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Twitter is an amazing tool. If you're a regular tweeter, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it, as it provided you with an easy way to chat to friends, keep up on the news, and get collectively angry with millions of strangers. Brilliant - but it's that last attribute that is slightly less fun when you're not part of the mob, and are instead incurring their wrath. So here's the Top 5 things you should NEVER talk about on Twitter.

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5) Feminism

The way Twitter is structured - with short messages, en masse - has meant that rather than just being a replacement for texting or instant messaging, it has changed the nature of how we communicate and the speed at which things can happen. Like never before, it has managed to mobile groups of people involved in a cause. And I'm not just talking about the Arab Spring. In this country, it is perhaps largely responsible for the burgeoning 'fourth wave' of feminism.

As with all intellectual movements, as ideas are thrashed about, it can become a volatile mixture. Whilst I imagine most right-thinking people would identify as a feminist, Twitter does a good job at exposing the various complexities associated with the term.

For example, and to hugely simplify, there's a huge diversity of views under the "feminist" label - everything from a basic "thinking women should receive equal treatment" or that Page 3 isn't a very good idea, to the more, umm... militant side of things. After spending a few weeks on Twitter you'll surely find yourself discovering new words and concepts like "intersectionality", "checking your privilege" and "cis gender".

Unfortunately, whilst Twitter is great for discovering new ideas, it's not terribly brilliant at discussing complex ones - and certain sections of the Twitter Feminists seem particularly keen on piling on any perceived infraction against their particular strand of feminist dogma. Of course - most people are fine, but due to the way Twitter is structured, the loudest and angriest participants get the most attention - and like moths to a flame, we can't help but be drawn in.

It's not just feminism - any contentious subject will bring out the wolves. Atheism and religion, Israel/Palestine, and other weighty topics will soon have you wondering if talking about these things on Twitter are more trouble than they're worth.

4) Spoilers!

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Twitter is viewed by some people in the media as the saviour of live TV. In a fragmented media landscape, where all sorts of different devices and services are competing for our eyeballs, no longer do we have to all watch the same thing at the same time. The power of Twitter though has made live TV important again - now watching the X-Factor, Question Time or Sherlock as it goes out has become a communal experience, where joking and commenting on it with friends is important. Watching a repeat on catch-up just isn't the same.

But what of media we can't all watch at the same time - like films, or a Netflix boxset? Surely there's no greater sin in the 21st century than tweeting about the end of Breaking Bad or the new Star Trek film before everyone has seen it?

Maybe I'm still annoyed about my friend revealing that (spoiler alert!) Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan on the opening night of Star Trek Into Darkness, before I'd seen it.

3) George Osborne (If you are George Osborne)

Poor old Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Just because he's waging war on the poor out of dogmatic loyalty to a failed ideology, he can't even tweet without the masses of Twitter having a right old go.

Take a look at the tweet he sent out yesterday - relatively innocuous... but I guess having that face pop up on your timeline is going to make anyone want to start shouting abuse.

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So if you're George Osborne... might be better not to tweet.

2) James Blunt

Whiny singer James Blunt has become something of a phenomenon on Twitter - taking on his critics directly. So if you have any derogatory opinions about the man - perhaps better keep them to yourself. (Besides, show some respect - the man, umm, possibly stopped WWIII).

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1) THOSE AWFUL SPIDER THINGS

For god's sake, stop sharing possibly the world's worst Vine. I've seen this pop up endlessly on my timeline, and once is bad enough. So please, do not talk about this on Twitter. Ever.

Warning: NOT SAFE FOR LIFE

Top 10 Geeky Christmas Gifts

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It's mid-November so I think we can finally start talking about Christmas without attracting a lynch-mob. So what are you going to get everyone this year? Here's our top ten geeky Christmas gift suggestions for the geeky people in your life.

10 really cool geeky gifts from Etsy

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If you're a geek, or are looking for the perfect gift for the geek in your life, Etsy is a goldmine. Whether it's Doctor Who, Harry Potter or the Legend of Zelda, there's going to be someone on Etsy who spends their time handcrafting some amazingly cool stuff in tribute to these franchises. Here's our pick of the ten coolest geeky gifts on there.

Feeling eeeeeeevil? *scary scream*. Here's our top scary outfits and assorted scary stuff for this extra creepy '13 Halloween.....Whoah-hah-hah-hah-harrrrrrrrrr! (coughs)

There's not long to go now and if you are going to get your dad a little something then you better get into gear.

Here then are a few gadget and gift ideas.

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Yeah OK, we're not sure how comfortable we are with the term "girl geek" either, but if you're female and you're into comic books, video games and the worlds of sci-fi film and TV we may have some Halloween costumes ideas that are right up your street.

We've tried to shy away from the "I'm female. It's Halloween. I must dress like a massive slut" stereotype, but we'd rather not get into some huge debate about whether flaunting the junk in your trunk makes you a terrible human being or just happy in your own skin, so we've tried to provide you with a few different options.

Feel free to laugh at them, create your own or spend your hard earned cash on an outfit that makes you look like a Pacman ghost. HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

The guides:

Girl geek Halloween costumes video game edition: Angry Birds, Lara Croft, Princess Peach

Girl geek Halloween costumes comic book edition: Catwoman, Emma Frost, She-Ra

Girl geek Halloween costumes film & TV edition: Leeloo, Hit Girl, Neytiri

Our top five:

1. Hit Girl from Kick Ass, because her character in the movie swears like a sailor, she can genuinely kick ass and the costume isn't too x-rated.

2. Cat Woman, because it's such an easy outfit to create yourself and we all had a massive girl crush on Anne Hathaway earlier in the year for her portrayal of Cat Woman/Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

3. Princess Leia from Star Wars, if you're into sci-fi films she'll still be your ultimate heroine. Just make sure you trade the gold bikini for this much more badass version of the princess.

4. Zombie Nurse from The Walking Dead or Planet Terror, admittedly you have to buy blood and make-up for this to look good, but we're obsessed with zombies right now.

5. Pac-Man Ghost, because it's ridiculous, geeky and a little bit scary. Kind of.

Last year we wrote up our 10 Girl geek Halloween costume ideas and judging from how many of you have been visiting that feature over the past few weeks you're going to be taking Halloween very VERY seriously this year.

So, instead of pulling together a general girl geek list we've split up the Halloween costume ideas into categories, like badass women from the worlds of film and TV, our favourite comic book heroines and villains and video game hotties.

Related: Girl geek Halloween costumes comic book edition: Catwoman, Emma Frost, She-Ra

Last year we wrote up our 10 Girl geek Halloween costume ideas and judging from how many of you have been visiting that feature over the past few weeks you're going to be taking Halloween very VERY seriously this year.

So, instead of pulling together a general girl geek list we've split up the Halloween costume ideas into categories, like badass women from the worlds of film and TV, video game hotties and here we have some of our favourite comic book heroines and villains.

Related: Girl geek Halloween costumes film & TV edition: Leeloo, Hit Girl, Neytiri

Last year we wrote up our 10 Girl geek Halloween costume ideas and judging from how many of you have been visiting that feature over the past few weeks you're going to be taking Halloween very VERY seriously this year.

So, instead of pulling together a general girl geek list we've split up the Halloween costume ideas into categories, like video game hotties and comic book characters, but let's start with some of our favourite badass women from the worlds of horror, sci-fi and geeky film and TV.

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We've seen QR codes on cookies, tattoos and even... umm... gravestones. But now you can wear them on your chest too, whether you want to promote your website, share your contact details with potential suitors or just look a little bit more geeky than usual.

You can choose a range of different styles and colours and then get your contact details, a YouTube video, a Facebook or Twitter page or a website added to the front (and back if your're willing to splash the cash) in the form of a QR code.

It's a fun, quirky and insanely geeky idea that we can imagine would work well if you want to promote a website or advertise your contact details to randoms (you dirtbags). However, don't be surprised if some questionable characters start trying to scan your chest on the bus... You've been warned.

Visit qrcodet-shirts.co.uk to browse the styles.

QR codes have been popping up everywhere over the past year or so, on products we buy, ads on TV, ads on the tube, even business cards and CVs as people aim to prove just how tech savvy they are.

However, there are still some places you wouldn't expect to find a QR code, like tattooed on someone's body for instance...

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Instead of wearing a colourful band to signify which religion you're into (remember the WWJD bracelets?) or which charity you're supporting, why not wear a Snapz Text Band to show what a massive geek you are and prove just how much you love the interwebz.

The tongue-in-cheek wristbands come in a few different styles, including our most over-used acronyms, LOL, OMG, WTF and LMAO in eye-poppingly bright colours.

I'm not afraid to admit I really want an OMG, but I'm sure they'd all make ideal novelty presents for your favourite nerd.

Available from Red5 for £2.95 each.

55-vogue.jpgThe editor of American Vogue gave us this gem yesterday when she accepted a Webby for Vogue.com: "sometimes - geeks can be chic".

The Webbys demand a 5 word acceptance speech from their winners. But despite the award, Wintour's contribution suggests that the famous editor is still stuck in a 1.0 world and isn't quite so perspicacious about the internetz as she is about the next season's trends. We suspect she might have more of a role in the awards ceremonies than the website design.

The underlying assumption is that you need to be a geek to do websites, and that websites are the pursuit of slightly strange codey-types. It's a pure Old Media myth. These days putting up a blog or site doesn't require much more than the ability to use a mouse.

The other underlying assumption - that many geeks have bad clothes - is probably true, so we'll let that lie...

[PR Newser]

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It's another one for the Star Trek crowd - a printer that makes 3D objects. We're one step close to that replicator, folks.

It starts with keys. The information about the key's dimensions is fed into the printer, which carries a software programme for manufacturing solid objects. Out comes a fully functioning key - it's made of plastic though, meaning it's not the sturdiest. But the manufacturer claims it can turn a deadbolt, so it should be solid enough.

The system could potentially be used in conjunction with key-hacking tools such as Sneakey, which allows for teleduplication through optical decoding. This would mean keys could be duplicated just from photographs, possibly for shifty reasons. But that would never happen on Star Trek.

[via The Register]



Kiss Transmission Device by amaliak

The machine is designed to transmit the feeling of a kiss, apparently. In reality it's a rotating straw, presented by a painfully geeky kid in a deeply disturbing little video clip.

But never mind that - Japanese boffins are on the case, and if they are successful, long distance couples could find themselves snogging in no time. Alternatively, the device could be used by popular celebrities, programmed with their particular tongue action and sold to the fans. No, we didn't come up with that, it's from the video. There may be more suggestions there but we couldn't bear to finish watching it.

The research is taking place at the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications, and the researchers admit it's not yet finished. The ultimate goal is to see whether the machine will let two people use the linked machine at the same time, and have the whole thing translate into something remotely close to the real deal.

Explained researcher Nobuhiro Takahashi:

"If you take one device in your mouth and turn it with your tongue, the other device turns in the same way. If you turn it back the other way, then your partner's turns back the same way, so your partner's device turns whichever way your own device turns."
Now the researchers are working on perfecting the device:

"The elements of a kiss include the sense of taste, the manner of breathing, and the moistness of the tongue. If we can recreate all of those I think it will be a really powerful device."

Critics have pointed out that even if perfected the machine only offers a narrow slice of the kissing experience. So maybe it can be used to train technique, but sexiness is not included.

Trolling- when lulz go bad

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troll.jpgSo it seems that amongst some of my friends I have been labelled a "troll". I like to go on message boards and challenge posts, what's wrong with that? I see something that's erroneous or, in my opinion, stupid and I point it out. Everyone enjoys the power that anonymity brings them and yes, once in a while I'll go in a chat room on a Wednesday night after a couple of shandies and start a fight with everyone in there, merely for the "lulz", it's not a crime, right?

But on further investigation my penchant for picking on amateur bloggers and boating enthusiasts is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of trolling. The definition of a troll is, according to Wikipedia, 'someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community...with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.' but has also been defined as 'a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families.'- I most definitely do not do that.

I imagined the word troll to come from the idea of someone scary and ugly who lurks in dark corners of the Internet waiting to attack due to their bitter trolly existence. In fact the term 'troll' is said to stem from the old French troller, a hunting term. When I comment I am rude and obnoxious and the OP (original poster- to those not in the know) maybe winces a little but that's what I want, to challenge people and start a discussion. In real life I am quite a introverted person, so it gives me a chance to take on a persona that perhaps I wouldn't IRL(in real life).

There is a darker side to the troll with the renowned forum website 4chan being a source of many troll attacks, ranging from the 'Rickroll', where a 'Grand Theft Auto' trailer link was diverted to the music video for Rick Astley's 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up to the more sinister uploading of porn to YouTube in response to them deleting music from the site. Trolls were also held responsible when after an accident in 2006 where an 18 year old girl died in a car crash, pictures from the crash were sent to her grieving father.

Trolls have massive power online and by using websites like 4chan can mobilise troops quickly in order to swamp websites causing them to crash, resulting in anarchy over the Internet. They often rally behind causes they feel strongly about and recently UK law firm ACS were pwned(targeted). The crash in their website resulted in the leak of 300MBs of private company e-mails causing them to breach British Data Protection Laws and in January this year the Head of ACS announced that the firm would no longer be chasing illegal file sharers due to the threats he had received from hackers.

So compared these guys, I don't think my snips at online food critics can really be classed as true trolling but maybe more gnome-like? I believe that healthy discussions online are what breathe life into websites and forums. They shouldn't be quashed at the first sign of controversy but unfortunately on open websites like 4chan, that offer members full anonymity- in someways a brilliant function, the freedom also enables a darker side to emerge and in the darkness lurks the troll.

DNFTT

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In spite of my personal status as a shameless Trekkie, I appreciate not everyone is as into the geeky stuff as I am. But even those misguided folks out there who fail to worship at the altar of Roddenberry will still appreciate the excitement of the technologically augmented future. Even Stephen Hawking once said it: "The physics that underlies Star Trek is surely worth investigating."

Progress is taking place all the time, such as yesterday's announcement that computer scientists are working on gadgets that can feel regret. Apparently, an understanding of this basic human emotion would make computers better at predicting the future, the Google-funded scientists think. To measure the distance between the desired and actual outcome, the computer could become better at minimising this gap, which is in essence a way to measure regret.

While the boffins are pondering away at the robot brain, we take a look at how things are progressing with a few technologies which may well just make the world a bit more like life on the starship Enterprise.

1. Replicators
"Tea, Earl Grey, hot." You tell'em, Captain Picard. On the Enterprise you simply tell the replicator what you want and it makes it for you. Wonderfully simple, isn't it - no more cooking - and the replicators even make other things too, like clothes and books. Captain Janeway of the starship Voyager somehow managed to keep burning her replicator food though, so clearly it's not foolproof. The same is certainly true for the first efforts from a team at Cornell University in the US, which have been working with 3D food printers. Foods are made into pastes, which are carefully squired through nozzles to create little food "sculptures". Not quite what the Captain ordered, but it's a start.

2. Robot skin
Artificial skin that can feel touch - that's a stretch even for the Star Trek universe's favourite android, Data. He got it in the end, courtesy of the Borg Queen, but it's possible researchers at Stanford University could beat her to it. Ultra-sensitive electronic skin is currently under development, and this highly sensitive skin should even be able to detect disease markers.

3. Universal translators
The aliens don't all speak English on Star Trek, that would be silly. What's happening, you see, is that the communicators all have incorporated an universal translator, which helps our heroes understand what's being said. Here on earth, there are already several mobile phone apps that will translate text for you, but Google has recently launched an app which does this orally. If you speak into your phone, the app will translate into 15 languages if spoken, or 50 if written. An excellent beginning.

4. Holodecks
On the Holodeck, our heroes can step into a completely different world, programmed to their specifications. This means the opportunity to visit the past or a holiday destination, and then there was that time Tuvok, Voyager's Vulcan resident, underwent the "pon-farr" in the depths of space and had to seek a little, eh, relief. 3D technology is coming along rapidly here on earth, with the visual effects becoming increasingly better. The touch-and-feel part of virtual reality is yet to manifest, but give those 3D film buffs some time and it may well still happen. As the first 3D porn film opened in China last weekend, maybe some clever producer will take a leaf out of Tuvok's book?

5. Communication
We've come very far on this one already, in fact there isn't much of what they have in Star Trek that we don't have available to us now. We have widespread use of mobile phones and the ability to make video calls sorted. The only thing missing here is to make the communicators cuter and more intuitive - get rid of the buttons and get it all done by voice, for instance. Judging from all those ads for Google Voice around town right now, that shouldn't take too long.

6. Computer interface
Increasingly better touchscreens are coming along like speeding bullets, and with speech control now high on the agenda, it seems like computer interfacing is fast approaching Star Trek levels. But we can still get better; for example Tobii Technology has developed a tracking technology that means the computer will be able to follow the movements of your eyes. This means scrolling pages once your eyes reach the bottom of the document, and looking at points at the screen constitutes clicking. Lenovo has already created laptops with this technology.

7. Tractor beams
The Enterprise can drag objects in space - now it's looking like we can soon do this in real life too. Granted, it only works with very small particles so far. Basically it works because the light falling on an opaque object is reflected back in the direction it came from. These bouncing photons will then push the object, moving it away from the light source. This is the opposite of what happens in Star Trek, where the tractor beam pulls, not pushes. Researchers at Fudan University in China are working on pulling beams, however, thought to be possible because the light waves in question also contain electric and magnetic fields. This means the particles can be excited to emit light, reversing the direction.

8. Phaser guns and photon torpedos
"Set your phasers to stun," said Captain Picard - those phasers could evaporate someone too, but did the Capital ever authorise that setting? Oh no. The technology itself may well be possible, but the problem is the energy requirements, and the resulting massive size. A US company has patented a design using laser light, and could potentially be on its way to create a working phaser. The patented laser generates a path of ionised air between the weapon and the target, acting as a conductor for electricity which can stun the victim.

9. Faster-than-light speed and time travel
"Warp" speed is a key obstacle for any Star Trek-resembling reality. Time dilation is a problem for real-life scientists, whereas the Enterprise whizzes along at light-speed without any problems occurring. Time travel is also possible in the Star Trek universe, although highly frowned upon and violation of the Temporal Prime Directive got Capital Janeway into trouble more than once. Thinking they know better, researchers at Vanderbilt University have started tinkering at the problem, believing they may be able to use the Large Hadron Collider to send a type of matter called the Higgs singlet into the past. There are some problems, however: it is not yet certain the Higgs singlet actually exists.

10. Beaming technology
"Beam me up, Scotty." This one may be the neatest - the ability to move things in the blink of an eye. Bye commuter trains, hello daytrips to Kiwi. Also here we are making progress; yesterday researchers from Japan and Australia announced they had successfully teleported waves of light. In the first instance, this could revolutionise information transfers, but we are hopeful. Oh and while they are at it, someone should look into making a Sonic Shower, which cleans without water. Now that's time-saving for you.

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It would look great in Sherlock Holmes' stuffed home, this TV. 75 years old, what is the oldest working TV in Britain and possibly even the world, could now be yours.

The Marconiphone 702 TV is thought to be the result of secret research into military radars - it now goes to auction on 19th April at Bonhams auction house in London. It has an official estimated sales price of £5,000, but commentators has it going for 'much more'.

The wooden gadget has an 12-inch screen, and works by having the image reflected on a mirror in the lid. It's mostly original parts too - 30% of it had to be replaced to get it working though. It will working with a Freeview box, even.

[via Engadget]

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Say hello to the SagemCom Sixty - an old-school rotary telephone with a modern twist. The biggest difference is probably the digital display - no more waiting for the dial to spin back as you're dialling.

The body of the phone is also gone, making it smaller and lighter, and the cable cord has been removed. It only comes in orange for some reason, but it's pretty funky. Ten hours of talk time comes with, and it can also store 20 minutes of answer messages.

The new SagemCom Sixty is a pure reinterpretation from the old rotary phones, which were once very popular in the UK from their introduction in the 1930s.

The phone retails at £99.99 - available at John Lewis and elsewhere.

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Great image from techi.com shows the original Star Wars cast wearing normal clothes. So you can recognise the faces behind the masks? Which ones are R2D2, Chewbacca and Darth Vader? Hint: think about the height differences.

And how short is Carrie Fisher?

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