How Much Would It Cost to Build the Death Star from Star Wars?

How Much Would It Cost to Build the Death Star from Star Wars?

Let’s say you’re an evil Imperial overlord in the Star Wars universe, and you want to keep the rebels in line. You should build something they fear, say, a Death Star. How much will advancing your evil plans set you back? Short answer: it’s more expensive than you can possibly imagine.

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Space Is Dirty, and the Swiss Are Cleaning It Up

Space Is Dirty, and the Swiss Are Cleaning It Up

Space is a dirty place. Over 16,000 pieces of debris over 10 cm wide have been left behind since Sputnik took to the skies in 1957. And now the Swiss want to do something about it. Scientists with the Swiss Space Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, are developing a “janitor” satellite, known as CleanSpace One, to make space tidier.

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The Computer That Helped Defeat the Nazis Needs Your Aid

The Computer That Helped Defeat the Nazis Needs Your Aid

During World War II, the Nazis used complex codes to obfuscate commands, and cracking those codes was one of the keys to the Allies’ success. This codebreaking was accomplished in part by Colossus, the world’s first digital, programmable computer. The National Museum of Computing (NMOC) in Bletchley Park, England, says that Colossus “shortened the war by two years and…saved countless thousands of lives.” Now it’s time for us to help Colossus, or rather, the NMOC.

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UK Denies Alan Turing Posthumous Pardon For Homosexuality

UK Denies Alan Turing Posthumous Pardon For Homosexuality

Recently, over 23,000 people signed an online petition to ask the UK government to pardon Alan Turing for homosexuality, considered the crime of “gross indecency” by the Labouchere Amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Yesterday, the motion was dismissed by the House of Lords. Considering that Turing performed stellar and unique service to the British government during World War II, and his work provided much of the basis for the modern computer, this is unconscionable.

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Siri Fails to Understand Scottish Accent in Hilarious Video

Siri hates you if you’re Scottish. That’s one possible explanation as to why the iPhone 4S digital assistant can’t understand a word the Scots are saying, as you can see in this hilarious video, below. (Warning: foul language.)

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Violinist responds to Nokia cellphone interruption

Violinist responds to Nokia cellphone interruption

Cellphones are a fact of 21st century life, and if you’re a musician, you may have been interrupted by the strident sound of ringtones during a performance. But you probably haven’t handled it as entertainingly as Slovak musician Lukáš Kmit.

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A Look Inside SpaceX’s Reusable Spacecraft, Dragon

A Look Inside SpaceX’s Reusable Spacecraft, Dragon

On February 7, 2012, SpaceX, the private space transportation company, will be launching its reusable spacecraft, Dragon, to the International Space Station (ISS). Because you and I won’t be riding the Dragon just yet, I have the next best thing to being there: a panoramic view of its interior.

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Obituary: The Priceline Negotiator

Obituary: The Priceline Negotiator

The Priceline Negotiator, who showed his audience how to save up to 60% on name-your-own-price travel deals, recently died while rescuing a bus filled with potential customers. His last words were, “Save yourselves…some money.” He was 5 years old.

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Six QR Code Failures and Three QR Code Wins

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7 awesome bits of tech that just freakin’ disappeared

Recently, my husband and I were arguing about TiVos, and it’s not just because we like to argue. He says that our homegrown MythTV system is a customizable, open-source way to record television, and I say that I miss the chirpy little noise a TiVo remote control made when I fast-forwarded through the commercials. Then we paused to remember Tivo’s competitor, ReplayTV. What the heck happened to it?

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