When Mobile Phones Become Eco-Watchdogs

From the Department of Really Cool Gadgets comes a protoype for a mobile phone that will alert us to all the bad stuff out there.

It can sense pollen counts, measure ozone levels and gauge excess carbon in the air. It's the real-life version of Star Trek's tricorder.

Eric Paulos of the Human-Computer Interface Interaction Institute is pioneering research into developing consumer-grade tricorders to measure environmental conditions in real time. In addition to keeping device users abreast of health concerns, the potential to create citizen scientists with environmental data at their fingertips has huge implications for public education.

With the iPhone christening the age of readily-adaptable mobile technology, the landscape is ripe for hand-held's to be fine-tuned for applications far beyond mobile communication. And not surprisingly the military has been one of the first buyers on the tricorder market, leveraging them to sense the heat coming from terrorists through concrete wall and other physical barriers.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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