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Category: Wired (page 2 of 26)

DIY Lasers Are Irresistibly Dangerous

 

Decades after its birth, the laser is still irresistibly cool.

How many other fifty-somethings can you say that about?

Even though lasers are as common as dirt now, appearing in everything from DVD players to supermarket scanners to computer mice, there’s still a certain appeal to a beam of coherent, monochromatic light.… Read the rest

Fire Artist Mixes Propane, High Voltage

 

Rusty Oliver adjusts his Ruben's tubes. Photo by Jim Merithew/Wired.com

SEATTLE — Rusty Oliver sets things on fire.

During our visit to his workspace, the aptly-named Hazardfactory, he demonstrated how two long propane-filled tubes can act as a kind of fiery audio EQ meter. He created a fierce ball of flame in the middle of a hoop-shaped sculpture he calls “The Singularity.” He showed off flame-throwing rayguns (sadly not currently in operation) and talked about how he was organizing a league to play one of his favorite sports, flaming tetherball.… Read the rest

Ballmer to Skype Fans: You Can Trust Us

SAN FRANCISCO — Trust us. We’re not going to screw up Skype.

That was the message Microsoft delivered Tuesday, hours after formally announcing that it was buying the internet telephony pioneer for a staggering $8.5 billion — staggering because it’s more than the Redmond giant has ever paid for anything, and because Skype doesn’t exactly print money.… Read the rest

Handerpants, Devil Duckies and Rubber Chickens: Inside Archie McPhee

SEATTLE — It’s hard to explain Archie McPhee.

Instead, let’s start with some of the things you can buy here:

Cthulhu water bottles. Bacon-flavored toothpaste. Devil duckies. Fire-spitting wind-up nuns. Band-Aids that look like bacon strips. Bacon-flavored gumballs. A plastic narwhal — complete with a penguin for it to impale.… Read the rest

Infoporn: How Flatscreen TVs Get Cheaper

 

 

Like multicore computer chips, Android smartphones, and Starbucks coffee, LCD TVs are getting cheaper—and bigger—all the time. Inevitably, your brother-in-law’s new 55-inch TV cost less than the 48-inch model you bought two years ago. Why? Science! See, flat-panel displays are made by machines that print arrays of circuits on sheets of glass and then slice those sheets into screens like high tech brownies.… Read the rest

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