The global cyberwar is heating up and the stakes are no longer limited to the virtual world of computers. Now, thanks in part to secret documents released by Edward Snowden, the true scale of the National Security Agency’s scope and power is coming to light. Besides spending billions of dollars to ingest and analyze the worlds’ electronic communications, the NSA has set out to dominate a new battlefield—cyberspace.
NOVA examines the science and technology behind cyber warfare and asks if we are already in the midst of a deadly new arms race. Already, highly sophisticated, stealthy computer programs such as the notorious Stuxnet worm can take over and even destroy the control systems that regulate everything from food factories to gas pipelines, power plants, and chemical facilities—even our cars. While the destruction of Iranian centrifuges may have delayed Iran’s bomb program and forestalled an Israeli attack, the attack has opened a Pandora’s Box, and now America’s own critical infrastructure is vulnerable to retaliation and attack. With leading defense experts and investigative journalists who have probed the murky realm of criminal and strategic hacking, NOVA examines the chilling new reality of cyberwar in which no nation or individual is safe from attack.
Digital designs for robotic creatures are shown on the left and the physical prototypes produced via 3-D printing are on the right (credit: Disney Research, Carnegie Melon University)
Now you can design and build your own customized walking robot using a 3-D printer and off-the-shelf servo motors, with the help of a new DYI design tool developed by Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University.
You can specify the shape, size, and number of legs for your robotic creature, using intuitive editing tools to interactively explore design alternatives. The system takes over much of the non-intuitive and tedious task of planning the motion of the robot, and ensures that your design is capable of moving the way you want and not fall down. Or you can alter your creature’s gait as desired. READ MORE: Disney Research-CMU design tool helps novices design 3-D-printable robotic creatures | KurzweilAI
To look at the state of many libraries after the recession, facing cuts and closures and fundamental questions about “relevance,” you could be forgiven for being gloomy about their future. But gloomy is not the predominant tone of a terrific new report from Arup, the well-regarded design consultancy. It shows that some libraries, at least, are undergoing a “renaissance,” and that the future could be good for others. Arup organized workshops in four cities, bringing together a range of people interested in libraries. The report collects ideas from existing projects, as well as ideas for future spaces. There are four main themes…READ MORE: The Future Of Libraries Is Collaborative, Robotic, And Participatory | FastCompany
THE PICKLE INDEX tells the tale of an incompetent circus troupe that sets out to rescue its ringmaster, Zloty Kornblatt, from a dystopian, brine-obsessed government. If that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe this will: The Pickle Index is a paperback. But it’s also a beautifully illustrated, hardcover set of two volumes that tell the story in tandem. Oh, and it’s also an app. Not an e-book, mind you—an app, where a user’s “Citizenship Quotient” points are allocated based on how often you upload actual pickle recipes. Confused? Good. That’s kind of the point.
The fact is, The Pickle Index is not a traditional novel, nor is it a conventional app. When Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn set out to create the multimedia storytelling experience, they made a conscious decision to eschew hallmarks of design like accessibility and ease of use. Instead, they provide multiple entry-points into an intricate and immersive world. In doing so, they’ve reimagined what a digital literary experience can be.
Are you passionate about making libraries user-centered? Maybe you love designing study or communal spaces based on the experiences of your users. Or you find joy in crafting library services that meet the unmet needs of your community. Or you love creating web experiences that are intuitive, useful, and fun for your library patrons. These are all traits of a good user experience (UX) librarian. READ MORE: [Series] So you want to be a UX Librarian? | hls
Back in the 1950s and 60s, General Electric created a comic book series to help spark interest and excitement in science and engineering. Now the brand has teamed up with Wattpad to bring “Adventures in Science” back to life for a new generation, but with a bit of a twist.
The comic covers still look straight out of the ’60s, but the brand invited six of the writing social app’s most popular writers to create new science-fiction inspired by the old school comic series. The new fiction…is based on the real work of GE scientists and tackles topics from GE’s digital industrial portfolio like transportation, power and water, health care, and energy. READ MORE: General Electric And Wattpad Combine Modern Science With Old School Sci-Fi Comics | FastCompany
This evening I’m giving a talk to my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop about careers in technology. I’m going to tell them that women have done amazing things in tech. I’m going to tell them that they too can do anything they set their minds to in this arena. But I will be lying to them. “You can do whatever you set your mind to” is a half-truth, because there are real obstacles—if not barriers—that keep women and minorities from truly thriving in this field. The tech industry has a diversity problem, and it’s a problem not just for these young girls, but for all of us. READ MORE: We Aren’t Imagining It: The Tech Industry Needs More Women | LifeHacker
In less than two decades, Bob Brown has donated more than 5 million books to Africa. Through his International BookSmart Foundation, Brown, an 86-year-old civil rights activist, friend of Martin Luther King Jr., advisor to the Mandela family and former White House Cabinet member, hopes to contribute many, many more to the continent.
The Rapael Smart Glove looks a lot like the Nintendo Power Glove, but it’s not exactly a video game controller. It’s a smart rehabilitation glove for recovering stroke patients. Gaming was definitely a huge part of it, however. The glove, created by Korean health tech company Neofect, incorporates motion-based games to help stroke patients relearn how to use their arm and hand.
Neofect founder Ban Ho Young told Tech In Asia that everything they have now was made with collaboration between rehabilitation experts and game designers.
With Rapael, users can play games depending on which movements they want to work on. Want to improve your forearm supination and pronation (facing your palm upward and downward)? Strap on the glove and virtually pretend to pour yourself a glass of wine. Want to improve your finger flexion and extension? Bend and unbend your fingers to decorate cupcakes with icing. READ MORE: This gaming-inspired glove helps stroke patients relearn vital skills | Mashable