February 10, 2011 Technology Roundup: Virtual Goods, Reality is Broken?, Body Rejects Camera in Head, Realistic Robot Child, Skynet, Simulated Mars Mission,10 Tech Breakthroughs & more!
Is it legal to print Settlers of Catan tiles on a 3D printer? (Source: Boing Boing, February 9, 2011)
Finally, something important to brood over! “When a Thingiverse contributor uploaded 3D-print-ready homebrew tiles for German superboardgame Settlers of Catan, it raised a bunch of interesting legal questions. Is it illegal to make your own Settlers tiles? To download 3D files describing these tiles? To host the files? To print the files?”
Health Problems Force Professor to Pull Camera From Back of Head (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, February 7, 2011)
“An NYU professor triggered a debate about campus privacy in November when he decided to implant a camera in the back of his head for a year-long art project.” Wait, so you mean his body rejected a part of the camera implanted in his head? Why ever would it do that?
How the Internet gets inside us (Source: New Yorker, February 14?, 2011)
An interesting breakdown of the 3 ways that information technologies are regarded by social scientists and psychologists today. “The Never-Betters believe that we’re on the brink of a new utopia, where information will be free and democratic, news will be made from the bottom up, love will reign, and cookies will bake themselves. The Better-Nevers think that we would have been better off if the whole thing had never happened, that the world that is coming to an end is superior to the one that is taking its place, and that, at a minimum, books and magazines create private space for minds in ways that twenty-second bursts of information don’t. The Ever-Wasers insist that at any moment in modernity something like this is going on, and that a new way of organizing data and connecting users is always thrilling to some and chilling to others—that something like this is going on is exactly what makes it a modern moment.”
Researchers Predict Future of Electronic Devices, See Top Ten List of Expected Breakthroughs (Source: ScienceDaily, February 8, 2011)
“In the first published critical review of technical developments related to electronic paper devices (i.e., e-readers like the Amazon Kindle), UC researcher Jason Heikenfeld and industry counterparts review the next generation of these devices.” Another top 10 trend/breakthrough article for your reading pleasure.
Smart phones and tablets becoming video game machine (Dalas Morning News February 7, 2011)
As Smartphones become increasingly powerful will the Nintendo 3Ds and the Song NGP be the last generation of dedicated hand held gaming devices?
Visa Buys Virtual Goods Monetization Platform PlaySpan For $190 Million In Cash (Source: Techcrunch, February 9, 2011)
“As virtual goods becomes a booming business, PlaySpan has reaped the benefits of technology and media companies looking to incorporate virtual goods into their platforms.”
Cory Doctorow: Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken: using games to improve the world (Source: Boing Boing, February 9, 2011)
“McGonigal is the leading practicioner in the use of games to motivate people to solve real problems with their lives and with the world.” Last week I attended her talk at the Rotman School in Toronto. Without having read the book, and just basing my argument on an hour long talk that, I’m not entirely convinced. Atendees recieved the book, so as soon as I’m done and write up a little review. I’m a little wary given that people have been playing games for 4,000 years…
Meat-Eating Furniture c/o Theory Centre at Western [Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsJ6B3y_Afw&feature=player_embedded]
“You’re not going to like this. I didn’t. Nobody I’ve shown it to has. But the designers who thought it up, James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, are provocateurs, so they don’t mind if you hate what they’ve done. So here it is: meat-eating furniture.”
Interview with Rod Humble, Linden Lab’s New CEO, on the Future of Second Life (Source: New World Notes, February 10, 2011)
Wondering about the future of Second Life? “I spoke with freshly-appointed Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble yesterday in a wide-ranging conversation on Second Life, the world whose fate now largely depends on him.”
Simulated Mars Mission Arrives in Simulated Orbit
(Source: Universe Today, February 3, 2011)
Simulating the big exodus… and all the isolation and monotony that is sure to accompany it. “Six men from Europe, Russia and China on a 520-day mock mission to Mars, have now reached the point in their mission where they have arrived ‘in orbit’ of Mars.”
Meet Affetto, a Robot With Realistic Facial Expressions
Uncanny Valley type stuff. “Scientists at Osaka University in Japan have developed a new child robot platform called Affetto. Affetto can make realistic facial expressions so that humans can interact with it in a more natural way.”
An Apartment for Space-Age Lovers
“Our clients come from the future. They live in a small space capsule docked into the shell of a building designed by IM Pei in the 1960s. Smooth surfaces and strong reflections are familiar to them: life reflected in the curved glass visor of a space suit. They wanted a home to charge up between missions; they wanted a place where every boot and book, every single little thing could be hidden away; they wanted something that would make the most out of their 715 square feet. They asked Dash Marshall to design a home that would do all of this with aplomb. Dash replied with a highly flexible, intensely personal, high-gloss home for two Space-Age Lovers.”
Social Scientist Sees Bias Within (Source: New York Times, February 7, 2011)
Not really sci-tech releated, but certainly a Cybject related article about bias against non-liberals in the social sciences. “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.”
Women Subject to Objectifying Gazes Show Decreased Math Ability
(Source: ScienceDaily February 4, 2011)
Women who are looked at as sexual objects not only react as sexual objects….they also exhibit less proficiency with math!
Without language, numbers make no sense (Source: New Scientist, February 7, 2011)
“People need language to fully understand numbers. This discovery – long suspected, and now backed by strong evidence – may shed light on the way children acquire their number sense.”
Apophis asteroid will probably almost certainly not smash into Earth
(Source: Christian Science Monitor, February 7, 2011)
Great news: “Now, reports out of Russia say that scientists there estimate Apophis will collide with Earth on April 13, 2036. These reports conflict on the probability of such a doomsday event, but the question remains: How scared should we be?”
Want to Pique a Date’s Interest? Play Hard to Get (Source: Live Science, February 8, 2011)
I’ve known this for years, without scientific confirmation! “A study using fictitious profiles from the social networking site Facebook.com found that the women who were most interested in a group of men knew the least about whether or not the men liked them.”
Robots to get their own internet (Source: BBC, February 9, 2011)
RoboEarth (aka Skynet) “it will be a place that robots can upload data to when they master a task, and ask for help in carrying out new ones”.