Learning How Computers Work on the Inside...for $25

The Raspberry Pi, a kind of hobbyist-kit computer, is poised to increase hardware and software skills for kids and adults in both developed and developing countries.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Now available online, the Raspberry Pi allows anyone who's interested in understanding the blood and guts of a computer to put one together from scratch for only $25. Note that this isn't the kind of computer that will replace your iPad: Comprised of basic parts, the kit is designed to introduce users to the mysteries that take place within the typical computer case. Once the machine is assembled, it can be put to work powering robots and games, among other projects.

What's the Big Idea? 

Eben Upton, the designer behind the Raspberry Pi, was motivated by the realization that for many kids, "computer knowledge" increasingly involved software, not hardware. "They were still messing around on computers, but they weren’t messing around with them....They had changed from active hackers to passive consumers." In the 1980s, he and his friends learned both hardware and software design using a similar hobbyist's-kit computer, and so he decided to create a modern version. The Raspberry Pi's huge success with kids as well as adults in developing countries has inspired Upton to create a nonprofit foundation dedicated to building enough units to create and support an active owner community.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less