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Jun 12, 2015

So, Uber Just Released Its Own Videogame — Davey Alba Wired

Posted by in categories: business, entertainment, fun, media & arts, transportation

Uber, the multibillion-dollar on-demand rides company, wouldn’t be able to execute its global grand plan without the million drivers who have offered rides on its platform. Over the past five years, the company has relied on myriad tactics to lure new drivers in and keep them happy: rallies, ads, word-of-mouth, even a quarterly magazine. Now it’s trying another strategy: a videogame.

The company today released UberDRIVE, an iOS game that essentially mimics what it’s like to drive for Uber. Players “pick up” passengers and drive them from point A to point B. The more efficient the route they choose, the more points they can rack up in the game. If players earn consistently high ratings, they can unlock new cars and explore new areas of the city. The game also includes fun facts on important landmarks in the city, as well as a “trivia mode” where riders quiz drivers (the player) on certain destinations on the map. At launch, the game only includes a virtual San Francisco, though it’s available to play nationwide. If the game is successful, Uber says it will add new cities to the app soon. Read more

Jun 11, 2015

The Emerging Science of Human Computation — MIT Technology Review

Posted by in category: computing

“They begin by pointing out the extraordinary successes of human computation. One of the most notable is the Fold.it project in which participants are asked to fold virtual proteins in the most efficient way possible. The goal is to solve one of the most important outstanding problems in molecular biology: how proteins fold so rapidly and efficiently. The project has had some impressive successes. Soon after it began, it discovered the tertiary structure of a regulatory protein for the pros-simian immunodeficiency virus, a problem the research community had puzzled over for decades and one that that could lead to new ways of tackling the AIDS virus.”

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Jun 11, 2015

Pet Peeve #4: Time zones are for locals

Posted by in categories: education, humor, internet, rants

Have you ever made a list of pet peeves? I’m not referring to the behavioral quirks that couples develop over years of cohabitation. That’s part of every relationship and it is only addressed through give and take and a lot of patience. Rather, I refer to the little things that have become institutionalized all around us—and yet, we know that they are just plain idiotic. The problem is that they are too small to be picked up by the national news and too common to believe that they can be avoided.

Let’s say that you are driving along a road that comes to an end by forming a ‘T’ at the side of a much busier road. The cross street is busy, but it’s not divided. You plan to make a left turn after clearing a string of high-speed cars approaching from the right.

Conditions are good and there are no obstructions. There is no one coming from the left. Looking to the right, you can see a mile down the road. There are 4 cars speeding toward you, a long space and then a major throng of cars that will tie up the intersection for minutes. You get ready to drop the hammer as soon as that 4th car passes the intersection. You are patient, in a good mood and your car is well tuned.

Traffic Intersection

Continue reading “Pet Peeve #4: Time zones are for locals” »

Jun 11, 2015

What does Bilderberg have in common with Camp Alphaville? | FT Alphaville

Posted by in categories: futurism, robotics/AI, transhumanism

Fun article below on upcoming Financial Times event. Transhumanism and AI will be a part of the discussions at the event. They’re going to have lots of weird technology there, as well as robots wandering around.

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Jun 11, 2015

Bitcoin Adoption: Series of reactions

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, government

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin-05-t-sSure—You know the history. As it spread from the geeky crypto community, Bitcoin sparked investor frenzy. Its “value” was driven by the confidence of early adopters that they hitched a ride on an early train, rather than commercial adoption. But, just like those zealous investors, you realize that it may ultimately reduce the costs of online commerce, if and when if it becomes widely accepted.

But what is Bitcoin, really? To what class of instruments does it belong?

• Ardent detractors see a sham: A pyramid scheme with no durable value; a house of cards waiting to tumble. This is the position of J.D, an IRS auditor who consults to The Cryptocurrency Standards Association. As devil’s advocate, he keeps us grounded.

Continue reading “Bitcoin Adoption: Series of reactions” »

Jun 11, 2015

United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space: 2015

Posted by in categories: governance, policy, science, space, treaties

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“The fifty-eighth session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will be held from 10–19 June 2015 at the United Nations Office at Vienna, Vienna International Center, Vienna, Austria.”

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Jun 11, 2015

Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets — By Bjorn Carey | Stanford News

Posted by in categories: computing, hardware, nanotechnology, physics, science, water

” “Following these rules, we’ve demonstrated that we can make all the universal logic gates used in electronics, simply by changing the layout of the bars on the chip,” said Katsikis. “The actual design space in our platform is incredibly rich. Give us any Boolean logic circuit in the world, and we can build it with these little magnetic droplets moving around.”

Continue reading “Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets — By Bjorn Carey | Stanford News” »

Jun 10, 2015

The quest to save today’s gaming history from being lost forever — Kyle Orland | Ars Technica

Posted by in categories: entertainment, media & arts, software

“‘When you’re seeking to preserve a historic house, there may be layers, it may have been lived in by many different people. Mount Vernon had been lived in by George Washington’s descendants, so they made a decision to restore it to George Washington’s time and erase this later history. Do you make the same kind of decision with games?’” Read more

Jun 10, 2015

Open Sourcing Is No Longer Optional, Not Even for Apple — Klint Finley Wired

Posted by in category: software

The biggest round of applause at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday didn’t come when the company announced new versions of iOS and OS X, or even the new Apple Music service. It came when Apple’s vice president of engineering Craig Federighi announced that the company will open source the next version of its programming language Swift.

Why the excitement? Developers have demonstrated a growing preference for open source tools and platforms over the past 15 years. Apple, meanwhile, has pushed iOS developers towards its own in-house development technologies and away from third-party tools, such as Adobe Flash, that it deems inefficient. But even Apple can only risk alienating the developers on whom it relies for so many third-party apps and services so far. Coders have myriad options available to let them do their jobs the way they want; to keep them in-house, it turns out, Apple has to open up. Read more

Jun 10, 2015

Oculus Rift, Magic Leap, and the Future of Reality … By Ava Kofman | The Atlantic

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, electronics, hardware, information science, innovation, media & arts, software, virtual reality

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Vannevar Bush’s prediction, half a century later, rings true: “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.”

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