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Science:

Astronomers Get First Images of Exoplanet Orbiting its Star

For the first time ever, astronomers have captured images of an exoplanet orbiting its star from one side of the star to the other. The orbit of the exoplanet is at about the same distance as that of Saturn to our Sun. After interpreting the data, scientists believe that this star system may have formed in the same way as our Solar Sytem.

The star, Beta Pictoris, is actually quite young, only about 12 million years old, which is relatively young in cosmic terms. Even though the star is less than three-thousandths of our Sun’s age, it is roughly 75% more massive. At 60 light-years away, Beta Pictoris is one of the best-known examples of another star, like our Sun, that is surrounded by a debris-filled disc.

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Lifestyle:

Stop-Motion Super Mario Made Out Of Post-Its

Here’s an awesome stop-motion Super Mario video made entirely out of post-it notes. The video was created by students in Japan for about 5,000 yen (around $55). They pretty much nailed all the actions from the game. The project took two weeks to put together for a school festival. Only thing missing? Bowser.

Oh, and if you’re into it, here’s another awesome video game hack.

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last update: April 23, 2014

Social:

Twitter Acquires Smallthought Systems

We recently wrote about Twitter’s acquisition CloudHopper, a software startup from Seattle. And now, it looks like Twitter is back on the acquisition front announcing today their purchase of Smallthought Systems. The merger will bring not only the database management, but also the analytics measurement in house.

Smallthought Systems will be bringing its database system, Dabble DB, and its widely used analytics platform, Trendly to Twitter.

Twitter had this to say:

When Smallthought launched Trendly, a tool that helps web sites distinguish signal from noise in their Google Analytics data, we were among the first to try it. And, as Twitter is the world’s largest Ruby on Rails-based web service, we are impressed with their frequent contributions to the Ruby and Smalltalk development communities. Their team has a unique combination of entrepreneurship, creativity, and analytics expertise.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we announce the acquisition of Smallthought Systems. They have joined our analytics team and will focus on integrating ideas from Trendly into our current tools and building innovative realtime products for our future commercial partners.

Gadgets:

USB Cufflinks Promote Style and Storage

We like buying things that solve more than one problem for us, like the iPhone, which is a phone, mp3 player, gaming console, and much more. Until now, cufflinks have just been cufflinks, but these Ravi Ratan cufflinks just changed the game by hiding a stylish 2GB USB drive in each one. So now, you can be stylish and smart, by carrying all your important files with you.

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Social:

Interactive Map Tells Where and Why Social Networks are Banned

There are many countries recently that have been banning various social networks for various reasons. I’m sure you heard about Facebook and Twitter being blocked in Pakistan because of all the Muhammad comic controversy a couple weeks ago. There is the banning of Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in China for obvious reasons (per their government).

What about the less obvious ones like MySpace at all Apple stores in the U.S. because people were bogarting the MacBooks snapping profile pics from the webcams. Or the Marine Corps banning both Twitter and Facebook, the reason being what is perceived to be security risks by the spread of personal data.

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Lifestyle:

Monsterbike is Ultimate Penny-farthing Cycle

Sure you’ve seen the old penny-farthing cycles from years past, the ones with the large front wheel and the small rear one, but you’ve never seen one quite like the Monsterbike.

The makers of this cycle have created the ultimate mix of green transportation and the metal culture… which is a combination you don’t see often. It is able to ride in the bicycle lane even though the rider is at heights above most all other vehicles on the road. Pedestrians, as well as compact cars, will surely be running from your path when you ride this thing.

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Social:

Did Twitter Just Kill URL Shorteners?

Twitter has just announced a big change to the way URLs are used within their site. Their goal is to eliminate the mystery of shortened links and prevent harmful spam, malware, and phishing attacks by rolling out an official URL shortening tool on Twitter called t.co, and in doing so, they may have just put an end to bit.ly and other major URL shorteners with millions of users.

In their most recent blog post, Twitter’s Sean Garrett has announced the change and explained how it works and protects users. Basically, all links on Twitter will be “wrapped” in their t.co short URL by default, eliminating the need for 3rd party URL shorteners. Right now, they are testing and tweaking this service on a few employees accounts, but plan to roll the changes out application-wide this summer.

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Social:

5 Ways Facebook Resembles A Real Cult

With all this talk about Facebook’s secret insignia as exposed on Mark Zuckerberg’s sweater lining, people have been throwing around the term “cult” an awful lot, and after some simple comparisons, I think for good reason. By distinguishing obvious traits of our modern definition of a cult, it is easy to draw similarities to the cult that is Facebook.

1. Easy to Join, Hard to Leave

Cults encourage you to join, letting you join at little or no cost, and help you out every step of the way. However, their interest is to grow in numbers and therefore will employ any tactics necessary to maintain your membership, such as intimidation or persuasion. Facebook acts in the exact same manner. All it takes is an email and a click of a button and you’re a full-patch member, but if you want to leave, you’ve got a long road ahead of you. Facebook has managed to create an over-complex and confusing account removal system which is likely to intimidate even the savviest of users. And if you do manage to delete your account, Facebook is always willing to take you back with a click of a button, no questions asked.
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