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This drone will make sure you’re never lost again

September 27, 2013 12:10 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

You know that moment when you’re walking around say, a college campus, and suddenly realize you’re horribly lost and all the buildings of ivy-covered bricks look exactly the same? Yeah, me neither, but apparently it happens a lot at MIT because they’ve developed a drone to make sure you’re always on the right path.

E-Meters turn to smart relay drivers for remote grid management

September 26, 2013 4:20 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Smart meters have been touted to consumers as being integral in helping them lower their utility bills. Armed with accurate information – such as consumption pertaining to specific times of day – consumers can then adjust their behaviors to shrink their bills and their carbon emissions and, if regulations allow, even select from different pricing structures....

Watch a sniper rifle obliterate an iPhone 5S

September 26, 2013 1:41 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some people have waaaaaaaay too much money to burn. Take, for example, this guy, who likes to film himself destroying popular consumer devices with high-powered rifles. His latest victim: a Gold iPhone 5S, which he annihilates with a Barrett M82A1 .50 sniper rifle.

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Check out dogs frolicking in "Bullet Time"

September 25, 2013 12:07 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

If this doesn’t warm your heart, then I’d check your pulse. Remember that cool “Bullet Time” visual effect from The Matrix (and about a dozen other movies and video games since)? A handful of amateur filmmakers used the technique to film dogs at play, and it’s every bit as delightful as it sounds.

Surrender your smartphone, save 10% off your bill

September 24, 2013 3:02 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In this week’s episode of 'Getting People to Stop Acting Like Jerks and Start Acting Like Human Beings', a restaurant in Beirut has decided they’re going to start bribing customers to put down the smartphone and interact with actual people at the actual table.

Feeling angry? Blame your social network

September 20, 2013 4:10 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

The internet has often been described as a very large town square. In fact, one such comparison has been attributed to Bill Gates. Unfortunately, not everything that goes on in the town square is civilized. Stocks, tar and feathers, and angry mobs come to mind. It’s not surprising, then, that much of what we communicate online among our social networks isn’t the most cheerful subject matter.

This is what the world’s largest walking robot looks like

September 19, 2013 3:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Meet Tradinno, the world’s largest, walking robot who also happens to be a fire-breathing, blood-spewing dragon of death and destruction. Okay, the death and destruction part is hear-say, but the rest is true. Tradinno is 51-feet long and almost 30-feet high with a 40-foot wingspan.

Lego releases female in STEM career ... and she’s no “Lady Scientist”

September 16, 2013 2:23 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems the Danish toy brick conglomerate has finally accepted the fact that womenfolk inhabit the STEM fields. Earlier this month, Lego released the company’s first female scientist, Professor C. Bodin – and she’s not clad in "girly" clothing or given the patronizing title of "Lady Scientist."

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Ohio tries to put a good face on its unsettling new surveillance practice

September 13, 2013 12:38 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you expect and enjoy a fair amount of anonymity in public, the state of Ohio and perhaps the state you live in have a program that will fly in the face of that increasingly antiquated notion. According to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer, police in Ohio are able to use facial recognition technology to match a person’s photo....

Why Apple's iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner is the dumbest feature

September 12, 2013 11:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention at a dinner last night that I am not fully supportive of the new iPhone. As you might have noticed from previous posts, I am an Apple FanGirl. I have a MacBook Pro, a Macbook Air, an iPad, an iPhone 5, an Apple TV, and various generations of the iPod (iPod Mini anyone?).

Fighting an invisible enemy: How UV robots are clearing the way for germ-free hospitals

September 11, 2013 2:17 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Though medical devices are always moving towards less invasive, more effective technology, they face a constant, persistent and ever-evolving enemy in deadly bacteria and infections. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can be caused by any infectious agent and result in 99,0000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Has global cooling begun? Arctic ice caps grow by 60% in a year

September 11, 2013 11:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The arctic will be "ice-free by 2013." This was typical of the breathless pronouncements made by scientists, climatologists, and even NASA over the last decade or so. All the while, the summers were getting colder and the ice caps more voluminous — quite a bit more, apparently. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Arctic ice cap grew by nearly a million square miles from 2012-2013, an increase of 60% year over year.

Widespread license plate scanning presents an open road for abuse

September 9, 2013 5:09 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“If you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Well that’s good. But for those of us who are only human and occasionally make mistakes or sometimes do things that are nobody’s business but our own, please keep reading.

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Women in the workplace: The 1940s guide to gender stereotypes

September 9, 2013 2:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Watch out for women in the workplace. They’re jealous of each other, more sensitive than men, and SCARY! At least that’s according to this hilariously outdated instructional video from 1944 which probably did more to perpetuate gender stereotypes than shore them up.

This is how you prepare an observatory for space

September 5, 2013 4:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you think about testing, you’re probably picturing a bench with the component and a few related tools. However, when you work for NASA and you’re testing an observatory for space, it’s a little bit of a different situation. This is NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, to its friends), which is being prepared for its launch on September 6.

"Internet addiction" is a real disease ... according to new inpatient facility

September 4, 2013 4:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Waste lots of time on the Internet looking at cat pictures and playing Minecraft? You should immediately fork over $14K to an inpatient facility in Pennsylvania — the first of its kind in the US – to treat your chronic internet addiction. Don’t believe that Internet addiction is a real disease? Shows your ignorance — you obviously don’t have a “Dr.” in front of your name.

Top 10 must-read posts from August

September 3, 2013 11:17 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

Take a virtual tour of the world's largest solar thermal plant

August 28, 2013 4:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system is the world’s largest solar thermal plant. The project, started in October 2010, is located on 3,500 acres in California’s Mojave Desert—50 miles northwest of Needles California and five miles from the California-Nevada border—on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The 1950s guide to using a rotary dial phone

August 26, 2013 2:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

As we grow accustomed to the newest versions of smart phones, computers, and tablets, it’s sometimes difficult to remember their humble beginnings. Luckily, it’s also sometimes hilarious. This is a video that explains how to use a rotary phone to make a call. While it’s somewhat funny to watch now, it’s also a little funny to think about the fact that in a short time—five to ten years...

Do we need tougher cyberbullying legislation?

August 23, 2013 4:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A Huffington Post article draws attention to a disturbing new form of cyberbullying: “RIP trolling”, or the practice of trolling online memorials to mock their alleged insincerity. The article champions “digital proxies” who can help filter out distressing online content for the mourners. This also raises an important point: Do we need stricter cyberbullying legislation?

This is what a 550-ton hovercraft landing on a Russian beach looks like

August 21, 2013 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Alright, so technically the beach is a military zone and, technically, it's not a beach that people should be swimming from or sunbathing on, but that is one scary-looking piece of military equipment. According to a Russian defense ministry spokesperson, it's actually a government-owned beach and the landing was part of some military practice maneuvers.

Robotic barista automates your coffee addiction

August 21, 2013 9:56 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Can’t live without your morning cup of joe, but hate dealing with snooty baristas at hipster coffee shops and the imprecise hands of flesh-and-blood humans? Modern technology has finally married our addiction to hot, caffeinated beverages with our similar – but no less potent – love of wacky vending machines – the robot barista.

Glow-in-the-dark rabbits in the interest of science (seriously!)

August 15, 2013 11:59 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Scientists from universities in Turkey and Hawaii managed to breed rabbits — two out of a litter of eight — that glow in the dark. They assure us it’s all in the interest of science (as if glow-in-the-dark rabbits wasn’t a noble feat in and of itself). And the team hasn’t been experimenting with radioactive spiders (darn!).

North Korean “indigenous” smartphone manufactured at unicorn factory by Keebler Elves

August 13, 2013 2:21 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

North Korea’s “supreme leader”, Kim Jong-un, recently toured a Pyongyang factory, where workers are busy “manufacturing” the DPRK’s first “indigenous” smartphone, the “Arirang.” And if you had the woe-begotten idea that this Android device is a cheap Chinese knock-off with the DPRK label slapped on it, think again — the official North Korean news agency assures us that the Arirang includes a camera function with “high pixels.”

Can LIDAR smooth out the bumps in air travel?

August 12, 2013 10:05 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

For those who have experienced clear air turbulence, there’s some welcome news from Europe. Researchers at the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics are using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to analyze clear air turbulence, and data gathered from this project will provide information....

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