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24
Apr

KFC plans to send its new Zinger sandwich into space for some reason


Why it matters to you

KFC hopes that a space trip for its Zinger will ultimatley lead to more sales of its new chicken sandwich.

If approaching aliens happened upon a KFC chicken sandwich floating around in near-Earth orbit, would their first taste of Earthling food send them scurrying back to where they came from, or prompt them to continue with their intergalactic mission in a bid to learn more about those mysterious multicellular organisms pottering about on the blue planet a few miles below?

KFC’s upcoming project, or “outlandish marketing stunt” to give it its proper description, will involve sending its brand new spicy Zinger sandwich — which launches in the U.S. on Monday — into space. Why? We have no idea.

The fast-food outfit has hired Hollywood actor Rob Lowe as the latest celebrity to play Colonel Sanders, the brand’s founder. Kitted out in a specially designed spacesuit based on the Colonel’s regular outfit, an ad released over the weekend has Sanders addressing the nation in an appearance that brings to mind Kennedy’s historic 1962 space speech, though it’s fair to say Kennedy made no reference whatsoever to fast food during his famous address.

“We choose not only to launch KFC’s new Zinger sandwich in a $5 fill-up here in America, but to take it to space,” Sanders tells a watching nation, adding, “Can you actually launch KFC’s wold-famous chicken Zinger sandwich into space? The answer is, ‘We certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on it.’”

Zinger challenge

“I have no idea how we’ll launch a chicken sandwich into space, but the marketing team thinks they can do it,” KFC’s U.S. president Kevin Hochman said in a release. “What I do know is the Zinger is the bestselling KFC chicken sandwich in 120 countries and it’s now available in America.”

The space stunt will possibly involve calling up Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, both of whom have been making regular space-bound trips using their reusable rocket systems. Or KFC could simply tie it to a weather balloon and send it skyward in the same way that these guys did with a meat pie last year.

Whatever the case, KFC promises to release more details of its stunt in the coming weeks with a view to making it a reality in June. Bet you can’t wait.




24
Apr

‘World’s first modular eye mask’ promises some serious shuteye


Why it matters to you

If you like the idea of eye masks for sleeping or resting but are yet to find one that works, then check out the Manta.

Eye masks can be tricky affairs. The challenge of maneuvering them into place to block out all traces of light can be enough to keep you awake at night, which, of course, rather defeats the whole idea. They can be uncomfortable, too, with your eyes feeling the pressure of the pads as you move around in search of a comfortable position.

The Manta Sleep Mask, described as the “world’s first modular eye mask for sleeping,” hopes to change all that.

And judging by the thousands of Kickstarter backers who together have so far offered more than 10 times the Manta’s funding target, there’s plenty of call for a decent mask that offers some serious shuteye or a meditative rest.

The key to the Manta’s design is its adjustability. Recognizing that traditional eye masks adopt a cumbersome one-size-fits-all approach, the Manta offers a personalized fit that allows you to move its cushioned eye contours into a position that feels comfortable for your eyes while completely blocking out all surrounding light.

For maximum comfort and a perfect fit, the Manta has been designed with soft, breathable cotton, and incorporates micro Velcro, anti-slip gel, and an elastic stretch band. The modular sections that cover your eyes have also been designed in a way that prevents pressure on your eyelids often experienced with conventional eye masks.

Seattle-based designer Mark Zhang said trials showed that the Manta works for “99 percent of all face shapes and gives you 100 percent blackout … Regardless of your ethnicity, age, gender, nose shape, or preferred sleeping position, Manta’s patent-pending adjustable modular eye contours create the perfect seal — because it’s specifically tailored to you.”

Bonus features include a pair of earplugs and a carrying pouch that doubles as a laundry mesh net so you can machine wash your the Manta without fear of damaging it.

With more than three weeks left to run, Manta’s Kickstarter campaign still has a handful of early-bird offers available, but you’ll have to be quick. Still, if you miss the $20 offer, or the $35-for-two deal, the Manta will only cost a little more — $30 — when it hits retail stores. Shipping is set to begin in August, 2017.

The only issue you’ll have with the Manta is that you might find it hard to pull yourself from your restful slumber. In that case, one of these cool alarm clocks might come in handy.




24
Apr

The ‘paper’ Papr Watch won’t get soggy in the rain


Why it matters to you

The stylish Papr Watch is a design worth considering if you’re looking for a simple timepiece that looks a little different.

If you’re still not convinced your wrist needs a smartwatch but you’d nevertheless like a time-telling tool for at-a-glance convenience, then a super-simple digital device with a twist may appeal.

Switzerland remains the watchmaking capital of the world but a startup in neighboring Germany is hoping to score success with an offbeat design the likes of which you’ve almost certainly never seen before.

As its name helpfully suggests, the Papr Watch looks and feels like paper but is actually extremely durable and so won’t tear within seconds of you wrapping it around your wrist. Because that’d make it really rather useless.

It’s made from Tyvek, a strong spunbonded olefin sheet product that’s much, much tougher than paper. Developed many years ago by DuPont, you’ve probably already worn a Tyvek band around your wrist at some point, perhaps at a festival or some such event.

It won’t get soggy

Equally important is Tyvek’s water resistance, so the Papr Watch won’t get soggy and drop off your wrist if you’re caught in the rain. Heck, you can even wear the device in the shower should you need to keep an eye on the time while you’re washing away the day’s dirt.

The digital watch face sits under the paper in the usual place but is clearly visible (that’s good), and the strap clicks firmly shut using magnets. And don’t worry about having to charge it every day — the Papr Watch uses a battery that’ll run for up to two years before it needs changing.

A bonus is the large number of available designs — 29 at launch — that include retro, geometric, black and white, and maritime styles, as well as several featuring various animals if you’d prefer something a little more zoological.

The Papr Watch has just broken through its Indiegogo funding target and already has more than 300 backers. Early-bird deals include your very own Papr Watch in exchange for a pledge of 28 euros (about $30), representing a 20 percent saving on the expected retail price.

Berlin-based Paprcuts, which has five years of experience making other accessories using the same material, aims to start shipping its unique watch worldwide in August, 2017.




24
Apr

Xiaomi’s Mi Robot vacuum finally has an English language pack


Xiaomi’s Mi Robot gets much-needed functionality with recent update.

One of the main drawbacks of Xiaomi’s Mi Robot vacuum cleaner was that the user interface was limited to Mandarin. The robot vacuum is sold exclusively in China, and those looking to import it had to rely on Google Translate to decipher the menu options. Thankfully, an update rolling out to the Mi Robot includes an English language pack, making it easier for you to see the vacuum’s options and set cleaning schedules.

xiaomi-mi-robot-review-3.jpg?itok=cyZzDi

You’ll be able to install the English language pack by navigating to the Mi Robot’s settings within the Mi Home app. Once in settings, head to Voice pack, and select the one that says English female voice at the bottom of the list.

xiaomi-mi-robot-vacuum.jpg?itok=_9oyup3f

Once you have the language pack installed, you’ll be able to see the options for cleaning and docking the robot vacuum, and you’ll be able to monitor the cleaning time and area covered while the vacuum is active. It’s certainly a nifty addition, and one that makes the Mi Robot much more useful outside of China.

Xiaomi Mi Robot review

For now, the Mi Robot is limited to China, but Xiaomi is likely to bring the vacuum cleaner to India at some point this year considering it demoed the product at various launch events over the last six months. If you’re looking to pick one up outside of Asia, you’ll have to resort to resellers like GearBest.

See at GearBest

24
Apr

LG G6 with Quad DAC and 64GB storage lands in India for ₹51,990


LG G6 comes with attractive pricing and a slew of launch-day offers.

The LG G6 is now official in India, with the phone set to go on sale starting tomorrow exclusively on Amazon India for ₹51,990 ($805). LG is obviously targeting the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with its flagship, and the pricing reflects that. The Indian variant of the G6 comes with a 32-bit Quad DAC and 64GB storage, and is ₹6,000 ($95) less than the Galaxy S8. When seen against the Galaxy S8+, which is retailing for ₹64,900 ($1,005), the G6 turns out to be an even better deal.

g6-review-12.jpg?itok=gJMQOZQg

After the debacle that was the LG G5, LG went back to the drawing board for the G6, and the result is a handset that is stunning. The G6 features a 5.7-inch QHD display with an 18:9 ratio and DolbyVision HDR certification, Snapdragon 821 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, microSD slot, Quad DAC, dual 13MP cameras at the back, 5MP front shooter, USB-C, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 3300mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.

In addition to the aggressive pricing, LG is incentivizing the launch of the G6 with several cashback offers. HDFC and SBI credit card holders buying the phone on Amazon India will be eligible for ₹10,000 in cash back, and those buying the phone from offline stores will receive up to ₹7,000 if they purchase the G6 before May 1. LG is also offering a 50% discount on the LG Tone Active+ HBS-A100 for those pre-ordering the device from its website or through offline retailers.

What do you guys think of the pricing for the LG G6? Anyone interested in picking one up?

See at LG India

LG G6

  • LG G6 review!
  • LG G6 specs
  • LG G6 vs. Google Pixel: The two best cameras right now
  • Everything you need to know about the G6’s cameras
  • LG forums

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24
Apr

Uber iPhone app close to being removed by Apple


Uber was on the brink on being barred by Apple and removed from the iOS app store. In 2105, it was discovered to be flouting Apple rules and guidelines, leading to a make-or-break meeting between company CEO Travis Kalanick and Apple boss Tim Cook.

The New York Times reports that Uber was found to be fingerprinting individual iPhones and tagging them on its systems, with the data remaining even after the Uber app was deleted devices had been erased and reinstalled.

Cook greeted Kalanick with the ominous words, “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules.” It lead to a threat to stop the practice or be removed from the Apple app store entirely.

Uber changed tack and prevented the overnight loss of millions of customers.

That doesn’t mean Uber doesn’t still fingerprint devices, however, it just does it within Apple’s privacy guidelines these days.

TechCrunch reports that the company fingerprints individual devices to ensure they are not tools used for fraudulent means: “This is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone – over and over again,” a company spokesperson told the site.

“Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognise known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”

Fingerprinting is not used to track users: “We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app.”

24
Apr

South Korean presidential candidate campaigns with ‘Starcraft’ maps


How should politicians connect with younger voters? How do you cut through the relentless waves of promises, speeches and the rest? If you’re South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, you take to Starcraft. Perhaps even more surprisingly, he’s actually a legitimate, tenable candidate who could well be the country’s next leader, according to recent polls. Moon Jae-in has launched two free maps on his campaign blog, a clever idea in a country that loves it some Starcraft.

He hasn’t gone to too much effort, though. As Kotaku explains, the map is merely an existing one, recast with a huge pile of all-important minerals that spell out “1 Moon Jae-In” in the middle. We’re assuming that the it’s meant to convey the prosperity that Jae-In believes he can bring to South Korean voters. Well, there’s never been a better time to get on that Starcraft hype train.

Source: Moon Jae In Camp (Korean)

24
Apr

A 3D-printed patch could help you recover from a heart attack


Scientists have dreamed of easily patching up heart tissue in the wake of heart attacks, but there are always gotchas: for example, it’s no mean feat to replicate the complex structures of real tissue. However, there may be a solution in sight. Researchers have produced a 3D-printed cell patch that can heal scarred heart tissue. The team used laser-based bioprinting to fit stem cells (based on adult human heart cells) to a matrix developed around a 3D scan of heart tissue’s native proteins. When those cells grew, the matrix not only replicated the structures of regular heart tissue (down to 1 micron) but started beating in sync. And the early results are very promising.

After the team tested its patch on a mouse, the rodent’s heart saw a “significant increase” in functional capacity in the space of 4 weeks. Moreover, it eventually absorbed into the heart — the team didn’t have to perform follow-up operations to make sure it was a good fit.

Naturally, a mouse heart is easier to fix than a much larger human heart. The researchers see this as just a matter of time, though. They believe that human-scale patches should be viable “within the next several years.” If so, recovering from a heart attack may just be a matter of implanting some custom-printed tissue and waiting for your health to improve.

Source: University of Minnesota, PubMed.gov

24
Apr

Most habitable planets may be completely covered in water


When you imagine what a rocky, habitable planet looks like, it’s easy to picture an alternate Earth where land and oceans exist in an ideal balance. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily how it will pan out in real life… in fact, you might be surprised if there’s land at all. University of Barcelona researcher Fergus Simpson has published a study suggesting that most planets with any significant amount of water are likely to be completely (or almost completely) submerged in it. He ran computer simulations accounting for numerous factors in a planet (such as the deep water cycle and erosion), and most with substantial water levels had an above-water land mass of less than 10 percent — well below Earth’s 29 percent.

Those planets that had less water tended to have much less, to the point where deserts dominated the landscape. Also, size plays a role. Larger habitable planets (including Earth) are more likely to be water worlds thanks to deeper oceans and stronger gravity, according to the calculations, while smaller ones are drier.

If reasonably accurate, the data points to Earth hitting a rare sweet spot, possibly due to unusually deep water basins. And that makes sense at first glance. Despite what Earth looks like, water only occupies a tiny amount of volume compared to the rest of the planet. It wouldn’t take much more to inundate the land, or much less to make it barren. You can see for yourself in the video below.

There is reason to be skeptical. Astrophysicist Sean Raymond warns Gizmodo that there are still a number of unknowns that may play an important role in water levels, and recent models suggest that water delivery to planets is relatively “reliable” with fewer surges or shortfalls. However, Simpson is quick to add that his theory should be testable soon. Future instruments (likely including the James Webb Space Telescope) will have enough power to measure the atmospheric compositions of alien planets, giving a clue as to how much water there is on the surface. If nothing else, the study is a reminder that we shouldn’t assume a planet is human-friendly just because there’s plenty of H2O.

Via: Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo

Source: Royal Astronomical Society

24
Apr

The best mountain bikes you can buy


Mountain biking has boomed in recent years and as a result, manufacturers developed an increased number of specialized designs to appeal to this broad and nuanced market. With so many models to choose from, selecting your first mountain bike — or upgrading to a more sophisticated model — can be quite the inundating task.

From cornering ability to basic standover specifications, there are a slew of details to consider. While some downhill juggernauts may prefer a more advanced suspension system, the casual mountain biker or those new to the sport may only need a solid budget option for a weekend outing. That said, here are five of our favorite mountain bikes.

Our pick

Kona Precept 15o

Why should you buy this? The Precept 150 is a well-rounded mountain bike with one of the most sophisticated full-suspension systems we’ve seen in this pricing bracket.

Kona Precept 150

The Kona Precept 150 has been designed for an array of terrains with a top notch suspension system to boot.

$2,300.00 from Ride Online

Who it’s for? Individuals who want a versatile, comfortable mountain bike.

How much will it cost? $2,200

Why we chose the Kona Precept 150:

Kona is well known for their reactive, lightweight suspension systems and the Swinger Independent Suspension system on the Precept 150 is one of its best. Like its other suspension configurations, the Swinger arrangement uses a single-pivot design for maximum absorption and minimal weight. Rugged, wide pivots and large bearings withstand flexing better than daintier systems.

The Precept 150 comes with 27.5-inch wheels and a pair of not quite “fat” tapered head tubes. This unique tube design slightly flattens as the tire meets the trail for better contouring and traction. While longer chainstays increase stability at higher speeds, many riders — especially descent daredevils — often prefer shorter chainstays for their handling along corners. Fortunately, the Precept 150 has chainstays under 17-inches and with a bottom bracket height just over 13-inches, the Precept 150 looks and feels compact and low-profile.

The best hardtail

Norco Fluid 6.2HT+

Why should you buy this? It’s a classic, low-maintenance hardtail model.

Norco Fluid 6.2HT+

You will certainly feel every inch of the descent with the Norco Fluid 6.2HT+, nonetheless, this hardtail was designed for the climb.

$1,350.00 from Norco

Who it’s for? Individuals who like a smooth climb.

How much will it cost? $1,400

Why we chose the Norco Fluid 6.2HT+:

The “hardtail versus full-suspension” debate is one of the more polarizing arguments in mountain biking. Needless to say, you can’t have an extensive list of the cross-spectrum preferences without mentioning both models, and the Norco Fluid 6.2HT+ is one of our favorite hardtails.

While the real GoPro moments are almost always reserved for the descent, the critical ascent is just as important. With this in mind, the Norco Fluid 6.2HT+ uses a short stem and low rear-end, allowing you to virtually pounce uphill. But don’t worry, this baby plunges with the best of them. Short chainstays (17 inches), a rather sharp head angle (67.5 degrees), and super-wide — burgeoning on “fat” — 2.8-inch tires grip the trail, ramp up the cornering, and complement control on descents. If you’re a diehard-tailer, look no further.

The best power-assistance

Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6 Fattie

Why should you buy this? Because you should.

Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie

With an onboard motor and loaded with features, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6 Fattie is quite literally more than just a mountain bike.

$4,500.00 from Specialized

Who it’s for? The early adopters who like their mountain bikes like their Ferraris.

How much will it cost? $4,500

Why we chose the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6 Fattie:

What’s not to love — excerpt for the mouthful of a name — about the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6 Fattie? It’s part classic fat boy, part full-suspension, with intuitive motorized assistance. The Turbo Levo line of bikes all include a beast of a motor with up to 530 watts of power.

But this isn’t some push-button accelerator. Simply applying torque to the process (regardless of terrain) could easily result in a skid. On ascents or reckless, white-knuckled descents, a haphazard jolt of acceleration could quite literally steer you in the wrong direction. Fortunately, the Turbo Levo system uses a backend algorithm to sense your torque, speed, and cadence, then amplifies this sequence for maximum efficiency.

The bike uses a circular series of 10 lights along the frame to illustrate the battery life — each represents 10 percent of the total charge. In the center of this readout is a basic two-button interface allowing you to increase or decrease power. The Bluetooth-enabled system also connects to your smartphone via the Mission Control app. This allows you to finagle a range of motor dynamics from acceleration response to increasing turbo. Mission Control also tracks the metrics of your ride for those so inclined.

The Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6 Fattie isn’t a one-trick-pony, and the bike itself is a beefy (albeit lightweight) aluminum fat boy. The 18-inch chainstays keep your rear wheel close for the casual wheelie, while the 3-inch front and rear wheel tires add unparalleled traction. These tires increase the total surface friction but with the added Turbo Boost, the increased workload is easily accounted for and then some. Do you need a robo-bike? Absolutely not. Is it nice to the have the option to be partially chauffeured to the top of the trail? Yes. Yes, it is.

The best full-suspension

Kona Process 134DL

Why should you buy this? The Process 134DL has one of the most advanced full-suspension systems on the market.

Kona Process 134 DL

The Rocker Suspension system on the Kona Process 134DL flexes with the trailhead and saves your knees — even on a downhill tour de force.

$3,599.00 from Kona World

Who it’s for? Individuals looking to upgrade from their first full-suspension model to a higher-end cornering and pure descent monster.

How much will it cost? $3,600

Why we chose the Kona Process 134DL:

The patented Kona Rocker Independent Suspension is one of the best systems on the market. The actuated shock along the top tube uses a single-pivot design for superior absorption and durability. This minimal motion, designed with wide pivots and oversized bearings, holds up against inevitable bowing, adding a hefty dose of durability. The Process 134DL climbs efficiently enough to please the cross-country enthusiast, while the overall suspension and short chainstays (just under 17-inches on all models) keep the earth firmly and evenly beneath your feet — even on full-throttle descents.

Kona played it safe with 27.5-inch wheels but this, too, simply adds to the overall versatility. The Process 134DL achieves greater balance and control thanks to the incorporated tapered head tubes. The tube is wider at the head to more evenly absorb shock and more aptly grab the trail. Not just a safe bet, the Process 134DL is a jack-of-all-trades, more than capable of conquering the full gamut of terrains.

The best budget

Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29

Why should you buy this? Someone looking for more than a basic mountain bike without breaking the bank.

Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29

More than just a budget option, the Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 is one of the best mountain bikes we’ve seen under $900.

$850.00 from Specialized

Who it’s for? The casual or beginner mountain biker.

How much will it cost? $850

Why we chose the Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29:

For those keeping count at home, that’s not one but two hardtails on the list. If you’re in the market for your first mountain bike, or you’re a casual rider in need of a more than a nuts-and-bolts model, the Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 is a solid bet. The Rockhopper utilizes a classic minimalist hardtail design without coming across as wholly utilitarian. It is steady and firm on climbs, as are most hardtail designs.

While full-suspension packages keep you grounded and own the descent to a better degree, the bonus mechanical elements increase the price and propensity for extra wear and part replacement. Rather than perpetually upgrading components, this bike, priced under $900, should give you years of performance, so feel free to ride this baby quite literally into the ground.

On rougher trails, you’ll certainly feel every inch of the descent, and depending on your preference, that may or may not be a good thing. If you live for cornering or simply the love of the downhill grind, you’ll prefer one of the other full-suspension models on this list, however, the Rockhopper is certainly more than just a grocery-getter.

Other things to consider

Is now a good time to buy?

Now is definitely a great time to buy. Bike sales increase as the mountain biking season approaches. This often leaves consumers at the wrong end of the supply-and-demand spectrum.

Should I buy online or from a retailer/independent dealer?

This is a matter of preference. However, unlike online purchases, going with an independent dealer allows you to try and negotiate a lower price and/or haggle for bonus deal sweeteners such as accessories or basic upgrades.

Also, dealing with a retailer or an independent dealer allows you to see the bike in person and take it for a test-ride. While a bike may appear ideal on a website, it’s better to make sure the bike meets your height and reach requirements before making a purchase.




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