Friday, May 18, 2018

A new type of flying robot is so tiny and lightweight — it weighs about as much as a toothpick — it can perch on your finger. The little flitter is also capable of untethered flight and is powered by lasers.
This is a big leap forward in the design of diminutive airborne bots, which are usually too small to support a power source and must trail a lifeline to a distant battery in order to fly, engineers who built the new robot announced in a statement.
Their insect-inspired creation is dubbed RoboFly, and like its animal namesake, it sports a pair of delicate, transparent wings that carry it into the air. But unlike its robot precursors, RoboFly ain't got no strings to hold it down. Instead, the miniature bot uses a lightweight onboard circuit to convert laser light into enough electrical power to send it soaring.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Why Reading On Paper, Scientifically, Makes Us Happier People

Using paper brought a surprising amount of joy back to my life. The advantages were practical: having a limited amount of space to write forced me to ruthlessly prioritize tasks. The process of checking my planner every morning created a sense of ritual and structure to my day. And the physical act of writing engaged me more — I remember things better.

Alan Houot Twente

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Neuroscientists and Philosophers Debate Whether the World Exists

You might not think there’d be much overlap between neuroscience and philosophy, but that’s not what philosopher Alva Noë sees. Where philosophers have long debated how much we should trust our perception of the external world, neuroscientists operate on the assumption that we shouldn’t trust it much at all. According to neuroscience, says, Noë, it’s pretty much all in your head.
Your world, through neuroscience’s empirical lens, is a construct you’ve built from patterns your brain has identified in sensory experiencesNot so fast, says Noë.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Who Is Actually Going to Suffer From Automation?

Thanks to rapid advances in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, smart machines that would have once been relegated to works of science-fiction are now a part of our reality.
Today, we have AIs that can pick applesmanage hotels, and diagnose cancer.Researchers at MIT have even developed an algorithm that can predict the immediate future. If only they could train it to predict how automation is going to impact the human workforce…

Monday, January 1, 2018

Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar is right around the corner

Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar is right around the corner

Lidar used to cost $75,000. Experts expect this to fall to less than $100.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Your digital privacy rights will be redefined by this Supreme Court case
The FBI arrested the man, Timothy Carpenter, largely based on location data from his cell phone that put him within two miles of the crimes. While those records pieced together an exhaustive picture of Carpenter’s every move over nearly half a year, the feds didn’t need a warrant to obtain them because of a legal theory related to the Fourth Amendment known as the “third-party doctrine.” 
When Carpenter voluntarily turned his cell phone data over to a third party — in this case a cell-phone service provider — he lost any “reasonable expectation of privacy,” the theory goes. And the third-party doctrine doesn’t just apply to cell phone data, but private images, healthcare information, and in some circumstances, even phone calls.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Shipping containers are flood- and fireproof, making them a great home-building material. Ranging in length from 20 to 30 feet, shipping containers are typically only used for 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer. It is estimated that there are 24 million empty shipping containers in the world that will not be used for cargo again.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Facebook’s racist ad problems were baked in from the start

ProPublica discovered last Thursday that Facebook’s ad tools could target racists and anti-Semites using the very information those users self-report. That initial report kicked off a series of experiments conducted by news organizations that found that Google’s search engine would not only let you place ads next to search results for hateful rhetoric, but its automated processes would even suggest similar, equally hateful search terms to sell ads against. Twitter was also caught up in the controversy, when its filtering mechanisms failed to prevent ads from targeting “Nazi” and the n-word, an issue the company inexplicably attributed to “a bug we have now fixed.” This week, Instagram converted a journalist’s post about a violent threat she received into an ad that it then served to the journalist’s contacts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Ton of Scifi Books Are Coming to TV, Including Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan

Universal has just announced a slate of new genre TV shows, including three new adaptations of fantasy and scifi books. But hidden among those are the first details about Dan Harmon and Evan Katz’s next TV series: Sirens of Titan, an interplanetary epic based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The DIY Girls: How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless

That was the starting point for their invention: a solar-powered tent that folds up into a rollaway backpack. The girls and 10 others from their high school had never done any hands-on engineering work before, but with the help of YouTube, Google, and trial-and-error, they got it done. They hope that one day, their tent will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Delivery By Drones Instead of Trucks Will Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Delivering packages with drones can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in certain circumstances as compared to truck deliveries, says a new study. Drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantage over trucks when the drones do not have to fly very far to their destinations or when a delivery route has few recipients, said the study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Transportation Research Part D.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Los Angeles Says It'll Stay In The Paris Climate Agreement It Isn't In

Not because of the sentiment. Climate change presents a real danger to humanity, and it’ll hit the humans who live near oceans first. Los Angeles, where Eric Garcetti is mayor, has a population of over 10 million people, a quarter of California’s humans, and the busiest port in the United States. Sea level rise and pollution matter there.
And it’s not weird because Garcetti was wrong about the politics. President Trump has, as you’ve no doubt read, expressed doubt in the reality of climate change (he’s wrongabout that) and threatened to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement (he could, but it wouldn’t be simple) signed by 200 countries in 2015.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Norwegian publication is adding subscribers like crazy

One of the problems that we face in a new millennium is how to support good journalism. While trying to work out the kinks of digital subscriptions, most online news outlets have had to rely solely on ad revenue.
The problem is that it doesn’t fill the gap left by subscribers and can lead to clickbaity and shoddily written articles. However, there’s still hope.
NiemanLab reported on the success of Norway’s largest local news publisher, Amedia. The company owns 62 local and regional outlets across Norway and has shown promising results in getting people to pay for digital content.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Conversation About Digital Copyright Reform

The European Union is in the process of reforming copyright laws that date back to 2001, as part of a wider strategy to establish a Digital Single Market across the 28 Member States of the bloc, aiming to break down regional barriers to e-commerce.
Earlier this year an agreement was reached on ending geoblocks on travelers’ digital subscriptions by 2018. And EU consumers are set to say adios to mobile roaming fees from this June. So far, so good, you could say.