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A New Breed of Wearables Will Give You Data You Can Actually Use [Wired.com]

Motion capture isn’t new, of course. The Wii and Kinect first introduced the technology on a mass scale in our living rooms. But the Kinect and Wii work by using larger sensors spaced out in a room — infrared projectors, cameras, accelerometers and IR detection, all feeding back to a base unit where the heavy data processing takes place. Some of today’s wearables are capable of performing motion capture and data crunching on par with the Wii — and even bettering it in some cases — but in a form factor smaller than a credit card.

via A New Breed of Wearables Will Give You Data You Can Actually Use | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions [CNN.com]

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Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions - CNN.com

CNN) — An e. You can write it with one fluid swoop of a pen or one tap of the keyboard. The most commonly used letter in the English dictionary. Simple, right?

Now imagine it printed out millions of times on thousands of forms and documents. Then think of how much ink would be needed.

OK, so that may have been a first for you, but it came naturally to 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani when he was trying to think of ways to cut waste and save money at his Pittsburgh-area middle school.

It all started as a science fair project. As a neophyte sixth-grader at Dorseyville Middle School, Suvir noticed he was getting a lot more handouts than he did in elementary school.

via Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions – CNN.com.

How a Student Used Lego to Build the Ultimate Resume [mashable.com]

In the job hunt, you need to build a strong résumé.

Leah Bowman used Lego to construct the ultimate first impression on her search. Lego played a large part in Bowman’s childhood growing up Danish, so she was inspired to use the Lego Digital Designer to create a brick version of herself.

via How a Student Used Lego to Build the Ultimate Resume.

French Polymath Henri Poincaré on How Creativity Works [Brain Pickings]

… Poincaré observes a process profoundly applicable not only to mathematics, but to just about any creative discipline:

I wanted to represent these functions by the quotient of two series; this idea was perfectly conscious and deliberate; the analogy with elliptic functions guided me. I asked myself what properties these series must have if they existed, and succeeded without difficulty in forming the series I have called thetafuchsian.

Just at this time, I left Caen, where I was living, to go on a geologic excursion under the auspices of the School of Mines. The incidents of the travel made me forget my mathematical work. Having reached Coutances, we entered an omnibus to go some place or other. At the moment when I put my foot on the step, the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it, that the transformations I had used to define the Fuchsian functions were identical with those of non-Euclidian geometry. I did not verify the idea; I should not have had time, as, upon taking my seat in the omnibus, I went on with a conversation already commenced, but I felt a perfect certainty. On my return to Caen, for conscience’ sake, I verified the result at my leisure.

via French Polymath Henri Poincaré on How Creativity Works | Brain Pickings.

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Young Person With a Big Idea | Inc.com

So-called rapid-prototyping equipment is used to produce working models of new designs. Formerly available only to big companies with access to sophisticated manufacturing facilities, rapid-prototyping technology can now be accessed inexpensively at communal manufacturing facilities like Tech Shop, which we visited in Pittsburgh. Tech Shop isn’t your dad’s workshop. Rather, it’s a sleek and tactile industrial arcade populated by young tinkerers who seem to have recently traded in their skateboards for 3-D printers and band saws. In short, this technology has democratized the design and prototyping process.

via There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Young Person With a Big Idea | Inc.com.

Entrepreneurship Lessons For The Academic-Minded : NPR

 

 

“If we look at the core strength of the United States over a long period of time, it’s great universities, it’s funded research — and it’s what comes out of that commercially that employs people and creates great businesses,” Feiber says. “So that’s the long-term strategic opportunity for us as a country.”

The number of startups likely to emerge from this group of students is small, but Stanford’s Steve Blank predicts the course will change how these researchers think. He sits in the back of the room, he says, and smiles because he’s planted something that will never disappear.

«Si nous regardons la principale force des Etats-Unis sur une longue période de temps, c’est de grandes universités, sa recherche qui est sponsorisée - et c’est ce qui sort de ceci, d’un point de vue commercial, qui emploie des personnes et crée les grands commerces», dit Feiber. «Alors c’est l’occasion stratégique à long terme pour nou sen tant que pays.

Le nombre de startups susceptibles d’émerger de ce groupe d’étudiants est faible, mais Steve Blanck de Stanford prédit que le cours va changer la façon dont ces chercheurs pensent. Il s’assoit à l’arrière de la salle, dit-il, et sourit parce qu’il a implanté quelque chose qui ne disparaîtra jamais.

via Entrepreneurship Lessons For The Academic-Minded : NPR.

Artificial intelligence: Difference Engine: Luddite legacy | The Economist

 

 

The conventional explanation for America’s current plight is that, at an annualised 2.5% for the most recent quarter (compared with an historical average of 3.3%), the economy is simply not expanding fast enough to put all the people who lost their jobs back to work. Consumer demand, say economists like Dr Tyson, is evidently not there for companies to start hiring again. Clearly, too many chastened Americans are continuing to pay off their debts and save for rainy days, rather than splurging on things they may fancy but can easily manage without.

There is a good deal of truth in that. But it misses a crucial change that economists are loth to accept, though technologists have been concerned about it for several years. This is the disturbing thought that, sluggish business cycles aside, America’s current employment woes stem from a precipitous and permanent change caused by not too little technological progress, but too much. The evidence is irrefutable that computerised automation, networks and artificial intelligence (AI)—including machine-learning, language-translation, and speech- and pattern-recognition software—are beginning to render many jobs simply obsolete.

This is unlike the job destruction and creation that has taken place continuously since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, as machines gradually replaced the muscle-power of human labourers and horses. Today, automation is having an impact not just on routine work, but on cognitive and even creative tasks as well. A tipping point seems to have been reached, at which AI-based automation threatens to supplant the brain-power of large swathes of middle-income employees.

L’explication conventionnelle pour la situation actuelle de l’Amérique, c’est que, à un taux annualisé de 2,5% pour le trimestre le plus récent (par rapport à une moyenne historique de 3,3%), l’économie n’est tout simplement pas en expansion assez rapide pour permettre à toutes les personnes qui ont perdu leur emploi de retrouver du travail. La demande des consommateurs, disent les économistes comme le Dr Tyson, n’est évidemment pas là pour permettre aux entreprises d’embaucher de nouveau. De toute évidence, un trop grand nombre d’Américains sont continuent à payer leurs dettes et d’économiser pour les jours pluvieux, plutôt que de faire des folies sur des choses qu’ils pourraient avoir envie, mais peuvent facilement se débrouiller sans.

Il y a une bonne part de vérité dans cela. Mais il manque un changement crucial que les économistes sont lent à accepter, bien que les technologues aient été concernées à ce sujet depuis plusieurs années: C’est la pensée inquiétante que, les cycles économiques atone mis à part, le souci majeur de l’Amérique actuelle par rapport à l’emploi découle d’un changement abrupte et permanent causé par le progrès technologique n’est pas assez mais au contraire qui l’est trop. Les preuves sont irréfutables que l’automatisation informatique, des réseaux et de l’intelligence artificielle (IA), dans ce que ça inclue d‘apprentissage par l’intermédiaire de machines, de traductions en toutes sortes de langues, de programmes reconnaissant la parole et de multiples expressions, commencent à rendre de nombreux emplois tout simplement obsolète.

C’est la différence de la destruction d’emplois et de création qui a eu lieu sans interruption depuis le début de la révolution industrielle, les machines progressivement remplaçant les muscles d’ouvriers humains et des chevaux. Aujourd’hui, l’automatisation a une incidence non seulement sur le travail de routine, mais sur les tâches cognitives et même créatives. Un point de basculement semble avoir été atteint, au cours de laquelle l’IA basée sur l’automatisation menace de supplanter la puissance du cerveau emportant de larges pans de revenus des employés de la classe moyenne.

via Artificial intelligence: Difference Engine: Luddite legacy | The Economist.

Bill Gates On “The Miracle Of Availability” And Applying Computer Science To The World | TechCrunch

someone who grew up with kilobytes and megabytes, he simply isn’t ideologically suited for allocating terabytes and petabytes. But people who have grown up with it do things like, for example, suggest that every lecture at a university be recorded and stored. Once he got past the prejudice of someone who wants to save every byte, he said he thought “it’s actually kind of absurd that we’re not doing that.”

The big advance, Gates said, is “the miracle of availability.” This is the change that happens when something goes from being a device owned by the elite and wealthy of the world to being something utilizable by the poorest. An example given later was the sophisticated GPS-driven combines used on US farms. Ingenious, but can you build one that an African village can afford?

… quelqu’un qui a grandi avec, en tête, la notion de kilo-octets et mégaoctets, n’est tout simplement pas près à penser en téraoctets et pétaoctets. Mais les gens qui ont grandi avec elle font des choses comme, par exemple, suggèrer que chaque conférence dans une université soit enregistrée et stockée. Une fois le cap passé, il a dépassé cette appréhension de vouloir sauvegarder chaque octet, il (Bill Gates) a dit qu’il pensait c’est en fait assez absurde que nous ne faisons pas cela.

Le grand progrès, a déclaré Bill Gates, est «le miracle de la disponibilité.” C’est le changement qui se produit quand il y a transfert entre un appareil appartenant à l’élite et les riches du monde pour être utilisable par les plus pauvres. Un exemple donné plus tard est le GPS sophistiqué utilisé dans les fermes américaines. Ingénieux, mais peut-on en construire un qu’un village africain puisse se permettre?

via Bill Gates On “The Miracle Of Availability” And Applying Computer Science To The World | TechCrunch.

Student Opinion | What Have You Made Yourself? – NYTimes.com

We borrow this question from a teacher at the Bertie Early College High School in Windsor, N.C., who asks her students to name the last thing they have made themselves, even if it is as simple as cookies, to get them thinking about design. What have you made yourself, recently or at any time in your life? Do you like making things by hand? Do you wish your school had a design or building course?

Nous empruntons cette question à un enseignant à l’école Bertie Early College High à Windsor, Caroline du Nord, qui demande à ses élèves de nommer la dernière chose qu’ils ont eux-mêmes fabriquée, même si c’est aussi simple que des cookies, pour les amener à penser à la conception. Qu’est-ce que tu t’es faite,récemment, ou à tout moment dans votre vie? Aimez-vous fabriquer des choses manuellement? Voulez-vous que l’école avait un cours de conception ou de construction?

 

via Student Opinion | What Have You Made Yourself? – NYTimes.com.

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