Amphibious Houseboat Hits the Open Road

See the original posting on Hackaday

What’s better than having your own houseboat? How about an amphibious houseboat? That’s exactly what [Theon Parseghian] is building in his driveway. It all started with a derelict 32-foot long houseboat. A 1967 model with a rusted steel hull, [Theon] originally bought it as a guest house.

[Theon] couldn’t let the boat rust away in his back yard though. Quickly decided to get it back on the open water…. and on the road. An amphibious houseboat. While looking for large tractor tires, [Theon] found an entire crop sprayer which hadn’t been used in years. This crop sprayer was a giant …read more

Living Logic: Biological Circuits for the Electrically Minded

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Did you know you can build fundamental circuits using biological methods? These aren’t your average circuits, but they work just like common electrical components. We talk alot about normal silicon and copper circuits ‘roud here, but it’s time to get our hands wet and see what we can do with the power of life!

In 1703, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz published his Explication de l’Arithmétique Binaire (translated). Inspired by the I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, Leibniz established that the principles of arithmetic and logic could be combined and represented by just 1s and 0s. Two hundred years later in …read more

Hackaday Prize Entry: MappyDot, a Micro Smart LiDAR Sensor

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[Blecky]’s entry to the Hackaday Prize is MappyDot, a tiny board less than a square inch in size that holds a VL53L0X time-of-flight distance sensor and can measure distances of up to 2 meters.

MappyDot is more than just a breakout board; the ATMega328PB microcontroller on each PCB provides filtering, an easy to use  I2C interface, and automatically handles up to 112 boards connected in a bus. The idea is that one or a few MappyDots can be used by themselves, but managing a large number is just as easy. By dotting a device with multiple MappyDots pointing in different …read more

Horizontal Magnetic Levitation Experiments

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Levitating chairs from the Jetsons still have a few years of becoming a commercial product though they are fun to think about. One such curious inventor, [Conor Patrick], took a deep dive into the world of maglev and came up with a plan to create a clock with levitating hands. He shares the first part of his journey to horizontal levitational control.

[Conor Patrick] bought an off-the-shelf levitation product that was capable of horizontal levitation. Upon dissecting it he found a large magnet, four electromagnet coils, and a hall effect sensor. These parts collectively form a closed-loop control to hold …read more

Open Source Modular Rocket Avionics Package

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Cambridge postgraduate student [Adam Greig] helped design a rocket avionics system consisting of a series of disc-shaped PCBs arranged in a stack. There’s a lot that went into the system and you can get a good look at it all through the flickr album.

Built with the help of Cambridge University Spaceflight, the Martlet is a 3-staging sounding rocket that lifts to 15km/50K feet on Cesaroni Pro98 engines. [Adam]’s control system uses several Arm Cortex M4s on various boards rather than having just one brain controlling everything.

Each disc is a module that plays a specific role in the system. …read more

Elucd’s polling pushes for greater community accountability for police

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 From his time working as the wunderkind pollster for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign to the launch of his new startup, Elucd, Michael Simon has believed in the power of community feedback. At Elucd, which is graduating from the latest batch of Y Combinator startups, Simon is looking to take the skills he’d honed on the campaign trail and apply them to one of the… Read More

Wal-Mart takes a cue from Amazon and applies for its own drone-deploying blimp patent

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is taking on Amazon in what appears to be a copycat move — by applying for a drone-deploying blimp patent. You may recall Amazon filed a patent for a flying warehouse that will send drones to your door about a year ago. Now Walmart wants in on Amazon’s idea. The patent application, first noted in Bloomberg, shows the Walmart blimp would float about 500 to… Read More

The Oatmeal looks into our reality tunnels, the “backfire effect,” and the nature of belief

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal is at it again with a smart, funny, and very relevant look at how we construct our beliefs, build our reality tunnels, and why we react so forcefully when the core assumptions of that belief system are threatened.

Read the rest of it. Nice touch that there are two version, one with colorful language and one clean, “classroom-friendly version.”

Open Source Modular Rocket Avionics Package

See the original posting on Hackaday

Cambridge postgraduate student [Adam Greig] helped design a rocket avionics system consisting of a series of disc-shaped PCBs arranged in a stack. There’s a lot that went into the system and you can get a good look at it all through the flickr album.

Built with the help of Cambridge University Spaceflight, the Martlet is a 3-staging sounding rocket that lifts to 15km/50K feet on Cesaroni Pro98 engines. [Adam]’s control system uses several Arm Cortex M4s on various boards rather than having just one brain controlling everything.

Each disc is a module that plays a specific role in the system. …read more

Amazon Echo is only $100 for the next two weeks

See the original posting on The Verge

Amazon puts pretty deep discounts on the Echo every now and then, but it’s rare to see a discount go this deep and for this long: From now through September 4th, the Echo is on sale for $99.99 — down from its usual price of $179.99. The deal is technically part of Amazon’s “back to school” sale, but the company doesn’t actually seem to care whether you’re a student.

The Echo Dot is also on sale, but it’s only $5 off, at $44.99. And the Amazon Tap is down $30 to $99.99. Meanwhile, all Kindles are $20 off. The Echo deals run through September 4th; the Kindle deals end earlier, on August 26th.

This is pure speculation, but the deep and extended discount on the Echo makes me think that Amazon may be trying to clear out its…

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Interview about my Recomendo newsletter

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I was recently interviewed about the weekly Recomendo newsletter I write with my Cool Tools colleagues, Kevin Kelly and Claudia Dawson. Here’s an excerpt:

What is the goal of your newsletter?

To give our readers a weekly list of 6 things we love?—?travel tips, books, TV shows, clothes, tools, websites, podcasts, and so on. We want people to be able to read the entire newsletter in 90 seconds or less, with no fluff or wheel spinning.

How do you create your newsletter?

We have a shared Google Doc where the three of us write brief reviews of things we like. Once a week, Claudia goes in and selects six items from the doc (two from each of us) and puts them into the weekly newsletter, which gets sent out on Sunday morning.

Speaking of the creation process, Recomendo always has super cool and useful recommendations. How do you go about selecting what goes into the newsletter?

Speaking for myself (this is Mark), whenever I become aware that I am really appreciative of something (like a phone service, a useful app, a good snack to travel with) I add it to a running list I maintain on workflowy.com. Once a week or so, I will go through that list and write brief recommendations of a few of the items on the list.

How many subscribers do you have?

As of 29 June 2017, we have published 49 weekly issues and have 11,528 subscribers. Once a month or so, we mention the newsletter on our personal social media accounts, on Cool Tools, and on Boing Boing.

Since the interview, our subscriber count has increased to 12,358. Check out Recomendo here.

Google’s Inbox can finally show multiple email accounts at once

See the original posting on The Verge

Google Inbox has a new “all inboxes” view on Android, allowing you to see all of your inboxes without tapping back and forth. This saves you two seconds of tapping each time you check your mail and keeps you from missing important messages arriving in your less-used mailboxes. While Gmail on Android has had this feature since 2015, it has yet to come to Gmail on iOS. Predictably, the unified view hasn’t come to Google Inbox on iOS either.

Unfortunately, the new feature doesn’t feel very organized. After all, the whole purpose of having different email addresses is to keep business and pleasure separated and the spam sent to the spam address. So far, there isn’t a way to filter or sort through the All Inboxes tab, but maybe disorganized…

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Intel has a mysterious black Surface Book in its latest video

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Intel unveiled its 8th generation Core processors earlier today, which will launch on laptops first. As part of the launch, Intel has produced a promotional video of what to expect from the next processors, which will bring quad-core chips more broadly to laptops. MSPoweruser has spotted that the video includes what appears to be a black Surface Book.

Microsoft currently manufactures a gray Surface Book, and the company hasn’t used black on its Surface line since the Surface Pro 2 nearly four years ago. The mysterious device in Intel’s video could be a marketing render, but it does include the exact same eject key found on the keyboard of the Surface Book and the unique fulcrum hinge that Microsoft uses on its laptop.

Microsoft is…

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CNN follows NBC with launch of its own daily news show for Snapchat

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 CNN is launching its own daily news program on Snapchat, starting tonight at 6 PM ET. This is the second news show to arrive on the social platform, following NBC News’ early success with its twice-daily show “Stay Tuned,” which saw over 29 million unique viewers in its first month. CNN’s program, dubbed “The Update,” will differ in that it only runs once… Read More

Of course Bonnie Tyler has the number one song on iTunes right now

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 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee have nothing on Bonnie Tyler and her classic song Total Eclipse of the Heart. And today that hit song from 1983 is on top of the iTunes charts, eclipsing (thank you) Despacito claim the number one song. The timing shouldn’t be a mystery. Tyler’s hit is perfect for #eclipse2017, which swept across the United States today leaving burning eyes and… Read More

Here’s what the 2017 solar eclipse looked like from space

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The 2017 solar eclipse has come and gone! Now, it’s time to stare in awe at all the amazing images captured by NASA, the European Space Agency, their satellites, and the luckiest folks off Earth: the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Yes, while you were pinching and zooming on your phone trying to nail the perfect Instagram moment, space agencies around the world were gathering the kinds of eclipse images that we could never dream of capturing ourselves.

To wit, there are already plenty of great images of shadow that the Moon cast across the country. Let’s start with a few GIFs and videos of that, made from images captured by GOES-16, a satellite that launched into orbit last November:

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Google may take on the Echo Dot with a mini Google Home

See the original posting on The Verge

Google is reportedly planning to unveil a miniaturized version of its Home smart speaker at a hardware event dedicated to the upcoming Pixel sequel, according to a report from Android Police. The event may occur in October as last year’s Pixel and Google Home launch event did, although we don’t have concrete specifics on when or where Google will host it.

The mini Home speaker would likely be positioned as an Amazon Echo Dot competitor. That would allow you to hook up traditional audio systems with voice control, string together multiple Home units, and access Google Assistant throughout your house without spending an additional $129 on a standalone Home speaker.

Also rumored to be at the event is a new Pixel-branded Chromebook, the…

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