I, for one, welcome our new eight-wheeled robot overlords.

Octopus: An Autonomous Wheeled Climbing Robot with Tactile Wheels

"The idea is to have a tactile wheel that is able to detect and locate physical contact to the terrain surface on its circumference. A motorized tactile wheel was designed using 16 infrared sensors, which measure the tire deformation caused by the ground contact forces. This measurement gives the contact points an approximation of the normal contact forces acting on the wheel. The mechanical design allows the sensors to be fixed on the wheel hub. The advantage is that the sensors do not turn with the wheel rims and the tire."

The economics of stealing an election

Crypto-Gram, April 15:

Democrats could have gained the majority in the House by switching less than 1/4 of one percent of the total votes -- less than one in 250 votes. [...] In contested House races in 2002, candidates typically spent $3M to $4M, although the highest was over $8M. The outcomes of the 20 closest races would have changed by swinging an average of 2,593 votes each. Assuming (conservatively) a candidate would pay $1M to switch 5,000 votes, votes are worth $200 each. [...]

In 2002, all the Congressional candidates together raised over $500M. As a result, one can conservatively conclude that affecting the balance of power in the House of Representatives is worth at least $100M to the party who would otherwise be losing. So when designing the security behind the software, one must assume an attacker with a $100M budget.

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for when your ballroom needs that air of "Sharper Image" class

An Art Deco falling spiral chandelier had crowds of party-goers mesmerised as they sent text messages to the light and watched their SMSs trickle through the crystal strands like a luxurious ticker tape.

"It's time to shake up the industry. There are too many chandeliers around with no life and soul -- just expensive cookie-cutter designs," said Nadja Swarovski, grand-daughter of the company's founder and vice president of communications.

"OMG LOL U SUX0R", said the chandelier.

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"What is your one purpose in life?"

"To explode, of course!"

"Currently, police robots simply destroy suspicious packages - along with any fingerprint evidence. RAFFE consists of a small box with a heating element, cartridge of Superglue and short pipe. Using remote controls, police direct the robot to the package and heat the Superglue in the box. The glue produces fumes that are piped towards the package. The fumes, containing cyanoacrylate, react with the oils and moisture in the fingerprints, turning them white. The fingerprints can then be photographed using the robot's high-definition camera prior to the safe disposal of the package."