Star Wars

Army tests “hoverbike” successfully, Star Wars fans rejoice

Army tests “hoverbike” successfully, Star Wars fans rejoice

The USA Department of Defense has witnessed the first successful public test of the Army's latest in futuristic vehicles - the hoverbike. This device is officially known as the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV), and can be seen tested without a pilot in a video shared by the United States Army Research Laboratory this week. The video shows a small-scale prototype test flight, and may move on to flights with pilots in the near future.

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For me, Carrie Fisher’s Leia was more than just ‘one of the boys’

For me, Carrie Fisher’s Leia was more than just ‘one of the boys’

I was somewhere around age 7 when I first saw A New Hope, then just known as Star Wars, and it ignited many things in my young mind. A love for storytelling, a love for science fiction specifically, and the stubborn insistence that lightsabers must exist somewhere regardless of what everyone said. It wasn’t until I watched Return of the Jedi, though, that Star Wars — and Carrie Fisher specifically — revolutionized my understanding of life and my place in it.

Star Wars was many things to me — a classic battle between good and evil, hope that the underdog could persevere against seemingly impossible odds, and, of course, a fun look at an imagined distant future. A New Hope reflected the world I’d perceived and known up to that point: boys having fun and being important and the one token girl being, well, a princess. An admittedly badass princess, but still.

It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the Princess Leia presented in A New Hope, but I didn’t see anything outside of what I knew as normal. She was exactly what I expected the princess to be. Luke was the special Jedi who got a lightsaber and a vital role in changing the galaxy. Han had a huge ship and all these connections amongst many worlds. Princess Leia needed help.

I’d declared at a young age that I wished I was a boy because boys were important and got to have the most fun. I had this idea of what a princess was, and it involved a hefty dose of forced helplessness. Being a girl meant having a lot of pink toys and being admonished about all the things that weren’t ladylike, and while that didn't describe the Princess Leia of A New Hope, I figured she'd had to put up with all that stuff, too.

Princess Leia was okay, but I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. And so I felt like someone must have made a mistake and I was supposed to be a boy. There couldn't be any other answer, I'd figured.

Fast-forward to Return of the Jedi and the plot twist that my young self never saw coming: Luke had a sister, and that sister had the Force, and that sister was Princess Leia. To most adults it seemed like a somewhat cheesy twist, given the love interest angle of the previous movies, but to me it was something else entirely: the very first moment I realized girls could be just as special as boys. She wasn't just a princess tagging along with the boys, she was just as important as them.

Fisher's role in the Star Wars world took on a new form in Return of the Jedi, and she steered it masterfully. Princess Leia wasn't just a stereotypical princess, and at the same time she wasn't a stereotypical "one of the boys" character who tried too hard to be masculine as if the feminine aspects of her personality were shameful.

This point was driven home during the Endor battle scene in which Leia was both warrior and nurturer, being able to hold her own against Imperial forces without needing the boys' help, and at the same time being gentle and loving toward the ewoks and, later on, having no qualms about donning a dress and braiding her hair.

It may sound like such simple things, but to many girls watching those movies for the first time, Fisher presented (and still presents) a look at what could be. You didn't have to be a boy to be special. You didn't have to be saved or sit on the sidelines, and you didn't have to pretend to be a boy or act tough all the time. I stopped wanting to be a boy or be Luke, and I decided I wanted to be like Princess Leia instead: someone who could be a person instead of just a girl.

In light of Fisher's passing, many narratives about her life will no doubt arise across social media in coming days. Many can't seem to help pointing out her past drug use, and others dismiss her as just an actress. Like Leia, though, she was more than any single one thing: she was a person who lived a complex life, and she wasn't afraid to be herself. Her influence will ultimately outlive any single narrative that may arise, and she'll no doubt continue to influence young viewers for years to come.

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Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

Iconic actress Carrie Fisher has died following a heart attack she suffered on a plane trip from London to Los Angeles last week. Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, announced her passing to People Magazine earlier today. An accomplished actress, writer, and advocate, Fisher was just 60 years old.

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Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher reportedly suffers heart attack [updated]

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher reportedly suffers heart attack [updated]

Just days after the release of Star Wars Rogue One comes news that Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia, is reportedly in critical condition following a major heart attack suffered aboard a flight bound for Los Angeles. The actress reportedly went into 'full cardiac arrest' during the flight, and while details are still forthcoming, one police officer responding to the scene reportedly stated that her condition is 'not good.'

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Tech’s 8 biggest winners of 2016

Tech’s 8 biggest winners of 2016

The biggest winners of the year this year really shine a light on where our priorities are as a collective unconscious. This list is not based on the "most popular stories" or "most searched topics" or anything scientific like that - instead it's based on my perception of the tech world as a reporter and a participant. It's also important to note that I consider "tech" to include technology, science, and science fiction entertainment, as well - so those that have any items to add, please, by all means speak up.

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Millennium Falcon Multi-Tool Kit puts the Swiss Army knife to shame

Millennium Falcon Multi-Tool Kit puts the Swiss Army knife to shame

There’s a new Millennium Falcon on the block, and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. The Star Wars Millennium Falcon Multi-Tool Kit is exactly what it sounds like — a multi-tool in the shape and style of the Millennium Falcon. With it, you can tweak and tinker small things: the loose screw on the kitchen cabinet, the little piece of plastic that keeps rattling in your car’s dash, and the phone battery that never pops out easily.

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Star Wars 8 without trailers? Let’s do it!

Star Wars 8 without trailers? Let’s do it!

What if Star Wars Episode VIII were to be released in theaters with absolutely no trailers between now and then? What if this film were to rely solely on the power of Star Wars fandom to do its promotion? Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver thinks it's a good idea, saying "I think that'd be bold. I'd love it, yeah - then no one would know anything."

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Star Wars: Battlefront goes free on Xbox One for EA Access members

Star Wars: Battlefront goes free on Xbox One for EA Access members

Rogue One hits theaters this week, and so the currently most popular Star Wars game, Battlefront, is getting all the perks ahead of time. Game owners just got access to the Rogue One DLC on December 6th, and now some Xbox One owners are getting another special perk: free access to the game, assuming they have an EA Access subscription. The subscription, of course, provides access to the EA Access game vault.

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Uber, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story bring the Force to your ride

Uber, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story bring the Force to your ride

That’s no moon, that’s your Uber ride. OK, so you won’t exactly be riding the Death Star (can that thing even travel?), but you can hop on an X-Wing fighter en route to your work or whatever destination you have in mind. That is, with a little bit of imagination and this update to the Uber app. Joining the craze for the upcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” movie, Uber is making available an optional feature that will make you feel one with the Force.

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BB-8 alarm clock rolls, beeps and plays music when it’s time to wake up

BB-8 alarm clock rolls, beeps and plays music when it’s time to wake up

What better way to wake up than having a small BB-8 rolling around on your nightstand, beeping at your sleep face and playing music? Such is the method used by a newly introduced BB-8 alarm clock that will be rolling out in Japan soon. The clock looks similar to the BB-8 by Sphero we reviewed last year, though it includes a small display showing the current time and buttons for managing the alarms. The item is made by Rhythm.

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The 10 best Star Wars gifts for girls and boys, men and women (2016 edition)

The 10 best Star Wars gifts for girls and boys, men and women (2016 edition)

Today we've got a gift guide for Star Wars fans for the holiday season, for men and women, girls and boys alike. This gift guide is golden for Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Life Day, and whatever else includes the giving of presents galore. We've got a list of the most awesome Star Wars products we've discovered and tested ourselves over the past 12 months - the lot of which we recommend personally.

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Limited-edition Star Wars jackets are the best Rogue One gear so far

Limited-edition Star Wars jackets are the best Rogue One gear so far

Forget trinkets and figurines and backside-illuminated posters — Columbia has just taken the wraps off a new line of jackets inspired by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and they're the best Rogue One gear launched so far. The jackets are designed based on three notable rebel garments, with the Rebel Jacket perhaps being the most eye-catching of the bunch. The jackets will launch on December 9, giving you just enough time to get one before the movie's theatrical premiere.

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