A MINOR HICCUP at Bank of Ireland led to a delay in some customers being paid this morningConcerned customers took to social media after their balances hadn’t updated with salaries or other transfers which were due to be paid in to their accounts today.Many people were expecting their final pay cheque before Christmas today.“No wages for me thanks to Bank of Ireland, it’s only the weekend before Christmas. Lovely!” one customer tweeted.A Bank of Ireland spokesperson said the issue has now been fixed and all balances are updated.(@TrendsIreland/Twitter) “A file was delayed coming into Bank of Ireland which resulted in a delay of a couple of hours,” the spokesperson told TheJournal.ie. “All is restored now”.The file contained a mixture of salaries and person-to-person transfers.Some customers’ accounts make take several hours to update but the spokesperson said they will all be fixed by later today.Read: Moody’s downgrades Bank of Ireland’s deposit rating > Read: Bank of Ireland raises funds to begin repaying over €2 billion to the State >
Read: Underground pylons will add 3% to electricity bills over the next 50 years, says Rabbitte> THOUSANDS OF SUBMISSIONS have been received by Eirgrid following the closing of the submission deadline on pylons yesterday.The public consultation process on the Gridlink project, which will see hundreds of electricity pylons built between Munster and Leinster, expired yesterday.A spokesperson for the agency could not give the exact number of submissions made, but said they had received a very large number of submissions, “running into the thousands”.Eirgrid said the feedback received during all three consultations to date, along with ongoing technical and environmental studies will be used to identify a least constrained corridor and substation sites.“The least constrained corridor will be the best option from a technical, environmental, community and economic perspective within which an overhead line can be routed. In further stages of the project EirGrid will continue to consult with, and provide information to, members of the public and other stakeholders,” said the spokesperson.It is envisaged that the least constrained corridor will be identified in mid 2014.EirGrid does not envisage applying for planning permission until early 2016.AnalysisHe said the next step now is Eirgrid will “commence a very meaningful analysis of the submissions”.Ahead of yesterday’s deadline, the Minister for Communications stated that if people wanted to underground cables rather than overhead pylons, then they must be prepared to pay higher for the electricity, stating that such a move would add up to 3 per cent on consumer’s bills over the next 50 years.Taoiseach Enda Kenny also weighed in on the matter, stating “It’s ironic in many ways that some people say to me: ‘Well, my children have to go away, they have to emigrate’. And in many cases they emigrate to countries where these things are a matter of course as providing infrastructure for development.”His comments came under much criticism by some of Kenny’s own backbenchers yesterday.Minister Rabbitte is expected to meet with the board and senior management of Eirgrid later this week to discuss the submissions made.Read: ‘Gaffe in the Gulf’: Backbenchers criticise Taoiseach over linking pylons and emigration>
Keatley was part of the Emerging Ireland squad last summer. ©INPHO/Tamuna Kulumbegashvili.As alluded to earlier, Keatley’s kicking from hand is an aspect of the game that has been important to his performances this season. The Munster playmaker gave the assist for Keith Earls’ try in the first half against Gloucester and again explains that it was a spur of the moment action.While his two grubber kicks later in the game were poor, Keatley says he will continue to back his decision-making.“I had a nice grubber kick for Earlsie at the weekend. To be honest with you, it was just that myself and Keith were on the same wave-length for that. We both called it at the exact same time, we recognised that the defence was coming up hard and there was nothing in the backfield.That’s just with playing with a guy for a number of years now, we were just both on the same wavelength. I kicked it another time, we had a penalty advantage, so we kind of see that as a good opportunity for a ‘free play’ kick.“The other time, I didn’t see one of their players. I thought there was space in the backfield, but when I kicked it I thought, ‘That wasn’t the right decision.’ I’d still back my decisions, even if one or two times we put in the grubber kicks, it wasn’t on. At least we’re trying to create stuff to score more tries.”That will be the aim again for Keatley and his Munster teammates when they face Edinburgh at Thomond Park on Sunday. Securing a home quarter-final may not be totally in their hands this weekend, but another European win en route to the knock-out stages would be a further marker in the southern province’s development.In focus: Managing injuries is part of professional rugbyEarls’ try was an example of ‘where we’re trying to get’ – Rob Penney THE WEEK AFTER his worst performance of the season against Ulster, Ian Keatley needed something to get him settled into the game against Gloucester at Kingsholm last Saturday.For a man whose confidence was at a low ebb, that crucial play was surprisingly a purely instinctive one. His first touch with the boot had been an attempted cross-field kick to Johne Murphy, but one that scuffed off the inside of his foot and forced the winger to check his run.With 13 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock, Keatley found his kicking range wonderfully and didn’t look back for the remainder of the game. The 26-year-old appears to be at his most comfortable when he plays off-the-cuff, allowing his footballing instincts to do the work. That Keatley was capable of bouncing back so impressively from his Ulster disappointment was, in part, down to the support and encouragement he received from the people closest to him. Phone calls from head coach Rob Penney and backs specialist Simon Mannix the day after the Pro12 loss were important.His team mates rallying behind him and and the “great belief” the Dublin native’s family have in him were also crucial. However, Keatley rightly points out that he “wouldn’t expect to be judged on just one match; as I wouldn’t expect to be judged on just the Gloucester match either.”It’s clear that some of Irish rugby’s most knowledgeable minds did not condemn Keatley in the aftermath of his Ulster display, given that Penney selected him at out-half against Gloucester and that Joe Schmidt named him in the 44-man Ireland squad this week.Keatley is hopeful that game time in the Ireland Wolfhounds clash with the England Saxons on the 25th of January in Kingsholm can see him further his reputation.“To get recognised and to see your name in the Irish squad [is great]. I’d say more than likely I’ll be involved in that Wolfhounds team to play the Saxons, whether that’s starting or subbing. I’m just looking to go out there and hopefully just make an impression on the coaches.“Hopefully if I get my chance to impress, I’ll take it.” I’m just trying to do what the right thing for the team is at that time,” he told TheScore.ie. “The first thing I stepped up on at the weekend, we had a scrum on the halfway line and we had a move called. I think I just made a decision and went ‘No, I’m putting this into the corner.’“I think once I did that, I started to grow and back myself a bit more, just went with the flow and did what I felt was the right thing to do; whether is was passing, or kicking.”
Source: ImgurPenguins at Sea Life Centre in the UK had to be given anti-depressants to help them cope with the bad weather. The Humboldt penguins at the Scarborough sanctuary were struggling to keep their spirits up amid the wind and rain, so staff decided to give them medication to help reduce their stress levels. This isn’t the first time the birds have been feeling blue either: They were left traumatised when a trespasser broke into their enclosure and chased them around a few years ago. (The Guardian)A local council in the UK came under fire for using foul language and images of huge piles of dog mess to encourage irresponsible dog owners to clean up after their pets. Sandwell Council decided to change their approach, making use of the phrase “no sh*t Sherlock” and an image of a dog in a deerstalker. Local Tory Councillor Mavis Hughes was NOT impressed: She said the poster would encourage young children to use “foul language”. (Wolverhampton Express and Star) “BOREDOM CAN BE a lethal thing on a small island”, author Christopher Moore once said.If you’re the kind of person who agrees with him then you’re in exactly the right spot.There have been enough strange goings-on both at home and abroad this week to blow boredom out the window and DailyEdge.ie has rounded up a selection of them for you.Because that, as they say, is entertainment.A man caught with a salmon and a net on a Donegal river told the fisheries protection officers who detained him that he was just holding the items for a “man in a wet suit”. Patrick ‘Paddy’ Mc Menamin said he definitely wasn’t poaching, and that the illegal gill net and small salmon actually belonged to a complete stranger. Judge Paul Kelly told McMenamin – who has two previous convictions for similar offences – that it had been “a very expensive offer of assistance”, fined him €300 and ordered him to pay costs of €350. (Donegal Daily)Swedish advertisers erected a McDonalds billboard on the Norwegian border to tempt their neighbours to buy a cheaper Big Mac just down the road. The poster, designed by Stockholm advertising agency DDB, reveals that a Swedish Big Mac meal costs about €7 while a Norwegian one costs somewhere in the region of a tenner. That makes Norway’s Big Macs the most expensive in the world. (The Local) Source: PA Wire/Press Association ImagesA missing cat returned home after three years with a considerably larger waistline after spending his days living in a pie factory. Woosie’s owners were delighted to discover that he’d been living in a pie and pasty plant 30 miles from home. Workers at the factory had adopted the tomcat – who they renamed George – and fed him free pies every day. The fat cat sauntered home to his sofa and settled in in no time at all. “He’s like Lord Muck”, his owners told the Plymouth Herald. (Plymouth Herald) Source: ImgurA Danish amputee was able to experience the sensation of touch again when he was fitted with the first prosthetic arm that allows the wearer to feel what it touches. 36-year-old Dennis Aabo Sørensen – who lost his hand in a fireworks accident 9 years ago – was able to tell the difference between hard, soft, round and square objects, even while wearing a blindfold and earplugs. “It was quite amazing because suddenly I could feel something I had not been feeling for nine years”, he said. (EPFL News)Pssst. Spotted any wacky news in your local area? Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org or below in the comments if you’d like to see your name in lights. It could be you!A schoolgirl and a bullet, some peanut butter and a jellyfish, and a gay cat – here’s more MAD NEWS to catch up on.
THERE WAS A significant change in electricity demand in Ireland on Wednesday evening, according to figures from the electricity operator EirGrid.Electricity demand fell by over three per cent after the announcement as people stopped using appliances, paused in work or other activities and huddled around the television to see who the next pontiff was.Overall demand fell by 142 megawatts – the equivalent of electricity usage of over 90,000 homes – according to figures from the EirGrid National Control Centre.However after the announcement power usage rose again as people stuck the kettles on and resumed whatever it was they were doing.“This is one of a number of televised events where demand has changed in a measurable way at times when large numbers of people are watching a particular event,” EirGrid said in a statement.Past examples of when demand has changed in a measurable way include Katie Taylor’s gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics, the first Ireland v England rugby match at Croke Park in 2007 and Ireland’s penalty shoot-out win over Romania at Italia 90.Separately RTÉ reported that at its peak nearly one million people tuned into the Six One News to watch events in Rome. On average over 720,000 people watched the entire programme, an audience share of over 50 per cent.The peak audience figure of 992,000 people is the highest for news programmes since the Taoiseach’s State of the Nation address in December 2011.RTÉ had a team of 16 people in Rome covering the election of the new Pope on radio, TV and online.The Ordinary Pontiff: Pope Francis pays hotel bill, carries his own luggage
SOUTH AFRICAN OLYMPIC hero Oscar Pistorius has returned to court his morning to face a tough fight to win bail as the prosecution fleshes out charges that he deliberately gunned down his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day.Yesterday Pistorius tearfully denied the premeditated murder of Steenkamp, telling a court he shot at her through a locked bathroom door mistakenly believing she was a burglar.“I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva,” Pistorius said in an affidavit at a court hearing in the capital Pretoria, his first public comments on the killing.The 26-year-old double amputee ‘Blade Runner’ track star broke down in tears repeatedly as his own words filled the court: “We were deeply in love and couldn’t be more happy.”“I had no intention to kill my girlfriend,” he said in the statement read by his lawyer.As the court hearing proceeded Tuesday, the 29-year-old Steenkamp was laid to rest at an emotional private ceremony at a crematorium in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.Pistorius, left, stands as the judges leaves the court, during his bail application at the magistrate court, in Pretoria yesterday. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)Premeditated murderPistorius was an inspiration to millions when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics in London last year.He now faces a charge of premeditated murder, which will likely result in remand without bail and, if convicted, a life sentence. Pistorius said he had awoken in the dead of night early last Thursday when he heard a noise at his upscale Pretoria home.“Filled with horror and fear” that someone was in the bathroom, he said he felt “very vulnerable” because he did not have his prosthetic legs on.He said he fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to his girlfriend to phone the police, but then realised it could have been Steenkamp in the bathroom.After smashing the door with a cricket bat, Pistorius said “Reeva was slumped over but alive”.He said he kept a firearm under his bed at night because he had been a victim of violence and burglaries before and had received death threat.Prosecutors argued that far from being an accident, Steenkamp’s death was a premeditated act of murder.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court Pistorius had armed himself, put on his prosthetic legs, walked seven metres and fired four shots into the bathroom door, hitting a terrified Steenkamp three times and fatally wounding her.“She could go nowhere,” Nel said. “She locked the door for a purpose.”Magistrate Desmond Nair said he could not rule out that there was some planning involved in the killing, which may be considered as a premeditated murder for the purposes of bail.But Pistorius’s legal team rejected the claims as he sought to argue he was not a flight risk.Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva (man in black suit and beard, wearing glasses) at the funeral for Reeva Steenkamp in Port Elizabeth, South Africa yesterday. Rocky private lifePistorius, who off the track has had a rocky private life with stories of rash behaviour, beautiful women, guns and fast cars, has built up a powerful team of lawyers, medical specialists and public relations experts for his defence.In 2009 Pistorius — who once admitted to a newspaper that he slept with a pistol, machine gun, cricket bat and baseball bat for fear of burglars — spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party.Meanwhile in Port Elizabeth, tearful friends and family bid farewell to Steenkamp, whose cloth-draped coffin with white flowers laid on top was carried into a chapel in the southeastern coastal city where she grew up.Pistorius, a Paralympian gold medallist, became the first double amputee to run against able-bodied athletes at last year’s Olympics in London on the carbon-fibre running blades that inspired his nickname.But his career has been put on hold since the shooting, forcing him to cancel races in Australia, Brazil, Britain and the United States between March and May.Pistorius revealed he earned 5.6 million rand ($640,000) a year and owned the $570,000 house in the gated estate where the killing took place as well as two other homes.But two of the athlete’s American sponsors, Nike and sunglasses maker Oakley, announced they were dropping Pistorius from their advertising campaigns, which have earned him millions of dollars in endorsements.- © AFP, 2013More: Sponsors Nike, Oakley sever ties to Oscar Pistorius
A 19-YEAR-OLD is due before court in Drogheda this afternoon in connection with a shooting in Drogheda at the weekend.A 35-year-old man was injured in the attack, which happened in the Moneymore Estate at around 6pm on Sunday night.He was treated for gunshot wound injuries, described as “non-life-threatening” at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.The teenager is due to appear before Drogheda District Court later this afternoon.
The following services ARE NOT operating: No services operating in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Clare or Kerry.Commuter services in Greater Dublin Area are not operating.Expressway Inter-cityRoute 2 Wexford- Dublin and Route 4 Dungarvan-Dublin are currently not operating.Route 5 Dublin-Waterford services are currently not operatingRoute 7 Dublin-Clonmel services are currently not operatingRoute 8 Dublin-Cork services are currently not operatingRoute 12 Dublin-Limerick no services operatingRoute 22 Dublin-Ballina no services operatingRoute 23 Dublin-Sligo no services operatingRoute 30 Dublin-Donegal no services operatingRoute 32 Dublin-Letterkenny no services operatingRoute 33 Dublin-Derry no Bus Éireann services operating. Translink services are operating. Translink services at 10:00, 13:00, 17:300 and 22:00. Services from Dublin will operate from Custom House Quay.Route 64 Derry-Galway no services operatingRoute 66 Westport-Belfast no services operating Updated 9.30am BUS ÉIREANN HAS advised that the vast majority of its services are not operating today as a result of strike action being taken by workers over cost-cutting measures.Workers affiliated to the National Bus and Rail Union went on strike this morning with bus services affected as a result.In an update issued this morning the company said the following services ARE operating: Route 1 Dublin-Belfast No Bus Éireann services operating.Translink services are operating. Translink services are at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 21:00 and 22:00 EX Dublin. Services Ex Dublin will operate from Custom House Quay.Route 30 1500 Donegal-Dublin will operate; 1700 Donegal-Dublin will operateRoute 33 Dublin-Derry no Bus Éireann services operating.Translink services are operating. Translink services are at 10:00, 13:00, 17:300 and 22:00. Services from Dublin will operate from Custom House Quay.GOBE – Dublin Airport-Cork – All services expected to operate with services operating from Dublin city centre will pick up at Georges Quay.Table 492 –0730 Dungloe/Glenties/Ardaghey/Donegal; 1745 Donegal/Killybegs/Ardara/Glenties/Maas/Lettermacaward/Dungloe ; 2145 Donegal/Killybegs/Ardara/Glenties/Maas/Lettermacaward/DungloeTable 492 and 30 – 1520 Dungloe/Donegal/Dublin; 1345 Glencolmbcille/Killybegs/Donegal/Dublin; 2100 Dublin/Donegal/Glenties Other services No services across inter-city, city, surburan or provincial services are currently operating in Cork.No services across inter-city, city, surburan or provincial services are currently operating in Galway.No services across inter-city, city, surburan or provincial services are currently operating in South-West.GDA Commuter Services100 Drogheda-Newry not operating100X Dublin-Dundalk not operating103/105 Dublin-Ashbourne-Ratoath not operating101 Dublin-Drogheda not operating109 Dublin-Cavan not operating109A DCU-Kells not operating111 Dublin-Athboy-Cavan not operating115 Dublin-Mullingar not operating120 Dublin-Edenderry not operating126 Dublin-Newbridge-Kildare not operating133 Dublin-Wicklow not operating177 Dublin – Monaghan not operating188 Drogheda-Trim not operating190 Drogheda-Laytown not operatingBus Éireann said it apologises for any inconvenience caused by the industrial action. Travelling passengers have been advised to visit its website for further details on disruption to services.More: Bus Éireann workers walk out as passenger services affected
DETECTIVES ARE APPEALING for information after a 20-year-old man was shot in a punishment-style shooting in North Belfast.The victim was reportedly shot in his left leg shortly before 1am.His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.The incident took place in the Havana Walk area.The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attended the scene and the man was taken to a nearby hospital.Police are calling for anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area, or knows anything about this incident, to contact the Criminal Investigation Department in Tennent Street Police Station on the non-emergency number 101.If someone would prefer to provide information anonymously, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
H2O Audio, which specializes in waterproof, sweatproof headphones and accessories, just announced a new line of colorful headphones. Flex All Sport Buds offers H2O’s waterproof technology at an affordable price. Waterproof up to 3 feet, this line comes in bold green, pink, black, and blue shades. They comes with three different size of earplugs so everyone can get a good fit.They’ll make a good gift for the athlete on your list, whether that’s a swimmer or someone who occasionally takes a run in the rain. Pick them up from H2O Audio’s site or from Amazon for a list price of $29.99. AdChoices广告
There’s a growing number of portable video recorders hitting the market with the Flip being the device that started it all. Since then manufacturers including Kodak, Creative, Panasonic, and Samsung have come out with competing products as well as introducing HD recording features.ION Audio is trying to differentiate itself by offering something unique. The company’s new portable video recorder, called the Twin Video, has two lenses sitting on the top of the device. One is front facing, the other back facing.The idea behind this is to allow the user to switch between recording the scene or person in front of them, while having the ability to switch to view their own face. An ideal solution for interviews you may think.It’s got a 3x digital zoom, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, tripod mount, and records directly to an SD or SDHC card. Switching between front and back facing cameras is handled with a You/Me button at the top of the interface.The Twin Video could have been a tempting proposition if it wasn’t for a major downfall. While the competition offers up 720p, and in a growing number of cases 1080p recording, ION Audio’s recorder only manages 640 x 480 30fps capabilities. It also can’t record from both cameras at the same time, which is another oversight in my opinion.At $119.99 it’s comparable in price to much more fully-featured pocket video recorders. The dual lens setup is genuinely useful, but let down by a poor recording resolution and relatively high price considering no HD support.Read more at ION Audio
As they say, there’s no accounting for taste. They called David Klein crazy when he gave the world gourmet jelly beans–until they started selling like gourmet hot cakes. And now, more than three decades later, they’re calling him crazy again, just because he’s given the world candy shaped like a bottle of urine.The man behind Reagan’s favorite snack food has attempted to strike gold for decades since having his best known invention bought out. Klein’s latest confectionary concoctions all seem to largely revolve around the medically grotesque.In recent years, he’s given the world a gummy gangrened toe, bloody nose, and vomit. There’s also The World’s Largest Gummy Heart, a two and a half pound concoction that looks like a severed heart in a Styrofoam tray. That’ll run you $30. There’s also Formula Pee, a candy bottle of lemon-flavored pee.It’s the heart that Klein’s banking on as his next success story. He asked AOL, “what’s more perfect than a heart on Valentine’s Day?”No if only you could get it to say, “Be Mine…”
AMD has this week launched the next generation of FirePro professional graphics cards based on the Cayman GL. The two cards drop the ATI tag and simply go by the names AMD FirePro V5900 and FirePro V7900.The FirePro cards are aimed at the professional market, those of us who need to run AutoCAD with certification or must have the best performance they can out of a package like Maya. The Radeon HD range is for consumers, and while equal or even outgunning the FirePro cards in specs, the FirePro line is always going to be the choice for specific and specialist tasks, otherwise there would be no point AMD releasing them.AdChoices广告This latest update brings support for Eyefinity, PowerTune, and GeometryBoost technologies. Eyefinity allows the V5900 to support up to 3 displays (2 DisplayPort 1.2 and 1 DVI), and the V7900 up to 4 (4 DisplayPort 1.2). PowerTune allows for dynamic power use optimization meaning performance when it is required, and a low-power graphics solution when it’s not.With GeometryBoost the cards offer up very fast geometry transforms by processing two primitives per clock cycle. So in a package like AutoCAD larger models will be dealt with a lot more efficicently and therefore can be significantly more complex than previous FirePro cards could handle.As for the specific specs, here’s the main features of the two cards:AMD FirePro V5900512 Stream Processors2GB GDDR5 RAM (64GB/s bandwidth)2560 x 1600 max resolution75W maximum power drawAMD FirePro V79001280 Stream Processors2GB GDDR5 RAM (160GB/s bandwidth)2560 x 1600 max resolution150W maximum power drawBoth cards have support for DirectX 11.0, OpenGL 4.1, Shader Model 5.0, and Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Linux. The V5900 starts at $599 and the V7900 is almost double that at $999 and upwards. In terms of performance, the guys over at HotHardware managed to get their hands on both cards and performance was excellent, especially with the V7900. Both cards easily outperformed the cards they are replacing, and give the Nvidia Quadro line some decent competition.Read more at the AMD press release and Icrontic
Angry Birds is a fad and won’t have the staying power of Tetris, according to The Tetris Company managing director Henk Rogers.Rogers, in a recent interview, compares the booming success of the smartphone game to the long-running popularity of the puzzle franchise. Rovio, the developer of Angry Birds, gets 40% of its revenue from merchandising: not the game itself, but the plush birds and t-shirts on retail shelves. Rogers highlights Tetris‘ different approach in response, saying merchandising is “more decorative than functional.” In short, The Tetris Company prefers to make games, not consumer products like merchandise.There’s one more reason for the different business model: Tetris can’t compete. “Any time you have a character,” Rogers begins, that’s how one can get into the merchandise business. Tetris doesn’t have characters, so no plush toys any time soon. On the other hand, according to Rogers, games that have characters as their central theme “become popular and then go away.” Angry Birds players get burned out and move on to another game, he claims.Rogers makes the argument that Tetris is perennial, but does so in several odd ways. It’s like golf, he claims. It’s like the Happy Birthday song. You see Tetris blocks in the real world. Video games are the mental fitness equivalent of running a marathon, he says.Returning somewhat to reality, Rogers points out that the Tetris brand is strong enough to not need concerted marketing efforts just to sell the game. New Tetris releases on the App Store rise to the top spots despite low marketing spending. Core fans spread the game virally to much success.Then it’s back to crazy talk. “We have an unfair advantage” when it comes to the Tetris brand, he quips. The game is like a virus, and there is no cure. People want to keep “catch[ing] the bug.”While Rogers’ statements are obviously hyperbolic marketing-speak, we do agree on one point: the game is a fad.via IndustryGamers
International Space Station (ISS) scientist Dr. Don Pettit has created a series of videos like the one above to illustrate the different properties of objects in space, giving Earth-bound teachers a tool to show students things that they couldn’t on the ground. Pettit focuses on how droplets of water react to different static charges in outer space, with the result being very entertaining.Pictured above, Pettit uses two knitting needles as well as a syringe filled with water to conduct the experiment. Each needle is purposely made of a different substance: nylon for the needle that the water “orbits” around and Teflon for the knitting tool near the syringe. The reason Pettis chose these two materials is because of their static electricity properties. When rubbed with a piece of paper, nylon produces a small positively charged energy field, the size being that way because of the poor conductivity of nylon. Teflon on the other hand produces a strong negative static charge, so that when the water is squirted out of the syringe in close proximity to the Teflon, it picks up the negatively charged ions as it passes by.This results in the water being attracted to the nylon needle in the orbital fashion illustrated in the video. The speed of the water droplet depends on the volume and its proximity to the positive charge of the nylon needle. Larger droplets tend to stick quickly, while smaller ones will orbit the needle longer and faster, sometimes even making figure-eights around it.If this is the kind of fun that the scientists aboard the ISS get to have all the time, show the place where I can sign up. I wonder if beer would react the same way as the water does?via Physics Central
Return of the Jedi wasn’t the best Star Wars film but it certainly did contain one of the coolest vehicles: the speederbike. Now a company called Aerofex seems to have replicated that legendary craft.The new speeder is not exactly the one from the 1983 film, but it does hover just like it. It’s called a rotorcraft and it uses the same dynamics as a helicopter in order to lift and carry itself and a rider above the ground. This isn’t completely new tech — they tested this vehicle in 2008 — unfortunately that flight ended in the rotorcraft crashing into a tumbleweed, which caught fire as a result. Luckily the pilot only came away with burnt hands.Since then they have been working on making the rotorcraft easier to control, therefore making the flight much more stable. The vehicle can hover up to 15 feet in the air and travel at 30 mile per hour.The people at Aerofex don’t want to recreate Star Wars speederbikes though, in fact in the future they don’t want these bikes to be manned at all. They want to create unmanned drones that are safe to be around humans. The closed off rotors used in this technology would help them accomplish this (and prevent anything terrible from happening to small pets).It seems we’re still quite a few years away from speeding through Endor on these things. The video above does show what the rotorcraft can do and it’s fairly impressive. Sadly there’s no sound to the video, nor is the test pilot dressed like a Stormtrooper, so you’ll just have to use your imagination for now.More at Flightlog via Dvice
Google is relentlessly sifting through your Gmail emails to serve up advertisements — and that’s just plain wrong, says Microsoft in its latest “Don’t get Scroogled” campaign. Google has taken heat for this practice before, and it’s gone as far as litigation in several cases. It’s an issue that has had Google’s legal department playing whac-a-mole since 2004 when Gmail first launched.As you’d expect from a Scroogled attack, Microsoft gets pretty sensational in its claims. The results of a Microsoft-commissioned survey (always a trustworthy source of data) play a prominent role this time around. Unsurprisingly, nearly 90% of those questioned responded that they disapproved of email scanning and that providers shouldn’t be allowed to scan the content email ads to show contextual ads. The same number also felt that an opt-out should be provided.Microsoft’s Director of Online Services Stefan Weitz says that “people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds.” He goes on to say that Microsoft respects the privacy of its Outlook.com users and believes that Google is violating that sacred trust every time an Outlook user emails a Gmail user. The icing on the cake with Scroogled:Gmail is that Microsoft has taken the extra step of launching an online petition and is urging users to take a stand against this gross injustice. So far, only around 300 have digitally signed on the line.There are a few problems with Microsoft’s claims, of course. The biggest is that Gmail users have all consented to Google’s terms and conditions, and that consent has been enough to get the company off the hook in the past. Google also clearly labels the ads, explains why they show up, and is pretty transparent about the entire process. Beyond that, Google does allow users to opt out of personalized ads and even block specific advertisers if they wish. If you’re really uncomfortable with the ads, you can even access your Gmail account via an IMAP client and avoid them entirely.
Users may be crying out for the return of unlimited data plans, but unless you’re on Sprint they aren’t coming back anytime soon. For those of you on AT&T with greater than average data needs, new data tiers have been rolled out to offer upwards of 50GB of data every month.US Carriers aren’t looked at in a particularly positive light right now. On top of having to filter through a seemingly endless line of requests for unlimited data to make a comeback, there’s talk of a new cell phone unlocking bill to be introduced soon. As the US mobile broadband situation continues to grow into their new LTE shoes, and users adjust to a world with high speed but limited capacity Internet on there phones, there’s going to be outliers that need to be addressed. Maybe a small business that doesn’t need anything more than a slightly augmented family plan, or a family that has figured out that their LTE connection is faster than the DSL line being offered by the local rural ISP. Whatever the collection of fringe cases may be, AT&T has decided to service them with a new line of higher capacity bandwidth options.The data plans come in at easy to remember price points. Take whatever your cap is, add a zero on the end, and you get your monthly price. It may be hard to swallow the idea of paying $500 every month for 50GB of wireless data, but clearly AT&T thinks that a couple of people will pay it. If you’re choosing these data tiers on a Family Share plan, you’ll still be charged the extra $30 per device you add on. Family accounts still have a 10 device limit, while businesses are offered a scale based on which plan you have. 50GB plans, for example, get you 25 devices. Regardless of which you go for, unlimited voice and text are still included.Perhaps more interesting than AT&T’s new cringe worthy, wallet bruising-mobile plans is the new data-only option for these higher tiers. You can opt for a $335 50GB plan that allows you to make each connected device a hotspot or mobile broadband USB stick. This would allow a small business the ability to grant mobile broadband to an entire team, while fostering a Bring Your Own Device environment for the rest of their needs. It’s certainly not as good as unlimited data, and it wouldn’t be hard for 10 hotspots to hit 50GB in a month, but the plans demonstrate an attempt to offer a reasonably priced service to businesses.
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to unbox a human-sized robot, gaze upon this video with extreme jealousy. Helios, the Atlas Robot MIT is using for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, was recently pulled from its box so that modifications and testing can begin.In a world where disasters can happen with such severity that it is simply impossible for humans to wander in and fix things, there’s a real need for mechanical creations that can be controlled to rush in and save the day. In an attempt to speed up the process of creating these mechanical assistants, DARPA has created a competition to see who can build the best machine capable of entering a disaster area and either stopping further damage or making the area safe for humans.MIT’s entry into this competition starts with an Atlas Robot, built by Boston Dynamics. To show off their shiny new toy they did what gadget geeks all over the world when they get a shiny new thing. They made an unboxing video.The DARPA Robotics Trials will be taking place at the Homestead Speedway in Florida this December. Until that date, teams from MIT, NASA, Virginia Tech, and many others will be hard at work creating their versions of a robotic assistant to safely travel where we can’t.