Watch Adam Savage nerd out over the costume from the high school Alien play

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Image: Tested

Adam Savage is a bit of a fan of Ridley Scott’s film Alien. He spent years constructing his own replica of Kane’s space suit from the film, visited the sets of Alien: Covenant to check out the props, and wandered around San Diego Comic-Con with a space suit from the same film. Now, he has a new suit in his collection: one that a group of high school students constructed for their stage adaptation of the film.

Back in March, the students of North Bergen High School in New Jersey decided to adapt Alien for their spring play. (You can still watch it online.) They spent months assembling the complicated sets and costumes for it, making almost everything out of recycled parts and junk that they found and repurposed. After a video of the…

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Dark theme is coming to Google Fit next week

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In Google’s quest to dark mode everything, Google Fit users can now switch to dark theme to see their rings fill up in even more vivid contrast. In addition to dark theme, the Google Fit app is also being updated to track sleep patterns by pairing it to apps or fitness trackers you use that also offer that tool.

Sleep patterns will now be displayed over time with purple bars that show you how many hours, and between which hours, you’re asleep. It doesn’t seem to show specific details, such as deep and light sleep hours, however. You can view all this information from the home screen when you launch Google Fit.

Dark theme, on the other hand, can be enabled by going to your profile and selecting Settings. Google’s just beginning to roll…

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Don’t miss this epic Twitter fight between the IAB’s CEO and actual publishers

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Grab popcorn. As Internet fights go this one deserves your full attention — because the fight is over your attention. Your eyeballs and the creepy ads that trade data on you to try to swivel ’em. In the blue corner, the Internet Advertising Association’s CEO, Randall Rothenberg, who has been taking to Twitter increasingly loudly […]

Review of the $150 CraftSynth 2.0 synthesizer

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Reviewing the CraftSynth 2.0 for Engadget, Terrence O’Brien calls the small synthesizer “fun and a little bit flimsy.”

It’s strange to hold Modal Electronics’ CraftSynth 2.0 in your hands knowing what’s underneath the hood. It’s unassuming, and frankly, it feels kinda flimsy. Once you plug it into a decent set of headphones or speakers, though, it comes alive. The fact that these sounds come out of something that weighs just 12.5 ounces when loaded with three double-A batteries is amazing.

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These silicone putty earplugs are the best

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I stay in hotels quite a bit, and these silicone putty earplugs are the best ones I’ve found for muffling noise. My ear canals don’t work well with those cylindrical foam plugs. They leave an air gap. These silicone earplugs form a perfect seal, and they don’t penetrate my ear canal at all. They are the only earplugs that feel comfortable for me. I’ve also found them useful when I use an air blower or an angle grinder. They cost for a 12-pack on Amazon. Read the rest

Hackaday Podcast 029: Your Face In Silver Sand, Tires Of The Future, ESP32 All The CNC Things, And Sub In A Jug

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Hackaday Editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys geek out over the latest hacks. This week we saw a couple of clever CNC builds that leverage a great ESP32 port of GRBL. The lemonade-pitcher-based submarine project is everything you thought couldn’t work in an underwater ROV. Amazon’s newest Dot has its …read more

Vergecast: Apple’s earnings report, face unlock for the Pixel 4, and the SMART Act

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Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple announced this week that iPhones now make up less than half of its business for the first time since 2012. Does this move its services business to the forefront? Well, this week on The Vergecast, Nilay Patel, Dieter Bohn, and Paul Miller speculate.

In the second half of the show, senior reporter Adi Robertson joins the crew to discuss Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) bill, which tackles tech companies’ “addiction” problems by limiting features that keep users on platforms longer. How far can this bill go, and how would it affect social media? Listen to find out.

We also look at the looming gadget season, with Google announcing a face unlock feature for the upcoming Pixel 4 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 arriving soon.

Keep listening for…

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Beautiful signs made from duct tape

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Shuetso Sato (65) has no formal training as a graphic designer, but his handmade transit signs, made from pieces of colored duct tape, are considered works of art.

From Chris Gaul’s Medium article:

Sato san has no formal graphic design training (Before working as security guard, he was a bank teller and worked in a cafeteria). Nevertheless, he has a masterful eye for form and colour. His exceptional letterforms are not only elegant and unique but, more importantly, very easy to read.

Using duct tape to craft the letters gives his work a distinctive style. He begins by running long strips of tape vertically and horizontally across the surface of the sign. He then slices away the excess to form each character. Some extra tape and a few curved cuts make the bends. It’s a straightforward process, but even the simplest signs take him hours to produce.

Sato san has a talent for designing Japanese and English letterforms that suit his duct tape medium. The exaggerated shape of his kanji, forced to their extremes by his grid system, are particularly elegant. He also has an incredible ability for clear visualisations: he often designs complex station diagrams with custom pictograms and colour coding for different lines — all made by hand from duct tape.

See also: The one and only master of train station packing-tape calligraphy shares his story and inspiration

By ZoAmichi KaiDSC_0004, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest

Best Buy’s big sale discounts Kindle Oasis, Ring Doorbells, and much more

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

We’re seeing the first big uptick in deals today since Amazon Prime Day in mid-July. Most of them are happening at Best Buy, which is having a three-day sale on Amazon products, like Kindles, Echo Dot smart speakers, and smart home tech. It also has plenty of other things discounted, like Beats headphones, the iPad Air, and more. Of course, I’ve included deals that you should know about from other retailers, too.

Several Kindle models are deeply discounted at Best Buy, notably the previous generation of the Kindle Oasis with 8GB of storage and no special offers (Amazon’s ads) for $174.99 (usually $249.99), and the 32GB model, also without special offers, for $204.99 (usually $279.99). This version is mostly the same as Amazon’s latest…

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This tiny robot bug can survive getting stepped on

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This tiny “soft” robot, just 3cm long, zips along at 20 of its body lengths per second. It can also carry heavy things, like peanuts in the shell, but that slows it down a bit. And amazingly, you can step on it and it won’t die. Over at IEEE Spectrum, Ivan Ackerman writes about the little robot developed by researchers from Tsinghua University and UC Berkeley:

It takes a scanning electron microscope to actually see what the robot is made of—a thermoplastic layer is sandwiched by palladium-gold electrodes, bonded with adhesive silicone to a structural plastic at the bottom. When an AC voltage (as low as 8 volts but typically about 60 volts) is run through the electrodes, the thermoplastic extends and contracts, causing the robot’s back to flex and the little “foot” to shuffle…

The researchers also put together a prototype with two legs instead of one, which was able to demonstrate a potentially faster galloping gait by spending more time in the air. They suggest that robots like these could be used for “environmental exploration, structural inspection, information reconnaissance, and disaster relief,” which are the sorts of things that you suggest that your robot could be used for when you really have no idea what it could be used for. But this work is certainly impressive, with speed and robustness that are largely unmatched by other soft robots. An untethered version seems possible due to the relatively low voltages required to drive the robot, and if they can put some peanut-sized sensors on there as well, practical applications might actually be forthcoming sometime soon.

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Why Netflix’s Derry Girls is the perfect show to stream this weekend

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Photo: Netflix

There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

The first episode of Derry Girls, a sitcom created by Northern Irish playwright Lisa McGee for Britain’s Channel 4. Based loosely on McGee’s experiences growing up in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in the early 1990s, in the waning years of the sectarian violence familiarly dubbed “the Troubles,” the show acknowledges the era’s mounting…

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No Man’s Sky will get its next major expansion on August 14th

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Image: Hello Games

The next major expansion for No Man’s Sky, Beyond, is launching on August 14th. In a blog post announcing the release date, the game’s director, Sean Murray, said that the free expansion will contain three major updates rolled into one. Beyond will be available for the game across PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Notably, the expansion builds virtual reality support into the PS4 and PC versions of the game. In this mode, you move around the game’s universe by teleporting short distances at a time. Otherwise, everything that you can do in the standard game is also possible in VR. It’s a very immersive experience. “I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt so scared playing No Man’s Sky” was my colleague Andrew Webster’s key takeaway from his time with the…

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