Google buys house where it all began
SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Google corporation has purchased the Menlo Park, Calif., house where the world's biggest search engine made its debut in the two-car garage in 1998.
For an undisclosed price, Google bought the four-bedroom house where Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed and launched their newly incorporated company on a start-up check for $100,000 from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported.
In the summer of 1998 when the first Google servers began working at 232 Santa Margarita Ave., it served 10,000 queries per day. This July, its sites served 366 million searches, the report said.
"We plan to preserve the property as part of our living legacy. We don't have any plans at this time to open it to the public," a Google spokeswoman told the newspaper.
Neighbor Joan Pelletier, who lives two doors down, said the news explained a mystery.
"People did sit in that garage an awful lot," Pelletier said to the Mercury News. "Now I know why they had sofas in there."
Kids sacrifice 27 eggs for science
ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A Detroit-area class of sixth graders has learned from first-drop experience how to prevent an egg from breaking when it's dropped 30 feet.
The 27 students of Avalon Elementary School in St. Clair Shores, Mich., were given two weeks by science teacher Paul Rossi to devise a protective system to prevent eggs from breaking, the Detroit News said.
The students' objective was to build a container that would cushion the impact of being dropped from the top of 20-foot bleachers.
One disposable plastic food container filled with facial tissue and cotton batting didn't do the job, while another cardboard box containing crumpled plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam packing chips attached to a parachute preserved the egg.
Rossi told the students the egg's outcome didn't affect their grade much.
"Whether or not the egg survives is only worth 10 points, so if the egg breaks, students can still get a B on the project," he said, adding only about half of the eggs broke.
Brit sets record with underwater gig
OLSO, Norway, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- British pop superstar Katie Melua has set a world record with a gas rig gig -- nearly 1,000 feet below sea level in the North Sea.
Norway's NRK TV filmed the concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of gas production at the Statoil Troll A rig.
"This was definitely the most surreal gig I have ever done," Melua, 22, told the BBC. "Giving a concert to the workers there was something really extraordinary and an occasion that I will remember all my life."
Britain's No. 1 selling female artist had to do more than rehearse for this concert -- she had to undergo survival training as well as pass a rigorous physical exam.
The concert was confirmed to be the deepest underwater by Guinness World Records.
Robot drummer can keep to the beat
ATLANTA, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Yo there, Tommy Lee -- there's a new drummer in town thanks to Georgia Tech and Haile (High-lee) not only boasts robotic precision, he's a real looker as well.
Haile goes a step further than its robotic predecessors by actually interacting with other musicians, said Music Technology Professor Gil Weinberg, who invented the drum machine with graduate student Scott Driscoll.
"Computers have been playing music for 50 years," Driscoll told CNN. "But we wanted to create something that didn't just play back what it heard, but play off it, too."
Weinberg and Driscoll also designed Haile to be good-looking. They wanted a humanoid, but not a human, and the result is a robot made from hardwoods with hands and legs and a head.
"The first version of Haile had only one hand and nothing else," Weinberg said. "There was no connection between the player and the robot. It felt like you were just playing with a device."
Haile made its debut during the SIGGRAPH 2006 conference in Boston.
"Knowing that Haile is hearing the music and responding to the tone, pitch and amplitude of the beat when creating its own drum response is quite moving," said Heather Elliott-Famularo, the conference's organizer.