maker app is available from the App Store for just $0.99.  The app plays numerous New Year's Eve sounds and songs. Irritate ears with the sound of a horn. Twist brains with the twirler sound. Perform an ensemble of the instruments above, or play the classic New Year's song "Auld Lang Syne." Bring the noise!

Space Station Sunday: Signing Off (Part II)

Welcome to Part II of our review of 2015's greatest moments on the International Space Station.

At night, the "pale blue dot" becomes a diamond.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Space Station Sunday: 2015, Signing Off (Part I)

Good afternoon, space fans!  What a year it's been for manned spaceflight...

It never gets old.
(Image courtesy theguardian.com.)

Fired Up For The Future: NASA 3D-Prints A Working Rocket Engine

As we speed full-tilt into 2016, the opportunities for new technologies to improve on old ideas seems endless.  One strong manufacturing technology, 3D printing, arose to a number of important challenges in 2015, and now may have its sights on the stars.  NASA has recently announced that their tests of conduits comprising a 3D-printed rocket engine have been a success.

To boldly go:  the 3D-printed "breadboard" engine exceeded expectations.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasured Power Source: How MIT Claims We Can Convert Car Batteries To Solar Cells

It's almost 2016, and people are finally beginning to realize that fossil fuels are about are pertinent to the future as whale oil.  But what are we going to do with all those outdated chunks of old-school dead car batteries?  The bright minds at MIT have figured out a way for the past to fuel the future...

Rev it up with some recycling, and your old car battery could be a new source of sustainable energy.
(Image courtesy cleantechnica.com.)

SpaceX Excellence: Falcon 9 Rocket Launches And Later LANDS In Historic Spaceflight First

Everyone enjoys watching a good rocket launch...the power, the inspiration to aim for the stars, the rejoicing at mankind's triumphs against physics.  Now, those sensations can be doubled, as SpaceX has successfully managed to not only have a rocket launch flawlessly, but to then have it return safely to Earth and make a landing.

A long exposure of the launch and landing.
Fortunately featuring no more fire than was absolutely necessary.
(Image courtesy space.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Expedition 46 In The Mix

Good afternoon, space fans!  It's been an exciting week for entering orbit!

Driving stick-shift in a spacecraft?  No problem for Expedition 46!
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

That Time We Almost Built A Death Star

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that we're fans of crazy weapons (especially on vehicles, from trucks to planes), stuck on "Star Wars", and definitely devoted to all sorts of stuff in space.  However, the confluence of all three is something truly spectacular...had it ever been invented...

This, except huge, and in space.  But someone had a bad feeling about it...
(Image science.howstuffworks.com.)

Crappy Holidays? Get Wrecked With These Tech-Inspired Flasks

It's the holiday season, and whether you like it or not, you may find yourself finagling through some festivities.  If you want a way to show off your techie tendencies while simultaneously slurping enough sauce to place you firmly on the Naughty List (especially after those office party shenanigans), here are several technology-inspired flasks that will, somewhat ironically, give you what no robot, videogame, device or website can:  the warm embrace of a good stiff shot.

Smartphone?  That's a goddamn brilliant-phone.
(Image courtesy pinterest.com.)

A Rebel Restoring The Empire: A "Star Wars" Super-Fan Updates The Classic Films To Original Form

Are you getting excited for the new "Star Wars" film, "The Force Awakens"?  If you're not, are you just worried that it might be as bad as the prequel trilogy that did little justice to the world-famous source material, or perhaps as unpleasant as the poorly-conceived updates made to the originals?  Well, despite George Lucas's culture-crushing chaos, he's taken his hands off of the new movie, and as for the other, original ones that he messed with, they have been forcefully fixed...

It surrounds us, and protects us, and binds the (original, un-fucked-with) galaxy together.
(Image courtesy wired.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Christmas Cygnus & Homebound Crew All Arrive Safely

Happy Sunday, space fans!  It's time once again for an assessment of all things awesome in orbit.

The Cygnus leaves Florida for space, bearing Christmas goodies and science.
(Image courtesy NASA TV.)

All The Glory Of The Natural World - Identified By App

It's been unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, and that means plants might still be present in your neighborhood.  If there's a certain bit of flora that's been beyond your categorization, now, you can use a variety of apps to get to the bottom of these pretty mysteries...

No word on whether the app yet recognizes the elusive "Pac-Man Pine."
(Image courtesy pinterest.com.)

Hot Stuff: Germany's Peppr App Abets Their Legalized Prostitution

Do you like hookup apps, but hate the inconvenience of actually having to pretend to care about someone long enough to trick them into getting naked with you?  If you're in Germany, no worries...the prostitution app Peppr eliminates all possible hassles from your tryst transactions.

No need for dealings like this any more.
Like all the other societally-frowned-on stuff you participate in, now just use your phone!
(Image courtesy vice.com.)

Trail/Blazing: California Scientists Collaborate On A Breathalyzer For Bud

In the words of author and noted drug user William S. Burroughs, "A man under the influence of weed is completely unfit to drive a car."  Now, with cannabis use exploding in the United States, and rules on its legality constantly shifting, a quantitative measure to ensure road safety for reefer-heads is being undertaken by technology...

Rolling stoned?  You might get no satisfaction.
(Image courtesy theweedblog.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Fourth Launch Attempt Is The Charm?

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's another round of what's going on around the world.  Well, around and above it...

So You Think You Can Go To Orbit, round 4.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Red Moonrise: Russia Shoots For Moon Base

Space exploration is always an intriguing topic, but this year, the hot new real estate seems to be the moon.  With NASA interested in the moon's natural craters for dwelling during astro-missions, and the European Space Agency eyeballing the celestial body for possible habitation, it's no surprise that Russia, the original space-race competitors, are throwing their furry hats into the ring.

Their habitation pods could feasibly be built like Matryoshka dolls for extra security.
(Image courtesy dailymail.co.uk.)

Can You Feel The Love Tonight? If Not, Try This New Dating Site For Disney Fans

Are you searching for a very special kind of romantic partner? Someone who will show you a whole new world, be part of your world, and create something there that wasn't there before?  Now, there's a weirdly-specific website for that.
"I love you toooooo."
But only if you're a crazy enough Disney fan to be able to translate Elliott the Dragon's brrrp-speech.
(Image courtesy highdefdigest.com.)

Human-Cyborg Relations: New Google Feature Transports Your Devices To A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Alright nerds, we know you're getting excited about the new upcoming "Star Wars" movie, even if the last three were a nightmarish pile of existential terror that made you question at what point your life dispensed with the pleasantries and made your precious memories of space-based action films diffract into such a wasteful and insipid alternate hell.

Anyway, now there's a Google feature to make your stuff all "Star Wars"-y.

It's fun both for casual users or the fan that has everything...
(Image courtesy movieweb.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Thanks And Cornbread From Orbit

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's the latest dispatches from beyond our earthly realm...

Taking "leave" of the planet, ISS style.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)

You Better Not Pout: Santa's Surveillance Apps

Christmas is coming, so why not leverage it to exert influence on the young ones in your life?  Promote politeness with a variety of Santa-approved "surveillance" apps...

Naughty or nice, you can use his power to keep Christmas craziness in check.
(Image courtesy pennlive.com.)

Mature Content: New "Companionship" App For The Elderly

Our current senior citizens were raised in an era with typewriters and telegrams, and now, they can add another newfangled technology to their (long) lives:  a hookup app.

Go out with a bang.
(Image courtesy get-susan.com.)

If You Suspects Something, Text Something: New Anti-Terror App For New Yorkers

Are you remaining vigilant in these trying times, citizen?  Well just in case you were thinking of keeping to yourself and minding your own damn business, the government doesn't want you to, and there's a new app to abet that.

Your activism needs no more than the swipe of a finger.
That should probably be worrisome, right?
(Image courtesy ny.gov.)

Space Station Sunday: New Plants, New Plans, And Fresh Space Snaps

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's what was floating around this week.

Eight months up there, and still these guys are safe and hard at work.
Well done, cosmonaut Kornienko (left) and astronaut Kelly!
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Learning Is Earning: 8 Online Courses That Improve The Richness Of Your Life (And Maybe Your Wallet)

Do you like learning things, but don't want to spend thousands at college?  Do you have an insatiable lust (or even mild affinity) for knowledge, but you dislike the classroom or tutor dynamic, and you don't like even just waking up in time to stuff stuff into your head?  Now, you can use the Udemy website to become more intelligent on a variety of topics so vast, you'll be smarter just knowing that it's possible to study these things.  Here are just a few of the new things we recently learned we could learn online...

If you're reading this, you may have already taken the first step towards
getting really good at a new skill.  How exciting!
(Image courtesy extremetech.com.)

Impersonal Shopper: New Robo-Stockboy Tallies Up Inventory

It's time once again for the Robot Replacement Roundup, in which we assess the viability of a seemingly-harmless robot taking over your job.  Bartenders, pizza cooks, fast food folks, factory workers, personal chefs, and hotel staff have already been considered candidates for replacement, and now, the 'bots are taking their style to the aisles...

The Terminators arrived not with a bang, but with a whisper.
Namely, "You need to order more Pop-Tarts."
(Image courtesy zamazingodergi.com.)

A Win For Things Lost: New TrackR Device Hunts Down Your Stuff

Quick, where are your keys?  Phone?  Wallet?  Remote control?  Dog?  If you don't know the answer immediately, technology may now be able to help you fill in the blanks...

Did you misplace something important today?
Can't quite think of where it is?
Now, you don't have to.
(Image courtesy curiousportraits.wordpress.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Some Downtime At 250 Miles Up

Good afternoon, space fans!  Welcome back to the week's news from outside the atmosphere.

Astronaut Scott Kelly said it best when posting this image this morning:
"Today is a new day with limitless possibilities to do great things.
Good morning from the International Space Station!"
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)

Like Uber For Slobber: New Matchmaking App Sets Up Dogs And Humans

They say that dogs are man's best friend.  So with all of the social media platforms used to make friends, why shouldn't there be one that includes canine companions?

This could be you.  Or your dog.
(Image courtesy mymodernmet.com.)

A Wonder For Down Under: New Kegel Exerciser / Videogame App (Seriously)

Ladies, we know that "playing with yourself" is not the most delicate way to describe an aspect of maintaining healthy sexual function, but in this case, it's the literal truth...

We also know it's uncouth to steal other publications' headline imagery,
but the Britons really nailed this one.
(Image courtesy www.mirror.co.uk.)

Mining And Shining: Updated SPACE Act Passes Congress, Bound For The Stars

Many people believe that America's space program would be greatly augmented if only we could find a space-based resource to mine for materials and subsequently sell.  Well, we haven't had a gold rush for the red planet yet, but now some new guidelines for being a space prospector are in place...

Thar's gold in them thar hills!  Well, at least, minerals in them thar asteroids.
(Image courtesy ibitimes.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Extravehicular Awesomeness And Even More ISS History

Good afternoon, space fans!  Welcome back to all the best news from 220 miles up.

There's no speed limits in space.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

This week on the ISS, another sucessfull spacewalk was conducted by NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren.  The spacewalk began on Friday at 7:10 AM EST and was the second successful space venture for Kelly and Lindgren in as many weeks.

Seasoned space veterans Kelly and Lindgren take another daring walk outside.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

The astronauts spent six and a half hours on their EVA (extravehicular activity), attending to a port truss cooling system.  Ammonia levels were regulated for both the main and backup system.  The ammonia pump had been replaced in 2013 after a leak-detecting exercise in 2012 found it lacking, and the full system was now restored to its original configuration.  Two previous spacewalk missions had worked on the issue.

The proper cooling of the system is important to station life, as it gathers the heat from sources on the station and disseminates it properly.  According to NASA, "The Photovoltaic Thermal Control System dissipates heat generated at the space station from radiators attached to the truss structure."  This includes the abundance of solar heat that the station attracts.

Bust out with you truss out.
(Image courtesy Alexander Gerst/ESA.)

This was the 190th spacewalk completed on the ISS since its initial construction 15 years ago.  Want to know more about the sensations involved while spacewalking?  Astronaut Douglas Wheelock did a fascinating Q&A with National Geographic this week to describe some of the impressions his cavorting in orbit left him with.  Turns out spacesuits are smelly, itches aren't always scratchable, and temperatures can get weird...but that it's also just as awesome as it looks (and it always looks pretty awesome.)

That's a lot of strolling in the stars.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

In celebration of the station's 15-year anniversary, NASA has compiled a great archive of the space station's stunning history and growth story.  They also celebrated the milestone in a fun collection of GIFs.  Keep up keeping up!

Humanity's greatest work in progress.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)
That's all for this week, space fans!  We'll see you next Sunday with even more excellence from orbit.  Watch this space!

The Earth approved of astronaut Kelly and Lindgrens' spacewalk.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)

Cultivate This: New Indoor Garden "The Grove" Gives You A Mini Ecosystem

Want a garden, but you're stuck in a postmodern (or pre-modern) cube/tomb of an apartment with no sunlight and certainly no arable land?  Worry not, for a new invention called The Grove can bring you a relative abundance of plant life, all in the comfort of your own home...

If you traded all your bookshelves for e-reading, here's your perfect futuristic home furnishing.
(Image courtesy treehugger.com.)

X Marks The Spotted: Windows 10 Is Watching You

As citizens of the cyber-community, we've unfortunately become conditioned to seeing ads that are eerily targeted to things we say, emails that appear from long-forgotten websites, and other evidence of deep data gathering made manifest for use of moneymaking.  Now, with the launch of Windows 10 becoming a necessity for some users, Microsoft seems to have pulled out even more stops to speed up their spying...

Seriously, what ISN'T spying on us these days?
(Image courtesy hackread.com.)

Tracked In The Sack: New High-Tech Wristwatch Delivers Your Sexual Stats

Technology has the amazing ability to provide us with abundant, seemingly boundless amounts of information.  Sometimes, that also includes too much information.

"Hey baby...set me to LOVE MODE."
(Image courtesy geeksme.com.)

Space Station Sunday - Halloween Edition: Dark Matter, Blood Studies, And A Spooky Specter On The Station

Good afternoon, space fans!  For those that celebrate it, we hope everyone had a fun and freaky Halloween.  Unfortunately there's no trick or treating to the ISS (yet), but it was a great week for orbital excellence just the same.

This was on Earth...unfortunately open fires on the ISS are a no-go.
(Image courtesy issabove.com.)

The Reds, The Red Planet, And Some Monkeys: Russia's Plans For Mars

From Hollywood to low earth orbit, Mars is a major source of speculation for space travel.  Everyone from misguided reality TV-star wannabes to Elon Musk wants to have a part in pioneering the red planet.  Now, Russia has thrown down a space-gauntlet of their own, and recently announced that they are training monkeys for a mission to Mars.

Ground Control to Major Kong...Ground Control to Major Kong...
(Image courtesy www.dailymail.co.uk.)

Power For The People: New "Powerwall" Battery To Revolutionize Energy Usage

The dynamics of power are changing.  While unfortunately that doesn't mean much for our government, it may be having a great impact for those in need of electricity (a.k.a. all denizens of the modern world...)

The fact that it looks a bit like the monolith from "2001" might be intentional.
(Image courtesy businessinsider.com.)

Freedom For Threesomes: New App Finds Hookups à Trois

Everyone's heard of (or been involved in) an online romance that, despite the impersonal initial interface, works out for the best. Now, you can use an app to add to such notions of romance...plus a little extra...

Get extra cozy this winter.
(Image courtesy genius.com.)

Space Station Sunday: Eye Of The Storm, Eyes Of The Astronauts

Good afternoon, space fans!  We're back in action with news from all of the above!  Let's examine what was happening on our favorite orbital outpost this week...

When the space station astronauts warn you about a hurricane, it's time to be careful.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)

NASA got the jump on keeping humanity safe by analyzing the possible effects of Hurricane Patricia, which made landfall on Friday before getting downgraded to a tropical storm.  Using the Aqua satellite, the Suomi satellite, and the Global Precipitation Measurement core satellite, they were able to track where the hurricane would hit and with what projected force.  Fortunately, the hurricane's worst wailing (an average 16 inches of rain) occurred over the Pacific Ocean, while it only accrued an average 8 inches of rain during its landfall in Mexico.

"Strongest hurricane EVER!"  -NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite.
(Image courtesy NASA - Goddard Spaceflight Center / UW/CIMSS/William Straka III.)

"That's cute."  -the high-pressure star-forming region of Messier 94 galaxy.
(Image courtesy NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center.)

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren are preparing to make two spacewalks, the first of which will occur this Wednesday.  They have spent significant time over the last week ensuring that their spacesuits are trouble-free and ready to perform the microgravity dance that is an EVA (extravehicular activity.)  The first EVA, which will last six and a half hours, will have the astronauts adding a cover to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (a dark matter experiment outside the station), lubing the Canadarm-2 robotic arm, and installing cables that will aid a future docking port for the station.

"Did you modify my spacesuit radio to default to the David Bowie playlist?"
-"Maybe I made a few little ch-ch-ch-ch-changes."
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Bio-science studies were, as always, of importance this week on the ISS, with Kelly, Lindgren, and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko undergoing exams for the Ocular Health Study.  This is a critical experiment that reflects how astronauts' eyes adapt to life in microgravity.  As Kelly and Kornienko have now been in space for over 200 consecutive days (with Kelly recently breaking the American record for most days spent in space in total), significant science on their long-term ocular health, vascular and central nervous systems will continue to be compiled as part of this study.  Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko also performed cardiovascular and respiratory experiments while riding on the station's exercise bike.

So much spacetime, but still sharp!  Congrats to Astronaut Kelly on his record-breaking space stay.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Another interesting bit of bio-science taking place aboard the ISS is the Neuromapping study.  Operating on the observations that microgravity life is more difficult for achieving tasks both physical and mental, the experiment seeks to assess how and why the human brain takes time to adapt to not inherently knowing which direction is "up."  

“On Earth, your vestibular - or balance - system tells you how your head moves relative to gravity, but in space, the gravity reference is gone,” principal investigator Dr. Rachel Seidler said. “That causes these perceptual illusions, as well as difficulty coordinating movement of the eyes and head.

For instance, from space, humanity's rampant industrialization of its natural resources can, at times, appear beautiful.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)

Thus, spacial memory and sensory-motor adaptation tests are undertaken to see how astronauts can reconfigure shapes when their orientation has been thoroughly messed with, as well as how effectively they can make critical decisions while remaining mobile in microgravity.  All of these tests will aid future space station inhabitants, as well as pioneers on long-duration missions who might need to make these diverse dynamics their new reality.  The tests may even shed light on how those with injury or illness on Earth may have had their perceptions altered, and what could be done to fix their conditions.

That's all for this week, space fans!  We'll see you next Sunday with reports on the American spacewalk and more news from 220 miles up.  Watch this space!

Australia from space, or somewhere deep inside the human mind?  Only Scott Kelly knows for sure...
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA.gov.)