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March 05, 2010

Would you fly a two-stroke jetpack to work?

Leave the traffic on the ground with the Martin Jetpack [w/video] — Autoblog
The Martin Aircraft Company has created its own jetpack for public use, and the units are apparently for sale to anyone who can pass the company's own internal training sessions. That's right, this sucker is classified as an Ultralight and therefore requires no FAA pilot's license. What's more, Martin says the Jetpack costs the same as a high-end car or motorcycle. Sign us up! For what it's worth, the Martin Jetpack is a jet in name only – much the same way that a jetski isn't really powered by a jet engine, the Martin apparatus actually uses a 2.0-liter V-four two-stroke engine that drives twin carbon/kevlar rotors. With 600-pounds of thrust, Martin claims its Jetpack can accommodate pilots up to 280 pounds. The five gallons of fuel carried onboard are enough to get you 31.5 miles in any single direction... as the crow flies, as they say.

March 04, 2010

How To: Turn your Apple power adapter into a foot warmer

Apple power adapter foot cozy, by Seymour Burns (video) -- Engadget

March 01, 2010

Class-action lawsuit alleges Yelp extorts businesses over bad reviews

Yelp Is Sued After Dispute Over a Review - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com This matches up with the East Bay Express article from last year.
Two law firms filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday against Yelp, the Web site that lets users post reviews and recommendations for small businesses and restaurants. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges unfair business practices and accuses Yelp of running an “extortion scheme.” The suit claims that Yelp’s employees “call businesses demanding monthly payments, in the guise of ‘advertising contracts,’ in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews appearing on the Web site.” The suit was filed on behalf of a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., who asked Yelp to remove what it called a “false and defamatory review” from its site. The lawsuit says Yelp refused and instead demanded “roughly $300 per month” in exchange for Yelp hiding or completely removing the review in question.

February 18, 2010

PleaseRobMe.com -- Uh, Mojo...

... about all those location tweets? PleaseRobMe.com posts when you're not at home
rank Groeneveld, a computer science student in the Netherlands, was fast asleep not long ago when a burglar tried to enter his home. Groeneveld, 22, managed to scare off the intruder but was left wondering: What if I wasn't home? Groeneveld returned to the idea recently when he found himself inundated by status updates on Twitter from users broadcasting their location. In most cases, they were inadvertently advertising the fact that their home was likely unattended and vulnerable to a burglary. It led him and two friends to launch a Web site this week provocatively called PleaseRobMe.com, a mashup of users' content from Twitter, the San Francisco microblogging service, and FourSquare, a site in which users share their location. While little more than a gag, PleaseRobMe raises serious questions about the potential ills associated with publicizing information online, particularly a user's whereabouts. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/02/18/MNMQ1C3A0V.DTL#ixzz0fuIs3rIr

February 15, 2010

ChatRoulette, social anxiety nightmare

Joe. My. God.: ChatRoulette
The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they’re staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next,” instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal on many levels. Early ChatRoulette users traded anecdotes on comment boards with the eerie intensity of shipwreck survivors, both excited and freaked out by what they’d seen. There was a man who wore a deer head and opened every conversation with “What up DOE!?” A guy from Sweden was reportedly speed-drawing strangers’ portraits. Someone with a guitar was improvising songs for anyone who’d give him a topic. One man popped up on people’s screens in the act of fornicating with a head of lettuce. Others dressed like ninjas, tried to persuade women to expose themselves, and played spontaneous transcontinental games of Connect Four. Occasionally, people even made nonvirtual connections: One punk-music blogger met a group of people from Michigan who ended up driving eleven hours to crash at his house for a concert in New York. And then, of course, fairly often, there was this kind of thing: “I saw some hot chicks then all of a sudden there was a man with a glass in his butthole.” I sing the body electronic. . . . I tried it for five minutes last night. Emo girl, emo girl, ten faceless dudes playing with themselves, and one guy holding a "Show Tits For Haiti" sign. It's not unlike the 90s fad ICUII, only you don't get to pick who connects with you. And I found it a little funny how instantaneously people click away when you don't fit their needs, whatever they may be. But Sam Anderson calls the service "a social anxiety nightmare." . . .

February 14, 2010

How To: Make a Wooden Ring

How to make a wood ring