Category: Technology


Solar Impulse, the zero-fuel aeroplane, has flown the first leg across the continental United States in its attempt to fly around the world.

It left Mountain View, California, at dawn on Monday and landed 16 hours later in Goodyear, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona.

It was the 10th leg of its round the world quest.

Swiss adventurer Andre Borschberg was at the controls, having taken over from Bertrand Piccard.

Piccard flew Solar Impulse to the West Coast of the US from Hawaii just over a week ago.

The latest stint was relatively short – 1,113 km.

Take-off from the famous Moffett Airfield occurred at 05:03 PDT (12:03 GMT) and the plane landed in Phoenix at 20:55 PDT.

The team has traversed America before, in 2013. That crossing was undertaken in the prototype predecessor to the current aircraft. But it does mean the weather conditions the Solar Impulse is likely to encounter will be well understood.

Piccard and Borschberg are aiming to get to New York by the start of June, to begin preparations for the big Atlantic crossing.

Source: Solar Impulse aeroplane reaches Phoenix, Arizona – BBC News

Google’s April Fools’ Day prank has backfired, leaving the company looking the fool and a number of concerned users fearing for their jobs – or worse.

As 1 April began in Australia, the company announced its latest stunt: “Gmail Mic Drop”, a special version of the send button which appends a gif of a minion (one of the sexless, ageless merchandising icons from the Despicable Me series) dressed as the queen dropping a microphone to the end of your email.

“Everyone will get your message, but that’s the last you’ll ever hear about it,” Google added in a blogpost announcing the feature. “Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won’t see it.”

For most companies, that would be the end of it, but Google has a longstanding tradition of actually building the products they “announce” on April Fools’ Day, even if they only survive for 24 hours.

Unfortunately, the way the company decided to implement the Mic Drop feature was by simply placing the button on every user’s compose window, making it easy enough to hit accidentally. Web developer Andy Baio quickly started cataloguing some of the users who had been undone by the change.

One, who posted on the company’s Gmail help forum, wrote: “Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the ‘Mic Drop’ send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offence to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn’t reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this ‘hilarious’ prank.”

Source: Google disables April Fool joke amid user fury after prank backfires | Technology | The Guardian

A Japanese college student built a mechanical wooden clock that writes out the time every minute.

The clock keeps ticking with the help of four weights and has no electrical parts.

Kango Suzuki posted a picture of it on Twitter and it’s been retweeted 100,000 times.

Suzuki has been flooded with job offers and said he’s still perfecting the clock, but hopes to have it ready for his final school project.

Source: Japanese student builds intricate wooden mechanical clock | abc7.com

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