The Apple Pips

Inside All Apple Products

Author: arstechnica (Page 2 of 1146)

The LEGO has landed: New set allows you to build the Moon rocket


In 2014, Felix Stiessen and Valerie Roche proposed the idea for Saturn V rocket on the LEGO Ideas website. About a year later, their concept received the 10,000 votes necessary for formal consideration by LEGO. The company green-lighted the idea in 2016, and now we have our first look at this set.

As a full disclaimer, I am a lifelong fan of LEGOs and a lifelong fan of spaceflight. So don't expect a rational review of this product by Ars. I mean, the final product will have three removable rocket stages, as well as the lunar lander and lunar orbiter. Drool.

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How a Slack UI change sparked the Ars Technica civil war

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Something strange happened at work the other day: internecine warfare broke out over emoji use on Slack. The psycho-nerdism level was at 11, and it happened among a geeky staff that included someone who had recently merged a toy teddy bear with Amazon's Alexa Voice Service. The things you can do with that freaky device are probably illegal in several states. But I'm digressing.

Our civil war was straight out of HBO's Silicon Valley. It kinda rivaled the Tabs versus Spaces scene from Season 3, Episode 6. However, we weren't fighting about coding methods. What sparked our "first-world problems" brouhaha was Slack finally answering our staff's wishes.

This month's Slack update granted Slackers the ability to type a "status" message—or an emoji—next to their name and avatar. Presumably, this new feature would be used by staffers to display their availability—useful because our US staff of 26 doesn't see each other much. We all work remotely, and much of our real-time communications occur on Slack. We also use Slack to instantly communicate with our London-based Ars brethren and with freelancers across the globe.

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Speed of poop: Big or small, mammals drop a deuce in ~12 secs, study finds

Enlarge (credit: Brandon Weeks)

In 2015, mechanical engineers at Georgia Institute of Technology calculated that all mammals take about the same amount of time to empty their bladders: roughly 21 second of urinating. With the finding, they won an Ig Nobel prize—parody Nobel awards given to comical, yet interesting research.

In pursuit of further toilet tidbits—or perhaps another Ig Nobel—the researchers have now squeezed out a mathematical model of the hydrodynamics of pooping. And they’ve estimated that all mammals, big or small, void their bowels in 12 seconds, plus or minus seven seconds. Their findings were published this week in the aptly titled journal Soft Matter.

To come up with a universal deuce-dropping time, the researchers turned to YouTube, a dog park, and Zoo Atlanta. There, they filmed elephants, giant pandas, and warthogs producing bum brownies. In all, they collected 23 clips of pooping from 11 types of animals—which included cats, a mountain gorilla, lions, a black bear, zebras, a hippopotamus, and white rhinos, in addition to the others listed. It’s unclear if more data would alter their estimate of a universal time. They also eliminated power-poopers from the study, such as rabbits, rodents, and ruminants, which can serve up a bundle of turd pellets in short order. 

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Gloomhaven is the best dungeon crawl board game I’ve ever played

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at

Gloomhaven, the new cooperative, campaign-driven dungeon crawl board game from designer Isaac Childres, is big. Really big.

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Amonkhet review: A gleaming Egyptian city where humans are fattened for slaughter

©2017 Wizards of the Coast LLC in the USA & other countries. Illustration by Sam Burley.

Magic: The Gathering dives into classic Egyptian mythology in Amonkhet, its second expansion set of the year after Aether Revolt. The new set is released today, April 28, and you're strongly encouraged to go along to your local game store (or open up Magic Online) and give it a whirl.

Of course, if you want to read about the set before you spend some money, we've got you covered as well. We've been playing with the new cards for a couple of weeks—here's our review.

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