#12 World news digest about Tech, Science, Social and Culture

Every week ELK team picks the most captivating, forward-looking and inspiring articles from the best media around the globe to share with you in our digest. Learn what the world is talking about today! Please vote for your favorite article in the comments (and also share articles that inspired you).

Digest curated by our teacher Svyatoslav Tugeev


Doctors in VR goggles

VR is a relatively new technology and some of us still think of it as a gimmick or a toy, but it can be a truly useful instrument as this news article shows. A new research brings first measurable assessment of its effectiveness in training surgeons. However, this is far from the only use VR has in medicine, as it is also being experimented with in a surprising place – maternity ward.

Google to offer podcast episodes directly

A minor change that might have interesting consequences. The way search engines work defines what content we consume and the way we do it. So google changing the way it categorizes and offers podcasts will have some interesting consequences, both positive and negative.

Spotting tired drivers

When drivers get tired or distracted. It can lead to accidents and create danger not just for themselves, but for others as well, and the abundance of ride-hailing services means that there are a lot of drivers working very long shifts. Many existing measures meant to prevent this can be easily overcome. Which is why the biggest russian taxi service is installing cameras inside the cars, meant to monitor for signs of fatigue, like yawning, blinking or a slumped posture.



Inner monologues, heard

It is hard to decide where to start, because this invention could be implemented in so many areas. AlterEgo is a device, which captures your inner monologue by registering signals that our brain sends to the muscles of our tongue and throat when we talk to ourselves internally. Right now it allows those with, for example, ALS to converse in real time instead of typing a couple of words per minute. But in the future it could be the first step in truly uniting human and AI in our everyday behaviour. Often it comes down not to the new technology, but to the interface it has with the already existing world. And this one is not to be underestimated. 

Image credit: MIT Media Lab

Perseid shower explanation

On August 11,12 and 13 we will see (or at this point perhaps have or could have seen) the famous perseids meteor shower. If you have no idea what that is, what it looks like or how often it occurs, or if it is something that happens only to our planet –  this article is for you. Simple and educational. 

What to do with a climate change

An intergovernmental panel on climate change has published a report on the progress and reasons of climate change. And this article offers a comprehensive analysis of the situation. What the current situation is, what is about to happen and what needs to be done to prevent it. There is little to be said about it except that with a situation that big and complex. It is very important to present both the problems and solutions as clear as possible and this article does just that.

A familiar face

Turns out we are not as good at hiding that we recognize someone as we though. A new test, developed by the University of Sterling, detects the marks of recognition on people’s faces. And the more they try to hide it, the better it performs. This technique could mean a great deal for the law enforcement in determining the connection between suspects. I will leave imagining other applications of this new technology up to you.


A telephone booth in an office

Why would anyone install a telephone booth without a telephone in an open office? To solve the problem that we didn’t use to have before the open offices existed – lack of space for private work and conversation. The article talks about how this came to be, what benefits these phone booths have and why they are becoming ever more popular. And why they might be a sign that we took a wrong turn at some point to need them in the first place.

Oh, and tell us what you think about the final advice at the end of the article – do you think it is a viable alternative?

Image credit: www.bbc.com

I will read this tomorrow

BBC has published an article on procrastination, offering 8 good ways to fight it. While usually articles like these are pretty vague. This one offers pretty clear solutions, weights the pros and cons for every option, and starts by explaining why willpower alone is not enough.



A gift from Chernobyl

Something has finally been produced in the exclusion zone, and the fact itself could symbolize perhaps the return of industry to the scarred landscape. The beginning of something truly significant. So what is that wonderful object? A bottle of vodka. Yes. But if you read the article, it might actually make sense.

Image credit: www.bbc.com

Mark Twain and his watches

We all know Mark Twain as the creator of the famous characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. However, Smithsonian online magazine has published an article examining him in the context of his interest in one object in particular: pocket watches. If you are curious about “the watch that made the dollar famous” or why you should never bring your new watch to a watchmaker, this article is for you.


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