Restaurant offers 50 percent discount for turning off phone

Look your lover in the face. Tell him or her why they're the best, most gorgeous, most intelligent, inspiring person you've ever met.

Then dig into your mackerel or your malloreddus.

That's how a romantic meal should go. Instead, these days, the obligatory phones lie on the table like needy puppies. Within moments, the lovers' eyes are buried in them, as if this were a table for one.

One restaurateur in Israel has decided that, rather than ban cell phones, he will offer an incentive so great that it makes your average Black Friday bargain seem like … Read more

Bacteria-sniffing wand could help prevent foodborne illnesses

I've only suffered through a bad bout of food poisoning once, and, without going into details, I spent one evening of my life knowing I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. Apparently I'm lucky, since one in six Americans (or 48 million people) get foodborne illnesses every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And of the 128,000 who end up hospitalized, 3,000 die.

While 3,000 is a tiny fraction of the 48 million who get sick, better sensors and sensing systems could reduce that number even further. So doctoral … Read more

The 404 1,364: Where we DM til the PM (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Watch Dogs delayed to spring 2014.

- Teenage girls discussing body issues on YouTube: "Am I pretty or ugly?"

- I didn't want to talk about this, but Rebecca Black's producer dug up new "talent".

- Is this the worst T-shirt Abercrombie has ever sold?

- Twitter Direct Messages might soon be easier to send.

- Google reportedly set to unveil its own smartwatch.… Read more

Google wants to patent splitting the restaurant bill

It's easy to forget sometimes, but Google exists to make you happy.

In the pecking order, you do come slightly behind its own engineers, for whom many of its products are truly designed. But you're still in the company's thoughts somewhere.

Clearly, though, some of its engineers (and, by extrapolation, Google assumes you too) have been having difficulties in restaurants.

It's not so much that they've been leaving phone prototypes in them. It's that they've been going out for group dinners and then one or two Googlies have guzzled beyond the norm, leaving … Read more

Olive Garden offers tapas for texters

I don't always get emotional. But when I do, I don't drink Dos Equis, I try to express my emotions in as measured a way as I can.

However, I am currently struggling to contain myself at news that is contained in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Olive Garden is offering tapas.

This information may or may not move you. It may leave you entirely indifferent. It may, however, make you wonder why I am mentioning this in Technically Incorrect.

I can explain. Although, not with complete equilibrium.

You see, Olive Garden is struggling a touch. It feels it ought to … Read more

The 404 1,328: Where Ballmer bids bye-bye to developers developers developers (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months.

- Update: Homeless guy accepted the NYC programmer's offer to learn how to code.

- "Boyfriend Tracker" app raises stir in Brazil.

- Whole Foods debases itself with social-media flash sales.

- Whole Foods has a record store now. Oh no?

- Whole Foods hack: Employees can give you free stuff at their discretion.

- The sleep-texting epidemic.… Read more

The 404 1,324: Where we get a case of the McMondays (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- CNET update: Disney Infinity goes mobile with apps, featuring Justin Yu!

- Pictures of fast food, captured using a flatbed scanner. It's a lot like Scanwiches, but way more gross.

- McDonalds expands McLobster to Canada.

- Researcher posts Facebook bug report to Mark Zuckerberg's wall.

- Get a monthly mystery care package for nerds.

- 404 listener Mark e-mailed us to show off these floppy disk transport sleeves at his local dollar store!

- Will from Atlanta sent us a picture of his Jim Lee Batman and Superman tattoos! Roscoe also send one over of his name written in Aurebesh, a theatrical language created for Star Wars.… Read more

Spam-fried noodles on Mars?

Many questions surround the possibility of a manned mission to Mars, but perhaps the most fundamental comes down to something everyone faces daily: what to eat? Well, how about Cajun jambalaya, Moroccan beef tangine, no-crust quiche muffins, Crater Crunch bars, and fried noodles? Those were just a few of the dishes researchers noshed during a four-month Mars-mission simulation study.

The NASA-funded study into potential food options for a mission to Mars is wrapping up Tuesday. During four months in a barren lava field on the northern slope of Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano, six researchers dined on a variety of dehydrated and freeze-dried produce and meats, including jambalaya made with Spam.

The goal of the study, led by Cornell University and the University of Hawaii, was to expand current outer-space dining options so astronauts on a Mars mission could avoid malnourishment and food boredom. … Read more

Yum! Tuck into this 12-course meal in a can

Astronauts used to have it really bad when it came to orbital dining options. Freeze-dried powders and cube food made for pretty depressing fare.

Now they have everything from fresh fruit to scrambled eggs. But what they really need is this 12-course meal in a can.

British design student Christopher Godfrey doesn't seem to have been thinking of spacefaring diners when he conceived All in One, a layered gourmet feast in a can. Doubtless the container would be unsuitable for space, but think of the gross-out fun you could have with this in zero-g. … Read more

High-tech ice cream is nerdalicious

Walk into San Francisco's Smitten ice cream shop and you won't be able to peruse freezers with tubs of ice cream or sample a flavor. It's not because Smitten doesn't want you to try its strawberry white balsamic, sweet corn with summer berries or honey nectarine flavors, but because Smitten whips up each ice cream scoop made to order from scratch.

The ice cream is made with fresh ingredients in just 60 seconds in a machine called the Brrr, which uses liquid nitrogen to drop the temperature to negative 321 degrees Fahrenheit. (And if you can … Read more