The Iranian space programme kicked up a notch last week, with a launch that sent several "living organisms" into orbit, via the country's new Kavoshgar 3 satellite delivery system.
The living organisms in question were "a rat, two turtles and worms" according to one Iranian news source, making Iran almost certainly the first nation to successfully fire a turtle into space.
PIGS IN SPACE: That's Helmz 1, the Iranian space rat (not a joke)
The Iranian turtle reported back that it was humbling being able to look down and see the planet reduced to the size of one of its flippers. Barack Obama is believed to have ordered NASA to fast-track preparations to land a turtle on the surface of the Moon before the decade is over, triggering a new escalation of the space race that can only lead to one thing - elephants on Mars.
Smell mustard? GET OUT
According to disposable train-liner Metro, scientists have developed a smoke alarm capable of alerting deaf people to fires - by issuing a special warning smell instead of the traditional grating beep.
The test version currently outputs the delightful smell of wasabi, the spicy Asian mustard equivalent, in a form concentrated and pungent enough to wake sleeping deaf people within two and a half minutes.
Assistant Professor Makoto Imai of Shiga University of Medical Science, said "The proportion of the elderly among fire victims was nearly 50 per cent. So we thought that the decline of hearing ability may be one of the causes for delay in noticing and getting away when a fire breaks out."
The professor hopes it will be commercially available in a couple of years, and will be followed by a version that emits the smell of bacon whenever there's someone at the door.
We have a slightly troubling vision of a possible future for you next, courtesy of a Dr Hong and his "whole-skin locomotion robot". Robotic News Portal (!) Hizook reports that the end result of Dr Hong's work is basically a worm robot, that propels itself along by continually turning itself inside-out, grabbing the floor and sliding itself along on its grippy tubular body.
Hopefully you're reading this on a device with internet access and Flash-based streaming video support, as it sounds like a much better - and weirder - idea when you see it in motion.
There's almost certainly some sort of serious scientific reason Dr Hong spends his days making machines that resemble self-aware Mars bars in condoms. It'll find a use unblocking toilets for elderly Japanese people, at least.
Introducing... the Machismo
Now here's an early front-runner in the battle to be the hottest ironic gift item of 2010 - the Chinavasion Machismo. It's a mobile phone with a built-in cigarette lighter. Finally, a gadget you can buy your dad. And granddad.
CrunchGear says the Machismo features a 1.3-megapixel camera and 2.5" touchscreen, so it won't be sending HTC's designers into a panic.
SO MACHO:If you want to chip in on a bulk order, drop us an email. Can't hurt to set up a market stall flogging them
Plus the electric heating element will presumably nuke the phone's battery if you're anything more than a once-a-week, casual, only-after-four-pints smoker, so it's pretty much a novelty item designed to give the internet something to mock today.
But you can buy them in bulk for £40 each via Chinavasion, if you think there's a gap in the market for you to become the country's first cigarette-lighting phone millionaire.
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