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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Evidence of Abundance #2: Maternal and Infant Mortality

100 years ago, child birth was risky and infant mortality rates were horrific. How would you feel if 30% of infants died? Or if 900 expectant mothers out of every 100,000 died giving birth? But thanks...

How to Virtually ‘Possess’ Another Person’s Body Using Oculus Rift and Kinect

Virtual reality can put you in another world—but what about another body? Yifei Chai, a student at the Imperial College London, is using the latest in virtual reality and 3D modeling hardware to virtually...

The Uncanniest Valley: What Happens When Robots Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves?

The “uncanny valley” is a term coined by Japanese roboticist Mashahiro Mori in 1970 to describe the strange fact that, as robots become more human-like, we relate to them better—but only to a point....

Strange Bacteria Dine on Electricity and Link Up to Form Biowires

All living organisms need energy. Most animals get their energy by eating other organisms. Plants manufacture energy from sunlight. Now, scientists are finding a strange form of bacterial life that dines on unadulterated electricity. But the...

The End of the Universe: A Search Between Rising Disorder and Complexity

In a new book, The Beginning and the End: The Meaning of Life in Cosmological Perspective, by philosopher Clement Vidal (@clemvidal), the two main trends of the universe – the trends of rising disorder and...

Software Bot Produces Up To 10,000 Wikipedia Entries Per Day

While Internet trolls and members of Congress wage war over edits on Wikipedia, Swedish university administrator Sverker Johansson has spent the last seven years becoming the most prolific author...by a long shot. In fact, he's responsible for over...

Just Reread a Sentence Ten Times? Gaze Tracking Software Tells You, Highlights What You Missed

How much does your mind wander when it’s supposed to be focused on an important task? You probably don’t need a scientific study to tell you the answer. But just in case, it’s a...

Is Tech Unemployment Good or Bad?

Recently, in conversation with Vinod Khosla, Larry Page was asked what he thinks will happen to jobs in the future as technology begins to replace humans. His response was essentially, "everybody will work fewer hours." Similarly,...

How the Crowd Taught a Robot to Build a LEGO Turtle

Humans learn by imitation. There’s no predicting what your kid will bring home from school or the park. What if machines could learn like kids? In fact, they can and do. Robots don’t go to...

NBA Courtside at Home? Live Action Virtual Reality is Here and Better than Expected

William Gibson famously said, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” I’m guessing Gibson was probably referring to the coming world of live action content for the Oculus Rift, and...

Tiny 3D-Printed Bio-Bots Are Propelled by Muscle Cells

Robots come in all shapes and sizes—some are mechanical, and some aren’t. Last year, a team of scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made a seven-millimeter-long 3D printed robot powered by the heart...

Lab-Grown Cheese Made by ‘Milking’ Genetically Modified Yeast Cells

If you’re against killing animals for food and clothing or believe industrial farming is too resource intense, you may have given up some of life’s greatest pleasures. No juicy steak for you, no deliciously...

Humans Aren’t the Pinnacle of Evolution and Consciousness—We’re Only a Rung on the Ladder

In his latest video, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games and techno-poet, Jason Silva, explores the universe’s tendency to self-organize. Biology, he says, seems to have agency and directionality toward greater complexity, and humans...

New Super-Black, Light-Absorbing Material Looks Like a Hole in Reality

UK nanotechnology company, Surrey NanoSystems, has created what they say is the darkest material known to man. Vantablack consists of a dense forest of carbon nanotubes—single atom carbon tubes 10,000 times thinner than a...

Solar PowerCube Provides Electricity, Clean Water, and WiFi in Disaster Zones

Following a major disaster, water, energy, and communications can be in short supply—challenging for residents and relief workers alike. But what if you could provide these necessities using only sunlight? Ecosphere's all-in-one solar solution, the Ecos...

How to Build an App With the Crowd

I have at least 7 really cool app ideas… but I have no time, and I frankly couldn't program them to save my life. Could you? I started looking into how I could design and...

Study Finds a Genetic Link to Autism, Researchers Hope to Find More

Doctors currently diagnose autism by observing behavioral symptoms, but in a study conducted by 13 institutions and including almost 4,000 children with autism, scientists uncovered a clear genetic link in a few cases. The...

Anousheh Ansari on Her Journey to the ISS and the Endless Possibilities of Space

“The biggest hurdle to a flourishing space industry is the cost of access to space, so if we can reduce that cost, the possibilities become endless.” So said Anousheh Ansari, speaking to the participants of...

Robots Able to Pick Peppers, Test Soil, and Prune Plants Aim To Replace Farm Workers

At the turn of the last century, nearly half of the American workforce was dedicated to agriculture. Industrial inventions like the steel plow had made farming easier, but it was still grueling labor performed...

“The World in 2025” Predicts Abundant Solar Power and Food, Tailored Drugs, Gene Therapies

In a recently released vision of the future, Thomson Reuters analysts predict solar power will be the dominant form of energy by 2025. Further, the report states genomic testing and manipulation will be common and lead...

Big Declines in Pollutants Over US Cities, According to NASA Satellite Imagery

Pollution in US cities has been declining for decades now. But sometimes it takes a visual aid to drive the point home. NASA recently released a time lapse of nitrogen oxide—one of six federally regulated...

Technological Fears and the Latest Entry in the Planet of the Apes Franchise

Summertime in the US means action-packed disaster films, and this year, it’s the monkeys who are coming to get us. Hollywood is offering up the next entry in the Planet of the Apes franchise, which...

From Beer to Caffeine, The Birth of Innovation (an Excerpt from Abundance)

300 years ago, during the Age of Enlightenment, the Coffee House became the center of innovation. Back then, most people went from drinking beer to consuming coffee (i.e. from being tipsy to being wired) and...

Magnetically Guided Nanoparticles to Target and Destroy Diseased Cells

Currently, we take the shotgun approach to treatments for diseases like cancer. The body is indiscriminately bombarded with drugs and radiation harmful to diseased and healthy cells alike. While we may not cure cancer...

Algorithm Hunts Rare Genetic Disorders from Facial Features in Photos

Even before birth, concerned parents often fret over the possibility that their children may have underlying medical issues. Chief among these worries are rare genetic conditions that can drastically shape the course and reduce...

Evidence of Abundance #1: More Leisure, Less Work

Is technology making you work harder? Or giving you more time off? Seriously, it feels like it’s enabling me to work around the clock! Heck, I’m writing this email at 37,000 feet on a Virgin...

Step Aside Google Image Search, Here’s an Algorithm that Knows What’s in a Picture

The internet is a wealth of information. But you have to know what you’re looking for. If you only know a basic category—like that weird looking modern chair at your buddy's office—not so good. Search...
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Inside Singularity University: Talking Technology, Innovation, and Grand Challenges With UNICEF

Singularity University has a mission—use technology to positively impact the lives of a billion people in ten years. That's easy enough to say, but you don’t make big changes without big ambition. And if...

What’s Missing from Virtual Reality? Immersive 3D Soundscapes

When you imagine virtual reality, chances are you’ve got visuals in mind. Or maybe you fantasize about a virtual sense of touch. Another key component? Immersive audio. Tom Simonite of MIT Technology Review recently got...

Comcast Muddies Its Anti-Open Internet Position With Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Those who believe in open-source soft- and hardware  often also believe in the value of free information over the Internet. But, chances are, they still want their own personal information to be private. The...

Lab-Grown Retina from Stem Cells Responds to Light

The retina is a complex and fragile piece of equipment, but without it, the world would be completely dark. With a number of diseases that can erode the delicate tissue and little that conventional medicine...

Bitcoin: Going from Deceptive to Disruptive

Bitcoin is moving from its Deceptive phase to a very Disruptive phase. This post is going to explain why, and what you may want to do. I've been tracking Bitcoin since its inception, and my...

We Don’t Have to Play Cosmic Russian Roulette With Asteroids Anymore

Forget Armageddon, says Ed Lu. Forget sci-fi space shuttles. Forget burying nuclear bombs in comets. Forget all that. Asteroids are a real and potentially existential threat. But if we find them early enough, they’re...

Using 3D Printing and Design To Change the Way We Look at Disability

The technology involved in creating artificial limbs has come a long way in the last few decades. We have now witnessed a paralyzed man kick a soccer ball at the opening ceremonies of the World Cup, and a...

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