Adorkable 'Star Wars' statues from best-selling kids books

Nothing is cuter than a little-girl version of Princess Leia lovingly hugging Darth Vader's leg after cutting out hearts from his cape. Then again, a young Luke Skywalker giving Darth Vader a tie is pretty adorable too.

"Star Wars" fans will be able to buy these statues, available from Gentle Giant Studios, depicting precious scenes from author and artist Jeffrey Brown's best-selling kids books "Darth Vader and Son" and "Vader's Little Princess." … Read more

3D Systems' Gentle Giant buy: More toys for you?

Start stockpiling those Bitcoins, toy enthusiasts! It appears that since 3D Systems acquired Gentle Giant Studios, it plans to make more products from franchises including Marvel, "Star Wars," Disney, "The Walking Dead," and "Harry Potter," to name a few.

According to the 3D Systems press release: "3DS plans to immediately leverage Gentle Giant Studios technology and vast library of digital content into its consumer platform and extend its existing brand relationships to further the reach of 3D scanning, modeling and printing for entertainment, toys, collectibles, action figures in conjunction with numerous blockbuster films, and evergreen licensed properties." … Read more

National Zoo's panda cam falls victim to government shutdown

The cutest victims of the government shutdown may well be the giant pandas at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC. Don't worry, the actual fuzzsters are just fine. It's our vicarious enjoyment of them that has taken a blow. The live panda cam has gone dark until Congress can sort out its budget issues.

The panda cam has been a great pick-me-up at any time, but especially so now that mama panda Mei Xiang has a cute little cub on display. The baby was born on August 23. Cam-watchers have seen it grow from a nearly hairless little stub of a cutebug into a pint-sized critter with all the right panda markings.… Read more

Review: Giant Square is a unique take on frame creation for social media sharing

Giant Square, at first glance, looks like yet another collage and photo framing app for iOS devices, but it has a lot more going on under the hood than you'd expect. While the app has issues, namely in the interface and speed in loading images, the number of options you have for creating your new framed photos and the way it matches those options to different social networks is very well done.

You don't need to connect any of your accounts when first setting up Giant Square. At any time, you can certainly connect Facebook or Instagram to … Read more

Review: Cloud Giant offers secure file upload and a ton of cloud storage space

Cloud Giant lacks a lot of features and has some performance issues, but 25GB of storage is a nice perk. Since it's dirt cheap to buy even more, this could become your favorite cloud-storage solution. It's probably not reliable enough for business use, but it will work just fine as a stash box for your personal files.

During installation, this program set off anti-virus alerts for a "suspicious download." However, there was no malware to be found. Since the program had its own installation wizard, the setup was straightforward and quick. To register, all you need … Read more

Is 'Pacific Rim' a retelling of Japanese anime 'Evangelion'?

The scene: Tokyo lies in ruins. A child is alone in the wreckage and terrified as a colossal monster approaches. The creature's on an unstoppable rampage and the kid's fate looks sealed. Until a savior steps in at the last moment.

Fast forward: The kid is introduced to an international military program that builds giant robotic machines to fight marauding alien monsters. But the machines must be piloted by people with special neurological abilities. Naturally the kid has this power, and is chosen to mount humanity's last defense against the invasion.

If you saw "Pacific Rim" over the weekend, you know this story. But it feels very familiar if you've also seen "Neon Genesis Evangelion," the blockbuster 1995-1996 anime series that redefined the giant robot sci-fi genre in Japan. What does Guillermo del Toro's big budget sci-fi slugfest owe to that franchise? … Read more

The 404 1,113: Where there's a ghost in the wires (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Restaurant offers a 5 percent discount to eat without your phone.

- China is building an army of noodle-making robots.

- Melky Cabrera (SF Giants) created a fake Web site to explain failing drug tests.

- Infrared palm scanners at elementary school are the Mark of the Beast.

- Teenager uses fake ID with picture of Bobby Hill to buy alcohol at six different shops.… Read more

Exclusively for CNET Members: Get a Panda Pal Speaker System and help save the giant panda

Did you know that Pandas International estimates there are fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living today? This week CNET Exclusives is pairing up with Accessory Power and asking our audience to shop to help the endangered Giant Panda. Accessory Power is hooking up the CNET audience with its GOgroove Panda Pal High-Powered Portable Mini Speaker System. The company has not only passed on a terrific deal ($16.99 with free shipping), it's also generously donating 5 percent of Panda Pal's net profits to Pandas International's Bamboo Project. Pandas International, a nonprofit organization, is working to help … Read more

The 404 987: Where we get nailed for intentional grounding (podcast)

Twitter reports that football fans sent roughly 10,000 tweets in the final 3 minutes of last night's game, but that wasn't enough to overthrow the all-time record for tweets per second.

Guess which film roped in 25,088 tweets per second last December? Hint: it wasn't made in America.… Read more

Obama supporters pick Patriots, GOPers go for Giants?

Super Bowl Sunday offers no respite from partisan bickering in this presidential election year.

A Silicon Valley startup found a strong overlap between how people feel about who will win today's big game and who they'd like to see win the presidential election in the fall.

Mountain View-based Saygent conducted a survey asking 205 people for their Super Bowl predictions and then did a bit of data crunching using its voice response and analysis platform. Saygent's algorithm looked at the way people talked about the teams and the game ("by analyzing the way people talk about the game we can infer who is actually knowledgeable and who is taking a stab in the dark," the company says).

Saygent then filtered out "people with very low trust or a strong bias" to come up with a prediction from its "trusted crowd" of 90. The result? the New England Patriots by three points.

That's almost identical to the official line, which had the Pats by 2.5 points at last check, and is--frankly--not that interesting.

But Saygent, in what it admits is not an exact science, also asked people in the same survey who they planned to vote for for president. When it took a look at those political preferences, it revealed quite a rift:… Read more