Schiaparelli lander crash site

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NASA released a color image of the Schiaparelli Mars landing site that illustrates the descent speed issue quite nicely.

"Composite of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module elements seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on 1 November 2016. Both the main impact site (top) and the region with the parachute and rear heatshield (bottom left) are now captured in the central portion of the HiRISE imaging swath that is imaged through three different filters, enabling a colour image to be constructed. The front heatshield (bottom right) lies outside the central colour imaging swath."
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This fly drowned in my candle

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I'll have to ask the waiter for another. Read the rest

After New Zealand spooks misidentified pro-democracy activist, NSA spied on him for them

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Tony Fullman is one of the only people that we know to have been targeted by Prism, the NSA's signature mass-surveillance tool: he's a Fijian-born expatriate with New Zealand citizenship, and had his passport seized and his name added to terrorism watchlists after the NSA helped their New Zealand counterparts spy on him, intercepting his bank statements, Facebook posts, Gmail messages, recorded phone conversations, and more. Read the rest

Teen stuck inside giant Barney dinosaur head is freed by firefighters

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15-year-old Darby Risner of Trussville, Alabama, got stuck in a giant Barney dinosaur head on Sunday night, when she found the purple prop at her friend's house.

Young miss Risner told ABC News she wanted to scare her friends with it when they came downstairs, but the prank turned into something unexpected when she failed to remove herself from the dinosaur's fuzzy purple cranium.

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CIA borrowed school bus for training, left explosive material on board while bus carried kids

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CIA personnel left “explosive training material” under the hood of a Loudoun County, Virginia school bus after performing training exercises using the school bus last week. That very same bus was then used to shuttle elementary and high school students to and from school on the following Monday and Tuesday with that explosive material still inside the engine compartment.

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Mirrored headboard becomes 'big magnifying glass' and burns down home carport

A mirrored headboard started a carport fire in Fresno, fire officials said. (Fresno FD)

In what the Los Angeles Times reports was a 'freak event' at a Fresno home last Sunday, sunlight bouncing off of a mirrored headboard discarded in the back of a home magnified the sun's rays and started a fire that burned down the family carport.

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Hackers stole 101,000 taxpayers' logins/passwords from the IRS

IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled Out

Amazingly, this is an improvement on last year, when hackers took 300,000 taxpayers' records from the IRS. Read the rest

EA reveals the Xbox One sales total that Microsoft prefers not to

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Microsoft long ago stopped saying how many XBox Ones it had sold, but figures released by Electronic Arts expose numbers far short of rival Sony's Playstation 4.

On a financial call with reporters, CEO Blake Jorgensen said the combined install base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was about 55 million units. With Sony boasting of 36 million PS4s shifted, that makes for 19 million Xbox Ones.

The numbers tally with rumors, but both machines are doing well given that we're still only 2 years into the current generation of hardware. The big loser this time around is Nintendo, thought to have sold only about 11m Wii Us. Read the rest

Smartwatch cancelled after 6 days in stores

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The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE was the company's latest answer to Apple's dominating entry into the market. But it died fast, pulled off the shelves within a week due to an unspecified problem with the display.

Ron Amadeo writes that they "are not in a position to communicate the specifics of the issue that led to this decision."

LG is being as diplomatic as possible to not burn a bridge with its suppliers, but it's hard to interpret "image quality" as anything other than a finger pointed squarely at the display. The display would also fit the description of a "new advanced component" that had "never been used in an LG wearable device before." The Urbane 2 was the first smartwatch to hit a 480×480 resolution, bringing the round, 1.3-inch P-OLED display to 490 PPI.

Failed quality assurance at this level is just bizarre. What a train wreck. Read the rest

Watch Usain Bolt get run over by a photographer on a Segway (everyone's fine)

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If they can keep up with Usain Bolt, I guess Segways can go kind of fast after all.

Ad bad

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I'd love to read The Next Web's article titled "Ad-blockers aren’t ‘immoral,’ but maybe you’re using them wrong", but it is impossible because of the hilariously broken full-screen ad superimposed upon it. Read the rest

Vatican spells Jesus wrong on commemorative coin

I bet the Vatican's commemorative coins celebrating Pope Francis's first year are suddenly much more valuable than expected. Why? They spelled Jesus wrong. According to The Independent, only four or so of the 6,000 medallions were sold before someone noticed. Praise Lesus! Read the rest

Find the unfortunate typo in this Livestrong "nutrition" article

There are three things very wrong in this article at Livestrong.com, which my friend Meredith Yayanos pointed me to just now via Twitter. One, "nutrition" and "Velveeta" used in the same sentence at a website associated with cancer prevention and treatment. Two, the message in the yellow band—probably something they want to downplay right now, but no-one has gotten around to updating on the site. And the third is the real kicker, but you'll have to read the copy closely to find it.

The Livestrong dot-com site is basically a content farm populated with Turked-out SEO-bait by Demand Media; the dot-org is where the cancer advocacy organization does its thing. Read the rest

Taliban uses CC instead of BCC, exposes identity of 400+ contacts

A Taliban spokesperson sent out a press-release and used CC instead of BCC, exposing a long list of Taliban press-contacts, as well as several parties friendly to Taliban communiques.

The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.

Taliban Oops Reveals Mailing List IDs [Muhammad Lila, ABC] (via Techdirt) Read the rest

Ikea to women: we 'regret' airbrushing you out of Saudi catalog

The Swedish flatpack furniture company Ikea says it "regrets" that images of women went missing from the Saudi version of its mail-order catalog. Women are visible in the version of these same images in the English-language Ikea catalog. "Excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values," said a spokesbot this week. And, check it out: they're also PUTTING SOCKS ON PEOPLE! (HT: Antinous + Maciej Ostaszewski)

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The hilarity of CNN + Fox's bungled Health Care Act reporting, in a single 'shoop

Gary He of Inside Images today tweeted his photoshopped interpretation of an epic CNN gaffe. His 'shoop visually references the historic 1948 photo of just-elected President Harry Truman displaying before a crowd a newspaper that incorrectly reported his defeat.

The image went viral after inclusion in this New York Daily News article on how CNN and Fox totally blew it, by incorrectly reporting that the health care mandate championed by Obama was voted unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, when the opposite was in fact the case. More on Poynter. (thanks, Miles O'Brien!) Read the rest

How early electric experiments destroyed the University of Missouri's main academic hall

I'm completely fascinated by stories from the early days of electricity ... specifically, stories of experiments that went horribly (and sometimes, comically) wrong.

For me, it's a great reminder that, no matter how much of a sure-thing a technology like electricity seems in retrospect, there was always a point in history where the future was uncertain, where mistakes were made, and where even the "experts" didn't totally know what they were doing. In general, I think it's good to remind ourselves that the real history of innovation is a lot messier than high-school level textbooks make it out to be.

In this short video, retired University of Missouri engineering professor Michael Devaney tells the tale of how a group of engineering students—armed with an early-model Edison electric generator—burned their school's main academic building to the ground. At the heart of the disaster: An attempt to see how many light bulbs the generator could light at once. To paraphrase Devaney, everything was going okay until the fire reached the ROTC's supply of cannon powder.

Read about how Thomas Edison himself set W.H. Vanderbilt's living room on fire.

Read about Thomas Edison and his staff accidentally turning a New York City intersection into a giant joy buzzer.

Read more on my thoughts about the messy history of innovation, published in last weekend's New York Times Magazine.

Thanks to Robert Solorzano and The Missourian for the tip on this story!

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