Lego-Like Brain Balls Could Build a Living Replica of Your Noggin | WIRED


The human brain is routinely described as the most complex object in the known universe.

It might therefore seem unlikely that pea-size blobs of brain cells growing in laboratory dishes could be more than fleetingly useful to neuroscientists. Nevertheless, many investigators are now excitedly cultivating these curious biological systems, formally called cerebral organoids and less formally known as mini-brains.

With organoids, researchers can run experiments on how living human brains develop—experiments that would be impossible (or unthinkable) with the real thing.

Source: Lego-Like Brain Balls Could Build a Living Replica of Your Noggin | WIRED

Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ | Aeon Ideas


We know from everyday experience that a person is partly forged in the crucible of community.

Relationships inform self-understanding. Who I am depends on many ‘others’: my family, my friends, my culture, my work colleagues.

The self I take grocery shopping, say, differs in her actions and behaviors from the self that talks to my PhD supervisor. Even my most private and personal reflections are entangled with the perspectives and voices of different people, be it those who agree with me, those who criticize, or those who praise me.

Source: Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ | Aeon Ideas

The Most Crucial Design Job Of The Future


I advocate we need data ethnography, a term I define as the study of the data that feeds technology, looking at it from a cultural perspective as well as a data science perspective.

Data ethnography is a narrower, but no less crucial, field: Data is a reflection of society, and it is not neutral; it is as complex as the people who make it.

The job of a data ethnographer, then, would be to ask questions like: What is the culture of a data set? How old is it? Who made it? Who put it together? When was it updated–has it ever been updated?

 The ethnographer could then test data and label it, much in the same way that food labels break down nutritional contents. Consumers could then see data sets labeled like “social media data, Twitter, 2021, U.S., 75% male users ages 35-40, 50% white.”

Source: The Most Crucial Design Job Of The Future

Permission-less innovation? Not in Europe!


Google is not the first US tech company against which the EU’s legal or tax muscle is being flexed. And it is probably not the last either. The fact remains that the US is providing a more favourable environment, not only for innovation but also for the growth and expansion of companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber and the like.

The EU fined Microsoft, taxed Apple, is processing charges against Uber and has just fined Google. As if that would make the business environment easier for their imaginary European competitors.

The key misconception is that Google is in Web search business. It is in the business of providing its users information that they need.

Source: Permission-less innovation? Not in Europe!

Uber Can’t Be Fixed — It’s Time for Regulators to Shut It Down


Uber’s biggest advantage over incumbents was in using ordinary vehicles with no special licensing or other formalities.

With regular noncommercial cars, Uber and its drivers avoided commercial insurance, commercial registration, commercial plates, special driver’s licenses, background checks, rigorous commercial vehicle inspections, and countless other expenses.

With these savings, Uber seized a huge cost advantage over taxis and traditional car services. Uber’s lower costs brought lower prices to consumers, with resulting popularity and growth.

But this use of noncommercial cars was unlawful from the start. In most jurisdictions, longstanding rules required all the protections described above, and no exception allowed what Uber envisioned. (To be fair, Uber didn’t start it — Lyft did. More on that later on.)

What’s more, Uber’s most distinctive capabilities focused on defending its illegality.

Source: Uber Can’t Be Fixed — It’s Time for Regulators to Shut It Down

7 Great NASA Technologies You Don’t Know About | Design News


Back in April, during a keynote at the 2017 Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in Boston, Jason Crusan, Director of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, was also optimistic about the agency’s work. “We have more development going on at NASA than ever in the history of the agency,” he told the audience.

With the International Space Station in Earth’s orbit for over a decade and longer-term ambitions of landing humans on Mars by the year 2030, NASA has been developing new systems and technology around everything from 3D printing, to virtual reality (VR), and even biology, the general public just may not know about it.

Source: 7 Great NASA Technologies You Don’t Know About | Design News

President Emmanuel Macron Benefits from Being Anti-Trump | Time.com


.. In the process, Macron has all but obliterated the traditional political parties that have dominated politics in France for about 50 years, including the Socialist Party that governed the country until last month, and that on Sunday won a miniscule 7.4% of the votes.

The achievement has stunned political veterans, who liken it to a political revolution. “France is back,” declared the Macron-appointed Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday night. Several factors have powered Macron’s sweeping victories, among them a seething frustration shared by millions of French over economic stagnation and years of double-digit unemployment, and a belief that drastic change is necessary to solve the country’s problems.

But as Macron absorbs his astonishing success, he owes thanks too to President Donald Trump.

Source: President Emmanuel Macron Benefits from Being Anti-Trump | Time.com

How Customers Are Defining the Future of Biometrics | Nextgov.com


With individuals across every generation identifying a need for security solutions that go beyond password-based systems on their personal devices, commercial organizations are being incentivized to create products with biometric capabilities, whether it’s a fingerprint scanner to open your iPhone or facial recognition to enter an apartment building.

While this growing trend is important for consumers and commercial businesses, it will ultimately depend on the federal government to ensure these systems are ethical and secure.

Source: How Customers Are Defining the Future of Biometrics – Nextgov.com

Bad writing at the World Bank is part of a much bigger problem | Quartz


The World Bank’s chief economist Paul Romer lost his managerial duties at the bank’s research arm late last month following a staff revolt against Romer’s efforts to improve the quality of writing in the group’s publications.

Yet his challenges at the World Bank highlight a greater problem facing financial institutions: It is deeply difficult for many economists to communicate their ideas like regular people, and that difficulty widens a dangerous gap between the public and the systems that serve it.

From the public’s perspective, there’s little difference between an organization hiding behind maddeningly opaque jargon and just plain hiding. Indirect language leads to distrust.

Source: Bad writing at the World Bank is part of a much bigger problem — Quartz

It’s Not Just Trump’s Paris Decision That’s Bad for Pittsburgh | Pacific Standard


As quite a few people have pointed out, the Pittsburgh of Trump’s imagination no longer exists.

In recent years, Pittsburgh has come to be known not for its steel mills, which have been in sharp decline for some time, but for its economic reinvention as a mini tech hub.

Google, Amazon, Apple, and Disney all have offices there. It’s where Uber first tested its self-driving cars. And while the city is still home to manufacturing activity, it’s now the high-tech, advanced kind—GE, for example, opened a center focused on the additive manufacturing industry in the city last spring.

Source: It’s Not Just Trump’s Paris Decision That’s Bad for Pittsburgh – Pacific Standard