Stand by the launch: The world's 1st orbiting light sail

An elegant, 400-year-old means of navigating the stars takes flight.

Image source: Planetary Society
  • The Planetary Society is about to launch LightSail 2, a crowdfunded light sail craft.
  • LightSail 2 uses photons from the sun as fuel.
  • Space X's Falcom Heavy rocket will carry LightSail 2 aloft, 720 kilometers up.
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Technology & Innovation

Collective intelligence out-diagnoses even professionals

The Human Diagnosis Project project is building the world's "open medical intelligence" system.

OSTILL is Franck Camhi via Shutterstock
  • The Human Diagnosis Project can develop medical diagnoses with startling accuracy.
  • The platform combines the knowledge of medical professionals and artifical intelligence.
  • The goal of the project is to provide open, readily available high-level guidance and training to health care professionals across the globe.
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Technology & Innovation

One-third of all slavery is visible from space

Advances in satellite imagery are shining a light.

Boyd et al., 2018
  • Today, there are 40.3 million slaves on the planet, more than the number of people living in Canada.
  • Slavery can be hard to find, but it commonly occurs in several key industries like fishing and mining.
  • Using satellite data, researchers and activists are using crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to identify sites where slavery is taking place.
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Technology & Innovation

4 big trends for the sharing economy in 2019

A growing middle-class is set to drive the sharing economy in the near future.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In 2019, it is a mind-bending exercise to reflect on the past decade of the sharing economy. A time traveller who skipped here from 2009 would note that it has fulfilled both more than, and less than, its original potential.

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Technology & Innovation

A short history of knowledge, from feudalism to the Internet

Crowdsourcing as an idea isn't anything new, says historian and sex researcher Alice Dreger. She tells us about the history of public gathering of information from the medieval era to today.

Crowdsourcing as an idea isn't anything new, says historian and sex researcher Alice Dreger. She tells us about the history of public gathering of information from the medieval era to today. The enlightenment period was a big boon to the arts and sciences, but also an even bigger help to how knowledge is organized and distributed. Is Wikipedia, with its checks and balances and appeal to honesty, more like the founding fathers' idea of America than the overtly libertarian wild west that the rest of the internet has turned into? It might seem like a leap, but Alice's position here is full of interesting suggestions like that. Alice's new book is Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice.

Technology & Innovation