Software consultant banned by Hilton for snake 'joke'

The joy of the impersonal world of digital is that it tempts you to be more yourself.

You're sitting there on your laptop and feel able to just write what's in your head.

Sadly, what's in your head is often the detritus of a twisted, troubled life, isn't it? Or it's merely humor from your 12-year-old days.

Please judge for yourself the tale of British software consultant Jason Payne. He was filling out an online booking form for the Hilton Hotel in Bastingstoke, England when he reached the question about whether he had pets.

Payne … Read more

Will Europe send robot snakes to Mars before Hollywood?

In our real, human world, we first learned to fly ourselves around our planet before advancing enough to fly robots made in our image (kind of) to explore Mars.

In the world of Hollywood, snakes on a plane have tangled with Samuel L. Jackson and terrorized numerous overacting extras, so it stands to reason that the next step is a Vin Diesel sci-fi flick about treacherous robot snakes on Mars.

But not so fast, say the real humans. Actual nonfictional European scientists are looking into developing robotic snakes that could be sent to Mars to work in tandem with a rover to explore places that are inaccessible to the rover.… Read more

Should every nuclear plant have snake robots?

We've all seen "Snakes on a Plane." OK, I haven't and don't plan to. But anyway, picture this: snake robots in a nuclear plant. Can you hear that Hollywood option in the pipe?

Yessir, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University are convinced that sending snake-like robots slithering through nuclear power plants is a good idea. They've even tested the concept at a plant in Austria and it may help inspectors.

With a video camera and an LED light on its head, the reptilian machine was able to wriggle into pipes, valves, and vessels, relaying footage that can be used to check for hazardous wear and damage in pipes that are contaminated and hard to access. … Read more

Huge mechanical snake brings Burning Man vibe to CES

LAS VEGAS--When you come to CES here, you expect to see computers and TVs galore. Mobile phones, sure. Printer and speakers? Check. But a 50-foot-long mechanical snake?

Though we're in an arid, desert-like Nevada environment (never mind all the cement and golf courses), this isn't Burning Man. But sure enough, just behind the CNET trailer here, Titanoboa is strutting its stuff. And indeed, Titanoboa is a 50-foot mechanical snake.

Created by EatArt, the Vancouver arts collective, Titanoboa seeks to invoke the promise -- or the threat -- of global climate change, and the kinds of things we might start to see happen on this wonderful planet of ours. According to the Titanoboa project page: … Read more

Girl looks for cell signal, steps on rattlesnake nest

Sometimes, the little bars on your cell phone just aren't there.

It could be because you're somewhere remote and it doesn't pay for phone companies to put a tower there. It could be because you're somewhere remote and the locals believe a cell tower would blight their aesthetic pleasures.

Or you could be in the middle of San Francisco and have AT&T.

My guess is 16-year-old Vera Oliphant was probably in category one when she reportedly wandered around, trying to find a cell signal. She wanted to call her mom and text her boyfriend. … Read more

Play the Snake

With the era of the Gameboy over, Screen Snake is a game that brings that feeling back in a modern and original remake, right on the screen of a Mac computer running Snow Leopard or higher. While it won't help you with your productivity, its clean, intuitive interface will surely fill your time while you're waiting for an important email or the like.

Playing Screen Snake couldn't be easier: right after you launch the app, the snake will be available on the screen, as will its target, and it will crawl across until you press the Enter … Read more

The 404 1,121: Where we rock out with the pop out (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- The POTUS did an AMA on Reddit yesterday, and here are the Web site's stats.

- Metal Gear Solid movie heads into production, will be produced by Avi Arad.

- Google begins reminding users of friends' birthdays.… Read more

For Shelby, 50 years of blowing other cars' doors off

LAS VEGAS, Nev.--It may be the most valuable American car ever made. Sitting inside what looks from the outside mostly like a non-descript suburban warehouse, the vehicle fills a lot of people with lust.

Still a striking and shiny blue, the 1962 Shelby Cobra 427 is the very first of its kind. And it is such an important entry in the pantheon of American muscle cars that someone recently offered $25 million for it.

Welcome to Shelby American, a company whose rare cars are built to blow by just about any competition, yet are designed to be everyday drivable … 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

Gadgettes Podcast 86: The Body Episode (a FLASHBACK episode!)

There will be no episode of Gadgettes this week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US. So, have a listen to a classic episode from the Gadgettes archive. Remember to read this entire blog post in your own "hot breath" voice for the full effect. Go ahead. You know you want to. Enjoy!

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 86

Robotic snake surgeon tinkers with your heart via your mouth

Power Shirt charges gadgets as you walk

Ergoskin: Underwear that makes you sit up straight

Remember Ring (Thanks, David!)

The Body-laptop interface is knitted from Thneed which nobody, Nobody, NOBODY needs

3D Tattoo is like a secret between you and people with funny glasses

Giant mouth exhibit is just one stop on a gross, informative journeyRead more