Scientists dissect the weather in 'Game of Thrones'

In the fictional "Game of Thrones" world of Westeros, only one thing seems more inevitable than the show's unending wanton violence and each of the story's heroes meeting an untimely death: winter is coming.

Fans of the HBO show based on George R.R. Martin's novels will know that the problem for the various Westorosi clans is that exactly when winter will arrive and how long it will last is anyone's guess. Summer in the fantasy world may last for years, but when winter sets in -- and there's no apparent way to predict when that will happen -- it can last for generations.

Now, at last, science is stepping in to aid fans and Ravens alike by positing an explanation for why all efforts to adopt an effective system of fictional meteorological forecasting seem so hopeless. A group of graduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University have published a research paper (PDF) suggesting that the most likely cause of the unpredictable weather in Westeros is that the world is orbiting not one, but two stars.… Read more

Girl's winning Google Doodle shows her dad home from war

A picture depicting a girl's reunion with her father returning from war has won the top award in a Google Doodle contest.

On display Thursday at Google's home page, "Coming Home" is a simple but powerful piece of art that portrays a young girl holding an American flag and running to reunite with her father. The returning soldier appears. They exchange a glance. And finally they fall into a deep embrace as they treasure their moment together again.

Created by 12th grader Sabrina Brady of Sparta, Wisc., "Coming Home" faced great competition in being crowned the 2013 U.S. Doodle 4 Google national winner. Google received more than 130,000 submissions for the contest, which garnered millions of votes. But in the end, Sabrina's drawing clearly moved the voters.… Read more

Top 15 movies not out on Blu-ray

A couple of years ago, we had 40 movies on this list. But as new releases have arrived, we've gradually pruned the list, and today we're down to a mere 15 top movies that aren't out yet on Blu-ray.

Yes, there are several other great movies that still haven't gotten the Blu-ray treatment. But like I say with the top 40 must-have Blu-rays list, feel free to express your opinions, and if you have a legitimate case, I'll update the list with new picks.

For the latest round we've dropped "The Sting" and "Chariots of Fire," and several other movies, including "Jaws," "Titanic," and the "Indiana Jones Trilogy," are due to come off the list in the coming months because they're already available for preorder, so stay tuned for a big revamp of the list this fall.

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Rumor Has It, Ep. 16: Whew! iPad 3 is coming! (podcast)

Rumor Has It gets the dubious honor of being the last show live on the CNET main stage of CES 2012, and we use it to cry, "The iPad 3 is coming! The iPad 3 is coming!"

After spending seven full days in the city of sin, covering a bazillion and two live blogs, running around the show floor looking for pretty objects, and editing the glut of content CNET produced from CES, we somehow slap on our fancy pants, shellac on some lipstick, and make this show happen.

This show is a record-breaker for many reasons; first … Read more

Audio trends for the new year

As an audiophile, I value sound quality, but most audio buyers don't. Even when superior sound is available for the same cost as a lower quality alternative, most buyers will opt for the smaller, more convenient, more attractive, or more feature-laden product.

Case in point, the $399 Pioneer SP-PK21BS home theater speaker package. It's the best sounding home theater speaker/subwoofer system you can buy for that price, but it's also the biggest system you can get for that much money. How big is it? The SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers are 12.6 inches high, 7.2 inches … Read more

10 most-anticipated upcoming tech products

At the start of the year, I did a little roundup of the 12 most-anticipated tech products of 2011. Well, the year's more than half over and many of those products have come out already.

We had the BlackBerry Playbook, Nintendo 3DS, Chrome OS notebooks, Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, and iPad 2, to name some of the high-profile launches we've seen in 2011. So what's left?

Some good stuff--and even a few items beyond the obvious Apple gear. Have a look and as always, if you think we missed any potential items, feel free to suggest them … Read more

Five questions about iPad HD

If you haven't heard already, there's this rumor going around about a so-called higher-end iPad HD with a 9.7-inch 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution display that's coming this fall and will be geared toward "pro" users. The site This Is My Next started the rumor, citing an anonymous source, and then Taiwan's DigiTimes mentioned something recently about Apple launching an iPad 3 this fall, and the rumor mill belched again.

Fine. Rumors are rumors and everybody loves a little Apple titillation. But let's sit down and hash this one out a bit. Here … Read more

iPod Classic to get update--or be killed?

The site AppleBitch has an interesting tidbit on the status of the iPod Classic, as supplies appear to be dwindling at various retailers. Target and J&R don't seem to have any in stock and Amazon, which has the 160GB Classic on sale at $229.99 (best deal), lists shipping times at "two to four weeks."

The initial speculation is that Apple might be on the verge of updating the Classic now that Toshiba has recently updated its 1.8-inch iPod-size hard drives to 220GB. The Classic was last updated in September of 2009 and never … Read more

Barnes & Noble discontinuing 3G Nook?

We're not sure quite what to make of this rumor, but Engadget is reporting that Barnes & Noble is phasing out the Nook 3G.

Engadget doesn't cite a specific person or anonymous source, but says it, "Received hard evidence from within B&N that the Nook is being discontinued, with sales to seemingly continue until stock is exhausted." The "outfit" (we assume that means Barnes & Noble) is apparently "encouraging retail partners to not send out any 'bulk requests' for the Nook 3G, as there simply 'will not be sufficient quantities to fulfill those orders.'"

The article then goes on to say that "the company never actually received a huge amount of Nook 3G bulk orders to begin with, so maybe Wi-Fi really is everywhere these days."

As we said, it's a little hard to decipher what this means, but we should point out that Engadget's story about the Nook Color getting an update to Android 2.2 and possibly blowing up if you rooted it (installed custom Android firmware) ended up being just a tad off base. However, this latest story was written by veteran Engadget reporter Darren Murph, so we're taking it more seriously.

One thing worth pointing out is that it would seem odd for Barnes & Noble to discontinue the 3G/Wi-Fi version of the Nook and tell customers they could only get the Wi-Fi-only version.… Read more

Steve Jobs takes health leave

Links from Tuesday's episode of Loaded:

Apple announces that Steve Jobs will take a medical leave of absence

Nokia ends its Comes With Music service in 27 countries

GoDaddy is ready to sex up its Superbowl Ads with a campaign to promote .co addresses

Groupon is in talks to partner with Chinese Internet giant Tencent

BlackBerry users in Indonesia can no longer access porn sites from the browser

Netflix upsets customers with a change to its service