Another chance to catch the most interesting, and important, articles from the previous week on MIT Technology Review.
In your DNA are clues to your health, your ancestry, and maybe even your purchasing preferences.
Companies market to you according to your shopping habits, your age, your salary, and your social-media activities. In the future, they may be able to advertise to you on the basis of your DNA.
Most teenagers deliberately hide what they are really talking about on Facebook - a practice that could make it harder to pitch ads at them.
Formlabs is bringing down the costs of a better 3-D printing technique, but it must survive a patent lawsuit.
Desktop 3-D printers are about to become available with higher-definition capabilities, with a new startup shipping its first model this month.
A hydrocarbon-sorting material could replace energy-intensive oil refining steps.
A new material that sorts hydrocarbon molecules by shape could lower the cost of gasoline and also make the fuel safer by reducing the need for certain additives that have been linked to cancer, according to a paper in the next issue of the journal Science.
Spacecraft could determine their position anywhere in the solar system to within five kilometres using signals from x-ray pulsars, say astronomers.
Tesla Motors’ loan repayment is a bright spot for the DOE loan program.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted it would happen, and now it’s happened. Tesla, the electric car maker, has paid off the DOE loan that allowed it to build a factory and start building and selling its Model S electric car. And it’s done so nine years ahead of schedule, according to the company (see “Musk Says Tesla Will Pay Off Its Loans in Half the Time”).
The first major conference for the digital currency suggests it is gaining legitimacy, but in a manner disappointing to some early enthusiasts.
This past Sunday, Doug Scribner took out five $100 bills and began feeding them into what looked like a small, white ATM in San Jose Conference Center in California. The machine swallowed the bills smartly and credited him with an equivalent value in bitcoins, an intangible, digital currency that is backed by not gold or any government, but by math.
A job invented in Silicon Valley is going mainstream as more industries try to gain an edge from big data.
The job description “data scientist” didn’t exist five years ago. No one advertised for an expert in data science, and you couldn’t go to school to specialize in the field. Today, companies are fighting to recruit these specialists, courses on how to become one are popping up at many universities, and the Harvard Business Review even proclaimed that data scientist is the “sexiest” job of the 21st century.
Samsung’s technology for ultrafast data speeds currently requires a truckload of equipment.
The world’s biggest cell-phone maker, Samsung, caused a stir last week by announcing an ultrafast wireless technology that it unofficially dubbed “5G.” And the technology has, in fact, been tested on the streets of New York.
An Australian team unveils the fundamental building block of a scalable quantum computer that could be embedded in today’s silicon chips.
Back in the late 90s, a physicist in Australia put forward a design for a quantum computer. Bruce Kane suggested that phosphorus atoms embedded in silicon would be the ideal way to store and manipulate quantum information.
In Washington, CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s R&D cost-sharing arrangements.
Upgraded robot vision will be just one of the uses for the new version of Microsoft’s gesture control camera.
Microsoft announced a new version of the Xbox One today, and with it an improved and essentially reinvented version of Kinect, the company’s body- and gesture-control sensor. That bodes well for Xbox gamers, but also for the community of hackers that have found so many original uses for the first Kinect, from robot vision to 3-D doodling (see “Hackers Take the Kinect to New Levels”). It seems likely that a new wave of Kinect hacking activity will begin as soon as the new device becomes available.
Pinpoint predictions are a long way off, but taking daily odds into account might help make the public more alert.
The devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, shows the limits of sensing, modeling, and warning technologies. While some technologies promise somewhat more accurate hurricane tracks and thus sharper evacuation orders (see “A Model for Hurricane Evacuation”), tornado warnings are another story altogether (see “The Limits of Tornado Predictions”).
Can cultural factors be more important than censorship in shaping Chinese surfing habits? Two researchers argue that a new study of the way global websites cluster together supports this idea.
Can cultural factors be more important than censorship in shaping Chinese surfing habits? Two researchers argue that a new study of the way global websites cluster together supports this idea
A techie’s San Francisco home has its own Twitter feed. Will yours be next?
At first glance, you’d never guess there’s anything unusual about Tom Coates’s San Francisco home. Nestled at the end of a narrow passageway on a side street, it’s a peaceful, sunny house decorated with modern furniture and bright posters that say things like “Machines help us work” and “Make your own path.”
Jolla Mobile, formed by Nokia refugees, launches a phone with interchangable back panels and the Sailfish OS.
Almost one year after Nokia’s bloodletting, in which it cut 10,000 jobs and closed research and manufacturing facilities (see "Nokia Forced to Take Drastic Measures"), we’re starting to see new fruits of the startup culture that rose from the wreckage.
Hardware that tracks your head, eyes, and hands will make the follow up to Second Life very different from the pioneering virtual world.
The founder of the once-popular virtual world Second Life, Philip Rosedale, is working on a new 3-D digital world that looks like it will be operated using gestures and body-tracking hardware. Rosedale declined to talk about his new company, called High Fidelity, just yet. But videos and other material posted online by the company suggest it is working on an impressively immersive virtual-reality experience where you control an avatar using head and hand movements.
A $300 million project seems to have failed to produce a cheap way to make fuel from algae.
In 2009, ExxonMobil announced that it would pay Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics up to $300 million to develop algae-based fuels.