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Friday, January 29, 2016

What Ever Happened To The Mainframe Computer?

The Mainframe Lives On in IBM's LinuxONE

If you want Big Blue to run your private or hybrid cloud, IBM has the Linux software partners -- Canonical, Red Hat, and SUSE -- and mainframes for you.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | January 27, 2016

IBM invested a billion dollars in Linux in 2002. Some things remain the same. Last year, IBM introduced LinuxONE, a new pair of IBM mainframes along with Linux and open-source software and services. These new systems are the LinuxONE Emperor, which built on the IBM z13 mainframe and its z13 CPU, and its little brother, Rockhopper, which is now moving from the older z12 processor to the z13.

LinuxONE Emperor Mainframe

<more at; related links: (Linux Without Limits: IBM Launch LinuxONE Mainframes. August 17, 2015) and (IBM's LinuxONE Mainframe: What's Old Is New Again. Linux on a mainframe is not a new idea. Red Hat and SUSE are already there. Linux on an affordable mainframe is the new idea. August 18, 2015)>

Shared Library Collection: Georgia Tech And Emory University

Out of the Stacks

Georgia Tech and Emory's plan to build shared library collection begins in earnest this month. Partnership could lay the foundation for library consortium in Atlanta area.

Carl Straumsheim | January 13, 2016

If you take the books out of a library, is it still a library?
That’s the question the Georgia Institute of Technology pondered -- and eventually answered in the affirmative -- when administrators, faculty members and librarians there in 2013 began to define their vision of what the institute’s library should look like by 2020.
The most symbolic part of that transition is starting this month. Virtually all of the books in Georgia Tech’s collection -- more than 95 percent of them -- are headed to a cold storage facility, creating a shared collection with neighboring Emory University. But the more prominent changes are less visible, including a transformation of the library from a “big box filled with books” to a service organization with a large online presence. The institute’s partnership with Emory could even lay the foundation for a library consortium in the Atlanta area.

The Emory-Georgia Tech Library Service Center will house a shared collection of materials available to students, faculty and staff of both institutions. Source:

<more at; related links: (Georgia Tech Library. Library Renewal) and (Emory, Georgia Tech to open joint Library Service Center. November 19, 2014)>

Cuba On The Internet

Cuba's Irreversible Internet

Emily Parker | January 27, 2016

Laritza Diversent, a Cuban lawyer, once explained why she wrote a blog. She said that her daily realities were not reflected in the Cuban media. She started blogging to "show my country as I see it and feel it."
Those words illustrate the power of the Internet in Cuba. In countries where the state controls the media narrative, the Internet allows ordinary people to tell their own stories. Over the years, determined activists like Laritza have made great efforts to get online. 

Internet Rates in Havana for people who can afford the Havana internet, the monthly rate is more than one year salary for the common Cuban ( Source:

<more at; related links: (Internet in Cuba) and (Internet Access Expands In Cuba — For Those Who Can Afford It. October 6, 2015)>

Impact of Robots In The Factory On The Developing World

Is the Outlook for Developing Nations Darkened by a Robot Future? (+Video)

Automation could be bad news for countries banking on factory jobs.

Jana Randow | January 28, 2016

Computers might be coming for lower-skilled jobs — and that spells trouble for the growth outlook in developing nations. 
The share of jobs that could be automated in developing countries ranges from 55 percent in Uzbekistan to 85 percent in Ethiopia. The poorer countries have a higher potential for technology upgrades and adoption than most advanced economies, based on World Bank research that features in a new study from Citi and the Oxford Martin School.  

<more at; related links: (Goodbye, Golden Age of Growth. January 26, 2016) and (Technology at Work v2.0. The Future Is Not What It Used to Be. January 2016)>

A Far Faster Internet In The Works

I'm Incredibly Excited about Starry's Revolutionary Internet Service — and You Should Be Too

Tim Stenovec | January 28, 2016

When it comes to technology, it takes a lot to get me excited.
That's because as a tech editor I'm constantly pitched products, services, and gadgets that I'm promised will be life changing or the next big thing. Of course, they rarely are — usually they aren't anything I'd buy, use, or recommend to friends, family, and readers.
But on Wednesday, I was, for lack of a better word, stoked. That's because I had just attended the press briefing for Starry, a new company founded and headed up by Chet Kanojia.

Aereo founder’s next business: Wireless gigabit home Internet. Millimeter wave tech will achieve high speeds, launching first in Boston. Source:

<more at; related links: (Aereo founder’s next business: Wireless gigabit home Internet
Millimeter wave tech will achieve high speeds, launching first in Boston. January 27, 2016) and (Former Aereo CEO Wants To Blanket Your Home In Gigabit Internet. January 27, 2016)>

Harvard Working On An AI As Fast As The Human Brain

Harvard Is Trying to Build an AI As Fast As the Human Brain

Emily Reynolds | January 25, 2016

Harvard University has been awarded $28 million (£19m) to investigate why brains are so much better at learning and retaining information than artificial intelligence. The award, from the Intelligence Advanced Projects Activity (IARPA), could help make AI systems faster, smarter and more like human brains. 
While many computers have a comparable storage capacity, their ability to recognise patterns and learn information does not match the human brain. But a better understanding of how neurons are connected could help develop more complex artificial intelligence.

AI Algorithm Learns Simple Tasks as Fast as Humans
<more at; related links: (Getting Started with IARPA) and (Why the Future of Machine Learning Is a Master Algorithm. September 22, 2015)>

Robot With Talent

Alpha 1s, A Programmable Humanoid Robot That Sings, Dances & Does Kung Fu (+Video)

Glen Tickle | December 14, 2015

Alpha 1s by Ubtech is a programmable humanoid robot that sings, dances, and does kung fu, or whatever other moves its human master can think of. The robot comes with 3D editing software for programming its movements, and can be controlled with an app. Alpha 1s can serve as an educational tool as the user learns to program a robot from scratch.
The Alpha 1s robot is available in our Laughing Squid Store for a 41% discount off its list price and free shipping. [Blogger's note: See eBay link below for a price of $484.00.]

"The First Humanoid Robot Designed For Family. Programmable. Interactable. Affordable." On eBay. Source:
<more at (UBTech Alpha 1S Humanoid Robot)  and (Alpha 2, the First Humanoid Robot for the Family!)>

Thursday, January 28, 2016

FCC Contemplates Changes In Cable Set-Top Box Market

F.C.C. Proposes Changes in Cable Set-Top Box Market

Cecilia Kang and Emily Steel | January 27, 2016

The cable set-top box, long a scourge of consumers and a moneymaker for cable companies, appears set for a makeover.
The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced a proposal allowing cable and satellite subscribers to pick the devices they use to watch programming. Nearly all customers now must get their boxes from their cable companies, and they pay an average of $231 a year to lease the devices.
The move could have broad implications for the industry, allowing Google, Amazon and Apple, for instance, to expand their footprints in the media industry with devices that would blend Internet and cable programming in a way the television industry has resisted. 

Cable lobby is really mad about FCC’s set-top box competition plan. Cable box rental fee revenue at stake in battle over new rules. Source:

<more at; related links: (The FCC wants to totally overhaul how cable boxes work. January 27, 2016) and (It’s Time to Unlock the Set-Top Box Market. January 27, 2016); further: (Cable lobby is really mad about FCC’s set-top box competition plan. Cable box rental fee revenue at stake in battle over new rules. January 28, 2016)>

Technology And The Costs Of Teaching

Does Technology Ever Reduce the Costs of Teaching?

Corinne Ruff | January 26, 2016

Randall Bergen, an assistant to the president of Bethel University in Minnesota, was initially excited by the hype and promise of flipped classrooms, MOOCs, and hybrid courses. He hoped the innovations could reduce costs. But in reality, more technology has meant more spending for his university. And like many officials, that left him discouraged as the hype has worn off.
One question in particular has stuck in his head: Do any tech innovations actually lower the cost of delivery in higher education?

From: "A Truly Devastating Graph on State Higher Education Spending. Some states have slashed per-student spending by as much as half." -- These cuts aren't the only reason the cost of a public education has jumped in the last several years, but they're an essential part of the story. As the CPBB notes, there have been some truly astronomical tuition increases since 2008 -- with the sticker price of school rising more than 50 percent in seven different states. Source:

<more at; related links: (
Study Shows Schools Want More Tech, Lower Costs. January 28, 2016) and (A Truly Devastating Graph on State Higher Education Spending. Some states have slashed per-student spending by as much as half. March 20, 2013)>

Yahoo Releases Machine Learning Dataset for Academic Researchers

Yahoo Releases Machine Learning Dataset for Academic Researchers

Dian Schaffhauser | January 20, 2016

Academic researchers now have free access to a sizable new dataset for the purposes of expanding the scientific world's understanding of Web sciences. Yahoo Labs released the "Yahoo News Recommendation" dataset, which consists of data on 110 billion events, taking up 13.5 terabytes in its uncompressed format.
Already the data has been used for research on the "effects of bid-pulsing on keyword performance in search engines" and the evaluation of "automatic image annotation using human descriptions at different levels of granularity."
The information inside the dataset is completely anonymized and maintained in the Yahoo Labs Webscope data-sharing program, the company reported. It's made up of user content interactions for about 20 million users during the period from February 2015 to May 2015. 

The Yahoo Webscope Program is a reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets for non-commercial use by academics and other scientists.
All datasets have been reviewed to conform to Yahoo's data protection standards, including strict controls on privacy. We have a number of datasets that we are excited to share with you.
Yahoo is pleased to make these datasets available to researchers who are advancing the state of knowledge and understanding in web sciences. The datasets are only available for academic use by faculty and university researchers who agree to the Data Sharing Agreement.

<more at; related links: (Webscope Datasets webiste) (The Effects of Bid-Pulsing on Keyword Performance in Search Engines. Savannah Wei Shi and Xiaojing Dong. July 2014. [Abstract: The objective of this study is to empirically examine whether and how the bid-pulsing affects keyword auction performance in search engine advertising. In keyword auctions, advertisers can choose a set-to-forget fixed bidding amount (fixed-bidding), or they can change the bid value based on certain type of rules (pulse-bidding). A keyword auction dataset from Yahoo! reveals that around 60% of advertisers frequently changed their bid value for a particular keyword category; moreover, such pulse-bidding behavior is observed throughout the entire time course for some companies. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses on this dataset demonstrate that when a company pulses its bid values, the ranking, the number of exposures, and the number of clicks of the target ad listing will all benefit; in addition, the average bid price will be lower. The results are consistent across four keyword categories. Among the three keyword categories that are in ascending order of level of competitiveness, the magnitude of the bid-pulsing effect also increases. The study extends search engine advertising literature by providing empirical evidence of pulse-bidding strategy under the generalized second price (GSP) auction and by exploring the consequence of such strategy. Managerially, our results suggest that while keeping all other costs and the bidding environment the same, increasing the frequency and scale of bid pulsing will improve keyword performance; this is especially the case when bidding on a highly competitive keyword category.])

The Publishing Industry: White And Female

Publishing Industry Is Overwhelmingly White and Female, US Study Finds

Survey of workforce at 34 book publishers and eight review journals in US reveals 79% of staff are white and 78% female – with UK numbers still unmonitored

Alsion Flood | January 27, 2016

A survey of American publishing has found that it is blindingly white and female, with 79% of staff white and 78% women.
Multicultural children’s publisher Lee & Low Books surveyed staff at 34 American publishers, including Penguin Random House and Hachette , as well as eight review journals, to establish a baseline to measure diversity among publishing staff. They found that 79% were white. Of the remainder, Asians/Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders made up 7.2% of staff, Hispanics/Latinos/Mexicans 5.5%, and black/African Americans 3.5%.

<more at; related links: (Where Is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey Results. January 26, 2016) and (Why hasn't the number of multicultureal books increase in eighteen years? June 17, 2013)>

Tally, The Robot For Store Shelves

Meet Tally, the Robot That Knows What's on Store Shelves (+Video)

Tally from Simbe Robotics could make in-store human inventory checks obsolete.

Sophia Stuart | January 27, 2016

The Internet has revolutionized shopping, from buying things on Amazon to getting in-store push notifications on your phone. But behind the scenes, shopping tech is ripe for even more innovation. Like it or not, things like patrolling warehouses and recording inventory can be executed by a robot.
Simbe Robotics (Simbe stands for Simulated Being) has built just that. It's called Tally, and it can traverse a shop's aisles for eight to 12 hours on a single charge, counting and checking up to 20,000 individual stock keeping units (SKUs) with greater than 96 percent accuracy. PCMag went to Simbe's San Francisco office recently to watch Tally operate in a test retail environment.


<more at,2817,2498439,00.asp; related links: (+Video) (Simbe Robotics - Meet Tally. Published November 12, 2015) and (Simbe. Meet Tally. The World's First Fully Autonomous Shelf Auditing & Analytics Solution)>

The Smart PadLock Uses Your Fingerprint

TappLock Is the “Smart” Padlock You Unlock with Your Fingerprint (+Video)

Lee Mathews | January 27, 2016

Keys? Combinations? There’s got to be a better way to open a padlock, right? The creators of TappLock think so, and they’re pitching biometrics as the solution.
TappLock is roughly the same size as an ordinary combination lock, but instead of a dial full of numbers its face has only a small, black square in the center. It’s a fingerprint scanner, and a quick tap on it is all it takes to unlock.


<more at; related links: (Tapplock website) and (This smart padlock unlocks using just your fingerprint, what could go wrong? January 27, 2016)>

A Smarter Smartphone For People Recognition

Google Wants Your Smartphone to See People

Nick Statt | January 27, 2016 

Google today announced a partnership with Silicon Valley chip maker Movidius to help bring more powerful image recognition technology directly to smartphones. In current devices, those kinds of capabilities are typically restricted to cloud-based apps, which communicate with servers to tap into advanced artificial intelligence techniques for performing facial recognition and other tasks. The new collaboration, however, will see Google place Movidius' MA2450 chip inside Android handsets to allow them to understand and identify images like faces and street signs in real time, without the need to upload photos and wait for algorithms to do their magic in the cloud.

<more at>

Project Tango Smartphone
Google recently showed off new prototype tablet and smartphone hardware that was part of an intriguing endeavor dubbed “Project Tango.” Source:

Google and Movidius Work Together to Enhance Deep Learning Capabilities in Next-Generation Devices

Latest Myriad 2 Vision Processing Platform Selected by Google to Accelerate Adoption of Machine Learning Applications in Mobile Devices

Movidius | January 27, 2016

[...] "What Google has been able to achieve with neural networks is providing us with the building blocks for machine intelligence, laying the groundwork for the next decade of how technology will enhance the way people interact with the world," said Blaise Agüera y Arcas, head of Google's machine intelligence group in Seattle. "By working with Movidius, we're able to expand this technology beyond the data center and out into the real world, giving people the benefits of machine intelligence on their personal devices."

<more at>

The brand new collaboration, nevertheless, will see Google place Movidius' MA2450 chip inside Android handsets to permit them to know and determine pictures like faces and road indicators in actual time, with out the necessity to add pictures and await algorithms to do their magic within the cloud. Source:

Other related links for these articles: (Google wants your smartphone to see people. January 27, 2016) and (New app shows us how incredible Google’s ‘Project Tango’ devices will be. June 30, 2014)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

4D Printed Flowers To Pave Way For 4D Printed Human Tissues

Harvard’s 4D Printed Flowers to Pave Way for 4D Printed Human Tissues (+Animated GIF)

Michael Molitch-Hou | January 25, 2016

When I interviewed Voxel8 CEO Jennifer Lewis last year, she told me that she didn’t want me to conflate her research with her commercial work, namely the multi-material, electronics 3D printer she developed at Voxel8.  This meant that my questions regarding 4D printing and bioprinting would have to be reserved for a separate interview.  While the exact date for that interview is yet to be determined, her team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has continued to make progress, publishing a paper in Nature Materials outlining an experiment in “Biomimetic 4D printing”.


<more at; related links: (+Animated GIF) (Glowing 4D-printed flowers could pave way for replacement organs. January 25, 2016) and (Biomimetic 4D printing. A. Sydney Gladman, Elisabetta A. Matsumoto, Ralph G. Nuzzo, L. Mahadevan and Jennifer A. Lewis. Nature Materials (2016) doi:10.1038/nmat4544. [Abstract: Shape-morphing systems can be found in many areas, including smart textiles1, autonomous robotics2, biomedical devices3, drug delivery4 and tissue engineering5. The natural analogues of such systems are exemplified by nastic plant motions, where a variety of organs such as tendrils, bracts, leaves and flowers respond to environmental stimuli (such as humidity, light or touch) by varying internal turgor, which leads to dynamic conformations governed by the tissue composition and microstructural anisotropy of cell walls6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Inspired by these botanical systems, we printed composite hydrogel architectures that are encoded with localized, anisotropic swelling behaviour controlled by the alignment of cellulose fibrils along prescribed four-dimensional printing pathways. When combined with a minimal theoretical framework that allows us to solve the inverse problem of designing the alignment patterns for prescribed target shapes, we can programmably fabricate plant-inspired architectures that change shape on immersion in water, yielding complex three-dimensional morphologies.])>

China Is Catching Up To The U.S. On Science And Engineering Spending

China Is Catching Up to the US on Science and Engineering Spending, Report Finds

America still leads the world, but Asian countries are catching up

Loren Grush | January 19, 2016

Many Asian countries, especially China, have been increasing their investment in scientific research and development at a much faster rate than the United States. That's according to the new Science and Engineering Indicators 2016 report out today from the National Science Board — a group appointed by the president that sets policies for the National Science Foundation. The report details how Southeast, South, and East Asia now account for 40 percent of the world's expenditures in R&D. Asia's advancements are threatening America's leadership in the field, the NSB report argues, as the United States' commitment to science and engineering is wavering.


<more at; related links: (China Is Beginning To Catch Up To The US In Science And Technology Leadership. January 19, 2016) and (Press Release 16-006. U.S. science and technology leadership increasingly challenged by advances in Asia. China is now decisively the second-largest performer of research and development. January 19, 2016)>

Color-Morphing Clams May Help In Design Of New Display Screen Technology

Color-Morphing Clams Could Inspire New Smartphone & TV Screens

Charles Q. Choi | January 23, 2016

Iridescent cells in the flesh of giant clams could one day help scientists design more efficient solar panels, and television and smartphone screens that are easier on the eyes, researchers say.
Giant clams are native to coral reefs of the Pacific and Indian oceans and can live up to 100 years in the wild. Although they live in nutrient-poor water, they can grow up to 47 inches (120 centimeters) long because of symbiotic photosynthetic algae — the clams absorb nutrients the algae generate, while the algae live off nitrogen-rich waste from the clams, previous research found.

Color-Morphing Clams Could Inspire New Smartphone & TV Screens
Giant clams reflect white by mixing colors, much like how video displays combine red, green and blue pixels. Here is an example of a giant clam reflecting bright blue. Source:

<more at; related links: (Nature's surprising method for creating white coloration could yield bio-inspired optical innovations. January 20, 2016) and (Why Do Tridacnids Look the Way They Look? April 2007)>

Measuring Language Skills In Order To Diagnose Disease

Language Could Diagnose Parkinson's, ALS and Schizophrenia before Lab Tests

Several recent studies reveal what you say—and how you say it—provide clues about disease

Anne Pycha | February 1, 2016

Future doctors may ask us to say more than “Ahhh.” Several groups of neuroscientists, psychiatrists and computer scientists are now investigating the extent to which patients' language use can provide diagnostic clues—before a single laboratory test is run. Increased computing power and new methods to measure the relation between behavior and brain activity have advanced such efforts. And although tests based on the spoken word may not be as accurate as gene sequencing or MRI scans, for diseases lacking clear biological indicators, language mining could help fill the gap.

New study spots patterns in President Reagan's White House talks that may have been a red flag for Alzheimer's. April 1, 2015. Source:

<more at; related links: (Speech Disorders. November 24, 2015) and (Speech Disorders & Parkinson's Disease)>

A Browser That Blocks All Ads

Former Mozilla CEO Reveals Brave, a Browser That Speeds Up the Web by Blocking All Ads

Brave will replace targeted ads on sites with its own 'anonymous' ads, and share revenue with content makers

Gregg Keizer | January 21, 2016

Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and for an 11-day stint, its CEO, yesterday announced a new browser called “Brave,” that blocks outside online ads and ad tracking.
Brave, which was at version 0.7—denoting its under-construction and fit-for-developers-and-other-strong-hearts-only status—is for Windows and OS X on the desktop, iOS and Android on mobile. The browser does not have a final code launch date or one for a public preview. Users may sign up for notification when betas become available.


<more at; related links: (It's your device. It's your time. So make it your Internet. The new Brave browser blocks all the greed and ugliness on the Web that slows you down and invades your privacy. Then we put clean ads back, to fund website owners and Brave 
users alike. Users can spend their funds to go ad-free on their favorite sites. Join Brave and make it our Internet) and (Brave browser for Desktop and Laptop computers running Windows, OSX, and Linux>

Smart Clothing

Smart Clothes Adapt So You Are Always the Right Temperature

Hal Hodson | January 22, 2016

Just too hot; a touch too cold. Working in an office building can be a temperature roller coaster, with the dictatorship of air-conditioning systems seeming able to keep people too hot and cold simultaneously.
Help is at hand. Researchers from across the US funded by ARPA-E – the research arm of the US Department of Energy – are developing clothes that can change their thermal properties to adapt to the environment and wearer’s body. By changing its make-up or shuttling heat to and from the body, the clothing aims to make people comfortable in a wide range of external temperatures.

ClimaWare, Dhama Apparel Innovations, climate-controlled clothing, wearable technology, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, India
A different approach: Swelter no more in the summer heat only to shiver once you enter a store blasting its AC. The new ClimaWare line of clothing by India’s Dhama Innovations keeps you comfy no matter what the thermometer says. Designed to flip from 0 to 100 degrees Celsius at the push of a button, the clothing and accessories feature eight levels of heating and cooling to cope with unpredictable weather, extreme temperatures, and hostile environments. In addition to helping soldiers stay toasty in subzero conditions and keeping cows cool enough to produce more milk, the technology could also be applied to control bleeding in a medical emergency. Source:

<more at; related links: (Climate-Controlled Clothing Keeps You at the Perfect Temperature. June 28, 2011) and (ARPA-E. DELTA)>

Not Much Bigger Than A Strip Of DNA: Racing Nano Cars

Race of World’s Tiniest Cars Set to Drive Nano-Robot Revolution

Aviva Rutkin | January 18, 2016

[Blogger's note: In the U.S. automobile racing has driven some technology developments for cars. This might be similar.]

Embedded image permalink

You’ve never seen a race like this before. In fact, no one has, because the cars are too small to see with the naked eye.
This November, scientists from around the world will meet in Toulouse, France, for a world first: a car race conducted at the nanoscopic level. The race will test the capabilities of molecular machines which pave the way for future devices, ones that can practice medicine inside our bodies, or help us build computers.
There are five teams slated to compete, from France, the US, Austria, Germany and Japan (see box below). Each one’s nanocar is different: some are like macroscopic automobiles, with four wheels, axles, chassis and a small “motor”. Others have parts custom-designed for the car’s tiny environment. Even the largest is just a few nanometres long – a little wider than a strip of DNA.

Meet the nanocar racing teams
Nanocar Team Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Graz Universität in Graz, Austria.Team co-leader James Tour was the first to successfully build a nanocar in 2005
Nanomobile Club Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. With the official race microscope located nearby, Tour says this team has a home advantage: “The instrument is in their house, in their backyard.”
Nano-Vehicle MANA-NIMS National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan. This team’s tiny car clocks in at about 1 nanometre long, about the same size as a molecule of glucose.
Ohio Bobcat Nanowagon Team Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The car’s large wagon-like wheels are made of cucurbituril, circular molecules named for a type of pumpkin.
Nano-Windmill Company Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany. Their car’s shape is reminiscent of the vanes of a windmill and has an advantage when turning around obstacles, says competitor Eric Masson.

<more at [note: free registration needed to access this artilce, but the hassle is worth it!]; related links: (Nanorockets could deliver drugs inside the body. September 28, 2011) and (Tough robo-challenge casts robots as rescuers. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will see humanoid robots competing to complete rescue missions, and could lead to robots better adapted to living alongside us. September 11, 2013)>

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Basic Science Research Needs Government Funding

Basic Science Can't Survive without Government Funding

Without government resources, basic science will grind to a halt

Nathan Myhrvold | February 1, 2016

[...] Examine the detailed history of almost any iconic scientific discovery or technological invention—the lightbulb, the transistor, DNA, even the Internet—and you'll find that the famous names credited with the breakthrough were only a few steps ahead of a pack of competitors. Recently some writers and elected officials have used this phenomenon, called parallel innovation, to argue against the public financing of basic research.
In his new book, The Evolution of Everything (Harper, 2015), for example, British science writer Matt Ridley claims that government just gets in the way of the natural evolution of science and invention. Many in the U.S. Congress agree. We spend too much taxpayer money on science, some politicians say. Government should leave it to companies to finance the research they need. [...]


<more at; related links: (The debate about funding of basic scientific research. June 18, 2015) and (Should Government Fund Science Research?: A Debate. February 9, 2009)>

"Invisible Museum"

Explore an Invisible Museum in Augmented Reality (+Video)
Gabrielle Bruney | January 23, 2016
Virtual reality draws a clear line in the sand—you're in the real world, you put on this headset, and now you're in a different world. But augmented reality technology allows you to straddle that line, keeping one foot in both worlds and in doing so, creating a third world that's all its own.
It's in this third world of augmented reality that Nexus's Invisible Museum lives. We already know that not all art is visible. But these works are less invisible than they are cloaked. They’re perfectly easy to see, if you look at them the right way, which is through a tablet device equipped with augmented reality technology.


<more at; related links: (Nexus Interactive Arts create an augmented reality (AR) installation for Qualcomm. The Invisible Museum installation uses AR to reveal a digitally augmented 3D world that is symbolic of Qualcomm technology. January 2016) and (+Video) (Sculptures Come to Life in an Augmented Reality Art Gallery. March 19, 2015)>

"Make Any Pair Of Speakers Wireless"

Logitech's Bluetooth Audio Adapter Turns Any Pair of Speakers into Wireless Ones

Alan Henry | January 24, 2016

If you have a great pair of bookshelf speakers or even computer speakers, but wish you could stream music from a phone, a laptop, or another device without rearranging wires, Logitech’s Bluetooth Audio Adapter is for you. It’s tiny, affordable, and makes any set of speakers you plug it into Bluetooth and wireless.
For about $27 at Amazon, Logitech’s Bluetooth Audio Adapter can turn just about any set of speakers into Bluetooth ones.


<more at; related links: (Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter) and (Bluetooth Audio Adapter)>

How To Improve The Quality Of Your Writing

Want to Improve the Quality of Your Writing? Type Slower

There's no rush, folks!

Peter Dockrill | January 22, 2016

Let's face it, not everybody's equally gifted when it comes to getting their thoughts down on paper (or the digital equivalent). But according to a new study, there's an easy trick anybody can do to improve the quality of their writing: just type more slowly.
Researchers in Canada have found that when people are forced to write at a slower speed, it can actually enhance their way with words, with the use of word choice in particular benefiting from a calmer pace.

"This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people's typing, their writing can get better," said Professor Evan F. Risko, Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition and senior author of the study. "We're not saying that students should write their term papers with one hand, but our results show that going fast can have its drawbacks. This is important to consider as writing tools continue to emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster."

<more at; related links: (Slow down your typing to improve your writing: Study. January 21, 2016) and (Effects of disfluency in writing. Srdan Medimorec and Evan F. Risko. British Journal of Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12177. [Abstract: While much previous research has suggested that decreased transcription fluency has a detrimental effect on writing, there is recent evidence that decreased fluency can actually benefit cognitive processing. Across a series of experiments, we manipulated transcription fluency of ostensibly skilled typewriters by asking them to type essays in two conditions: both-handed and one-handed typewriting. We used the Coh-Metrix text analyser to investigate the effects of decreased transcription fluency on various aspects of essay writing, such as lexical sophistication, sentence complexity, and cohesion of essays (important indicators of successful writing). We demonstrate that decreased fluency can benefit certain aspects of writing and discuss potential mechanisms underlying disfluency effects in essay writing.])>

CHIP Computer At $9

Check Out This Surprisingly Powerful Computer That Costs Less Than $10

At just $9, every kid could have one.

Ethan Wolff-Mann | January 22, 2016

It’s taken for granted that everyone has a computer. But it’s not true. Computers may be all but essential to living in the 21st century, yet even a budget Chromebook for $300 can be prohibitive—especially for kids.
Today, however, a subset of DIY bare-bones computers have emerged that cost less than a pizza, like the CHIP.
For a measly $9, the tiny computer (its marketing materials usually show it dwarfed by a banana) is stripped down to an extreme. It doesn’t come with a mouse, display, keyboard, or even a cover—it’s just an exposed circuit board. But it does have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a USB port. Pre-orders of the CHIP will be delivered by June 2016.


<more at; related links: (+Video) (Get C.H.I.P. The World's First $9 Computer!) and (CES 2016: See What This $9 Computer Can Do. January 8, 2016)>

New Virtual Reality (VR) Films At Sundance

Where Virtual Reality Takes Us

The New York Times Opinion section presents three groundbreaking virtual reality films from the Sundance New Frontier lineup. These videos explore a range of topics and new approaches to nonfiction storytelling.

New York Times | January 21, 2016

The following films are covered in the New York Times article: American Bison (Danfung Dennis), Kiya (Nonny de la Peña), and Waves of Grace (Gabo Arora and Chris Milk). Scenes from these films are below. The Times story and some biographical notes about the filmmakers can be found at:

The Film "American Bison". Source:

The Film "Kiya". Source:
The Film "Waves of Grace". Source: