Study Says Most Cellphone Users Are Too Distracted To Notice A Clown On A Unicycle

Clowns are scary to some, but apparently they’re invisible to most cellphone users. According to a study involving a unicycle, a clown, and 150 college students, cellphone users were half as likely as others to notice a red-nosed, unicycle rider. Ira Hyman, Jr., a researcher at Western Washington University sent a student unicycling around campus wearing a clown costume and then asked people who’d walked past if they’d “noticed anything unusual.” The cellphone users were less than half as likely to have noticed, but Hyman speculates that it may not be the technology itself which distracts them, but instead the concentration required to maintain a conversation over that particular medium. Whatever the case, kudos to him for managing to find an excuse to run a study involving a clown.
From Gizmodo

The obvious flaw in this study is that for some people who might have been online, a clown on a unicycle wouldn’t have been unusual. I predict that this will win an Ignoble Prize next year.

The Amazon Kindle Killer: Plastic Logic Reader Looks Like Kindle Killer

a simple, ultra-sleek full-page 8.5-inch by 11-inch electronic book and newspaper reader with a flexible plastic touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the ability to read regular Office documents without conversion of any kind. As we said yesterday, Plastic Logic showed it at the Demo Fall 08 conference in San Diego. Seeing it up close and on its side makes me want to have one.
From The Amazon Kindle Killer: Plastic Logic Reader Looks Like Kindle Killer

Looks like an iPod for books. Very cool.

One-man Helicopter

When building a single person flying machine, it is important to ask yourself when in flight, will it look like I am chasing a road-runner? Sadly, the answer to this is yes. He looks like he is chasing a road runner.

Navy to Get Robot Boats to Fight Pirates

Apparently, piracy (real piracy, not the BitTorrented variety) is all the rage off the coast of Somalia. The pirates, who probably don’t have peglegs or parrots but I picture them that way anyways, hijack ships and hold them and their equipment for ransom, sometimes killing crewmembers in the process. It isn’t pretty. But the US Navy and Coast Guard have a trick up their sleeves: robotic boats.
Robots V Pirates: Navy to Get Robot Boats to Fight Pirates, Sets Stage For Historic Battle

Finally, a pirate fighting robot. If it had ninjas it would be the perfect geek news story.

Electric Meets Diesel in Opel E-Flex

the Opel E-Flex is a European concept of the Chevy Volt unleaded/electric hybrid. Other than its propensity to drink more wine and go “on holiday,” the Opel will use a 1.3lt turbo diesel engine to recharge the car’s lithium ion batteries when they run out.
From Chevy: LEAKED, Electric Meets Diesel in Opel E-Flex - Gizmodo

Diesel/Electric hybrid. It’s what can get us off oil. It’s what can kill OPEC.

Ghosts Chase Pac Man Across My Chest

Okay, short and sweet. Textile Interfaces designed the jacket, while the Lumalive light-up plate came courtesy of Philips. It’s old promo-wear from Philips, but we got hold of one which plays Pac Man.
From IFA2007: Ghosts Chase Pac Man Across My Chest - Gizmodo

I can imagine this being a fad. Like the shirts that change color in the sun that were a fad a few years ago. Or like Pac Man for that matter.

3rd party iPhone App compiled

After many, many hours of intense work from “Nightwatch,” the first independent “Hello World”* application has been compiled and launched on the iPhone. This was made possible using the “ARM/Mach-O Toolchain,” Nightwatch’s “special project,” that he has been working on so carefully over the past few weeks. Certain parts of the toolchain (such as the assembler) are being refined and tested and these will be released as soon as possible.
Checkpoint: “Hello World” 3rd-Party iPhone App Compiled, Loaded, Run - Gizmodo

So much the iPhone not having 3rd party apps.

Brits Go Green with Eco-M 100 MPG Sports Car

Eco-M, a bare-bones sporty car with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. The car will be able to sip fuel and still go fast, capable of far greater than 100 miles per gallon because of its lightweight carbon fiber construction.

I wonder if cars like this will lead to rally-races where the winner is the team that can drive above a certain speed for the most number of laps on a fixed amount of fuel. That would be an amazing engineering challenge with a lot of real world value.


Between the slanket, a wearable Blanket and selkbag, the Wearable Sleeping Bag; clearly this is a market for Snuglies for adults.


The car start-up developed a light-weight passenger car with outstanding aerodynamics. The Loremo LS is powered by a 2 cylinder Turbo Diesel engine with 20 hp and 160km/h top speed. The amazing thing is that the Loremo only needs 1.5l per 100km. This is approx. 157MPG! The Toyota Prius hybrid has only 55MPG (combined city and highway). With one tank (20l) you could drive 1,300km.

Honda FCX Fuel Cell Vehicle to Go Into Production

Honda announced it will began building a new fuel cell vehicle, with the first Honda FCX model hydrogen-powered fuel cell car rolling off the assembly line "within three or four years." Along with unique ways of arranging the fuel cells within the vehicle, Honda also dreamed up an idea for obtaining the hydrogen necessary to fuel this baby.


The popular nightspot is among a growing number of places across the country where people can bring their iPods and other portable music players and, for as long as the bartender allows, share their personal favorites with the crowd.
First self service gas, and now a self service Bar music. Wonder if the folks at contempt will follow that lead.

And of course, Gizmodo has just the right gadget for an iDJ.

iPod mittens

iPod mittens. Great if you use an iPod in winter and never extend your arms far. I guess you could run the headphone wires under your coat they won’t tangle.