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Finally Nintendo acknowledges that Mario is no longer a plumber External Link

Nintendo's Japanese website clarifies Mario worked as a plumber "a long time ago."

"With Donkey Kong, we have this gorilla who grabs this gal and runs away with her and you have to go chase the gorilla down to save the lady. And the game's stage was a construction site, so we made him into basically a carpenter. …. With (1983's) Mario Bros., we brought in Luigi and a lot of the game was played underground so we made him to fit that setting and, we decided he could be a plumber. The scenario dictates his role."
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3D printed faces from DNA code

Artist Creates Faces From DNA Left In Public

We leave DNA everywhere we go. From the strand of hair that drifted off our head taking a walk to the lick of saliva left on a glass at your favorite cafe. No matter where you go, your DNA was left somewhere at some point in time.

New York artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg takes advantage of these opportunities by swiping your DNA from the scene and creating a realistic 3D face. Her project, Stranger Visions, is dedicated to just that!

"The idea for the project came from this fascination with a single hair. This turned into a research project for me exploring exactly what I could discover about someone from an artifact they left behind."

Her process starts with finding an object that contains human DNA out in the public, ranging from anything including a piece of gum to a cigarette butt. She then takes a sample of the DNA to Genspace, a community biotechnology laboratory in Brooklyn where she extracts the DNA, purifies it, and uses it polymerase chain reactions.

Once the DNA is extracted, she uses a computer to create a 3D generated model of the face. The results generally do not create an exact likeness to the person the DNA belongs to since the data provided only describes general traits. Using the code, she takes certain pieces of data to create multiple versions of the face to enhance or decrease certain features based on what she finds in the DNA.

It takes about eight hours to print one of the faces. Once printed, the result looks like a block of powder that's then dug out then baked and hardened with a superglue-like substance.

Reactions to the project have been mostly positive while there has also been uncertainty regarding people's intrusion of privacy.

"If people find it to be a little creepy, that's OK. It's meant to make you aware of these issues and make you aware that this is possible."

A full technical write-up of the DNA process is available on her blog.
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Android Harry Potter

Android Users Have a Cool Feature You May Not Know About

Android users have a cool feature built into their device that allows them to activate their flashlight by voice command. What makes this feature really cool is the voice commands are spells from Harry Potter!

To activate your flashlight, launch a Google voice search on your phone. The way I did it was through the home screen widget. Tap the microphone icon and say "Lumos". Your flashlight will turn on! To turn it off, do the same thing except say "Nox" instead.

Pretty cool, huh?
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Horrifying demonstration of Halloween window projections

Scare Your Neighbors with Halloween Window Projections

Halloween is right around the corner and technology is opening the door for some amazing effects to scare up the 21st century. These window projections use effects like Ghost Maid from Dminorsound and Ghostly Apparitions Head of the House by AtmosFEARfx.

There are 13 AtmosFEARfx Digital Decorations to choose from on their website, ranging from scary to family-friendly. Each one will turn any home or party into an unforgettable event... or scare the crap out of your neighbors walking by at night!

AtmosFX provides all animations on DVD so all you need is a projector or television set to get going. They also provide animations in their AtmosCHEERfx section for Christmas.

You can browse through other animations on AtmosFX's website at atmosfx.com.
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Mimo Smart Baby Monitor

Mimo Smart Baby Monitor

The new Mimo Smart Baby Monitor is a great device for parents in the 21st century, offering insights on your baby's sleep activity, respiration, body position, and skin temperature, available on your iOS or Android device.

The Mimo Smart Baby Monitor comes with three machine washable cotton kimonos, available in different sizes ranging from 0-12 months, with a spot for the attachable device in the kimono that sends the data to your smartphone.

This is something that would definitely be nice for parents who want to go out together for a night or are traveling and baby has to stay home with a nanny or babysitter.  In my opinion, it may be a little much, but the product got great customer reviews.

For more information, visit the Mimo Smart Baby Monitor official page.
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Star Trek characters waterfall

Are We On the Brink of a Scientific Breakthrough with Human Teleportation?

"Beam me up, Scotty!"  A phrase that can be taken literally in the near future?  Dutch scientists have unlocked the secret to the sci-fi phenomenon of human teleportation, or so it seems.

The Irish Times reports that a team led by Professor Ronald Hanson of Delft University conducted a demonstration where encoded information was transformed into sub-atomic particles and teleported between two points with 100 percent accuracy for the first time ever!  Hanson states:

"If you believe we are nothing more than a collection of atoms strung together in a particular way, then in principle it should be possible to teleport ourselves from one place to another.  In practice, it's extremely unlikely, but to say it can never work is very dangerous.  I would not rule it out because there's no fundamental law of physics preventing it."

A future experiment will include teleportation from one building to another, over 4,000 feet away.

The last attempt to teleport information was conducted in Maryland in 2009 and had a success rate of only once every 100 million tries.
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Google contact lens

Google invents smart contact lens for glucose measurement in tears

Google has invented a new smart contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniature glucose sensor, a device that could potentially be incredibly useful for people with diabetes.  Prototypes are currently being tested to record readings once every second, with plans to research the ability of using the device to serve as an early warning signal.  Glucose levels in people with diabetes change so frequently, round-the-clock monitoring is required.  A device like this could be very useful and maybe even save lives.

Development continues and discussions with the FDA are currently being held, but Google confirms that there is still much work to be done before people can take advantage of this product.
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Tiny windmill over penny comparison

Tiny windmills could one day recharge mobile devices

This tiny windmill could one day charge a mobile device, according to electrical engineering profressor J.C. Chiao and research associate Smitha Rao at the University of Texas at Arlington.  The windmill is crafted using oragami techniques, folded into two-dimensionsial shapes, that measures at 1.8 millimeters in height and is constructed out of flexible nickel alloy.  The pair envisions smartphone cases embedded with hundreds of these windmills that could charge the phones when waved through the air or come in contact with wind of any kind.
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