Aug 18, 2014

Facebook is testing a 'satire' tag to help you figure out what's real and what's not

posted by Larra Morris

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Sure, you're smart enough to know that "New Study Finds Humans Shouldn't Spend More Than 5 Consecutive Hours Together" is a headline from well-known satirical publication The Onion. But not everyone is, which could lead to some misdirected -- and embarrassing -- outrage. That could be a thing of the past, however, as Facebook is currently testing a "Satire" tag that'll distinguish fake news from the real deal. Ars Technica found that if you click through an Onion article, for example, Facebook would then automatically tag related articles with the aforementioned "satire" text in the headline (see screenshot after the break). A Facebook spokesperson confirmed this with the following statement:

"We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
via Engadget

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Image: Steve Rhodes/Flickr

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Aug 18, 2014

How a 3D-printed wind turbine could power your gadgets

posted by Larra Morris

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3D printers are a technology with tons of potential applications, we just have to dream them up. Polish 3D printer manufacturer Omni3D decided to dream big with its wind power project. The team hopes to create an easily portable wind turbine that can pump out up to 300 watts of energy. Not enough power to keep your home running, but more than enough to power laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets.

The project, called AirEnergy 3D (AE3D), could be discarded as another pie-in-the-sky alternative energy solution that will never come to pass. It's definitely a hard sell to developed countries who subsist on more reliable and regretfully dirtier methods of energy. But AirEnergy 3D begins to make sense when you consider far-flung regions where electricity is scarce.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 15, 2014

The brutal ageism of tech

posted by Laura Domela

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I have more botox in me than any ten people,” Dr. Seth Matarasso told me in an exam room this February.

He is a reality-show producer’s idea of a cosmetic surgeonhis demeanor brash, his bone structure preposterous. Over the course of our hour-long conversation, he would periodically fire questions at me, apropos of nothing, in the manner of my young daughter. “What gym do you go to?” “What’s your back look like?” “Who did your nose?” In lieu of bidding me goodbye, he called out, “Love me, mean it,” as he walked away.

Twenty years ago, when Matarasso first opened shop in San Francisco, he found that he was mostly helping patients in late middle age: former homecoming queens, spouses who’d been cheated on, spouses looking to cheat. Today, his practice is far larger and more lucrative than he could have ever imagined. He sees clients across a range of ages. He says he’s the world’s second-biggest dispenser of Botox. But this growth has nothing to do with his endearingly nebbishy mien. It is, rather, the result of a cultural revolution that has taken place all around him in the Bay Area.

Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America...
via New Republic

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Aug 15, 2014

Underwater crocheting

posted by Larra Morris

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Olek is an artist noted for her bold and public use of yarn. She practices extreme crocheting by covering entire rooms, statues, and even a 4-car train with yarn. Recently, Olek took her crocheting passion to new depths at the Underwater Museum of Art, which is located off the coast of Yucatan. She coated two bomb-like sculptures in yarn (or, you could say, she yarn bombed them) in order bring attention to the endangered whale sharks that live in the area.
via Neatorama

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Aug 15, 2014

A thousand kilobits self-sssemble into complex shapes

posted by Larra Morris

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When Harvard roboticists first introduced their Kilobots in 2011, they'd only made 25 of them. When we next saw the robots in 2013, they'd made 100. Now the researchers have built one thousand of them. That's a whole kilo of Kilobots, and probably the most robots that have ever been in the same place at the same time, ever.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Michael Rubenstein/Harvard University

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Aug 15, 2014

Organs-on-Chips emulate human organs, could replace animals in tests

posted by Larra Morris

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The search for more efficient tests of pharmaceuticals without animal models is taking a stride forward, with a new technology being developed in the US called Organs-on-Chips. The new miniature platform and software, which mimic the mechanical and molecular characteristics of human organs, were developed by bioengineers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

The device, about the size of a small computer memory stick, is created using microchip-manufacturing techniques. It features a porous flexible membrane that separates two channels at the center of the device. The channels are filled with living human cells and tissues cultured in a fluid that mimics the environment inside the human body. Micro-engineering and automated instrumentation allows the system to perform real-time analysis of biochemical, genetic and metabolic functions within single cells.
via Gizmag

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Aug 14, 2014

How the sun sees you: people discover what they look like under ultraviolet light, and the startling power of sunscreen

posted by Laura Domela

Amazing.

Artist Thomas Leveritt recently setup a special UV motion camera in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the intent of filming random passersby. Ultraviolet rays have the ability to expose not-yet-visible changes to human skin, namely freckles, that turn even the most unblemished faces into dark explosions of dots. Leveritt installed a monitor above the camera so people could instantly see the results, and then to heighten the effect, supplied them sunscreen in a vivid demonstration of why you should probably never again step outside without it. 

via Colossal

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Aug 14, 2014

What it takes to win the world's highest computer science honor?

posted by Laura Domela

One summer afternoon in 2001, while visiting relatives in India, Subhash Khot drifted into his default mode — quietly contemplating the limits of computation. For hours, no one could tell whether the third-year Princeton University graduate student was working or merely sinking deeper into the living-room couch. That night, he woke up, scribbled something down and returned to bed. Over breakfast the next morning, he told his mother that he had come up with an interesting idea. She didn’t know what it was, but her reserved older son seemed unusually happy.

Khot’s insight — now called the Unique Games Conjecture — helped him make progress on a problem he was working on at the time, but even Khot and his colleagues did not realize its potential. “It just sounded like an idea that would be nice if it was true,” recalled Khot, now a 36-year-old computer science professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
via Wired

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Aug 14, 2014

British Airways adding cat videos to its roster of in-flight entertainment

posted by Larra Morris

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In the newspaper trade, August is traditionally known as silly season, for its lack of serious news. The latest company to indulge in some silly-season silliness is British Airways, which has learned that looking at pictures of kittens causes people's heart-rates to slow. That's why the company is adding a Paws and Relax channel to its catalog of in-flight entertainment from September. Rather than a continuously looping video of a room full of newborn kittens and puppies, however, the channel will just show the cartoon Simon's Cat, documentary The Secret Life of Cats and Animal Planet's America's Cutest Dog.
via Engadget

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Aug 14, 2014

Tip this robo-bellhop in tweets for delivering your room service

posted by Larra Morris

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Dubbed the Botlr, this fleet-wheeled robot will serve a variety of front and back end tasks for the hotel. It can guide guests to their rooms as well as deliver toiletries like toothbrushes and razors in a fraction of the time it would take a human to do so. It zooms about at speeds up to four miles per hour and wirelessly communicates with the hotel's elevator system (carefully minding the feet of any meatsacks already in the lift) to reach any floor and any of the 150 rooms in just 2-3 minutes.

When it arrives at a room, it will automatically ring the suite phone in lieu of knocking. And when it's not running errands, it returns to its charging station in the lobby for a quick energy boost...

And the best part? You don't even need to tip it for performing these tasks—aside from mentioning how awesome it is in a tweet.
via Gizmodo

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