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Hand Sculptures Highlight Effects of Eurozone Crisis in Barcelona Street Art Project


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Mysterious disembodied hands sprouted from walls and sidewalks in Barcelona in “Hands”, a 2012 street art project. The hands were posed in provocative gestures — begging for change, holding nooses, menacing passersby with mimed pistols — as a commentary on the upheaval caused by the Eurozone economic crisis. The project was created by four artists: Octavi SerraMateu TargaPau García, and Daniel Lugany.

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The Catalan Way explained


What is ‘Via Catalana’?

The ‘Via Catalana‘ (Catalan Way) is a political demonstration which will take place this September the 11th. Inspired by the Baltic Way — a human chain formed by up to two million people on August 23 1989 across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — its aim is to create a 400 km long chain which will cross Catalonia from north to south. 400.000 people have signed up to take part in the human chain, although organizers hope that the actual turnout will be at least twice that figure. People will be asked to join hands at exactly 17:14 (15:14 GMT). The chain, which runs along highways, roads and city streets, will come to an end at 18:00 (16:00 GMT). If successful, it will be one of Europe’s largest ever demonstrations, following in the footsteps of last year’s march in Barcelona, when up to 1,5 million people walked through the streets of the capital asking for independence, the country’s most massive rally ever.

What is Catalonia?

With more than 7,2 million inhabitants Catalonia is a country in the northeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. At a crossroads between different cultures and civilisations, it once formed part of the old Crown of Aragon, which merged with the Crown of Castile to create what later became Spain. What in medieval times was a powerful nation which extended its influence across and beyond the Mediterranean, is now an autonomous region within the Spanish State posessing restricted powers, devolved as seen fit by the central state. It has its own language, Catalan, and institutions, amongst them one of Europe’s oldest Governments and Parliaments.

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Why is the Catalan Way taking place today?

Catalonia was a party in the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), where the old crowns of Castile and Aragon fought, alongside their European allies, over who should be crowned as king of Spain following the death of Charles II. Catalonia, which favoured archduke Charles as successor, lost a war which ended with Europe recognising Philip V as the new king of Spain. The long war ended with a prolonged siege of Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, which was systematically bombarded by Spanish troops fighting for the Bourbon candidate, Philip V. After months of resistance Barcelona finally surrendered on September 11 1714. Modern Spain was born, but Catalonia was to pay a heavy price for its support for the Austrian candidate: Catalan language was forbidden and Catalan institutions abolished. Every year, on September 11, Catalans commemorate the day on which Barcelona fell, honouring those killed defending the country’s laws and institutions [video: A trip to Barcelona].

Why many 21st century Catalans want independence?

Since the defeat of 1714 Catalonia has never been allowed to rule itself again [a Catalan history of Spain]. The old nation was forcefully transformed into a mere Spanish province.This state of affairs did not change until 1931, when the proclamation of the Spanish Republic gave Catalans the freedom to regain their old institutions. Catalan was taught in schools, the Parliament reopened, the Government was once more established… But the situation was not to last. The end of the Civil War, with the subsequent establishment of the Franco dictatorship, meant a new blow for the country, crushed once again by a centralist state, administred directly from Madrid.

Following Franco’s death, and with a new democratic regime in place, Catalonia regained its old institutions, and it was once more allowed to rule its own affairs in a number of key areas. But the centralist inertia of the Spanish state, always resisting to the last all devolved powers and continually meddling in affairs which Catalans consider very important — like respect for the Catalan language — has left Catalonia’s citizens whith a deep sense of frustation. This frustation was brought to a head in 2010 when an appeal by the Partido Popular over some of the clauses in the newly approved Catalan Statute (which won majority votes in both the Catalan and Spanish Parliaments) lead the Spanish Constitucional Tribunal to rule it was inconstitucional to use the term ‘nation’ to refer to Catalonia in the document’s preamble.

Since that time the feeling of alienation from Spain has only grown, with many previously apathetic citizens suddenly becoming separatists. More fuel has been added by the economic crisis, and the gross incompetence which has been demonstrated by Spain’s political and financial leaders. This, along with the record levels of unemployment with no end in sight, has given a new impulse to Catalonia’s demands, since it has left the Catalan Government in a critical financial situation, unable to access the international financial markets and totally dependent on the such funds as the Spanish Government to forward to it. This unjust situation reached its most bizarre moment when the Spanish government raised the VAT rate last year to help improve funding. The Catalan government actually lost out, since it had to pay the new rate to all its suppliers but received no refund or additional funding from the central government which was, of course, much better off.

This, in a country which contributes to Spain far more than it gets in return: figures vary, but it is reasonable to suggest that Catalonia loses between 10,000 to 16,000 million euros per year, because of this fiscal deficit. The accumulated deficit between Catalonia and Spain for the period 1986-2010 reaches a total of 213,933 million euros, five times Catalonia’s current debt. The economic imbalance between what Catalans pay in taxes to the Spanish state and what they get in return, is a major contributing factor to the sense of anger and frustration felt by many. It has been very hard for Catalans see their school and hospital services deteriorate under the sever cuts that have been administered while those in other regions which are arguably subsidized from Catalan taxes go virtually unscathed [opinion: Spanish Prisoners].

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What do the Catalan political parties say?

Since the death of Franco all Catalonia’s main parties have argued for a theoretical right to self-determination, but have never taken steps towards achieving that goal. Following slow and painstaking negotiations with Madrid, only a fragile, unstable compromise has been reached: the Spanish state has devolved powers in some key areas, from education to health or police, but it still is unable to recognise Catalonia as a nation. This has left Catalan parties divided on the issue of which course of action to take. Traditionally, Catalan parties have asked for more powers to be devolved from Madrid to Catalonia, but the recent rise in strength of the pro-independence movement — which originates in social, rather than political organizations — has taken some aback [video: Catalunya push for economic independence].

Centre Right Nationalist CiU, Catalonia’s current governing political coalition, has evolved from a pro-autonomy stance to being more clearly inclined towards independence. It is, though, a coalition of parties with different views; officially, it wants a referendum on independence, but stresses the need to reach agreement on this with the Spanish Government. The once powerful Socialist party PSC, which has strong ties with the Spanish Socialist PSOE, is torn too between conflicting approaches. In theory, it recognizes Catalans the right to self-determination, but rather than asking for independence, it wants Spain to move towards a more federal political structure. The left republicans ERC, for years the only party actively seeking independence, are the rising star in the current Parliament and, according to some surveys, could become the country’s main party if elections were to take place now; they want to hold a referendum as early as 2014. Left-wing ICV, political successors of the old communist party, support the idea of a referendum, although their views on independence are not so clear. Finally, the Popular Party, which is now in power and Spain, and Ciutadans, are both opposed not only to independence but even to an eventual referendum on the issue. However, they are a minority in the Catalan political landscape: the Catalan Parliament has passed a declaration which states that Catalonia is a country with the right to decide their on future. The declaration was passed with 104 votes in favour of a referendum, for only 27 against [video: Will Catalonia say adios to Spain?].favorables-declaracio-aplaudint-Parlament-ACN_ARAIMA20130123_0200_31

What does the Spanish Government say?

The Spanish Government bitterly opposes the organization of a referendum in which Catalans can choose whether they are in favour or against an independent Catalonia. The official position is that the government has to abide by the Spanish Constitution, which states that there is only one nation, the Spanish one, and that sovereignty is exclusively held by the Spanish people in its entirety; this means that what is seen as being simply one part of the Spanish nation cannot on its own decide on matters which affect all, effectively denying the principle of the right of peoples to self determination. Since, according to the Constitution, only the Spanish Government can organize a referendum, the Catalan demand faces an insurmountable barrier. Spanish main parties — PP, now in power, and the socialists, the main party in opposition — do not want Catalans to express their views on a referendum [video: Should Catalonia seek independence?].

What is the position of the EU?

The official position of the EU is that it is not for the institution to take into consideration hypothetical declarations of independence following the possible breakaway of part of an existing member state. The official line of the EU Commission is that Catalonia’s independence demand is a Spanish internal affair and, as such, they cannot comment on the issue. This has proved to be a controversial idea, though, since the Spanish Government has tried to influence the debate by assuring that an independent Catalonia would be automatically expelled from the EU, and should start from scratch new negotiations with Brussels to rejoin the institution. Some commissioners have denied this, stating that there is no precedent for a situation like this, and that Europe could not possibly deny membership to 7,2 million people who are now EU’s citizens.

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Why is Scotland holding a referendum, while Catalonia is not?

Because they are both nations without a state Scotland and Catalonia have often been compared, and the fact that both countries are engaging in an open debate about their possible future as sovereign states has only increased the parallels being drawn between them. Yes, they are both old European nations, with institutions of their own, but the similarities end here. It was not until recently that Westminster Parliament devolved some of its powers to Scotland, but the UK has a tradition of decentralised power in many areas. Citizens are used to the fact that laws — from smoking to gay marriage to university taxes — are different on both sides of the border. This is not the case of Spain, which for most of its history has been a heavily centralized state. However the main and most glaring difference is to be found in the very different approach to recognizing a separate identity: whereas the UK – as a plurinational society – has no real problem in acknowledging that Scotland is a nation, Spain as a whole has been unable to move beyond the idea that Catalonia is simply just one more autonomous region. Unlike Scotland, Catalonia cannot take part in official sports competitions around the world, which leaves Barcelona FC as the unofficial national symbol [video: cry for Catalan independence during the ‘classic’ Barça – Real Madrid]. The consequence of this different approach is that, while the British Government is allowing the Scottish government to organize a referendum on independence, the Spanish government is completely opposed to allowing the Catalans to be consulted about an eventual secession and has promised to fight any move by the Catalan government to organize a referendum. [Catalonia and Scotland: how they compare to EU nations and Europe’s other separatists].

What is Catalonia’s level of autonomy?

Catalonia has a restricted autonomy. The Catalan Parliament has the power to pass laws on all sort of issues, from education to housing, but this theoretical autonomy has many strings attached. To begin with, the Spanish Government is unwilling to hand over some key powers, from allocating student grants to administering pensions, and tries to legislate on areas of devolved power, a situation which leads to constant conflicts between the governments in Barcelona and Madrid, with the Spanish Constitutional Court deciding which of the two is entitled to legislate the disputed area. Crucially, all main taxes are collected by the Spanish Government, which is then responsible for distributing the money raised between the various receiving institutions. In practice, Catalonia’s Parliament is legislating on affairs without having the money to implement its laws.

How strong is the popular support for independence?

Surveys vary significantly, but they show two consistent trends. First, support for independence has been growing year after year. Second, from being the option favoured by a minority of Catalonia’s citizens, independence is now supported by the majority of the population. The latest official figures show that, in an eventual referendum, 55,6% of Catalans would vote in favour of an independent state, with those against being 23,4% and roughly a 20% showing no clear preference or saying that they are not interested. When asked which form of relationship with Spain do they prefer, 47% favour an independent state, 22% want to maintain the current status quo, and 21% would like Spain to become a federal state.

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What happens next?

A Council for the National Transition, with academics and experts from a number different fields, is working on the establishment of a timeline for an eventual referendum. Catalonia’s main political force, CiU, which governs thanks to the support in Parliament of pro-independent ERC, argues that a referendum should take place before the end of 2014. The problem is that, according to the Spanish Constitution, only the Spanish Government can authorize the referendum, something the ruling PP party is firmly opposing. Other options include organizing a referendum without  Spanish Government consent — which would make it technically illegal — or dissolving the Catalan Parliament and organizing new elections, with pro-independent parties sharing part of their manifestos. After months of bitter disputes, the Catalan president, Artur Mas [profile], is holding discrete talks with his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, to try to find a way out of the current deadlock.

Could an independent Catalonia become a viable state?

As with all the other aspects of the argument, the viability of a future state is a contested issue. Those opposing independence argue that a Catalan state would inherit a huge deficit which would make it very difficult to pay pensions or salaries. Besides, they take for granted that Catalonia would be expelled from the European Union, depriving Catalan companies from the benefits of a single market. On the other side of the debate, those in favour of independence argue that, without the burden of the huge deficit which results from the difference between what Catalans pay in taxes to Spain, and what they get in return, Catalonia — Spain’s most vibrant economy — would have a GDP level in line with some of Europe’s wealthiest nations, and its government could reduce the current debt and improve the quality of public services. In addition they doubt that Catalonia would find itself outside the frontiers of the EU, pointing among other precedents to the fact that the EU Treaty held that national bailouts of member states were illegal, until in fact one was urgently needed. [Keys on the independence of Catalonia].

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Q&A: The Catalan Way explained.

Hyperloop transport system, NY to LA in 45 minutes


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Elon Musk announced the Hyperloop system concept, a new method that would transport people from one side of the US to the other in just 45 minutes, a trip that normally takes almost six hours by plane. Musk describes the Hyperloop system as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.” Hyperloop would a system of cross-country tubes that would consists of capsules capable of carrying six people and their luggage. Six-person capsules travel in the tubes and can reach a maximum speed of 6,500 km/h, and provide 50 times more transportation per kwh. A tube can travel from New York to Beijing in two hours, and make a round-the-world trip in just six hours.

A huge waterspout vortex


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This is a huge waterspout vortex that formed in Tampa Bay, Florida on Tuesday. Super creepy. ABC Action News posted viewer-submitted footage of the waterspout in action.

The Newsstand, An Independent Magazine & Zine Pop-Up Shop in Brooklyn



Inside The World’s Hippest Underground Newsstand” video by ANIMAL New York

The Newsstand is a new pop-up shop that is described as an “independent media take over of the Newsstand at the Metropolitan Avenue station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” It “will feature independent magazines and zines from around the world, curated by Lele Saveri of the 8-Ball Zine Fair especially for ALLDAYEVERYDAY.”

The Newsstand has been covered in several places recently:

The New York Times
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ANIMAL New York

The Newsstand will open to the public on June 15th and will be open weekdays from 9am-8pm, weekends from 12pm-5pm and close on July 20th.

James Gandolfini, Actor Who Played Tony Soprano on ‘The Sopranos’ (1961-2013)


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According to the Los Angeles Times, actor James Gandolfini has died at the age of 51 of a suspected heart attack. Gandolfini was born in 1961 and was best known for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos. Deadline has more of the story.

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HBO says:

We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. James Gandolfini was a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.

Sony Unveils PlayStation 4 Video Game Console Design, Pricing, & Release Date at E3 2013


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Sony has finally unveiled the PlayStation 4 video game console’s design at E3 2013 after facing criticism for not showing a physical console at the initial announcement in February. The new console is all black, looks somewhat like a slanted PlayStation 2, and shares a partially shiny, partially matte design with Microsoft’s Xbox One.

Sony also took aim at Microsoft’s online requirements and used game policies for the Xbox One, promising the PlayStation 4 won’t impose restrictions on lending or reselling game discs and users will not have to be connected to the internet to play single-player games offline.

Turning to games, Sony announced a number of new PlayStation 4 exclusive titles like The Order: 1886 developed by Ready at Dawn, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV — formerly known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII — and Kingdom Hearts 3. The company also provided brief updates on previously announced PlayStation 4 launch titles Killzone: Shadow Fall, Evolution Studios’ DriveClub, and KnackInfamous: Second Son will be released for the new console in Q1 2014, as well as Blizzard’s Diablo III, and Square Enix MMO Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released exclusively on the PS3 and PS4. Upcoming Bethesda MMO The Elder Scrolls Online will also be available on the PS4 in Spring 2014.

Sony also showed off a number of indie games that will be console exclusive to the PlayStation 4 — though several have already been released for the PC. Transistor from Bastion developer Supergiant Games, Don’t Starve by Klei, and Mercenary Kings by Tribute Games — the developers behind Scott Pilgrim — will all be coming to Sony’s new console alongside Young Horses’ Octodad: Dadliest CatchSecret Ponchos by Switchblade Monkeys, Ragtag’s stealth-action puzzler Ray’s the Dead, and Outlast by Red Barrel. Oddworld Inhabitant will also launch a remake of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee titled Oddworld New N Tasty, and 7 bit Games, creators of Skulls of the Shogun, will release a side-scrolling world space shooter titled Galak-Z The Dimensional.

Developers also demoed previously announced titles Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Watch Dogs, and Quantic Dream showed off a small clip of another impressive tech demo titled The Dark Sorcerer. Sony also briefly touched on upcoming entertainment offerings like Redbox and Flixster, which will join existing offerings like Sony Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited, Netflix, and more.

The PlayStation 4 will cost $399 — $100 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One — and will be available “this holiday season.” Sony’s website has a current list of PlayStation 4 games, and for more coverage of Sony’s E3 announcements, head over to Kotaku.

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Visualization of the Screens of Every iPhone Ever Sold Combined into Monolith Looming over Manhattan


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Josh Orter of Stupid Calculations has worked out exactly how large the combined screens of every iPhone ever purchased would be. Extrapolating from Apple sales data that reports 352,292,000 sold iPhones since the product’s launch in 2007, Orter calculated that the “Kubrick-inspired monophone” would measure a staggering 5,059 feet tall and 2,846 feet across. To give you a sense of scale, Orter created an infographic placing the monophone in the middle of New York City — the massive monolith is wider than Central Park and far outstrips any skyscraper in the city. More detailed information on Orter’s calculations can be found at the Stupid Calculations website.

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Life-Size ‘Star Wars’ X-Wing Fighter Built Out of 5 Million LEGO Bricks


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Lego has built a 1:1 scale model of the X-Wing fighter using an astounding 5,335,200 bricks! It’s as big as the real thing. Gizmodo writes that “it reproduces the official $60 Lego 9493 X-Wing Fighter. But instead of being 560-pieces and a few inches long, this model uses more than five million pieces and it’s 11-feet tall and 43 feet long, with a 44-foot wingspan. Just like the real X-Wing—and 42 times the size of the commercial Lego set.”
Here are all details about the model:
Contains 5,335,200 LEGO bricks
Weighs 45,979.61 pounds (including bricks and steel infrastructure)
Height: 11 feet / 3.35 meters
Length: 43 feet / 13.1 meters
Wingspan: 44 feet / 13.44 meters
32 builders spent 17,336 hours (about 4 months) to construct

It took 32 Master LEGO builders approximately 4 months to build it to completion. LEGO unveiled this behemoth at Time Square in New York City.

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Two Explosions Take Place Near Finish Line of the Boston Marathon


Two explosions took place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon as runners were finishing the race resulting in multiple injuries and at least two deaths. Here’s ongoing live coverage via ReutersNew York Times and CBS Boston.

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photo by Boston to a T

Japanese Scientists Develop System That Can Visualize Dreams Based on Brain Activity


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Scientists in Japan have developed a dream decoding system that can create a visualization of a person’s dream. Developed by researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani and his Kyoto-based team, the system uses a functional MRI to analyze brain activity and a learning algorithm to create visualizations from the brain data. While the researchers report that the system is not currently very accurate, the results are nonetheless promising and the visualizations are quite remarkable. For more on the study, see this post by the Smithsonian science blog, Surprising Science. The study was also recently featured on NPR.

Mysterious African Fairy Circles May Be the Work of Sand Termites


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Fairy circles, circular bare patches of land that dot the grasslands of Southwestern Africa, have been mystery to scientists for years. In an article published in the March issue of Science, German scientist Norbert Jürgens proposes that sand termites are the mysterious engineers behind the phenomenon. Much in the same way that beavers build dams to create favorable wet environments for themselves, Jürgens believes the termites create the circles to help the soil absorb water and maintain the grasslands (which the termites feed on) through extremely dry conditions. The termites create the circles by doing what they do best—eating. They feed on grass roots, killing the grass and forming the fairy circles. For more on Jürgens’ research, see this New York Times article.

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photos by Norbert Jürgens

Tilda Swinton’s Live Performance Art of Sleeping in a Box At MoMA Surprises Museum-Goers


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At the Museum of Modern Art in New York City today, actress Tilda Swinton surprised visitors by appearing unannounced in a unique live performance art piece called “The Maybe.” The piece simply displayed Swinton sleeping in a glass box, with only a pair of glasses, a carafe of water, and linen-covered bedding. Gothamist reportsthat the museum has been planning the performance for seven years and that Swinton first started performing the piece back in 1995 at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Throughout the year, Swinton will perform “The Maybe” at MoMA about six more times but at random times and in different museum locations.

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‘On The Go’ Interactive Touchscreen Kiosks Coming to NYC Subways This Year


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Control Group — the designers behind the high-tech NYC I/O payphone redesign — is working with the New York City MTA to create new “On The Go” touchscreens for subway stations throughout the city. The new 47-inch displays will deliver real-time station directions including transfers and line alerts, countdowns until train arrival, and service updates, and will also include video cameras, microphones, and Wi-Fi, Fast Co. Design reports. According to Control Group, the kiosks will also feature looping content and help the MTA cultivate more ad revenue. Beginning this year, the MTA will install up to 90 “On The Go” stations throughout NYC.

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Soviet-Era Jetliner Converted into Slide


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This retired Tupolev-124 jetliner at the Aviation Technical Museum in Lugansk, Ukraine has been converted into a rather precarious slide.

photo by Igor Bubin

via Opposite Lock

‘Tonight Show’ Plans to Move Back to NYC, Jimmy Fallon Slated to Succeed Jay Leno as Host


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The New York Times is reporting that Jimmy Fallon is slated to succeed Jay Leno as the next TV host of The Tonight Show and that the show will be brought back to New York City. The changes are expected to happen by the fall of 2014. Fallon is the current host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

NBC has quietly begun work on a new studio in its headquarters building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza as the home for the new “Tonight” show. The studio is part of a general reconstruction of the building being undertaken by Comcast, which this week completed a full takeover of NBC Universal.

An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment on the move, other than to say the network was building a new state-of-the-art studio for Mr. Fallon.

A move to New York would return “Tonight” to its roots, after an absence of more than four decades…

Smartphone-Like, Double-Sided ‘NYFi’ Touchscreen Wins NYC Payphone Design Challenge


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Beginning in January, the City of New York hosted the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge to redesign its network of over 11,000 payphones when vendor contracts expire in 2014. The contest received 125 submissions, and out of six finalists, NYFi by Sage and Coombe Architects won the public vote. The double-sided, smartphone-like touchscreens would act as multipurpose free wireless hubs, bus ticket machines, MetroCard dispensers, bicycle share stations, and payphones in an attempt to reduce the number of machines taking up valuable space on the street. The Beacon from Frog Design won for best visual design, Smart Sidewalks won for best functionality, and NYC Loop won for best in creativity. Windchimes, created by students at Parsons the New School for Design, and NYC I/O, created by Control Group and Titan, both won for best community impact. While no single design will be completely implemented, the city plans to use core ideas and features in its final design.

“As the City works to determine the overall future of the public pay telephone, we’re facilitating a number of pilot programs — at no taxpayer cost — which use existing payphone infrastructure to gauge public interest and feedback in the services offered,” NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications Director of Communication Nicholas Sbordone told Wired. ”Each of these pilot figures as part of City’s strategy to garner broad-based feedback on what the public would like to see the future of the public payphone entail. We’ll take the results all of the ongoing efforts above — plus the best ideas from the recently-named Reinvent Payphones Design Challengefinalists, and then “bake” all of that into the City’s formal solicitation (known as a Request for Proposals, or “RFP”) for the future of the payphone. We’ll look to issue that RFP later this year.”

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images via NYC Digital

Samsung Announces the Galaxy S 4 Android Smartphone


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Samsung has officially unveiled its newest Android smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, at its Unpacked event. The 7.9mm thick, 130g weight device will feature a 5-inch, 441ppi Super AMOLED display, and is similar in form factor to the Galaxy Note II and Samsung’s previous flagship device, the Galaxy S III.

The large-scale unveiling event took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and according to Philip Elmer-DeWitt of CNNMoney it was “an information-packed presentation scripted as a Broadway show that would have bombed in New Haven.”

The S 4 runs Android 4.2.2 with TouchWiz and features a Samsung Exynos 5 or Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor based on the region, with 2GB of RAM and a 2,600 mAh battery. The phone will come with 16GB of on board storage with 32GB and 64GB options, and a microSD card slot. Samsung also revealed that the S 4 will have LTE and Bluetooth 4.0, and well as an IR blaster for remote control, a temperature and humidity sensor, and NFC.

Samsung is touting the phone’s 13-megapixel camera, and the S 4 will have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The company also unveiled the S 4′s Dual Camera feature, which allows users to insert themselves into main camera shots using the front-facing camera, and Sound and Shot, which lets you record five seconds of audio before you take a photo. Drama Shot will take multiple shots from a video and create a multi-frame collage. With Eraser, users can remove unwanted passersby from their photos.

Air View allows users to get a preview of and swipe through photos by hovering over the screen with a finger, similar to the Note II’s S Pen feature. Samsung also mentioned that it works with gloves. Samsung’s Air Gesture allows users to navigate the phone and answer calls with a swipe of their hand, without having to touch the screen. With Smart Stay, the phone detects whether or not you’re looking at it, and will automatically pause videos if you look away, and restart them when you look back. The phone doesn’t feature automatic eye-scrolling like rumors suggested, but users can scroll by tilting the phone up and down.

Samsung also introduced its S Translator software, which knows 10 languages including English, and translates speech-to-text and text-to-speech. S Translator also lets users take photos of menus, signs, etc., and translate them even without an internet connection. Samsung HomeSync comes with 1TB of cloud storage, and connects with your computer, phone, tablet, and TV. Samsung also detailed S Voice Drive, which connects the S 4 to a car via Bluetooth 4.0. Additionally, the company unveiled new S Voice features, which reads messages and lets users act on them, similar to Apple’s Siri. Samsung wants to make it easy for users to switch to the S 4 with Smart Switch, with which users can transfer their info to a PC, then to the phone.

Group Play lets users to play music, multiplayer games, and photos across multiple S 4s, and ChatON has video calling for up to three people. S Health can tell how much a user walks every day, and with accessories like an S band or a body scale the app can track and display that data.

For business and enterprise users, Samsung detailed its Knox software that the company announced at Mobile World Congress. Knox separates the phone into a work and personal side, to eliminate the need for multiple devices. While Samsung didn’t reveal pricing or carrier information, the company said that the S 4 will be available in Black Mist and White Frost in 155 countries beginning in April.

Here’s a look at it from today’s event:

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photos by Kimber Streams

Proposal to Convert an Abandoned London Power Station into a Museum & Roller Coaster


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Ever since London’s Battersea Power Station closed in 1983, developers and preservationists have tried and failed to find a new use for the iconic art deco structure. French architecture firm Atelier Zündel Cristea recently came up with a novel proposal for the station: a museum complex complete with roller coaster. The proposal earned 1st place in adesign competition hosted by ArchTriumph. It’s unlikely that the power station will ever be home to a roller coaster—the station’s latest owners plan to build residential units in the station complex.

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2013 Disposable Film Festival, A Showcase for Films Shot with Inexpensive Video Devices


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The 7th annual Disposable Film Festival launches at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, March 21 to 24, 2013. The festival is a showcase of short films made with inexpensive video capture devices like cell phones and webcams. After the conclusion of the San Francisco premiere, the festival will tour the US—check the site for tour dates.

FILM IS TOO IMPORTANT TO BE LEFT TO THE EXPERTS! from Disposable Film Festival on Vimeo.

Lone ‘Miracle Pine’ That Survived Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami Recreated as Permanent Monument


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photo via AP/Kyodo News

When the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, 2011, an entire forest in the Iwate Prefecture was obliterated by the tsunami. Of the 70,000 trees, just one remained: the so-called “Miracle Pine.” The lone pine tree lived for 18 months after the disaster before it died due to saline soil conditions caused by the tsunami. Over the course of its 173 year life span it had survived three major tsunamis (1896, 1933, 2011). When the tree died it was cut down and sectioned for preservation. It has since been rebuilt as a monument. The trunk was hollowed out and reinforced with a carbon spine. The branches and leaves at the top of the tree were replicated in plastic. Two years after the disaster, the Miracle Pine now stands as a lasting monument.

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Jash, New YouTube Channel for Comedians by Comedians Features Sarah Silverman & More


Launched at SXSW 2013, JASH is a new comedy collective on YouTube founded by Daniel Kellison and Doug DeLuca that will feature original content by its partners Sarah SilvermanMichael CeraTim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts (channel’s promo trailer).

…JASH is the first fully realized network to offer all its comedic partners complete creative autonomy. At Jash we always strive to offer a variety of content with a unique voice: boundaries will be pushed, and disorientation is sure to ensue.

Geneticists Discover Y Chromosome That Predates Mankind


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The last common male ancestor is actually about twice as old as scientists previously thought, according to a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Geneticists had originally traced the Y chromosome back to a common ancestor who lived sometime between 60,000 and 140,000 years ago, but the recently deceased Albert Perry was carrying a never-before-seen Y chromosome that dates as far back as 338,000 years ago. According toNewScientist, modern human fossils only date back 195,000 years, which means that Perry’s Y chromosome could have been inherited from a now-extinct archaic human population that bred with anatomically modern homo sapiens.

Man Dressed as Batman Turns Over Burglary Suspect to British Police


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An unidentified man dressed as Batman turned in a wanted 27-year-old burglary suspect to the West Yorkshire Policein Britain on February 25, 2013. They caught a glimpse of the masked man through closed-circuit television footage.According to Reuters, “the costumed crime-fighter disappeared into the night without leaving his name.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mission To Send Married Couple Around Mars in 2018


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It is a news from Wednesday, but maybe someone want to know.
Multimillionaire Dennis Tito has created a nonprofit group called Inspiration Mars and green-lit a program to send a single couple on a 501-day trip around the red planet and return to earth, beginning in January 5th, 2018. The mission is described as “high-risk”, which is to be expected when you lock a married couple in a cramped capsule for a year and a half. Under the audacious but bare-bones plan, the spacecraft would blast off less than five years from now and pass within 100 miles of the Martian surface. The cost was not disclosed, but outsiders put it at more than $1 billion.
“A celestial harmony makes such a plan feasible — a once-every-15-years alignment of Earth and Mars wherein a modest craft can shoot there and back with minimal fuel.
The risks of this mission soar beyond those NASA would allow, said Tito adviser Jonathan Clark, a former NASA space doctor now at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Beyond low Earth orbit, cosmic radiation rises dramatically, upping the risk of cancer. If illness or injury occur, there is no hospital for millions of miles, no chance to abort, and no escape.
The nearly 18-month trip will cover 818 million miles.
Time spent within 60,000 miles of Mars: 10 hours.”

MYO – Wearable Gesture Control Armband


The Thalmic Labs’ MYO armband senses motion and electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone…

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More of PS4


Yesterday Sony announced the PlayStation 4, the long-awaited replacement for the now seven-year old PlayStation 3 gaming console. Described as a “supercharged PC,” the PS4 features extensive hardware upgrades including a new 8 core processor. Social gaming has also been enhanced—a new share feature will allow players to broadcast gameplay footage to their friends. While Sony has not released images of the new console, they have unveiled new versions of the Dual Shock controller and Eye camera. Sony expects to ship the PlayStation during the 2013 holiday season. For more info see CNET’s coverage of the announcement.

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Playstation 4


PlayStation 4 is centered on all of you – the gamers. It redefines rich and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features. When we designed PlayStation 4, we focused on building an architecture that will allow the greatest game developers in the industry to push boundaries and dig deep within their imaginations to create the most immersive and unique games for you to enjoy.

The future of PlayStation is all about great games and entertainment, and at PlayStation Meeting 2013, we brought some of the brightest and most creative minds from the development community on stage to unveil the games that will define PS4. A partial initial lineup for PlayStation 4 includes first-party games from Guerilla Games (Killzone: Shadow Fall), Sucker Punch (inFamous Second Son), Evolution Studios(Driveclub), and Japan Studio (Knack), as well as titles from our partners such as Activision/Bungie(Destiny), Blizzard Entertainment (Diablo III), Capcom (Deep Down), and Ubisoft (Watch_Dogs). PlayStation also reinforced its commitment to self-publishing and the independent development community by having Jonathan Blow onstage who gave a sneak peek of his upcoming title The Witness. Finally, the incredible minds at Media Molecule and Quantic Dream gave glimpses of their conceptualization process and the future of gameplay with some remarkable footage.  We only scratched the surface at the event, and will have many more exciting titles to come.

With so much amazing content in development for PlayStation 4, we want to give our fans every opportunity to check out virtually any PS4 game when it becomes available. In the future, when a gamer sees a title of interest in PlayStation Store, they can immediately start playing a portion of the actual game.

With PlayStation 4 we also want you to access your games quicker than ever before. PS4′s “suspend mode” eliminates the load time on your saved game and allows you to immediately return to where you left off by pressing the power button. PlayStation 4′s background downloading and updating capability also allows you to immediately play digital titles as they download, or update the system when the hardware is powered off.

A Riot Simulator Based on Real Worldwide Events for iOS and Android


Video game director Leonard Menchiari and a small team of Italian developers have created a riot simulator for iOS and Android devices titled RIOT. The events in this simulator are based on real life “riots and manifestations happening in our world today.” You are able to choose which side of the protest to control, the riot police or a gang of rioters. Leonard and his team are currently raising funds on Indiegogo to help with software and licenses. RIOT will be coming out for Mac and PC sometime in the future.

The main purpose of this project is to create a game that will get people to be interactive with two opposing forces during clashes between rioters and police while showing the moral aspects and viewpoints of both sides.

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Human Barbie Doll


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Ukrainian native Valeria Lukyanova may not look like a real person, but with the help of a little eye makeup and a tiny waist the model/singer has been able to fool people the world over.

Photos of the Moldavian-born Lukyanova, called the ‘human Barbie’, took the internet by storm earlier this year, and many questioned whether she existed or was just a very well done computer generated image.

There’s also been lots of speculation over whether or not she’s had plastic surgery to attain her looks (she claims she hasn’t had any and only uses makeup and contact lenses to attain her somewhat Japanese Anime look).

“It’s unclear whether Lukyanova exists at all, or whether it’s all a hoax Leer Más…

Ubuntu Tablet OS Unveiled


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Canonical introduces the Ubuntu tablet interface, which will compete with Android, iOS, and Windows with its own take on multitasking and advanced security features. Canonical claims that future versions of Ubuntu will be able to run an Ubuntu app across four different user interfaces (desktop, TV, smartphone and tablet) with no need for special programming for each version. Users can start testing the interface on Feb. 21, when the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be published with installation instructions for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, as well as smartphones such as the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus. The new Ubuntu tablet OS can be differentiated with partner branding, content, services and apps and has been specifically designed with operator and OEM customisation in mind. Watch the promotional video about the Ubuntu Tablet OS and see it in action. Canonical explains:
“Our unique interface design scales from the phone to the tablet, and works equally well on pocketable consumer-oriented tablets from 7″ up, and full-blown media or enterprise tablets with screens from 10″ to 20″ and high definition resolution. And since there are no physical buttons needed beyond the power switch, you have more flexibility for incredible device design with Ubuntu than any other platform today.”

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