Enjoy a Collection of Assorted News, Human Interest, and Other Tidbits. Part of our Hey, Look at That! Series.
Today I am pleased to share an assortment of articles and information that I have come across. I found them fascinating. Sometimes fun, sometimes infuriating, but consistently good to know. This like going through your garage to organize a yard sale. I found some items to share.
I am constantly collecting bits of information and entertainment. Every once in a while, its’ time to share a few. Today is such a day. Four are about technology, one is about public policy, one is about health and wellness. In most cases, I have provided links to further information on the topic at hand. None are very long reads. Have a good time with these!
New 3D Printing Advance. We have talked before about the power and promise of 3D printing. This developing technology already is important in medicine and construction, and other areas. But it tends to be a slow process, with objects built one thin layer at a time. Now a team from the University of California has perfected, on a small scale, a new variant of the technology. This approach, known as Computer Axial Lithography (CAL), creates an object all at once. It does this with a resin that, when exposed to particular light and a projected image, solidifies all at once into the desired object. As the article referenced below notes, this is almost like a replicator on Star Trek. Fascinating implications to come from a system that can create something almost instantaneously. Read all about it (and see a neat video) at:
Amazon Alexa and the Search for the Perfect Answer. We all get frustrated when we ask Alexa or Siri or other device a simple question and we get gobbledygook back. All these systems are getting better, but still, some days…. Wired magazine has a fascinating article about the search for the perfect response. The article tells the story of a guy who started this search before Google and all the rest came along. Most who knew of his work thought it was an impossible fool’s errand. It is a fascinating read for the history, the technology, and the forecasting of what is to come. Check it out here: https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-alexa-search-for-the-one-perfect-answer/?mbid=email_onsiteshare
Antibiotics are Failing Us.You probably have read that “superbugs” are popping up. These bacteria have adapted to our careless use of antibiotics and other medicines. It seems we are in an evolutionary rush to defeat. How serious is this? About 2,000 people a month die in the US from these drug resistant bugs. And it will only get worse. We could be talking apocalypse here. Oh, and big pharma does not see a lot of promise here, so most are closing their antibiotics research efforts. But help is on the way! Crispr technology, already ground breaking in genetics, may save the day against bacteria. It may do so with no resistance potential. Fascinating stuff! Read all about it, again in Wired: https://www.wired.com/story/antibiotics-are-failing-us-crispr-is-our-glimmer-of-hope/
Climate Control by Antacid. I am among those wary of what seems like easy solutions for global warming. We need to get the fundamentals right. We still need to do that, but indications are that we have likely already crossed the line for serious damage ahead. Just when I was about to go into full despair, I came across this article. A scientist thinks she may have a solution to easing warming, using calcium carbonate. Basically, this is seeding the sky with Tums antacids! This potential solution seems to have none of the long-term risks or unintended consequences of other airborne solutions. I find the fact that is is work being done by a Chinese woman at Harvard makes it all the more interesting – a global solution. Caution and much more testing yet to come, but this could be promising. See for yourself at: https://www.wired.com/story/geoengineering-climate-with-antacid/
Fascinating Facts on Gun ownership and Gun Policy. Over 40,000 Americans died from gun violence in 2017. That was, by the way, our worst year for such deaths in decades. This is not getting better. A striking percentage of that was in family disputes and suicides. These are deaths that might well have been avoided had a firearm not been so readily available. I was thinking about that in light of the House of Representatives just now passing the first meaningful gun safety legislation in quite a while. Its fate in the Senate is not promising, of course. Pew Research recently published 7 data points you might find informative as we wrestle with this uniquely American disease. For me, I found Point 4 the most interesting, the most encouraging, and the most discouraging. Take a look: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/12/27/facts-about-guns-in-united-states/
You Need More Quiet Time– A few months ago I shared my thoughts on the importance of periods of isolation and quiet. It was nice to hear back that many of you felt the same. I came across an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that talked about the same idea on a micro level. The article addressed the power and value of quite periods within the average day. It cited many well-known people from very different professions who make finding regular quite time an essential part of their lives. If you feel the same, you are in good company. If you don’t feel the same, reflect on it a bit, starting with this article. Trust me, we all need the quite time.
That’s it for this round. I hope you find the referenced topics and articles useful and thought provoking
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