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Bowie in space, atrocious local commercials and more in this week’s Staff Picks

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Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: 3D-printed guns are for wussy elites

So, 3D-printed guns are now a thing. The Texan libertarians at Defense Distributed unveiled last week their so-called Liberator pistol, a funny-looking all-plastic firearm created with a fancy 3D printer that costs $8,000 … used. They even put the designs up online for anyone to download for free, a move the U.S. State Department thought was just special. Now everyone is freaking out about terrorists and other punks getting their slimly little mitts on these potentially undetectable weapons of minor destruction – as if the creation of guns on an enormously expensive 3D printer is the next front in the War on Terror.

As you may have gathered, I’m not particularly impressed or frightened by the prospect of 3D printed guns. Know what I am impressed by? Pipe shotguns – specifically, the homemade pipe shotgun this video below. While the lovely be-hatted man in the video won’t reveal how he crafted his wickedly awesome firearm, it looks as through you’d only need a middle school-level sex education class to figure out how it all fits together. And you could easily arm an entire militia with homemade pipe shotguns for the cost of a used 3D printer. It almost makes Defense Distributed’s newfangled shooter seem downright elitist, don’t you think?

caleb-denisonCaleb Denison: The best kind of commercials

I’m a sucker for terrible local business ads. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have a few local businesses that would most likely have folded decades ago were it not for the fact that their owners insisted on being featured in their own ads, thus becoming local icons. Bless you, Tom Peterson … and your haircut!

Our fair nation is full of these narcissistic nimrods, and, fortunately for all of us, there are people like Rhett and Link who have the right blend of skills and comedic genius to take advantage of them.

Recently, Rhett and Link have been on a local television advertising kick, and they’re getting plenty of attention for it. Their recently released Shift It, featuring Burbank transmission shop owner and Iranian vocal sensation Goorgen, seemingly went viral before it was posted, garnering immediate attention from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres.

Now, just weeks since Shift It blew up the ‘tube, Rhett and Link are back with another hilarious – and extremely creepy – ad, this time for LA Chiropractor, Ryan Lee. There’s a pun to be had here – something about cracking you up – but I just don’t have the energy to put it together after laughing my ass off for the past several minutes. Just watch and enjoy. Ah, and lest you think Rhett and Link are heartless jerks, you should know the subjects are all in on it.

Les ShuLes Shu: What’s worse than a crying baby? That stank from your pits

It’s no secret that unless you’re in the first- and business-class cabins, flying has become the same kind of miserable experience once only equated with traveling on Greyhound (even Greyhound has improved the ride with Wi-Fi and power outlets). Once upon a time, all passengers were treated to complimentary meals, blankets, pillows, and leg room, but now airlines have been aggressively cutting amenities or charging hefty fees for them. The latest Harris Interactive survey on air travel, released this week, reflects how our attitudes toward air travel have changed. Instead of complaining about being served bad food, baggage fees and types of seats are now at the top of the list.

On the tech front, the survey found some interesting stats. Men are twice as likely as women to select Wi-Fi as a top amenity (28 versus 14 percent). On flights lasting three or more hours, nearly half of people surveyed said they would pay more for seatback entertainment on a three-hour or longer flight, while 44 percent said they would pay for Wi-Fi. Folks traveling with kids under 18 years old are almost twice as likely to pay for Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment than those without kids.

But, more than half of those polled agreed on one thing: 63 percent said they would rather sit next to a crying baby than a smelly adult. So, the next time you fly, make sure you pack some deodorant for that B.O.


jennifer-bergenJen Bergen: Astronaut Chris Hadfield sings Bowie in space, is way cooler than all of us

This week was about two things for me: Daft Punk’s new album, Random Access Memories (which you can still stream free on iTunes), and motha effin’ Chris Hadfield. Yes, I’ve known Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is one BAMF for a long time (he’s shared videos of himself on the International Space Station doing things like wringing out a washcloth in zero gravity, showing us why you can’t cry in space, and why it’s difficult to smell things in space – his videos making him an Internet superstar), but his latest video is what really had me saying “Man, Chris Hadfield is the coolest dude in the world … nay, the solar system.”

On Monday, a video of Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity” went viral. Now, with nearly 13 million views on YouTube, Hadfield’s rendition of the song, including a floating guitar, which he eventually plays, is believed to be the first music video shot in space. It really puts a whole new spin on the song considering the video was actually shot “sitting in a tin can far above the world.” Even Bowie tweeted the video, which is quite a compliment. The video is 5.5 minutes long, but it’s worth watching every minute of it.

amir iliafarAmir Iliafar: The future is finally here

As a gamer growing up in the 90s, the closest I ever got to experiencing what I thought would be the future of gaming by now – 3D goggles – was playing the ill-fated Nintendo Virtual Boy demo at my local Target. I still don’t forgive my parents for ignoring my compelling arguments as to why they should buy me one (because I really, really wanted it) but in hindsight they helped me dodge a steaming pile of crap.

Carl Zeiss’s cinemizer 3D multimedia video glasses are different. First, they’re not a steaming pile of crap, or at least don’t appear to be. And it’s not a dedicated gaming rig like the Virtual Boy, though it was designed with gaming in mind. Slapping on a pair treats you to a 40-inch 3D screen, along with stereo sound. The cinemizer even has a built-in 3D head-tracking feature that turns the view as your turn your head, meaning that next playthrough of Skyrim could be even more epic than usual.

Of course the cinemizers provide other functions too, like CAD visualization and Immersive learning capabilities, but I’m not gonna lie – I only care about the gaming.

Sadly, there is no word yet on when or if these bad boys are coming out.

Now if they could only start working on some true and proper Star Trek holodeck technology, I’d be even more excited.

natt garunNatt Garun: Jamie Foxx does Sesame Street

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jamie Foxx on the set of his upcoming short film for Canon’s “Project Imaginat10n” contest. Foxx is no stranger to the world of media: He’s an Academy Award-winning actor, hilarious comedian, director, and has even dabbled in a bit of music. The music, in particular, is what brings me to this gem.

It’s not new to the Internet by any means, but it’s a classic. I’m talking about Foxx’s appearance on Sesame Street, which gave birth to one of my favorite GIFs of all time. I can’t say I understand the context of this song very much, but I love Sesame Street, and I’m still trying to figure out why he made that face at 0:46, but God it makes me so joyful.

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