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People Going Lights Out Worldwide Tonight for Earth Hour

Sure, you've heard of Earth Day, but have you heard of Earth Hour? No, it isn't just a more abbreviated time of environmental remembrance for those with particularly busy schedules. It's a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund and hosted annually on the last Saturday of every March -- that just happens to be tonight.

The event started in 2007, when 2.2 million Sydney, Australia residents turned out their lights for an hour. It has been growing ever since and this year people worldwide are asked to put out any non-essential lights tonight from 8:30 until 9:30. That's local time, to be clear, so no worries about daylight savings or trying to figure out when sundown is in Australia.

There seems to be quite a bit of traction behind the event this year, with even Google getting in to the action. And we think you should too -- it's certainly easy enough. Just remember: only turn off the non-essential lights. Headlights definitely do not fall in that group. [From: My Earth Hour, via: Google, The Boston Globe]

Oxygenated Ale Promises All of the Drunk, None of the Hangover

Have a Drink, Skip the Hangover with Oxygenated Ale
Where would we be without hangovers? Aspirin sales would be lower, worker productivity on Monday mornings would be higher, and the cinematic masterpiece 'The Hangover' would be a predictable documentary about a bachelor party in Vegas. This, dear readers, is the future if extra-oxygenated Korean booze catches on worldwide.

It's the result of research by Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong at Chungnam National University. In Korea, oxygen-infused alcohol is quite popular, much as soda with carbon dioxide is stateside. The scientists found that, while the inebriation caused by these beverages is just as strong as plain old beer, people who drink oxygenated alcohol recover more quickly and, most importantly, suffer far less severe hangovers.

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Verizon Brings Skype to BlackBerry and Android Phones

Verizon Wireless Embraces VOIP, Allows Skype Calls on Smart Phones
It looks like Oprah isn't the only one loving on Skype. The service, which allows users to make free calls to other users over the Internet, and to make ridiculously cheap calls to actual phones, just received a major boost thanks to Verizon. The carrier, which you would think might see Skype as something of a competitor, will now be allowing its subscribers to make Skype calls from their smartphones -- without using any of their minutes!

It will work through an app made available to BlackBerry and Android users. Enabling you to see your Skype contacts and call them directly through the phone, the app will also let you make international calls to any number using SkypeOut. Again, no Verizon Wireless minutes will be used; it'll be purely data. What the app won't do is allow you to make calls through Skype to domestic telephones, but that's hardly a deal-breaker. The apps will launch to subscribers sometime in March, and we're going to go ahead and predict it'll be quite popular. [From: Verizon Wireless, via: Download Squad]

Over Half of Netflix Viewers Too Lazy to Walk to the Mailbox

Netflix Financials Reveal Half of Subscribers Stream Movies
If you've wondered just what kind of an effect Netflix's "Watch Instantly" service has had on the company's bottom line, the latest financial reports should take care of that. The home of the red envelope threw down all its numbers yesterday, thrilling investors and techies alike as it revealed that half of its subscribers now regularly stream content online.

That's a 20-percent jump from this time last year, and, while much of that increase is thanks to the dedicated Roku Player, increasingly Netflix-ready video game consoles (most recently the Wii) have surely delivered a huge boost, too. The 20-percent jump is significant, but we don't think that number is finished growing. Neither does CEO Reed Hastings, who says he expects the company to "extend [its] operating momentum."

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LOLCat Family Tree Illustrates Cats 'Can Has History' Too

Of all the Internet memes that have come and gone in the years we've been online, few have provided more laughs than LOLCats -- the bizarre but compelling act of taking silly pictures of cats and applying even sillier captions. While there is some historic basis to the trend, it was all created by Happycat -- at least, it was according to this family tree created by a student named Helene Dams at the Merz Academy in Stuttgart.

Helene has designed a sort of fanciful conceptualization tying the most popular LOLCats together, called 'I Can Has History.' Sometimes the family ties here are logical, like Limecat being the father of Lemoncat and Orangecat, but the relation between others is a little less clear, like Hulk Cat spawning Groovy Cat. We won't argue with the means, we're just here to laugh at the results. [From: I Can Has History, via Neatorama]

AT&T Network Flaw Swaps Strangers' Facebook Accounts

AT&T Network Flaw Swaps Facebook AccountsEver wonder what it'd be like to look like someone else; to exist as another person and mingle among their friends invisibly? A number of AT&T mobile users have had that experience lately -- at least virtually, with the network inexplicably redirecting users into other peoples' Facebook accounts.

Curiously AT&T's network was swapping cookies around, so that if two people signed on to Facebook at nearly the same time they'd wind up getting their log-in information misplaced. This lead to some confusing times for users and, more importantly, some grave security concerns. For its part, AT&T says that this occurred in "a limited number of instances" and that the problem is being fixed. Exactly how limited the problem is, though, and how soon it will be fixed remains to be seen.

There is some good news: this transference of identities was only temporary, meaning after logging out and back in again the affected folks were restored to their previous, comfortable identities. [From:]

Update: According to CNET, AT&T has fixed the issue. Spokesman Michael Coe said, in a statement, "In a limited number of instances, a server software connectivity error resulted in some AT&T wireless customers being logged in to the wrong Facebook account when they accessed Facebook through their mobile phones."

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Nuvo Ritmo: The Surround-Sound System for In Utero Lifestyles

We've seen some crazy baby tech in the past, including a Linux-powered baby rocker and a supposed cry translator. We've even seen an MP3 player belt that promised to help you literally rock your baby to sleep, and apparently it was such a breakout success that it inspired the creation of a second, the the Nuvo Ritmo.

It too is a speaker belt that connects to your MP3 player. This one, however, splits in the middle, surrounding your baby with sound -- surely tinny sound given the tiny speakers and seeming lack of an amplifier. The strap Velcros onto the mother's back and promises to deliver a "sound like love" and, indeed, the demonstration video below presents a lovely, mellow world of gentle tunes -- but we're not entirely sure that's accurate. Don't listen to us, though. We're all stuck in the cold, harsh reality. [From: Nuvo, via: Engadget]

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Remote Control 'Star Trek' Model Boldly Goes Swimming

Remote Control Star Trek Model Boldy Goes To the Deep End
Right now, everyone may be focused on J. J. Abrams' reboot of the 'Star Trek' franchise, the Hollywood blockbuster that's received mixed reviews from Trekkers but certainly found success at the box office. Of course, there's over forty years of television and cinematic history that all came before, and this remote control model by a Japanese builder who goes by the name of Starfleet Yokosuka does an amazing job of bringing that to life -- underwater.

Yes, the U.S.S. Enterprise traveled to the far reaches of space, but this model makes its way under the water. It's a submarine in a space ship shell and it works surprisingly well (see the clip after the jump). The fluid motions in a swimming pool plus the lighting effects give an effect that closely matches what you'd see on TV or in the movies -- if you ignore the bubbles, of course. This model is from the 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' version of the NCC-1701-A Enterprise, before Abrams gave it the "hot rod" treatment, and the lighting and attention to detail is immaculate. If only every 'Star Trek' modeler took this much pride in their work. [From: Hobby Media, via Wired Gadget Lab]

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World's Smallest Snowman Made Using Ion Beams and Tiny Tech

World's Smallest Snowman has Platinum Nose and Two Eyes Carved Out by Ion Beams
We can all recite Frosty's major components by heart, from his magical top hat down to his snowy base, but the creation of this snowman required some ingredients that Gene Autry would have never even imagined. The little guy above is apparently the smallest snowman in the world, about one-fifth the width of a human hair, and is the product of some pretty amazing techniques.

Its craftsman is David Cox of the National Physical Laboratory in the U.K. At the lab, Cox took two tiny beads of tin and welded them together using platinum deposits in a process called nanomanipulation. The nose, too, is made of that same stuff, while the eyes were carved using just a beam of ions, all manually controlled by Cox via an electron microscope. Watch the video below for a good idea of just how small this sucker is, and rest assured that even if he does come to life to wreak havoc, you won't have much to worry about. So long as nobody slips in your egg nog, anyway. [From: National Physical Laboratory, via Discovery News]

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Backupify Backs Up your Online Data... Online

Backupify Backs Up your Online Data -- Online
Chances are you've given up traditional e-mail clients in favor of something like Gmail or Hotmail by now, but did you ever think about what happens when those services go away? Sure, Google's great, but there's no guarantee that it's going to keep Gmail (and all your messages) online forever. If it up and disappears one day, you're done for -- unless you use Backupify (or other backup services).

Backupify is a site that lets you back up your entire online life, whether it be from Gmail, Flickr, Twitter, or even Google Docs. You sign up for its service and then link in all your accounts and, like magic, it sucks everything in and creates a copy. So, if Tumblr takes a tumble into the abyss of failed startups, or suddenly Zoho is no more, your data is safe. Well, probably safe.

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The Secret to Avoiding an 'Avatar' Headache

Haven't seen James Cameron's $300 million epic film 'Avatar' yet? Many would argue that if you haven't seen it in 3-D -- particularly IMAX 3-D -- you haven't seen it at all. The film, after all, was shot with the third dimension in mind. Cameron used a series of cameras designed to capture multiple perspectives simultaneously, giving you, the viewer, an unparalleled sense of depth -- if you don't... Read more »

A Musical Mobile of Mobiles Makes Cell Phone Holiday Magic

The humble cell phone goes by many names; worldwide, the most common being simply "mobile." For many on this side of the pond, though, that word first brings to mind the image of a rotating object hanging from the ceiling of a nursery. Thus, the Mobile Mobile was born. The art installation is composed of 50 HTC Touch handsets, all run by custom code directed by connected computers.... Read more »

Celery Makes Twitter Nice and Digestible, Especially For Grandma

You may still not have acquired a taste for Celery, but chances are your grandparents have, or they will have if they have a fax machine. Confused? Celery is a way to allow those without computer smarts to e-mail and Twitter via paper, as 80-year-old Dorothy Miller demonstrates to WTEN News 10. Celery has been around for a while, but Twitter integration is new. To use it, the person simply... Read more »

MSN China Blatantly Steals Site's Source Code

With more and more applications moving to the Internet, it's getting easier and easier for one shady developer to rip off the work of another. Often, you can easily see the source code (the behind-the scenes plumbing that makes it all happen) of a given site and then copy it for your own with just a few clicks. Change a few images and, presto, you've got your own app. That's apparently what MSN... Read more »

Diagram Maps Bloggers to Hackers, All Things Geeky In-Between

We all know that geeks come in all shapes and sizes, but did you ever try to figure out what unifies them? What key concepts bring one to another? Is it a love for arcane knowledge? An obsessiveness with detail? Or, are they all just unified by a love of seeing Princess Leia in her metal bikini? As it turns out, it's not quite so simple, as the above chart from Ibrahim Evsan shows. Evsan is... Read more »
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