MIT researchers make a material that can be none more black

Move over, vantablack. MIT researchers have accidentally created a material that captures more than 99.995 percent of light. It’s made of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that were originally to be applied to electrically conductive materials in order to improve their electrical and thermal properties.

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What happens when an AI writes a text adventure game?

The path forks. The bike is now on. What should you do next? If you’re confused then welcome to the brave new world of AI text adventure games.

These early games games were great fun now, thanks to modern machine learning, we can find out what happens when an AI tries to create its own. The results are unintentionally hilarious.

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The Apple Watch is still the company’s best product

We are Mac lovers at Knapsack but even if we weren’t, I’d still say that the Apple Watch is still Apple’s singular best product. I can say plenty about its other tools – the too-big iPad Pro, the horrible keyboard on the MacBooks, the locked-down iPhone – but the Apple Watch and now the new Apple Watch 5 still “just work.”

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Daytripper automatically hides your naughtiness when your boss walks by

If you’re anything like me you like to shirk, dilly-dally, and dawdle. But figures of authority like bosses, parents, and teachers are always asking you to focus! How better to thwart their vile ends than with a little box that hides your gaming as soon as they walk by.

This DIY project, called Daytripper, consists of a little sensor and a receiver. When someone walks by the sensor it sends a signal to your computer to hide all your windows or even shut down your computer. This means you can be browsing shopping sites and you’ll immediately be warned when someone who pays your bills walks by.

The kit is simple enough to build by hand but you can also purchase a ready-made kit on Tindie for $59. Some specs:

  • Can detect motion within 120cm (4 ft).
  • Has 5Hz scan rate, works best indoors.
  • Works out-of-box with Windows, compatible with all major OSs.
  • Has a 40-hour battery life, rechargeable via USB-C.
  • Has a 100 meter (330 ft) communication range between TX and RX, open-air.
  • Comes with a magnetic mounting kit.

Given the fact the Man is always trying to steal your time this might be the best solution for stealing it back.

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Watch this LEGO Droid orchestra play the Star Wars Theme

If you watch one video of a bunch of droids playing the Star Wars Theme, please make it this one. Created by conductor Sam Battle, the entire orchestra consists of 46 R2-D2s, 26 mouse droids, and 23 gonk droids – among others – and features real instruments.

Battle, who spent 3,000 on the Star Wars project, previously created a screaming Furby organ.

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Camera sales have cratered

DSLR and mirrorless camera sales have crated, falling far below 2018 numbers in Q3 2019. Estimates point to about 3 million cameras sold in 2019, down from 9 million in 2018 and similarly dismal number sin 2016 and 2017.

The numbers truly began to fall in 2012 when smartphone cameras began to do DSLR tricks like bokeh and artistic lighting simulations. As a result, most photos are taken on phones and viewed on digital screens.

“Let me bring the parallels between servers and cameras into focus for you. Sony and its brethren have taken a page from the Sun playbook. They keep pushing cameras that have features, like higher megapixels, that most people don’t use or don’t care about. And the executives don’t seem to get a key fact about the market reality: what we do with with cameras and photos has changed,” wrote Om Malik, an investor and photographer.

A long time ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy quipped, “Technology has the shelf life of a banana. By the time you buy it, implement it and train people on it, it’s obsolete.” He was talking about servers, but I can’t help but think that his words are just as true for cameras,” he wrote.

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The Librem 5 open source phone is starting to ship

Our favorite hardware maker, Purism, is beginning to ship its Librem 5 Phone, a completely open source handset that aims to “respect your freedom.”

It’s actually pretty cool.

They write:

The iteration schedule starts in September, 2019, and the Librem 5 will be shipping in batches with incrementing code names. Each iteration improves upon the prior in a rapid rolling release throughout the entire first version of the phone, including the public plans for the second revision of the phone for context.

Each batch will come out in one month and will be named after a tree species like Birch and Chestnut.

“Every iteration includes updates to hardware, mechanical design, and software. We will be contacting each customer to confirm their shipping address, which modem and power supply they would like, and to confirm which shipping batch they are currently scheduled to receive — and to give them an opportunity to select a later batch than they are scheduled for, should they prefer to wait for a later iteration,” the team wrote.

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The Galaxy Fold is coming to SK for a mere $2,000

It costs quite a bit to take part in the future – $2,000, to be exact. Samsung has announced that the Samsung Galaxy Fold is available for pre-order online and will ship in South Korea on September 6. Other countries, including the US, will have to wait.

The device, which first appeared in  February 20, 2019 to much derision, failed to impress reviewers who ended up ripping off the front screen protector and cracking the thing in half. Samsung hopes it gets things right this time.

“During the past several months, Samsung has been refining the Galaxy Fold to ensure it delivers the best possible experience,” the company said. “Not only we improved the Galaxy Fold’s design and construction, but also took the time to rethink the entire consumer journey.”

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Behold! Pumpkin Spice poop spray!

If you’ve ever wondered what the end of late stage capitalism looks like, look no further than to this bottle of Pumpkin Spice pre-poop spray from Poo-Pourri. Designed to mask the emanations of the discerning defecator, the spray smells delicately of cinnamon and nutmeg and will reduce your poo smells considerably (or so we were told).

We’re not certain when or if this exciting product will be available on shelves but if everything in your live revolves around Fall then maybe a spritz of this can make post-coffee bathroom break just that much more pleasant.

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