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Top 3 Videos Of The Week

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Last week, I wrote an article about the top 3 videos of last week, featuring Chalk Warfare. Since there are still so many videos out there, I thought I would do it again. Here they are:

#1. How To Survive A Robot Uprising (Robopocalypse)

Another great Epipheo video comes in first this week, this time highlighting what would happen and how to fight back when the upcoming robot uprising (robopocalypse) finally gets here. Amusing and great graphics accompany Daniel H Wilson, who is the author of many robot based best-sellers, through a educational and potentially lifesaving video.

#2. A Lovely Sunny Day


This charming video starring Bert (yes, from Sesame Street) and Zachary Levi is basically a fun way of saying to the whole population, “YOU’RE ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY!”, which is probably true. Along with a catchy song, this video is sure to atleast get a couple people out and about. Unfortunately, unlike Zach and Bert, I probably would miss my little screen.

#3. Humans VS Robots: Table Tennis

We know that sooner or later, robots will be better than us a pretty much everything. Skills such as speed, hand-eye coordination and fast thinking (such as sneaking up on somebody and throwing a water balloon at them) all are motor controls that we used to think were only human. Now, we know that’s not true. But have we gotten to the point that robots are better than us? This video shows what happened when the world class table tennis player Tim Boll was matched up against the Kuka KR Agilus, the fastest robot on earth.

TechSpot: Shaq-Fu is Back

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Back in 1994, EA and a couple other game developing companies decided to make a game drawing from the insane popularity of the basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, commonly known as Shaq. That’s how Shaq-Fu was born, and to be honest, it was a complete flop. Called the worst game ever. By the makers of the game itself. There is even a website out there called Shaqfu.com which is dedicated to collecting and destorying all copies of the original Shaq-Fu and stopping the production of the new one. 

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That’s right. Shaq-Fu is back. After 20 years since EA’s disastrous release of the game, Big Deez Production decided to team up with Shaq to bring it back. Supposedly, they had gone through many other Shaq themed games, such as Shaqman, O’Neal Of Fortune and Shaq To The Future, but ended up picking Shaq-Fu. This may seem like a bad (or at least misguided) choice, but Shaq and Big Deez seem set on recreating a better game and clearing Shaq’s name in the gaming community. On of their slogans is ” This time we won’t FU it up.”, poking fun at their previous failure.

Shaq-Fu is basically a fighter/beat-em-up type game. It is Shaq against some evil looking enemies, with your health bar at the top right and the enemy’s in the top right. With modern technology (such as 3D characters and better visual effects), if they do it right, the game could actually be good. So far, what they have put out looks cool. I mean look at this. Shaq looks like the Hulk. No wonder he’s funding this. Who, with the money, wouldn’t fund a game about themselves.

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Since Shaq is incredibly wealthy, he could easily pay for this game all by himself, with extra money to spare for his custom size 23 shoes, but they want to bring it to the public and show potential investors that they have the public interest. So Big Deez put it on Indiegogo, and I have to admit, they have some pretty sweet “perks”. For instance, for only $150, a motion capture artist will make a custom move based off of a video of yourself performing you move, or you can make a voice over for one of the characters. For 400, Shaq-Fu artists will create you likeness into a Shaq-Fu style character. Some of the rewards are ridiculous, though, like the $35,000 perk where Shaq will DJ your party. And someone payed for it.

The whole game is a big maybe. After the flop of the original game, it might be hard to convince people that this game is much better than it’s predecessor. The goal of Big Deez is “to build a game that would kick ass even without Shaq.” This wouldn’t really work, unless they got another celebrity to fund it, but well just have to wait until the release to see what they do and the quality of the game they create.

TechGot: Leap Moition Review

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After months of waiting, Leap Motion finally came! Originally, It was supposed to come in July, but you know how crowd-funders are. Anyway, now that it is here, I can say some things about how Leap actually works.

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The Leap How It Came

First of all, the Leap hardware is really nice. It is about as long as you finger and half as light. On the top is the scan area, which takes up the whole top. That gives it a very wide viewing area to work with and gives you a lot of freedom. All you have to do is plug it into a computer using 1 usb cable, and download the Airspace software on your computer and you are all set. Simple.

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Evolution Of Leap

Once you have downloaded the software, Leap goes through the “orientation”, which tells you how to work Leap (can view at any time). Then, it take you to Airspace. It literally is just the list of apps, a space-like background, a link to the online store, and a option to view the orientation. Again, Simple. At the very beginning, you have the option of downloading any of the free apps: Lotus, Shimsham, Cut The Rope and Molecules. Lotus is great; it basically harnesses the power of Leap and combines it in a very cool way with music. Shimsham is a 2 player gravity game that I also recommend. Cut The Rope is a Leap version of the classic iPhone app. It is fun, but very very short. And last of all, Molecules is what it sounds like: a 3D adjustable model of various chemicals.

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The Airspace Welcome Screen

Here come the disappointing part. Not disappointing by much, but still a little disappointing. Some of the apps, I said SOME, are a bit jumbled when it comes to the pin-point accuracy. Who knows why, but on some apps, such as  the drum app AirBeats, the controls are a bit hard to use. For instance, most apps use the system where you keep your finger on a menu option for a certain amount of time to select. In some apps, the mouse may flicker around making it hard to do that. It can be very frustrating. Still, this is an amazing device for such a cheap price. Despite what I said, it would still be worth buying to for someone who wants to stay ahead of the game in tech. To learn more about the Leap, check out my original post on the Leap!

 

TechThought: eVolo Skyscraper Design Contest

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Every year, eVolo has a competition for the most creative and ingenious designs for future skyscrapers. It’s basically where you get to go all out on the design. You can make it as futuristic as you want. They get tons of submissions every year, and this year they received an astonishing 5,000 designs. This year’s competition winners were announced yesterday (March 13), and all of them are absolutely amazing. I will review the top 3.

 

3rd Place: Light Park

Designed by Ting Xuand and Yiming Chen, Light Park (as pictured above), takes on the problem of overpopulation and pollution in Beijing. It would hover above Beijing using giant Helium filled air sacks at the top of the structure. The structure also has solar powered propellers at the bottom to make sure it doesn’t fall. This design could free up green space on the ground by elevating residences and offices.

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You may be wondering, “What are those plates sticking out of the side of it?” Well, they don’t show it in the pictures above, but they are parks, fields and other green space. They provide space to relax in the crowded city of Beijing, while also making it child-friendly. The pillar where the plates meet has shops, restaurants, and living space.

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One problem with Light Park, despite its creativity and benefits, it obviously its vulnerabilities — for example, what about tornados and hurricanes? Yes, they rarely have tornadoes and hurricanes in Beijing, but if they do, it would get hurled. Even strong winds would seem to be a concern.

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Even thought Light Park has some safety concerns to work out, it is a fantastic design. Since it runs solely on eco-friendly power, it could help Beijing’s terrible problem of air pollution. The plates also were a great idea, making it enjoyable to live in. I’m not even sure I’d ever get off it besides for vacations. It must have taken Ting Xuand and Yiming Chen at least a year to design, because they made sure every little thing was taken care of. They even designed a terrific water system that filters rain water. Ting Xuand and Yiming Chen defiantly deserved 3rd place, and if they don’t try to build at least a mini Light Park in 20 years or so, I’d be disappointed.

 

2nd Place: Phobia Skyscraper

 

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Phobia Skyscraper is a design bent on helping the urban life in Paris. If you have ever been to Paris, you know that is is one of the busiest cities in the world. Designed by Darius Maïkoff and Elodie Godo, Phobia Skyscaper is made out of mini (compared to the whole structure) blocks. Each block can be a store, house, workshop, or nearly whatever you want. Phobia Skyscraper is more of a mystery, not really making it clear how you would get around.

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What Phobia Skyscraper does make clear is that it will make much more space for paris, and shops will have lots of costumers. Also, it has something called Nuclei Centers, which are basically holes in the structure that make a sort of community center. It won’t be as “green” as Light Park, but it will be a place people would meet up. Big events like weddings, boxing matches, small fairs, exhibitions, and lots of other events would be held in the Nuclei Center, and it would become a fairly crowded place overtime. In the Nuclei Center, there are big screens that show messages, news, and other information like that. The Nuclei Center would most certainly be the most populous place, so stores will likely be place near there, making it a lot like a shopping mall.

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Phobia Skyscraper would definitely change Paris, adding shops, living space and much more. It could also help Paris ecologically. It has a rain water filter system that would not waste energy on filtering and shipping water from unnecessary places. One problem is that some people may think it is ugly, and not want it in the amazing city of Paris, but if it does get into the city, there could definitely be some benefits.

 

1st Place: The Polar Umbrella

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Like Light Park, the Polar Umbrella takes on a environmental issue: global warming. Placed on the top of the North Pole, the Polar Umbrella would help cool the icecaps down and rebuild the layers of ice. It takes in the salt water, cools it down using a high-tech system, and spreads it out over the water. This design could help preserve the icecaps, which is greatly needed.

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The Polar Umbrella isn’t just a ice producer, it also serves as a research lab and tourist spot. It isn’t primarily meant for a tourist destination, so there aren’t many rooms. The rooms they do have are small, but the fact that you are on the North Pole will make up for it! Researchers and conservationists would also find the Polar Umbrella very helpful, because it also has a viewing deck and helicopter pad.

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The architectural design of the Polar Umbrella is amazing. It integrates scientific equipment along with a great design for research. When you look at it from far away, it looks very small. But when you put it vertically, it actually matches the height of the Empire State Building. Thats a lot of ice being made. Designed by Derek Pirozzi, the Polar Umbrella is a environmental masterpiece. It completely deserves its 1st place medal. As I said before, it would very greatly help the North Pole, and absolutely should be explored as a concept.

 

eVolo’s(which incase you didn’t know, is a architecture magazine) annual contest bring up lots of designs that spearhead different problems. Hunger, global warming, pollution, and lots of other problems could partially be solved if at least a couple of these designes are built. Plus, who wouldn’t want a brand-spankin new high-tech futuristic looking skyscraper in their city?

(If you found this interesting, I recommend getting the $150 book eVolo Skyscrapers, a commemorative book with 300 designes submitted over the years.)

TechGot: Raspberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi is a hand-sized computer developed by University Of Cambridge Computer Lab.


Oops. Wrong pi.

I bet you’re wondering,”That doesn’t look like my computer!” But is one nonetheless.  It has a USB port, Ethernet, headphone jack, RCA video port, SD card slot and a power adapter, along with all the necessary chips to make it a basic computer.

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Raspberry Pi is not meant to be your personal laptop. It’s meant to be used for designing robots, tracking devices, clocks or anything you want that could use a “computer” for a brain. But when you do hook it up with a keyboard, mouse, ethernet, power and a monitor to program it, it will bring up a normal desktop.

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Once you get on the desktop, there are a couple apps already downloaded for you. Midori is the web browser they give you. It is good for downloading apps to help you, but not so good at just surfing the web, because it can be slow.

Scratch is another app they give you. It is a very basic computer programming app, more added on for fun.  And of course, they give you Idle, an app for programing in Python. This is the app you will most likely be using the most for programming whatever you are trying to build.

There are some cons to Raspberry Pi. As I said before, surfing the web can be extremely slow (at least for me), so don’t go buying it thinking it will be your browsing computer.  Also, I recommend buying a cheap USB keyboard instead of using you old Mac Keyboard(if you even kept it), since that’s what I tried and it I couldn’t write a word without it stretching the words oooooouuuuuuttttttttt.

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Still, if you are an entrepreneur and you need a easy and cheap(25$) way of putting a brain into your product, or a kid trying to learn Python, or just anyone trying to learn Python, Raspberry Pi could be for you.  I will follow up with my RPi experiences in future posts.

 

 

Myostatin Deficiency

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Ever seen those REALLY muscly guys with biceps bigger than your head? Ever wonder how they do it? Most of them train and workout all day, eat really well and do whatever they can to get big muscles. There is another way to get that strong without working that hard (besides drugs), but you can’t control it. It’s completely random. Not just humans can have it. Animals can get it to.

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It’s called Myostatin Deficiency. Myostatin is a gene which stops your muscles from growing continuously. Some natural athletes have one of the two myostatin genes missing. But its when their kids have BOTH of the genes missing, that’s when it gets incredible.

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(those are 5 pound weights, the kid is only 30 pounds)

So far, there aren’t any drugs or ways to remove your myostatin genes. Even when doctors and scientists come out with a way of removing the genes, it is probably not the best idea. There have been test for side effects, one possibility being muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy is a disease where your muscles gradually degrade over time, and eventually you can’t move and most likely will die early. You don’t want that to happen just because you want to have giant muscles.

The myostatin gene is not something you want to mess with. If don’t have it, good for you, but if you do, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything about it.

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