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Robot Uprising

Ladies, gentlemen, and geeks of all genders (in the US only - sorry, New Zealanders), I am proud to have the opportunity to non-exclusively present to you via near-standard-def streaming video for your viewing ecstacy...

...the first episode from the second season of HBO's Flight of the Conchords -- exactly an entire week before it officially premieres!

Now, while I don't normally (ever) contribute to the physical being of our blog in terms of written content (you'll see why - I'm hopelessly addicted to runaway parentheticals), I've been a constant part of G4 and G4tv.com longer than just about anyone on the planet.

Quick (true) story:

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Welcome to the Tech News Countdown, hosted by Alison Haislip. Every Friday, Alison brings you the top 5 tech stories of the week.

In this installment, Alison brings you the top 5 robot stories of the week ending January 2nd, 2009. 

Tech News Countdown - January 2, 2009 »



Give it a watch and tell us what you think in the comments section. You can also cast your opinion in the Tech News Countdown forum.

Subscribe to G4's Tech News Countdown Podcast by clicking your preferred service:

Two photovoltaic solar power plants are planned for San Luis Obispo County in Southern California. Covering 12.5 square miles of otherwise unused desert landscape, the two new installations will create around 800 megawatts of power.

The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric which is under a state mandate to incorporate renewable resources to the tune of 20% of its overall sources. PG&E is saying the costs will be competitive with thermal and wind energy prices already in action or in development.

Solar has finally arrived, people. Now if we can just install the sun in every climate in the world in abundance like it is SoCal, we'll be sound as pie or however you say that phrase.


Robot Has Mouse Brain

Posted August 13, 2008 - By Stephen Johnson

Presumably mad scientists at the University of Reading have announced they've created a robot with a rat's brain. The robot/rat/abomination is powered by a network of cells taken from the brains of rodents. The cells "learn" and have formed a brain-like thing that controls the electronic and machine parts of the--thing.

Although the scientists behind the project say their creation will help us understand how neural networks form our minds, and will provide valuable information that may help victims of neurological diseases, we're pretty sure RatBot is planning some form of world domination. Or maybe it's thinking about how delicious cheese would taste, if it had a mouth.

Please. Kill it. Before it's too late!

BreitBart: A 'Frankenrobot' with a biological brain

Robots Are A-Learnin'!

Posted August 6, 2008 - By Frank Meyer

Researchers in Leipzig have invented software that allegedly allows robots to learn movement through trial and error.

The software mimics the interconnected sensing and processing of a brain via a "neural network," allowing the simulated creatures to explore.

For instance, the video demonstrations, a simulated dog learns to jump over a fence, and a humanoid learns how to get upright and do back flips. The key word here being “simulated,” as they haven’t actually made any of this happen yet. In fact, the video demo of the software looks like it was created in 1983…but I digress…

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DVD rental kiosk leader Redbox is about to get a big challenge from Blockbuster who plan to roll out 10,000 blue boxes of their own over the next 18 months.

Industry analysts expect that the DVD kiosk industry will grow substantially from $197 million last year to $760 million in 2010. We're a little more skeptical in light of ever-increasingly affordable technology in the home allowing for cheaper, faster delivery of rented material, but nobody listens to us.

Blockbuster is mum about the full business model but you can expect it's similar to Redbox which has 6,000 kiosks across the US, each with around 500 movies that rent for $1 a night. B-buster did say that they are working toward a DVD burner in the box that will allow customers to download, burn, and purchase a movie right there on the spot.

hollywoodreporter.com: Blockbuster plans 10,000 DVD rental kiosks

'Transformers' Movie Blu-Ray Details

Posted August 5, 2008 - By jmanalang

Paramount Pictures is finally rolling out the Blu-Ray edition of the megahit, Prime movie, Transformers, this September 2. But not only have been fans waiting for this edition, director Michael Bay has been sharing the same anticipation. In the IGN report, Bay said:

"I've been waiting for Transformers to be released on Blu-ray for a long time, and it was worth the wait. This is the complete high-definition package for fans of this film - it looks stunning and really allows you to engage with this movie in new ways. Remember, I told everyone Blu-ray is the best."

Find out why after the cut (via IGN).

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Water Found on Mars

Posted August 1, 2008 - By TylerColfax

Since surviving the 7 minutes of terror descending through the Martian atmosphere on May 25, the Phoenix Mars Lander has scooped, tested, and found water in the Red Planet's northern plains.

There were scooping issues as the samples they collected were turning into a sticky substance that was hard to get into the ovens for testing. But working around where the sun is at certain times, they've been able to deliver samples to the oven and mass spectrometers, which have led to the greatest discovery man has seen in over a week.

Seriously, though, it's pretty sweet. Beyond the fact that we can take pride in the fact that we actually did it, we can also continue to test the surface to see about sustaining plant life and maybe eventually human life.

Follow yonder link to see a nice panorama of the plains where Phoenix lies. Also, is that a PlayStation 1 on board on the left???

astronomy.com: Water found on Mars

Ak like ya'll didn't already know, but it's true, the robots are stepping it up. Check out the videos from robot masters on DiscoverMagazine.com who have managed to create a few eerily animal-like creatures.

Yep. We're screwed.

discovermagazine.com: 3 Robots That Move Just Like Animals

New AOTS Robots Arrive

Posted July 7, 2008 - By TylerColfax

Check out the gallery of the new Robots for the Attack of the Show set. There are four new bots. One of them has a tap in his chest and is only vaguely phallic as hell. Two of the other bots have flatscreen monitors for chests. All four were designed by Hollywood special effects pros and will be able to talk and do all kinds of fancy new things.

Time to say goodbye to the Army of Monitorheads. You've served us well, Privates, but it's time for you to disappear now.


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