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Veg Egg! A US Firm Creates Plant Based Egg

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Veg egg! In some good news for vegetarians, an artificial egg made entirely from plants has been developed by food scientists at a US company.

The company has successfully created faux mayonnaise and a variety of baked goods using the egg substitute.

The eggs are made from a "simple, but awesome species of peas," sorghum and "11 plants (in total) that are particularly awesome," FoxNews.com quoted the company CEO Josh Tetrick as saying.

Tetrick sought help of Chris Jones, a contestant on the TV show 'Top Chef', and biochemist Joshua Klein to help him create what they describe the most realistic egg-free egg product yet.

Tetrick insists the plant-based egg is not just for herbivores.

The company may have some big name backers such as Bill Gates and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, however, some experts believe the egg and poultry industry will not be affected.

"Realistically they are never going to replace any significant amount of the poultry industry," US Department of Agriculture research physiologist Raymond Glahn said.

"Products like these come along all the time," said Glahn.

While Glahn agrees there is great nutritional value to plant-based foods, he said there is a need for a diverse diet for optimal health, the report said.

The San Francisco-startup Hampton Creek Foods' website claims its product is healthier and costs 19 per cent less than normal eggs.

Tetrick said the company's new product is different than what is already available in the market.

Bag Of Potato Chips Can Help You Hear Through Soundproof Glass


Here is an idea. Using a bag of potato chips to hear what you're saying even through a soundproof glass. Now, researchers from MIT are trying to figure out a way to make that bag of chips tell them everything that you said — and apparently they have a method that works.

By pointing a video camera at the bag while audio is playing or someone is speaking, researchers can detect tiny vibrations in it that are caused by the sound. When later playing back that recording, MIT says that it has figured out a way to read those vibrations and translate them back into music, speech, or seemingly any other sound.

While a bag of chips is one example of where this method can be put to work, MIT has found success with it elsewhere, including when watching plant leaves and the surface of a glass of water. While the vibrations that the camera is picking up aren't observable to the human eye, seemingly anything observable to a camera can work here.

For the most part the researchers used a high-speed camera to pick up the vibrations, even using it to detect them on a potato chip bag filmed 15-feet away and through a pane of soundproof glass. Even without a high-speed camera though, researchers were able to use a common digital camera to pick up basic audio information.


"We’re scientists, and sometimes we watch these movies, like James Bond, and we think, ‘This is Hollywood theatrics. It’s not possible to do that. This is ridiculous.’ And suddenly, there you have it," Alexei Efros, a University of California at Berkeley researcher, says in a statement. "This is totally out of some Hollywood thriller. You know that the killer has admitted his guilt because there’s surveillance footage of his potato chip bag vibrating." The research is being described in a paper that will be published at the computer graphics conference Siggraph.

Maybe This Is How We’ll Play Ping Pong in 150 Years


"Beat Match," a project by designer David Rinman, is an interactive ping pong table that responds to the game. Photo: David Rinman

Ping pong is thought to have originated in the 1880s, when rich Brits adopted it as a boozy after-dinner diversion. Instead of a net, they used a row of books. They used books for paddles, too, volleying golf balls or champagne corks back and forth with their compatriots (people bought more books than they could ever possibly read back then, too). It was a crude version of the game we play today, with the familiar green tables and spongey paddles. But what will ping pong look like another 150 years hence? Maybe something like this.


Beat Match, David Rinman’s graduation project at the Forsbergs School of Design & Advertising in Stockholm, is an interactive surface that transforms table tennis into a collaborative audiovisual extravaganza. With every bounce of the ball, the table takes on a new pattern–the geometries, supplied by an overhead projector, snap into place perfectly in-step with the action. But it’s not just the visuals that reflect the game play. The ball controls the soundtrack, too, with sensors triggering pre-cut snippets of electronic tracks every time it hits. A leisurely volley might produce a stilted mix. Get in the groove, though, and the music will follow.

It’s certainly not your aunt’s dusty ping pong table. And it’s not supposed to be, either. With Beat Match, Rinman wasn’t trying to come up with a futuristic take on the game so much as a new collaborative experience altogether–a novel way of creating and experiencing sound and image with a partner. As a drummer, Rinman has a keen sensitivity to rhythm, and going into the project he knew he wanted to create something that built upon the aural patterns already existing all around us. He says, “I experimented with different formats until I found one that almost everyone is familiar with: ping pong.”



So the goal isn’t to send the ball whizzing past your partner so much much as keeping a smooth and steady volley–and thus a smooth and steady beat–going for as long as possible. Which is nice, I’m sure, but nowhere near as satisfying as a well-executed slam. And yet I don’t think Rinman’s concept is totally incompatible with good old competitive ping pong. With more sophisticated audio processing, you could come up with tracks that worked at slower speeds, too–a multilayered electronic symphony that seamlessly ebbed and flowed with the intensity of the game. Throw a Kinect above the table with the projector and you could dynamically change the visuals based not just on when the ball hit but where it hit, too, a sort of live visualization of the gameplay. These sorts of whiz-bang enhancements might be overkill for what is already a time-tested basement pastime. But for a ping pong bar circa year 2300, they might be just the ticket.

[WIRED] [MocoLoco]

Nasa Has A New Plan, To Make O2 On Mars

Monday, August 4, 2014


With eye on human occupation of Mars, Nasa on Thursday unveiled a selection of seven instruments which will be on board the Mars 2020 rover to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations.

One of the instrument includes the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), an exploration technology investigation that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. The $1.9 billion rover will include an experiment that will turn carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen. William H Gerstenmaier, an associate administrator for Nasa, said oxygen could then be used to make rocket fuel and for future astronauts to breathe. Taking fuel to Mars for return flights would be heavy and expensive.

The device operates like an engine but in reverse, said Michael Hecht, an MIT scientist who is running the test project. It will make about three-quarters of an ounce of oxygen an hour. If it works, then a larger device — 100 times bigger — would be launched two years before astronauts go, currently scheduled for some time in the 2030s. The bigger device would start making enough oxygen for the return trip before astronauts ever launch to Mars, Hecht said. The other part of rocket fuel, the propellant, can be made from light hydrogen that is brought from Earth or other chemicals mined from Martian dirt or atmosphere.

The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. The new rover will carry more sophisticated, upgraded hardware and new instruments to conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life.

It will help identify and select a collection of rock and soil samples that will be stored for potential return to Earth. According to Nasa, the rover will also help advance our knowledge of how future human explorers could use natural resources available on Mars.

Xamaleón Ice Cream Can Change Color With Each Lick


Spanish physicist Manuel Linares set out to create a type of ice cream that would change colour in response to temperature changes and acids found in the human mouth.

Linares signed up for training with Asociacion Empresarial Nacional de Elaboradores Artesanos y Comerciantes de Helados y Horchatas - a craftsmen and businessmen association in Spain that offers mentored coursework - and came up with the colour changing ice cream in just a week.

Linares worked with his friends to develop the final product, which reportedly has a similar taste to tutti-frutti, and has been named Xamaleon, 'Phys.org' reported.

The ice cream starts out as periwinkle blue, then changes to pink and eventually becomes purple, as it is licked.

The change in colour is believed to be due to the types of fruit that are used and a secondary ingredient, a spritz called the "love elixir" that gets sprayed onto the ice cream after its been scooped into a cone, which Linares has hinted, accelerates the colour changing process.

Muscle Driven 'Bio Bots' To Walk As You Wish

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Imagine walking robots powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses that can give them an unprecedented command over their function.

Engineers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a class of "bio-bots" that are powered by a strip of skeletal muscle cells that can be triggered by an electric pulse.

"We are trying to integrate the principles of engineering with biology in a way that can be used to design and develop biological machines and systems for environmental and medical applications," explained Rashid Bashir, head of bioengineering at University of Illinois.

Skeletal muscles cells are very attractive because you can pace them using external signals, Bashir added.

The design is inspired by the muscle-tendon-bone complex found in nature.

There is a backbone of 3D printed hydrogel, strong enough to give the bio-bot structure but flexible enough to bend like a joint.

Two posts serve to anchor a strip of muscle to the backbone, like tendons attach muscle to bone, but the posts also act as feet for the bio-bot.


A bot's speed can be controlled by adjusting the frequency of the electric pulses.

A higher frequency causes the muscle to contract faster, thus speeding up the bio-bot's progress.

"The 'bio-bots' could eventually evolve into a generation of biological machines that could aid in drug delivery, surgical robotics, 'smart' implants, or mobile environmental analyzers, among countless other applications," said Caroline Cvetkovic, a graduate student and co-first author of the paper.

The group published its work in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 

This Method Can Predict Floods 11 Months Earlier


Scientists have found a new method to predict disastrous floods up to 11 months in advance, based on satellite monitoring of minute changes in the gravitational field of river basins.

Researchers measured how much water was stored in a river basin months ahead of the spring flood season.

"Just like a bucket can only hold so much water, the same concept applies to river basins," said lead study author JT Reager, an Earth scientist at the University of California, Irvine.

Reager and colleagues looked back in time using satellite data, and measured how much water was soaking the ground before the 2011 Missouri River floods, 'Live Science' reported.

Their statistical model strongly predicted this major flood event five months in advance.

Researchers said with less reliability, the prediction could be extended to 11 months in advance.

"This gives the background on what's on the ground before the rain even gets there," Reager said.

Reager's new method could help forecasters prepare reliable flood warnings several months earlier.

"It would be amazing if this could have a positive effect and potentially save lives," he said.

Researchers used Nasa's twin GRACE satellites to diagnose a region's flood potential. As the satellites circle the Earth, changes in gravity slightly perturb their orbit.

These tugs are proportional to changes in mass, such as a buildup of water and snow.

The team looked at all potential water sources, including snow, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater, the report said.

"This gives us a more accurate interpretation of what's happening on the ground," Reager said.

The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Dubai Plans To Build A Temp-Controlled Futuristic City

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Dubai is planning to build a temperature-controlled city featuring the world's largest mall and an indoor park, as well as hotels, health resorts and theatres, the developer said.

Already home to one of the globe's biggest indoor shopping complexes, Dubai Mall, the glitzy emirate known for its love of grandiose projects said it is now planning to build the "Mall of the World". The all-pedestrian complex would occupy a total area of 48 million square feet, said Dubai Holding, the developer owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The project "will comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world" under a glass dome that would be opened during winter, it said in a statement. The seven-kilometre-long promenades connecting the facilities would also be covered and air-conditioned during summer, it added. "Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism. Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long," said Sheikh Mohammed. "This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months."

Dubai hopes the "Mall of the World" can attract more than 180 million visitors each year. The emirate is known for its numerous malls and many hotels, including the Dubai Mall, touted as the world's largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination. It is also home to the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.

Dubai has established itself as a global hub for air transport and transit trade, as well as a regional financial centre.








HP Enters Smartwatch Race With Michael Bastian's Design

Friday, August 1, 2014


Michael Bastian is famous fashion designer  and now is joining hands with HP and retailer Gilt to create and sell a smart watch this fall that actually looks good. Described by Gilt as a "Michael Bastian smartwatch engineered by Hewlett-Packard," the timepiece couples a circular face with a fairly aggressive sporty design. Although its shape bears a small resemblance to the Moto 360 smartwatch, its 44mm face is far more inline with traditional watches than Motorola's.

It will launch with a selection of straps in brown leather, black rubber, and green nylon. The watch will be able to receive notifications for things like emails, texts, and sports updates. It'll also offer music controls and display weather forecasts.

It's unlikely that Gilt will be positioning this as anything other than a high-tech fashion accessory. The watch will support both Android and iOS, and will be controlled via an app. Because of the watch's cross-platform compatibility, it's clear that, rather than relying on Google's Android Wear smartwatch platform, HP is developing its own software. The company's approach seems similar to Pebble's, with the majority of customization happening through a companion app instead of on the device itself.


Fashionista reports that HP instigated the unlikely partnership by reaching out to Gilt with the idea of working with a fashion designer on a smartwatch. From there, Gilt brought Bastian on board, who handled the industrial design while HP worked on the tech inside. There are no details on how much the as-yet-unnamed smartwatch will cost, but Gilt has a teaser page where you can register for updates. Can HP succeed in creating the hardware, software, and applications for a product after relying on third-parties for so long? We'll find out this fall when its new watch goes on sale exclusively at Gilt.

Talking Robot Begins Solo Hitchhike Across Canada


Imagine you are speeding down a highway when you see a colourful, childlike figure perched on a chair by the road side. As you come closer, the figure raises its arm and thumbs for a lift. An eccentric hitchhiker? Yes, but this is one hitchhiker like the world has never seen before — it's a robot, complete with a Wikipedia memory, talking ability and its own Twitter account. It is hitchhiking its way 6,000 kilometres across Canada, from Halifax on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver on the Pacific.

The robot, called hitchBOT was created by Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University and David Harris Smith of McMaster University. It is a "collaborative art project" they say. Wearing bright yellow wellingtons and gloves to match over its blue legs and arms, hitchBOT is GPS enabled and has a 3G connection.
hitchBOT started on its pioneering journey on Sunday, 27 July after a farewell from its 'family' — the team of scientists that created it and will be providing technical support through the journey.


Soon after, Anne and Brian Saulnier, picked up hitchBOT after they saw it thumbing a ride, according to CBC News. The couple was heading to Kouchibouguac National Park in their trailer van when they saw hitchBOT by the highway.

"He's going on a ride for sure," said Brian, CBC News reported.

"A lovely couple offered to help me out. Look out, New Brunswick. Here I come," read the robot's Twitter.

Lets 3D Print Your Favorite Flavor Of Ice Cream


Students from MIT has developed a 3D-printer that can produce ice creams in any shape in just 15 minutes.

By hacking together a soft serve ice cream maker, a freezer and a 3D printer, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim created a machine that extrudes soft ice cream into any given shape then quickly freezes it with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

The students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the contraption using the principals of a fused deposition model printer.

"We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids," Bunker told 3ders.org.

"We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible," he said.

The team first needed to print into a cooled environment so that the ice cream would hold its shape once printed.

"We bought a small upright freezer which was large enough to both put the Solidoodle inside and allow for the full build volume we were aiming for," they said.

They then needed a shield gas to solidify the ice cream as soon as it came out of the extruder. They built a system to spray liquid nitrogen onto the ice cream as it was extruded.

"To ensure that the extruded ice cream ended up with constant characteristics, the cryogen line was bent in a circle to go all the way around the extruder and spray the liquid nitrogen evenly around the printed ice cream," they said.

You Can Learn A New Language Even In Your Sleep


Want to learn a new language but don't have the time? Do so while you're sleeping! Listening to other languages while you are asleep helps reinforce prior learning, a new study has found.

The study conducted at the universities of Zurich and Fribourg has shown that German-speaking students are better at remembering the meaning of newly learned Dutch words when they hear the words again in their sleep.

"Our method is easy to use in daily life and can be adopted by anyone," said study director and biopsychologist Bjorn Rasch. However, the results were obtained in strictly controlled laboratory conditions. It remains to be seen whether they can be successfully transferred to everyday situations.

In their trial, Thomas Schreiner and Rasch asked 60 volunteers to learn pairs of Dutch and German words at 10 in the evening. Half of the volunteers then went to bed. While they slept, some of the Dutch words they had learned before going to bed were played back quietly. The remaining volunteers stayed awake to listen to the Dutch words on the playback.

The scientists awoke the sleeping volunteers at two in the morning, then tested everyone's knowledge of the new words a little later. The group that had been asleep were better at remembering the German translations of the Dutch words they had heard in their sleep. The volunteers who had remained awake were unable to remember words they had heard on the playback any better than those they had not.

Can These Water Droplets Power Our Smartphones?

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Imagine if the humidity in the air could power your smartphone or laptop. It may soon become a reality!

Water droplets jumping from a highly repelling surface can be harnessed to produce electricity that could be used to power electronic devices, MIT scientists have found.

Last year, researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process.

Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices.

The approach developed by Nenad Miljkovic, Evelyn Wang from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and colleagues could lead to devices to charge cell phones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water.

The device itself could be simple, Miljkovic said, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates.

Although his initial tests involved copper plates, he said any conductive metal would do, including cheaper aluminium.

In initial testing, the amount of power produced was vanishingly small - just 15 picowatts, or trillionths of a watt, per square centimetre of metal plate.

But Miljkovic said the process could easily be tuned to achieve at least 1 microwatt, or millionth of a watt, per square centimetre.

Such output would be comparable to that of other systems that have been proposed for harvesting waste heat, vibrations, or other sources of ambient energy, and represents an amount that could be sufficient to provide useful power for electronic devices in some remote locations.

For example, Miljkovic has calculated that at 1 microwatt per square centimetre, a cube measuring about 50 centimetres on a side - about the size of a typical camping cooler - could be sufficient to fully charge a cell phone in about 12 hours.

There are some constraints: Because the process relies on condensation, it requires a humid environment, as well as a source of temperatures colder than the surrounding air, such as a cave or river.

In a practical device, two arrays of metal plates, like fins on a radiator, would be interleaved, so that they are very close but not touching. The system would operate passively, with no moving parts.

For powering remote, automated environmental sensors, even a tiny amount of energy might be sufficient; any location where dew forms would be capable of producing power for a few hours in the morning, Miljkovic said.

"Water will condense out from the atmosphere, it happens naturally," he said.

The findings are published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Here Is Lytro Illum, The Futuristic Light-Field Camera


Somewhere around two years ago, on the horizon of optic gadgets Lytro's first camera showed up this was the camera with which we never had to worry about getting the right photos at the right time, we could change focus and perspective well after we shot our photos in the first place.

However that first Lytro camera looked like a kaleidoscope: the square red camera was too odd, too awkward to really get down and dirty with.

But here is the Illum, Lytro's second model, is a $1,499 beast of a digital camera that is designed to completely reinvent the way we take and look at photos.

Verge reviewed the camera in full, and it's clear that the Illum is not yet a finished product. But it's a remarkable one, and a beautiful one. So here, in deep detail, is the camera that Lytro hopes will start a revolution.

Photos by Sean O'Kane and Michael Shane
We found it on Verge.

















Cooming Soon A Drug That Can Stop You Getting Drunk


A 'James Bond' drug which would enable a spy to drink his opponent under the table, without getting drunk himself may soon become a reality!

Scientists have produced mutant worms that do not get intoxicated by alcohol, an advance that could lead to new drugs to treat alcohol addiction.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin generated mutant worms by inserting a modified human alcohol target into the worms.

"This is the first example of altering a human alcohol target to prevent intoxication in an animal," said corresponding author, Jon Pierce-Shimomura, assistant professor in the university's College of Natural Sciences and Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research.

An alcohol target is any neuronal molecule that binds alcohol, of which there are many.

One important aspect of this modified alcohol target, a neuronal channel called the BK channel, is that the mutation only affects its response to alcohol.

The BK channel typically regulates many important functions including activity of neurons, blood vessels, the respiratory tract and bladder. The alcohol-insensitive mutation does not disrupt these functions at all.

"We got pretty lucky and found a way to make the channel insensitive to alcohol without affecting its normal function," said Pierce-Shimomura.

"Our findings provide exciting evidence that future pharmaceuticals might aim at this portion of the alcohol target to prevent problems in alcohol abuse disorders," said Pierce-Shimomura.

"However, it remains to be seen which aspects of these disorders would benefit," he said.

Unlike drugs such as cocaine, which have a specific target in the nervous system, the effects of alcohol on the body are complex and have many targets across the brain.

The various other aspects of alcohol addiction, such as tolerance, craving and the symptoms of withdrawal, may be influenced by different alcohol targets.

The worms used in the study, Caenorhabditis elegans, model intoxication well. Alcohol causes the worms to slow their crawling with less wriggling from side to side.

The intoxicated worms also stop laying eggs, which build up in their bodies and can be easily counted.

The modified human BK channel used in the study, which is based on a mutation discovered by lead author and graduate student Scott Davis, could be inserted into mice.

These modified mice would allow scientists to investigate whether this particular alcohol target also affects tolerance, craving and other symptoms relevant to humans.

Scientists speculate that their research could even be used to develop a 'James Bond' drug someday, which would enable a spy to drink his opponent under the table, without getting drunk himself.

The research is published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Future Of Sex! A Push Button For Amazing And Instant Orgasm

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Think about a machine that can help women achieve "emphatic" orgasms at the push of a button.

Slightly smaller than a packet of cigarettes, the device uses electrodes attached to the patient's spine, with orgasms being triggered by a remote control.

The machine is not intended for a mass market looking to spice up their day at whim or expedite their sexual encounters however, but for women who normally struggle to achieve orgasm.

North Carolina surgeon Stuart Meloy told New Scientist how he conjured up the idea while performing a procedure on a female patient.

"I was placing the electrodes and suddenly the woman started exclaiming emphatically," he said. "I asked her what was up and she said, 'You're going to have to teach my husband to do that'." Clinical trials of the machine are due to commence later in the year, with Meloy adding that it could help couples with withering sex lives.

"If you've got a couple who've been together for a while and it's just not happening any more, maybe they'll get through it a bit easier with this," he said.

Instant orgasms come at the cost of rather invasive surgery however, with CBS Charlotte detailing the procedure thus: 'During the operation, a patient would remain conscious so that a surgeon could correctly pinpoint the right nerves to fit the electrodes in a patient's spinal cord. Then, a signal generator would be connected which would be most likely implanted under the skin of a patient's buttocks.' "It's as invasive as a pacemaker, so this is only for extreme cases," Meloy explained.

In other incredible medical science news this week, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois produced a 3D-printed "electronic glove" that could help keep your heart beating for ever.

Christopher Hooton
Via TOI

Spanish Island El Hierro Is 1st To Run On Green Power Only


The smallest and least known of Spain's Canary Islands, El Hierro, is making a splash by becoming the first island in the world fully energy selfsufficient through combined water and wind power.

A wind farm opening at the end of June will turn into electricity the gusts that rake the steep cliffs and green mountains of the volcanic island off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Its five turbines installed at the northeastern tip of El Hierro near the capital Valverde will have a total output of 11.5 megawatts - more than enough power to meet the demand of the island's roughly 10,000 residents.

Although other islands around the world are powered by solar or wind energy, experts say El Hierro is the first to secure a constant supply of electricity by combining wind and water power and with no connection to any outside electricity network. Surplus power from the wind turbines will be used to pump fresh water from a reservoir near the harbour to a larger one at volcanic crater located about 700 metres above sea level.

When there is little or no wind, the water will be channelled down to the lower reservoir through turbines to generate electricity in turn. "This system guarantees us a supply of electricity," said the director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero who is supervising final tests before the plant starts functioning in a few weeks. The plant will account for 50% of the island's electricity demand when it is officially inaugurated at the end of June.

Watch The Psychology Of Your Future Self

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished.

Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the "end of history illusion," where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we'll be for the rest of time. Hint: that's not the case.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference

Android Wear: Another Tease Of Moto 360 And LG G Watch


All the eyes are on on Android Wear and the first smartwatches to showcase it — Motorola's Moto 360 and LG's G Watch — at Google I/O later this month. But before the developer conference kicks off, Google is today offering another brief look at the two devices. They're featured in a dev-focused blog post that goes over just how easy it is to build apps for both square and round smartwatches.

"Designing for Android Wear is pretty different from designing for the desktop, phones or tablets," said Roman Nurik, who worked with fellow Android Wear design "advocate" Timothy Jordan to mock up a walking tour app. "Working with constraints involving scarce resources like device size and user attention means it’s more important than ever to think deeply about your ideas and iterate on them early and often."


This is one of the first times we've seen a real live Moto 360 with the screen on, though admittedly there's not much to look at here. Google is no doubt saving the best  of Android Wear for I/O, which starts June 25th.


Here Is How New York Is Planning Against Storms And Rising Sea Levels


The federal government plans to spend billions of dollars protecting New York City and the surrounding areas from rising sea levels and storms like Hurricane Sandy, and some of the most innovative projects that it'll be funding were just announced yesterday. Among them are plans to construct parks and paths wrapping around lower Manhattan that include elevated areas and flood barriers that can flip into position when necessary. Another project aims to slow the waves and stabilize the city's beaches by placing breakwaters around Staten Island. The breakwaters wouldn't simply be barriers for the waves though: they'll be designed as habitats for marine life, providing protection for finfish, shellfish, and lobsters. Other plans have been chosen to protect nearby Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken using pumps to remove water.


These aren't the plans that are meant to provide thorough protection against a storm, however. Instead, these are the result of a competition sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, called Rebuild By Design, and is meant to find new models for combating the effects of storms that may be useful elsewhere in the US.

"These [breakwater] oyster beds that you heard about, FEMA is watching this project very closely, thinking about not just whether it can be repeated throughout the region, but in Florida and many other places that are susceptible," Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan said yesterday. Donovan said that the projects might also receive funding from insurance providers, which could see lower costs because of their protections. "So the models that we're talking about here were specifically designed to be replicable," he said, "to bring not just more government funding, but to bring private sector funding as well."


New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the projects will begin to take shape over the next few years. "I think you're going to see over four or five years a hugely different physical reality in this city," he said. Entrants in the design competition have, of course, created mockups of what their projects will look like around the city. Several of those visuals can be found below.

By Jacob Kastrenakes
We found it on The Verge

Self Driven Trucks Could Be On Nevada Roads By Next Year


Two 18-wheeler trucks in Nevada have successfully demonstrated that automated systems could make vehicles safer and more fuel efficient. Popular Science reports that a computer-assisted truck was able to maintain a precise distance of 33 feet from its human-operated counterpart. The truck used technology similar to adaptive cruise control, enabling its driver to steer without worrying about acceleration or braking. Both vehicles were tethered by a real-time video link that allowed for better visibility and greater awareness of road conditions.

The two trucks were outfitted by Peloton Tech, a startup that claims its system could help the trucking industry "save more than $6 billion of diesel fuel annually." It has been verified that the lead trucks use 4.5 percent less fuel while rear trucks can save 10 percent. Peloton Tech held a live demonstration in Nevada last month where Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki said, "We just hope not only to be a part of the research and development but the manufacturing and the job creation that we believe will come with it in years to come." According to News 4, it takes about a week to have trucks retrofitted with a GPS system, antennas, and a radar detector. The company reportedly hopes to accelerate the process, and have their technology on the road by the end of next year.


While the company's work does not involve self-driving trucks, it is nonetheless indicative of the growth of autonomous vehicles. Nevada was the first US state to approve regulations concerning the usage of self-driving cars, but other places in the country have since sanctioned similar legislation. Companies like Google and Volvo are working to deploy vehicles capable of varying degrees of autonomy. In 2012, the European Commission-funded Project SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) successfully completed a 125-mile road test involving three computer-controlled cars. Then in 2013, a Japanese corporation showcased the efficiency of their four-truck convoy which only utilized one human driver.

By Cassandra Khaw
We found it on The Verge
 
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