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Science / Technology12.03.2015

All Dressed Up For Mars Nowhere To Go

200,000 brave and/or insane people have supposedly signed up for a one-way mission to Mars. But the truth about Mars One, the company behind the effort, is much weirder (and far more worrying) than anyone has previously reported.

Sir Jonathan Ive at the Goodwood festival of speed in Chichester this year.


Jonathan Ive and the Future of Apple

I had previously asked Ive about the rounded corners and edges that have long helped distinguish an Apple product from a ThinkPad or a book. On a day when Ive was so exhausted that it seemed possible he might fall asleep while talking, he became animated when describing the "primitive" design geometry that was usual before the computer era—essentially, two straight lines joined by a fragment of a circle. He then spoke of the opportunities that now exist, if the material permits, to take a more elegant path from one line to another; he talked of tangency breaks and Bézier surfaces. When I mentioned this to Powell Jobs, she cried out, "Yes! That is such a breakthrough, I forgot about that." For each product, Jobs and Ive would discuss corners "for hours and hours." She later noted that she and Ive share a taste for Josef Frank, the Austrian-Swedish designer of rounded furniture and floral fabrics, who once announced, in a lecture, "No hard corners: humans are soft and shapes should be, too."


Games / Technology / Videos06.02.2015

Devs Play – Doom

Doom history enthusiast and Spacebase creator JP LeBreton joins id Software co-founder John Romero as the two play though the first episode of Doom, “Knee Deep in the Dead,” in its entirety. John Romero’s run through each level turns up fresh and encyclopedic insight into how this genre-defining title was designed and set the stage for first-person action games for years to come.


Internet / Misc / Technology13.10.2014

Amazing Military Infographics

Some nights I like to get the kids to bed, pour a drink, and search the web for military-produced PDFs in order to look at the amazing graphics within them. I’d thought I was the only person with this hobby, but a few weeks ago my friend Finn Smith told me that he, too, likes military PDF graphics. The Internet is wonderful at bringing people together.


Arts / Technology / Videos22.08.2014

Sixteen Colors: Archiving the Evolution of ANSI and ASCII Art

ANSI (and ASCII) art dominated online communication for a short time. However, in that small window the medium evolved from a necessary function of early online systems into an art form on its own. Sixteen Colors was created to keep a history of the art form as seen from the production of the underground art scene that began in the 1990′s and continues today. Learn what it takes to compile hundreds of thousands of pieces of artwork and how that artwork has changed over two decades.


Business / Internet / Technology / Wikipedia08.08.2014

List of mergers and acquisitions by Google

Google is a computer software and a web search engine company that has been acquiring, on average, more than one company per week since 2010. The table below is an incomplete list of acquisitions, with each acquisition listed being for the respective company in its entirety, unless otherwise specified.

To match Feature SCIENCE-MEAT/

Business / Interviews / Science / Technology18.07.2014

Laboratory-grown beef: meat without the murder, but would you eat it?

Growing meat in labs could cut hunger, tackle climate change and end animal slaughter, but creator Professor Mark Post says the biggest beef will be convincing consumers.


Business / Conspiracy Theories / Internet / Technology17.07.2014

A detailed exposé on how the market is rigged from a data-centric approach

We received trade execution reports from an active trader who wanted to know why his large orders almost never completely filled, even when the amount of stock advertised exceeded the number of shares wanted. For example, if 25,000 shares were at the best offer, and he sent in a limit order at the best offer price for 20,000 shares, the trade would, more likely than not, come back partially filled. In some cases, more than half of the amount of stock advertised (quoted) would disappear immediately before his order arrived at the exchange. This was the case, even in deeply liquid stocks such as Ford Motor Co (symbol F, market cap: $70 Billion, NYSE DMM is Barclays). The trader sent us his trade execution reports, and we matched up his trades with our detailed consolidated quote and trade data to discover that the mechanism described in Michael Lewis's "Flash Boys" was alive and well on Wall Street.


Business / Internet / Science / Technology / Zahlen26.06.2014

2014 Internet Trends

Mary Meeker, the former Morgan Stanley analyst and current Kleiner Perkins investor, has built a personal franchise around her annual Internet trends report. She delivered her latest at the Code Conference this morning. Meeker and her team have a knack for pulling together data that speaks to both the specificity of what’s happening right now and how it fits into the larger context of the past and present. This time around, Kleiner Perkins built a site for the reports, which date back to 2001, available here.


Business / Internet / Technology26.06.2014

The Inside Story of Oculus Rift and How Virtual Reality Became Reality

... the expectations surrounding the Oculus Rift have always been huge, ever since an 18-year-old named Palmer Luckey hacked together a rough proto­type in his parents’ garage in Long Beach, California, in 2011. In June 2012, John Carmack—the legendary founder of id Software, the company that created Doom, Quake, and the entire concept of 3-D gaming—brought that early proto­type to the E3 videogame show, reintro­ducing VR to the popular conversation for the first time since The Lawnmower Man. A year later, Oculus brought an HD proto­type to E3 and blew minds all over again. Then it brought another, even more advanced one to CES this past January. Then another unit to the Game Developers Conference in March. And finally, the $2 billion purchase by Facebook. All for a company that doesn’t even have a commercial product yet and is chasing a dream that most of the tech community had seemingly given up on decades ago.


Internet / Technology28.05.2014

Everything is broken

It’s hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire.  Computers, and computing, are broken.


Business / Internet / Technology08.05.2014

The Untold Story Of Larry Page’s Incredible Comeback

One day in July 2001, Larry Page decided to fire Google’s project managers. All of them. As at most startups, in Google’s first year there were no management layers between the CEO, Page, and the engineers. But as the company grew, it added a layer of managers, people who could meet with Page and the rest of Google’s senior executives and give the engineers prioritized orders and deadlines. Page, now 28, hated it. Since Google hired only the most talented engineers, he thought that extra layer of supervision was not just unnecessary but also an impediment. He also suspected that Google’s project managers were steering engineers away from working on projects that were personally important to him. For example, Page had outlined a plan to scan all the world’s books and make them searchable online, but somehow no one was working on it. Page blamed the project managers.


Crimes / Drugs / Technology19.04.2014

Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers

Criminals in Shropshire have reportedly started using unmanned drones fitted with heat-seeking cameras to steal from and extort illegal cannabis farms. Apparently taking a leaf out of the book of the police themselves, violent robbers said that the growers make perfect targets because the victims will not report incidents to the authorities.


Arts / Photography / Technology20.03.2014

Einstein’s Camera

Adam Magyar is a computer geek, a college dropout, a self-taught photographer, a high-tech Rube Goldberg, a world traveler, and a conceptual artist of growing global acclaim. But nobody had ever suggested that he might also be a terrorist until the morning that he descended into the Union Square subway station in New York. At the time, Magyar was immersed in a long-running techno-art project called Stainless, creating high-resolution images of speeding subway trains and their passengers, using sophisticated software he created and hardware that he retrofitted himself. The scanning technique he developed—combining thousands of pixel-wide slices into a single image—allows him to catch passengers unawares as they hurtle through dark subway tunnels, fixing them in haunting images filled with detail no ordinary camera can capture. Magyar set up his standard array of devices—camera, scanner, voltage meters, blue and black cables, battery pack, tripod, laptop—and waited for a train to roll into the station.



Modems, wArEz, and ANSI art: Remembering BBS life at 2400bps

BBSs existed in a world that had yet to be soiled by smartphones and Facebook and Instagram; there was no Google, and indeed no World Wide Web at all. Up until 1992, the Internet was a thing primarily of text, and BBSs in many ways mimicked that. To get "online" was to sit down at your computer, open up an application called a "terminal program", pull up your carefully hoarded list of BBS phone numbers, and start dialing. Inevitably, most would be busy and you'd have to wait, but eventually you'd be treated to the sweet sound of ringing through your modem's speaker, followed by the electronic beeping and scratching of a modem handshake.


Business / Science / Technology10.01.2014

Designing the Next Wave of Computer Chips

But Moore’s Law is not dead; it is just evolving, according to more optimistic scientists and engineers. Their contention is that it will be possible to create circuits that are closer to the scale of individual molecules by using a new class of nanomaterials — metals, ceramics, polymeric or composite materials that can be organized from the “bottom up,” rather than the top down. For instance, semiconductor designers are developing chemical processes that can make it possible to “self assemble” circuits by causing the materials to form patterns of ultrathin wires on a semiconductor wafer. Combining these patterns of nanowires with conventional chip-making techniques, the scientists believe, will lead to a new class of computer chips, keeping Moore’s Law alive while reducing the cost of making chips in the future.


Arts / Conspiracy Theories / Photography / Politics / Society / Technology / Videos30.12.2013

30C3 – Trevor Paglen – Six Landscapes

In this talk, artist Trevor Paglen discusses his work attempting to “see” the various aspects of the secret state. In examples ranging from tracking spy satellites to foraging through the bureaucratic refuse of CIA front companies, Paglen will discuss methods used to identify and exploit structural contradictions in classified programs which render them visible, and comment on the aesthetics and politics of attempting to “see” secrecy.

born to die

Business / Science / Technology27.10.2013

‘Born-to-die': this device will self-destruct in 60 seconds

Electronic devices that biodegrade to order could lead to huge medical advances. And the Pentagon, through Darpa, is investing heavily in 'born-to-die' technology too…


Business / Technology24.10.2013

And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’

It’s hard to overstate the gamble Jobs took when he decided to unveil the iPhone back in January 2007. Not only was he introducing a new kind of phone — something Apple had never made before — he was doing so with a prototype that barely worked. Even though the iPhone wouldn’t go on sale for another six months, he wanted the world to want one right then. In truth, the list of things that still needed to be done was enormous. The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.


Books / Business / Internet / Science / Society / Technology16.01.2013

Die Ausspionierten

Nehmen wir nur CourseSmart, den unangefochtenen Branchenführer bei Lehrbüchern und Unterrichtsmaterial in digitalisierter Form. Dieses Unternehmen, 2007 von Pearson und McGraw-Hill Education und anderen Verlagsgiganten gegründet, hat über zwanzigtausend elektronische Lehrbücher im Angebot, das sind etwa 90 Prozent aller in Nordamerika verwendeten Lehrbücher. Diese Texte können online und offline am Computer, auf Tablets oder Smartphones gelesen werden. CourseSmart verfolgt globale Ambitionen. Wie kürzlich bekanntgegeben wurde, expandiert das Unternehmen in den Nahen Osten und nach Afrika, so dass seine Produkte auch in Ländern wie Saudi-Arabien und Zimbabwe erhältlich sind. Anfang November wurde seine jüngste Innovation namens CourseSmart Analytics vorgestellt, ein Trackingsystem, mit dessen Hilfe verfolgt werden kann, wie lange sich Studenten auf jeder Seite eines elektronischen Buchs aufhalten, welche Kapitel sie überspringen, welche Passagen ihnen Mühe bereiten und so weiter. Aus all diesen Informationen wird für jeden Studenten ein „Engagement Score“ ermittelt, den Dozenten abrufen können.


Business / Society / Technology13.01.2013

Japan’s Philanderers Stay Faithful to Their ‘Infidelity Phones’

Over the past few years, as many people rushed to trade in their old phones for smartphones, Japan's philanderers have remained faithful to one particular brand: Fujitsu Ltd.'s older "F-Series" phones, which feature some attractive stealth privacy features. The aging flip-phone—nicknamed the "uwaki keitai" or "infidelity phone"—owes its enduring popularity to customers who don't believe newer smartphones are as discreet at hiding their illicit romances. Fujitsu's "privacy mode" is a layer of nearly invisible security that hides missed calls, emails and text messages from contacts designated as private. If one of those acquaintances gets in touch, the only signal of that communication is a subtle change in the color or shape of how the battery sign or antenna bars are displayed. If ignored, the call doesn't appear in the phone log. "If Tiger Woods had this Japanese feature in his phone, he wouldn't have gotten in trouble," said Mr. Natsuno, now a professor at Keio University's Graduate School of Media and Governance.