DRIVERLESS SHIPS

Driverless cars are moving up fast on the outside and in California there is even legislation being proposed to make them legal on the roads. But just when you thought it’s safe to go out on the ocean, here come captain-less ships. Actually, they’re supposed to be safer that way.

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HIGH TECH MED

— Tiny robots the size of a human cell can carry drugs to the brain and eye. Beats surgery. Chinese researchers have developed micro robots for curing strokes and eye diseases without an operation. A thin layer of nickel on the robots allows them to be controlled magnetically. (There’s more info about this on the web. Search on the phrase “Chinese scientists build tiny robot to battle human diseases.”)

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NUMBERS REPORT: WATCHING TV ON YOUR PHONE

According to IPG Media Lab, TV viewers in the 18 to 24 age group are trending toward getting their shows on something else. About 20 percent mainly watch TV on their smartphone, 15 percent watch it on a tablet, and just 10 percent watch an actual TV. The remainder watch TV on a computer.

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BITCOIN BUZZ

In case you missed it, Overstock.com, an online retailer, announced they would accept Bitcoins in payment. Bitcoins are a virtual currency that can only be increased by using computing time to solve complex problems. The founder says he hedges the risk of holding s virtual currency by exchanging bitcoins for dollars each night.

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IMPROVING EDUCATION

Like Bill Gates and many others, we’re big fans of KhanAcademy.com, which offers free lectures in math, science and history. These video lectures are being used to change the usual path of learning: instead of listening to lectures during class and doing problems at night, students watch the video lectures at night and then work on problems in the daytime, with teachers standing there to help.

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HOW MANY CELL PHONES

There are approximately seven billion people in the world, and six billion of them have cell phones.

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TRANSLATING MOTION

It may be possible to put together an automatic sign-language reader. Put on a necklace that senses hand motions and translates them into sign language and displays the words in text on your phone.

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TALKING ON THE PLANE

Starting next year, you can call or text friends from up in the air — if your airline allows it. (Joy thinks it’s amazing that calling from an elevator is virtually impossible but calling from the air won’t be. The reason, of course, Bob says irritatingly smugly, is the steel shell of the elevator acts as what’s called a “Faraday cage,” named for the famous scientist. This cuts off wireless transmission. You can look all this up.)

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WINDOWS AND 3D PRINTING

Here’s the future calling: Windows 8.1 is already set up for the day when we will all have 3D printers sitting on our desk. You know, those devices that will make almost any object you select or design. Some of these printers are around $1,300 now, only a fraction of what laser printers cost back when they were new. Make your own bobble-head. You’ll still need 3D software to design your object but the software won’t care what kind of printer you have. As explained in TomsGuide.com, it will be just like when you get a new ink jet printer: Microsoft Word doesn’t need to know about the new device. It still uses the print command. Here’s the rub, as Bill Shakespeare might say: your 3D printer […]

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WHO’S PARANOID?

According to a Reason-Rupe poll of more than 1,000 adults, 61 percent said they don’t trust Facebook “at all,” 48 percent said they don’t trust Google “at all;” and 41 percent don’t trust their cell phone provider “at all,” no matter who it is. Forty-five percent also said they don’t trust the IRS (which is perfectly understandable). Interestingly, the IRS and other government agencies rated higher in trust than most web services. More info at Reason.com/poll.

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