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  • Alt-week 5.4.13: Atacama's mystery skeleton, move to Mars, and lights out for Herschel

    Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.

    Altweek 5413 Atacama's mystery skeleton, move to Mars, and lights out for Herschel

    Well, here we are. It’s happening. We’re officially talking about setting up a human colony on Mars. Not only is this very real, it’s something you can be part of. You don’t have to leave the planet to get your extra-terrestrial fix though, as our two other stories demonstrate. This is alt-week.

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  • Google+ widget lets you embed Photo Spheres on any website

    Google widget lets web devs embed photo spheres on any website

    One of the biggest highlights of Android’s jump to 4.2 was the addition of Photo Sphere, a 360-degree panoramic shooting mode that pans vertically as well as horizontally. It’s a neat trick, but the only way to share it was on Google+ or on a device running Android 4.2 or higher. Now, thanks to a new widget that utilizes the Google+ Platform API, you can embed an interactive 360-degree slideshow on any website you choose — so long as your photos are stored on G+ and PicasaWeb. If you’re willing to play around with a bit of code, have a peek at the source to get started.

    [Image credit: Colby Brown]

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    Via: Colby Brown Photography, Google+

    Source: Google Developers

  • Sony Xperia L swings by the FCC with North America-friendly 3G

    Sony Xperia L swings by the FCC with North Americafriendly 3G

    While Sony intrigued us with the Xperia L’s blend of a low-end smartphone with a higher-end camera, it wasn’t very specific on just where we could eventually buy one: “worldwide” doesn’t help, folks. Courtesy of an FCC filing, there’s now a hint that the phone might show up in North America. The L has surfaced at the US agency carrying HSPA-based 3G compatible with the likes of AT&T, Straight Talk and T-Mobile, as well as Canadian carriers of all sizes. Even with a manual included in the filing, though, there’s no telltale clues as to which providers in either country might be interested. Without any built-in LTE, the Xperia L we see here is more likely to reach either smaller networks or go the carrier-independent route — if it comes to North America at all, that is.

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    Source: FCC

  • Eyes-on with Cornell University's laser tag dunebots (video)

    Eyes-on with Cornell University's laser tag dunebots (video)

    Cornell University may be the host of the Cornell Cup competition, but that doesn’t mean it can’t bring its own robots to join in on the fun. This year, students brought along a few bots, dubbed dunebots, outfitted with all-terrain wheels and equipped with laser tag turrets. The rugged rig features a pair of cameras, a dustproof and water resistant chassis, air intakes capped with filters, and other custom components for suspension and steering. Not only does the team plan on releasing code and documentation for the project, but the hardware was designed with modularity in mind, so others can build their own modified versions.

    Taking the robot into battle requires two pilots armed with Xbox 360 controllers: one directing where it travels, and another aiming the turret and firing. Driving the buggy over the web is also possible, though it takes a few seconds for it to react. The group also baked in voice controls, to boot. If you’re not watching the car duke it out in person, you can even tune in over the web and watch a live video stream from one of its onboard cams. Its top speeds haven’t been firmly nailed down, but the team says the bot was running at approximately 35 percent of its full potential, since it was deemed too fast for conference attendees. Hit the jump to catch us talk with the effort’s Computer Science lead Mike Dezube, and to see a dunebot in action.

    Gallery: Dunebot hands-on

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