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New-Fangled Bicycle Helmets: Not Just Brain Buckets Anymore
September 21, 2012
There is no denying that serious cyclists adopt some very specific forms of fashion. The jerseys and shorts are tight-fitting to reduce drag, gloves are worn both to provide padding while gripping the handlebars and to protect hands during a crash, and shoes are a fashion statement all of their own. But one piece of equipment has become somewhat ubiquitous: the helmet.
My iPhone 5 Will Be Naked
September 20, 2012
As I anxiously wait for my shiny new iPhone 5 to arrive on Friday -- like 2 million others -- my thoughts first turned to protective cases. Would any be available? How long before manufacturers caught up with Apple's secrecy machine and started producing them so I could buy one? And screen protectors, when will my favorite screen protector company be able to deliver? Then I realized that maybe now, finally, I don't need a case at all. After all, what do I value more and more out of my iPhone? Pocketability.
Your New 2nd Car Could Be an E-Bike
September 14, 2012
Interbike, the largest bicycle trade show in North America, remains very much about pedal power, but in addition to the high-end Tour de France-worthy road bikes, go-over-anything mountain bikes, and hipster- and messenger-friendly fixed gear bicycles, there are those that are juiced up with electric motors and batteries.
Hey Apple, Better Get Cracking on an Amazing iPhone 6
September 13, 2012
When Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, I skipped it in favor of keeping my iPhone 4. So no day-to-day Siri for me. But wow, am I glad I held off and waited. The new iPhone 5 is definitely the best ever, the most usable creation to come out of Cupertino in years. And the attention to design -- love it.
Holding Your Community Together During a Disaster
September 11, 2012
The fires raging across western U.S. states this summer, at times plowing through residences and other structures, might have gotten you thinking: "What if?" That is, what if one of my buildings were destroyed in the 44-square mile California Pondorosa fire in August, which leveled more than 80 structures?
35 Years Later, Earth Finally Returns ET's Phone Call
August 22, 2012
Just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 15, 1977, while pointing toward the constellation Sagittarius, Ohio State University's Big Ear radio telescope picked up a mysterious transmission that would very soon make history. For 72 seconds, the Big Ear was able to listen to that signal, which has since come to be known as the "Wow! Signal."
Why Ham Radio Is Still Handy
August 8, 2012
The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 highlighted two phenomena common in disasters: Network communications tower sites were destroyed, and network traffic overwhelmed systems. Power failures cut off the Internet, and in New York, debris raining down onto ground-based infrastructure destroyed much of any communications left.
Who Loves Hadoop?
August 7, 2012
Mention big data and the first thing that might come to mind is Hadoop. The open source software framework has recently enjoyed a great deal of popularity among vendors and enterprise users. However, if it is to really be useful to the enterprise, Hadoop may need to be taken out of open source, argues Brian Christian, chief technology officer of Zettaset.
Gliese 581g: A Potentially Habitable World or Not?
July 31, 2012
There's been considerable debate over the existence of Gliese 581g ever since the discovery of the "Goldilocks" planet was first reported nearly two years ago, but new research claims to provide additional evidence that the potentially habitable "super-Earth" really is out there.
Will Social Media Spoil the Olympics?
July 27, 2012
The Summer Olympics officially open Friday, but as the games are taking place in London, which is six hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States and nine hours ahead of the West Coast, it will be very much a "tape delayed" affair. This isn't unusual in the world of international sporting events, but trying to avoid Olympic game outcomes is turning into an Olympic-class challenge.
Facial Recognition Faces Congressional Scrutiny
July 20, 2012
A senate committee met on Wednesday to discuss the promise and pitfalls of facial recognition technology. Led by its chair, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, the committee questioned privacy advocates as well as representatives of the FBI, the FTC and Facebook, about how the technology is being used and what privacy issues it raises.
Scientists Get Robot to Walk Like a Man
July 9, 2012
A baby's first step is often considered the hardest and the most significant. Human babies, which are among those that are altricial at birth, are unable to walk and must "learn" to do so, often by mimicking the movements of other people. Now engineers with the University of Arizona have developed a set of robotic legs that essentially also work by mimicking the movements of humans.
Nexus 7: Economical, Yes; Repairable, Sure ... but Profitable?
July 3, 2012
Google's battle with Apple continues, and this week the website iFixit conducted a teardown of the new Nexus 7 tablet and found it to be more repairable than Apple's iPad. The site, which regularly takes apart high-tech and potentially expensive gizmos and gadgets, noted that the Nexus shell came apart quite easily, allowing it to be opened and serviced.
SEC Lowers the Boom on Falcone
June 28, 2012
In what could prove to be the final lights out for near-defunct LTE mobile network startup LightSquared, the SEC on Wednesday filed charges against hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, along with his Harbinger Capital Partners fund and its former CEO Peter Jenson. The charges include misappropriation of funds, market manipulation, and preferential treatment for favored investors.
A Handful of Devs Get Their Hands on Google Glasses
June 28, 2012
Skydivers, mountain bikers and rappellers donned Google Glasses on Wednesday and captured video of their stunts at the Google I/O conference, giving the world a glimpse of the capabilities of this new wearable technology. Google is selling the glasses for $1,500 to U.S.-based developers who were in attendance at the conference.
Terabits by Twisted Light: The Optical Communications Revolution
June 27, 2012
Twisted infrared light beams have propelled wireless data transmission to a dazzling 2.56 terabits per second via a system developed by a multinational team of researchers led by the Optical Communications Laboratory at the University of Southern California. The process essentially twists beams of light so that they can carry more data, more quickly than ever before.
The Do-Not-Track Balancing Act
June 27, 2012
When Microsoft announced recently that Internet Explorer 10 will have its Do Not Track feature turned on by default, it seemed those concerned about online privacy would hail the move as a step in the right direction. Consumer advocates and other groups had been agitating for such a feature for some time.
Google Embarks on Language Rescue Mission
June 21, 2012
Latin may be the most famous "dead" language, at least in that it isn't widely spoken beyond its use by the Catholic Church, but it is not lost to the ages. Linguists have been warning that nearly all human languages -- save for the most commonly spoken tongues -- could become extinct within the next 200 years.
In the Lap of Luxury: Tesla's All-Electric Model S
June 21, 2012
This summer, Tesla is rolling out its luxury electric car, the Model S, amid much acclaim. "The design and efficiency of the Model S are unparalleled," said electric vehicle consultant Shannon Arvizu. "It's a stunningly beautiful car that is incredibly affordable to operate and has 'oh-my-god' wow performance. It's everything you could ever want in a luxury vehicle."
Machine Speak: Robot Baby Learns Words
June 19, 2012
It's a cute little robot learning how to say "green" and "blue." And as part of a major project undertaken by robotics researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, it's also promising to transform perceptions of how robots -- and humans -- learn language. DeeChee, which is built to look, act and learn like a 6-to-14-month-old child, is the subject of a new research report.
Scientists Split Atom, Then Put It Back Together
June 15, 2012
Mention the words, "splitting the atom," and most people will automatically think of nuclear fission, bombs and radioactivity. Recently, however, physicists at Germany's University of Bonn not only managed to "split" an atom but also put it back together again.
Living Nanomachines Show Researchers the Ropes
June 13, 2012
Nanomachines are, simply, very small machines, and the goal of medical nanotechnologists is to create these tiny machines in order to treat diseases at the molecular level. The body, however, already has plenty of its own nanomachines in the form of proteins that assemble themselves to transform their environment.
Corning's Willow Glass Moves Ahead of the Curve
June 5, 2012
Corning unveiled a new flexible glass -- called "Willow Glass" -- at the Society for Information Display's Boston Display Week on Monday. It's about as thick and flexible as a piece of paper, while having the strength, durability and other qualities of existing glass. Willow Glass can be made as thin as 0.05mm, which is far thinner than the current 0.2mm or 0.5mm display glass.
From Venus With Love: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Celestial Show
June 5, 2012
The planet Venus will create a rare spectacle on Tuesday when it passes directly in front of our sun, creating an image for viewers on Earth that won't be repeated until the year 2117. Known as "the 2012 Transit of Venus," the nearly seven-hour journey will begin at 3:09 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (22:09 UT) Tuesday and will be widely visible around the globe.
SpaceX Chalks Up Giant Leap for Commercial Space Travel
May 25, 2012
The Dragon was caught by its tail on Friday. The unmanned SpaceX spacecraft, which launched into orbit earlier this week, has successfully docked with the International Space Station, marking a first for a cargo-carrying private spacecraft. The docking was assisted with the station's 58-foot robotic arm controlled by astronaut Don Pettit.
Java Jurors Douse Oracle's Hopes
May 24, 2012
Executives at Google no doubt are heaving signs of relief at the outcome of the latest -- and possibly last -- phase of the Java copyright and patent trial: The jury unanimously found that Google did not infringe Oracle's patents. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the trial in the U.S.District Court of Northern California, dismissed the jury after the verdict was read.
Plenty of Nail-Biting Moments Ahead for SpaceX Mission
May 23, 2012
After last weekend's delayed launch, the Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX blasted off Tuesday, carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule into low-Earth orbit.While the launch itself could have been considered breathtaking, there will be more "hold your breath" moments ahead. The next one will come on Thursday when the craft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station.
Leap Aims to Put a Whole New World in Your Hands
May 22, 2012
Leap Motion released its new Leap motion control system for pre-order on Monday, with shipment promised in early 2013. The $69.99 Leap is 200 times more sensitive than any similar existing technology and allows for a variety of natural and intuitive 3D motion controls. Leap Motion is shipping out developer kits as well, and the technology could soon be incorporated in a variety of gaming, graphic design, robotics and other software and computing systems.
SpaceX Dragon to Soar to Launch History on Falcon's Wings
May 18, 2012
When the SpaceX Dragon capsule blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop the company's Falcon rocket Saturday morning, it will be doing more than just setting off on another cargo-laden trip to the International Space Station. Rather, as the very first commercial attempt ever to fly to the ISS, this test launch will be making history.
Iron-Eating Bacteria: Coming Soon to a Hard Drive Near You?
May 15, 2012
Today's hard drives may be smaller, faster, cheaper and more capacious than their predecessors, but the need for ever-tinier components is making it difficult to keep improving them. Therein lies at least part of the motivation behind biocomputing -- in which microscopic biological molecules are being recruited to play a role -- and recently scientists have identified a fresh new possibility in this area.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.