Matt’s Favorites: Internet Taxes OKd, 3D Printer Gun Advance, Cicadas Almost Ready, And Much More
So what’s new, interesting, and kind of weird in this wonderful world of high technology? Well, here’s what I found in the evening gloamings Monday night…
*A Texas man has become the first person to successfully fire a real bullet from a gun that was created on a home 3D printer. University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, 25, released a video of a 3D-printed gun named the “Liberator” taking test shots over the weekend. The gun is mostly made of plastic, with the exception of two metal pieces: a metal firing pin and a six ounce piece of steel that is required by law under the Undetectable Firearms Act. Of course, the piece of steel that makes the weapon visible to metal detectors, and legal, can certainly be omitted by future DIYers. GREAT.
* The U.S. Senate on Monday approved a controversial bill by more than a 2-to-1 margin that would allow states to levy taxes on Internet purchases. The Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to require online vendors to collect sales and use tax on certain out-of-state purchases, was approved in a bipartisan vote of 69 to 27. The bill, which already has the support of President Obama, will now move on to the House of Representatives.
* Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. The insects will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more. Scientists even have a horror-movie name for the infestation: Brood II. But as ominous as that sounds, the insects are harmless. They won’t hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs.
* Adobe Systems announced Monday it no longer will sell its Creative Suite software, as it moves instead to the $50-per-month Creative Cloud and other subscription plans. Single apps, like PhotoShop or Illustrator, are available for $20 per month.
* Electronic Arts and Maxis announced Monday that “The Sims 4” is currently in development. The blockbuster life simulation game lets players create virtual people with needs, build homes and simulate real life. There are no additional details on how the game might change in its next iteration. On its website EA only hinted at new tools and sharing.
* Maybe, finally, my flying car, O disappointing future? Just maybe.
* If you called Sarah Brightman a space cadet, it would probably make her smile. That’s because she plans on becoming the first recording artist to venture into space en route to the International Space Station sometime in the next two years.
* When Google said it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion, it was applauded as a bold move to shore up its patent position. A year and a half and several legal setbacks later, many are wondering when — and if — Google will ever see a payoff.
* When it comes to parody news site the Onion, it’s hard to tell if anything it publishes is real. So, after the site’s Twitter feed had several tweets on Monday saying “The Syrian Electronic Army Was Here” and other similar messages, few people batted an eyelash. However, both the Syrian Electronic Army and the Onion have confirmed that indeed the site’s Twitter account was hacked, according to The New York Times.
* Wow: Take a swab of saliva from your mouth and within minutes your DNA could be ready for analysis and genome sequencing with the help of a new device.
* New research suggests that the body’s ‘fountain of youth’ may lie in the brain.