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     Volume 5 Issue 124 | December 15, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   View from the    Bottom
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Mars-bound Spacecraft
This image released by NASA shows the next Mars-bound spacecraft, the Phoenix Mars Lander, as spacecraft specialists work on it after its fan-like circular solar arrays have been spread open for testing in September 2006 at a facility in Denver, Colorado. The arrays will be in this configuration when the spacecraft is active on the surface of Mars. Phoenix is scheduled to launch in August 2007 from Florida. Phoenix will land in icy soils near the north polar permanent ice cap of Mars and explore the history of the water in these soils and any associated rocks, while monitoring polar climate. It will dig into the surface, test scooped-up samples for carbon-bearing compounds and serve as NASA's first exploration of a potential modern habitat on Mars.

The BodyGard 5-in-1 Car Emergency Tool
If you're anything like us, you have a hard time sleeping at night thanks to the persistent nightmares of being stuck in a car underwater. Blame it on too many viewings of that one episode of BMW Films. Nevertheless, ThinkGeek has a 5-in-1 tool that lets you get out of a jam quickly and easily. The BodyGard contains a glass breaker, safety belt cutter, sonic alarm, flashing red distress light, and LED flashlight. Five things that you should need in the inevitable event that you plow into a YMCA pool.

Griffin Disko CaseSpreads Disco Cheer to the iPod nano
Griffin introduced its Disko iPod case two months ago to mostly jeers: who the hell wants their iPod to look like a disco dance floor? Now iPod nano users can see if they're down with the Disko, too, since Griffin has released the Disko for the nano. The concept is the same: an iPod case that has a series of LEDs around the click wheel that light up like so many John Travolta movies. It's only $30, so at least being completely embarrassed won't cost too much. Griffin also released the iClear case, but there's no disco jokes to make about that one.

Gentex Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror Replaces that Knobby Thing
Yeah, everyone has those knobby things on the bottom of their rear-view mirror that you can flip to eliminate glare, but some of us are too damn lazy to actually use it. Gentex has stepped in with their auto-dimming rear-view mirror. This mirror will automatically adjust when some stupid driver in their massive SUV decides to ride behind you at night, therefore blinding your with their oversized headlights.

Heated USB Slippers Go 'Dual Core'
photo11.jpgTechnology marches on, and now even heated USB slippers have gone "dual core." Thanko now gives you an individual control for each foot with its latest USB Warmer Slippers ($33) with a two-step temperature control switch for each slipper, letting you crank up the heat on one foot while leaving your other foot lukewarm. USB heated slippers have come a long way since their inception way back in 2005, and now there are advanced models that cover your ankles, and even have a very special bear attachment. Even so, never were they as technologically advanced as this. But jeez, who wants to be tethered to a PC like this? It must feel like a ball and chain.

Flashlight Slippers
If combining flashlights with a pair of slippers is wrong, we don't want to be right. Instead of waking up your spouse by accidentally kicking the cat, these weight-activated slippers let you silently glide to the can, the fridge, or wherever you're going at three in the morning.


Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN

Source: AFP and Gizmodo Online


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