Deadly combination of chlorinated water and UV rays can reduce a compound in sun-block into toxic chemicals linked to infertility, immune system damage and even cancer…
Month: June 2017 Page 1 of 4
Bali’s famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while others plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for man-made systems and lead to optimal harvests without global planning.
To understand how Balinese rice farmers make their decisions for planting, a team of scientists led by Stephen Lansing (Nanyang Technological University) and Stefan Thurner (Medical University of Vienna, Complexity Science Hub Vienna, IIASA, SFI), both external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute, modeled two variables: water availability and pest damage. Farmers that live upstream have the advantage of always having water; while those downstream have to adapt their planning on the schedules of the upstream farmers.
Here, pests enter the scene. When farmers are planting at different times, pests can move from one field to another, but when farmers plant in synchrony, pests drown and the pest load is reduced. So upstream farmers have an incentive to share water so that synchronous planting can happen. However, water resources are limited and there is not enough water for everybody to plant at the same time. As a result of this constraint, fractal planting patterns emerge, which yield close to maximal harvests…
At WWDC, Apple reported that they’ve paid out $70 billion to developers, with 30% of that ($21 billion!) in the last year. That’s a huge spike, and surprising to me because it didn’t seem like my friends and I were spending more on apps last year. But that’s anecdotal, so I wondered: Where are these revenues coming from? I opened App Store to browse the top grossing apps…
Stone tablets were one of the earliest writing tools used by man before paper. One Japanese entrepreneur now plans to take things full circle by making paper out of stone.
Nobuyoshi Yamasaki’s venture TBM Co. makes paper from limestone, a rock it proclaims is “almost inexhaustible.” He says it’s the answer to concerns over deforestation and water shortages, with world demand for paper set to double by 2030.
“I want to end my life as an entrepreneur by creating a company that will last for hundreds of years,” says Yamasaki, a former used car salesman who left school at 15 and began his career as a carpenter.
“Our material will play an active role in many places as the world faces population growth and water shortage,” Yamasaki said in an interview at TBM’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Ginza.
Millions of Italians can now say they own a one-of-a-kind Nutella jar. In February, 7 million jars appeared on shelves in Italy, all of them boasting a unique label design. And here’s a weird twist: Every single one of those millions of labels was designed by…an algorithm?
Yes, algorithm. The word you hardly knew until HBO’s Silicon Valley focused an entire show about the immense power and responsibility that comes with creating one.
But instead of compressing files for a made-up startup, this algorithm’s output was millions upon millions of labels for real-life Nutella jars. “An algorithm has usurped the traditional role of a designer,” writes design magazine Dezeen. There are jars with polka dots. Jars with zigzags. Jars with splotchy shapes. All sorts of other patterns, too. Every one of them is eye-catching and colorful. They’d certainly stand out on the shelf at your grocery store.
And what was the reason for “hiring” an algorithm to design all the jars exactly? A video about the campaign says Nutella wanted “to make each jar unique and expressive as the Italian people.” That seemed to jibe with Italy’s grocery shoppers. All 7 million jars sold out within a month.
The campaign was called Nutella Unica and was brought to life by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia. So the real reason is clear: to create irresistible demand and sell lots and lots of Nutella. This comes as Ferrero, the company that owns Nutella, finds itself defending the use of palm oil as an ingredient. A report from the European Food Safety Authority flagged palm oil as a “potential health concern,” if not processed properly…
We hear again and again that AI and robots are going to take away human jobs. My broken kettle says otherwise.
Yesterday, I set my electric kettle down awkwardly on the edge of the sink. Crash! It toppled over and smashed. I searched Amazon for a replacement, found several that were highly rated, and within minutes had placed an order. As a Prime customer, I had the option for same day delivery, by 6 pm, and so I brewed this morning’s tea without interruption or inconvenience.
Remember when it was amazing that Amazon offered free two-day shipping? Then free one-day shipping? Now for many products, it’s a matter of hours before your order is on your doorstep.
Amazon is constantly upping the ante. It doesn’t just cut costs. It uses technology to do more, delighting customers with better service and lower prices. And of course, Amazon’s customers respond by buying more products. Amazon grows faster, invests more, and delights more customers, who buy more, in a virtuous circle…
Your jaw will drop when you first see the corona and witness totality. You will be transfixed by the ethereal vision in the sky and when the precious two minutes have passed, your first thought will be ‘when and where is the next eclipse?’. Here are all the total solar eclipses across North America during the 21st century.