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The useless web

It's not new, it's not clever, but it is a great way to waste time. Welcome to The Useless Web, a curated collection of some of the world's most pointless websites. It's essentially a giant button that you can click to take you to one of many websites, some of which you'll know and love, and others that may be entirely new to you, but all sharing one common trait: they're useless.

We've been using the site all week long, and thought it was about time we shared some animated GIF/Flash love with you all. Check it out at the source below, and be sure to share your favorite useless site in comments.

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Einstein brain

Researchers at Florida State University have gotten a close look at unpublished photos of Albert Einstein's brain that collectively reveal the brilliant physicist's entire cerebral cortex. 14 images in all were analyzed, with most taken from "unconventional angles" according to a study published today. They reveal some striking physical differences between Einstein's cranium and that of your average person.

First and foremost, Einstein's prefrontal cortex is described as "extraordinary," with experts surmising this may have contributed to his astute cognitive abilities. The photos also dispel earlier beliefs that Einstein's brain was spherical in shape; it was not. All in all, the research suggests such anomalies may have "provided...

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Facebook Login question marks

Since Wired writer Mat Honan was hacked earlier this year, he's taken a close look at security issues, leading him to question the ubiquitous concept of the password itself. Passwords, Honan explains, have been vulnerable for the thousands of years they've been in use, but the question remains, what can we replace them with? There's a careful balancing act between convenience, privacy, and security. In other words, people have to be able to access their own accounts without an immense amount of trouble, they have to feel like they have privacy when doing so, and the systems still need to remain secure. For an interesting discussion about the future of account security — and how to keep your accounts safe in the meantime — check out...

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Super Time Force

Super T.I.M.E. Force is a video game about time travel, and that means that it has to deal with all of the problems inherent to that premise — most notably the concept of the "temporal paradox." It's an idea that science fiction writers have been struggling with for decades. What if you went back in time and did something — say, accidentally kill your mom — that would prevent you from travelling back in time in the first place? How would that impact the future? For the developers at Capy Games, it's proving to be a unique design challenge for their next game.

The game puts players in the role of an elite soldier in the titular Super T.I.M.E. Force, a group that travels to different time periods correcting what they deem to be...

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Minority Report iconic head shot

A large part of what makes Steven Spielberg’s movies so memorable is the visuals, with Janusz Kaminski — Oscar-winner and long-time cinematographer for the director — talking to Vulture about how he achieved some of his iconic shots. Kaminski delves into his mindset during his filming of Spielberg's movies, describing the process on titles such as Schindler’s List, Minority Report, and the recently released Lincoln. Some are helped along with CGI — like The Lost World and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — but it’s hard not to admire Kaminski’s skill after reading through his accounts.

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SpaceX Merlin 1D booster

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has made it his business to take on spaceflight, an alluring but sometimes painfully stagnant area of technology. After helping to found PayPal, he moved on to Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which recently made the first commercial supply mission to the ISS. Now, Wired's Chris Anderson — who is himself leaving Wired to focus on startup 3D Robotics — has interviewed Musk about his original plans for SpaceX, the process of building and launching his rockets, and the possibility of a truly reusable spacecraft, which Musk calls "the fundamental thing that’s necessary for humanity to become a space-faring civilization."

Musk isn't the only man with a plan for space travel, but his company has seen a level of success...

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sugarsync 640 wide

Cloud storage and file-syncing service SugarSync today announced the launch of SugarSync 2.0 in public beta, a big step forward in its battle against Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. SugarSync has always been a feature-rich app, but 2.0 is a leap forward in a key area where it’s always been lacking: accessible design. "We got feedback that SugarSync was the most powerful [syncing solution], but not that it was the easiest to use," CEO Laura Yecies told The Verge, so the company focused largely on designing a simple desktop app for the last year and a half. SugarSync 2.0 also adds a powerful search feature on the desktop and web, as well as an expanded set of sharing options — two of its most request features.

With version 2.0,...

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prometheus lead

Earlier this week, a fan site published an early draft of a script for Prometheus, revealing plot points and alien creatures that never appeared in Ridley Scott's final version. Titled Alien: Engineers, the script was penned by Jon Spaihts before Lost creator Damon Lindelof eventually took over, and includes new plot twists involving alien parasites and even Facehuggers.

On Sunday, Spaihts confirmed via Twitter that the script is indeed "authentic," and later told Wired that he wasn't upset about the leak, describing it as a testament to Ridley Scott fandom. "The interest in the script speaks, more than anything, to their love of the film and the Alien universe," Spaihts explained. "It’s really just an aspect of their fandom for the...

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Photo

Benoit Mandelbrot was one of the most influential minds of the 20th century. His career spanned many disciplines, but he's perhaps best known for his groundbreaking geometry work in defining fractals, a class of shapes that "mimic the irregularities found in nature." In The Fractalist, Mandelbrot's memoir, the late scientist reveals his journey, from fleeing Poland as a young boy in 1936 to working for IBM and meeting with Noam Chomsky. Through the course of his career, Mandelbrot influnced a number of disciplines, and the impact of his work is likely to continue to be felt for many years to come.

According to The New York Times, "to read The Fractalist is to examine a brain that can seem to reside in a jar," as few references to the...

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3D printed figure

3D printing can be used for everything from building parts for rocket ships to printing dinosaur bones, but a company in Japan will soon be using the technology for something a bit more ordinary: to replace the humble photo booth. A temporary pop-up booth will be launching at the Eye of Gyre exhibition in Japan on November 24th, and will be open until January 14th of next year. The idea is similar to a regular photo booth, only instead of receiving a string of photos, you'll get a miniature, action figure-style 3D model.

The models come in three sizes — ranging from 10 to 20 centimetres in height — and vary in price depending on how many people are in the shot, with the more expensive options costing upwards of ¥32,000 (about...

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