This is not a scam: Make your own 'invisibility cloak' for just $127

The "invisibility cloak" in action.

Scientists at the University of Rochester have discovered a way to hide large objects from sight using inexpensive and readily available lenses, a technology that seems to have sprung from the pages of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy series.

Best part is, they are showing us non-scientists how regular folks can do the same with a budget of just US$100 (S$127).

First the bad news.

The method does not allow you to create an actual invisibility cloak similar to the one that Harry Potter uses. It merely allows you to to create the illusion of invisibility.

The object you're trying to hide "disappears" when it's placed behind a device that looks like it came from an optometrist's office. 

 “A lot of people have worked on a lot of different aspects of optical cloaking for years,” John Howell, a professor of physics at the upstate New York school, said on Friday (Sept 26). 

“From what, we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking,” added Joseph Choi, a graduate student who helped develop the method at Rochester, which is renowned for its optical research.

Multiple uses

In their tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear “invisible” while the image behind the hidden object remains in view.

The implications for the discovery are endless, they say. “I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him,” Choi said.

“It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art.”

Howell said the Rochester Cloak, like the fictitious cloak described in the pages of the Harry Potter series, causes no distortion of the background object.

Building the device does not break the bank either.

It cost Howell and Choi a little over $1,000 in materials to create it and they believe it can be done even cheaper.

Although a patent is pending, they have released simple instructions on how to create a Rochester Cloak at home for under $100

Now get cloaking people!

Source: Reuters, Rochester University, YouTube

WATCH: Hikers run from Japan volcano explosion

A screengrab from a video taken by a hiker moments after Mount Ontake erupted.

A volcano erupted in central Japan on Saturday, shooting ash and rocks into the air and leaving eight hikers reportedly injured.

The eruption of the 3,067-metre (10,121-foot) Mount Ontake happened around midday, the meteorological agency said.

Television footage showed huge clouds of smoke billowing from the summit of the peak, which is a popular destination for trekkers.



Users took to social media to post pictures of the eruption.

Instagram user kobotamatsukuri posted the picture below of cars covered in black ash, with the caption: "Mount Ontake is erupting. Today my sister and her children are going to there for trecking. I am worried about them. This pic is sent from her."





Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said eight people were injured, while local authorities said they had received several unconfirmed reports of injuries to mountaineers. 

“Details, including the number of the injured, remain unknown as we are still sorting out information,” said an official of the Nagano prefecture fire department. 



The meteorological agency forecast further eruptions of the mountain, warning that volcanic debris may fall within 4km of the peak.

The agency also placed restrictions on access to the mountain, while calling on local residents to remain on alert as an eruption could shatter windows miles away.

Source: AFP

Chelsea Clinton gives birth to baby girl

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former US President Bill Clinton, sits with her husband Marc Mezvinsky as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, in this file picture taken September 21, 2011.

Chelsea Clinton has given birth to baby girl Charlotte, she announced in posts on Facebook and Twitter. 


The comments were promptly retweeted by her parents Bill and Hillary Clinton, and fellow White House occupants.

The former first daughter, 34, frequently tipped to follow her parents into politics, left her position as NBC special correspondent in August to focus on her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter.

Her husband Marc Mezvinsky is an investment banker.

Source: AFP

Aceh passes law punishing gay sex with 100 lashes of the cane


Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province passed a law Saturday making gay sex punishable by 100 lashes of the cane, in a decision described by rights activists as “an enormous step backwards”.

Aceh, the only part of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation that is allowed to implement Islamic sharia law, already carries out public canings for gambling, drinking alcohol and fraternising with the opposite sex outside of marriage.

The law explicitly outlaws anal sex between men and “the rubbing of body parts between women for stimulation", making homosexuality technically illegal for the first time in Aceh.

Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of the country, which mainly follows a criminal code from the Netherlands, Indonesia’s former colonial ruler. 

Amnesty International, which has called for an end to caning in Aceh, asked that the bylaw be immediately repealed.

“The criminalisation of individuals based on their sexual orientation is a huge blow for equality in Indonesia,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director Richard Bennett, who added that it would increase “the climate of homophobia, fear and harassment many in Aceh are already facing”.

This picture taken in Banda Aceh on September 19, 2014 shows a hooded official caning an Aceh man for gambling. PHOTO: AFP

Aceh, which lies on the westernmost tip of the vast Indonesian archipelago, gained a degree of autonomy in 2001 in a deal with Jakarta aimed at quelling a decades-long separatist movement, and has been slowly implementing sharia law ever since.

The bylaw will also be the first in Aceh to be applied to non-Muslims, both Indonesians and foreigners.

The law also makes adultery punishable by 100 lashes, and reiterates that displays of affection outside of marriage are outlawed, and is also punishable by caning.

Canings – which are carried out with thin rattan sticks in public and are aimed at humiliating, rather than causing physical pain – can be substituted with payments of pure gold or jail time. 

Source: AFP

Tags: Indonesia news and Aceh

Craziest OkCupid date ever: Woman goes on adventure a month after meeting man online

After a month and the half of chatting on OKCupid, this couple heads off on a three-week adventure where they visited eight countries. Now, their crazy first date is about to hit the big screen.

After meeting online, they didn't meet for coffee or a stroll in the park.

Instead, Clara Bensen and fellow OkCupid member Jeff Wilson decided to set off on a trip together.

Totally crazy right? We know. It was all worth it though because the couple are still very much in love AND they're about to have a movie made about them.

It all started a year ago when the two found each other on dating site OKCupid.

After chatting with each other for a month and the half, before Bensen and Wilson set off on a three-week adventure, travelling to eight countries together without changing their clothes.


But that's not all that's crazy about their love story.


Variety reported that New Line Cinema is moving forward with the movie adaptation of writer Bensen's "Craziest OkCupid Date Ever" story from which she posted at the end of last year (2013).

"Jeff and I traveled to eight countries in 21 days without changing clothes. It sure beat meeting for coffee," she wrote in her travel memoirs.

Explaining her big leap of faith (which most women would be far too afraid to do in case the guy turned out to be some psychopath), Bensen offered a Mark Twain quote.


She said: "Exactly one month and two weeks after meeting online, Jeff and I nervously booked two luggage-free flights to Istanbul.

"This was either the best idea ever or the beginning of a brutal, three-week long demise. As Mark Twain so aptly put it, 'There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them'."

Sources: E! Online, Variety and

George Clooney says goodbye to bachelorhood with tequila and cigars

George Clooney waves to his fans waves as he leaves the restaurant Da Ivo with friends and his father during his stag night in Venice on September 27, 2014.

George Clooney said goodbye to bachelorhood in Venice on Friday (Sept 26) with a stag party at his favourite restaurant with a host of Hollywood chums.

As evening approached and girls across the world sobbed, he set out in black tie for an all-boys do with friends to celebrate one of his last nights as a single man. 

After shaking off paparazzi, Clooney headed to Da Ivo near Saint Mark’s Square where his security detail was spotted lurking as the star and friends dined on the venue’s prized Venetian and Tuscan delicacies.

He was then reported to have headed to the luxurious Cipriani hotel where he was set to sleep, but not before rounding off the evening with some shots and cigars.

The 53-year-old actor had 100 cases of his own tequila label, Casamigos, which was flown in for his wedding and was expected to crack open bottles of the award-winning tipple at the stag party.

The actor had earlier swept into the floating city on Friday with his British fiancee Amal Alamuddin on a watertaxi dubbed “Amore", zipping up the Grand Canal to cheers from fans at the start of nuptials set to draw out over the weekend.  

Matt Damon, Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber – tipped to be Clooney’s best man – were just a few of the stars in Venice for the wedding, with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and musician Bono tipped to follow on Saturday. 

Source: AFP


Three Nepalese athletes missing from Incheon Asian Games

The flag of Nepal being carried into the stadium during the Opening ceremony of the 17th Asian games. Three of their athletes have gone missing halfway through the games.

A sepak takraw player and two wushu players from Nepal have gone missing from the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, according to the official Asiad Daily on Saturday (Sept 27).

The sepak takraw player went missing on Wednesday while the two wushu players went missing on Thursday. 

The athletes have been identified by Nepali news outlet eKantipur as sepak takraw player Aman Pode and wushu players, Sombir Tamang and Nirajan Ale Magar. 

“Through closed-circuit television footage, we confirmed that he (the sepak takraw player) had disappeared,” said Jung Ki Young, the Asian Games organising committee’s director of international relations.

“He was going to go back to his country after the match. He, however, disappeared from the venue.”

Jung said the committee had been informed of the disappearances by the Nepal chef de mission and that the team was in possession of the athletes’ passports.

According to sports website insidethegames, this is not the first time that Nepali athletes have gone missing in South Korea - 18 Nepali athletes disappeared during the 2002 Asian games held in Busan South Korea.

Jung, the director of international relations, explained that the players' Games accreditation meant they could remain in South Korea legally until Oct19.

They will not face illegal immigration charges should they turn up before then.

Source: Xinhua, Insidethegames

RVP reveals United's hour-long inquest over Leicester collapse

Robin van Persie (right) revealed that Manchester United conducted an hour-long review over their 5-3 capitulation to Leicester City.
Robin van Persie (right) revealed that Manchester United conducted an hour-long review over their 5-3 capitulation to Leicester City.

Robin van Persie has revealed that Manchester United conducted an hour-long inquest following the club's shocking 3-5 capi​tulation to newly-promoted Leicester City.

United twice took a two-goal lead at the King Power Stadium last week, only to fall apart in spectacular fashion as the Foxes pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the season to win the English Premier League match in emphatic fashion, prompting unhappy manager Louis van Gaal to order a review of the stunning defeat the day after.

While the debrief ran for at least an hour and provided some "confronting" moments, van Persie believes the team benefited from the session.

Proper look

Speaking to Fox Sports, the Dutch striker said: "It shouldn't be possible, but it still happened. so we have to deal with it. We had a proper look at it the next day.

"Sometimes it was a bit confronting. It was a really good meeting as everyone spoke up and shared their feelings.

"It was a long meeting, one hour or something, but we went from there, started again this week and a couple of really good sessions in and everyone feels ready to face West Ham."

Source: PA Sport

Take a look at the seven-star hotel where George Clooney will hold his wedding

US actor George Clooney and his Lebanon-born British fiancee Amal Alamuddin taking a taxiboat upon arriving in Venice on Friday, the eve of their wedding.

The Aman hotel on Venice’s Grand Canal is feverishly preparing for George Clooney’s wedding to Amal Alamuddin.

The exclusive seven-star Aman hotel on the Grand Canal in Venice.

Clooney and his Lebanon-born British fiancee were spotted at Venice's Piazzale Roma on Friday.

Sources say the couple will celebrate with 136 guests, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Matt Damon​, at the exclusive seven-star hotel in the 450-year-old Palazzo Papadopoli.

Hollywood stars and the world’s paparazzi have already begun arriving for the nuptials.

The pair are expected to be officially married in a civil ceremony on Monday, but the city of masks is preparing for a weekend of serious partying before then.

"Clooney’s on everyone’s lips here in Venice, the girls in particular are all in a tizzy, they’ll be lining the banks of the canal to see him," said watertaxi driver Bruno Bartolini, who said it would be "a fantastic party".

"The city’s ground to a halt because they’re using the grand canal, but what does that matter: there’s nothing better than getting married in Venice," said Mr Bartolini.

The guests are expected to dine in style on Friday evening with the couple. 

The reception will take place on Saturday at the luxurious waterfront Aman, where guests will be escorted by police boats keen to keep over-excited Clooney admirers and hundreds of photographers at a distance.

Here's a look at the luxurious Aman hotel.


Photos: Aman hotel

Source: AFP

Secondary school students join HK's democracy protests

PROTEST: Students at a rally outside government headquarters in Hong Kong yesterday.
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