Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 6th, 2017

A cannabis products producer bought the town of Nipton, California (pop. 20) for $5 million, with the intention of turning into a weed “destination.” From BBC : American Green wants to invest up to $2.5m (£1.9m) in revitalising the town to make it more tourist-friendly as well as eco-friendly. “We thought that showing that there was a viable means of having a cannabis-friendly municipality and further making it energy independent could be a way of really inspiring folks to say, ‘Why can’t we do that here?'” project manager Stephen Shearin told Bloomberg. “The gold rush built this city,” he adds. “The green rush can keep it moving the way people envisioned it years ago.” The Gateway to the Mojave National Preserve. . 30 April 2017 Nipton, CA A post shared by Prince Travels (@prince_travels) on May 2, 2017 at 9:00am PDT Nipton California. pic.twitter.com/l8PBEbFk35 — Jeff Lloyd (@lloydjbl) April 16, 2016

Categories: reader

Slashdot reader cdreimer quotes the New York Times: Alkaline batteries can be made far more cheaply and safely than today’s lithium-ion batteries, but they are not rechargeable… Ionic Materials could change that equation with an alkaline battery the company said could be recharged hundreds of times. One additional benefit of the company’s breakthrough: An alkaline battery would not be as prone to the combustion issues that have plagued lithium-ion batteries in a range of products, most notably some Samsung smartphones. Cheaper and more powerful batteries are also considered by many to be the driver needed to make the cost of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar competitive with the coal, gas and nuclear power that support the national energy grid. The company “has demonstrated up to 400 recharge cycles for its prototypes, ” and it’s now even investigating aluminum-based alkaline batteries which would also be lighter than lithium-ion batteries. The company is backed by Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, who also envisions the batteries being used in electric cars. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

schwit1 quotes TheBlaze: Digital gold from Blizzard’s massive multiplayer online game “World of Warcraft” is worth more than actual Venezuelan currency, the bolivar, according to new data. Venezuelan resident and Twitter user @KalebPrime first made the discovery July 14 and tweeted at the time that on the Venezuela’s black market — now the most-used method of currency exchange within Venezuela according to NPR — you can get $1 for 8493.97 bolivars. Meanwhile, a “WoW” token, which can be bought for $20 from the in-game auction house, is worth 8385 gold per dollar. According to sites that track the value of both currencies, KalebPrime’s math is outdated, and WoW gold is now worth even more than the bolivar. That tweet has since gone viral, prompting @KalebPrime to joke that “At this rate when I publish my novel the quotes will read ‘FROM THE GUY THAT MADE THE WOW GOLD > VENEZUELAN BOLIVAR TWEET.'” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Law enforcement has been trying predictive policing software for a while now, but how well does it work when it’s put to a tough test? Potentially very well, according to Chicago police. The city’s 7th District police report that their use of predictive algorithms helped reduce the number of shootings 39 percent year-over-year in the first 7 months of 2017, with murders dropping by 33 percent. Three other districts didn’t witness as dramatic a change, but they still saw 15 to 29 percent reductions in shootings and a corresponding 9 to 18 percent drop in murders. It mainly comes down to knowing where and when to deploy officers. One of the tools used in the 7th District, HunchLab, blends crime statistics with socioeconomic data, weather info and business locations to determine where crimes are likely to happen. Other tools (such as the Strategic Subject’s List and ShotSpotter ) look at gang affiliation, drug arrest history and gunfire detection sensors. If the performance holds, It’ll suggest that predictive policing can save lives when crime rates are particularly high, as they have been on Chicago’s South Side. However, both the Chicago Police Department and academics are quick to stress that algorithms are just one part of a larger solution. Officers still have be present, and this doesn’t tackle the underlying issues that cause crime, such as limited access to education and a lack of economic opportunity. Still, any successful reduction in violence is bound to be appreciated. Source: Reuters

Categories: reader

It’s only been a month since the Unicode Emoji Consortium released version 10 of the colorful little communication icons, including more diverse images along with zombies, a T-rex and (yes) a sandwich icon. Now, though, the group has yet another set of proposed emojis for next year. Along with more math and science items and a silly drunk face emoji, the new group of 67 tiny pictures includes, wait for it, a new sad poo emoji. The top two requested emoji in this list are “face with smiling eyes and party horn and party hat, ” which I guess is sort of a “let’s party” emoji, along with “frowning face with question marks as eyes, ” which is totally going to be my go-to “WTF” emoji when it shows up on my iPhone. The other proposed images range from a self-explanatory “smiling face with smiling eyes and three hearts” to a more complex image like “blue face with clenched teeth and icicles.” There are body parts, like the tops of various heads (including a bald one), items of clothing like a hiking boot and lab coat, new animals like a llama and hippopotamus, more foods like a “moon cake” and mango and various activity emojis like “flying disc” and firecracker. Other proposals include cool science objects, like a test tube and DNA double helix, as well as stuff like a roll of toilet paper (handy when stuck in the bathroom with only your phone and one of the two poop emojis) and a ball of yarn. These are all just draft emojis, of course. The final encoding in Unicode 11.0 isn’t set to release until June of 2018. The final candidates will be decide in the fourth quarter of this year, and decided in the first quarter of 2018. The Emoji subcommittee says that it received many proposals for new emoji that weren’t “well-formed.” The authors have been informed of the need to re-submit, so the list can change at any time. Via: The Verge Source: Unicode

Categories: reader