Lightning doesn't always shoot downwards. Just occasionally, a thunderstorm will be accompanied by a red sprite: a huge, momentary electrical explosion that occurs around 50 miles high and fires thin tendrils many miles further up into the atmosphere. Sprites have been caught on camera before, but a fresh photo taken by arty astronauts on the ISS helps to show off their true scale. Captured accidentally during a timelapse recording, it reveals the bright lights of Myanmar and Malaysia down below, with a white flash of lightning inside a storm cloud and, directly above that, the six mile-wide crimson streak of the rare beast itself. Such a thing would never consent to being bottled up and examined, but somehow observers at the University of Alaska did manage to film one close-up at 1000 frames per second back in 1999 -- for now, their handiwork embedded after the break is as intimate as we can get.
Two different audiences and two very different screenings. After unfamiliar 48fps Hobbit footage was pretty universally panned back at Cinema-Con, Peter Jackson decided to play it safe and show Comic-Con fans the traditional low frame-rate teaser. Their response? They loved it. Which would, you'd think, give the head hobbit a clear message: his film works better without the wacky frame rate, but that's just not how he sees it. Writing on his Facebook page, he said "I've always been happy to bet on myself" and the 48fps version of Hobbit is "something really special" when you watch the entire movie. In other words, he's sticking to his orc sword, and in the meantime we're left to wonder what would have happened if the Comic-Con crowd -- who are perhaps more his kind of people than Cinema-Con goers -- had been shown the tricked out footage.
Breaking up is hard to do, and it took Microsoft and NBC a few more days to hammer out all the details and make it official. NBC is buying the software maker's half of the MSNBC website, which will be renamed NBC News -- a change which has already taken place if you try to hit up the old site. Its HQ will also move across from Microsoft's hub in Redmond to New York. Following the split, Microsoft is apparently readying its own news service for launch later this year, aiming to hire around the same number of people that were put to work on the previous site -- and looking to improve on its recent online fortunes.
Even if you have $600 in your pocket and plenty of reasons to want a custom ROM on your Galaxy S III, you still can't quite get hold of Samsung and VZW's promised developer edition. That said, the tinkerer-friendly device has now appeared on Sammy's US mobile sales site, with the promise that it'll be ready to order "soon," with its unsigned bootloader wrapped up in pebble blue alongside 32GB of storage, and with support and a 12-month warranty provided directly by the manufacturer. There's no reason to think that other colors and sizes won't follow suit, or that there'll be much longer to wait for availability, and we'll keep you alerted as soon as that page gets updated.