Nintendo Shocks with NES Classic Edition: a Retro Blast from the Past!

KS TechnologyI can’t help but feel the need to high-five my younger self. I woke up to the BEST news this week. Nintendo is bringing back the NES! It’s just a whole lot smaller.

nintendo new classic edition

On July 14th, Nintendo announced what it’s calling the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition. It looks exactly like the original gaming console, only miniaturized, and it comes with 30 built-in games!

The new system offers multiple suspend points and all of your favorite classic games. No cartridges or passwords required. Simply connect the NES Classic Edition to your TV with the HDMI cable provided, pick up the ‘original’ full-size NES controller (you heard me), and play the games that made you fall in love with Nintendo years ago.

Cool Fact: The new controller will also connect to your Wii Remote, so you can use it to play Virtual Console games on the Wii or Wii U.

The complete list of games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts’N Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Whats in the box? The NES Classic Edition system, one NES Classic Controller, HDMI cable, AC adapter, and 30 pre-installed games. The NES Classic Edition will be available on November 11th for $59.99 – just in time for Christmas! 🎮


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Nintendo Shocks with NES Classic Edition: a Retro Blast from the Past!

Rad Super Mario Bros. Watch Will Cost You Almost $19,000!

KS Technology

It’s items like this that make me feel like a teenage boy trapped in a 29-year-old female’s body. Take a second to soak up all the pixelated Nintendo goodness. The only catch? For the same price as this watch you could buy a new car.


The watch is Romain Jerome’s latest game-inspired piece, created in honor of Super Mario Bros. launch in 1985. There are only 85 Mario watches available, so if you have an extra $20k lying around, go ahead and treat yourself.

MOVEMENT Mechanical self-winding movement

DESCRIPTION Ø 46mm. Black PVD-coated titanium case. Grainy-textured stellar-patterned integrated back with Super Mario Bros. medallion. Black pixelated 3D dial built on three levels. Pixelated Super Mario Bros. character and elements appliques hand-painted in cold enamel with the 30th anniversary colours. Black rubber with grainy-textured interior of stellar-patterned strap.


The watch face features Mario jumping in mid-air, a fluffy cloud, iconic green bush, and the highly coveted mushroom. The RJ X Super Mario Bros. watch – commemorating the game’s 30th anniversary – costs a cool $18,950.

This isn’t the first time the company has payed homage to classic video games! They also built watches celebrating Tetris, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. Enjoy 🎮


Science Says These are the 3 Best Cheeses for the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureChances are you know exactly what cheese you like on your grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe you enjoy a little stringy mozzarella, creamy american, or tangy sharp cheddar. Well, according to science, you’re wrong! The American Chemical Society has broken down the science behind the iconic melty sandwich – and it turns out it’s all about pH!

Picture perfect grilled cheese (Flickr: Serious Eats)
Picture perfect grilled cheese (Flickr: Serious Eats)

I was surprised to find out that acid levels dictate the ultimate ‘gooeyness’ of cheese. Cheeses with an acidity in the range of pH 5.3 to 5.5 — such as gouda, gruyére or manchego — are best for being heated up in a sandwich.

Too much acidity (or a very low pH), aka ‘sharper’ cheeses, can break down while melting leaving you with a clumpy texture. So, if you are trying to pick the right cheddar cheese, go with the more mild option.

The latest video from the YouTube series Reactions, hosted by the ACS, explains the chemistry of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich in-depth. You’ve got to check it out below! 😜

As for me? I’ll stick with american cheese and a whole lot of butter. It made me smile when I was 5 years old and it still makes me smile today.


New Guinness World Records 2016 Winners Revealed: The Fastest Tortoise, the Man with the Most Teeth, the Heaviest Carrot, and a Huge Gnome Collection


Guinness World Records has finally released the record holders in the Guinness World Records 2016 edition! They scoured the globe for this year’s biggest achievements, even if some of the awards border on quirky and a little strange (i.e. the giant gnome collection). Scroll through the photos and enjoy. 🏆

“The Guinness World Records 2016 book keeps readers up to date and in the know about the best and brightest in science, sports, entertainment, animals, human achievement and more,” says Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday. “By providing a mix of the newest, most amazing records and a splash of the classic titles that readers know and love, the 2016 edition is a great cross-section of humanity’s greatest accomplishments.”


Nerd Nite San Francisco is the Best $8 You Will Spend All Month: 7 Questions for Co-Founder Bart Bernhardt

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureNerd Nite SF is proof nerds know how to party. On the third Wednesday of every month nerds of all shapes and sizes gather together to listen to a few lectures and drink a bunch of booze. The crowd that gathers at the Rickshaw Stop on Fell St. in San Francisco is incredibly diverse and yet equally excited to throw back a few brews and learn a thing or two in the process.

Heavy red curtains line the walls and the faint hint of smoke from toasting grilled cheese sandwiches floats in the air. They sell Nerd Nite SF shirts (I have two) next to a booth dedicated to the San Francisco Public Library. My favorite part? Not only does Rickshaw have a full bar, they also have a cocktail of the night themed after one of the presentations. This last Nerd Nite featured a wonderful talk about absinthe, so the cocktail was “The Root of all Evil” – absinthe + root beer. 🍻

Nerd Nite began in Boston in 2003 and has since spread to 90 cities all over the globe. The city of San Francisco has Lucy Laird and Bart Bernhardt to thank for bringing the brainy shenanigans to the Bay Area. Not only is Bart co-founder of Nerd Nite SF, he is also the enthusiastic and hilarious host of the night! I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with him about Nerd Nite SF’s beginnings, his favorite talks over the years, and how you can bring Nerd Nite to your city.

Nerd Nite May 20
Bart Bernhardt – co-founder and host of Nerd Nite SF (Credit: Krystian Science)

1) What is your role with Nerd Nite SF and how did you initially get involved?

We’re the co-organizers of NNSF, so we book & coach speakers, manage the venue  & A/V, organize field trips, and all that jazz.

Several years ago, Chris Balakrishnan (the founder of Nerd Nite) and Matt Wasowski (head of the Nerd Nite network and NN NYC) went on a national tour and, like nerdy Johnny Appleseeds, wherever they went, little Nerd Nites sprung up in their wake!

In SF, they did their thing at Langton Labs, a really awesome artist/scientist/community living space, and god knows how many people were crammed into this sign-factory-turned-underground-community-center to hear lectures on ornithology, archaeology, and neurobiology. But there was also tons of drinking and laughing and zombies and heckling and me thinking why isn’t this a thing here? I love science and had been to many lecture events and science cafes, and none were as authentic, entertaining, and engaging as this.

I eventually connected with Matt about running a proper Nerd Nite. He introduced me to Lucy, and together we kicked off this little shindig. That was 5? 6? years ago? Something like that.

2) What makes someone a ‘nerd’, and why do you think San Francisco is such a great Nerd Nite city?

Many pixels have been shed over what’s a “nerd”, but I don’t really think too much about it. We’re very inclusive – if you love to learn and self-identify as a nerd for any reason whatsoever, or are even just “nerd-curious”, that’s good enough for us.

The short answer to why Nerd Nite thrives here is because it’s a city filled with young curious people who like to drink! Many are transplants and are looking to find their tribe, and it’s a good way to meet people (in fact, two folks who met at NNSF just got married!). There’s a much longer answer in the curious and wonderful evolution of the Bay Area over the past ~160 years that makes it a uniquely nerdy place.

3) What do you do when you’re not planning for the third Wednesday of the month?

I am involved in innumerable projects and consulting gigs, mostly advertising and data-related. Lucy is the operations director for the SF Silent Film Festival and consultant on all things film exhibition-related.

4) Nerd Nite blends science, comedy, research, and performance… yet it’s accessible and lets be honest, a little boozy. How does Nerd Nite walk the line between informative and fun?

It’s surprisingly easy. We tell speaker candidates that, you know, we’re in a bar and we give you lots of free beer. We want you to have a ton of fun and make jokes and you can even swear if you like, but you also need to be deeply educational. And most people just get that and run with it, especially if they’ve been to a Nerd Nite before. It’s pretty rare that we have to step in and say “You should increase/decrease the depth of this talk” or “crank up the fun”. It happens, but not often. It turns out nerds are often very enthusiastic about their expertise and also like to have fun.

5) You schedule such a wide variety of speakers – what are your guidelines for picking a specific talk?

The benefit of running your own lecture series is that you get to book whatever sounds interesting to you! So that’s a pretty big bias.

Beyond that, we really do try to curate a wide range of topics, presentation styles, genders, depth, and whatnot. I particularly like finding “surprising complexity” presentations – these are talks that take something you think you understand as being simple, if you even think about it at all, but under the tutelage of an expert a fascinating complicated world is revealed. Similarly, I love talks that take a fairly known topic, but approach it from an unexpected angle. I love that stuff.

6) You have seen a lot of interesting talks and colorful characters – what are a few of your favorites?

Oh, wow. So many, and for so many different reasons. From kicking it with an actual #&$@%!ing Apollo 9 astronaut, to science raps that brought down the house, to heavy metal riffs on a homemade lute, to the most endearing ode to the Martian magnetosphere, we have a huge range of favorites. Of the more recent ones, I can think of:

Two months ago, Brendan Rogers came on stage to talk about labor abuse in the fishing industry, and he kicks it off by saying he was a homeless teenager on the streets of SF who needed structure, and that’s why he went into the Coast Guard and worked on ships in the South Pacific, and that’s how he became aware of this issue. And I’m like, holy shit, this guy is legit. I really appreciated that.

Michelle Trautwein from the California Academy of Sciences was talking about face mites, and the sampling methodology they used in a study. And there’s a moment where she’s cracking up, and the audience is laughing, and we’re talking about methodology and I couldn’t be happier. She later said that was the most fun she’s ever had doing science outreach, which is just about the nicest thing anyone could say to us.

Self-described “monsterologist” Brian Engh came on stage in hoodie and saggy pants and grabbed the mic like a rapper — because he is — and proceeded to slay the audience with the phylogenetic trees of dinosaurs and the process he went through to create a realistic representation of a newly published dinosaur fossil in partnership with the paleontologist discoverers.

7) How can someone bring Nerd Nite to their town? If there isn’t one already scheduled?

Contact an existing Nerd Nite boss! I assure you we don’t make much money on this, we do it because we love learning and being part of a joyous community. We’re happy to help you spread the nerdlove, so please reach out and we’ll walk you through what it takes.

Nerd Nite SF is the third Wednesday of every month and it costs just $8 if you get your ticked in advance online! You have a small chance of getting in at the door the night of, but Nerd Nite often sells out, so plan ahead 😎

Nerd Nite San Francisco is the Best $8 You Will Spend All Month: 7 Questions for Co-Founder Bart Bernhardt

Los Angeles Drops 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ into the LA Reservoir Turning it into a Massive Ball Pit

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureIf you asked a 4th grade class how they might solve California’s historic drought crisis, one kid might yell – “turn the water into a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit!” Well, Los Angeles did just that, and the video is pretty fun to watch. Give your inner child a high five and watch the video below. 😎

California is in the middle of its worst drought on record and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing its part to conserve water. This week, the city finished the final phase of its ‘shade ball’ initiative. LA dropped 96 million plastic black balls onto the surface of its 175 acre water reservoir, which is expected to save them $250 million and prevent the annual loss of over 300 million gallons of water. The shade balls are a cheaper alternative to LA’s other conservation ideas, which included splitting the basin in half or installing massive floating covers.

The LADWP said in a press release, “The small, black plastic balls protect water quality by preventing sunlight-triggered chemical reactions, deterring birds and other wildlife, and protecting water from rain and wind-blown dust.”

The reservoir, located in LADWP’s Van Norman Complex in Sylmar,  holds 3.3 billion gallons of water – enough to supply the entire city of Los Angeles with water for three weeks.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released 96 million black shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir to reduce evaporation and deter algal growth. PHOTOGRAPH BY GENE BLEVINS, LA DAILY NEWS/ZUMA WIRE/CORBIS
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released 96 million black shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir to reduce evaporation and deter algal growth. PHOTOGRAPH BY GENE BLEVINS, LA DAILY NEWS/ZUMA WIRE/CORBIS

The project cost a total of $34.5 million, but, at $0.36 each, the shade balls require no construction, parts, labor or maintenance aside from occasional rotation. They are designed to reduce evaporation, cool the water, and make the reservoir less susceptible to algae, bacterial growth, and chemical reactions.

The shade balls are made of black polyethylene and filled with water so they don’t blow away. According to the manufacturers, the balls should last up to 25 years.

Dr. Brian White, a now-retired LADWP biologist, was the first person to think of using shade balls for water quality. The idea came to him when he learned about the application of “bird balls” in ponds along airfield runways.


Los Angeles Drops 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ into the LA Reservoir Turning it into a Massive Ball Pit

SCIENCE VIDEO WRAP UP: Colossal Squid Sighting, Cosmic Photobomb, and Peacock Spiders Dance!


1) Colossal Squid Caught on Camera!

2) The ‘Dark Side’ of the Moon Photobombs Earth

3) New Peacock Spiders Discovered in Australia

4) The Winner of Nat Geo’s Latest Photo Contest



Humpback Whales, Camel Racing, and a Sauna in the Sky: View the Winners of National Geographic’s 2015 Traveler Photo Contest

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureThe winners of the 27th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced! 🎉

First place went to Anuar Patjane for his photo of divers swimming with a humpback whale and her newborn calf off the coast of Mexico. He won an eight-day photo expedition for two to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Not a bad deal!

Winner of the 2015 Traveler Photo Contest. Credit: Anuar Patjane
Winner of the 2015 Traveler Photo Contest. Credit: Anuar Patjane

The 2015 Traveler Photo Contest judges reviewed nearly 18,000 photographs, and ten pictures won top prizes. Photographers entered pictures into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. You can view the top ten below – click here to browse all of the entries and pick your favorites!


I’m an Adult and I Can’t Wait for the New Star Wars Little Golden Books for Kids!


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The new Star Wars Little Golden Books almost make me want to have a baby – almost. 😏 Disney just announced this week that all of the legendary Star Wars movies are about to join the iconic Little Golden Books series for kids.

“The Star Wars franchise has woven itself into the hearts and minds of generations of fans, many of whom read Little Golden Books as children,” said Jeanne Mosure, Senior Vice President, Group Publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide in a release. “We’re very excited to be incorporating Little Golden Books into our overarching strategy so parents can now introduce their own children to the wonders of the galaxy through this classic format.”

The first six books in this series will be released on July 28: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. A boxed set of these first six Star Wars Little Golden Books will be available on September 1, 2015. Check out the six covers below!

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I’m an Adult and I Can’t Wait for the New Star Wars Little Golden Books for Kids!

Hell Hath No Fury Like STEM Women Scorned by Tim Hunt – Twitter Loves #DistractinglySexy

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 12.13.29 PMWomen in STEM are awesome. For those of you who don’t know, STEM = an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While most people respect and support women in STEM, there are still a select few who are determined to undermine their smarts and hard work.

One of these people happens to be Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Sir Tim Hunt, who made headlines this week for discussing the ‘problem’ with women in the lab. He allegedly said, “let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry.”

In response, rad lab ladies around the world decided to take to Twitter to share their thoughts about their jobs and the lovely Tim Hunt. The hashtags below have proven to be both enlightening and highly entertaining. I’ve selected a few of my favorites – in no particular order. Enjoy! 👏

#distractinglybeautiful  #distractinglysexy  #distractinglyawesome  #timhunt Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.53.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.02.47 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.49.32 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.42.24 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.50.53 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.48.43 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.51.42 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.42.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.56.13 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.52.55 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.43.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.47.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.48.17 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.50.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.48.04 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.49.04 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.52.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.15.24 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.48.32 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.50.42 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.04.17 AM