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Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
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New $5,000 Multimedia Computer System Downloads Real-Time TV Programs, Displays Them On Monitor

HOUSTON—The highly touted "Internet Revolution" took another major step forward Monday, when Compaq unveiled the breakthrough Compaq Presario 6000, a $4,995 multimedia computer system that enables users to download files containing network-television programs and display them on a computer monitor.

Joseph Ryback of Salinas, CA, enjoys an episode of <I>Home Improvement</I> on the Compaq Presario 6000. Ryback praised the advanced new computer system, calling it "just like TV, only a computer."

"Imagine watching TV at the click of a mouse, instead of a remote control," Compaq director of product development Bill Welborne said. "With the Compaq Presario 6000 and a few reasonably priced add-ons, you'll never have to watch TV on a television again."

According to Welborne, for a $49 monthly fee, owners of the Presario 6000 will be able to access network websites, where 300MB ".vid files" will be available for download. The downloaded files can then be conveniently viewed on the Presario 6000 using a special TV-dedicated version of Netscape Communicator 4.0, priced at just $89.95.

A sound card enabling users to enjoy the sound that accompanies the downloaded TV images is also available for $349.

"Pictures, sound—this is the promise of the Multimedia Age realized," Welborne said.

Demonstrating the technology, Welborne stood proudly beside a prototype of the Presario 6000 as it displayed an eight-minute segment from a recent 3rd Rock From The Sun episode, downloaded from an NBC server in under 75 minutes.

"Please note that this is a television program," Welborne said, "but it is being displayed on a computer monitor."

More exciting still, the viewing can occur in real-time concurrent with the download, provided the user owns a dedicated T1 Internet connection.

"Yes, the image is somewhat grainy and limited to just six frames per second," Welborne said. "But the technology will only improve as 466 MHz processors with more efficient Pipeline Burst Cache and Accelerated Graphics Ports with 10 MB VRAM become standard in the consumer marketplace. And when they do, the images will be remarkably crisp and detailed, every bit as good as that of, say, a 19-inch Philips-Magnavox TV."

"This is incredible," said Wayne Messers, a Huntington Beach, CA, systems analyst who sampled the Presario 6000 last weekend at the National Computer And Electronics Expo in San Diego. "I'm watching TV, but there's a keyboard in front of the screen."

Added Messers: "There's also a disk drive to the left of the screen."

"When I buy my 6000, I'm going to have all my co-workers over to view the first-ever Spin City episode downloaded from the Internet," said Peter Rinaldi of Escondido, CA. "I feel like I'm a part of history just buying this product."

The Presario 6000 will be the first computer to feature the forthcoming 550 MHz Intel Pentium III processor, with MMX2(TM) technology. It is this revolutionary new chip that will enable the Presario 6000 to play television programs on its monitor, a capability virtually unheard-of in an electronic device.

As for the future, Compaq promises even more astounding breakthroughs.

"An even bolder technology still in the planning stages involves a plug-in computer peripheral featuring rows of metal coils which heat up when activated," Welborne said. "Once this device is perfected, computer users will actually be able to convert bread into toast. The future is now."

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