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Monday, August 22, 2016

A New Documentary Of The Internet (Werner Herzog)

Werner Herzog Has Met The Internet and It Is Us

Alex Pasternack | August 22, 2016

[Blogger's note: Herzog is considered one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Schröter, and Wim Wenders. Herzog's films often feature heroes with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog "the most important film director alive." American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog "has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular." He was named one of the 100 most influential people on the planet by Time magazine in 2009. - from Wikipedia.]
Look, the internet is so many things, everywhere and nowhere, necessary but often completely obscure to us. Talking or thinking about it is, like a sign-on screen, practically an invitation to get lost. The so-called "network of networks" now represents digital culture, new media, new war, the global commons, a digital Times Square, the world's economic engine, increasingly, everything. It is also arguably a kind of work of art—is it the greatest masterpiece of human civilization? It's what William Gibson imagined it would be, after wandering around Vancouver, listening to his new Walkman for the first time: "A consensual hallucination," he wrote in Neuromancer about cyberspace,
experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation...A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding... [William Gibson in Cyberspace]

[Click on link for video.] Source:
[Click on link for video.] "In his newest film, Werner Herzog is again asking existential questions -- this time, about the internet. In “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World,” released in theaters on Friday, Herzog analyzes this ever-expanding fortress of information, and how it promises possibilities of both progress and catastrophe." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Legendary filmmaker explores how the internet reflects human nature. August 19. 2016) and (Werner Herzog Says ‘The Internet Has Its Glorious Side’. August 18, 2016)>

Ancient 'Genetic Engineering'

10 Foods That Exist Because Of Ancient Genetic Engineering

Bridget O'Ryan | August 22, 2016

"GMO” foods may seem like a modern phenomenon, made possible only because of well-funded labs and genome analysis. What most consumers don’t realize is that most of humanity’s crops were already genetically modified thousands of years ago. In almost all cases, our favorite fruits and vegetables were engineered to be fundamentally different from their wild ancestors.

The List of Ten Plant Foods:covered in the article
  • Wheat
  • Coffee
  • Avocados
  • Strawberries
  • Pumpkins
  • Corn
  • Bananas
  • Brocoli, Cauliflower And Other Cultivars
  • Watermelon
  • Almonds

"Even in ancient times, humans were genetically modifying their food without realizing it, molding crops into more desirable versions over time." Source:

[Click to Enlarge] "Use of Genetically Modified Organisms" Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (A Brief History Of Genetically Modified Organisms: From Prehistoric Breeding To Modern Biotechnology. July 23, 2015) and (From Corgis to Corn: A Brief Look at the Long History of GMO Technology. August 19, 2015)>

China Plans A Manned Moon Station

China Wants to Build a Manned Radar Station on the MOON: 'Lunatic' Idea Could Improve Our Images of Earth

Facility could include living quarters for astronauts and a powerful radar. Would have to be powerful, stretching at least 164 feet (50 metres) high. The deadline for the team to submit its final report on the project is 2020 

Abigail Beall | August 22, 2016

Over the past few years China has shown increased interest in exploring the moon and space, with its Jade Rabbit lunar rover and the world's biggest radio telescope.
Now the country is looking into building a manned radar station on our natural satellite, in order to monitor our planet in more detail than current satellites allow.
But experts have said the potentially massive cost of the project could outweigh the benefits. 

Artist's sketch showing moon-based readar station scanning a much larger area of Earth than is possible by satellite (shown on right). Source:

"China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover spent 31 months surveying the moon's surface. The device, designed for a lifespan of a mere three months, surveyed the moon's surface for 31 months, overcoming numerous technical problems and design flaws to become a national icon. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Chinese scientists study viability of manned radar station on the moon. August 21, 2016) and (China plans to reach Mars by 2020 and eventually build a moon base. April 21. 2016)>

North Korea's 'Netflix' Service

North Korea Has Just Launched Its Own Netflix-Style Streaming Service

Trevor Mogg | August 22, 2016

North Korea now has its own Netflix-style streaming service. Sort of.
The highly secretive state reportedly launched the service in recent days, offering citizens in three cities, including the capital Pyongyang, access to five streamed channels alongside a selection of on-demand content.

"For movies made outside of North Korea, its citizens will have to continue to rely on smuggled material from activists..." Source:
"SThe box, called Manbang, has been dubbed the country's version of Netflix in some reports." ource:

<more at; related articleds and links: (North Korea Built Its Own Netflix, Roku Clone. August 20, 2016) and (North Korea 'Netflix' device unveiled. August 22, 2016)>

Maker Movement Is Attracting Researchers, Scientists

Maker Movement Turns Scientists into Tinkerers

Researchers in growing numbers are starting to enlist do-it-yourself 3-D printers, cheap electronics, sensors and more to advance their work 

Prachi Patel | August 22, 2016

To do science, scientists need money—and usually a lot of it because specialized equipment and tools don’t come cheap. That means researchers often have to spend a significant amount of time pursuing funds from government agencies and private entities. But the era of open-source software and cheap hardware, including 3-D printers, is making it easier for them to quickly test innovative ideas and make their own research tools. These technologies are typically considered the dominion of “makers,” a word that evokes tinkerers and hobbyists, yet many scientists have begun to embrace the build-it-yourself ethos to advance their research in a variety of fields, including energy, transportation, neuroscience and consumer electronics.

[Click on link for video.] (New tech turns your skin into a touchscreen for your smartwatch. A team at Carnegie Mellon has found a way to make skin a user interface for gadgets.May 5, 2016) Source:
Maker Movement - LinkedIn. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (More on the Public Role in Fostering Private Innovation. June 18, 2016) and (The Maker Movement: If Hamilton Were Around, He Would Be a Fan. Jun 16, 2016)>

Glass 3D Printing For Walls And Entire Buildings

New Russian Patent-Pending Glass 3D Printing Solution Makes Glass Walls and Buildings a Reality

Alec [] | August 19. 2016

Over the past few months, Russia has been making quite a few 3D printing headlines – but mostly in the context of metal 3D printing for aerospace and nuclear applications. But Russian PhD candidates Anuar Kulmagambetov and Vladimir Bodyakin are moving into an entirely new direction with a remarkable patent application. With an eye on the construction industry, they are working on a 3D printing setup that can build durable walls and structures from glass, using a compact glass melting furnace as an extrusion unit. The researchers are currently looking to set up a pilot, and see significant cost-saving and environmentally-friendly opportunities.

3D Glass Printing Concept. "Most importantly, its ‘filament’ is the most eco-friendly, natural and widespread material in the world: silica sand. Combined with with sodium bicarbonate, dolomite, lime and other additives (depending on the application), it is very cheap and adaptable. But it doesn’t end there. Glass is also very resistant to decay, mold and humidity, requires very little maintenance and is quite energy-efficient to produce." Source:

"This object was built by a new 3-D printer that can work with molten glass." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (3-D Printing Breaks the Glass Barrier. Researchers have cracked the challenge of printing glass through a nozzle. September 3, 2015) and (Redesigning Product Design. The Media Lab’s Neri Oxman, PhD ’10, wants designers not just to dream up new products but to change the way they’re made. June 18, 2013)>

Laser 3D Printing

Demand for Laser 3D Printing Grows As Concept Laser Reports 88 Percent Sales increase

Alec [] | August 17, 2016

While laser 3D printing has sometimes been criticized for being too expensive and too limited in its usefulness, it’s obvious that the technology’s popularity is surging. This is certainly reflected in the sales figures of numerous prominent laser-based 3D printing specialists. Just last week, SLM Solutions reported excellent growth figures, and now fellow German specialists Concept Laser have revealed that 2016 has been hugely successful so far – with an 88 percent increase in sales compared to the same period in 2015.
Concept Laser is a very promising company based in Lichtenfels that has been making a name for itself in industrial circles. Founded in 2000 by couple Kerstin and Frank Herzog, Concept Laser has been particularly praised for its patented LaserCUSING layer construction technology and its top-of-the-line industrial grade machines. What’s more, they have not at all suffered from a supposedly stagnating 3D printing market, as 2015 was the best year in their history in terms of sales.

"QM Meltpool 3D monitoring concept." Source:

"This awesome ‘replicator’ combines industrial machining with laser 3D printing to create just about anything." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (This awesome ‘replicator’ combines industrial machining with laser 3D printing to create just about anything. January 23, 2014) and (Build a Laser 3D Printer - Stereolithography at Home. July 28, 2016)>

Friday, August 19, 2016

Predicting Human Poverty From Space

Artificial Intelligence Is Predicting Human Poverty From Space (+Video)

Sarah Emerson | August 18, 2016

Getting aid to impoverished Africans is hard enough, what with blockades of bureaucracy and red tape. But in many African countries, bad data, or a lack of it, makes distributing funds even more troublesome.
“Fighting poverty has always been this shining goal of the modern world,” Neal Jean, a doctoral student in computer science at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, told me. “It’s the number one priority for the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but the major challenge is that there’s not enough reliable data. It’s really hard to help impoverished people when you don’t know where they are.”


<more at; related articles and links: (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. September 25, 2015) and (Satellite Images Can Help Predict Poverty. August 18, 2016)>

Growing And Implanting Artificial Corneas

Scientists Can Now Grow And Implant Artificial Corneas

The technology could lead to rejection-free cornea implants in humans.

Charlie Sorrel | August 18, 2016

Scientists have successfully grown artificial corneas and transplanted them into living eyes. The trials took place in animals, but the same technology could lead to rejection-free cornea implants in humans.
The cornea is the transparent layer that covers the front of your eye and is responsible in large part for the focusing of the eye. It is also the part that is cut when you have corrective vision surgery. Damage can be done by injury, and illness and age can both cause the cornea to cloud.
Currently, when somebody requires a cornea implant, they need a human donor.

"“We believe that our new treatment performs better than a donated cornea, and we hope to eventually use the patient’s own cells, reducing the risk of rejection,” says Berkay Ozcelik who developed the film working at the University of Melbourne." Source;
[Click on link for video]

<more at; related articles and links; (A new invisible film made from healthy corneal cells could restore vision to millions. Clinical trials could start as soon as next year. August 16, 2016) and (Curing blindness by repairing corneas with invisible films. August 15, 2016)>

Challenges Of The Digital Age

In the Depths of the Digital Age

Edward Mendelson | June 23, 2016

The most socially alarming effect of the digital revolution is the state of continuous surveillance endured, with varying levels of complaisance, by everyone who uses a smartphone. Bernard Harcourt’s intellectually energetic book Exposed surveys the damage inflicted on privacy by spy agencies and private corporations, encouraged by citizens who post constant online updates about themselves. “We are not being surveilled today,” he writes, “so much as we are exposing ourselves knowingly, for many of us with all our love, for others anxiously and hesitantly.” In place of the medieval idea of the king’s two bodies—the king’s royal powers derived from heaven and his natural self—Harcourt proposes the two bodies of “the liberal democratic citizen…: the now permanent digital self, which we are etching into the virtual cloud with every click and tap, and our mortal analog selves, which seem by contrast to be fading like the color on a Polaroid instant photo.” (This seems accurate about common feelings, but overestimates the likelihood of digital immortality; in fact vast Web-based communities, with all their history, have been swept away with a click.)

So I’ve been on both sides of the digital debate. In the 1990s, I was really enthusiastic for this change because I was convinced that Western culture had undergone a major transformation in technologies of representation, communication, information, and so forth. It seemed to me that since education was not a natural form — it emerged at a certain historical moment under certain historical and technological conditions — and since those conditions were changing, we needed to change our response to it. My beginnings had a lot to do with the local historical situation. 
Source: (The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Richard Grusin. Melissa Dinsman interviews Richard Grusin. August 18, 2016)

"Using Information Technology. A Practical Introduction to Computers and Communications" Source:

"Strategic principles for competing in the digital age" Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Richard Grusin. Melissa Dinsman interviews Richard Grusin. August 18, 2016) and (6 Questions for a Digital Humanities Librarian. August 17, 2016)>

Problems Might Lie Ahead If Public Colleges Go Tuition Free

The Problem With Public Colleges Going Tuition-Free

Hillary Clinton’s proposal to make public higher education more accessible to lower- and middle-income students could have the opposite effect

Ronald Brownstein | August 18, 2016

It seems self-evident that eliminating tuition at public colleges for most families, as first Bernie Sanders and now Hillary Clinton has proposed, would increase access to higher education for low-income and minority students. It would reverse one of the key trends limiting opportunity for lower- and middle-income young people: a sustained shift of the cost of public higher education from taxpayers to students and their families.
But without the proper safeguards, such a program might still, paradoxically, narrow access. That’s because tuition-free public college could compound the increasing stratification of post-secondary education into a two-tier system that slots most low-income and minority students into the least selective institutions with the fewest resources and reserves admission to elite campuses mostly for kids from the upper middle-class and beyond.

Tuition-free college wouldn’t address the principal reasons the top public schools don’t admit more applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Making College Debt Free for All Americans" Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Making College Debt free for All Americans. 2016) and (Private Colleges May Not Survive Clinton’s Free-Tuition Plan | Opinion. August 18, 2016)>

Pivot TV Channel For Millennials Will Close Down

Millennial TV Channel Shuttered Because Millennials Don’t Watch TV on TV

Laura Bradley | August 18, 2016

It’s hard out there for an independent cable network. Cord-cutting continues to grow at a faster and faster rate, as programming and viewing options continue to expand—on both traditional networks and streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. All of that means that if you’re going to start a new cable network, it better have a very strong draw. Unfortunately, those stars did not align for Pivot, Participant Media’s millennial-targeted network, which will shut down just over three years after it started.

"Another independently owned cable TV network is closing down: The 3-year-old Millennial viewer-focused Pivot." Source:
[Click on link for video.] Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Participant Media Shutting Down Its Pivot TV Channel (EXCLUSIVE). August 17, 2016) and (Pivot shuts down after just 3 years despite ample backing and carriage. August 18, 2016)>

Tree Rings Contain Dating Information Previously Overlooked

Tree-rings Reveal Secret Clocks that Could Reset Key Dates across the Ancient World

Phys Org | August 16, 2016

Oxford University researchers say that trees which grew during intense radiation bursts in the past have 'time-markers' in their tree-rings that could help archaeologists date events from thousands of years ago.
In a new paper, the authors explain how harvesting such data could revolutionise the study of ancient civilisations such as the Egyptian and Mayan worlds. Until now scholars have had only vague evidence for dating when events happened during the earliest periods of civilisation, with estimates being within hundreds of years. However, the unusually high levels of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 found in tree-rings laid down during the radiation bursts could help reliably pinpoint dates. The distinct spikes act as time-markers like secret clocks contained in timber, papyri, baskets made from living plants or other organic materials [...]

More than 1,200 years ago, some mysterious event was recorded in tree rings in a Japanese cedar forest.
While one study suggested a solar flare was to blame, a new group of researchers are pointing toward a gamma-ray burst, a powerful space explosion.
The ancient cedar trees record a rare event around 774 or 775 A.D. 

[Click to enlarge] "Time profiles of the measured Δ14C content in tree-rings from different species and different locations around the world. The two spikes are obvious, and separated by exactly 219 calendar years. For ease of display, the data obtained on the kauri samples from New Zealand have all been elevated by 5‰, an amount which approximately corresponds to the offset between Northern and Southern Hemisphere Δ14C values." Source:
"Artist's illustration of a bright gamma-ray burst occurring in a star-forming region. Energy from the explosion is beamed into two narrow, oppositely directed jets." Source:

<more at; and (How Ancient Solar Storms Etched “Secret Clocks” In Tree Rings. Trees that grew during intense radiation bursts have "secret clocks" in their tree rings that could help archaeologists date events from thousands of years ago. August 17, 2016) and (Carbon Dating Gets a Reset. Climate records from a Japanese lake are providing a more accurate timeline for dating objects as far back as 50,000 years. October 18, 2011)>

Are We Coming To The End Of Traffic Lights: "Traffic Lights Are A 150-Year-Old Technology Originally Conceived For Horse Carriages"

Audi’s New Technology Is the Beginning of the End of Traffic Lights (+Video)

Cars could soon be crisscrossing in front of one another while barely slowing down

Michael Reilly | August 17, 2016

Audi has announced it is rolling out a feature in some of its new vehicles that allows them to communicate with traffic lights. It’s a neat trick that customers might like: they can watch as a timer counts down until a red light turns green, or the system can warn drivers approaching a green light that it’s going to change, and advise them to start braking.
It’s more than just a gimmick, though. The death of traffic lights has been predicted for some time, and Audi’s move is the first sign that their decline might come quickly.

"North East Ambulance Service patient transport service vehicles are the first to be fitted with pioneering technology which links in-vehicle communication systems directly with Newcastle's Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC) centre." (Gadget which turns all traffic lights green trialled in UK. The pioneering technology is being tested ahead of trials of driverless vehicles. August 19, 2016) Source:
"Honda is testing a system that allows cars to communicate with traffic lights, which could improve the flow of traffic in big cities." (Honda's traffic light information system turns cars into backseat drivers. March 31, 2014) Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Traffic lights are a 150-year-old technology originally conceived for horse carriages. Will they survive the advent of autonomous vehicles?" 2016) and (Chatty Cars Are Getting Out on the Road. Car-to-car communication, which may reduce traffic accidents and congestion, is about to undergo testing on roadways in Sunnyvale, California. March 29, 2016)>

Thursday, August 18, 2016

US Will Give Up Controlling Internet Naming System

US Ready to 'Hand Over' the Internet's Naming System

The US has confirmed it is finally ready to cede power of the internet’s naming system, ending the almost 20-year process to hand over a crucial part of the internet's governance

Dave Lee | August 18, 2016

The Domain Naming System, DNS, is one of the internet’s most important components.
It pairs the easy-to-remember web addresses - like - with their relevant servers. Without DNS, you’d only be able to access websites by typing in its IP address, a series of numbers such as "".
More by circumstance than intention, the US has always had ultimate say over how the DNS is controlled - but not for much longer.
It will give up its power fully to Icann - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - a non-profit organisation.
Technically, the US is doing this voluntarily - if it wanted to keep power of DNS, it could. But the country has long acknowledged that relinquishing its control was a vital act of international diplomacy.
Other countries, particularly China and Russia, had put pressure on the UN to call for the DNS to be controlled by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

The initiative to transfer internet regulation to the non-US government company has been met with a strong opposition from many American officials. Republicans have been especially fierce, insisting that by the giving up its oversight of the internet, the US would open a way for countries like Russia and China to control and censor the Web that has always been “protected” by Washington.

ICANN has set up various bodies to hammer out a transition plan, which was formally announced in March [2014] -–after 33,000 emails and 600 meetings.


Showing: page 1 of 3. [Click to Enlarge] Source:
<more at; related articles and links: (US to Hand Over Internet’s Naming System, But Is ICANN Ready for Transition? August 18, 2016) and (US agrees to give up power over internet to private company in October. August 19., 2016)>

Virtual Reality (VR) In Medicine: Walk Into A Cancer Cell

Virtual Reality Allows Scientists to Walk into a Cancer Cell

Ariel Bogle | August 16, 2016

After generations of peering into a microscope to examine cells, scientists could simply stroll straight through one.
Calling his project the "stuff of science fiction," director of the 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) John McGhee is letting people come face-to-face with a breast cancer cell.
Using data pulled from a high-resolution electron-microscope at the University of Queensland, the expert in CGI has recreated the cancer cell in virtual reality. 
"We've shown it to about four or five [patients] and we've had dramatic responses with some of them," he said. "We showed an 18-year-old man who had suffered a brain haemorrhage while playing football. He was a bit shellshocked by it. 
"He was shocked by how violent and damaging [the stroke] was."
[Stephen] Faux [Director of Rehabilitation at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney] said the technology could have many applications, including for practitioner training and preventative health, but suggested it was difficult to obtain funding for such research.

[Click on link for video] Source:
"UNSW's John McGhee holds the virtual reality mask that allows you to explore inside a breast cancer cell. Mitochondria and endosomes form the backdrop." Source:
<more at; related articles and links: (+Video) (Virtual reality trip inside cancer cells can help design better chemotherapy drugs. August 16, 2016) and (Virtual reality lets you stroll around a breast cancer cell. July 1, 2016)>

Experiment: Colleges Partner With Training Boot Camps And Online Course Providers (Educational Quality Through Innovative Partnerships)

Colleges Partner with Training Boot Camps and Online Course Providers for Federal Experiment

Danielle Douglas-Gabriel | August 16, 2016

Eight colleges will team up with companies that run computer coding boot camps or online courses for an experiment that lets students pay for nontraditional training programs with federal grants and loans, the Education Department said Tuesday.
Short-term courses, such as coding boot camps, have become a popular model for acquiring skills and credentials without spending years in school, yet they’ve only been available to people who can afford  thousands of dollars for six-week classes. The objective of the experiment, dubbed the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, is to provide people with modest means access to innovative education and to ensure that they receive quality training.

[Click to Enlarge] Source:


<more at; related articles and links: [free registration required] (Half of High School Seniors Lack Access to Computer Science. August 16, 2016) and (FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers. August 16, 2016)>

The "Bloated" Web

Bloated Web: One Article Shouldn’t Need 55 Pages of Code to Show Up on Your Phone

Frédéric Filloux | August 16, 2016

When reading this 800-word Guardian story—about half a page of text long—our web browser loads the equivalent of 55 pages of HTML code—almost half a million characters. To be precise: an article of 757 words (4667 characters and spaces), requires 485,527 characters of code:

Put another way, “useful” text (the human-readable article) weighs less than one percent (0.96%) of the underlying browser code. The rest consists of links (more than 600) and scripts of all types (120 references), related to trackers, advertising objects, analytics, etc.

[Click on link for video] Source:

<more at; related articles and length: (Web Page Sizes: A (Not So) Brief History of Page Size through 2015. August 17, 2015) and (+Video) (The Website Obesity Crisis. October 29, 2015)>