#18 Digest World News about Tech, Science, Culture and Social

Every 2 weeks 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


Like the real thing

We don’t look at our legs every time we make a step. All the information we need in order not to fall or stumble is conveyed to us through the multiple sensations, touch being the key one. And the lack of these sensations in prosthetics has long been a limiting factor – what use is a leg you have to always look at? But with the new technology an important point has been reached: prosthetic is being used just like the real limb. And is that not the final goal?

And now the sports

Even in this news digest readers have seen several articles about the use of the newest technologies in sports and Winter Olympics in particular. Technology is being introduced into sport more and more, however the rate is quite uneven, and as the viewers’ preferences change, so does the focus of the developers. If you are curious what the viewers want, which sports are most technologically progressive, and what problems such technological progress faces overall – this article is for you.

AR changing room

Seems like AR is the future of shopping and advertising. Want to see how this new jacket, that shade of lipstick or those new shoes would look on you? You no longer even have to go to the store. Instagram has rolled out SPARK AR features, that let the user immediately use their camera to see what they are buying and how good it would look on them. How close the result is to reality, however, is anyone’s guess, as only experience and time can tell.

Image credit: engadget.com


The sounds of Mars

NASA has released (on Spotify of all places) a few tracks, recorded by the SEIS, with the sounds, produced by the planet Mars and the robots exploring it. While (seemingly) containing no messages from aliens, the tracks are surprisingly melodic, if pretty experimental. Are you curious what the Mars sounds like? 

Why don’t we live longer?

In the last few centuries we have increased our life expectancy quite significantly. Yet the closer we are to the present time, the slower this progress becomes – 2011 was an especially significant turning point. So what happened? Did we reach our ceiling, or is there just another step we need to take? An article by BBC examines what allowed us to achieve the progress we already have as well as what might be stopping us today.

French woman Jeanne Calment was 122 when she died – BBC.com

A wrong assumption

Another article by BBC examines in close detail a flaw in our thinking. This flaw is called “outcome bias”. What it basically means is that we often assume that if we succeeded in something once, than no matter what we did, that was the right way. That bias is responsible for many problems and even disasters, from tiny to enormous. And if you want to know what football judge’s decision has in common with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – this is for you.


Paper or plastic?

History of civilization is often intrinsically linked to specific products it produces. Some, however, transcend the specific civilization and take over the entire world. One such product is paper – something we used to use so much in the past, but which is seemingly giving way to other mediums today. And yet it is actually making a serious comeback. Want to know why or how? Or where it came from, how it is made and what it is used for? BBC is publishing a series of articles “Made on Earth” about eight products and the chains of production associated with them. And if paper is not your thing – how about something we praise every morning?


Useful art

An art installation has opened in the NY East River. An LED cross is floating for everyone to see, visible from bridges and riverbanks. Its color changes from blue to teal to pink, but not just on a whim – it responds to the level of water pollution, serving as both a nice sight and a useful indicator. Part of a larger project, it could one day serve as a useful and universal indicator of the water quality in the cities around the world.

Playlab/Family New York/Floating Point

A digital Gemini

Techcrunch has published an interview with a famous director Ang Lee, where he talks about his new film “Gemini man”. One of the interesting aspects of this movie is that one of the two leading characters, both of whom are normal people, not fantastic creatures, is basically completely digital. With this level of attention comes new degree of scrutiny, and to withstand it the acting, directing and simulation have to be impeccable. So how was it pulled off? Well, the article has all the answers.



A home for one euro

There is a place in Italy where you can purchase a house for one euro. No tricks, no scams. Where? Why? How? This BBC article has all the answers.

Electronic tattoos

Some say the future of electronics is closer to our skin. How close can it get? Pretty close as it turns out, with proper electronic tattoos able to transmit electricity no matter how we shift. Proof of concept so far, but interesting and with a lot of potential.


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