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wnyc:

We were promised hoverboards. We ended up with shake weights.
Along with robots and ray guns, the 21st century was definitely supposed to include hoverboards and flying cars. We have pretty decent robots, and all kinds of lasers. We’re still waiting on the hoverboards (if Back to the Future II called it accurately, they’re coming to revolutionize our lives next year). And as for the flying cars, there is a very small, well-funded race among a few entrepreneurs to make this sci-fi trope a reality. 
Studio 360 explores how we’re living in a science-fiction story and figures out when we’re going to get all the toys we were promised: 
http://wny.cc/1cbd10X

wnyc:

We were promised hoverboards. We ended up with shake weights.

Along with robots and ray guns, the 21st century was definitely supposed to include hoverboards and flying cars. We have pretty decent robots, and all kinds of lasers. We’re still waiting on the hoverboards (if Back to the Future II called it accurately, they’re coming to revolutionize our lives next year). And as for the flying cars, there is a very small, well-funded race among a few entrepreneurs to make this sci-fi trope a reality. 

Studio 360 explores how we’re living in a science-fiction story and figures out when we’re going to get all the toys we were promised: 

http://wny.cc/1cbd10X

pritheworld:

The professional typist, once popular in India, is fading away. One profession dear to my heart that’s dying is _______.

pol102:

Via newsweek:

Apple keeps rejecting Drones+ from its App Store. Why? 

This poses a number of interesting questions: What does it mean (morally or ethically) that military technology has become so automated? What does it mean that individual citizens can track it? Should we (citizens) be able to? How does such information change our perception of national security strategy? Plus numerous others.

pol102:

Via newsweek:

Apple keeps rejecting Drones+ from its App Store. Why? 

This poses a number of interesting questions: What does it mean (morally or ethically) that military technology has become so automated? What does it mean that individual citizens can track it? Should we (citizens) be able to? How does such information change our perception of national security strategy? Plus numerous others.

joshbyard:

The Gamification of Synthetic Biology Continues: Creators of FoldIt Follow up With RNA Transformation Game

Meet eteRNA, your new internet addiction. Not only is it a super-fun way to procrastinate on that thing you should be doing, it also helps to advance biology’s understanding of RNA and its synthesis- in a big way.

Scientists from Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University have developed eteRNA as a successor to Foldit, a popular internet-based game that proved the pattern-matching skills of amateurs could outperform some of the best protein-folding algorithms designed by scientists.

They’re hedging their bets that eteRNA will work similarly - and are even funding the real-life synthesis of the weekly winner’s RNA molecule to see if it really does fold the same way the game predicts it should. 

The scientists hope to tap the internet’s ability to harness what is described as “collective intelligence,” the collaborative potential of hundreds or thousands of human minds linked together.

Using games to harvest participation from amateurs exploits a resource which the social scientist Clay Shirky recently described as the “cognitive surplus” - the idea that together, as a collection of amateurs, we internet people make a very good algorithm because we react to information presented in a game, get better at it as we go along, and make informed decisions based on what has or hasn’t worked for us in the past. 

“We’re the leading edge in asking nonexperts to do really complicated things online,” says Dr. Treuille, an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon and one of the original masterminds behind the game. “RNA are beautiful molecules. They are very simple and they self-assemble into complex shapes. From the scientific side, there is an RNA revolution going on. The complexity of life may be due to RNA signaling.”

“This [project] is like putting a molecular chess game in people’s hands at a massive level,” he continues. “I think of this as opening up science. I think we are democratizing science.”

And, so far, the democratisation is working. Although the creators warn that game players may start to see legal and ethical issues in gameplay down the road, for now, the collective intelligence is trumping professionally designed algorithms. Significantly, not only do humans outperform their computer adversaries, but the human strategies developed during the course of the game are significantly more flexible and adaptable than those of the algorithms they’re pitted against.

fuckyeahmolecularbiology:

Kickstarter project: A comic book exploring the science of consciousness

PRI’s weekly radio show, To the Best of Our Knowledge, is producing a six-hour radio series on the science of consciousness, featuring interviews with many of the leading experts — neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, philosophers, writers, and artists. And they’ve come up with a great companion piece that will help make all these tricky ideas more approachable: A comic book!

The comic book will be an imaginative story, using illustrations to explore some of the deepest questions in science: How do our brains work? Are animals conscious? What about computers? Will we ever crack the “mind-brain problem”? And what does all this brain science tell us about the most personal question of all: Who am I?

Read more about the project and give them your support!

Would you make your password public for art? About 600 people did.

The creators of Trust Me, It’s Art asked users to share their passwords to make a statement about internet security. And people are submitting their passwords.

It’s “the rush that you get when you enter your password. You find it in the gallery. It’s always staring at you. You feel vulnerable,” said Jure Martinec, who created the Trust Me It’s Art site with fellow graphic design students Klemen Ilovar and Nejc Prah in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.

Dan Goodin, the security editor of the US tech website Ars Technica, says the approach of Trust Me It’s Art’s creators is wrong-headed as any password that’s submitted to the site can be easily exploited by hackers.

While all submissions are anonymous, and they’re continuously shuffled, there aren’t any special security precautions. The creators of the site say they wouldn’t mind if a hacker did exploit the passwords.

More.

(Image: Submitted passwords at trustmeitsart.com.)

jtotheizzoe:

“Science in Action”: The Google Science Fair touches down in Swaziland

Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela, two 14 year-olds from Swaziland, are this year’s Scientific American/Google Science Fair “Science In Action” award winners.

Inspired by their teachers and a desire to serve their subsistence farming community, they developed a way to increase the yield of vegetable crops using a gardening soil made from recycled chicken manure. What started as a question of how to help their neighbors get off food aid could one day blossom into an affordable way to feed a drought-ravaged region.

But more than that, it reminds us that young people, so full of questions, have unlimited potential. And when their curiosity, confidence and problem-solving abilities are nurtured in classrooms that let them explore those questions, anyone can partake in scientific discovery.

As Sakhiwe says: “I see the Google Science Fair as a step to prove to the community that even someone as young as me can make a difference.” Bonkhe adds: “I never believed in myself but today Google Science Fair has built a very high self-esteem within me.”

Check out more coverage from yesterday’s Google Science Fair awards ceremony, including all the amazing winners, at Scientific American.

( PsiVid)

Google rolls out new mapping feature for Africa: Walking directions will be available in 44 African countries.

Marieme Jamme, an African blogger who writes about technology, and a walker, says Google has been working hard in Africa to collect data from online and on-the-ground contributors. The target audience, she says, are middle-class Africans with smartphones. More.

shortformblog:

Following yesterday’s news that Ukrainian student devs QuadSquad were among the finalists at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, it’s been announced that the team’s EnableTalk sign-language-to-speech device has won the competition! For their efforts, the team is taking home $25,000 and will receive unspecified Windows 8 machines after Microsoft’s new operating system launches in October. (Photos via Microsoft, TechCrunch)


Sign-to-speech device — how cool is that?!