#15 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

Tech

Space pilot 2.0

Piloting a space shuttle is not an easy task by any means. And while sometimes human presence is a good thing, it would be really nice if we could, for example, test something meant to be piloted by a human, gather all the data, but without risking anyone’s life. Well, now we might be able to. Because a few days ago Russian Soyuz spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station with an actual robot in a piloting seat.

Cryptocurrency and faith

Money works because we agree to assume that it does, and believe that we can rely on it, rely that tomorrow it will work just like it does today. However, when it comes to new currencies, especially unusual ones, faith comes into focus much more clearly. And this is where curious parallels with religion can be observed, with demigods and gospels, schisms and heretics. While the tongue in cheek nature of this article is self confessed, it raises quite an interesting point nonetheless.

Ethics, e-waste and modular phones

Electronic waste and poor working ethics are something almost inherent to the industry of electronics itself, with many components going through too many stages of a supply chain to allow for any direct oversight. Which is why the concept of a modular “fairphone”, both aiming to revolutionize the supply chain as well as the final device and representing the idea of a “device as a service”, is so very worthy of attention. 

Tiny, wiggly, and really useful

Our blood vessels are really tiny and really difficult to navigate. Which is a problem, because sometimes something goes wrong with them and to fix the problem, we need to do exactly that – navigate. And when the ventricle is in the brain, the path to it is long indeed. Right now navigation is achieved with a very long and thin wire that a specially trained doctor has to move manually, but with this new invention things could get much easier. Check out a video of this device navigating a scale model of the brain ventricular system. It is something quite meditative. 

Science

A jellyfish in hand

Creatures living deep in the oceans are capable of surviving environments deadly to us, but at the same time something common to us, like the ability to grab something, can be deadly to them. Which is a problem, if we want to, well, grab them and take a closer look. This is where this new invention comes in, looking like a futuristic living thing itself and capable of gently grabbing even the softest jellyfish to take a few pictures before letting it go.

Skin deep

Our skin is a really cool thing. It gives us tons of information about the world around us, from its shape to the temperature. We rely upon the sensation of touch every day. So how do we give the same tool to a robot, or improve the prosthetic limb to a point where it not only allows someone to interact with the world but to actually feel it? As you might have guessed, this article talks about the progress in that exact area.

Social

The games we play 

Many people spend a lot of time playing computer games, not just taking pleasure in it, but taking the time to develop their skills to do better, to succeed. So it is little surprise that specialists start to take notice, observing a correlation between certain games and certain skill sets and professions. After all, as it turns out, creativity, reaction time and management skills are pretty transferable.

What shall we do with a fussy eater?

While I rarely read articles on dealing with little children, this one grabbed my attention by how short it was, where it was shared and how logical the advice given at the end seemed. After all, anything truly logical can often be applied even in areas other than where it was first intended.

Culture

“…Emerald crowns of oak…”

Forests have always been connected to our culture and to the languages, English expression “out of the woods” being a great example. With the trees being so important to us today, producing oxygen we breathe and helping us fight climate change, this connection is not likely to ever break. And 

Of spirits, photographs, and Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is known to most of us as the author of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, yet he was also a very active investigator of the occult, of seances and mysterious photographs. However, the creator of the sharp minded sceptic has been tricked quite easily, revealing, perhaps, a few important aspects of how we think. And this is exactly what this fascinating article by BBC is all about.

P.S. 

Mysterious circles in the desert

Sometimes one stumbles upon an article talking about something cool that is not yet explained. This is one of them. So, are you curious to see what “fairy rings”, “ufo landing sites”, or “footsteps of the gods” look like? Because I sure was.

Ghosts behind the magic machines

While trying to choose mostly positive articles for this digest, sometimes I see ones that highlight a very important issue and create a crucial context for many other things, but by the virtue of their topic they are often not too positive. However, occasionally they are worth sharing anyway. Like this one, exploring what actually makes today’s consumer technology, which seems like magic, tick.

 

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