News about Tech, Science, Social, 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

This week there are way too many interesting news in tech section to choose just a few of them.

Tech

Robots building other robots

The easier it is to produce something, the cheaper it gets and the easier people can get their hands on it. One of the problems with robotics, is that producing it is neither cheap nor easy – there are many different elements in the production chain, every single one specialized and intricate. And with progress always going forward, the factories can’t be quickly rebuilt. New robot – new manufacturing chain. Here’s where MIT’s new tiny “walking” robots come in. They would be capable of quickly rearranging into a new manufacturing unit, so new robots could be built without the need for a new assemblies being built.

Beauty filters for facial recognition purchase

We all know how strange it feels to suddenly see your face, when you accidentally turn on the face camera on your phone when you are not ready. With the rise of facial recognition technologies in China, especially with the technology being used for electronic payment confirmation, this will occur more and more. And so, Alibaba’s e-wallet affiliate, Alipay, decided to do something curious. When your face is displayed on the screen, a beauty filter will be automatically applied to it. 

Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Imitation as the first step in creativity

An article at techcrunch.com offers a rare but well argued positive view on what this technology can do. From new step in virtual assistants to new word in “digital influencers” like Lil Miquela.  Among the examples the article offers is a wonderful video of David Beckham talking about malaria in nine languages, with his mouth perfectly matching various voices. 

Digital aid in recycling 

On July 1, the world’s most populated city (Shanghai) began a compulsory garbage-sorting program. And so problems that people might encounter while recycling suddenly became much more serious – there is a fine for doing something wrong after all. And so, as always, technology is here to help. Startups and digital giants alike have offered apps and services designed to make recycling easier, faster, and more efficient.

How does a robot know where to step?

Walking is difficult. It might come easy to us, but it is because we forgot how we learned to do it. Watching robots learning to do the same offers us a glimpse at how complex of a task really is. And that makes the most recent achievements of the robot, created by Florida’s Institute for Human and Machine Cognition all the more impressive – watching how it decides where to step is truly fascinating and might make you pay attention to how you do the same every day. 

Photo by techcrunch.com

A true solar sunflower

There is something magnificent in technology mimicking nature. Solar panels do that to the plants already, getting the energy from the sun. But they might start to resemble them even more, opening and closing depending on the temperature and sunlight. Apart from permitting truly beautiful installations, this technology can be quite useful for spacecrafts and satellites.

Science

A new word in weight loss

Scientists have discovered activated overlapping neuron networks, controlling how much you eat and how much energy you spend. By turning them off, scientists forced the body to reduce the sensation of hunger and to increase the energy expenditure. And any effective weight loss usually includes those two factors exactly. So, to put it simply, this might be the first step to that magical weight loss remedy the ads promised for so long.

Social

Logic games are free for schools

Famous games, which, according to many articles, teach more about the art of programming than many specifically designed to do so, have been officially made free for schools and school-like non-profit educational initiatives. Why does it matter? Because it is another step in changing the way the children are taught difficult subjects, with programming, as often, being at the forefront. 

How to pack light for your holiday

There are two extremes when packing for a holiday: taking a single small bag with the least of what you need, staying as mobile as you want, or lugging a huge suitcase, with every comfort you might need. However, both options have their downsides, and finding the balance isn’t easy. A lengthy article at popsci.com offers useful advice on how to choose what you really need, and how to pack it most efficiently. Another related article takes a look at how your phone can help you to travel even lighter.

This is… absolutely never a good plan. Photo by Deposit Photos

Culture

Changing what Ghetto means through food, design and art

A member of the Ghetto Gastro collective, focused on changing the perception of Ghetto and evolving it as well as evolving with it, have given a wonderful TED talk on how, where and why they do it. Few of us, when thinking of high culinary arts, think of Bronx – and changing that is indeed one of their goals. It is an interesting and creative approach, contributing to a solution of a serious problem.

Podcasts created by women

Many successful shows being hosted by women. The industry of podcasts is another matter – it is dominated by men, which created something of a template that people expect. A successful startup is aiming to change that, creating both a space for women in the industry and at the same time getting a viable finance model, answering the complaint of the ad companies who, by their own admission, “have all these ads targeted at women and nowhere to put them”.

Photo by techcrunch.com

Device from an alternate reality: a bluetooth cassette player

The title says it all, doesn’t it? Something tells me this kickstarter will meet its goal. Another wonderful little example of culture prevailing over technological progress

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