"The first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft robot."

The Octobot


Tue, Aug 30th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Harvard gazette shows off the "octobot", a small 3D printed robot that's soft. The device is pneumatically powered by transforming liquid hydrogen peroxide into "a large amount of gas," inflating its limbs as necessary.

“Fuel sources for soft robots have always relied on some type of rigid components,” said Michael Wehner, a postdoctoral fellow in the Wood lab and co-first author of the paper. “The wonderful thing about hydrogen peroxide is that a simple reaction between the chemical and a catalyst — in this case platinum — allows us to replace rigid power sources.”

To control the reaction, the team used a microfluidic logic circuit based on pioneering work by co-author and chemist George Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor and a core faculty member of the Wyss. The circuit, a soft analog of a simple…


"If there were a Nobel prize for hypocrisy, then its first recipient ought to be Mark Zuckerberg."

Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee not a friend of Facebook


Mon, Aug 29th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On August 23rd, Facebook saluted the creator of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, whose invention has allowed people to connect for the last 25 years. While noble a gesture, The Guardian calls it "a combination of bullshit and hypocrisy."

It’s not the inaccuracy that grates, however, but the hypocrisy. Zuckerberg thanks Berners-Lee for “making the world more open and connected”. So do I. What Zuck conveniently omits to mention, though, is that he is embarked upon a commercial project whose sole aim is to make the world more “connected” but less open. Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open…


"Once Big Data systems know me better than I know myself, authority will shift from humans to algorithms."

There is no such thing as free will


Sun, Aug 28th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On FT, Yuval Noah Harari argues that we have no free will whatsoever. Not only is the concept of "free will" flawed — it is nothing more than a biochemical response all animals have in order to survive and reproduce — once big data is able to crunch numbers for each one of us, it will tell us what we should do and what we should like. This may not be as bad as it sounds.

This is just the beginning. Devices such as Amazon’s Kindle are able constantly to collect data on their users while they are reading books. Your Kindle can monitor which parts of a book you read quickly, and which slowly; on which page you took a break, and on which sentence you abandoned the book, never to pick it up again. If Kindle was to be upgraded with face recognition software and biometric sensors,…


"Your average asteroid is a loosely held ball of gravel."

Everything you wanted to know about asteroid mining


Sat, Aug 27th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this video, Isaac Arthur looks at the variety of asteroids available and what acquiring their resources will require.

This video continues our look at Colonizing Space by examining the idea of Asteroid Mining and setting up colonies on Asteroids. We explore the science as well as practical issues of engineering, economics, legality, and psychology of such distant outposts.


"The goal of Breakthrough Starshot is to accelerate its craft to about 20 percent the speed of light."

A collision with an atom is dangerous, a spec of dust catastrophic


Fri, Aug 26th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

arstechnica looks at Breakthrough Starshot, the goal to send a spaceship to the nearest star at 20% the speed of light. While this would mean we'd reach the star in our lifetime — we'd reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years — travelling at those speeds mean that impact with a stray atom or — worse — a dust particle, would have some catastrophic results.

Dust presents a somewhat different problem. Small dust particles will essentially act like a simultaneous bombardment by a lot of gas atoms. That's because the energy binding things together in a dust particle is tiny compared to the energy of the collision itself, and the dust is largely composed of heavier atoms. But a sufficiently large dust particle will create a collision energetic enough to destroy a craft. And "sufficiently large" isn't very big; the authors estimate that it only has to…


It Really Might Be Super Advanced Aliens Building Some Crazy Shit

Or maybe not, but it's fun to speculate


Thu, Aug 25th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

You've probably heard by now about that weird star located between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations that not only has been steadily dimming for the last 100 years, but also emitting unusual patterns of light dips. Well, if you'd like a good read chockful of theories involving extraterrestrials, Brian Wang of Next Big Future takes you from incomplete Dyson spheres all the way to giant mirrors for solar-powered propulsion of sail-equipped starships.

Stopping at the destination can be done using a smaller ‘drouge shoot’ mirror-sail deployed out the back of the starship. Meanwhile, he original sail in front would be released, but the reflected annular beam from it would strike the deceleration sail and the starship slows. This would require an optically controlled original sail.

The primary ‘deflect and direct’ mirrors need to be positioned‘near’ the star’s surface and kept stationary relative to the sky…


Facebook Changes Whatsapp's Terms and Conditions for the Worse



Thu, Aug 25th, 2016 09:42 by capnasty NEWS

Watch out: Whatsapp notes that they are updating their terms and privacy policy, carefully trying not to make it sound that basically Facebook is going to milk your Whatsapp information to provide the social media giant with more ways to generate revenue. You don't feel comfortable about that? No problem! You can opt out here. Or can you?

The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.


ISIS is starting to sound more trustworthy an organisation than Facebook. At least they make it clear that they want to kill you.

As to be expected, not everyone is impressed. I guess people are still shocked and surprised Facebook lies. Hey, remember Instagram?

Another change is potentially…


Get Paid to Pick Up Someone Else's Shit

The Pooperapp


Fri, Jul 22nd, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

If you like having a dog but don't like picking up after it, the Pooperapp has this figured out for you: after your dog has done its business, tap the location on the app and someone else comes and picks it up for you. So while you're driving for Uber, you can help make ends meet by doing this on the side. What will the digital economy think of next?

Scoopers are people like you – dog lovers who want to improve the streets and communities we live in. Anyone with a smart phone can scoop for us. Scoopers are paid per-scoop, use their own mode of transportation – car, bike, scooter, hiking boots – and scoop on their own schedule. See why people are signing up everyday to come pick up dog poop with us.

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Turn a Smartphone into a Laptop for $99

The Superbook


Sat, Jul 23rd, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Superbook is defined as a shell that, once plugged with your phone, gives you a full fledged laptop. This means an actual keyboard, touch gestures, a large screen, and plenty of battery power.

At its core, the Superbook is a smart laptop shell that provides a large screen, keyboard and multi-touch trackpad, 8+ hours of battery, and phone charging capabilities.

When plugged into your Android smartphone, it launches our app to deliver the full laptop experience.

Think of it as the ultimate accessory for your smartphone.

Cool, I guess; however, if I am going to carry around a shell that looks like a laptop, I may as well carry an actual netbook with an OS I have a modicum of control over.

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True Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything

AI's impact on humanity


Sun, Jul 24th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this video by Singularity Lectures, Professor Jürgen Schmidhuber looks at the impact technologies have had on humanity in the past, and believes that Artificial Intelligence will more than likely be the most disruptive.

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Facebook Could Decide the Outcome of the U.S. Election

If Silicon Valley wanted to stop Trump


Wed, Jul 27th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Already guilty of manipulating the mood of users, censorship, news feed manipulation and removing content, Berit Anderson of Scout theorises on how just two people working for the social media giant could impact results of the upcoming U.S. elections simply by altering what the news feed would show.

There is no process that we are aware of within Facebook for understanding the political, ideological and societal effects news feed updates might have on users.

That means that, assuming their code is error-free and doesn’t negatively impact privacy, engagement, or business metrics, two employees could collude to manipulate the beliefs and behavior of Facebook’s 1.65 billion users without anyone—users, fellow employees, executive leadership, Mark himself—even noticing.

One reported Facebook employee implied in a 2011 post that Mark Zuckerberg reviews all changes to Newsfeed algorithms. Facebook has yet to confirm or deny that fact to Scout.…

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3D-Printed Flying Scarecrows



Sun, Jul 31st, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On YouTube, Materialise looks at the 3D printed remote-controlled birds of prey created by Dutch company Clear Flight Solutions. The idea is to provide an environmentally friendly way to discourage bird presence in certain areas, such as airports or waste management facilities.

You may recall the emergency landing of the US Airways Airbus A320 on the Hudson River on the 15th of January 2009 after the aircraft had collided with a flock of geese. Thanks to the the pilot’s exceptional skills, all passengers and crew survived the crash.

Bird strikes happen regularly, and the problems are increasing due to growing bird populations, faster and quieter airplanes, and a growing number of flights worldwide. The surroundings of airports are another factor: these are often close to water or surrounded by agricultural fields.

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"We humans have a habit of going into phases of mass destruction."

What history can teach us about Trump and Brexit


Tue, Jul 26th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Medium, Tobias Stone looks at history repeating itself and wonders, since we're due for "another period of destruction," what our "Archduke Ferdinand moment will be" — a small, apparently insignificant trigger that will plunge the world into war and destruction causing the death of millions of people.

It will come in ways we can’t see coming, and will spin out of control so fast people won’t be able to stop it. Historians will look back and make sense of it all and wonder how we could all have been so naïve. How could I sit in a nice café in London, writing this, without wanting to run away. How could people read it and make sarcastic and dismissive comments about how pro-Remain people should stop whining, and how we shouldn’t blame everything on Brexit. Others will read this and sneer at me for saying America is in…

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7-11 Delivers Slurpees by Drone

We'll never need to leave our house


Mon, Jul 25th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

With robots on wheels delivering food, having 7-11 deliver by drone was only a matter of time. According to Techcrunch, the conveniece store giant has joined forces with tech startup Flirtey beating Amazon in being the first company to deliver by drone. Above, a video showing how Starship Technologies wheeled android works.

While 7-Eleven is thought of as a brick and mortar franchise, the company does actually allow online ordering and delivery through services like Postmates, Tapingo and others. Drones would comprise a futuristic expansion of 7-Eleven’s delivery business.

And delivery by drone is something 7-Eleven intends to offer widely in the future, according to 7-Eleven EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins. He declined to put a specific date on the launch of such a service, citing a shifting regulatory environment.

Drone delivery could prove especially…

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