Curiosity’s year on Mars and Lego’s new robots

August 1, 2013

Here are the five stories we’ve been reading/watching today:

1) Curiosity will have spent one year on the surface of Mars on Tuesday. The rover landed on Aug. 6, 2012. NASA released a video that boils down the year in two minutes, with a montage of images taken by one of the rover’s cameras as it drove, drilled and zapped rocks on the Red Planet:

2) There’s a new cellphone on the scene — the Moto X. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama has the lowdown.  In the meantime, here’s what it looks like:

The Motorola Moto X smartphone, using Google's Android software, is shown, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The Motorola Moto X smartphone, using Google’s Android software, is shown, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The Motorola Moto X smartphone, using Google's Android software, is displayed, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. In the background is a Deck, from Sol Republic, which is a wireless speaker that operates up to 300 feet from the phone using Bluetooth technology. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
In the background is a Deck, from Sol Republic, which is a wireless speaker that operates up to 300 feet from the phone using Bluetooth technology. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Members of the media look at the Motorola Moto X smartphone, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Members of the media look at the Motorola Moto X smartphone, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Motorola Moto X smartphones, using Google's Android software, are shown, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. The back of the phone is available in 18 colors. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The back of the phone is available in 18 colors. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The Motorola Moto X smartphone, using Google's Android software, is shown, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at a press preview in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

3) Palo Alto Online’s Sue Dremmann reports that the former* vice president of SAP Labs, LLC took a plea deal on Monday for ticket-switching on LEGO kit boxes, pasting fake barcodes that registered lower prices on boxes. Thomas Langenbach plead to one felony commercial burglary charge, and has been sentenced to three years probation and six months in custody. That includes 30 days in the county jail, and 150 days with an ankle monitor. He is also required to pay back retribution for the stolen items. Langenbach made headlines in 2012 when he was arrested and charged with four felony counts of burglary. (Palo Alto Online via Business Insider)

Legos are definitely cool, and the more complex sets aren’t cheap — including the new additions to the Mindstorms robotics line, which will run you $350. Here’s a look, via PostTV:

And here are some of the more ambitious builds using the popular blocks:

4) The Google doodle today is dedicated to Maria Mitchell, a pioneering astronomer, on her 195th birthday. (Comic Riffs)

5) And we end the day with “Star Wars Parkour” because it’s Star Wars. And it’s parkour. JJ Abrams, are you taking notes?

 *Correction: Thomas Langenbach is no longer employed at SAP.

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