A 2011 Technology Review

Assessing a momentous year for new technology, John Naughton says Twitter rules and BlackBerry crumbles, and warns politicians that silicone start-ups generate few local jobs.

What's the Latest Development?


Reflecting on another big year for new technology, John Naughton says 2011 was the year Governments all over the world had to deal with the power of social networking, "and their reactions were not exactly an endorsement." "The prominence of social networking and SMS in political upheaval is simply a measure of the extent to which these technologies have become mundane."

What's the Big Idea?

Naughton cautions optimistic U.K. politicians that start-ups and "creative industries" are wonderful things but that start-ups, especially in the tech field, create very few jobs in their home countries. "Most of the manufacturing jobs go to China or Taiwan." the most exciting product of 2011? An iPad app, Touch Press's magical evocation of TS Eliot's great poem, The Waste Land.


Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less