People who aren't nerds never cared much about the Unicode Consortium until everyone started caring, a lot, about emoji. Read the rest
“Plasma ball destroys the web.”
Yes, friends, Tanner's latest creation is the answer to unfriendly YouTube comments, harassing or abusive Facebook posts, douchey viral ads, you name it. Whatever on the internet is wrong. Read the rest
The PocketLab is billed as a "Swiss Army Knife of science." Launched via Kickstarter, the small device contains numerous sensors to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature and send that data to smartphones or laptops. According to inventor Clifton Roozeboom, it's a tool for students and citizen scientists who can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lab equipment and will get the data they need from this $100 gadget. From IEEE Spectrum:
“If you are doing a classic experiment in AP physics, you might have, say, a track and a pulley and you want to attach a sensor to a cart to measure acceleration, force, and momentum transfer,” says Roozeboom. “The typical gear available is wired, plugs into a specialized handheld gadget with a host of menus to navigate. The students spend a lot of time understanding how to use the gear instead of learning concepts.” In other traditional physics experiments, Roozeboom says, the device can be attached to a rocket to study projectile motion, stuck to a pendulum to look at harmonic motion, or placed inside a tube to measure changes in pressure with volume.
Video demo: Read the rest
Ambient displays translate online information into a simple presentation that's meant to be glanceable, easy to understand, and non-intrusive. I've always appreciate artistic ambient displays, like Nancy Patterson's Stock Market Skirt and Eric Paulos's Limelight. Ken Kawamoto's Tempescope appears to be another wonderful example. It's a weather display in the form of a transparent box that generates the predicted weather conditions inside. For example, when the forecast is rain, a tiny rain storm occurs in the Tempescope. It can even form "clouds" and create a "lightning" storm through flashing LEDs. Kawamoto created an open source version of the Tempescope so you can make your own, or get one through the Indiegogo campaign launching this week!
Twenty years ago, Texas Instruments released the TI-83 graphing calculator, a stupidly expensive piece of old technology that most high schools still require their juniors and seniors buy for around $100. Why? Because. That's why. From Mic.com:
Pearson textbooks feature illustrations of TI-series calculators alongside chapters so students can use their TI calculator in conjunction with the lesson plan. The calculators also have a significant learning curve, and moving students over to new technology is a risky proposition when success in the classroom is so tied to the technology being used.
TI calculators have been a constant, essential staple in the slow-moving public education sector. Students and teachers are so used to generations of students learning the familiar button combos and menu options that TI provides a computer program that perfectly resembles the button layout of the TI-83.
However, even if teachers wanted to be bold and bring in better technology, they would end up right back at square one because of that infamous force in American education: standardized testing.
College Board and other companies that administer the country's standardized tests have approved lists of calculators. TI-series devices are ubiquitous — mobile apps are nowhere to be found.
"I'm actually at the point now where when I do parent conferences, I tell the parents it's in their students' best interest to buy one, because the device will become necessary," Bob Lochel, a math teacher in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, told Mic. "But you feel dirty, because you're telling parents they need to buy a device, and I know I can teach without it."
A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company. Read the rest
Another XKCD bullseye for Randall Munroe. It's all just a tangle of things you put in to fix the things that you put in to fix the things. As the tooltip says: Read the rest
Aquaporin A/S made this new small and lightweight filter that uses aquaporins, membrane proteins, to turn urine, sweat, and wastewater into drinkable water. Read the rest
A robotic Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!) from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology! Read the rest
MIT researchers developed a new system for 3D printing transparent, colored, and strong glass structures from digital files. Read the rest
For more than two decades, nonscientists and engineers have made molecular-scale motor, switches, propellers, ratchets, and even the "nanocar" above that rolls when its metal "road" is heated. But what can we actually do with these things? The journal Nature looks at today's efforts to develop useful applications for molecular machines, from drug delivery systems inside the body to a new kind of high-density molecular memory for computers. Read the rest
A "young driver" reportedly stopped in a car dealership service department "complaining that the iPhone dock in his (old) vehicle isn't working and its scratching his phone..." Read the rest