Bob Hughes · June 09, 2016
The web has allowed the greatest exchange of information in history. It’s revolutionized communication and entertainment. But its power has become centered in a few major players who serve as gatekeepers. And the web, as it exists today, has also allowed certain governments to suppress the free flow of information.
The founder of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, who created it 27 years ago, wants to change that. He’d originally come up with the idea of the web as a way for […]
Bob Hughes · May 20, 2016
Old phone booths are being put to good use in Manhattan and the four other boroughs of New York City, as New York has converted many of them to hubs for high-speed internet service. They also serve as charging hubs and informational kiosks.
Each of the kiosks offers speed of a gigabit, with encrypted wi-fi connection with a range of 150 feet (or about 50 meters). The kiosks include USB charging stations and free calling, through a partnership with Vonage, the […]
Bob Hughes · May 05, 2016
We’ve all had to avoid pedestrians who clutter up the sidewalk as they stare into their smartphones, ignoring everything around them – the sights, the sounds, the traffic. We’ve all probably been guilty of doing the same thing as these otherwise-occupied folks who tune out reality as they engage in a virtual world.
This kind of behavior is more than annoying to others, however: it can be dangerous to the pedestrians. Many of us have probably seen amusing videos of unsuspecting folks […]
Bob Hughes · April 15, 2016
Science is on the brink of helping the paralyzed move. At least a little bit.
The New York Times just reported on the case of a young man who had lost feeling in his hands and legs after a freak diving accident. Thanks to new chip technology, the Times […]
Bob Hughes · April 01, 2016
Although nanotechnology has posed a threat in science-fiction thrillers, it may be the answer to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
“Nanoparticles, a million times smaller than a millimeter, are proving to be stable, easy to deliver and readily incorporated into cells,” writes Prashant Nagpal, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado,
Bob Hughes · March 25, 2016
Most people, even most smokers, know that cigarette smoking is a dirty habit. In fact, used cigarette butts make up the bulk of all street trash – by some estimates as much as 1.5 trillion tons a year.
Now, some companies are taking the tossed-out ends of cigarettes and making something useful from them. Cigarette filters are made from wood-based plastic fibers that take generations to fully decompose, according to an
Bob Hughes · March 24, 2016
The Earth is a water planet, as everyone knows – but most of that is salty ocean water and not potable. And many of the world’s peoples live near deserts or have little access to safe drinking water.
Several companies are coming up with what they hope will be solutions to this pressing situation. They’re creating devices that use solar power to draw humidity from the air to create precious, drinkable H2O.
One of these companies, an Austrian startup called Fontus, hopes to begin […]
Bob Hughes · February 04, 2016
Most of us dream of the stars, and most of us know we can’t reach them even if we hope to one day in the future. Hope is, as Emily Dickinson wrote, “the thing with feathers,” that is, a feeling that soars like a bird.
A variety of apps that focus on space can help you visualize where you cannot go. Such apps give you that much-needed sense that we all should feel when we get too wrapped up in ourselves: that we’re a speck in the universe. We’re important, yes, but small against the […]
Bob Hughes · January 14, 2016
Many people keep journals, and perhaps many more people want to keep them. This isn’t an exercise in narcissism but rather a way of remembering what you’ve done and reflecting on your day.
For those who want to write daily journals as a way of assessing where they’ve been, how they’ve acted and perhaps even what they’re doing next, some new apps are available that can help people continue contributing to a journal.
Bob Hughes · January 01, 2016
Here’s one thing that isn’t a resolution for the new year, but a bit of advice: make sure you get your heart checked out.
In the last month two people I know, neither of whom is old, had what you might call heart-related events. In both cases, these people suffered debilitating chest pains and in both cases they were found to have clogged arteries (or a clogged artery), and both received stents. Both are now much better.
Not too long ago, such pains in the chest would probably have […]