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About David Pierini

David Pierini David Pierini is an award-winning Chicago-based photojournalist who writes about photography, especially interesting work being done with mobile devices. Considered a luddite by most of his friends, they did not believe him when he broke the news that he would be contributing to a technology website. He is always on the lookout for a good Instagram feed. He can be reached at davidpierini@gmail.com. Read more posts by David Pierini

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Flatworms in space might hold key to human immortality

Flatworms are headed to the International Space Station and their sacrifice in the name of research gets a salute on the Kentucky Space mission patch.

Flatworms are headed to the International Space Station. Their sacrifice in the name of research gets a salute on the Kentucky Space mission patch. Photo: Kentucky Space

Flatworms are the darlings of the molecular biology field. What scientist doesn’t love a species that can lose an organ or body part — even its head — and grow it back?

It’s quite a trick. We’ll see if they can do it in space.

About 150 planarian flatworms, creatures that are happiest living in rivers or under a log, have first-class tickets aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship, which will take them to the International Space Station for an experiment that could unlock the key to human immortality.

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Time-delay app buffers you against awkward texts

New messaging app On Second Thought allows time to reconsider before a message reaches its destination. Screen grab: On Second Thought

New messaging app On Second Thought allows time to reconsider before a message reaches its destination. Screen grab: On Second Thought

Maci Peterson made a Christian man blush with a text message she sent to plan a first date.

“I wanted to know where to meet, D.C. or Maryland,” she told Cult of Mac. “So I typed, ‘Are you in DC or ML?’ and AutoCorrect changed it to, ‘Are you in D.C. or Me?’ I was so embarrassed.”

Peterson recovered and hopes she is on the verge of saving us all from stumbling fingers, drunken texts and the bewildering algorithms of AutoCorrect. Her new app, On Second Thought, launches this week for Android devices with a version for iPhone users due out early next year.

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Aerial wallpapers give your iPhone new windows on the world

Satellite image showing cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo downloaded from aerialwallpapers.tumblr.com)

This satellite image showing cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico will look great on your iPhone 6. Photo: Aerial Wallpapers

If only we could float above the noise, the dirt and the concrete. What we would see is something peaceful and beautiful.

A graphic designer from Brazil is serving up that kind of serene macro view of the world as wallpaper for our smartphones. His Tumblr blog, Aerial Wallpapers, is loaded with a wonderfully curated collection of satellite photography images.

Joao Paulo Bernades looks for colorful, graphic, Creative Commons-licensed images of Earth from NASA and Airbus Defense and Space, then crops and scales them to fit the iPhone 6. The images appear to be scalable for other devices.

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Navy’s laser weapon zaps drones out of sky for $1 per shot

USS Ponce has U.S. Central Command's blessing to defend itself with this laser weapon. (U.S. Navy video)

The USS Ponce has Central Command’s blessing to defend itself with this laser weapon. Photo: U.S. Navy video

Can you hit your targets when playing an Xbox shooting game? If so, the Navy might just want to put a video-game-like controller in your hands. Except this version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will have you aiming a ship-mounted laser at real enemies.

A Navy video shows a new laser weapon system successfully zapping a small target on a moving ship, shooting an unmanned aircraft out of the sky and picking off other targets at sea.

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NASA launches its sense of humor in parody music video

A dance line of NASA interns from a scene in their parody music video called "All About That Space." From NASA video

A dance line of NASA interns from a scene in their parody music video called “All About That Space.” From NASA video

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make a music video, and maybe you shouldn’t be. Turns out, rocket scientists can’t dance.
NASA released a parody video on YouTube Thursday called “All About That Space,” designed to raise excitement about Orion’s recent first test flight.

The lyrics of Meghan Trainor’s monster hit “All About That Bass” were re-engineered by the Pathways Interns of NASA’s Johnson Space Center to lead the viewer on a behind-the-scenes look at the men and woman hard at work on space travel.

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See four minutes of jaw-dropping space travel in this sci-fi short

A group of people await the arrival of a few dirigibles at the edge of the Victoria Crater on Mars in Erik Werquist's short film "Wanderers."

People await the arrival of dirigibles at the edge of Mars’ Victoria Crater in Erik Werquist’s short film Wanderers.

You can wait until the 2030s when NASA hopes to land astronauts on Mars. Or, if you have four minutes to spare right now, you can see what it is like to stand on the edge of the red planet’s Victoria Crater or catch a Martian sunset.

Erik Wernquist will even throw in a side of rings — Saturn’s that is — for watching his awe-inducing short film, Wanderers, which is embedded below.

“I am always inspired by reading about astronomy, and planetary astronomy in particular,” Wernquist told Cult of Mac. “And when I read about, or see pictures from places, I often fantasize about what it would … feel like to actually be there.”

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Lego scooter helps gimpy tortoise get around

Lego wheels glued on the belly of this tortoise helps him move while he recovers from muscle weakness. Photo by Action Press/Rex

Lego wheels glued on the belly of this tortoise help him move while he recovers from muscle weakness. Photo: Action Press/Rex

Tortoises are born with houses on their backs. But what if their legs aren’t strong enough to move about with such a burden?

A veterinarian in Germany found a solution for one gimpy tortoise by raiding his son’s toy collection: Dr. Carsten Plischke used Lego bricks to make a kind of scooter for Blade, a shellback that has difficulties walking because of a growth disorder.

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Photo finish: Instagram now more popular than Twitter

Photos: Instagram

Photos: Instagram

Oh good, more selfies.

Instagram has surpassed more than 300 million users, doubling its membership in just over a year.

The app, which has a stream of more than 70 million photos and videos per day, now has more users than Twitter (284 million), proving once again your friends would rather see a picture of your dinner than read about it in 140 characters or less.

“Over the past four years, what began as two friends and a dream has grown into a global community,” CEO Kevin Systrom said on the Instagram blog. “We’re thrilled to watch this community thrive and witness the amazing connections people make over shared passions and journeys.”

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This painter sees the world through 8-bit glasses

"R2-D2" by Adam Lister

R2-D2 is just one of Adam Lister’s 8-bit-inspired pop culture artworks.

Remember being lost in the 8-bit world of Atari and Nintendo? When Adam Lister was a boy, he couldn’t spend enough time in his basement playing Pong, Space Invaders or Donkey Kong.

Games and graphics, of course, evolved, and the chiptune music of those game consoles went silent long ago. But the graphic language where characters are a rough collection of cubes and rectangles still speaks to Lister.

It is the lens through which he views art history and pop culture in a series of more than 250 watercolor paintings he created over a three-year period.

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Grumpy Cat’s outrageous earnings are the talk of the tabloids

Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, isn't talking about her bank account. Photo: Ricky Brigante/Flickr CC

Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, isn’t talking about her bank account. Photo: Ricky Brigante/Flickr CC

Whatever she earns, Grumpy Cat has plenty of reasons to smile. The Internet-famous feline just knows her earning power would dry up if she expressed happiness.

The world’s favorite sourpuss has reportedly earned more than $100 million in two years, according to British tabloid The Daily Express. That’s more than Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Matt Damon or Mathew McConaughey.

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