Late last month I came across Adrianne Jeffries’s piece on The Verge “Nearly half of Americans live with dangerous levels of air pollution…” (hint: the title kind of gives it all away). Given all the dramatic coverage of pollution in China and, to a lesser extent, India, I thought the article was surprising. While the worst cities in America are likely to be much less worse off than Beijing or India, I had always assumed that we had a pretty good handle on pollution since what I remember as being a big anti-pollution push in the 1970s. All of this in mind, Ben Schiller’s piece on Purdue University’s Biowall caught my eye and sparked my imagination. Continue reading
One of the things that I have been thinking about lately is the growing tension between tech companies and the Internet service providers: this is playing out publicly with Netflix, which recently agreed to pay a “toll” to Comcast. My question is this: as cars become more connected, will we see an alliance between these large tech companies and car makers coalesce to offset the control that telecommunication companies have over the price we pay and the speed at which we access the Web? Continue reading
To most of us, browsing the Web has been a fairly static experience: Internet connection, monitor, browser. Sure, it’s gotten faster; gone wireless, the monitors are bigger and better, and the browsers are more sophisticated…but it’s still largely the experience. James McCrae, over at the University of Toronto, is looking to change it. While I am not sure that I would dig the experience he is creating, I have to give him props for trying to create something new. Continue reading
I am catching up on my weekly reading and finally got around to “Addicted products: The story of Brad the Toaster.” I really regret to not getting to it sooner. The concept, notional experiences, and implications are all awesome.
Even though my generation is still trying to shake off hazy recollections of The Lawnmower Man, watching the contemporary re-imaginations of virtual reality is pretty exciting stuff. Yesterday, Ars Technica had a couple of great pieces that looked at competing technologies, which brought me back to a vicarious experience at South by Southwest Continue reading
Be forewarned: this piece is not nearly as DomestiTechy as much as it is future- and forward- leaning. It was prompted by the last piece about the savings and costs of more artificial intelligences in our daily lives. After I hit publish, I thought back to an article that I really enjoyed in The Sydney Morning Herald this past September: “The modern phenomenon of nonsense jobs” (though the way the title appears in the browser’s tab is better). In it, David Graeber, a professor at the London School of Economics, asks why, despite monumental advances in technology, haven’t we achieved the 15-hour work week anticipated by John Maynard Keynes in 1930. His answer: the rise of “bullshit jobs.” What can I possibly say after something like that other than “Go read the piece. It’s worth it.”
As someone who truly hates his morning commute, I am anxiously awaiting autonomous vehicles. In fact, this is the one technology that I am surprised is not being more aggressively rolled out to the commercial market (though I get that the technology is out ahead of a lot of the policy thinking about the technology). I came across an interesting piece by Emilio Frazzoli over on MIT Technology Review today that really speaks to my interest in the technology. Coming hot on the heels of South by Southwest Interactive, though, the article brings me back to an excellent talk I saw from Autodesk’s Carl Bass on “The Robot Revolution.” Continue reading
3D printing is one of those technologies that I am fascinated by but have yet to find a practical day-to-day application for (read: I do not need another flat surface on which to pile and eventually accumulate so much paper that it is disturbingly reminiscent of a hoarder). As I continue to follow the technology, though, one of the applications that really resonates with me is printed foods. While I already consume more than enough processed foods, 2013 has been a pretty big year for movement in this space and I wonder what the remainder of the year (and 2014) will hold.
I came across a great image from the August 1925 issue of Popular Science yesterday: it is a full page illustration of “How You May Live and Travel in the City of 1950.” I am sharing it because it highlights the perils of imagining a future…a peril to which I am rather prone. Continue reading
What makes for a desirable home? If you watch HGTV, curb appeal, closet space, and modern finishes all seem to matter. Jacob Kastrenakes, writing over at The Verge, highlights an issue that I never really gave thought to in terms of buying or selling a home: the infrastructure needed to charge electric vehicles.