Categories
Science & Tech
A look back at a year in gizmos, gadgets and trends
Human beings across the world all spent a lot of 2017 staring down at our phones. Here are some of the best reason why.
A newly formed Canadian company is betting on the future of electric vehicles and smartphones.
Someone can hack your buttplug if you’re not careful.
The social media giant is changing the way it presents information.
When Joe Virgillito awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a sexy bikini model named REBEKAH.
Pornhub introduces artificial intelligence to its operations after falling victim to a massive malware infection. What could go wrong?
Silicon Valley developers are increasingly trying to make their technology as habit forming as possible. Their intentions are surely bad, but they don't understand human nature well enough to really pull it off.
Why would anyone want tweets to be longer? That sounds like the kind of snoozy wall of text crap that makes Facebook insufferable.
An app aiding gawkers and goons seeking emergencies gets over $10 million, proving once again that Silicon Valley's run by sociopaths.
After getting fired from Google for weird sexism, James Damore gives bizarre racism a try.
A new investigation found that 94 percent of water tested in the United States was contaminated with plastics. Even the lowest contamination rates—found among European countries—clocked in at a whopping 72 percent.
To salute the X and the history of this wonderful device, we chart past iPhones and what was toted as the hot new feature.
The idea is that people pick up what they need, pay with their smartphone (or some other technologically annoying way that hasn’t caught on yet), and keep moving. No human contact necessary.
You'll be shocked at how vulnerable key card locks at hotels actually are.
Silicon Valley's a bro's club. But does it have to be?
A look back at the biggest stories of sex from summer 2017.
Adiós expensive Rosetta Stone and hola, free, gamification-rich Duolingo !
Today, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem has about 700 bears, and the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem in Montana is thought to have about 1,000 bears.
Is the search engine's fight against fake news damaging the legitimate small digital press?
Elbow doesn’t sacrifice functionality for form. It improves upon unreliable ‘80s era tape players.
Male tech innovators can’t stop innovating ways to violate women and the latest comes from sex robot company 'True Companion.'
Could Speakerhat be the final nail in the wearable tech coffin or the launch of a bold new era?
The new app Greenie puts a new spin on saving the planet.
In the age of Instagram, everyone wants to be a star photographer and garner “likes” from social networks. EyeEm Selects gives chance to sell your images and make some cash as well as social media acclaim.
IFTTT is a simple idea that could revolutionize our digital lives. Or at least the way you program your daily schedule.
A chatbot therapist provides little relief.
Stop toying with us, NASA. You’re the boy who cried aliens one too many times.
We’ve seen how Trump has operated as a president, but how does he operate as a creative muse for app developers? His Oval Office actions might be reckless and chaotic, but he’s inspired elegance and simplicity in coders.
WittyThumbs offers advice for daters. But maybe swipe left on this app.
While fitness trackers accurately measure heart rates, their calorie estimates are far less reliable.
To understand reproductive choice in nature, a Yale professor studied what he calls the “evolutionary arms race” between male and female ducks.
What can you do if you want to keep their personal information on you personal social media page private when entering the United States? A new app helps keep personal info protected from border guards.
New start-up cleaning company collective Up & Go is giving the people working gigs a real stake in the gig economy.
Take your next eye exam in the comfort of your own home, courtesy of Warby Parker.
The chatbot app was created as an AI version of a person’s personality.
A few weeks into training for the New York City marathon, Jasper Nathaniel had an epiphany. There was no nutrition company for the modern fitness consumer. Less than a year later, Nathaniel left his tech job to turn his idea into a reality. Mystics and artists once were alone in experiencing epiphanies. But today, entrepreneurs increasingly seek them and we're starting to learn how they really work. But as human creativity becomes a commodity, do we risk losing what made that "a-ha moment" so valuable in the first place? Although the term has been around since ancient Greece, human beings have only recently started trying to quantify epiphanies. In Silicon Valley, epiphanies are the new currency. Idea-hungry entrepreneurs are eager to capitalize on them. “Epiphany” comes from the Greek “epiphaneia” meaning “appearance” or “manifestation” of the gods. It’s traditionally been used in religious contexts to describe a holy vision. In Christian tradition, the epiphany marks the passage of the three wise men traveling to baby Jesus. William Wordsworth, James Joyce and John Updike apply the concept of the epiphany to the secular realm of the artist. The writers define it as a moment of deep, transformative insight. The concept of epiphany has reached entrepreneurs. Moguls sprinkle new age words and phrases into their business practical language.  Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recalls observing Italian coffee culture and realizing coffee was about more than just a beverage. The moment, he says, “was an epiphany.”  Similar stories among entrepreneurs abound – Ben Silberman of Pinterest, Sara Blankly of SPANX, and many more all claim an epiphanic moment as the foundation of their success. Scientists started studying the epiphany in the 1990s while the the dot com boom that laid the foundation for today’s tech-centric economy was underway. During that time, cognitive scientists John Kounis and Mark Beeman began to study what happens in the brain when the “aha moment” happens. Paradoxically, the pair found that epiphanies didn’t involve “seeing the light,” but instead were moments where the brain seems to blink. Instead of seeing a new vision, the brain shuts down its visual processing center and turns inward.  In order for a brain blink to give way to an epiphany, the person must either have high visual receptivity or be in a state which induces such receptivity. Jasper Nathaniel, for example, had just come in from a long outdoor run where he was exposed to the visual stimulation of passing scenery. He again confronted the problem of an intimidating sports nutrition marketplace full of supplements and recovery drinks containing obscure, hard-to-pronounce ingredients rather than real foods. This time a lightbulb went on: Why not fill the gap in the market himself? A few months later, Nathaniel and two colleagues founded Revere, a direct-to-consumer health startup on a mission to demystify and simplify the category through personalized, plant based sports nutrition. Nathaniel’s epiphany-as-company-origin story is par for the course in the startup world. As such, the epiphany has moved from a deeply personal transformative experience to a commodity that can be manufactured and sold. Tech conferences and news sites are rife with information on how to optimize your body for idea generation (get a good night’s sleep, be in a positive mood, exercise). Even Columbia Business School teaches a class on generating epiphanies: William R. Duggan’s “Napoleon’s Glance” aims to teach students how to generate quick epiphanies as they conduct business strategy. Scientists are scrutinizing epiphanies and studying their details. They hope to transform an unpredictable and unknowable experience into a step-by-step DIY project. Neuroeconomist Ian Krajbich at Ohio University investigates the mechanisms behind decision making. Recently, he and colleague James Wei Chen published results from a study on epiphany learning. Rather than one, big life-changing idea, epiphany learning tackles what happens when we go from not-knowing to knowing, as in the case of solving a puzzle. The study revealed that certain participants were more attuned to epiphany learning than others. Unlocking the formula for big ideas could offer enormous gains in human potential. But there’s risk. If we only consider people as idea generators, we lose track of what makes them people. We are asking them to function like machines, in the same way that industrial revolution-era assembly line workers were tasked to function. Those workers had few protections and were treated little better than the machines they operated. The dehumanizing conditions gave rise to the labor movement, which brought the modern 9-to-5 work week, worker health and disability benefits and retirement plans. The modern nature of work has moved away from manufacturing. The 9-to-5 rules no longer apply, but workers still need protections.  Epiphanies require rest, good health, and a positive mood. Creative workers can’t be expected to efficiently produce good ideas without the benefits of health care, breaks from work, and economic stability.  We may now know that the epiphany is an essentially human phenomenon – and in order for epiphanies to continue to drive our economy, we must meet the human needs of the workers behind them.
The implications run deeper than dropping likes as you scroll.
Amazon has unveiled the Echo Show, a follow up to its successful Echo assistant.
The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway is more than just an intimidating arctic fortress—it represents investment in the future of food.
Fyre Festival organizers turned Instagram into an instascam, luring in concert goers by teasing fun and sex that never materialized.
Hooking up your brain to a computer? What could go wrong?
BTRtoday offers four cheap ways to tap into the best apps that’ll improve your fitness and diet regimens.
Scientific teleportation (versus magical or spiritual) has had a grip on sci-fi fans since the late 1800’s. The hardship of the urban commute, particularly between Manhattan's Upper West Side and Lower East Side, gives way to a lot of speculation about the convenience of installing a teleportation device for travel between the two neighborhoods--specifically within the neighborhoods' respective Mermaid Inn restaurants.
The historical community itself has not evolved enough in its coverage of women, nor in its approach to the study of alternative histories, and neither history academia nor Wikipedia can wait for the other to adapt.
A first-hand experience at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit, where industry leading companies such as Condé Nast, CNN, PBS, Bitly, and Vanity Fair discussed common challenges and media-related strategies, revealed artificial intelligence may be closer than we think.
A photograph is seen as a credible communication tool, but as more people have access to cameras and identity is increasingly shaped through photographic communications, photography as a source for truth is becoming increasingly suspect.
What you can do to protect your private data.
If computers ever cut us off from Amazon, humanity will truly be doomed.
BTRtoday sits down with genomics researchers Jennifer Hochschild to discuss the field's potential to change humanity as we know it.

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