Everything you wanted to know about the Internet and sex toys (but were afraid to ask)

Fear not:  your curiosity has been satisfied.  CNET has published an analysis of the state of play (you should pardon the expression) in the “connected” sex toy market.  I’m not going to go into details here (for obvious reasons, on a family-friendly blog), but I must admit to being mind-boggled by some of the things out there.  Note, too, the names of some of the companies and Web sites involved.  Weird, yes, but funny too!  Not so funny is the news that such devices may be spying on you, and reporting back to their manufacturers on how, and how often, you use

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“The big hand is on the 12, and the little hand . . . “

It seems our digital era is causing yet another casualty. It has long been a rite of passage for young children; the moment they first begin to grasp how to tell the time as their parents patiently explain the significance of the “big hand” and the “little hand”. But the ubiquity of mobile phones and tablets, with their digital 24-hour clock, is threatening to make the art of telling the time from a traditional timepiece redundant. So much so that a school in Scotland has found that pupils as old as 13 are unable to tell the time from the ‘analogue’

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More F-4 Phantoms at work and at play

This year the Japan Air Self-Defense Force will be retiring the last of its F-4 Phantom aircraft.  It’s one of the last Air Forces to operate the veteran type, which was a mainstay of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s.  It’s always had a reputation as a demanding aircraft to fly, but one that repays piloting skill with superb performance. A Japanese videographer has produced a couple of fascinating videos of the JASDF’s Phantoms over the past year or so.  We’ve seen them in these pages.  Here’s his latest offering, filmed in slow motion at very high resolution. It’s amazing to think that the F-4 first flew

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The epithet “soy boy” may have some basis in reality

I’ve often heard metrosexual males referred to disparagingly as “soy boys“.  I’ve heard the same epithet applied to those who regularly consume “gourmet” coffees from places like Starbucks and the like.  Now we learn that soy may, in fact, have some relevance to that. The use of soybean oil has increased dramatically over the last few decades, to the extent that is has become the most widely consumed edible oil in the US and other Western nations. However, its rise has coincided with an alarming escalation in metabolic conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, and a new study indicates that this may be down

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The radioactive tanks of Chernobyl

There’s a fascinating article at Firearms News titled “The Radioactive ISU-152“.  It describes how some of the biggest, heaviest tanks of World War II returned to the scene of one of their victories, four decades later, to act as saviors rather than destroyers. The SU/ISU-152 was designed specifically to be a part of both the shock and breakthrough elements of the Soviet Deep Battle doctrine. The KV heavy tank chassis would provide the base for the massive ML-20S, a portable version of the standard 152mm howitzer in service. The gun had a range of 10km for indirect fire but was reduced to less

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“What would happen in an apocalyptic blackout

That’s the question asked by the BBC in a very interesting analysis of how dependent we are on electricity for our very survival in urban areas.  It looks at Venezuela’s real-life experience of prolonged blackouts, and extrapolates from that to the situation in most major cities.  Here’s an excerpt to show you the scale of the problem. In our modern world, almost everything, from our financial systems to our communication networks, are utterly reliant upon electricity. Other critical infrastructure like water supplies and our sewer systems rely upon electric powered pumps to keep them running. With no power, fuel pumps at petrol

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Boeing’s answer to the 737 Max problems: more automation?

In all the hype about the problems surrounding Boeing’s 737 Max airliner, particularly the two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, I couldn’t help noticing one thing.  Airlines and pilots in First World countries appear to have had few similar problems with the aircraft.  It’s those in Third World countries that did – and not all of them, either.  The Lion Air 737 Max that crashed had experienced control problems just the day before the accident – but a third pilot on board, who knew what he was doing, told the flight crew what to do (as was pointed out in the aircraft manual), and the problem

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This is a must-see if you value your privacy

This Vice report looks at how China is using facial recognition technology to track every one of its citizens.  However, if you think that same technology isn’t being deployed right here in America, right now, you’re ill-informed.  I know it is.  I have enough contact with former law enforcement colleagues to be sure of that. To understand this technology’s near-terminal threat to your privacy, watch this 13-minute video clip. And here we thought that Big Brother was just a fictional trope . . . instead of a reality. Peter

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Big Brother – vehicle edition

Earlier this month, I pointed out that “If you allow “smart” devices to listen to you non-stop, you’re crazy“.  That article examined the security risks of allowing smart devices into your home, because you had no idea what they were listening to and/or recording. Now comes news that your car is almost certainly spying on you just as hard, if not harder.  Please watch the short video below;  or, if you prefer, read the report about the investigation.  Both are mind-blowing in their implications for our security. It turns out that almost every modern vehicle is recording just about everything it

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80 years of MiG fighters

The aircraft design bureau headed by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, which has gone down in history by the amalgamation of the first letters of their last names as MiG, was formed on December 8th, 1939 – 80 years ago, plus a few days.  Today it’s the “Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG” division of United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, and is still going strong. To celebrate the anniversary, the company produced this short video highlighting several of its most famous designs, from the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters of World War II, to the MiG-15 that terrorized Allied aircraft during the Korean War, to the MiG-17, –19 and –21 of the Vietnam War era, to the MiG-29 that

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