8 talks about tiny phenomena

TED Blog

These TEDTalks explore the saying, “Good things come in small packages.” A world with lifesaving microchips, the perfectly engineered foot, and vast worlds constructed on pinheads seem fantastical, but the following speakers have turned their ingenious ideas into fascinating realities.

Frederick Balagadde: Bio-lab on a microchip
The sub-Saharan African region has suffered the most losses from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Ugandan-born research scientist Frederick Balagadde says. As someone who has lost many loved ones to this disease, Balagadde was inspired to create an iPhone-sized microchip that will offer diagnoses to 100 patients, up to 50 times faster, and five to 500 times cheaper than the cost of Western medicine.

Willard Wigan: Hold your breath for micro-sculpture
Feeling defeated by traditional education at a young age, Willard Wigan discovered his inherent talent to make intricate, microscopic sculptures after observing ants in his backyard. After his mother saw the mini-apartments he made from…

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In Defense of Grammar Police

TMP Communications

I’m not the type of Internet user to nitpick grammar errors (unless the error is a misuse of “your” – I can’t let that stand). I highlight glaring errors and let the others pass for the most part. Nonetheless, these meticulous grammar patrolmen and patrolwomen do exist. While some people condemn and berate the online grammar enforcers for being overly critical, I choose to applaud them. Nobody enjoys being caught in the act of committing grammar crimes, and some people do not care enough to rectify their mistakes. However, for those of us who do value the constant improving of our writing skills, there is real value that comes from those punctilious police.

I’d rather be corrected than continue making the same mistakes. 

Remember that time you went an entire evening with a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth? Do you recall that class in which nobody bothered to…

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Apple Awarded $1.049 Billion In Damages As Jury Finds Samsung Infringed On Design And Software Patents


The jury in the landmark Apple-Samsung trial ruled mostly in favor of Apple, including awarding Apple $1,049,343,540  in damages. Samsung, on the other hand, was granted a total of $0 in damages.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the jury came down on both of the companies. Remember, there are plenty of devices at play here — on Samsung’s side alone, there’s the Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Exhibit, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, Gem, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Replenish, Vibrant, plus every carrier’s version of the Galaxy S II.

  • The jury found no infringement by Apple on any of Samsung’s utility patents.
  • The jury found that Samsung infringed on patents for ‘381 “bounce back” scrolling functionality on all devices.
  • On the ‘915 patent, relating to one finger to scroll, two to pinch and zoom navigation, all but three Samsung devices…

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Coders Can’t Put Writers Out Of A Job Yet, But We’d Better Watch Our Backs


Last week The New York Times ran a story by John Markoff about robots replacing human workers. Andrew McAfee, co-author of the excellent Race Against The Machine followed up with a post of his own. The gist: technology and automation lead to more job creation than job displacement in the past, but that may be changing.

Writing is one of the few areas that McAfee and his co-author Erik Brynjolfsson identified as a low risk for bot replacement. But there are a few attempts underway to train computers to do basic journalism. And while these projects can’t truly replace humans, and may never be able to, my fellow writers and I should be worried about our jobs anyway.

Narrative Science is probably the most widely known proprietor of computer generated journalism. According to Wired’s feature on the company, Narrative Science is using machines to write short news stories…

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Astronaut And Innovation Icon Neil Armstrong Passes Away At 82


NBC News reports that astronaut and icon Neil Armstrong passed away earlier today due to complications from a heart-bypass operation he underwent a few weeks ago. He was 82.

Though his merits were many, Armstrong was best known for one thing. On that fateful day back in July 1969, with the eyes of history watching, he clambered down the ladder on the front leg of the Lunar Module “Eagle” to become the first man to set foot on the Moon.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said. Though Apollo 11 was his first and only Moon mission, the events of that day and those words would follow him for the rest of this life.

In that moment, Armstrong became more than just a man — he became a symbol of ingenuity and the drive of the human race. He, along with Lunar Module…

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