Nuke your enemies with a mashup


I hate Gary Cutlack. I don’t actually hate him, but for the purposes of this article, let’s assume I do. Let’s assume I wanted to drop a nuclear bomb on his head, as in the picture to the right. How would I go about doing that?

I could enter into shady negotiations with North Korea or a breakaway Russian republic, but it’s much quicker and easier to just use this Google Maps mashup instead. Simply search for your target, pick a bomb, and you can see exactly how far away people will be affected by the thermal effects of the explosion.

Interestingly, if someone nuked Covent Garden, the inhabitants of Regents Park would be fine. Well, fine until the fallout began, anyway. An asteroid strike, on the other hand, would annihilate everything down to the Sahara. Ouch.

Who would you nuke and why? Let us know in the comments.

(via io9)

First orbital collision – US and Russian satellites get a little too close

In the first reported orbital collision ever, a US and a Russian communications satellite have accidentally collided 780km above Siberia. A “massive cloud of debris” has been produced, and NASA is tracking the hundreds of bits resulting from the crash, in the hope that they won’t interfere with the ISS and the shuttle, which is due to launch later this month.

It’s comprehensively answered the question of “how much stuff can we stick up there without it hitting each other?”, as 6,000 satellites have been sent into orbit since the first in 1957. Only about half are still in use, with the others having become defunct over the years.

The satellites in question belong to Communications firm Iridium, based in Bethesda, Maryland, and Russia’s civilian space agency, Roscosmos. The former was launched in 1997 and only weighed 560kg, so probably came off rather worse in the collision than its one-tonne Russian rival from 1993.

Place your bets in the comments below as to when the second collision will occur. The closest wins a bit of charred satellite, dug out of the tundra of Siberia.

(via BBC)

Man killed by exploding mobile phone


A man in his twenties in Guangzhou, China, has died after an exploding mobile phone severed an artery in his neck. He’d just replaced the battery after charging it. It’s unclear what make or model the phone was, or if it was a dodgy third-party battery, but police are investigating.

Amazingly, it’s the ninth recorded death by exploding phone in China since 2002. One man died when his battery overheated due to the heat of an iron mill he worked at and blew a hole in his chest. Since this incident however, newspapers have published advice on how to avoid mobile phone explosions that I think we can all take on board. Click through to see them over the jump.

Blow me up Scotty: James Doohan's ashes scattered with Falcon 1


You may have already read about SpaceX’s failure to get their privately funded rocketship Falcon 1 into space on Saturday night, but just what you may have missed is the news that stowed onboard the doomed rocket-ship, ready for delivery to space, were three commercial satellites and the cremated remains of 200 people.

Of those 200 urns of ashes blown into mile-high confetti, one happened to contain the remains of everyone’s favourite Scottish Star Trek engineer: Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (actor James Doohan)…

Warning! This iPhone will self-destruct if opened…

It seems that some unfortunate who was trying to physically hack open an iPhone in order to modify the hardware to unlock it from AT&T caused it to “explode”.

The victim explained:

The antenna cover was a bit tricky but eventually it came off. Then we started to open the metal cover (after taking out the 3 screws) and PUFF, up it went in smoke… It literally went up in black smoke. I[t] was so hot that when I tried to pick it up I burnt my fingers. So, this is for shure [sic] the most difficult part of the whole process. I don’t know what he did, as I had just stepped out of the room to fetch something when I heard a scream…they got such a fright. I will post a photo of the iphone… To everybody out there, be carefull….