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Robot, Heal Thyself

A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
posted by tocts on Jul 23, 2014 - 16 comments

useful websites

101 Useful Websites is "a frequently updated list of lesser-known but wonderful websites and cool web apps. Here are some of the most useful websites on the internet that you may not know about. These web sites, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses (URLs) that you can memorize thus saving you a trip to Google." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 20, 2014 - 16 comments

"JIBO can’t wait to meet you."

JIBO: The World's First Family Robot [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jul 16, 2014 - 81 comments

The *first* revelation this week, at least

This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jul 16, 2014 - 54 comments

21st Century Wiener

Norbert Wiener: The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) - "The most direct reason for Wiener's fall to relative obscurity was the breakthrough of a young mathematician and engineer named Claude Shannon." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 11, 2014 - 12 comments

Ghosts out of the machine

Kirlian photography techniques used to capture electrical discharges and made famous in parapsychology research are revisited in the Digital Ethereal project to manifest the ghosts of wireless networks.
posted by loukasven on Jul 9, 2014 - 4 comments

Like Mortal Kombat, but in real life

Imagine if you could toss two trained fighters into a ring, give them whatever weapons they want, and and let them go full-on Spartacus on each other without anyone getting seriously injured. With the death element removed, even the most die-hard pacifists would have to admit that it’d be pretty damn entertaining. With their new carbon fiber damage-measuring armor, that’s exactly what Australian startup Unified Weapons Master wants to do.
posted by shivohum on Jul 8, 2014 - 60 comments

Judges Explaining Technology

"As a matter of science, traditional adoption does not provide a woman with the opportunity to be pregnant.” Reber v. Reiss, 42 A.3d 1131, 1138-39 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2012). Judges Explaining Technology.
posted by dzkalman on Jul 8, 2014 - 25 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Crush? Kill? Destroy? What would you like your robot to do?

21st Century Robot: Intel Corp. debuts "Jimmy" an open-source 3d printed home robot to launch later this year.
posted by loukasven on Jul 7, 2014 - 19 comments

"I can keep it on my bookshelf without worry of remote recall."

"E-book backup is a physical, tangible, human readable copy of an electronically stored novel. The purchased contents of an e-book reader were easily photocopied and clip-bound to create a shelf-stable backup for the benefit of me, the book consumer." [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 1, 2014 - 31 comments

Good Thread Post

For 37 years, Bothwell, a small town in Tasmania, has hosted an international competition to determine who can hand spin the longest 2-ply thread using 10 grams of wool. [more inside]
posted by tchemgrrl on Jul 1, 2014 - 15 comments

The Call Is Coming From Inside The Grave

"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science - The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 25, 2014 - 53 comments

The Founding Fathers Would Have Protected Your Smartphone

The Supreme Court has unanimously reversed (large PDF) the California Court of Appeals in Riley v. California, deciding that police cannot search the contents of a phone without a warrant during an arrest, and that "the fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 25, 2014 - 57 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

Journey to the Centre of Google Earth

“But what shall we dream of when everything becomes visible?” Virilio replies: “We’ll dream of being blind."
posted by 0bvious on Jun 24, 2014 - 5 comments

Service with a Swipe

Chili's Has Installed More Than 45,000 Tablets in Its RestaurantsWhen your server is a screen, you spend more money. Hungry? No human server in sight? With a flick of your wrist, you can instantly order more appetizers and drinks, indulge your whim for Baby Back Ribs, let the kids play games, read the news, pay your check (with a default tip), and get done faster. Be sure to save room for some Cinnamon Molten Cake: doesn't it look tasty?
posted by cenoxo on Jun 21, 2014 - 216 comments

Features include rickroll

8088 Dominion is a production by demoscene programmer Jim Leonard (a.k.a. Trixter) displaying full-motion color video with audio on a 1981 IBM PC 5160. The production is a followup to a similar 2007 demo, 8088 Corruption, but with improved graphical fidelity. [more inside]
posted by figurant on Jun 20, 2014 - 12 comments

Gilbert Stuart it ain't.

President Obama is now the first president to be 3D scanned and printed. The...creation will be housed at the National Portrait Gallery.
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 18, 2014 - 43 comments

Dear Marc Andreessen

"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 18, 2014 - 50 comments

The Disruption Machine

What the gospel of innovation gets wrong. The championing of "disruption" in modern business is built around some very flaky research that does not bear out its sweeping conconclusions.
posted by smoke on Jun 17, 2014 - 54 comments

The Machine

HP scaling memristor and photonic computing: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 16, 2014 - 66 comments

Yep, That's Beer.

Vessyl is $199 app-cup that tells you what you poured into it.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 16, 2014 - 168 comments

350-year-old photographs

Tim Jenison had a theory that Joseph Vermeer had made used of particular lens technology to make his paintings almost photo-realistic. To test this, he recreated the setting of The Music Lesson from scratch, harpsichord and all, and even recreated the theorised lenses using 17th century tools. For someone who doesn't know how to paint, he sure did a good job.
posted by divabat on Jun 15, 2014 - 86 comments

The Adventures of Snowdenbot

Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot. "Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be." Indeed: Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 13, 2014 - 20 comments

3D

Lockheed Martin is in a race with SpaceX who recently made a big splash with 3D printed spacecraft parts. Lockheed shows its vision (video) for a next generation 3D printer, capable of printing not just parts but an entire plane as a print-job (c.f. previously war robots). This technology may perhaps combine with a new class of fractal nano supermaterials, which are stronger than steel but nearly as light as air, the promise to create mass produced ultra-light vehicles, aircraft and other things. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jun 7, 2014 - 34 comments

Pleasurable Troublemaker: Don't worry, it's totally SFW

"The wall-mounted keyholder has two hooks, one for your bike key, one for your car key. If you grab the bike key, you’re out the door and on your way. If you grab the car key, the machine drops the bike key on the floor, forcing you to stoop down and pick it up. At that point, you have both keys in your hand–effectively giving you a second chance to weigh your options.
posted by sio42 on Jun 6, 2014 - 64 comments

"You Crazy Bastards. What Have You Done? Now I Have To Rebuild!"

In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events. Fortunately, the complete site was saved by the Internet Archive. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 3, 2014 - 22 comments

New experiences are under development at this very moment

The VR Chicken Matrix: "a virtual chicken world in which caged animals think they're wandering happily around in the open... got me thinking again about Facebook's recent purchase of Oculus VR."
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2014 - 23 comments

We better get used to them...

Signs from the Near Future: What the Near Future Is Actually Going to Look Like.
posted by homunculus on May 22, 2014 - 65 comments

TRAQ Scores and You

Obby Breeden, husband of The Devil's Panties and Geebas on Parade's Jennie Breeden, on what happens when the web advertising industry decides that an occasionally foulmouthed webcomic is equally "Adult" as a porn streaming site, as well as how to find your own site's score.
posted by Pope Guilty on May 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Me, The Machine

Me The Machine, from Imogen Heap's forthcoming album Sparks, is the first song written for and performed with the Mi.Mu musical gloves, designed by Heap and a team of programmers, engineers, designers and musicians over the last four years with the aim of making creating and performing digital music "more like the experiences we have with traditional instruments: using the dexterity and mobility of the human body". [more inside]
posted by emmtee on May 10, 2014 - 30 comments

You feel like you’re carrying the abuser in your pocket.

Sarah’s abuser gained access to every password she had. He monitored her bank accounts and used her phone to track her location and read her conversations. She endured four years of regular physical and emotional trauma enabled by meticulous digital surveillance and the existing support services, from shelters to police, were almost powerless to help her. “We wish we could just stop the clock because we need to catch up,” said Risa Mednick, director of the Cambridge domestic violence prevention organization Transition House. To fight back, Transition House and others turn to the same methods used by intelligence agencies in order to keep their clients safe.

posted by ChuraChura on May 9, 2014 - 26 comments

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round

If you were sitting around in the early years of the Great Depression with $247 burning a hole in your pocket (about $3,800 in today's dollars) and were too lazy to get up and change your records when they finished playing, you might have been tempted by RCA's new Radiola Automatic Electrola RAE-26. [more inside]
posted by Longtime Listener on May 9, 2014 - 7 comments

Goes well with that post about the Pantone of 1692.

Soon you will be able to print your own makeup from home using any colour you find online.
posted by divabat on May 8, 2014 - 18 comments

Elective Amputation

In pain and forced to use a wheelchair, a young woman opts to amputate her clubfeet. "New prosthetics have made active life possible for many with injuries and congenital defects​." [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 5, 2014 - 35 comments

playful technologies can help students understand how history is created

Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology. The fourth book from the digitalculturebooks imprint of the University of Michigan Press, Pastplay includes a wide range of essays, all available online for free. T. Mills Kelly reflects on his historical methods course which resulted in a historical hoax, “the last American pirate,” declared one of the 10 biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s first ten years. Matthew Kirschenbaum discusses if board games work better than computer games for teaching history. The book's chapters cover successful combinations of play, technology, and history. Yet, many are wary, as a "playful approach to teaching and learning with technology can seem like the worst of all possible worlds: the coupling of strategies developed for entertainment with tools created for commerce." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on May 4, 2014 - 17 comments

Bigger than a breadboard II

Following on the heels of Phonebloks, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara. The Verge recently interviewed Paul Eremenko, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 25, 2014 - 18 comments

Everything is meaningless.

#PostModem [SLVimeo,nsfw:nudity] is "a comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. It’s the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with the technological singularity, as told through as series of cinematic tweets." [more inside]
posted by mysticreferee on Apr 20, 2014 - 12 comments

What's New?

What's New With NCSA Mosaic?
posted by Pope Guilty on Apr 19, 2014 - 33 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Sølar-pøwered flashlights? But wait, there's møre!

The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2014 - 11 comments

I felt the relief of being known.

Teaching The Camera To See My Skin. An essay by photographer Syreeta McFadden on "photography's inherent bias against dark skin." "Photography is balancing an equation between light and documentary. Beauty and storytelling. Honesty and fantasy. The frame says how the photographer sees you. I couldn’t help but feel that what that photographer saw was so wildly different from how I saw myself."
posted by sweetkid on Apr 4, 2014 - 73 comments

Carrier Access Codes and cultural detritus, featuring Alf and friends

Carrier Access Codes are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States, these "dial-around codes" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson, Harry Anderson, John Lithgow, Tony Danza, Doug Flutie, and even Alf and some well-known friends. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 29, 2014 - 73 comments

The End is Nigh

"Heaven Is a Place on Planet X" by Desirina Boskovich. "Break! Break! Break!" by Charlie Jane Anders. "System Reset" by Tobias Buckell. These three short stories are from The End is Nigh anthology, the first volume of The Apocalypse Triptych, three anthologies of stories about life just before, during, and after the apocalypse. "Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. The End is Nigh is about the match." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 16, 2014 - 14 comments

Make Everything Awesome For Everybody: Bridging The CP Snow-Style Divide

The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2014 - 37 comments

Move your TOILET PAPER to the belt, you putrid jockey of filth.

A Preliminary Phenomenology of the Self-Checkout. An essay in six parts. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 15, 2014 - 61 comments

Snowden To Address Audience in First Live Q&A, Days After EU Testimony

The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost-effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.

Edward Snowden submits written testimony to an EU committee investigating mass surveillance, and answers questions. The testimony takes place 3 days ahead of his highly anticipated SXSW appearance, to take place later today. Snowden is expected to speak about privacy, security, mass surveillance programs, free speech and whistle-blowing in a rare remote video appearance before a live audience.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo finds this “deeply troubling” in a letter he's sent to the organizers of the conference.

Meanwhile, people who wish to #asksnowden questions can use the hashtag on Twitter. The talk is to take place at 12pm PT, today.
posted by fantodstic on Mar 10, 2014 - 89 comments

plant sex in silico

Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie - "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2014 - 52 comments

"I wasn't born in the 40s so I have no idea what you're talking about."

Adorably perplexed kids react to rotary phones. (via Mental Floss)
posted by mireille on Mar 4, 2014 - 194 comments

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