Lego to launch NASA-inspired moon sets in time for Artemis 1 launch

Lego is launching a new series of building toys themed around NASA’s Artemis program just in time to coincide with the first mission.

The toy company recently revealed the first two of its NASA-inspired Lego City Space sets with hints of more to come. The new Rocket Launch Center and Lunar Research Base are scheduled for release on March 1, 2022.

After several delays, NASA is now looking to launch its Artemis 1 moon mission in March or April.

“Lego City Space toy playsets come with feature-rich models inspired by real NASA machines, vehicles and spacecraft, plus inspiring astronaut characters for imaginative, open-ended play based on real-life space missions,” Lego wrote on its website.

Related: How NASA’s Artemis moon landing with astronauts works

The Lego City Rocket Launch Center includes a mobile launch tower and rocket that resembles the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift booster making its first flight on Artemis 1. The Lego rocket, which features NASA “meatball” and “worm” logos just like the real vehicle, stands more than 16.5 inches tall and 4 inches wide (42 by 11 cm).

The set also includes an observation dome and launch control center, plus a service vehicle and drone. The Lego minifigures that come with the Rocket Launch Center set include scientists, technicians and two astronauts similar to the four minifigures flying for Lego Education on the real Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft.

The 1,010-piece Rocket Launch Center (set no. 60351) will sell for $149.99.

Some of the minifigures included in the new Lego City Space sets are similar to the figures flying on the Artemis 1 mission. (Image credit: Lego/

The Lego City Lunar Research Base is “inspired by NASA’s Artemis base camp concept,” according to Lego’s box art. The set includes the 786 plastic bricks to build a lunar lander, a domed accommodation module with laboratories, a garage, airlock and six astronaut minifigures.

The lunar lander loosely resembles SpaceX’s Starship human landing system (HLS), which NASA selected to deliver the first astronauts to the lunar south pole.

The set also includes the parts to build a VIPER rover, based on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, which is the agency’s first lunar mobile robot. The real VIPER is scheduled to be delivered to the moon in late 2023 by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

The Lunar Research Base (set no. 60350), which when built will measure 5 inches tall, 15.5 inches wide and 10 inches deep (13 by 40 by 25 cm), lists for $119.99.

The NASA-inspired Lego City Space Rocket Launch Center and Lunar Research Base sets are scheduled for release on March 1, 2022. (Image credit: Lego/

The box art for the research base also points to another set coming soon, a moon rover. The yet-to-be-announced set (no. 60348) is shown being able to connect directly to the base to ease the transfer of astronauts (minifigures) back and forth.

“Combine this set with others from the Lego City Space toy range for nonstop space fun,” Lego promotes on its website.

At least one other set in the series has been teased in a German toy catalog, the Lunar Space Station (60349), which appears to be based on NASA’s Gateway, a human-tended outpost to be built in lunar orbit.

The Lego City Space toy playsets continue a partnership between NASA and Lego that promotes the space agency’s exploration programs while encouraging an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Previous Lego sets have celebrated NASA’s Apollo moon missions, space shuttle and space station programs and future plans to land astronauts on Mars.

Check out’s best Lego space deals guide for more space building options.

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December 29, 2021 at 06:04PM

How to Upgrade Your YouTube Recording Setup

You don’t need much to get started on YouTube. A free video editor, maybe a webcam and a microphone, and you’re good to go. However, if you’re ready to step up your game a bit, there’s always more gear to add to your arsenal. Before you drop thousands on equipment, let’s talk about what gear will actually help (and when you can get more out of what you already have).

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The Big One: Upgrade Your Camera

If you appear on camera in your videos—or you shoot someone or something else that does—then getting a decent camera is going to be a top priority for you. However, a good camera won’t magically make your footage better. So the first step in picking a good camera is figuring out whether the one you have really needs to be replaced.

A good place to start is asking whether you’re straining against the restraints on the hardware you have. Taking close-up video of small objects with a shallow depth of field, for example, requires control that your phone camera might not have (although you might have some luck with a cheap macro lens). Try to practice using your current camera to compose good shots before you jump to a new one.

Once you’re ready to make the switch, you have a few options. DSLR cameras often make great video cameras (it’s what I use for my own videos) because they let you use all the lenses and controls that pro photographers use. And usually you can find decent bundles of camera bodies and lenses on used-goods sites for much cheaper than you’d find buying new.

The downside of going the DSLR route is that most of them aren’t designed to record for long stretches of time. For example, I use a Nikon D7500, recording in 4K, and it cuts out after roughly half an hour because it generates too much heat. If you can live with that, it’s an excellent option, but if you need to record continuously—say for a live event—then a camcorder may be a better option for you. Professional-grade camcorders can be a bit more expensive, and most don’t offer the same kind of lens control that you get with a DSLR, but it might suit your needs better.

Alternatively, if you’re doing more vlog-style videos, portability may be more important. GoPro portable cameras are so popular that the GoPro look has become its own aesthetic on YouTube, but they’re not the only company on the block. The Zoom Q2n, for example, is an excellent little 4K recorder that’s not super expensive, and you can pretty easily put it on a selfie stick or a stand and take it anywhere.

via Wired Top Stories

December 29, 2021 at 07:06AM

Microsoft’s Triple-Screen Phone Concept Is So Ridiculous, I Need To Try It

Pictured is TCL’s tri-fold concept
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Microsoft hasn’t quite stuck the landing with its Surface Duo folding smartphone attempts, but the company is already eyeing the next major advancement, and it could be as simple as adding another screen.

A patent discovered by Patently Apple suggests Microsoft is toying with the idea of creating a smartphone with three displays and two hinges. It’d look something like a trifold wallet, or a triptych for you history buffs out there.

The concept is essentially the current Surface Duo with a third panel connected to one of the screens by a second hinge. This way, you get even more screen real estate when the device is completely unfolded, yet the phone wouldn’t be much larger than current foldable models because the three panels would stack on top of each other.

But it would, we assume, be pretty damn thick and heavy—so chunky that it might not be the sort of thing you can comfortably hold in your hand or keep in your pocket. So hopefully by the time this device sees the light of day—which probably won’t be anytime soon, if at all—Microsoft finds a way to trim down each layer of this smartphone cake. Remember, Microsoft’s Surface Duo opens and closes at a central hinge rather than using a foldable display, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

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Impracticality of this thing aside, I’m rooting for Microsoft’s tri-headed beast to make its way onto the market if only for the sheer absurdity of it all. Who wouldn’t want a play with a phone that could transform into a 10-inch (or larger) tablet with a motion that’s as easy as opening your wallet? Sure, fiddling with two hinges may sound too fussy, and dual-screen phones are already too cumbersome for some folks, but I’m here for the chaos.

Plus, one of the downsides of the current Surface Duo is that there is no screen on the exterior. Microsoft added a Glance Bar to the Surface Duo 2 so you can quickly view notifications, but you still need to use two hands to open the phone before you can use it. This patent could solve this limitation with a third screen that faces outward so you could use the Surface Trio (?) like a normal smartphone when you don’t need three panels overwhelming you with information.

It turns out Microsoft isn’t the only company considering a tri-screened phone. Uncovered by LetsGoDigital, Samsung in mid-June filed a patent with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) describing a similar device with three displays that can fold into a Z shape. Samsung showed us how this fantasy device might look like in a brief video posted to YouTube earlier this year.

Even more tangible is TCL’s trifold concept, which we called “awkward and incredibly cumbersome” but found the ability to unfold the phone into a large tablet “pretty impressive.”

While we typically caution you from getting excited about concepts described in patents, enough of the big players are tinkering with three-screen phones to suggest one could find its way onto the market—whether this is a good idea or not.

via Gizmodo

December 28, 2021 at 12:57PM

Rivian’s R1T electric truck brings adventure to the EV crowd

Announcing a vehicle is one thing, actually following through and building that vehicle at a factory and then selling it, that’s an almost impossible feat for a new company. But like Tesla before it, Rivian has pulled it off and in doing so has built one of the best trucks on the road today, EV or otherwise.

The all-electric Rivian R1T starts at wallet-busting $67,500, but for that money, owners will get the latest technology out there in a truck that’s at home on the highway, around town, and crawling over rocks, and navigating muddy trails. We put one to the test in the rain in Northern California.

via Engadget

December 29, 2021 at 09:06AM

Visiting the COLDEST CITY in the World (-71°C, -96°F)

Watch as Youtuber “Discover With Cenet” visits Yakutsk, Siberia, the coldest city on the planet where the coldest temperature ever recorded went down to -96°F (71°C).

[Discover With Cenet | Via LS]

Click This Link for the Full Post > Visiting the COLDEST CITY in the World (-71°C, -96°F)

via [Geeks Are Sexy] Technology News

December 28, 2021 at 09:03AM

Poll: Here Are Japan’s Top 100 Video Games Of All Time

Can you guess number one?
Screenshot: Nintendo/Kotaku

Last night on Japanese television, there was a three-hour special to rank the hundred most popular video games of all time as voted by over 50,000 people in Japan.

Since this poll has such a huge sample, the TV Asahi results are probably a fairly accurate barometer of people’s current gaming tastes in the country.

A panel of celebrities commented on the games as they were announced one by one. Famous panelists included Game Center CX’s Shinya Arino, who said his number one choice was Super Mario Bros. 3, entertainer Eiji Wentz, who said his favorite was Final Fantasy VII, and comedian and Famitsu columnist Hikaru Ijuin, who listed his number one choice as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

(Full disclosure: Kotaku broadcasted the English language release of Game Center CX.)

Below is a list of Japan’s top 100 games of all time as recapped on Twitter (here, here, here, here, and, uh, here):

100. Persona 3
99. Pokémon Platinum
98. Persona 4
97. Super Mario World
96. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
95. Mother
94. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
93. Persona 5 Royal
92. Monster Hunter 4G
91. Street Fighter II
90. Final Fantasy VIII
89. Super Mario Galaxy 2
88. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
87. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
86. Monster Hunter
85. Dragon Quest VI
84. Final Fantasy XI
83. Dragon Quest VII
82. The Legend of Mana
81. Dragon Quest Builders 2
80. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
79. Metal Gear Solid
78. Nobunaga’s Ambition
77. Mario Kart Wii
76. Kirby Air Ride
75. Animal Crossing: Wild World
74. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
73. Gran Turismo 4
72. Kirby Super Star
71. Dr. Mario
70. Monster Hunter World
69. Super Mario RPG
68. Pokémon X/Y
67. Bloodborne
66. Ghost of Tsushima
65. Suikoden
64. Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver
63. Final Fantasy III
62. Xevious
61. Super Smash Bros.
60. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2
59. Dead by Daylight
58. Animal Crossing
57. Super Donkey Kong
56. Super Mario Galaxy
55. Yokai Watch 2
54. Dragon Quest VIII
53. Tales of the Abyss
52. The Legend of Zelda
51. Final Fantasy IV
50. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
49. Kingdom Hearts
48. Nier: Automata
47. Final Fantasy XIV
46. Dragon Quest II
45. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
44. Dragon Quest X
43. Xenoblade
42. Persona 5
41. Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Reiwa mo Teiban!
40. Xenogears
39. Dark Souls III
38. Puyo Puyo
37. Final Fantasy IX
36. Pokémon Gold and Silver
35. Xenoblade 2
34. Final Fantasy V
33. Final Fantasy VI
32. Resident Evil
31. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
30. Apex Legends
29. Okami
28. Mother 2
27. Dragon Quest XI
26. Pokémon Black and White
25. Tetris
24. Pokémon Red and Green
23. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
22. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
21. Splatoon
20. Minecraft
19. Suikoden II
18. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
17. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
16. Kingdom Hearts II
15. Dragon Quest IV
14. Pokémon Sword and Shield
13. Undertale
12. Super Mario Kart
11. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
10. Super Mario Bros. 3
9. Final Fantasy X
8. Chrono Trigger
7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
6. Dragon Quest III
5. Splatoon 2
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
3. Final Fantasy VII
2. Dragon Quest V
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild

Any surprises?

via Kotaku

December 28, 2021 at 06:03AM

If AI Is Predicting Your Future, Are You Still Free?

As you read these words, there are likely dozens of algorithms making predictions about you. It was probably an algorithm that determined that you would be exposed to this article because it predicted you would read it. Algorithmic predictions can determine whether you get a loan or a job or an apartment or insurance, and much more.

These predictive analytics are conquering more and more spheres of life. And yet no one has asked your permission to make such forecasts. No governmental agency is supervising them. No one is informing you about the prophecies that determine your fate. Even worse, a search through academic literature for the ethics of prediction shows it is an underexplored field of knowledge. As a society, we haven’t thought through the ethical implications of making predictions about people—beings who are supposed to be infused with agency and free will.

Defying the odds is at the heart of what it means to be human. Our greatest heroes are those who defied their odds: Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Curie, Hellen Keller, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and beyond. They all succeeded wildly beyond expectations. Every school teacher knows kids who have achieved more than was dealt in their cards. In addition to improving everyone’s baseline, we want a society that allows and stimulates actions that defy the odds. Yet the more we use AI to categorize people, predict their future, and treat them accordingly, the more we narrow human agency, which will in turn expose us to unchartered risks.

Human beings have been using prediction since before the Oracle of Delphi. Wars were waged on the basis of those predictions. In more recent decades, prediction has been used to inform practices such as setting insurance premiums. Those forecasts tended to be about large groups of people—for example, how many people out of 100,000 will crash their cars. Some of those individuals would be more careful and lucky than others, but premiums were roughly homogenous (except for broad categories like age groups) under the assumption that pooling risks allows the higher costs of the less careful and lucky to be offset by the relatively lower costs of the careful and lucky. The larger the pool, the more predictable and stable premiums were.

Today, prediction is mostly done through machine learning algorithms that use statistics to fill in the blanks of the unknown. Text algorithms use enormous language databases to predict the most plausible ending to a string of words. Game algorithms use data from past games to predict the best possible next move. And algorithms that are applied to human behavior use historical data to infer our future: what we are going to buy, whether we are planning to change jobs, whether we are going to get sick, whether we are going to commit a crime or crash our car. Under such a model, insurance is no longer about pooling risk from large sets of people. Rather, predictions have become individualized, and you are increasingly paying your own way, according to your personal risk scores—which raises a new set of ethical concerns.

An important characteristic of predictions is that they do not describe reality. Forecasting is about the future, not the present, and the future is something that has yet to become real. A prediction is a guess, and all sorts of subjective assessments and biases regarding risk and values are built into it. There can be forecasts that are more or less accurate, to be sure, but the relationship between probability and actuality is much more tenuous and ethically problematic than some assume.

Institutions today, however, often try to pass off predictions as if they were a model of objective reality. And even when AI’s forecasts are merely probabilistic, they are often interpreted as deterministic in practice—partly because human beings are bad at understanding probability and partly because the incentives around avoiding risk end up reinforcing the prediction. (For example, if someone is predicted to be 75 percent likely to be a bad employee, companies will not want to take the risk of hiring them when they have candidates with a lower risk score).

via Wired Top Stories

December 27, 2021 at 06:12AM