Canada’s ex-defense minister: Aliens would give us more tech if we’d stop wars

Paul Hellyer, believer.

(Credit: Russia Today/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

I don’t want to disturb what you’re doing right now, but apparently four different species of aliens have been visiting Earth for thousands of years.

I don’t quite have the evidence at hand, but Paul Hellyer, who used to be Canada’s defense minister, claims he has.

In an interview with Russia Today, Hellyer explained (as if it was obvious): “Of course, there’s been a lot more activity in the last few decades.”

The reason for this, he said, was that man was stupid enough to invent the atomic bomb. Aliens are frightened that we’re going to use it again (and again) and that this will affect the whole balance of the cosmos.

Ergo, each visit seems to have symbolized: “What the hell are they doing in that insane asylum today?”

Hellyer suggested that there are Edward Snowden-style whistleblowers who have already revealed government knowledge of alien visits. “It doesn’t take long to get your hands on it,” he said.

Hellyer is perhaps less convincing about his own experience with UFOs. He claims to have seen one, but when asked what it was like he said: “It just looks like a star.”

He added: “The Star of Bethlehem is one of God’s flying saucers.”

Hellyer used to believe … [Read more]

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Kardashian, Banks, Bieber (Who isn’t trying to profit on tech?)

I think that's meant to be Kimmy, but I'm not sure.

(Credit: Glu Mobile)

Sometimes, my inbox is full of exciting news.

An ex has got married, divorced, or drunk. A disliked ex-colleague has been arrested for bigamy.

But Tuesday, it was like my own personal edition of Star magazine.

I could barely contain myself on learning that Kim Kardashian has given her name, voice, body, and soul to a new video game called Stardom.

As InsideApps has it, this is a Glu Mobile game that “will introduce players to the world of Hollywood, with Kardashian serving as the player’s mentor.”

This is a follow-up to Glu Mobile’s “Inferno,” a game that introduces you to the world of Hell, with Beelzebub as your mentor.

It is also a follow-up to its very successful Odometer game, which introduces you to the world of the NBA, with Khloe Kardashian as your mentor.

Yes, of course I made those up. But it seems as if stars are willing to put their names to any type of technological excitement in order to expand their brands.

No sooner had I digested this corn flake of joy, then I received a breathless e-mail declaring that Tyra Banks has just invested in … [Read more]

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10 reasons why you should ignore tech posts that begin with ’10 reasons why’

(Credit: !0PointlessThings/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

1. There are rarely 10 reasons for anything. Sometimes, there are only two or three. These involve ego, need for love and conformism. But other times, there are very many. There might be 5 reasons why you should buy a Nexus 7. Or only one. Some might think there are 8 reasons why an Xbox One will get them through the holiday season. There are, though, 423 reasons why Microsoft Word will, in the end, drive you crazy.

2. When you start out knowing you have to find 10 reasons for something, how many of those are likely to be even remotely correct? Hitting .300 as a listicle writer is harder than for your average slugger.

3. If there was anything magical, revolutionary or even vaguely persuasive about offering 10 reasons why something, Apple’s slick marketers would have launched the iPad with “10 reasons why you should buy the iPad.” Instead, they showed the product and played some music.

4. Look at your favorite gadget. Were there really 10 reasons why you decided to buy it? Or was it just because 10 people you know have one?

More Technically Incorrect

Apple and the emperor’s new wearable tech

Dear emperor, what a lovely watch you have.

(Credit: Socratica Studios/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Can you have too much of any one logo?

Even if it’s one you like, admire, and warm to? Even if it’s one that you believe says more about you than, say, you ever could?

How often do you see supposedly fashionable men and women walking down the street decked out entirely in, say, Tory Burch or Gucci?

Don’t they mix it up a little, just to demonstrate their, you know, individuality?

The question is important when it comes to wearable tech, the alleged next big thing. It’s also important to the future of the Apple brand.

Last week, Apple hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to oversee the next evocation of its retail offering. Ahrendts is someone who believes in the power of emotion.

She is the

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second hire from the fashion industry, after the company hired Paul Deneve from YSL to work on “special projects.”

To some extent, this suggests a certainty within Apple that its most powerful advantage still lies in design. Apple’s confidence in its own taste is vast.

But when it comes to wearable tech, the jury isn’t merely out… [Read more]

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Great tech-spectations: What’s next in tech for 2013

The dog days of summer are here, and with them, a certain ennui seems to have washed over the tech world. But as July becomes August, things will begin to kick into high gear. The big dogs of the tech industry — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and a host of others — know that the all-important fourth quarter is when shoppers get serious. Last fall’s go-to products — Kindle Fire and Nexus tablets, iPads, iPhones — are getting long in tooth, and ready for a refresh. Not coincidentally, a lot of the back-to-school sales are 2012 models, sold at blowout prices to clear shelf space for the all-important Christmas season.

Most anticipated tech of 2013 (pictures)

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Meet Fitwall, where tech and elite fitness get off the ground

The Fitwall frog position. On the wall, pictured from left to right: CEO Josh Weinstein, CNET reporter Jennifer Van Grove, co-founder Ethan Penner, and coach Amy Heidbreder. Coach Clif Harski acts as choreographer.

(Credit: Jennifer Van Grove/CNET)

Beautiful, active people with overflowing pocketbooks make La Jolla, Calif., a San Diego beach town, the perfect place for an upscale fitness craze to take hold.

At least that’s the gamble Josh Weinstein and his three business partners are making with Fitwall, a branded fitness studio where members strap on heart rate monitors, find their assigned Fitwall, and monitor their workout exertion with an attached iPad.

The Fitwall studio in La Jolla, which opened to the public this week, is the first of 100 technology-driven fitness studios that founders Weinstein, Doug Brendle, Ethan Penner, and Anthony Westreich plan to launch in the U.S. over the next few years.

From the outside, the 2,600-square-foot studio looks more like a pristine store for posh shopping than a gym where you’re supposed to work up a sweat. A lounge area stands in for the typical check-in desk because members check themselves in using an iPad at the entrance. And there’s no stereotypical fitness equipment here. No weights. No treadmills. Just walls. Fitwalls.

[Read more]

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Heart study uses mobile tech to try to enroll 1M participants

Researchers behind the Health eHeart Study hope to enroll 1 million participants.

(Credit: Screenshot by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore/CNET)

If researchers at the University of California at San Francisco have their way, their new heart disease study won’t suffer from a small sample size. Using online and mobile phone tools, they hope to get 1 million people from around the world to participate.

Launched this week, their Health eHeart Study (yes, very cute) enables participants to use their smartphones to frequently monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse rate, and submit the resulting data via a secure online portal. The researchers, in turn, will use fancy algorithms to crunch that massive volume of data.

The goal? To use the super sample size to better understand — and thus predict and prevent — heart disease.

“We hope to be able to collect copious amounts of data on a large segment of the population so we can develop very robust and accurate models to predict the occurrence of heart disease in people who don’t yet have heart disease, or slow the progression in people who already have heart disease,” cardiac electrophysiologist … [Read more]

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Peer 150 years into the future of tech and science

The possible future! Click to see the full-size infographic.

(Credit: BBC)

No matter how much you keep up with technology, it’s challenging to predict its impact past a few years down the road. There are so many possibilities on the horizon — especially considering the non-stop advancements in connectivity, nanotechnology, and other expanding fields of next-gen science — that future generations may think of the early 2000s in the same way we think of the early 1900s: as a time when society stood on the cusp of incredible change.

A new BBC Future infographic takes a shot at what could happen in the realm of science, technology, and society as a whole from now to 2150. The predictions, which come from a cavalcade of sources (IBM, MIT, NASA, news outlets, and many others), indicate that the world we know today could be largely different in just a decade.

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2012 Car Tech Awards: And the winner is…

(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2012

2012 Tesla Model S Our choice for CNET Tech Car of the Year goes to the 2012 Tesla Model S, a car that shows superb technology throughout while also challenging our conceptions of how a car should work. Most people know the Model S for its electric drivetrain, which not only gives it tremendous acceleration, but also the best range among current production electric cars. Compared to an internal combustion engine, the Tesla’s electric motor delivers magnitudes of better energy efficiency. The EPA estimates the cost of electricity for a year of driving at $ 700, about 25 percent of the cost for gasoline in an equivalent luxury sedan.

Beyond its efficiency, the Model S modernizes the whole idea of a car’s cabin. Tesla streamlined the entire process of getting into the car and setting off, taking out steps that have become anachronistic. A big touch screen handles all in-cabin functions, eliminating the need for an array of buttons across the dashboard. A 3G data connection feeds the infotainment functions, providing maps, destination search, and music, similar to what we have become used to with our personal electronics. … [Read more]

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‘The Hobbit’ 3D tech divides our CNET reviewers

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' features a new 3D technology that some people have criticized for looking too much like TV.

(Credit: New Line Cinema)

Now that Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has opened in theaters around the world, the most controversial thing about it isn’t even that he somehow is making three 3-hour movies out of a 300-page children’s story. No, it’s the way the movie has been shot that has the most people talking.

The “Hobbit” trilogy has been captured using James Cameron’s 48-frames-per-second 3D technology (HFR 3D), which Jackson says leads to less eyestrain and a sharper picture.

Only a limited number of cinemas will be showing the movie in HFR — Jackson says it’s only 1,000 out of 25,000 theaters.

“On the first day of shooting ‘The Hobbit’ in 48 frames, there was not a single cinema in the world that could project the movie in that format,” Jackson said, according to CinemaBlend.

While we’re not going to go into how the technology works here, CNET editors David Katzmaier and Ty Pendlebury have just come out of a showing in HFR 3D and wanted to share their thoughts.

David: As a big-to-massive Tolkien fan who loves Peter Jackson’s original movies, I was nonetheless disappointe… [Read more]

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