Elon Musk suggests SpaceX is scrapping its plans to land Dragon capsules on Mars

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Today, Elon Musk suggested that SpaceX will abandon its plans to land the company’s Dragon capsule on Mars — a mission the company had been aiming to do as early as 2020.

SpaceX will not fully develop the landing technique it was going to use to land the Dragon on Mars. Known as the Red Dragon mission, the capsule was meant to lower itself to solid ground using engines embedded in its hull, and then touch down gently on landing legs in a method known as propulsive landing. But Musk said the company will come up with another way to land vehicles on the Martian surface.

“There was a time when I thought that the Dragon approach to landing on Mars… would be the right way to land on Mars,” Musk said at the ISS R&D Conference in…

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MTV wants to turn Teen Wolf into a podcast after it ends

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Teen Wolf will head into its 10th and final season at the end of the month, but MTV isn’t going to let one of its most successful scripted shows die that peacefully. The network and Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis are considering allowing the series storyline to run off into a serialized podcast, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The podcast is the idea of new MTV president Chris McCarthy, who was hired last fall to revamp MTV’s slate of TV shows and revive its cultural impact. McCarthy and Davis are also considering “keeping the franchise alive” by turning it into an anthology series after this upcoming season. That series will likely have a new cast with some returning characters and take place in a new location, according to THR.

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This startup is using Uber and Lyft drivers to bring self-driving cars to market faster

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Roads aren’t the stagnant strips of concrete and asphalt they appear to be. They’re constantly changing. Traffic lights are added and removed, stop-and-go intersections turn into roundabouts, a typically quiet street turns into a construction zone. It’s happening everywhere, all the time.

Human drivers might be able adjust to this dynamic environment, but autonomous vehicles need extra help. They need maps. But not just any old map will do, say the three founders behind Lvl5, a new mapping and localization startup that launched publicly today.

Lvl5 was founded in December by Andrew Kouri and Erik Reed, who both worked on Tesla’s Autopilot team, and George Tall, a computer vision…

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Microsoft unveils a beautiful Cortana-powered thermostat

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Microsoft is partnering with Johnson Controls to build a thermostat. The software giant unveiled the new GLAS thermostat in a YouTube video today. It’s built by Johnson Controls, makers of the first electric room thermostat. It appears that GLAS will include a translucent touchscreen display that will allow owners to alter room temperatures, check energy usage and air quality, and see calendar information.

GLAS will run on Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core operating system, and will have Cortana voice services built into the thermostat. It’s one of the first thermostats to include Cortana integration, after Microsoft revealed its plans to bring its digital assistant to fridges, toasters, and thermostats. Microsoft notes that GLAS has…

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Facebook launches Groups for Pages, unlocking fan clubs and street teams

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 With Facebook’s newest feature, a musician could run an on-site fan club, a brand could organize its ambassadors, and a newspaper could discuss articles with just its top readers. Today Facebook globally launched Groups For Pages, allowing the 70 million Pages on Facebook to create their own distinct communities and feeds. Facebook first quietly tested the feature in March, but today… Read More

Fender custom shop re-uses Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars

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$12k for a guitar made of the boards where people sat and listened to historic concerts.

What kind of pick-up does this fantastically expensive beauty come with? Best I can tell: Black. I hope it sounds really, really good.

This is especially the case with Fender’s new, limited edition Front Row Legend Esquire line. Made in Fender’s Custom Shop by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, these special Telecasters are built to order using 100–year–old Alaskan yellow cedar from the Hollywood Bowl’s original bench boards.

Since its official opening in the summer of 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has spent almost 100 years hosting some of the biggest acts of every decade. Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, and Black Sabbath are just a smattering of the talent that has graced the Bowl’s stage, and now, you can own a functional piece of its history.

Shishkov maintained the characteristics of each piece of bench board that he used, with all of its original scratches, cracks, and bolt holes. The top of each guitar will also feature the original seat number.

Via Reverb

(Thanks, Jason Mancebo!)

A Ghost story is not your typical horror film

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A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film — it is a supernatural, philosophical romance that focuses on the life of a ghost and his existential experience of being lost in space and time. The film was directed, written, and edited by David Lowery. One of the most differentiating aspects of the film is that it features a man dressed in a bedsheet with two eye holes. We saw a screening in Los Angeles last night, which was followed by a Q & A with Lowery.

From the Q & A we learned that the ghost costume, lighting, color, and aspect ratio were all designed to convey the nostalgia that Lowery was drawn to when writing the screenplay. I was edtited in Premiere Pro with a full Adobe workflow.

A scene that’s already under the spotlight is one of Rooney Mara’s character grieving and eating a pie for minutes. It’s through these long (sometimes uncomfortably long) shots that Lowery underscores the haunting nature of being a ghost stuck in place and time. He explained to the audience that the length of each shot was representative of the age and perception of the ghost. As the film went on, shots became quicker and more lively.

This is likely the most unique film of the summer, and a breath of fresh air for the horror genre. Instead of jump scares or graphic imagery, A Ghost Story sparks a different type of fear, a fear that revolves around the nature of existence.


Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence.

DEF CON Badgelife: The ESP Rules All

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Badgelife is the celebration of independent hardware creators, working for months at a time to bring custom electronic badges to conferences around the world. This year at DEF CON, Badgelife is huge. It’s not just because this year was supposed to feature a non-electronic badge, and it’s not because the official badge imploded last month — Badgelife is all about people spending most of the year designing, and manufacturing hardware, culminating in one very special weekend.

[Garrett] owns Hacker Warehouse, a store providing all kinds of neat hacker tools ranging from software-defined radios to lock pick sets to side channel …read more

Apple granted patent on smart dock with Siri and wireless charging

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Apple was granted a new patent this week, one that’s particularly interesting given Apple’s upcoming HomePod and rumors of a wirelessly charging iPhone 8: an iPhone dock that could have Siri and a wireless charger built in.

The patent, officially for a “Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device,” is pretty broad. It covers a dock that could recognize that an iPhone had been placed into it and activate a microphone that could listen for voice commands to allow users to control a phone from across a room. In other words, it’s a Siri dock. The patent also covers multiple ways of charging said iPhone, including wireless charging, and describes docks that range just simple connectors with a microphone…

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Kylie Jenner is the face of new Balmain-branded Beats earbuds and headphones

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French fashion house Balmain is releasing its own version of Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless earbuds and Beats Studio Wireless over-ear headphones. If you’re like me — which I hope you’re not — your mind immediately went to the Kardashians after reading “Balmain.” Congrats! You’ve successfully been conditioned to associate the two brands with each other. And, of course, keeping with the Balmain / Kardashian connection, Kylie Jenner is the face of these new Beats products. The entire landing page for the headphones is dedicated to Jenner wearing them.

I particularly like the quote Jenner provides on the page:

No matter what you’re going through, when you put on a song that you love, and that you just connect with, it can change your whole…

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Elon Musk offers updates on Falcon Heavy, Dragon 2 and Mars mission

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 During a talk at the ISS R&D conference on Wednesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk provided a number of updates about progress on the Falcon Heavy rocket, crewed Dragon capsule development and his vision for an eventual crewed mission to Mars with the ultimate goal of human colonization of the red planet. Spoiler alert for those looking forward to the Falcon Heavy’s inaugural flight… Read More

Destiny 2 “Beta” begins on PS4 and Xbox One

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As of today both Xbox One and PS4 players can preview Bungie’s sequel to Destiny, the MMOFPS successor to Halo.

Wonderful weapons, colorful armor, and well-balanced skills make Destiny PvP the best since the early Halo games. The PvE raids, puzzles and bosses are similarly challenging and fun to play with friends. The story? Bungie’s miserable story telling coasts along behind remarkable controls, level design, and gameplay. Unlike Halo, Destiny’s story is a confused and boring wonder.

Destiny 2 looks like a new engine, levels, and a lot of new weapons and skills. Evolutionary not revolutionary, I’m sure it’ll remain a battle ground for wizened old Atari 2600 owners vs high-pitched pre-teens with excellent reflexes.

I bet the Gjallarhorn will be back. I miss the days of Thorn’s supremacy.

You can pre-order through your platform to get into the Beta. It’ll also open up next week to the general public.

Neuroscientist explains how your brain hallucinates your conscious reality

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In this recently released TED Talk, neuroscientist Anil Seth explains the intricacies of human consciousness and how we all are constantly hallucinating:

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.” Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.

The 4-20 mA Current Loop

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The I/O capabilities built into most microcontrollers make it easy to measure the analog world. Say you want to build a data logger for temperature. All you need to do is get some kind of sensor that has a linear voltage output that represents the temperature range you need to monitor — zero to five volts representing 0° to 100°C, perhaps. Hook the sensor up to and analog input, whip up a little code, and you’re done. Easy stuff.

Now put a twist on it: you need to mount the sensor far from the microcontroller. The longer your wires, the …read more

Hackaday Prize Entry: BeagleLogic

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A few years ago, [Kumar] created the BeagleLogic, a 14-channel, 100 MSPS logic analyzer for the BeagleBone as an entry for the Hackaday Prize. This is a fantastic tool that takes advantage of the PRUs in the BeagleBone to give anyone with a BeagleBone a very capable logic analyzer for not much cash.

This year, [Kumar] is back at it again. He’s improving the BeagleLogic with a BeagleBone on a chip. This is the BeagleLogic Standalone, a 16-channel logic analyzer at 100 MSPS using a single chip.

Like the BeagleLogic from a few years ago, [Kumar] is relying on those …read more

Hulu is adding a ton of new TV shows, including Glee, How I Met Your Mother, and MASH

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Hulu is getting its hands on the streaming rights to a new lineup of shows, including every episode of How I Met Your Mother, MASH, NYPD Blue, and Glee. Episodes for these shows are expected to be added to the service over the next few weeks.

Unlike NYPD Blue or MASH, shows like How I Met Your Mother are currently available to stream on Netflix. The addition continues to push Hulu closer to the expansive offerings of its biggest competitor, though the service still has a ways to go in terms of membership. This year, Netflix broke 100 million subscribers, while just yesterday the company announced that it pulled in $2.785 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2017.

The list of shows heading to Hulu as part of its deal with 20th…

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The internet saved the laugh track

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Today I watched a YouTube video of a Roomba rolling and tripping its way through an obstacle course. The video was shot during a student robotics challenge at UC Berkeley, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect when you hear the phrase “Roomba obstacle course.” So what stuck out to me wasn’t the little machine failing to complete simple movements, but the background noise: the person shooting the video, or maybe the person behind them, is laughing. Loudly.

It’s a hiccuping sort of laugh, one that seems to get stuck in the man’s throat and emerge seconds later, sloppy and joyful. At first I was irritated: I’m just trying to watch this dumb Roomba fall over, and this guy is cackling like he’s got something to prove. I couldn’t…

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Amazon’s Treasure Truck is expanding into other cities

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Amazon’s Treasure Truck, a truck loaded with daily deals and trendy products, is finally expanding to other US cities. The truck has been limited to Seattle, Amazon’s hometown, since it was first launched 2016, a year after it was announced.

Since its launch, the Treasure Truck has served as a guerrilla marketing tactic for Amazon in Seattle, complete with cosplayers, an occasional free bag of chips, and a football star behind the wheel. In order to be in the loop on what the day’s offer is, Amazon users have to text ‘TRUCK’ to 24193. Then they can choose if they want to buy the product through the mobile app and pick up the goods at the truck.

Amazon’s patent for the Treasure Truck, filed back in 2015, was approved this past January,…

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Leading VC Tim Draper invests in Gravity’s ‘Iron Man’ flight suit, on a $100 bill

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 You’re a bored former finance guy who decides one day to strap on some micro-jet engines and see if you can become Iron Man. Hey it happens all the time. Or maybe not. But that’s what British entrepreneur Richard Browning decided to do and just this year found himself demoing his ‘flight suit’ to venture capitalist Tim Draper in the parking lot of Boost VC. Moments… Read More

Google’s brave new friendless feed

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 It’s like Facebook without all those annoying “friends.” Instead of having to look at what weird things other people are interested in, like their babies, Google shows me the weird things I’m interested in, like Legend of Zelda and Elon Musk. It’s a fundamental shift in content consumption, and it could unlock our niche fascinations without us ever having to… Read More

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