With faked degrees, U.S. tech official ran law enforcement data systems for years. Then he resigned, got a new gov job.

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“A key Interior technology official who had access to sensitive systems for over five years had lied about his education, submitting falsified college transcripts produced by an online service.”

Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao resigns. Co-founder Steve Huffman takes over.

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The embattled interim CEO of Reddit, who became all the more embattled after the sacking of a popular admin left unpaid mods outraged, is leaving the company. Read the rest

Pixar's chief creative officer Jon Lasseter on the evolution of storytelling

"At that time when we rendered things, everything kind of looked plastic-y," Lasseter says. "Everything looks like plastic, so what if the characters were made of plastic? What if they were... toys?'" Read the rest

Researchers developing tiny robots to travel through body and fire projectiles

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Researchers demonstrated an early proof-of-concept system in which tiny robots inside your body, controlled by an MRI machine, could self-assemble into a Gauss gun and fire projectiles to clear blockages or deliver drugs. Video below. Read the rest

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories' Lenore Edman on women in maker culture

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I asked Lenore Edman, the founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, the open source hardware, hobby electronics, and robotics company, to write a Medium post about what it's like being a badass female maker. Her comments are inspired and inspiring. From Medium:

My hope for young women is that they’ll find meaningful work in an environment where they can flourish. It doesn’t matter to me if they choose a technical field, but it does matter deeply that they know they could choose one. For that to happen, it will take deliberate work on the part of all of us who work in technology to make our communities welcoming. There are many efforts going on toward this, and I think the maker communities have a wealth to share.

"Flourishing in the Maker Community"

And of course, check out Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories Read the rest

Official case for your Raspberry Pi

For three years, makers have hacked together some terrific and janky DIY Raspberry Pi cases (like these). Finally, Ebon Upton and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have produced their own official Raspberry Pi case. Read the rest

Quantified Self Expo in San Francisco on Saturday (6/20)

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Our pals at Quantified Self are hosting a big expo in San Francisco on Saturday and they're offering BB readers a $10 discount off the $20 ticket price! Get hip to the self-tracking scene and see your life through the lens of data! Event details here. Read the rest

Are you a member of The Oregon Trail Generation, the last before mainstream social media?

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You have died of Snapchat.

Real-life eyeshine surgery trial

In the Chronicles of Riddick series, a shiner is an outlaw who has undergone eyeshine surgery to give them night vision. That same thing, incredibly, is happening in a garage in a small town in central California: Science for the Masses is a group of biohackers who have successfully tested a procedure giving its brave/foolish test subject the ability to detect shapes in a no-light environment. Read the rest

8-bit instant photo gun

Yes, you read that right. This video shows a gameboy, connected to a handgun, that when you point and shoot, takes a picture. Which then prints out on a thermal paper rollm like a grocery store receipt. Read the rest

India's $11 cellphone could change the world

The mobile market in India is flooded with new phones: three a day last year. Local provider Micromax has a gamble to claim a slice of that. Read the rest

Pixar's Renderman released for free

Pixar has released its Renderman imaging software to the public free to download. This version is identical to the software it uses on it's own films, which was invented in-house, and is used today by major film and video game studios for animation and visual effects. This free license is for non-commercial use only, which includes show reels and student films.

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan can be used for research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and any personal projects that do not generate commercial profits. Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is also fully featured, without watermark, time limits, or other user limitations.

Pixar is also launching a Renderman Community Site to share knowledge and assets, showcase work, and support all the new users bound to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

(via) Read the rest

Watch: how Digital Light Processing works

Ben Krasnow is the modern Way Things Work. In this video, he shows how Digital Light Processing projectors work. Read the rest

Apple Watch will have to nail heart rate

When Apple releases Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport in April, expectations will be high. Today, over a dozen watches attempt to monitor heart rate through the wrist, using optical sensors to judge changes in blood flow, but only a few actually work well. It's a tricky engineering problem. Comb the reports of the most thorough gadget reviewers, and you'll see that many of Apple's competitors simply don't have their sensors quite working. The watches stop monitoring if the user is cold or moving around (which can sometimes happen in sports.)

Imagine getting to work Monday morning and a project manager demands that you reverse-engineer a difficult technology in a newly minted field. Optical heart rate feels a little like light-bulb filaments in the 1870s: everyone's trying to find a long-lasting one, only a few have the answer. In wearable products, the pulse is an important data stream to power a lot of advanced features.

To date, several companies have completely figured out optical heart rate monitoring for wearables, including Mio and Valencell. Will Apple join them in April, or will its users discover a finicky and imperfect version?

Read the rest

Wearable laugh sensor knows when you're feeling good

At the 2015 Wearable Device Technology Expo in Tokyo in January, a tech firm introduced a small lapel worn sensor that can tell when the wearer's laughing, talking, or in trouble. Based on 10-years of "laugh-detecting" research, it's meant to help monitor the health of senior citizens. According to researchers:
To know they are "laughing" will help you see that they are happy and mentally well. "Falling" may indicate an emergency situation. This device reassures you that your loved ones, who live far away, are doing well.
via Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service Read the rest

Nova Scotia artist generates furious noise from hand-made sound machines

Artist Rebecca Baxter of Halifax, Nova Scotia makes noisy, grating, often ethereal sounds from machines she designs and solders herself. Demand has been high for her one-offs, including those used in recordings and performances by Flaming Lips, Electric Wurms, New Fumes, Mike O'Neill, Panos, METEOROID, Holy Fuck, Buck 65, and Oscillator Sunshine Machine.

Now she's launched a campaign to raise money to build more sophisticated handmade instruments. So far her devices have been stand-alone, creating sound from oscillators inside, but her next model, the Omega, is slated to have inputs for a guitar or keyboard. More videos: 1, 2, 3. Read the rest

Learn the sign language for "screengrab" and "SMH"

Online mag Hopes & Fears asked an educator in American Sign Language and his young assistant to demonstrate various internet jargon such as "emoji" and "photobomb". Each demo is captured in a short video loop. SMH portrays all the disgust involved in shaking one's head at something really stupid; Screengrab involves a nice gesture that enacts the mechanism of a phone display flashing in one's hand.

Since there's no central authority for such neologisms, some signs were ones used among friends while others were reached by consensus among members of the Deaf community online.

Read the rest

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