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The Most Detailed View of the Dark Side of  the MoonThis is the hidden face of the moon like you’ve never seen if before, as captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter‘s LOLA instruments. Despite its appearance, the picture wasn’t processed by NASA scientists taking LSD while listening to Pink Floyd.

The rainbow colors correspond to the elevation of the terrain, going from 20,000 feet (red) to -20,000 feet (blue). The beautiful coloring, combined with the unique sharp view of the craters—the largest in the solar system—makes me want the whole Moon to be exactly like that all year around.

The image is part of an article on ten cool things discovered in the first year of the LRO, which includes the Moon landing sites but not this amazing close up of its surface. [NASA]

Send an email to Jesus Diaz, the author of this post, at jesus@gizmodo.com.

Hands-On: Sony Alpha NEX-5  Interchangeable-Lens CameraEagerly anticipated ever since Sony floated its wood-block concept designs at the PMA show in February, Sony’s Alpha NEX-5 and NEX-3 have finally arrived. Its debut models are the smallest entrants to date, and are agressively priced given their features.

The cameras are nearly identical, differing only in two ways. They have slightly different body designs, with the higher-end NEX-5 composed of magnesium alloy, and the NEX-5 offers full HD AVCHD video recording. For those perks you pay about $100 more. Both cameras come in kits with either an 18-55mm ($299.99 standalone) or 16mm pancake prime lens ($249.99 standalone). We received a production-level NEX-5 just before launch, which gave us time to test it and get some shooting done before announcement—you’ll be able to get yours in July. The full review with more testing experience and ratings for that model should follow relatively soon. (Read about the NEX-3.)

How Firefox 4 Will Be "Super-Duper  Fast" and PowerfulWe’ve seen a bit of the user interface already, but now we’ve got a slide show explaining the vision behind the “super-duper fast” Firefox 4 browser: [View Sideshow here]

Every House Should Have a 256-Foot Double  Loop Water SlideThis luxury villa isn’t grand architecture. It’s not made of titanium. And it’s not even underground. But it’s the first home in the world with a 256-foot-long double loop water slide going from its top balcony to the pool.

Every House Should Have a 256-Foot Double  Loop Water Slide

That’s comparable to most water slides in amusement parks. The house is available for rent for families looking for a vacation place in Koh Samui, Thailand. [Lulu Holidays via Born Rich]


Sony EVIL NEX 3 Looks Freaky, But Brings  Great SpecsThe Sony EVIL NEX 3 camera may look a bit odd, but it’s got a 14 MP Sony Exmor HD sensor, a touchscreen—along with old-school knobs—and some nice specs:

  • Image Sensor: 14.2 million effective pixels.
  • Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted and spot.
  • Sensor Size: APS-C-sized CMOS (23.4×15.6mm).
  • Lens: Sony E Series mount.
  • Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/4000 second. Flash sync: 1/160 sec.
  • Continuous Shooting: seven fps.
  • Memory: Memory Stick PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC cards.
  • Image Sizes (pixels): 4592×3056, 4592×2576, 3344×2224, 3344×1872, 2288×1520, 2288×1280.
  • Movies: 1280×720, 848×480, 640×480 at 30 fps.
  • Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
  • LCD Screen: 7.5cm LCD (921,600 pixels).
  • File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 200 to 12,800.
  • Interface: USB 2.0, HDMNI, AV.
  • Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
  • Dimensions: 117.2×62.6×33.4mm WHDmm.
  • Weight: 297 g (inc battery and card).

Sony EVIL NEX 3 Looks Freaky, But Brings  Great Specs

The rumored price for the camera and kit lens is about $900. [Photo Rumors]

What Does 'THX' Actually Mean?

For the first time, THX has shared some of the specifics behind their intense display evaluation program—the battery of tests a manufacture goes through to become THX certified. A fun read if you’re a home theater geek: [HDGuru]

Microsoft Cancels Innovative Courier Tablet  ProjectAccording to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft has cancelled Courier, the folding, two-screen prototype tablet that was first uncovered by Gizmodo.

We’re told that on Wednesday, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported. Courier had never been publicly announced or acknowledged as a Microsoft product.

It appeared from the leaked information last year that a Courier prototype was probably near to completion. The combination of both touch- and pen-based computing was compelling. Perhaps the strong launch of Apple’s iPad, currently the only available “mobile tablet” from a major vendor, caused Ballmer to reassess the commitment of Microsoft in a soon-to-be-crowded market.

We contacted Microsoft, who confirmed that Courier will not go into production. Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw told us:

At any given time, we’re looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. It’s in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

It is a pity. Courier was one of the most innovative concepts out of Redmond in quite some time. But what we loved about Courier was the interface and the thinking behind it—not necessarily its custom operating system.

In fact, it makes sense for Microsoft to continue to trim away splinter versions of its core operating systems and focus on Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 unity across all its devices. Hopefully some of the smart thinking we have seen in Courier will find its way into Microsoft’s tablets, whether they’re powered by Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7.

Why Roger Ebert Hates 3-D (And You Should  Too)While Avatar was technically impeccable, we have already said that 3D is Hollywood’s next big scam. Film critic, Russ Meyer devotee (amen), and overall good guy Roger Ebert agrees. And he provides a definitive list of reasons:

1. It’s the waste of a dimension.
2. It adds nothing to the experience.
3. It can be a distraction.
4. It can create nausea and headaches.
5. Have you noticed that 3-D seems a little dim?
6. It’s an excuse to buy new digital projectors.
7. Theaters slap on a surcharge of $5 to $7.50 for 3-D.
8. I cannot imagine a serious drama in 3-D (neither can I).
9. Whenever Hollywood has felt threatened, it has turned to technology to save the day.

I have to agree with him. I see 3D serving a purpose in interactive experiences like gaming or science visualization, but I hope 3D movies die soon. At least, in its current form.

Read Ebert’s crystal clear explanation of each point in his list at [Newsweek]