Moral Machines — it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call. (via BoingBoing)
Hystrix — a latency and fault tolerance library designed to isolate points of access to remote systems, services and 3rd party libraries, stop cascading failure and enable resilience in complex distributed systems where failure is inevitable.More information. (via Tom Loosemore)
Offline First: A Better HTML5 Experience — can’t emphasize how important it is to have offline functionality for the parts of the world that don’t have blanket 3G/LTE/etc coverage. (280 south from SF, for example).
Disaster of Biblical Proportions (Business Insider) — impressive collection of graphs and data showing commodity prices indicate our species is living beyond its means.
Closely — new startup by Perry Evans (founder of MapQuest), giving businesses a simple app to track competitors’ online deals and social media activity. Seems a genius move to me: so many businesses flounder online, “I don’t know what to do!”, so giving them a birds-eye view of their competition turns the problem into “do better than them!”.
The FT in Play (Reuters) — very interesting point in this analysis of the Financial Times being up for sale: [Traditional] journalism doesn’t have economies of scale. The bigger that journalistic organizations become, the less efficient they get. (via Bernard Hickey)
How to Predict the Future — This is the story of a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping for almost twenty years. Thesis: hardware trends more useful for predicting advances than software trends. (via Kenton Kivestu)
As We May Think (Vannevar Bush) — incredibly prescient piece he wrote for The Atlantic in 1945.
Transparency and Topic Models (YouTube) — a talk from DataGotham 2012, by Hanna Wallach. She uses latent Dirichlet allocation topic models to mine text data in declassified documents where the metadata are useless. She’s working on predicting classification durations (AWESOME!). (via Matt Biddulph)
Technology in the NFL — X2IMPACT’s Concussion Management System (CMS) is a great example of this trend. CMS, when combined with a digital mouth guard, also made by X2, enables coaches to see head impact data in real-time and asses concussions through monitoring the accelerometers in a players mouth guard. That data helps teams to decide whether to keep a player on the field or take them off for their own safety. Insert referee joke here.
Stewart Brand Interview (Wired) — full of interesting tidbits. This line from the interviewer, Kevin Kelly, resonated: One other trajectory I have noticed about the past 20 years: Excitement about the future has waned. The future is deflating. It is simply not as desirable as it once was. (via Matt Jones)
Commercial Use of Small Drones Still Without Regulations — FAA officials have also been working for the past five years on regulations to allow commercial use of small drones, which are generally defined as weighing less than 55-pounds and flying at altitudes under 4,000 feet. The agency has drafted regulations that were initially expected to be published late last year, but have been repeatedly delayed. Five years. That’s as long as the iPhone has existed. Just sayin’. (via Jim Stogdill)
NeoVictorian Computing (Mark Bernstein) — read this! I think we all woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. [...] The Arts & Crafts movement failed in consumer goods, but it could succeed in software. (via James Governor)
Participatory Budgeting — research shows participation is more effective than penalties in taxation compliance. Participation is more effective than penalties in almost everything.
MIT-Developed Microthrusters — a flat, compact square — much like a computer chip — covered with 500 microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions. Together, the array of spiky tips creates a small puff of charged particles that can help propel a shoebox-sized satellite forward. You say satellite, but it’s only a matter of time until this powers a DIY RC rocket with a camera payload. (via Hacker News)
Yelp Checkins to Measure Geopositioning Accuracy Across Phones — By analyzing millions of data points, we can easily see how, on average, different platforms perform. iPhones consistently have the most accurate positioning, with a fairly small accuracy radius. Android phones are often inaccurate, but reliably reported that inaccuracy. And finally, iPods using Wi-Fi positioning proved the least accurate and usually reported incorrect accuracy radii.
High School Makerspaces Q&A with Dale Dougherty (Radioshack) — Experimentation is one of the things we’re trying to promote. If you do experiments, a number of them fail and you learn from that failure and say, “Gee, I could have done that differently.” It’s metacognitive skills that we’re trying to develop—a way of thinking, a way of doing that increases your confidence in your own abilities and in your capacity to learn. I’d like students to believe that anybody can do these things, not that only a few people are good at math or only a few people are good at programming. The goal is to reduce the barrier to those subjects and show that anybody can be good at them. (via Tim O’Reilly)
Google Glass Patent: Infrared Rings and Fingernails (The Verge) — The patent describes a wearable computing device whose interface can be controlled by infrared markers in the form of bracelets, rings, artificial fingernails, or effectively invisible temporary decals. A camera in the glasses would pick up radiation reflected from the marker, giving it a point of reference for user control. (via Chris Arkenberg)
World History Since 1300 (Coursera) — Coursera expands offerings to include humanities. This content is in books and already in online lectures in many formats. What do you get from these? Online quizzes and the online forum with similar people considering similar things. So it’s a book club for a university course?
mod_spdy — Apache module for the SPDY protocol, Google’s “faster than HTTP” HTTP.
Ira Glass on RadioLab — fascinating analysis of a product that’s the result of skilled creators with high standards and a desire to do things differently. Lessons for all who would be different. (via Courtney Johnston)
Gun Part on Thingiverse — we’re used to thinking of the legal problems caused by cheap and decentralized copies of digital works. Now the problems we had with pipe bombs (designs are free on the net, the parts are cheap) are just as applicable to every type of restricted object (in this case, a gun). The difference between regulating speech (design of an object) and regulating possession of objects is blurring and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. (via Jesse Robbins)
Mobile Data (Luke Wrobewski) — Mobile data traffic is now outpacing fixed broadband traffic. Last year, it grew 4.2 times as fast. The entire list of interesting numbers repays reading.
Technology Time Out (Slideshare) — my presentation to employees embarking on a hackathon, about future trends, the role of software developers, and the need to work on meaningful stuff.