Aug 18, 2014

Mom creates app so kids can't ignore her calls

posted by Laura Domela

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Sharon Standifird served in the Gulf War. She's climbed mountains.

So how hard could it be to get her kids to show a little respect?

Her teens, you see, tended to do what teens do. So when she called them on their cell phones, their natural instinct was to press "ignore."

What's a mom to do? Get mad? Or get spectacularly, ingeniously even?

She chose the latter. She began to consider what sort of app might get her teens to see the light. The result was Ignore No More.

This charming addition to her kids' phones does something very simple: if the kids don't pick up mom's calls, the app locks their phones.
via cnet

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Aug 18, 2014

Los Angeles moves to begin fining people for loud parties and barking dogs

posted by Laura Domela

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Los Angeles is getting super-serious about what surely must be a terrible citywide epidemic of loud parties and noisy dogs. The City Council's Public Safety and Personnel and Welfare and Animal Services Committees have recommended approval of a new pilot program, called Administrative Citation Enforcement, that would let police officers hand out tickets and hefty fines—$250 for the first offense, $500 the second time around, and $1,000 for third-timers—to people who commit "quality of life" crimes like throwing loud house parties or using gas-powered blowers outside of the approved times, says the LA Daily News.
via Curbed

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[Dog via Eric Isselee / Shutterstock]

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Aug 18, 2014

A "sound camera" zeroes in on buzz, squeak, and rattle

posted by Laura Domela

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Annoying noise—what the automotive industry calls “buzz, squeak, and rattle” (BSR)—is the leading cause of customer complaints about new cars. Eliminating noise during the design and prototyping phase can pay big dividends…but locating transient, intermittent, ill-defined sounds like BSR or cricket chirps can be exasperatingly difficult.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Hyundai Motor Group and SM Instruments

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Aug 18, 2014

The man who created the first pop-up ad says 'sorry'

posted by Larra Morris

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"I'm sorry. Our intentions were good."

Ethan Zuckerman was a designer and programmer for the early web-hosting serviceTripod.com when a car company freaked out. The unspecified manufacturer had bought a banner ad on a page that "celebrated anal sex," and was not too pleased at the association of its brand with sexual escapades. Tripod had the solution: what if an advert could launch in its own window? Zuckerman wrote the code for the world's first pop-up ad, and for many years it was impossible to browse without being inundated by pop-ups.
via The Verge

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Image: PA Computer Guys

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Aug 18, 2014

Facebook is testing a 'satire' tag to help you figure out what's real and what's not

posted by Larra Morris

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Sure, you're smart enough to know that "New Study Finds Humans Shouldn't Spend More Than 5 Consecutive Hours Together" is a headline from well-known satirical publication The Onion. But not everyone is, which could lead to some misdirected -- and embarrassing -- outrage. That could be a thing of the past, however, as Facebook is currently testing a "Satire" tag that'll distinguish fake news from the real deal. Ars Technica found that if you click through an Onion article, for example, Facebook would then automatically tag related articles with the aforementioned "satire" text in the headline (see screenshot after the break). A Facebook spokesperson confirmed this with the following statement:

"We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
via Engadget

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Image: Steve Rhodes/Flickr

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Aug 18, 2014

How a 3D-printed wind turbine could power your gadgets

posted by Larra Morris

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3D printers are a technology with tons of potential applications, we just have to dream them up. Polish 3D printer manufacturer Omni3D decided to dream big with its wind power project. The team hopes to create an easily portable wind turbine that can pump out up to 300 watts of energy. Not enough power to keep your home running, but more than enough to power laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets.

The project, called AirEnergy 3D (AE3D), could be discarded as another pie-in-the-sky alternative energy solution that will never come to pass. It's definitely a hard sell to developed countries who subsist on more reliable and regretfully dirtier methods of energy. But AirEnergy 3D begins to make sense when you consider far-flung regions where electricity is scarce.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 15, 2014

The brutal ageism of tech

posted by Laura Domela

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I have more botox in me than any ten people,” Dr. Seth Matarasso told me in an exam room this February.

He is a reality-show producer’s idea of a cosmetic surgeonhis demeanor brash, his bone structure preposterous. Over the course of our hour-long conversation, he would periodically fire questions at me, apropos of nothing, in the manner of my young daughter. “What gym do you go to?” “What’s your back look like?” “Who did your nose?” In lieu of bidding me goodbye, he called out, “Love me, mean it,” as he walked away.

Twenty years ago, when Matarasso first opened shop in San Francisco, he found that he was mostly helping patients in late middle age: former homecoming queens, spouses who’d been cheated on, spouses looking to cheat. Today, his practice is far larger and more lucrative than he could have ever imagined. He sees clients across a range of ages. He says he’s the world’s second-biggest dispenser of Botox. But this growth has nothing to do with his endearingly nebbishy mien. It is, rather, the result of a cultural revolution that has taken place all around him in the Bay Area.

Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America...
via New Republic

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Aug 15, 2014

Underwater crocheting

posted by Larra Morris

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Olek is an artist noted for her bold and public use of yarn. She practices extreme crocheting by covering entire rooms, statues, and even a 4-car train with yarn. Recently, Olek took her crocheting passion to new depths at the Underwater Museum of Art, which is located off the coast of Yucatan. She coated two bomb-like sculptures in yarn (or, you could say, she yarn bombed them) in order bring attention to the endangered whale sharks that live in the area.
via Neatorama

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Aug 15, 2014

A thousand kilobits self-sssemble into complex shapes

posted by Larra Morris

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When Harvard roboticists first introduced their Kilobots in 2011, they'd only made 25 of them. When we next saw the robots in 2013, they'd made 100. Now the researchers have built one thousand of them. That's a whole kilo of Kilobots, and probably the most robots that have ever been in the same place at the same time, ever.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Michael Rubenstein/Harvard University

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Aug 15, 2014

Organs-on-Chips emulate human organs, could replace animals in tests

posted by Larra Morris

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The search for more efficient tests of pharmaceuticals without animal models is taking a stride forward, with a new technology being developed in the US called Organs-on-Chips. The new miniature platform and software, which mimic the mechanical and molecular characteristics of human organs, were developed by bioengineers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

The device, about the size of a small computer memory stick, is created using microchip-manufacturing techniques. It features a porous flexible membrane that separates two channels at the center of the device. The channels are filled with living human cells and tissues cultured in a fluid that mimics the environment inside the human body. Micro-engineering and automated instrumentation allows the system to perform real-time analysis of biochemical, genetic and metabolic functions within single cells.
via Gizmag

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