This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Dec 20)

As this is the last curation post of the year, I want to extend our team’s thanks and appreciation to readers of Singularity Hub. Your support has allowed us to continue to grow and craft a vision for our future that is truly exciting. It has been a great year and we look forward to more awesome scitech advances to share with you in 2015.

Enjoy this week’s stories!

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: How to Fool a Computer With Optical Illusions
Adrienne Lafrance | The Atlantic
“Though the image would still appear nonsensical to the human eye, it would represent, Clune says, the Platonic form of whatever the computer sees…Because it’s not that the computer is identifying the image incorrectly per se, it’s that a computer sees and thinks about the identifying components of any given thing differently—and more granularly—than a human does.”

INTERNET: The Lesson of the Sony Hack: We Should All Jump to the ‘Erasable Internet’
Farhad Manjoo | The New York Times
“Because here’s the thing about the digital world that we must remember. Nothing you say in any form mediated through digital technology — absolutely nothing at all — is guaranteed to stay private. Before you type anything, just think: How will this look when it gets out?”

WORK: This Automated Tool for Judging Programming Ability Is Kind of Ominous
Michael Byrne | Motherboard
“It’s easy to reduce programming to fundamentals, crafting binary trees and intuitive GUIs, but at the same time one difference between an acceptable programmer and a great program would seem to be offering creative or novel solutions rather than simply recalling this or that item of discrete knowledge.”

ENERGY: Micro Wind Turbines: Another Big Headache For Big Oil
Tina Casey | CleanTechnica
“Oil companies in the US have been retrenching as the market goes into free-fall, but when the dust settles and prices begin their inevitable upward climb the survivors will face some stiff — and unprecedented — competition. Among other factors, the US wind industry is on the verge of breaking through into new territory.”

SECURITY: The Most Important Cybersecurity Story That No One Is Talking About
Josephine Wolff | Slate
“It’s a story about the age and fragility of the payment processing technology we use, and the challenges of trying to roll out updates to those old technologies that we continue to depend on in lots of critical sectors from health care to commerce to the military, and even the challenges of remembering that we need to roll out updates to those decade-old technologies.”

VIRTUAL REALITY: The Long, Hard Quest to Create Digital Smells
Yvonne Bang | Nautilus
“The task of inducing scents with wires and circuit boards gets even more complicated when human emotion is tossed into the equation. Emotion and memory are tightly intertwined with scents and flavors. While our vision is hooked up to the frontal cortex, where logic often holds sway, smell is connected directly to the subconscious part of our brain. The perceived smell of one wine, for example, can vary depending on context. ”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David J. Hill
David J. Hill
David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.
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