Topping the list of things to do before you die: Fly 140 kilometers above Earth's surface, experience zero gravity for a handful of fleeting moments, and look back on the pale blue orb which brought forth and sustains everything that has ever had meaning in your life. Virgin Galactic will make it happen for you--and all you have to do is pony up $150,000 for the privilege. (While SpaceShipTwo has yet to fly, Virgin, which was also responsible for the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, is already accepting reservations.)
|Micro Mosquito R/C Helicopter
It used to be that remote-controlled helicopters were noisy, messy, gasoline-powered beasts that required actual helicopter piloting skills, but not anymore. The Micro Mosquito R/C Helicopter has banished those days to the belly of the Sarlacc, where they will find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years. Even our news editor was able to pilot this little flyer, which at 20 grams would be button cute if you weren't sure that it had military applications.
Artificial Intelligence has been invisibly worming its way into our everyday lives, whether it's the smarts behind your spam filter or the automated face recognition system the UK police have started using in a completely un-ironic attempt to realize George Orwell's most terrifying nightmare. Now a group of software wizards has applied the technology to figuring out when the good parts of a baseball or soccer game happen, and deleting the rest. The result is a highlight reel minus the filler. (Soccer matches have been known to collapse into 30 seconds of "goooal!").
It used to be that there were only two ways to cook food: microwaves and plain old convection heating (or three, if you count being Superman and cooking a souffle with your laser-beam eyes). Then the geniuses over at Black and Decker realized that there was this entire swath of the electromagnetic spectrum--infrared light--that had so far been completely neglected by the otherwise cutting-edge realm of home appliances. The result is the Infrawave, which yields "oven-quality appearance and taste at microwave-like speed." It's not astronaut ice cream, but we applaud any effort to achieve better living through science.