Mashup of the Day: Watch a Bunch of Robots Fall with WWE Wrestling Commentary

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Just when you think robots are about to take over the world, they go and do something like this.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge was held this past weekend, with numerous teams “vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters.”

Turns out they had a few disasters of their own as well.

IEEE Spectrum created a compilation of robot falls from the first day of the finals, and while this is pretty funny to watch in itself, one YouTuber took it a step further and mashed it up with some WWE commentary turning it into Internet gold.

“As much as nobody wanted to see a robot fall, everybody wanted to see a robot fall,” wrote IEEE Spectrum on their blog.

The course involved the competing robots trying to open doors, turn valves, drive cars and climb over rubble.

Team KAIST from South Korea took home the top prize with the fastest time, and here’s their robot, DRC-Hubo, stepping up to victory. It was built with wheels on its knees to help protect it from taking a tumble.

“These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety,” said DRC organizer Gill Pratt. “But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered!”

Meanwhile, nothing can stop the beasts from Boston Dynamics, so while these falls are funny, the threat is still very real.

Feat of the Day: Man Sets Guinness World Record for Hoverboard Travel

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The future is now.

A Canadian man named Catalin Alexandru Duru has set the new world record for longest distance traveled on a hoverboard.

While this might just seem like fictional story from “Back to the Future 2,” it’s actually very real.

Watch in the clip above as Duru travels 905 feet and 2 inches across Lake Ouareau in Quebec using a prototype device that he built over a period of just one year.

“I will showcase that stable flight can be achieved with a machine one can stand on and control with their feet,” he said.

Unlike with the hoverboard in the movie, he’s lifted off the surface to a height of about 5 meters using his propeller-based board, and it looks a bit more dangerous than Marty McFly’s version.

Although this probably will helps the average rider avoid crashing into large piles of manure.

“This is a truly mesmerising and incredible feat in the world of engineering and transportation,” saida Guinness World Records spokesperson about the news. “It’s always pleasing to see individuals such as Catalin Alexandru Duru achieve a Guinness World Records titles such as this in which personal endeavour continues to amaze us all.”

Photo of the Day: This is What a Sunset Looks Like on Mars

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In case you were curious, here is what an alien sees before he/she/it goes to sleep.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured the above image on April 15, and it’s being described as the first sunset observed in color by the spacecraft.

The photos were taken last month, but they were just sent back to Earth last week.

While Mars may appear red, the sunset is actually blue, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains why this is possible:

Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors. That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun’s part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors. The effect is most pronounced near sunset, when light from the sun passes through a longer path in the atmosphere than it does at mid-day.

Curiosity first landed on Mars’s Gale Crater in August 2012 with a mission of determining whether or not Mars is or ever was habitable by life forms.

Here’s an animated GIF of the sunset, which uses a series of photos takes over a period of about 6 minutes, 51 seconds. The sight apprently inspired the rover to recite some lines from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on its Twitter account.



Genius of the Day: Homer Simpson Predicted Higgs Boson Before Scientists

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In a 1998 episode of “The Simpsons” called “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer knew about the Higgs boson (aka “God Particle”) many years before it was even discovered.

He is shown writing an equation on a chalkboard, which actually turns out to be a lot more than just a bunch of gibberish.

“That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson,” Simon Singh, author of The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, told “The Independent”. “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is. It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”

Peter Higgs theorized about the particle in the ’60s, and it was finally discovered in 2012.

The writers on the show are all a bunch of math geeks, who have hidden easter eggs throughout the series since it premiered. Another of the equations Homer is working on in the same scene references Fermat’s Last Theorem, which Singh also has written about.

You can read more about the chalkboard scene and the math involved in this chapter from Singh’s book published at Boing Boing.

Here’s a more detailed explanation about the Higgs portion:

The first equation on the board is largely Schiminovich’s work, and it predicts the mass of the Higgs boson, M(H0), an elementary particle that that was first proposed in 1964. The equation is a playful combination of various fundamental parameters, namely the Planck constant, the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. If you look up these numbers and plug them into the equation,1 it predicts a mass of 775 giga-electron-volts (GeV), which is substantially higher than the 125 GeV estimate that emerged when the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012. Nevertheless, 775 GeV was not a bad guess, particularly bearing in mind that Homer is an amateur inventor and he performed this calculation fourteen years before the physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, tracked down the elusive particle.



The Simpsons have also made headlines for “predicting” a number of other future events, including the Syrian civil war, the ebola outbreak, the Siegfried & Roy tiger attack, smartwatches andmalfunctioning voting booths.

But you would think as longest-running animated series in U.S. TV history that they would eventually get a few things right.

Tech of the Day: Boston Dynamics Gets a Kick Out of Their New Robotic Dog ‘Spot’

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Google-owned Boston Dynamics has been terrifying us for years with their advancements in robotic hell hounds, but their latest video features something slightly less frightening and kinda cute.

Spot is a four-legged, 160-pound robot that is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, and it has a sensor on its head to help it navigate.

Watch it march around the grounds and through their offices, occasionally getting kicked by the staff.

While we know it’s just a robot and it doesn’t have real emotions, it still makes you fell kinda bad watching it react to the abuse.

“No robots were harmed in the making of this video,” they write at the end.

What’s more worrisome, however, is that larger model accompanying Spot up the hill later on in the clip. You do not want to mess with that thing.

Robots are already managing hotels in Japan and eating women in South Korea. And Singapore is hard at work creating a nightmarish eel drone.

It’s really only a matter of time before all of these advancements blow up in our face and we are slaves or dogfood to these creatures.

See more at WIN!

Animal of the Day: Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Found in Yosemite National Park

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For the first time in nearly 100 years, a Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted in Yosemite National Park.

The fox is one of the most endangered animals in North America with an estimated 50 left in existence.

The above image of the rare creature was captured by a motion-sensitive camera in the northern part of the park, and it was seen on two separate occasions.

“Confirmation of the Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park’s vast alpine wilderness provides an opportunity to join research partners in helping to protect this imperiled animal,” stated Sarah Stock, Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park. “We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”

The park service is now attempting to collect hair samples from it, to see if it is related to another group of foxes last spotted in an area called Sonora Pass.

See more at WIN!

Science of the Day: Watch Water Bounce Off a Superhydrophobic Surface

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Researchers at the University of Rochester have created a new type of water-resistant metal where drops literally bounce off the surface.

They achieved this by using a special laser-patterning technique that adds tiny structures to the material.

Most other surfaces that are water-repellant aren’t as powerful and rely on chemical coatings which can wear away over time, but this is permanent.

Rochester’s Chunlei Guo says this superhydrophobic material has a lot of real-world applications, especially in developing countries.

“In these regions, collecting rain water is vital and using super-hydrophobic materials could increase the efficiency without the need to use large funnels with high-pitched angles to prevent water from sticking to the surface,” he says. “A second application could be creating latrines that are cleaner and healthier to use.”

If you think this sounds like something a sewage-water drinking Bill Gates might be interested in, you’d be right, as the project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Years ago, this same team created the exact opposite effect, with a material that attracts water so strongly that the liquid will actually crawl up the surface.

See more at WIN!