DARPA reveals design of its space plane for faster, cheaper satellite launches


Launching satellites into orbit could get a lot cheaper thanks to an experimental space plane. 

SEE ALSO: NASA’s new space fabric looks like chain mail and can protect astronauts

This week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) revealed the design for the XS-1, which is set to be built by Boeing. The hypersonic aircraft would launch vertically, deploy a second stage to carry a satellite into orbit, and then land like a normal airplane. 

Although the aircraft is still in the concept phase, DARPA believes the final result will be a vehicle that will provide “short-notice, low-cost access to space” for both military and commercial use. Initial tests of the XS-1 technology will attempt 10 flights over the course of 10 days with the ultimate goal being routine low-Earth orbit flights for around $5 million or less per launch. (Currently, it costs SpaceX about $62 million to launch its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit.) Read more…

More about Space, Military, Boeing, Satellites, and Darpa

What Harvard graduates saw from Mark Zuckerberg: Humility


Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f5%2ffa7e04a7 1e7c 5ce7%2fthumb%2f00001Read more…

More about Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard, Graduation 2017, and Commencement Speech

A 4-year-old saw ’Star Wars’ in 1977 and here’s what he drew


When Star Wars came out back in 1977, there was no merchandise — the toys came a year later — or fast-food tie-ins, or Funko Pops, or “character posters” or endless reels of online trailers to pore over in search of a fix.

We had only the movie, and our memories of it, to go on.

SEE ALSO: All the Star Wars tech that seemed cool in 1977, but we’re light years beyond now

One 4-year-old kid — who grew up to be this film reporter — saw Star Wars on opening weekend that year. He was so eager to manifest what he’d just seen that the minute he got home, he plopped down at his desk to storyboard everything he could while his mom started making dinner. Read more…

More about Movies, Kids, Star Wars, Drawing, and Star Wars 40th Anniversary

Another social media marketing campaign just went horribly wrong


What started innocently enough as a giveaway of free soccer tickets to the UEFA Champions League final took a turn for the worse thanks to a handful of online trolls.

SEE ALSO: Pepsi pulls cringeworthy Kendall Jenner ad after massive backlash

Walkers, the snack company that brings the UK its flavored crisps and other treats, started a social media campaign Thursday, asking fans who wanted to win tickets to tweet a selfie with the #WalkersWave hashtag.

The tweets were turned into a video of former soccer player Gary Lineker waving the “selfies” in front of the background of a stadium.

But trolls quickly realized the selfies weren’t being closely vetted before getting on screen, so everyone from serial killers to convicted felons to communist dictators made it onto the site with the sportscaster unwittingly waving the disturbing faces.   Read more…

More about Trolls, Social Media Campaign, Walkers, Uefa Champions League, and Serial Killers

Listen to the largest planet in our solar system sing its song


Take a moment and just let the universe sing to you. 

A new audio file released by NASA on Thursday reveals the “sound” of Jupiter’s plasma as recorded by the space agency’s Juno probe, which is exploring the huge planet.

SEE ALSO: Jupiter is the gigantic, stormy hellscape we always feared

The two minutes of audio sounds pretty eerie, but also oddly familiar, with musical beeps cascading toward the end of the recording. 

NASA researchers created the sound file by  using data taken by Juno during its close pass with Jupiter in February. 

This isn’t exactly what you’d hear if you were floating in the space around Jupiter, however.  Read more…

More about Nasa, Science, Photos, Space Photos, and Jupiter

Kids’ Super-8 ‘Star Wars’ from 1977 is the most charming remake ever


A long four decades ago, in the far, far away village of Whitinsville, Mass., two brothers and a friend were so thrilled by the movie they just saw that they decided to remake it shot for shot.

The movie, of course, was Star Wars, 40 years old on May 25. It changed millions of lives — not least of which were Jim Jongsma, John Jongsma and Gary Baker, who saw it at White City Cinema over in Worcester. 

SEE ALSO: These are the 11 most important Star Wars scenes ever. Fight me.

The trio of fans filmed their homage over the next three years using two Super 8 cameras and a budget of $1,000. The original was financed by 20th Century Fox to the tune of $8 million; this version was mostly financed by a paper route.  Read more…

More about Star Wars and Entertainment

This NFL team’s Twitter joke was so savage its own coach apologized


Dude. Lighten up a little. 

NFL coach Dirk Koetter apologized through the media to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday … all because of a harmless joke made on Twitter by his team’s social media department. 

First things first: Remember how the Falcons blew a 28-3 Super Bowl lead against the New England Patriots a few months ago? 

Of course you do; it pretty much became an instant internet meme. 

And now, with the stage set, on to today’s deliciously petty NFL drama. 

SEE ALSO: I drove across town with Jim Harbaugh at the unholy crack of dawn

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers — coached by Koetter — posted this promotional tweet for  Bucs-branded fidget spinners on Wednesday. (🙄  right? But I digress.) Read more…

More about Nfl, Buccaneers, Bucs, Tampa Bay Bucs, and Falcons Super Bowl Lead

Uber uses a dinosaur to show how you’d control a self-driving car with a smartphone


Why just hail a self-driving car with your smartphone when you can control one, too? 

That may soon be an option if Uber has its way. 

SEE ALSO: Uber is losing a ton — and we mean a ton — of money

As detailed by a patent application published May 25, the company envisions a system that allows a rider to “instruct the autonomous vehicle to perform one or more non-driving operations” via a “mobile computing device.”

That’s right, only non-driving maneuvers are on the table here. So no, you won’t be able to steer the self-driving car with your smartphone. But why would you want to, anyway? If your goal was to drive a car, you wouldn’t be in an autonomous Uber.  Read more…

More about Apps, Smartphones, Transportation, Uber, and Self Driving Cars

‘Minecraft’ players on the autism spectrum find a safe space on the Autcraft server


One dad wanted to give people on the autism spectrum a safe space to play Minecraft, so he made a troll-free server called Autcraft that has ballooned in popularity.

Stuart Duncan, also known as AutismFather, created Autcraft in 2013. Today it has more than 8,200 members, The Mighty reported, and people outside the community are taking notice.

In a video, Duncan explains what exactly Autcraft is and why it’s important for people — kids especially — to have a safe place to Minecraft and be themselves. 

Minecraft, like almost every game with an online element, suffers from bullies and trolls who come in and create toxic environments. Read more…

More about Gaming, Minecraft, Autism, Autcraft, and Entertainment

Zuckerberg sheds tears and gets political in Harvard commencement speech


Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f5%2f9cd0a1a2 5a70 9bf1%2fthumb%2f00001Read more…

More about Business, Facebook, Zuckerberg, Harvard, and Business