Anorak

Technology | Anorak - Part 14

Technology Category

Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.

Whole Foods, The Paleo Diet And The New-Kosher Vitamineral Earth Are Creationism For Stupid Liberals

whole food bible

 

ORGANIC food and whole foods are a big marketing con for the gullible who think they know better than the rest of them. Right? Michael Schulson muses on those right-on liberals who “get riled up about creationists and climate-change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods”. Modern science is not a path on the old truths:

At times, the Whole Foods selection slips from the pseudoscientific into the quasi-religious. It’s not just  the Ezekiel 4:9 bread (its recipe drawn from the eponymous Bible verse), or Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, or Vitamineral Earth’s “Sacred Healing Food.” It’s also, at least for Jewish shoppers, the taboos thathave grown up around the company’s Organic Integrity effort, all of which sound eerily like kosher law. There’s a sign in the Durham store suggesting that shoppers bag their organic and conventional fruit separately – lest one rub off on the other – and grind their organic coffees at home – because the Whole Foods grinders process conventional coffee, too, and so might transfer some non-organic dust. “This slicer used for cutting both CONVENTIONAL and ORGANIC breads” warns a sign above the Durham location’s bread slicer. Synagogue kitchens are the only other places in which I’ve seen signs implying that level of food-separation purity.

Look, if homeopathic remedies make you feel better, take them. If the Paleo diet helps you eat fewer TV dinners, that’s great – even if the Paleo diet is probably premised more on The Flintstones than it is on any actual evidence about human evolutionary history. If non-organic crumbs bother you, avoid them. And there’s much to praise in Whole Foods’ commitment to sustainability and healthful foods. Still: a significant portion of what Whole Foods sells is based on simple pseudoscience. And sometimes that can spill over into outright anti-science (think What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or Whole Foods’ overblown GMO campaign, which could merit its own article).

Why are so many whole food believers picky eaters..?

Posted: 3rd, March 2014 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comment (1)


November 30, 1962: The International Communications Fair’s Spy Van

FLASHBACK to November 30, 1962:

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This mobile communications laboratory designed for demonstrating, checking and testing equipment, is demonstrated by Peter Robins, president of electronics communications, Inc., Mount Vernon, N.Y., which developed the traveling lab, at the International Communications Fair in New York on Nov. 30, 1962, displays of all new electronics communication equipment included mobile two-way radio for road, sky, ship and shore, ham radio, citizen’s band, short wave, intercommunication systems for factories, offices and homes, radio paging devices, Hi-Fi, MM multiplex, automatic telephone systems. Walkie-talkies, and closed circuit television.

File under: what we got from the Cold War.

Posted: 2nd, March 2014 | In: Flashback, Photojournalism, Technology | Comment


Whining About Google’s Racist Doodles, A Seriously First World Problem

google

THERE are indeed things wrong with this world and it behoves us all to pay attention and try to make the world a better place by solving such problems. However, whining about what Google puts in its front page as a doodle may not actually be one of these things.

Activists have accused Google of being racist and sexist in their choice of figures to create the firm’s much loved Google Doodles for.

Spark, which describes itself as a ‘girl-fueled activist movement’, said its analysis found the majority of Google’s doodles were of white males.

It said the accolade was the modern equivalent of being put on a stamp, and said ‘it’s uncommon for Google to celebrate historical women of color.’

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Posted: 28th, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Confessions Of A Google Glass Pervert And Other Hate Crimes

google glass pervs

 

ARE you planning to wear Google Glasses? If you are, let it not go unsaid that you have found a way to look even sadder than the knobs smoking electronic cigarettes that light up at the end. You’ve turned your face into a mobile CCTV camera, gathering and accessing data on friends and strangers like a police state snitch.

Reuters notes:

Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the nascent wearable technology. Some eight U.S. states are considering regulation of Google Glass, a tiny computer screen mounted in the corner of an eyeglass frame. Law enforcement and other groups are concerned that drivers wearing the devices will pay more attention to their email than the road, causing serious accidents.

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Posted: 26th, February 2014 | In: Technology | Comment


1810: Friedrich Kauffman of Dresden’s First Robot In History

FLASHBACK to April, 30, 1950:  An elderly Bavarian inspects what is said to be the first robot in history, a soldier with an automatic bellows that blows a trumpet, made in 1810 by Friedrich Kauffman of Dresden. The robot is one of the many attractions of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

 

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Posted: 24th, February 2014 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment


Now You Can Lick Steve Jobs’ Arse!

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THIS is, of course, the moment that all Apple fanboys have been waiting for, the opportunity to get up close and personal with their now departed icon. The ability, even, to give his arse a good licking:

While Steve Jobs probably didn’t send much snail mail in his later years, the US Postal Service intends to honor the late tech icon by putting his visage on a commemorative stamp.

Stamp subjects are normally kept secret until just before printing, but the Washington Post obtained a document outing approved stamps for the next few years. The Apple co-founder’s stamp is already in design development for 2015, alongside stamps for music legends Elvis Presley and James Brown.

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Posted: 21st, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Paying $19 Billion For WhatsApp Will Kill Facebook

THIS will sound a little contrary, but bear with me: the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook for $19 billion contains the seeds of what’s going to kill Facebook in the end. For it’s a sign that it’s both relatively easy to start a new messaging application and also that Facebook is going to have to keep buying up the new ones as they appear. And that way lies eventual bankruptcy.

The deal in essence is as follows:

The two men have known each other for years, but only began discussing the deal 12 days ago. They settled it for $19bn, including $4bn in cash, $12bn in Facebook shares and $3bn in restricted stock awards for WhatsApp’s founders and employees.

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Posted: 20th, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Map: The World’s Most Dangerous Places To Drive (UK 3 Times Safer Than USA)

driving

 

 

WHERE is the world’s most dangerous place to drive a car? No need to guess. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Initiative keep a tally of worldwide driving fatalities.

Avoid Namibia, Thailand and Iran. Rip up the tarmac in the Maldives:

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Posted: 18th, February 2014 | In: Technology | Comment


New Lungs, iWatch Heart Attack Predictors Are Parts of Human Cyborgization

Surgeons operating on Professor Kevin Warwick at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary (Hospital) after his operation to place a mirochip in his arm. Surgeons have carried out a ground-breaking operation on a cybernetics professor so that his nervous system can be wired up to a computer. Professor Kevin Warwick, the world's first cyborg part human, part machine hopes that readings can now be taken from the implant in his arm of electrical impulses coursing through his nerves. These signals, encoding movements like wiggling fingers and feelings like shock and pain, will be transmitted to a computer and recorded for the first time. It is hoped that the procedure could lead to a medical breakthrough for people paralysed by spinal cord damage, like Superman actor Christopher Reeve.

Surgeons operating on Professor Kevin Warwick at Oxford’s Radcliffe Infirmary (Hospital) after his operation to place a mirochip in his arm. Surgeons have carried out a ground-breaking operation on a cybernetics professor so that his nervous system can be wired up to a computer. Professor Kevin Warwick, the world’s first cyborg part human, part machine hopes that readings can now be taken from the implant in his arm of electrical impulses coursing through his nerves. These signals, encoding movements like wiggling fingers and feelings like shock and pain, will be transmitted to a computer and recorded for the first time. March 2002.

 

THIS all sounds good: Apple Wants The iWatch To Predict Heart Attacks. “What if your wristwatch could tell you that you were about to have a heart attack? You’d be able to chew some aspirin to prevent it. You’d be able to call 911 and get the ambulance on the way. You’d be more likely to survive. Perhaps a large portion of the 600,000 people who die of heart disease every year — would not.”

And “for the first time, scientists have created human lungs in a lab — an exciting step forward in regenerative medicine, but an advance that likely won’t help patients for many years.”

Are human being becoming cyborgs?

The cyborgization of people with health issues, of course, is already under way. Diet computers are already in use. Some even weigh food before you eat it, and calculate its calories, fat content, etc. (I don’t use one of those, but I do use a Polar heart rate monitor when I run, so that I can keep track of my heart rate and make sure I’m not slacking off. As far as I know, nobody’s integrated the exercise computer with the diet computer to keep track of both calories consumed and calories burned in one device, but I may have missed it.) Then, of course, there are computerized insulin pumps that take the place of a pancreas by automatically releasing small amounts of insulin — some according to computerized blood sugar models not too terribly different in concept from the blood-gas models used by dive computers. The most sophisticated personal computerized medical devices today are probably the implantable cardioverter defibrillators that monitor heart rhythms and administer a shock if the owner’s heart stops or goes into fibrillation.

Praise be the engineers…

Posted: 18th, February 2014 | In: Technology | Comment


Evidence That Cannabis Can Fight AIDS

Marijuana is stored in bins for trimming and packaging in preparation to be sold retail at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver, Friday Feb. 14, 2014. The marijuana industry breathed a sigh of relief Friday after federal banking regulators issued long-awaited permission for them to access basic banking services.

Marijuana is stored in bins for trimming and packaging in preparation to be sold retail at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver, Friday Feb. 14, 2014. The marijuana industry breathed a sigh of relief Friday after federal banking regulators issued long-awaited permission for them to access basic banking services.

CAN cannabis counter AIDS – and not just the cachexia, nausea, and neuropathic pain:

The changes that THC produces in the gut a process formally known as “microbial translocation,” isn’t as complicated as it sounds. During HIV infection, one of the earliest effects is that the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body and kills a significant part of cells in the gut and intestine. This activity damages the gut in a way that allows the HIV to leak through the cell wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream.

When THC is introduced into this environment, it activates the CB2 receptors in the intestines to build new, healthy bacterial cells that block the virus from leaking through the cell walls. In other words, the body works hard to keep bad stuff in the intestines and the good stuff out.

Put another way: HIV kills the cells that protect the walls— THC brings them back. Reducing the amount of the virus in the lower intestines could then help keep uninfected people uninfected.

Worth a try, no?

Posted: 18th, February 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment


Anders Behring Breivik Vows To Commit Suicide By Playstation 3

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ANDERS Behring, the Norwegian who murdered 77 in 2011, is suffering. The Playstation 2 in his cell is out of date. He writes in a letter to the prison that such an antiquated machine is akin to “torture”.  Video games have always been part of Behring’s life; he used Call of Duty to sharpen his aim and World of Warcraft to conceal his plans.

So. He ‘s going on hunger strike until he gets a newer Playstation 3 “with access to more adult games that I get to choose myself”.

“Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids games. One example is ‘Rayman Revolution,’ a game aimed at three-year-olds. The hunger strike won’t end until the Minister of Justice (Anders) Anundsen and the head of the KDI (the Norwegian Correctional Services) stop treating me worse than an animal.”

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Posted: 15th, February 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment


Radiohead Release Mildly Diverting Music App, Probably Dubbed ‘Revolutionary’

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RADIOHEAD, sulkiest of the sulky, a band so pious that they’ve had their blood replaced with sour grape juice, have released a new thing. They’ve not bothered with vinyl or CD or even a download which pretends to be free. No, they’ve worked with studio Universal Everything to create a ‘living, breathing, growing touchscreen environment’.

It is called the PolyFauna app, which can download for nothing on your phone and has been made as a collab with the band, Universal Everything, producer Nigel Godrich and artist Stanley Donwood.

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Posted: 13th, February 2014 | In: Music, Technology | Comment


1980s Video Game Hell: 5 Cartridges of Shame

ONCE the Atari 2600 hit its stride in ’81, there was simply no stopping the tsunami of video game offerings. The transition from coin operated arcade games to systems you could play in your living room can’t be overstated – it was revolutionary.  But with this influx of new entertainment came a cornucopia of bad games. Here are five of the worst offenders.

 

 OUTHOUSE (1982)

outhouse

This TRS-80 game basically was about preventing other people from using up your toilet paper.  Think about this for a moment: It was the dawn of the video game revolution, the prospects were limitless, the future full of possibilities…. and they make a video game about preserving toilet paper?

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Posted: 11th, February 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology, The Consumer | Comment (1)


Tainted Love Played By 13 Floppy Disc Drives and One Hard Disk Drive

RETRO tunes on retro machines:  Ed Cobb’s Tainted Love played by 13 Floppy Disc Drives and one Hard Disk Drive. Stand down the kazoo orchestra:

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Posted: 9th, February 2014 | In: Music, Technology | Comment


Bullshit, Bastards & Bylines: What To Learn From Tumblr, Buzzfeed, HuffPo And Upworthy…Yes, Really

The Daily Mail newspaper in operation in room 55 at Carmelite House, Fleet Street. Ref #: PA.5576966  Date: 01/01/1913

The Daily Mail newspaper in operation in room 55 at Carmelite House, Fleet Street.
Date: 01/01/1913

 

Buzz me, Huff me, make me up Worthy

What to learn from Tumblr, Buzzfeed, HuffPo and Upworthy…yes, really

Which media organisations have mastered making the web jump to their own sick tunes? Buzzfeed and The Daily Mail. The rest of the media runs like pissed wolves behind these lean beasts. The Daily Mail turns its enemies into obsessive readers. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool of liberal mung bean-munching Guardian readers find themselves stumbling over to the “Sidebar of Shame” to read about a revolving cast of celebrities about whom the Mail writes bizarrely detailed dispatches.

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Posted: 6th, February 2014 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Technology | Comments (27)


Irish Dad’s Priceless Reaction To His Son Pretending To Fail A Driving Test (Video)

YOU Tuber Feilim Mchugh told his father he’d failed his driving test. He then filmed the reaction.  her father’s reaction driving test. The videos – “My Dads reaction to me ‘failing’ my driving test, priceless…” is terrific.

Filmed in Drumkeerin, Ireland, swearing is liberal:

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Posted: 4th, February 2014 | In: Technology | Comment


In 1934 Northwestern University Predicted Learning Via The Internet

online 1963

WHO foresaw the internet? Thank to Paleofuture, we know it to be WAlter Dill Scott in this 1934 piece for Everyday Science and Mechanics magazine. Scott, was president of Northwestern University when he peered into the rosy-fingered future.

With radio, fax machines, TVs and pictures, students could learn anywhere. A the mag noted:

The university of twenty-five years from now will be a different looking place, says President Scott of Northwestern. Instead of concentrating faculty and students around a campus, they will “commute” by air, and the university will be surrounded by airports and hangars. The course will be carried on, to a large extent, by radio and pictures. Facsimile broadcasting and television will enlarge greatly the range of a library; and research may be carried on by scholars at great distances.

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Posted: 31st, January 2014 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment


Forgotify, The Website That Plans To Kill Itself

Forgive me but I think this is rather amusing, a website called Forgotify. The business structure of whic is that the more successful it becomes then the faster it will close itself down.

Err, yes,  that’s right. The more people use the site then the faster it will go out of business.

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Posted: 31st, January 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


All Aboard The Martin Mars Flying Hotel

flying hotel

 

THERE was Luxury Aloft the Martin Mars Flying Hotel. What was once a US Navy flying boat was now swanky. In 1945,  air travel was a thing of wonder. It was sophisticated, stylish and offered the promise of romance. War was over. Technology used to drop bombs and catapult men into French onion fields was being harnessed for wonderment.

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Posted: 30th, January 2014 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment (1)


These 3D Printed Nail Sets Are Fantastically Cool

3D Printed Nail art

 

NEW York City-based designers Sarah C. Awad and Dhemerae Ford of the Laser Girls are using technology for the awesome by kicking out 3D printed nail art.

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Posted: 30th, January 2014 | In: Fashion, Technology | Comment


Dr Who: This TARDIS Really IS Bigger On The Inside

TARDIS

 

DOCTOR Who fans all know that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. In late 2012, to prove it, Greg Kumparak built a tiny TARDIS that fits on a desk which uses augmented reality to expand its inner dimensions.

Take a look at his video to see how he did it:

You can read how Greg built his “Lil’ TARDIS” at his website.

Spotter: Pete

Posted: 30th, January 2014 | In: Technology, TV & Radio | Comments (3)


Tech Rewind: Before Phones Got Smart

TECHNOLOGY has been rocketing along so quickly, it’s difficult to put on the breaks, stop for a moment and get a perspective.  Sometimes you just need to dig your heels in and take a look backward.  As the current rushes you madly onward, it may do you good to just pause and see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.

Taking a look at progress in technology as whole is much too broad; our heads will likely explode if we try and take it all in.  Instead, let’s just look at your phone – that thin little rectangle you have in your pocket or are looking at right now…

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It can do more than Hubot could ever dream of.  And while it is unlikely Hubot was capable of dreaming, it could play AM/FM radio, check the temperature, tell the time, and play Atari 2600 games.  Hubot came with a price tag of $3495 in 1981 – adjusted for inflation that comes to $8957 (£5432).  For that kind of price, Hubot better be able to do dishes, kill intruders, and stimulate pleasure centers on command.

Alas, it did not.  But let’s look at a single function on your mobile device that you likely take for granted: voice messages.

 

105_phone butler

 

To read this advert, it sounds as though your very life is going to change thanks to an answering machine.  Indeed, the Phone Butler will rid you of your cumbersome existence, and introduce you to the jet-setting world of recorded phone messages.

Now you can spend your vacations and nights out on the town with complete ease, knowing that all your calls and messages are being handled efficiently, and are waiting at home for you!…. Don’t worry about missing calls while you’re out doing yard work, in the shower, shopping, sunbathing, or socializing with the neighbors, you’ll never have to make a run for the phone again!

It’s hard to imagine that something as commonplace as voice messaging was sold as an answer to prayers just a few decades back.  That would be like saying having no phone cord was a miracle of science – hey, what a sec…

 

102_phone 300 feet from home

 

“You see, with our cordless phone you’re not tied down by the cord – because there is no cord!”

No longer was mankind tethered; he was free to roam from patio to garage to toilet with splendid freedom.  Advertisements announced this latest break with great fanfare.  Of course, no longer being “tethered” meant you were also never out of reach.  So, in a twist of fate, going cordless resulted in less freedom.  Who knew?

 

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In the ‘80s, you knew you “made it” if you could conduct business from your tub… preferably while sporting a self-important smirk.  Once again, the advertisers are driving the point home that your tech devices no longer require terminals – they are wherever you are.  Our younger generations will never know the type of world where you have designated phone and computer locations – things haven’t just become portable, they are damn near bodily appendages.

 

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Another thing future generations will never know is the telephone queue.  The very thought of actually having to wait your turn to use a phone is madness.  But there’s a flipside to this:  If you knew you had to spend a painful amount of time waiting in line every time you had to make a call, wouldn’t you use the phone less?  And if so, might you be doing something more enriching or enjoyable with the time?

That’s crazy talk.  Let’s move on.

 

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One thing that we’ve all collectively dreamed about in our science fiction is the “video phone”.  Every futuristic depiction worth its salt had one.  Of course, now Skype, Face Time and the like are just boring parts of life – no more shocking than your washing machine or toaster oven.  Who would have thought that a technology so anticipated would so quickly be taken for granted?

 

039_Hello. I'd like to rent a fork lift to move my PC to another room.

 

Well, we could stand in amazement at the many examples of brilliant communications technologies which have become mundane overnight.  However, the current is quickly pulling us onward.  No time to linger in quiet appreciation; in the time it took you to read this article, at least three of your tech devices have gone obsolete.

Posted: 28th, January 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology, The Consumer | Comment