February 14, 2011 Technology Roundup: Artificial Retina, Mock Zelda Trailer, Singularity makes Time Magazine, Space Elevator, 3D printing megatrend?, artificial photosynthesis & lots more!
Who Is Bearing Witness to the Revolution? (Source: New York Times, February 11, 2011)
A much needed discussion of what “bearing witness” has come to mean in the high speed Age of Twitter. “Millions of people are watching revolution unfold in Egypt because of advances in digital communication. But how many people are understanding it? … Amid the chaos and fragmentation and deluge of the new media world, it becomes easier for the witness to hear, but perhaps harder to listen. Noise multiplies; signal is scarcer. Links to articles are disseminated to others before the articles are read. Genuine testimony and propaganda mingle freely under the flag of the #Jan25 Twitter hashtag, no one knowing for sure which is which.”
Artificial retina helps some blind people (Source: PhysOrg, February 14, 2011)
A long-running Cybject favourite theme concerns artificial retinas/eyes. “For two decades, Eric Selby had been completely blind and dependent on a guide dog to get around. But after having an artificial retina put into his right eye, he can detect ordinary things like the curb and pavement when he’s walking outside.”
Legend of Zelda (Mock 1987 trailer)
There’s nothing not to like about this excellent mock 80’s Legend of Zelda film trailer by Gamervision.com. “Perfectly capturing the essence of what it means to be a teenager in the 80s, Nick Murphy, Mike Sadorf, and Dom Moschitti reimagine one of the most celebrated video game franchises of all time with the heart, charm, and wit that only they could. It’s the legend of high school. It’s the legend of love. It’s The Legend of Zelda.” Five stars!
2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal (Source: Time Magazine, Feb 2011)
Kurzweil and the Singularity makes the cover of Time Magazine. I can’t lie, the Singularity has always made me uncomfortable, and not in that “everyone’s afraid of trying new things” kind of discomfort. It’s the willingness of the proponents of the Singularity to dispense with the human, and launch into a brave new world of the anti-human (or in-human) that I can’t quite get behind. Being human’s not THAT bad, is it? (See my many earlier comments on Kurzweil and the Singularity) For another critical view see this link.
Zynga [Farmville] talks may value it at up to $9 bln (Source: Reuters, February 14, 2011)
Farmville’s success continues toward the 9 billion mark…
How to build a space elevator and become an interplanetary civilization (Source: i09, February 11, 2011)
A “space elevator”, talked about ever since we started experimenting with nanomaterials, is an “ultra-strong metal ribbon that stretches from a mobile base in the ocean at the Earth’s equator, up thousands of miles into space, attaching at its other end to an “anchor” in geostationary orbit. Robotic climbers rush up the ribbons, pulling cars full of their cargo – human or otherwise.”
Playing the rape card: “Media psychiatrist” ratchets up anti-videogame rhetoric
(Source: ArsTechnica, February 13, 2011)
“Pundits and legislators have been attacking the gaming industry for decades now, pinning the blame for tragic events like the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech on violent videogames. This week, self-described “media psychiatrist” Carole Lieberman took that war of words one step further, claiming that explicit games trigger rapes.”
3D Printing on the Brink of Becoming a Mainstream Megatrend?
This was a big week for 3D Printing. My Google Alerts went off the radar with activity. Everything seems to be set for it to make the mainstream plunge. Have a look at the Google trends chart for “3d printing” and “3d printer”. Perhaps the next major manufacturing revolution isin’t too far off. Check out the two Economist articles below:
3D Printing: The printed world (Source: The Economist, February 10, 2011)
“Three-dimensional printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things.”
Print me a Stradivarius: How a new manufacturing technology will change the world (February 10, 2011)
“The industrial revolution of the late 18th century made possible the mass production of goods, thereby creating economies of scale which changed the economy—and society—in ways that nobody could have imagined at the time. Now a new manufacturing technology has emerged which does the opposite. Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did.”
Is This The Worst Controller Ever Made? (Kotaku, February 14, 2011)
“This is the controller for the ill-fated 1993 Atari Jaguar, a peripheral so so poorly-conceived that, even eighteen years later, it looks as stupid as the day it was first unveiled.”
Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes (Source: BBC, February11, 2011)
The same amount of information (295 exobytes!) stored on CDs would reach beyond the moon!
Leader-less ants make super efficient networks (Source: PhysOrg, February 11, 2011)
“Ants are able to connect multiple sites in the shortest possible way, and in doing so, create efficient transport networks, according to a University of Sydney study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.”
The Difference Engine: The sunbeam solution (Source: The Economist, February 11, 2011)
Artificial Leaves, Artificial Photosynthesis! Very exciting stuff… Well to me at least. “Industry might one day replicate the photosynthetic process used by plants, and thus create forests of artificial trees for making hydrocarbon fuel direct from sunlight. Apart from helping offset the emission of carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels, such man-made leaves could provide an endlessly supply of energy for transport.”
Mummies’ false toes put a spring in amputees’ step (Source: New Scientist, February 14, 2011)
A cool little article about (the earliest?) surrogate digits and prosthetics in ancient Egypt. “Egyptologist Jacky Finch has a thing for toes – specifically, ancient artificial toes that she believes are the earliest known prostheses.”
Flashback: Don’t Copy that Floppy (and sequel!)
Did I hear you right? Did I hear you saying that you’re going to make a copy of a game without paying? Don’t Copy That Floppy! Produced by SIIA (formerly SPA) in 1992.
In this sequel to 1992’s “Don’t Copy That Floppy,” MC Double Def DP continues his crusade against piracy in the digital age. Brought to you by SIIA (formerly SPA).
First humans set to land on Mars, sort of (Source: New Scientist, February 14, 2011)
“Two crew members made their first “Mars walk” on the 10-metre-long by 6-metre-wide simulated Martian surface at 1300 Moscow time. It lasted for one hour and 12 minutes. The next Mars walk will occur on 18 February.” … “In the most realistic simulation of a mission to the Red Planet yet, six “astronauts” have been isolated for eight months in a facility here on Earth. The experiment will ultimately last twice as long – 520 days in total – similar to the length of a real Mars mission. The hope is that the experience will hold useful lessons for a future journey to Mars.”
PBS Iran Live Blog: 25 Bahman / 14 February
Best place for coverage of Iran protests today. “We begin our 25 Bahman live blog with a list of demonstration sites and times in 24 cities.”
Big buttocks: Where does our obsession come from? (Source: BBC, February 7, 2011)
Since here at Cybject I’m interested in body modification, it’s useful to read about the history of our urges to modify our bodies. “Surgeons are warning of the risks of illegal buttock enhancement procedures after a 20-year-old woman died in America. What’s behind our urge? … [B]uttock augmentation has been around for years – in the 19th Century, women wore “bustles” to exaggerate their behinds.”