New Apple AirPods Pro with noise-cancelling functionality

MacRumors, which is usually correct, reports on China Economic Daily's news of the imminent launch of Apple AirPods Pro with noise-cancelling functionality and a $260 price. The new AirPods Pro won't look anything like the image above, although it'd be cool if they did. From MacRumors:

According to China Economic Daily, Apple's third-generation ‌AirPods‌ will adopt a new in-ear design to support the new noise-canceling feature and enhance the listening experience. The paper claims the "Pro" suffix, which Apple recently adopted for its most expensive iPhone 11 models, will help to differentiate the new wireless earbuds from Apple's existing ‌AirPods‌ and underscores the marketing rationale justifying the higher $260 price tag.

According to a separate report on Friday from the same Chinese-language financial media outlet, the ‌AirPods‌ Pro will also feature a new metal design that increases heat dissipation. Apple ‌AirPods‌ supplier Inventec is said to be cooperating with Chinese manufacturer Lixun to undertake the new orders...

According to industry sources previously cited by DigiTimes, Apple's suppliers are gearing up to assemble the next-generation ‌AirPods‌ as early as October, suggesting an updated version of the earphones could arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.

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Researchers print electronic tattoos directly onto the skin

While researchers have demonstrated electronic "tattoos" that can be applied to the skin, Duke University electrical engineers have shown that electronic components can be printed directly onto the body. Typically, printable electronics need post-processing to function but the Duke researchers used an aerosol jet printer to print silver nanowire ink at near room temperature and the circuits worked immediately. On the first try, the traces connected a battery to an LED that glowed. The skin circuits wash right off with soap and water. From IEEE Spectrum:

Flexible electronics are having a moment. The sheer range of devices developed recently demonstrates the scope and speed of the field, including patches to communicate with robots, wearables to reverse baldness or detect heartbeats, and solar cells that can be sewn into clothing....

In two recent papers, Franklin, Williams and colleagues at Duke demonstrate a low-temperature technique for printing electrical components—including leads and transistors—onto delicate surfaces such as apples, human skin and paper, with no post-processing required.

“Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s paper or plastic or what-not, you want to be able to put your surface in, add printed, functional electronics to that surface, and away you go,” says (electrical engineer Aaron) Franklin. The new technique enables researchers to print electronic components onto a wide range of materials and reduces overall production complexity and time, he says...

“We don’t want to just print conductive traces onto human skin,” says Franklin. “We want to actually show we can do a full printing on any surface with useful, functional biosensing devices.”

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Exquisitely engineered coin contains a mechanical beating heart

Russian artist Roman Booteen modifies coins with incredible engravings and feats of mechanical engineering. This coin features a beating heart. Other exquisite examples of his work are below. He also customizes Zippo lighters.

(via Kottke)

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#hobonickel #goldinlay #morgandollar #engraved #engravedcoin #hobonickel #hobonickels

A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

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Check out this 480 million-year-old conga line of arthropods

When I was little, my big brother would take me fossil-hunting on a quest for trilobites, marine arthropods that have been extinct for around 250 million years. Occasionally we'd find lone specimens but never a bunch of them in a conga line as seen above. Paleontologists at France's Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 studied lines of nearly two dozen trilobytes from Moroccan fossil beds to gain insight into the origins of collective social behavior. From the New York Times:

These trilobites lived during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, a period defined by a dramatic increase in the variety and complexity of marine life. It was the evolutionary sequel to the first major diversification event, the so-called Cambrian explosion, which established most animal groups in the fossil record some 541 million years ago.

Before the Cambrian, there is “no evidence for group behavior” in animals, (paleontologist Jean) Vannier said, because Precambrian life-forms lacked sophisticated nervous systems.

Ampyx trilobites, in contrast, had an anatomy that could have enabled chemical communication and sensory stimulation. Though they were visually blind, the trilobites had long spikes protruding from their rear ends. These appendages clearly overlap and link individuals in the fossilized chains, and perhaps allowed tactile or pheromone signals to be exchanged.

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NASA video: "Space Is Hard"

"Space travel is hard and unforgiving," writes NASA, "but we have never been more ready to meet the unknown."

Or as William S. Burroughs said, "This is the space age and we are here to go."

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Gentleman gives fake name to police even though real name is tattooed on his neck

When police arrested Matthew Bushman, 36, of Mansfield, Illinois on Friday, he reportedly tried to provide a fake name. Thing is, his real name is tattooed right across his neck. Police shouldn't be surprised though. After all, they were investigating Bushman for possible involvement in a forgery.

(WAND17) Read the rest

What the hell is a "dimension" anyway?

Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, explains the concept of a "dimensions" at five different levels of complexity. Dr. Carroll sure has a big brane. Read the rest

Tasmanian tiger: thought to be extinct yet sighted two months ago

In 1936, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was declared to be extinct. Yet in the last three years, there have been eight reported sightings according to Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. I hope it's true. From CNN:

While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilds of Tasmania, an island state off Australia's south coast, there has been no hard evidence to support this -- only claims of sightings, like the ones newly released.

One report last February said that two people, visiting Tasmania from Australia, were driving when an animal with a stiff tail and striped back walked onto the road.

The animal "turned and looked at the vehicle a couple of times" and "was in clear view for 12-15 seconds," the report read. Both people in the car "are 100% certain that the animal they saw was a thylacine."

Another report filed the same month described a striped "cat-like creature" moving through the mist in the distance.

image: Thylacines in a Washington DC zoo, c.1906 (public domain) Read the rest

Hot mic/camera footage of Nixon joking around moments before resigning

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon delivered his resignation speech to the American public. Moments before this historical event, he was calmly joking around with the TV crew as if this was just any other presser. And then....

"...I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort."

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Fun interactive way to see what words were first used in print in a particular year

Visit Merriam-Webster's "Time Traveler" and select a year from the drop-down menu. Instantly you'll see the English words that were first used in print that year! More specifically, "the date is for the earliest written or printed use that the (dictionary) editors have been able to discover."

Above are the words first used in print in 1989, the year of the very first bOING bOING print 'zine! Cybernaut! Nanobot! Cyberporn! Those sure were the good ol' daze...

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Dutch family spent nine years living in a secret room "waiting for the end of time"

In the Netherlands province of Drenth, a family of seven adults were found living inside a hidden room in their farmhouse for nine years "waiting for the end of time." The family included a father, 58, and six male children, aged 18 to 25. Apparently one of the young men had enough and visited a nearby pub. After drinking five beers, he told the bar owner that he had run away and needed help. From the BBC News:

Officers visited the remote farmhouse and carried out a search. They discovered a hidden staircase behind a cupboard in the living room that led down to a secret room where the family were housed...

The farm is outside the village and is accessible by a bridge over a canal.

The farm, which is part-hidden behind a row of trees, also has a large vegetable plot and a goat...

The local postman said he had never delivered a letter there. "It's actually pretty strange, now I come to think about it," he told Algemeen Dagblad news website....

Police in Drenthe confirmed that a 58-year-old man had been arrested and was under investigation after refusing to co-operate.

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Professional dancers analyze the finale "Time of my Life" scene in Dirty Dancing

Professional choreographers Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Grant deconstruct the final dance in Dirty Dancing. Original below. Nobody puts Patrick Swayze in the corner.

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Robot assemblers build structures out of identical modular pieces

Pushing forward on the vision of "programmable matter," MIT researchers demonstrated a new kind of assembly system based on robots that can collaboratively build complicated structures from small identical pieces. Professor Neil Gershenfeld, graduate student Benjamin Jenett, and their colleagues present their research in a scientific paper titled "Material–Robot System for Assembly of Discrete Cellular Structures." From MIT News:

“What’s at the heart of this is a new kind of robotics, that we call relative robots,” Gershenfeld says. Historically, he explains, there have been two broad categories of robotics — ones made out of expensive custom components that are carefully optimized for particular applications such as factory assembly, and ones made from inexpensive mass-produced modules with much lower performance. The new robots, however, are an alternative to both. They’re much simpler than the former, while much more capable than the latter, and they have the potential to revolutionize the production of large-scale systems, from airplanes to bridges to entire buildings.

According to Gershenfeld, the key difference lies in the relationship between the robotic device and the materials that it is handling and manipulating. With these new kinds of robots, “you can’t separate the robot from the structure — they work together as a system,” he says. For example, while most mobile robots require highly precise navigation systems to keep track of their position, the new assembler robots only need to keep track of where they are in relation to the small subunits, called voxels, that they are currently working on.

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Watch this incredible skateboarder who has no legs

Brazilian skateboarder Felipe Nunes, 20, is on the cover of this month's Thrasher magazine. He just joined Tony Hawk's elite Birdhouse squad. He also has no legs. Nunes lost them in an accident when he was six years old. From Thrasher:

What did it take to get back to where you were mobile again? Were you in a wheelchair at first? What were the biggest challenges to regaining your movement and independence?

I was six when it happened but the doctors said it was super fast. I didn’t really hesitate because I was so young. I used a wheelchair until about the age of 11. I was a kid who wanted to do everything. Regardless of not having two legs I wanted to do it all. I rode my bike, played soccer, pretty much everything out in front of my house. I was a normal kid. It didn’t even look like I was missing part of my legs. My parents were essential in my recovery because they never stopped me from doing anything. They were afraid of me getting hurt like any parents, but they never held me back. When I wanted to give up the wheelchair and ride the skateboard full time, they let me go.

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The Office's Pam and Angela have a new podcast about The Office

Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, aka The Office's Pam and Angela, are launching a new podcast together about The Office. Listen to the trailer below. Titled “Office Ladies,” the podcast will feature the two actresses, who are real life best pals, rewatching every episode of the TV series and bantering about it. It premiers tomorrow! From an interview in the New York Times:

So where did the idea for the podcast come from?

KINSEY I was going through my garage, and I have all of these Rubbermaid bins full of photos and memorabilia. Jenna jokes that I’m a hoarder because I save everything. I would save a little note that Oscar passed me, a drawing that Jenna drew or a prop. I have Michael Scott’s business card.

FISCHER You have Dwight and Angela’s wedding invitation.

KINSEY So I was going through it all and Jenna came over and was looking through it with me, and it made us really nostalgic. We started reminiscing, and the 15-year anniversary is coming up so we thought this is a great opportunity for us to rewatch it and talk about our memories, our behind-the-scenes moments and share it with the fans.

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Check out this killer Yoshitomo Nara graffiti in NYC bar

In 2009, Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara was hanging out with his business manager Tim Blum in the Manhattan bar Niagrara. Nara pulled out a marker and drew some of his fantastic figures on the walls. (Later that night, he did the same thing at a subway station and was promptly arrested.) Last week, one of Nara's paintings sold in a Sotheby's auction for $24.9 million, driving up the value of his other work including this graffiti. According to Blum though, Nara doesn't want anyone to pull out the bar walls and sell his graffiti. Fortunately, the bar owners seem to agree. For now anyway. From CNN:

"The (drawings at the bar are) quite in keeping with his style," said David Schrader, head of private sales at Sotheby's. "My guess is it's probably worth hundreds of thousands. For sure, when an artist gets a record-selling price, it elevates them in the market. My gut is there are definitely people who would want to own this or the multiple pieces individually..."

The Niagara's management declined to comment, but a bartender told CNN that the artwork "has been a part of the bar for a long time and will stay that way." The drawings are safeguarded by a thin layer of plastic that was installed by the bar's ownership.

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Watch: OpenAI enabled a one-handed robot to solve a Rubik's Cube

OpenAI Inc. demonstrated a one-handed robot solving a Rubik's Cube. Apparently the real breakthrough in this milestone was teaching the system to do the task in simulation. “While the video makes it easy to focus on the physical robot, the magic is mostly happening in simulation, and transferring things learned in simulation to the real world," writes Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum:

The researchers point out that the method they’ve developed here is general purpose, and you can train a real-world robot to do pretty much any task that you can adequately simulate. You don’t need any real-world training at all, as long as your simulations are diverse enough, which is where the automatic domain randomization comes in. The long-term goal is to reduce the task specialization that’s inherent to most robots, which will help them be more useful and adaptable in real-world applications.

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