Lifestyle

The 404 1,450: Where we play by ear (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- That story of the marooned woman on a Hawaiian island getting saved thanks to Google Earth is totally fake.

- Chordify makes it easy to cover any song by transcribing sheet music from YouTube and Soundcloud links.

- Funk band games the Spotify system to fund upcoming nationwide tour.

- Virtual screaming babies squirm their way into teenage cellphones in new pregnancy campaign.… Read more

Restaurant uses parachutes, PayPal to deliver sandwiches

Waiters are so last century. These days, sushi is flown to your table via a quadcopter and beer is dropped out of the sky from an octocopter. Now, a new pop-up restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, has added another, albeit less high-tech, method of food delivery: sandwiches that parachute several stories down to customers waiting on the street.

The novel nosh drop is the brainchild of David McDonald and Adam Grant, who make the toasted sandwiches, called "jaffles," after people order and pay for them via PayPal on their Web site. The customers then stand on an "X" on the sidewalk and wait for their meal to drop down like mana from heaven. The locations change, and customers are kept up to date via Facebook. The company is fittingly called Jafflechutes.… Read more

World's largest TV, 'Big Hoss,' is as long as a jet

They say everything's bigger in Texas, and now they have the TV to prove it.

The "Big Hoss" TV was turned on for the first time in front of a live audience Wednesday night at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The screen, built by Panasonic, measures 218 feet wide by 94.6 feet tall. That means it's longer than Boeing's biggest 767 (the 400ER), and taller than a seven-story building. To put it in home electronics terms, it's a 2,852-inch TV. The display features 20,633.64 square feet of HD LED lights that broadcast 4.8 million pixels and 281 trillion colors.

The TV has a 140-degree viewing angle so it can be seen by people in a large swath of seats at the Speedway, and it takes a crew of five people to operate it from within the attached control room. The screen is also allegedly able to handle wind speeds of up to 120 mph, as well as impacts from projectiles like hail, something that was confirmed by workers hitting golf balls at the LEDs, according to ESPN. … Read more

The 404 1,449: Where we run for the border (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Cloak app helps you dodge awkward run-ins with frenemies.

- Taco Bell taps techies with burner phones to market new breakfast menu.

- Robots are creeping their way into newsrooms.

- A new gadget designed to sanitize your public transportation trip.… Read more

Voice is not enough: Motion is key to Android Wear

Google and Motorola rolled out their joint vision of Android Wear, the Moto 360, and the future of wearables on Tuesday. (LG also gave us a taste of its upcoming G Watch.) Based on the few videos and all the information released for developers, it appears that Google's wearable platform is a fancy port of Google Now "cards" and voice control in a pretty spiffy, new form factor.

While this is the focus of the developer preview out this week, don't be fooled. Android Wear will be much more than just some full-faced watches that respond to speech, taps, and swipes. For the past few years now, Google has been telegraphing that it is much more interested in how we ambulate our entire bodies, not just our index fingers and vocal cords. … Read more

Use Cloak to avoid social-network frenemies in real life

A new iPhone app called Cloak promises to help you keep your distance from contacts in your digital circle who you'd rather avoid in real life.

The application, which bills itself as an "antisocial network," is as simple as they come in that it has a single purpose: to alert you to the nearby whereabouts of flagged Instagram and Foursquare "friends."

The idea is to let you construct the opposite of a contact list, so that you know when your overly loquacious acquaintance Joe is inching dangerously close to your current location.… Read more

The 404 1,448: Where rich or poor, it's nice to have money (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Jill's appearance on CBS News: Is WhatsApp really worth $19 billion?

- Financial spring cleaning: what to keep, what to shred.

- Enter our GameSpot PS4 giveaway!

- Follow Aunt Jill on Twitter and check out her radio show, Jill on Money.… Read more

The 404 1,447: Where we put on our party hats (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Seven people around the world collectively possess a set of keys that can dismantle the Web.

- Turn your Instagram pics into real photos with the Lifeprint.

- Skirmos system levels up laser tag with open-source Arduino microcomputer.

- Almost time to panic: 95 percent of the ATMs in the world run on Windows XP.… Read more

Could selfies be pushing more Americans to plastic surgery?

Plastic surgeons say they're seeing more patients who want facial surgery, and they attribute the rise to social media and the growing "selfie" trend.

In response to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, one in three plastic surgeons reported seeing an increase in requests for facial procedures by patients who wanted to look better online. The doctors reported that between 2012 and 2013, they saw a 10 percent rise in nose jobs, a 7 percent rise in hair transplants, and a 6 percent rise in eyelid surgery. … Read more

Our doom will come sci-fi-style, NASA-funded study says

We've all seen movies depicting a dystopian future. Usually they envision a small group of elites living in sleekly designed homes wearing clean gray clothes, sipping pure water, and enjoying generally dust-free living while the rest of us schlubs reside in cardboard boxes beneath bridges. Now, a NASA-funded study is saying the collapse of civilization as we know it might not be all that different from what happens in movies like "Blade Runner," "Elysium," and "The Hunger Games."

The study, sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and first reported on in The Guardian, examined five key factors that led to the collapse of civilizations such the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty: population, climate, water, agriculture, and energy. It found that civilizations collapse when these factors coalesce in such a way that natural resources are stretched at the same time the gap between the rich (termed "Elites" in the study) and the poor (dubbed "Commoners") increases. Sound familiar? … Read more