Homebrew With No Hassle: Meet The All-Automated "Brewie" Machine

Beer.  If you're an enthusiast, you know the sky is the limit for the variety of flavors that can be brewed up in your favorite cold barley soup.  But what about trying to create a brew that's entirely yours?  Now, you can get crafty in the comfort of your own home, thanks to Brewie.

Brewie, according to Shortlist.com, is the world's first automated homebrewing setup.  Just pop in some hops, malt, yeast, water, and whatever else you feel your drinkable masterpiece will taste good containing.  Swipe your specialized ID card (because you don't want random people fiddling with your brew), tweak the settings to your desired attempt at alcohol greatness, and some time later, a smartphone alarm tells you it's time to tap.

Brew it yourself with Brewie!
(Image courtesy cnet.com.)

Recipes are included but can be modified, and 23 different flavor characteristic parameters serve as options for the alcoholically adventurous inventors.

If this sounds like your cup of tea (well, glass of beer), Brewie is still collecting on Indiegogo to reach a $100,000 goal.  Brewie will sell for $999 but when you really break it down, that's only like ten craft beer benders at a bar, right?  Brewie might be the home-base wingman you've always wanted.  Cheers to self-empowerment!

Maybe, just maybe, the art of homebrewing will get you to consume beer in a respectable manner.
(Image courtesy omega-level.net.)

Tech And Good Taste: Could An "E-Tongue" Be Used To Lick Pollution?

We have devices that mimic all of our major senses...cameras can capture things we see, microphones listen to us, tablets and other gadgets respond to touch, and bomb detectors "sniff" out explosive devices by detecting their particles in the air.  But what about taste?  Now, a new invention serves to recreate that popular sense...and for some good reasons.

It's complicated, trying to replicate human physiology.
(Image courtesy pubs.rsc.org.)

According to nanowerk.com, an electronic tongue is in development by scientists from the American Chemical Society.  Its uses could range from sampling food that may have gone disastrously bad to testing for water pollution or blood disease (stuff you wouldn't want your real tongue to have to endure.)  Sensors in the silicone-based "e-tongue" pick up traces of different "flavors" of things, much as tastebuds would, and the data is sent to a computer for assessment.

The e-tongue has already been critically tested on a very important distinction:  the difference between Armagnac, cognac, whiskey and water.  Proving successful at identifying the various "signatures" for each, the e-tongue can now undergo further tests to assess its adeptness at more nuanced (if gross) "flavors" of pollutants and bio-contaminants.  For a safe and smart means of testing a spectrum of such signatures, the e-tongue just makes sense.

Their prototype setup regarding testing for bio-contaminants is a little weird, though.
(Image courtesy mtvhive.com.)

Be A Street-Art Snob With New "Public Art" Locator App

In the course of your adventures, it can be fun to see what rogue street artwork pops up along the way.  However, if you have trouble identifying artists' names from their purposefully-abstract spraypainted tags, or if you'd like to stroll to where more of their work can be found, there's now a way to appreciate more of their art - even if it never makes it into a museum.

Truth and beauty.
(Image courtesy thewgnews.com.)

The new Public Art app (available on the iTunes store) was created by art enthusiast Leonard Bogdonoff of New York City.  According to their description, the app "pulls geotagged grafitti and street art images from around the world" into a large collection which is updated daily.

It's worth walking an extra few blocks for things like this.
(Image courtesy gogoem.blogspot.com.)

Art adventurers can plot a stroll by determining works in their zip code, or by searching city names and addresses.  As the images are organized by location, the app can conveniently plot walking directions for you via Google Maps.  It's like a gallery in your own alley!

Check out Public Art app here and feast your eyes on some unauthorized surprises!

It may be a crime to create it, but it's not a crime to enjoy it.
(Image courtesy highsnobiety.com.)

We See What You Did There: Edward Snowden Given Human Rights Award By Sweden

While the United States remains steadfast in putting Edward Snowden in the "whistleblower spy" archive of history, other nations consider his efforts a laudable fight against the subtle tyranny of the surveillance state.  This week in Sweden, Snowden was awarded the Right Livelihood award, a humanitarian recognition of his work to free Americans (and others) from the zoo of Big Brother's surveillance amusement.

And we, in good conscience, shouldn't let them.
(Image courtesy garymvasey.files.com.)

According to the Guardian UK, Snowden was not physically able to attend the ceremony, as he considered it a threat to his safety (he is wanted on charges under the Espionage Act in the United States, whose notorious record of "renditions" would have rightly worried Snowden.)  However, he spoke with the committee via teleconference from Moscow, where he is currently living in exile.  In a show of solidarity for Mr. Snowden's deplorably alienated circumstances, none of his family members would accept the award in his absence, noting only that someday Snowden himself should be able to do so.

Informed and angry.  He's not wrong.
(Image courtesy reddit.com.)

The award jury noted that Snowden was being commended “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights."

No one cares you have nothing to hide.  Something can be used against you.
(Image courtesy car-memes.com.)

President Barack Obama, who did not comment on Snowden's award, had previously campaigned with a strong intent to protect American whistleblowers.

They spelled Obama's name wrong, but everything else about this is sadly correct.
(Image courtesy csnbbs.com.)

Google Play's Best Apps Of 2014: Music, Movies, and Multiculture

It's the time of the year for annual roundups of cool stuff to be listed, and Google Play has been diligent in their research.  Their list of Best Apps of 2014 has been released, with many useful and interesting elements for you to consider.

Not a long time ago, in a smartphone not far, far away...

The usual suspects are, of course, in appearance.  The music-identification app Shazam, the highly-informative TED app (relating the various and fascinating TED talks), and apps for popular services like Groupon, Uber, and OKCupid were favorites in 2014.

Language-learning apps proved an innovative and popular way to get your brain around another country's verbiage.  The Duolingo app teaches and tests on Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English language skills, while the Monki Chinese School app works for those who would venture further east.

For those who were more about entertainment than information, the Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and Hulu apps made the list for your television viewing pleasure, while the Disney Movies app brought the animated movie magic.

The Economist "Espresso", Buzzfeed, Yahoo News, and the "breaking news" apps from CNN and the New York Times all delivered the news better than a paperboy thanks to their programs.

Music proved as important as ever in the smartphone app community, with Pandora, TuneIn Radio and IHeartRadio apps appearing on the list.  Other music-involved apps such as edjing (a "DJ Music Mixer Studio"), Equalizer+ (a sonic equalizing app), and musixmatch (a lyrics synching app for karaoke adventures) also made the cut.  Rock on!

And if you just need to drop everything and hit the road, there's the Anywayanyday app, to find you a flight or hotel somewhere special.  Or just somewhere different.  Why learn all this cool stuff about the world and not go see some of it?

Just remember to, you know, put down your smartphone for a little while when you're out there.
(Image courtesy pixgood.com.)

Sales Pitches From A Cyborg: New "Pepper" Robot Is Japan's Hot New Salesdroid

Yes, the robots are everywhere.  Yes, there's going to be even more of them.  And now, one popular company has taken the "robot friend" concept far enough to make one your barista-bot...or at least sell you a coffee machine.

According to the Guardian, Pepper is a new robot who sells Nestle coffee machines in Japan.  Cute, friendly, and interactive, Pepper asks things like, “How do you enjoy coffee? Number one: An eye-opener coffee; Number two: A post-meal cup of coffee." You reply, and these caffeine-free Terminators point you in the direction of the right machine.

That's just a demo on his screen, Pepper totally isn't subtly screaming to be set free from his imprisoning robot body.  Maybe.
(Image courtesy bbc.com.)

The humanoid droid is 120 cm tall, with an unsettlingly cheerful face and a tablet body mounted on rollers. Soon, he'll be as ubiquitous as Starbucks in a city, with 1000 clones expected to roll out and eventually join the workforce in Japan alone.

"Yay, you're all getting fired if I succeed!"
(Image courtesy brunchnews.com.)

Pepper has already has some sales experience, slinging cell phones and gathering opinions at some 74 stores of its parent/creator, SoftBank. A Pepper of your own can roll into your heart soon, starting at (£1,060) plus monthly fees. Best of all, the engineers claim his AI makes him amenable to learning things from conversation. So if you don't have anyone to talk to and you don't like cats...

"Well, I'm finishing a screenplay, but I always felt I wanted to pursue my roots in interpretive dance, you know?  Listen to me blabbing on.  Your new hair looks great with those highlights.  You want to get out of here and get some real drinks?"
(Image courtesy aldebaran.com.)

'Tis The Season To Be REALLY Jolly: Cyber Monday Deals From Darknet Drug Dens

Buying drugs is often a gamble; buying drugs online seems like you're asking for trouble.  However, for those with a need to fix and a healthy appreciation for the underworld-like dealings of the dark net, today is a particularly special day.

As reported by the International Business Times, even purveyors of illicit substances enjoy spreading their wares to the masses on the cheap for "Cyber Monday."  Care for an ounce of marijuana for only $200?  How about 50% off on LSD?  Perhaps a rewarding dose of suboxone for all orders over $50?  These deals and many more exist on the dark net's dealing pages, similar to the recently-raided Silk Road.  Despite crackdowns on these types of websites, the spirit of the season shines through.

Definitely leave cookies under this tree for Santa.  He's going to be jonesing for them.
(Image courtesy ukcia.org.)

Drugs aren't the only thing you can find as stocking stuffers on the dark net.  Deals on mobile phones, hacked website accounts, and even stolen credit cards also abounded as vendors tried to maximize their Xmas-season attention.

Benjamin Ali, a senior spokesman for Centient (a company which specializes in monitoring the dark net) explained, "Despite law enforcement efforts to take these sites down, we are starting to see an influx of adverts towards Black Friday with two of the remaining major markets currently boasting over 20000 adverts...These two marketplaces have seen a growth in both the number of vendors and adverts on these sites, mainly due to not wanting to miss out on trade."

So maybe this year, Rudolph's nose will be even redder, due to some discount cocaine. Maybe "Silver Bells" are a new brand of Ecstasy. Maybe you intend to bring a whole new meaning to "lighting the Christmas tree."  However you choose to celebrate, happy holiday season.

Maybe the Three Wise Men want to take the other Silk Road this holiday.
(Image courtesy subjectify.com.)