Tag Archives: tech

Internet Findings of the Week for July 17, 2015

This has been a very entertaining week, both comedy-wise and science/technology-wise.

Web series of the week

One Year in Space

I’m intrigued by anything to do with the International Space Station (ISS), and now a new webseries on Time.com is following an astronaut who is spending a whole year on the ISS. I first became interested in the ISS because of astronaut Chris Hadfield. He took beautiful photos of the earth, and made awesome short videos about life in space. Now astronaut Scott Kelly is going to be the first person to spend a whole year in space. The documentary will follow his flight, plus his relationships with family on earth.

YouTube Channel of the Week

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

I absolutely love the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he is always hilarious and always has brilliant guests. But this past week it was better than ever! After two weeks off because he somehow severed his finger with his wedding ring, Jimmy came back with a roar and the best guests ever! I was almost falling off my chair with laughter watching his interview with Amy Schumer. She is usually funny, but paired with Jimmy, wow! But how could this get much better? Well then he has my other two favorite comedians on TOGETHER – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! Comedy overload is an understatement. Then he has the wonderful Ian McKellen come on! He is one of my favorite actors. And there were plenty of other awesome guests this week including the cute, charismatic and enviably talented Cara Delevigne, and the always charming and comical Paul Rudd. Please subscribe to this channel and watch the above videos! (No I don’t work for NBC.)

Article of the week

A Robot Has Passed the Self-Awareness Test

Gif by MG via Wikimedia Commons

Reading this headline, you’re probably thinking, is this the beginning of the robo-apocalypse? I am so interested in artificial intelligence, partly because it’s exciting, and partly because I’m extremely worried that robots are going to take over. I saw the fantastic and chilling movie Ex Machina a few months ago and that got me thinking about how quickly artificial intelligence is developing. This article highlights how robots can now be aware of themselves, which is one of the first steps towards being artificially intelligent. But in a (most likely) illogical way after watching Ex Machina, I can’t help thinking that once robots are self-aware, they could become self-absorbed and selfish. I’m sure (and I hope that) in the onward development of AI, scientists will make sure they can safely guide AI so that it develops in a way favorable to human life.

Internet Findings of the Week for July 10, 2015

This week I’m celebrating communities coming together to help out others, historical technology, bridging the gender-pay gap and NYC subway trains!

Video of the week

3D Printed Arms Changing Kids’ Lives

I love it when technology, ingenuity and generosity come together to help people. A global community is making awesome 3D-printed prosthetic hands for a fraction of the price of traditional prosthetics, and distributing them to children around the world. Anyone who has a 3D printer can get involved by visiting e-Nable and signing up to become a hand builder. And anyone who needs a hand can apply to get one custom made. The hands come in cool colors and kind of look like Lego!

Photos of the week

An Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttle

A Russian space shuttle. Photo by Dave Casey via Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to believe that such high-tech, and historical machinery like a space shuttle could be left to decay for 20 years, instead of being preserved or put into a museum. An inquisitive photographer found exactly that in an abandoned hangar at a Russian space launch base in Kazakhstan. He took some amazing photos of this state-of-the-art facility, and even got inside the old space shuttle to find that much of the expensive equipment is still there. (Disclaimer: I have no way of verifying how or when these photos were taken, but they are interesting nonetheless.)

Initiative of the week

NY Bar Tackles Gender Pay Gap

This Brooklyn bar (not far from our place) had an awesome idea to help make it up to women for the gender pay inequality. Since women on average make only 77% of what men make, the owners of this bar decided that on July 7 (7/7) women only had to pay 77% of the drinks prices. I’ve heard this place also has good live music so I’m definitely going to check it out soon!

 

App of the week

Subway Cars Field Guide

I use the subway almost every day and often notice subtle differences between the trains. They have different seating layouts, different carriage/car widths, and different color schemes. But I had no idea about the different ages of all the subway trains. Who knew some of them are more than 50 years old! And that’s why some of them are more likely to have the heating or AC break down. Try this awesome guide from WNYC for yourself to find out how old your usual subway trains are.

Internet Findings of the Week for June 19, 2015

This week my findings, although varied, are all quite serious or thought-provoking issues.

Article of the week

Will Self-Driving Cars Be Programmed to Kill You?

Google_self-driving_car_in_Mountain_View

Photo by Mark Doliner via Wikimedia Commons

Google, Mercedes, Audi, Daimler and others are currently developing computer-driven cars. Now an ethical debate has arisen over how to program self-driving cars to react when a collision is unavoidable. What happens if the car has to decide between swerving into a bus of people or hitting a pedestrian? Will it use utilitarian ethics to cause the least harm to the most people, or will it be programmed to choose randomly in these situations to reduce any blame on the programmers? For me as a philosophy and ethics major, it is an interesting issue and one I am keen to follow to see what happens. Although apparently, driver error causes 94% of all crashes, so if all cars on the road at any time are computer driven then the collision rate should be statistically lower.

Podcast of the week

As Global Population Grows, Is The Earth Reaching The ‘End Of Plenty’?

Photo by Alosh Bennett via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Alosh Bennett via Wikimedia Commons

This is a worrying topic – that food production can’t keep up with the pace of population growth. This podcast is about journalist Joel Bourne’s book “The End of Plenty” about exactly that. He talks about how growing animals for meat is not sustainable, because you have to grow the grain to feed them as well. Inefficient use of water is also a problem, especially in areas with droughts or water shortages. He also talks about new, possibly more efficient, ideas for producing protein such as deep-sea fish farms. But what he doesn’t talk about is the huge amount of food that is wasted every day. This is an issue that is very current right now, with a new documentary coming out called Just Eat It which claims that 50% of edible food is wasted every day. A new supermarket also opened recently which sells food that other supermarkets were going to throw out.

Issue of the week

Frozen Human Eggs

More and more women seem to be freezing their eggs for one reason or another. Some freeze them because they have an illness which could damage their ovaries and they want to be able to conceive after they get better. Others want to delay motherhood and focus on their careers, so they freeze their eggs while they are young to try and increase the likelihood of having a healthy baby at a less-than-optimum age for conceiving. There are new issues with these practices every day. A woman in the UK died of cancer, leaving behind unused frozen eggs, then this week her bereft mother tried unsuccessfully to get permission to use those eggs to give birth to her own grandchild. In May this year “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-boyfriend had a dispute about whether to destroy fertilized eggs they had frozen before they broke up. But there are other issues as well about how reproduction is now going to be explained to children, when there is more than one way to conceive a child. Musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates give a very crude (and negative) but funny suggestion of what a parent might have to tell their clinically-conceived child:

Internet Findings of the Week for May 22, 2015

This is the first in a weekly series where I will be writing about the most interesting things I have come across on the internet in the past week. They aren’t necessarily new or recent things, but just things that I found particularly memorable or interesting.

Website of the week

HitRECord.org

HitRecord.com

This website is fantastic! I follow sexy actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, 3rd Rock from the Sun etc) on Twitter and often see him tweeting about something called “Hit Record”. I was reading it like the phrase to describe a top-selling music album, and half-wondered what his connection to music was. Today he tweeted about a “tautogram” competition – which piqued my interest. So I clicked on the link and finally went to this mysterious website. And it’s this amazing collaborative creativity website founded by JGL himself! Where people upload videos, writing, sound clips and photos to collaborate and contribute to projects. And if something you contributed ends up in a Hit Record production, you can get royalties from it. And just for the record, Hit Record, is actually using the verb to record, not the noun record.

Videos of the week

Meet Brooklyn’s Hasidic Hipsters

I was so intrigued to come across this awesome little video about a group of people who live in my own Brooklyn neighbourhood of Crown Heights. I see Hasidic people every day, and have noticed their distinctive style of clothing, but I never knew the reason behind their style. This piece delves into the world of two Hasidic women and how they express their personal style within the limitations of their religion. It was heartwarming to see how their pursuit of edgy, yet modest fashion, brought them together with women of all races and religions.

Jade’s Journey Marked by Drugs and Death


I am utterly shocked at what is happening in Myanmar to feed China’s desire for jade jewelry. I have a few pieces of jade jewelry, some of it from New Zealand (greenstone/pounamu), and some of it probably from Myanmar, so I was compelled to watch this short doco. It links the spread of HIV in small mining Myanmar mining villages, right back to China’s increasing demand for jade. Miners struggling to carry on in horrific conditions are tempted into taking heroin to help them get through. Now there are countless addicts without proper rehabilitation clinics, and needle sharing has led to an HIV outbreak.

Article of the week

An injured toucan is getting a 3D printed beak

I love it when technology and real-life needs collide like this. A gorgeous toucan in Costa Rica had his beak hacked off by some unknown animal-haters, and now an Indiegogo campaign has raised $10,000 to fund a new beak! The beak will be made by Denver, Colorado-based Orthopets, which specialises in orthotics and prosthetics for animals. So happy for Grecia the toucan!