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Technology is Not the Answer
"Technology is not the answer. That's the conclusion I came to after five years in India trying to find ways to apply electronic technologies to international development. I was the co-founder and assistant director of Microsoft Research India, a Bangalore computer-science lab, where one of our objectives was to research ways in which information and communication technologies could support the so... posted on Oct 15 2011, 10,035 reads

 

Whiz Kids: 5 Amazing Young Inventors
15-year old Chester Greenwood wanted to ice skate in the winters of Maine, so he invented ear mufflers. Also at the age of 15, Louis Braille in France invented what became the standard language for blind people all over the world. Philo Farnsworth, a 14-year-old electronics prodigy, came up with the concept of a television, and mentored by his chemistry teacher, developed it some years later. And ... posted on Aug 20 2011, 4,527 reads

 

The Power of Feedback Loops
The premise of a feedback loop is simple: provide people with information about their actions in real time, then give them a chance to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Why does putting our own data in front of us somehow compel us to act? In part, it's that feedback taps into something core to the human experience, even to our biological origins. Like any organism, human... posted on Aug 01 2011, 4,543 reads

 

The Beauty in Each Grain of Sand
When you take a moonlit stroll on the beach, how often do you think about the tiny grains of sand creeping in between your toes? From above, sand seems like a bunch of tiny brown rocks, perhaps peppered with occasional shells or beach miscellany. But sand has a far more fascinating story to tell. Composed of the remnants of volcanic explosions, eroded mountains, dead organisms, and even degraded m... posted on Jul 16 2011, 7,992 reads

 

The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See
Daniel Kish has been sightless since he was a year old. Yet he can mountain bike, navigate the wilderness alone, and recognize a building as far away as 1,000 feet. How? The same way bats can see in the dark. Since his infancy, he has been adapting to his blindness in remarkable ways. He has learned to use what he calls "Flashsonar," or echolocation. He produces a brief, sharp click with his tongu... posted on Jul 05 2011, 7,987 reads

 

Mother of All Languages
The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans around 50,000 years ago, a new study suggests. The finding could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species. Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist and author of the study, found that t... posted on Jun 27 2011, 4,039 reads

 

Measuring the Wisdom of a Crowd
The "intelligence" of a group can be measured, according to a new study, and it has little to do with the brain power of its individual members. What makes a team more intelligent has more to do with the group's interactions. More equal participation and greater social awareness on the part of its members are the key factors in predicting a group's intelligence. "It really calls into question our ... posted on Jun 21 2011, 5,538 reads

 

How the Ancient World Used Color
Were ancient Greece and Rome filled with dignified white marble statuary? Not a chance. Though we still think of them in terms of white marble sparkling under a hot Mediterranean sun, a new exhibition shows at least one Greco-Roman lady as they really were -- in technicolor. Under Stanford sophomore Ivy Nguyen's skillful watch in the Cantor Arts Center lab, long-dead colors on marble have indeed ... posted on Jun 06 2011, 4,797 reads

 

Genius of the Fold
People who think of origami as simple paper playthings may be surprised to know of a professional origami artist, much less one who's a Caltech physicist. Robert Lang walked away from a successful career in lasers and opto-electronics to fold paper full time. Now widely regarded as a legend in the field, Lang has published more than 500 original origami designs, with some of his work exhibited at ... posted on May 16 2011, 4,001 reads

 

Is the Internet Changing the Way We Think?
Each year, Edge.org poses a provocatively deep question to visionaries in science and culture. Last year, it collected 168 essays relating to the question, "How is the Internet changing the way you think?" In answer, academics, scientists and philosophers responded with musings on the Internet enabling telecommunication, or functioning as a sort of prosthesis, or robbing us of our old, linear mode... posted on May 09 2011, 5,216 reads

 

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