Virtual Land Grab
Do not pass go. Do Not Collect $200. Go straight to connectivity lockdown. Why? Because Google's latest venture, Monopoly City Streets (monopolycitystreets.com), a joint venture with games company Hasbro, has been swamped by so many interested parties that its server has crashed. The game, which went live on Wednesday this week, allows you to buy up real streets with the aid of Google Maps using a budget of 3 million Monopoly dollars, called a Chance Card, which you get when you sign up. Once you have bought a street you can build on it and rent the building out, and, if you so wish, bulldoze existing buildings. To sabotage your friends' projects you can build prisons or sewage plants. Monopoly City Streets is a social networking version of the board game that Hasbro hopes will rekindle interest in the game. Players can go up against their real friends, competing for streets all over the world, with a promise of fame for the winner. Says Pat Riso, a spokesperson for Hasbro: "From the first time you roll the dice, you can start building the city in the middle of the board game. … We felt it was time to do something to shake it up." City Streets will run online for four months.
Velcro in steel
Students at the Technical University of Munich have created a velcro-like material from steel that can support up to 35 tons at temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius. The Metaklett fastening is made from perforated steel strips 0.2 millimetres thick. Mimicking the nylon version, one side has springy steel loops and the other is prickly with spikes that can attach to the loops at any angle. Apart from the advantage of being temperature resistant, Metaklett is almost as easy as Velcro to close and open again.
A few months ago a Tel Aviv woman known only as Anat threw out her elderly mother's mattress and bought her a new one in its place. She later discovered that it was home to her mother's life savings, around a million dollars. If only she had invested in one of these mini mattress wallets created by Seattle-based designer Peter Trueblood instead. The wallet costs $19.95 and can be bought online at themattresswallet.com.