Phone-to-Phone Money Transfers

Owe your friend some cash but forgot your wallet? PayPal announced on Wednesday a new feature that allows phone-to-phone money transfers using technology for Android devices.

What's the Latest Development?

PayPal announced this week that its smartphone application will allow users to transfer funds electronically between phones. If you own a Samsung Nexus S phone, which uses the Android platform, you will now be able to transfer money to other Samsung Nexus S phones, or any device which shares a similar near field communications (N.F.C.) chip. The same technology is currently used to allow smartphones to exchange contact information, rather than entering in the data by hand. Already popular in Asia, N.F.C. chips are likely to become increasingly popular in the U.S.

What's the Big Idea?

Money continues its march toward abstraction. The major political discussions that took place when the dollar was taken off the gold standard seem anachronistic at a time when money is becoming further and further removed from any fixed source. Paper currency is already being phased out as some companies—airlines, for example—seek to streamline their business operations by accepting only electronic forms of money. How far off are we from the elimination of credit and debit cards? When will a single device serve all our needs, and then, how secure will our money be?

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

Carl Sagan on why he liked smoking marijuana

Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.

Photo: Photo by Robert Nelson on Unsplash / Big Think
Mind & Brain
  • Carl Sagan was a life long marijuana user and closeted advocate of legalization.
  • He once wrote an anonymous essay on the effects it had on his life and why he felt it should be legalized.
  • His insights will be vital as many societies begin to legalize marijuana.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less