Sexy beasts: Why 'monster porn' needs love too

It's easy to mock book titles like "Boffing Bigfoot," "Taken by the Tentacle Monsters," and "Sex With My Husband's Anatomically Correct Robot," but there's a growing market for erotic fiction by amateur writers that involves something a bit more unusual than an oversexed pirate or kilted warrior.

If romance e-books with sexy Yeti, mermen, Cthulhu, and aliens fill your tablet or e-reader and send your heart racing, the increasingly popularity of books featuring non-human love interests will come as no surprise. However, many may have been introduced to so-called monster porn for the first time thanks to a recent Business Insider piece on e-book retailers cracking down on this literary genre that's gaining a wide following online. One of the titles in question, "Moan For Bigfoot" by Virginia Wade, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

As a lifelong geek and hard-core fan of horror and fantasy books, I totally get the appeal. Let's face it -- an affair with a rich sultan or a fascinating count probably isn't going to happen in real life, so why not read about a flirty fling with a centaur instead? … Read more

Turn off vampire gadgets with your smartphone

If you're cranking your AC to beat the heat, you probably don't care too much about standby, or vampire, power. That's the juice electronics suck when they're off or in standby mode.

While it's slight, it adds up to huge national figures. Household modems and routers in nearly 90 million U.S. homes, for instance, are estimated to eat up about $1 billion in electricity annually as they're idling.

That's why smart home appliances like Valta make sense. It's a Canadian concept for an energy management system that's sensitive enough to show when devices aren't in use to cut electricity waste. … Read more

The 404 1,201: Where REL comes out of the dungeon (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Google Glass to use bone conduction instead of traditional headphones.

- Google searches expose racial bias, says study of names.

- Vampire Weekend announces new album details in the NY Times Classifieds section.… Read more

Creepy realistic vampire baby dolls are immortal

Thanks to "Twilight," vampires are more popular than ever. It's only natural that people would want their own vampire babies, isn't it? OK, maybe not, but there is a niche market out there for vampire baby dolls. I'm not talking about action figures or stuffed toys, I'm talking about dolls so realistic you'll feel like you've crossed the Uncanny Valley and emerged from the other side.

Artist Bean Shanine runs the Twisted Bean Stalk Nursery, a site devoted to her unholy baby creations. She takes Reborn doll kits and transforms them into monstrosities. Reborns are incredibly realistic, making Shanine's transformations all the more creepy.… Read more

Charger helps solve vampire power problem (video)

Who hasn't left their various mobile devices plugged in long after they're fully charged?

A new product -- still a prototype but expected to go on sale soon -- aims to solve the problem of so-called vampire power. Plug your device into the Mushroom GreenZero charger, and when your device is fully charged, the charger will turn off automatically. SmartPlanet's Sumi Das takes a closer look at the handy device.

This video originally appeared on SmartPlanet with the headline "Charging devices eliminate vampire power."

More SmartPlanet links

Cleverly designed bike lock takes water bottle shapeRead more

Crave 76: It's a trap! (podcast)

A special Valentine's Day episode of Crave featuring robots, champagne, littleBits circuit boards, and zombie chocolates. Plus, X-ray leggings, spider battle bots, hoverboards, Star Wars crafts, and a peek at the perfect date movie, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

Subscribe in iTunes SD VideoSubscribe in RSS SD VideoRead more

The 404 935: Where vampire power sucks (podcast)

Still don't have a Halloween costume? Check out Superpunch's list of downloadable masks--just print and cut them out, add a string or a Popsicle stick if you're extra lazy, and off you go. Happy Halloween!

Vampire power, also known as standby power, is a reference to some electronics sucking up juice even when they're turned off, but it also works for our ongoing Halloween show title theme! Check out this article on the Learning Thermostat to see what Nest Labs is doing to kill vampire power.

The iPhone Dev-Team is already close to finishing a preliminary jailbreak on the iPhone 4S that will eventually work with the iPad 2 as well, but what happened to good old analog piracy? As it happens, Activision Blizzard is knee-deep in pirates already circulating bootleg copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.… Read more

'True Blood' inspires bloodsucking V-Moda V-80 headphones

When it comes to fantasy shows on HBO right now, I'm more of a "Game of Thrones" kind of guy, but I've been hearing a lot of chatter about the new season of "True Blood" as well. As V-Moda continues to offer more personalized headphones, the company's latest addition to the lineup is a partnership with HBO to bring "True Blood" fans a special-edition V-80 on-ear headphone.

The hardware features dual "ear shield" covers that pop off and allow the user to customize the design to go along with favorite images from the show, including a night club, Fagtasia, and the Japanese symbols you see on the "Tru Blood" beverage. V-Moda goes a step further and even lets you choose your own blood type to laser etch onto the earpiece, bringing you that much closer to the action.

In terms of the headphones themselves, the V-80 model is V-Moda's lightweight mobile headphone that features dual 40mm drivers and an extra bass push without the hassle of popping in extra batteries (looking at you, Monster). Other accolades for the V-80 include a Kevlar-wrapped cable, integrated remote control and microphone, and a "True Blood" exclusive "exoskeleton" protective case with a blood vial zipper.

The True Blood V-80 headphones are available now at the HBO online store and other online retailers for $230.

More pictures of the True Blood V-80s after the break.… Read more

Freescale chip chops vampire draw to zero

Chipmaker Freescale has designed a USB charger that knows when to stop working.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Freescale will announce availability of Watt Saver, a system that eliminates the "vampire" power draw of wall chargers for mobile phones and other small electronics.

Even when wall chargers are no longer plugged into phones, the chargers still draw a small trickle of electricity, ranging from less than a watt for efficient chargers to over 5 watts. The Freescale system can detect when a phone's battery is full or when it's been unplugged … Read more

Researchers attack transistors to slay vampire power

The European Union is sponsoring a multimillion-dollar research project to boost the efficiency of everyday electronics and choke the constant flow of wasted energy from their chips.

The three-year effort, called Project Steeper, promises to result in gadgets that operate 10 times longer on a battery charge and don't lose energy to standby--or vampire--power, researchers say. Although there are many different ways to improve efficiency in computing, the focus of this work is on the basic building block of all electronics, the transistor.

Everything from TVs to cell phone chargers draws a small current even when they are not … Read more