Culture

Big Brother? Homes, cities to watch, interact with you

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 31, 2012   View Article

Our homes and cities may soon be filled with sensors and tiny, energy-sipping computers that watch our every move in order, we hope, to enrich our lives and lower our impact on the environment, according to researchers working in the field of “ambient intelligence.”

While there’s a creepy Big Brother element to our houses and cities watching, learning, and interacting with our every move, the smart homes and cities of the future are really just the next frontier in our already sensor-rich and hyper-connected world.

Star-Trek-like open source tricorder sees magnetic fields and more

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 29, 2012   View Article

Know the near-magical handheld analysis gadgets known as “tricorders” that everyone carries in Star Trek? A cognitive science researcher has created a real-world version.

“The open source science tricorders that I’ve developed are very much a way to help people explore and feed their curiosity for the world,” Peter Jansen, who created and built the gadget, told me today in an email.

Road paved with toilets gets green credential

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 14, 2012   View Article

If you take a stroll along a newly paved six-block stretch of downtown Bellingham, Wash., you’ll be excused if you think you put your foot in a toilet. The sidewalk contains 5 tons of crushed potty.

The project is the first to earn Greenroads certification, a rating system that aims to do for roadway construction what LEED did for the building industry – make projects more sustainable.

‘Gigabit’ ideas wanted for superfast Internet

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 1, 2012   View Article

What would you do if had if you had an Internet Service that could download a 2-hour movie in about 5 seconds?

You could, of course, watch a bunch of movies. City officials and investors in Chattanooga, Tenn., hope you have some other creative business ideas that take advantage of its 1-gigabit-per second Internet.

Research shows you’ll want to tweet this post

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 8, 2012   View Article

This is a blog post about the sexy social media technology Twitter. It mentions Justin Bieber. You’ll want to tweet it. At least, my editors hope you do. My job might depend on it.

The Internet and social media have altered the face of journalism. Few media companies can survive selling ads in traditional newspapers and magazines that readers will see as they flip pages in search of content that tickles their fancy.

Steve Jobs: The second greatest innovator of all time?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 26, 2012   View Article

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs ranks behind only Thomas Edison as the world’s greatest innovator of all time in a survey released today on young Americans’ attitudes about invention and innovation.

Jobs’ innovations include the iPhone and iPad, the popular gadgets that are helping to revolutionize how we communicate with each other and sent Apple’s stock to a record high Wednesday.

Road rage at driverless cars? It’s possible

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 20, 2012   View Article

The road to a future where we jump in our cars, enter a destination, and let them do the driving could be filled with rage, according to an expert on driverless car technology.

For starters, driverless cars will likely be programmed to obey all traffic laws. They won’t speed and will always come to a complete stop at stop signs, for example.

Throw just a few of those law-abiding robots on roads clogged with 250 million human-controlled cars, and there’s bound to be some shaken fists, or worse.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach