GLaDOS from Portal explains nuclear fusion for NASA

This is the best thing. The best. Imagine if GLaDOS from Portal had amnesia and went to work for NASA with a pair of...well, idiots, and this is what you might get.

The video was created as part of NASA's educational outreach program at the Spitzer Space Telescope, which focuses on STEM education.… Read more

For science: The ultimate Portal bedroom

Some videogame worlds are just incredible. From Hyrule to Columbia, from the instant you set (virtual) foot inside, you'd be happy to stay there forever.

Although the Aperture Science laboratories aren't necessarily on the same scale, the world and backstory of Portal are rich, and the character of Chell so full of possibility and strength, that we couldn't blame anyone for wanting to spend more time there.

Especially a fan who goes by the Reddit handle BlondeChell. After acquiring her own home where she could do whatever she liked, her penchant for interior decorating and Portal led her to create her very own Portal-themed room. … Read more

Facebook tests a new ad strategy

CNET Update is watching where you click:

Update highlights Facebook's Plan B for advertising in the News Feed. Instead of just showing you sponsored stories based on your profile, Facebook is tracking your Web browsing habits to serve targeted ads in the News Feed. If not done right, this can turn away users who are already uneasy over privacy.

Also in the tech news roundup:

- Spring cleaning could earn you a couple bucks -- that is, if you live in an area participating in eBay's "Sell it Forward" program. eBay is working with Goodwill to … Read more

Surface 'good' for PC ecosystem, says Microsoft CFO

Microsoft is now a hardware leader, according to the company's chief financial officer.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference today, CFO Peter Klein characterized Microsoft as a mentor of sorts for the rest of the PC industry.

"There are always things we can do like the Surface that's good for the ecosystem, good for customers," he said, responding to a question about vertical integration.

The "ecosystem" is essentially code for the PC industry, while "vertical integration" implies doing both the software and the hardware -- which Apple has been … Read more

Surface Pro as a gaming rig? It's ready and able

Microsoft's new Intel-powered tablet isn't being advertised as a gaming platform, but maybe it should.

The Surface Pro handles Diablo III and Portal 2 at near-maximum settings, according to a post by Jason Evangelho at Forbes.com.

Gamers "represent an important -- and arguably sizable -- potential demographic for Microsoft. As the company knows from its wildly successful Xbox platform," he wrote.

At the moment, Microsoft is marketing Surface as a business tool, with no mention of its gaming chops.

The closest it gets is ad copy about Intel's laptop-class Core i5 processor and the … Read more

The 404 1,205: Where we paint by numbers (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Hacker exposes George Bush's family photos, portraits.

Wait, so PS4 won't have better graphics?

- J.J. Abrams may direct a Portal and/or Half-Life movie!

- Snow panic has driven Weather.com completely insane.

- Patent troll says he owns "podcasting," sues Adam Corolla, HowStuffWorks.… Read more

One way to tackle captive network connection errors in OS X

When you connect your Mac to a network, if you receive a proper configuration such as an IP address and DNS servers from your router then you should be able to use Mail, Safari, and other networking client programs to access various services either on the local network or through the Internet. However, sometimes it can happen that despite a seemingly healthy connection you aren't able to access Web pages and e-mail.

Recently MacFixIt reader Tom ran into such a situation with a university network:

We have a MacBook Pro mid-2012 release running 10.8.2. The computer is … Read more

Watch: Jonathan Coulton, nerd-folk rock star

Valve Software's 2007 video game Portal was an instant classic that immediately won fans over with its unique, physics-based challenges, innovative portal gun, and sharp comedy. But beyond the dark humor and diabolical puzzles was a hidden gem for players able to make it to the end: a witty and humorous song called "Still Alive."

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton was the man behind the infectiously catchy Easter egg song. But in an interview with CBS News, JoCo -- as he's known to fans -- showed why he's more than a one-hit wonder. … Read more

Portal goes steampunk with gorgeous gun replica

The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, better known as the Portal gun, has been lovingly re-created in the real world by many fans.

Sculptor Duncan Shirah has taken a slightly different approach to his Portal gun. The sleek, modern trappings are stripped away and we're left with an incredible steampunky gun full of polished wood, glass, and brass accoutrements.

This is what would happen if Portal collided with "Wild Wild West." The only question is what would happen if the device actually worked. Would you leave your test chamber and end up in Sherlock Holmes' sitting room?… Read more

The 404 at Comic-Con, Day 1: The quest for the costume

The truest of believers spend months cutting, sewing, and taping together the perfect custom costume for Comic-Con in San Diego, and the opportunity to flex our geek cred is too tempting to resist, so The 404 hits the floor on the first day to talk with a handful of our favorite cosplayers.

Along the way, we'll poke around shops with costumes for sale and ask for recommendations on which duo would suit us best: Jay and Silent Bob? Wayne and Garth? Thor and Loki? OK, I just want to wear a blonde wig. Join us for a tour of … Read more