Tag Archives | Technology

A Real Hoverboard

The New York Times discovers a couple of California garage tinkerers who have made a real hoverboard, as in Marty McFly’s ride in Back to the Future:

LOS GATOS, Calif. — A lot of things can hover. There are helicopters. There are hovercraft. But for the last three decades, a generation of engineers and movie fans have been waiting for something else: a hovering skateboard like the one in “Back to the Future Part II.”

The hoverboard is fiction, the vision of screenwriters who created the film about Marty McFly, a teenager who travels from 1985 to Oct. 21, 2015, and uses a floating skateboard to flee a gang of bullies.

The movie had other futuristic items, like flying cars and self-tying shoes, but none touched the imagination as much as the hoverboard. For the last 25 years, garage tinkerers, physics professors and top engineers at Google have been trying to make one.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Undying Stars – Was Ancient Man Connected Through Star Myth, Shamanism and Megaliths?

IMG_6010Via Midwest Real

Join Author, David W. Mathisen and I as we hack our way through the gnarled nether-regions of history, philosophy and a litany of other woo-drenched topics. 

Imagine the level of genius and insanity it must have taken to pitch the idea of of constructing the Great Pyramid of Giza– “Let’s take 2.3 million stones weighing up to 80 tons each that fit together seamlessly to create the world’s tallest structure. Also, let’s make sure it aligns to true north, mimics Orion’s belt, measures equinoctial precession and encodes roughly a shit ton of other astral and mathematical phenomena.”Best pitch ever, right?

Despite the fact that my pitch sounds totally bat shit bonkers, the Egyptians were far from the only ones who undertook such a herculean labor. There are dozens of ancient megalithic structures with countless astral alignments and striking similarities all over the world. Yet, if we take that observation a step further, positing the idea that many ancient cultures had sacred traditions built upon a common, interconnected, esoteric system that communicated transcendent truth via celestial allegory, myth and megaliths, we’re starting to get pretty deep into the hairy nethers of history– a place where mainstream academia dares not dwell.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

OpenBazaar: P2P Marketplace to Undermine our Corporate Overlords

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Around the turn of the century, Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces provided revolutionary new venues for small-business entrepreneurship, but they have since grown into heavy-handed corporate behemoths that treat sellers like share croppers while exerting an ever-expanding influence over government and the economy. In the future, online marketplaces will be publicly shared via distributed p2p networks. There will be no fees, no trade restrictions, no corporate overlords running the show. The concept is gaining traction; the technology is already here.

One promising effort in this direction is OpenBazaar. They hope to offer a full release in 2014, and are currently seeking beta testers:

OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and cannot be censored. Put simply, it’s the baby of eBay and BitTorrent.

Right now, online commerce means using centralized services. eBay, Amazon, and other big companies have restrictive policies and charge fees for listing and selling goods.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

MIT Study Says Robot Overlords Could Make for Happier Human Workers

Most of the human bosses I’ve had lead me to find this claim not just possible but probable.

Mat Smith writes at Engadget:

New research from MIT reckons that robots controlling human tasks in manufacturing is not only more efficient than flesh-and-blood middle-management, but preferred by people that do the work too. Automation in the manufacturing process has been around for decades, but the new study aimed to seek out the sweet spot where human workers were “both satisfied and productive.”

“We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates,” said project lead Matthew Gombolay. The study was composed of groups of two humans and one robot, working in three test conditions. One had all tasks allocated by a human, another where all tasks were allocated by the robot and the final scenario had one human allocating tasks to themselves, while the robot allocated tasks to the other meatsack.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Are we heading for technological unemployment? An Argument

Altar of technology by zeitfaenger.at via Flickr.

Altar of technology by zeitfaenger.at via Flickr.

This piece was first published on Philosophical Disquisitions We’re all familiar with the headlines by now: “Robots are going to steal our jobs”, “Automation will lead to joblessness”, and “AI will replace human labour”. It seems like more and more people are concerned about the possible impact of advanced technology on employment patterns. Last month, Lawrence Summers worried about it in the Wall Street Journal but thought maybe the government could solve the problem. Soon after, Vivek Wadhwa worried about it in the Washington Post, arguing that there was nothing the government could do. Over on the New York TimesPaul Krugman has been worrying about it for years.

But is this really something we should worry about? To answer that, we need to distinguish two related questions:

The Factual Question: Will advances in technology actually lead to technological unemployment?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Simulation Theory and the Nature of Reality with NASA Physicist and Author, Tom Campbell

Via Midwest Real

IMG_5913“When the original founding fathers of quantum mechanics were doing these experiments they were really excited… making statements like- ‘if quantum mechanics doesn’t blow your mind, that’s because you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ They realized this was a really big deal philosophically, (and) scientifically… Then they tried to come up with a good explanation. They couldn’t find one… Now they just blow it off as ‘nobody will ever know… it’s just weird science.’ This My Big Toe theory though, explains it.”  -Tom Campbell

If that chopped up quote sounds vague, pseudo science-y, or confusing (especially if you’re not familiar with some of the basic ideas behind quantum mechanics) I get that. But, when you’re grappling with huge issues like the very nature of our reality and you’re trying to take a broad stroke across the top, things tend to get foggy, so bear with me.

(You should know about the infamous, hotly-debated double-slit experiment covered above for this talk.)

Actually, don’t bear with me, or take anything from me, because our guest, Tom Campbell has an impressive career in applied physics.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Robo Brain learns concepts through Internet and human interaction

The team behind the Robo Brain project (Aditya Jami, Kevin Lee, Prof. Ashutosh Saxena, Ashesh Jain, Ozan Sener and Chenxia Wu)

The team behind the Robo Brain project (Aditya Jami, Kevin Lee, Prof. Ashutosh Saxena, Ashesh Jain, Ozan Sener and Chenxia Wu) via Gizmag.

via Gizmag:

One of the steps towards to making robots into the all powerful overlords envisioned in books and movies is to teach them all human knowledge. A project named Robo Brain can do this without any help from humans, trawling the web in search of information and then sharing it with robots.

The project is being carried out by academics at Cornell University’s Department of Computer Sciences. A team comprised of many of the same researchers who were responsible for producing the Tell Me Dave robot that’s able to understand and follow natural language instructions.

Robo Brain is also able to understand natural language, and uses this capability to make sense of the information it finds on the internet. It allows robots to understand how the world works using the data it finds, as opposed to simply storing the data without having any insight into it.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Computers can find similarities between paintings – but art history is about so much more

Frédéric Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine, 1870. Used in "Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence"

Frédéric Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine, 1870. Used in “Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence.”

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds

Some computer scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey have written a computer programme that finds connections between paintings and can even discover influences between artists, they claim. This certainly raises some fascinating questions, but not about art history.

In the paper, Babak Saleh and his colleagues describe how they created a programme to compare paintings so as to establish recurrences of certain features.

They classified more than 1,700 paintings according to various visual features they contained, from simple object descriptions to style and colour. And many striking comparisons and links were indeed thrown back by the programme.

But I’m afraid this is by no means going to help art history.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

China’s Supersonic Supercavitation Submarine

Do you know what supercavitation technology is? Nor me, but it’s what the Chinese plan on using to create a submarine (or torpedo) that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes, reports the South China Morning Post:

China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.

New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater.

Superkavitation schema.svg

“Superkavitation schema” by Booyabazooka. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team’s innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air “bubble” required for rapid underwater travel. “We are very excited by its potential,” he said.

Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft.

Read the rest
Continue Reading