Links To The Lab

By Carl Slaughter: A roundup of science news.

DARPA:  Truly mad scientists funded by truly mad bureaucrats.  All in the name of, you guessed it, national security. Newsweek profiles The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World, by Sharon Weinberger (Knopf, 496 pages) — “New History of DARPA Reveals Wacky, Terrifying Schemes”.

Quasistatic Cavity Resonance.  That’s a mouthful.  It just means recharging your gadgets wirelessly.

“Wirelessly charging a cell phone or laptop in a cubicle would be awesome, but what about a garage that juices up your electric car without a plug, or a gym locker that keeps your wireless headphones topped off for your next workout? The possibilities are pretty much endless.”

Body Heat. Remember Laurence Fishburne explaining to Keanu Reeves that the human body is a potential battery?  It’s not science fiction any more.  Meet the body heat-powered smart watch.

“If there’s one thing that’s keeping the smartwatch movement from gaining mass market traction, it’s the fact that they need to be charged more often than almost any other device.”

Pie in the sky. First successful drone pizza delivery.  If you live in an apartment building, don’t start cheering yet.  Domino’s chose New Zealand over Australia because drone delivery is banned in Australia.  Either the Kiwis like pizza and the Aussies don’t or the Kiwis like drones and the Aussies don’t.

After testing drone delivery systems for some time, Domino’s finally rolled out its aerial pizza delivery service for the first time, successfully sending pizzas to residents of Whangaparaoa, New Zealand.

As Quartz reports, the small rollout, which includes just one Domino’s location and a drone delivery radius of about a mile, is still a big milestone for unmanned delivery services. Domino’s plans to expand the delivery radius to just over 6 miles in the near future, along with additional drone fleets at other restaurant locations.


Laser on steroids. Laser on steroids. Won’t fit in your holster.  Price the size of some country’s GDP.

Gone in 10 seconds. “Your television show, Jim, is no longer science fiction.” “Self-destructing phones are finally a reality”

Say cheese. Big Brother is scanning.

Filmmakers have long used focus groups and test audiences to determine how to best tweak their vision for maximum crowd appeal. It makes good business sense, and can increase the likelihood that you enjoy a film in the long run. Now, the science of getting moviegoers out of their homes and into theaters just got kicked into overdrive thanks to a new study that shows how neuroscience and brain scanning can actually forecast whether a movie will be a hit or a bust.

Robot language. “Elon Musk’s lab forced bots to create their own language”.

Have you ever experienced the dread of overhearing two people, speaking a language you don’t understand, begin laughing wildly? You just have to wonder what it is they’re talking about, and if it’s a joke at your expense. Heck, maybe you even check your teeth to make sure you aren’t walking around with half of your lunchtime ham sandwich stuck to your gums. Now, thanks to Elon Musk’s OpenAI lab, we’re one step closer to experiencing the exact same thing, only with software bots doing the talking.

Cyborgs at work. Employees getting implanted with microchips.

Bees do it. Don’t give up on saving the bees, but in a worst case scenario, pollinator drones to the rescue.  And like a lot of other inventions, they resulted accidentally.

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3 thoughts on “Links To The Lab

  1. Cyborgs at work.

    Oh yes, everything’s fine and dandy, and then the new Performance Management Scheme introduces the explosive versions…

  2. Don’t we already have a self-destructing phone? Or would secret agents carrying Galaxy 7’s be too obvious?

    It’s unclear whether the scanning-for-success project was tested for predictability rather than reactions to movies that have been through the theaters; ISTM that knowing how each was received would bias the results.

  3. Pizza delivery drones: now there’s a bonus incentive for people to shoot down drones, as they already frequently do—the chance for free pizza!

    Which in turn will give us the anti-pizza-drone-poaching cops, who will hunt down the pizza-drone poachers. Who, in turn, will begin to band together, living a merry life in the urban wilderness, stealing from the rich and giving to the…

    Well, the story almost writes itself. 😀

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