Unless you're a submarine pilot, it isn't every day you get to pilot a submarine, and so I'm in Malta to test drive U-Boat Worx' C-Explorer 2
. The 2 isn't a version number, but denotes that this is a two-seater submarine. Coincidentally, it also denotes roughly the number of millions of euros you'd need to buy one. It's a millionaires' plaything designed for exploring under the sea to depths between 100 m (328 ft) and 1,000 m (3,280 ft), depending on the spec. My mission: to explore a wreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Equipped with U-Boat Worx' GoPro video cameras in and outside the sub, my trusty point and shoot camera and a dictaphone smartphone app, I'm as ready as I'll ever be for my appointment at the seabed.
The largest single piece of experimental scientific apparatus is currently the Large Hadron Collider bridging the border of France and Switzerland. The control building of the ATLAS detector, one of two general purpose particle detectors built with the LHC, has found itself adorned with a magnificent mural. The story of how the mural came about provides a fascinating glimpse at the crossroads of art and science.
At last week's Gamescom, Sony and Microsoft
revealed a whopping 56 games that will launch on the same day as their respective consoles – 23 for the Xbox One
and 33 for the PlayStation 4
. But wait just one second – let's take a closer look at that list. Call of Duty: Ghosts
? Assassin's Creed IV
? Madden NFL 25
? Most of these are releasing on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, and some are already out right now. In fact, if you strip away the games that will also be available on current consoles, PCs, and mobile devices, you're left with 15 games in total that will require a next-gen console to play when they're released. So the real question is, would any of these titles convince you to make the leap to next-gen?
What is a breakthrough smartphone? Does it have the latest and greatest hardware components, along with an eye-popping list of features you've never seen before? Or does it change things in a more subtle and calculated way? Like, say, giving you thoughtful new features that actually change the way you use a smartphone? Let Gizmag try to answer that, as we go hands-on to compare two phones that represent each of those camps, the Motorola Moto X
and Samsung Galaxy S4
Now that the media kerfuffle surrounding Elon Musk's Hyperloop transit system proposal
has settled down to a dull roar, it's a good time to step back and consider in detail some of the real innovations and difficult issues raised through analysis of the 57-page Hyperloop plan.
By 2050, the UN expects that there will be almost 10 billion people on the Earth. This poses some serious practical questions, not least among which is how we'll put food into 2.5 billion or so extra tummies (especially given that we don't adequately fill all of the 7-plus billion we already have). If you're yet to hear alarming phrases like "food security" and "sustainable intensification" you've probably been living under a rock. Which is apt, actually, because that's exactly where you might find one of the proposed answers: insects. A pop-up kitchen in London on Thursday served up a variety of bug-based bites to passers by, and Gizmag arrived soon after it opened to sample the wares on offer.
"There was a full team of farmyard animals came through, and they murdered everything they saw." Meet Dave Leadbetter and Drew Hobbs of IRL Shooter, an Australian company that's blurring the boundaries between video games, live action role playing and laser tag. In 2012 these guys launched Patient Zero, a story-driven real life zombie shooter game in an outer suburb of Melbourne. Gizmag caught up with the pair as they prepare to bring the show to Sydney and beyond in 2014. (Editor's note
: contains strong language.)
The cyber security convention DefCon and its corporate counterpart, Black Hat, that are held annually in Las Vegas present a unique tableau where the traditional (and traditionally overstated) conflict between underground hacking culture and corporate and government security professionals is suspended with the goal of openness and education. If you enjoy and own technology and gadgets of any kind, the conferences highlight a looming security crossroads that affects every layperson. Gizmag takes a look at some of the more important hacks from this year.
Feeling cheerful? Why not remedy that by going online and seeing what would happen if someone dropped an H-bomb on your hometown? The browser-based Nukemap3D uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a 3D graphic of the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice. All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. Gizmag caught up with the creator, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, to talk about Nukemap3D.
The world record price for a car at auction was smashed this month when Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes W196 F1 Silver Arrow sold for US$30 million, doubling the previous auction record. The only W196 outside of Daimler Benz or an internationally-recognized museum, this car won its first two starts – the 1954 German GP at Nürburgring and the Swiss GP at the uber-frightening, tree-lined Bremgarten circuit – and sealed the 1954 World Drivers Title for Juan Manuel Fangio, statistically the best racing driver in history. The following year, it was released in roadgoing form to become the world's fastest road car: the legendary Mercedes 300 SLR (aka W196S).