Science, Technology and Innovation

John Underkoffler: Pointing to the future of UI

future of UI Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak — the real-life version of the film’s eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow’s computers will be controlled? TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives ... Read More »

Science funding cuts are vandalism

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Sixty years ago, the then prime minister Robert Menzies was hailing the achievements of the CSIRO as ”miracles”. In 1953, Menzies used the CSIRO to illustrate the point that some in society who contributed substantially to progress were most often unrecognised. The context for Menzies’ comments was the part the CSIRO had played in assisting the economy through breakthroughs in ... Read More »

Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?


Many Western nations have experienced significant declines in crime in recent decades, but could the removal of lead from petrol explain that? Working away in his laboratory in 1921, Thomas Midgley wanted to fuel a brighter tomorrow. He created tetraethyl lead – a compound that would make car engines more efficient than ever. But did the lead that we added ... Read More »

Researchers use Twitter to predict crime


Hidden in the Twittersphere are nuggets of information that could prove useful to crime fighters—even before a crime has been committed. Read more at: Researchers at the University of Virginia demonstrated tweets could predict certain kinds of crimes if the correct analysis is applied. A research paper published in the scientific journal Decision Support Systems last month said the analysis of geo-tagged tweets can ... Read More »

Sheikh Zayed Book Award chooses Saudi King as Cultural Personality of year 2014


Award honours King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for his pioneering role in promoting peaceful co-existence, religious tolerance and cross-cultural dialogue. ABU DHABI – The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced today that His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named the Cultural ... Read More »

Chlorine: From toxic chemical to household cleaner


Few chemicals are as familiar as table salt. The white crystals are the most common food seasoning in the world and an essential part of the human diet. Sodium chloride is chemically very stable – but split it into its constituent elements and you release the chemical equivalent of demons. The process is brutal. Vast amounts of electricity are used ... Read More »

Japan to launch reduced Pacific whale hunt next week


Japan says it will begin hunting whales in the Pacific Ocean next week, after cancelling whaling off Antarctica in line with an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling. Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the target would be 210 Pacific whales – about half the current catch. Japan’s defiance of a worldwide ban on whaling has angered environmentalists. Last month the ... Read More »

‘Earth-like’ planet Kepler-186f discovered by NASA scientists

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Scientists have found an Earth-sized world orbiting in a life-friendly zone around a distant star for the first time. The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star, known as Kepler-186 and located about 500 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, is smaller and redder than the ... Read More »

Finding freedom in a ‘sousveillance’ society

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Photo: The act of capturing something takes away its freedom. (Banksy image: supplied) In a world where everything is recorded by everyone, what is left of our freedom when the state collects this information? Mark Pesce writes. Cameras have become a commonplace phenomenon at protests of all sizes. No longer just the lenses of the mainstream media, high-definition cameras are ... Read More »