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Monthly Archives: September 2014

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How Long Would It Take to Mine Bitcoin by Hand?

Bitcoin is a decentralized, digital currency. It was invented by a mysterious individual known by the handle, Satoshi Nakamoto. A bitcoin is volatile but is currently worth about $380; regulators are increasingly interested; retailers too—true believers...

Bill Clinton Discusses “Moonshots” with Peter Diamandis, Endorses Abundance

“Why are you so optimistic about the future...don’t you read the papers?” President Bill Clinton recently pitched this playful question to Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, in an on-stage interview at the...

Virtual Reality May Become the Next Great Media Platform—But Can It Fool All Five Senses?

Jason Silva calls technologies of media “engines of empathy.” They allow us to look through someone else’s eyes, experience someone else’s story—and develop a sense of compassion and understanding for them, and perhaps for...
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Short Film “Envoy” Showcases Amazing Visual Effects at the Cost of a Recycled Storyline

In Stephen King's story Low Men in Yellow Coats, an older man offers some advice to a boy about reading books: "Read sometimes for the story...read sometimes for the words--the language...but when you find a book that...

This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Sept 27, 2014)

This week, we saw history in the making as the first 3D printer arrived at the International Space Station. The stories we've been passing around cover a range of topics, from robots in seminaries to open...

This Algorithm Finds the Safest Neighborhood Close to a McDonald’s Just From Photos

The list of things computers can do better than humans is already long, and it’s getting longer every year. Now, you can add making environmental inferences. We pride ourselves on the ability to read between...

Lego-Like Blocks Connect to Form Microfluidic Mini-Laboratories

Some illnesses, like the common cold, are so familiar we don’t need a doctor to diagnose them. Give it a few days in bed binging on Netflix and fruit juice. Other illnesses take a...
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3D Printer Delivered to Space Station Launching New Era of Space Manufacturing

If space is the final frontier, we pilgrims have a lot to learn. To date, we’ve rarely ventured far beyond the thin envelope of Earth’s atmosphere. Why? Because we can’t yet survive long in...

Futuristic Chinese Megastructure Would Include Soaring Towers, Massive Skyways, Urban Farms

Many of the world’s cities are hundreds, even thousands of years old. They evolved from the bottom up as populations changed and demanded change. A new road here, new building there. The result is...

Big Brother Is Feeling You: The Global Impact Of AI-Driven Mental Health Care

Big Brother is feeling you—literally. A few months back, I wrote about Ellie, the world’s first AI-psychologist. Developed by DARPA and researchers at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, Ellie is a diagnostic tool capable of reading 60...

Our Growing Addiction to “Cognitive Ecstasy” Drives Technology’s Progress…And That’s Okay

Why are humans so damn curious? Because discovery is pleasurable. Jason Silva, in his latest video, says humans don’t care about spectacle—what we care about is ecstatic understanding: “In other words, cognitive ecstasy defined as...
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What We’re Reading and Watching This Week (Through Sept 20, 2014)

In the midst of all the technological progress being made globally on a daily basis, sometimes it's tough to appreciate how we're changing as humans. This week, we've been exploring articles and videos from around...

Know What Chemical Elements Are Inside Your Smartphone? A Good Chunk of the Periodic Table

Ever wonder what that mini monolithic-shaped computer you carry around in your pocket is made of? Gallium? Check. Arsenic? Check. Lead and tin? Check and check. Good thing all that is safely housed inside and you're not...

Predicting and Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease with Google Earth

In the film Minority Report, PreCrime police combine psychic premonitions with search and surveillance technology to prevent murders before they occur, resulting in a homicide-free society. Could a similar approach ultimately eradicate infectious diseases like malaria? A recent project at UC San Francisco to leverage Google Earth is aiming to do...

US Navy Tests Exoskeleton to Boost Worker Strength and Productivity

Exoskeletons have made news in recent years for creating super-soldiers and allowing wheelchair users to walk again. Now, the US Navy will test and evaluate Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS exoskeletons for industrial applications at Navy...
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Crowdfunding Begins for Documentary Film Charting the Birth of Singularity University

Matt Rutherford, filmmaker and former producer of Charlie Rose, first met Salim Ismail at a birthday party in San Francisco. Over a beverage and some tech talk, the conversation turned to a new project...

This Week’s Best Stories from Around the Web (Through Sept 13, 2014)

While much of the media this week was obsessing over the latest gadget rollout from Apple, a handful of great stories made their way through the noise and showcase how technology is shifting the cultural fabric in surprising ways. Enjoy our favorites from this week. Gig Economy...

Robot Bartender to Set Sail On Cutting-Edge Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

There’s a new bartender set to sail on Royal Caribbean’s next-generation cruise ship—a robotic bartender, to be precise. The Makr Shakr, created by designers at MIT Senseable City Lab, may not indulge stories of your...

When Do We Get Catbots? We Have the Technology

We can all use an animal companion from time to time—a comforting presence that’s relatively low maintenance, warm, and furry. Pets offers no-drama company that’s hard to find in humans. Still, they come with a...

Artificial Cells Created that Change Shape and Move On their Own

In the future, tiny machines may swim through our bloodstream repairing damage, attacking invaders, or taking real-time readings. We might even model such machines on biology. But biological cells are incredibly complex microscopic machines—and the...

New Apple Watch and Other Smartwatches Merely a Step In Technology’s Great Disappearing Act

When the first Samsung smartwatch was released last year, there was a collective groan. It looked like a smartphone for your wrist, boasting a fraction of the capability. It was huge, heavy, and ugly....

Atlas Robot Slaves Away in MIT Lab, Hauling Metal Scaffolding for Us Humans

The humanoid robot, Atlas, stands six feet tall and weighs three hundred pounds. The bot is built like an NFL offensive lineman, only substitute muscle, ligament, and bone for steel and hydraulics—and swap speed...

What We’re Reading Across the Web This Week (Through Sept 6, 2014)

It's September and that means we're on the cusp of seasonal change. So as you take time to reflect on the changes happening in the physical world, here's a list of excellent articles around the...

Experimental Rat ‘Brain’ Fighter Pilot May Yield Insights Into How the Brain Works

In an experiment to study how neurons form networks and compute, Thomas DeMarse, a University of Florida professor of biomedical engineering, says his lab-grown rat “brain” in a dish can fly a simulated F-22...

Neuromodulation 2.0: New Developments in Brain Implants, Super Soldiers and the Treatment of Chronic Disease

Brain implants here we come. DARPA just announced the ElectRX program, a $78.9 million attempt to develop miniscule electronic devices that interface directly with the nervous system in the hopes of curing a bunch of...

Google Glass App Uses Facial Recognition to Read People’s Emotions

It's no secret that in the digital age, social relationships are changing. The rise of social media has forced us to rely on the ability to read between the lines more than ever as tweets and Facebook posts...

Bacteria from New Residents Populate Homes Within One Day, According to Study

Worried about leaving a digital footprint behind? Your bacterial footprint could be much worse and even incriminating. Recently, researchers traced the microbes that live on and around people within their homes. Findings from the study showed that the composition of...

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