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Are we addicted to smartphones?

October 22, 2013 4:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, Photography by Melissa Spivak | Blogs | Comments

Do you own a “Crackberry” or, god forbid, an iPhone? Is it always within arms’ reach, and do you compulsively check it every 5-10 minutes? Do you scour your smartphone with no clear purpose in mind? And do you have a strong desire to resist this “constant connectivity”? You may be experiencing “pushback”, according to a new paper from the University of Washington. But is this a symptom of smartphone "addiction"?

Watch these DARPA-funded robots run through their frightening paces

October 16, 2013 3:46 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Boston Dynamics recently posted more video eye candy (but not necessarily ear candy) for those who can’t get enough of their amazing, creature-like robotics. The two new videos are its quadroped called the WildCat and the bipedal Atlas. The all-terrain Wildcat can run at 16 mph on a flat surface and can either gallop or “bound.” Atlas is intended to walk upright and keep its balance even on rough terrain.

This women’s makeup can launch drones

October 16, 2013 2:06 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

At long last – this red-blooded American male might finally wear makeup. And no, this isn’t an “admission” of sorts. But the ability to control electronics with metallized false eyelashes and conducting eyeshadow could simplify my life and improve my fashion sense.

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Here is the military-issued rifle for every country in the world

October 16, 2013 10:15 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's always pretty interesting to see what other military forces are working with, so Maps on the Web has graced us with this baby, which takes a look at the military rifles of all the countries. Each color signifies a particular "family" of guns with variations signified by shading of the same color.

Is the F-35 a “great national scandal”?

October 15, 2013 1:16 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In government, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. Case in point: Days after the DoD got all warm-and-fuzzy over its working relationship with Lockheed Martin and the F-35, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the Joint Strike Fighter “one of the great national scandals.”

Watch “Star Wars” recreated using an Etch a Sketch

October 14, 2013 2:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The force is strong with this one. I was never very skilled with an Etch a Sketch. And it’s not just my complete lack of artistic ability – my hands are steady as a coffee junkie (small wonder I didn’t become a doctor). But this guy is good – very, very good. Using nothing more than a garden-variety Etch a Sketch, he creates a complete recap of “Star Wars”, and it’s glorious.

Will the QF-16 be the next step in drone warfare?

October 14, 2013 11:03 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

What happens when a fighter jet is too old to be used in combat by the Air Force, but too expensive to totally dump? It becomes a drone, at least sometimes it does. The F-16 Fighting Falcon was acquired by Boeing after being retired by the Air Force. In turn the aerospace company turned the old school jet into a brand new drone to be used for military training.

It’s a man’s world

October 10, 2013 3:17 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

The lack of women in engineering has been an ongoing issue for some time. In terms of progress, we have seen some marvelous improvements and change for the better. But according to the National Science Foundation’s most recent statistics, an astonishing gender disparity remains....

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Why Twitter is a male chauvinist’s dream company

October 9, 2013 4:57 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Twitter is in big trouble. The company, which recently began preparing to go public, came under fire for its all-male board and lack of female executives within the company. All of this was pointed out in a NYT’s piece by Clair Cain Miller where Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance...

Why the U.S. sucks at math

October 9, 2013 4:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

No doubt about it – we're failing our children. We take it for granted that American children lag behind the rest of the world in STEM literacy: In a recent survey, U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 25th out of 34 developed countries in mathematics. We also assume that kiddies are born with a natural affinity for math and science. But what if STEM literacy isn’t an innate skill? What if it can be taught?

Meet the voice behind Siri

October 9, 2013 2:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Internet, meet Siri. Siri, meet the internet. Surprise! It’s not really Siri. Obviously, Siri is a computer program on the iPhone, but Susan Bennett is the voice behind the virtual assistant. Bennett says the sassy, somewhat martyred, voice was a product of some July 2005 recording sessions for GM Voices.

Watch dead batteries power smartphones

October 8, 2013 2:02 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

When we speak of “reanimating the dead”, we usually don’t mean dead batteries. And we certainly don’t harness these used electrochemical cells – Frankenstein-style – into a giant, mutated power station. Yet that’s exactly what Thailand’s Vitamilk did by resurrecting a battalion of dead batteries and channeling their energy to power small electronics....

Why IKEA's solar panels are a great idea

October 8, 2013 12:31 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though Americans can already buy solar panels at Home Depot and Lowes, customers in the UK are just getting the opportunity as IKEA, the Swedish flat-pack furniture store, will start stocking the panels.This is such a great step towards mainstreaming the renewable energy market.

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This dating website caters to ghosts

October 4, 2013 10:08 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Who says being dead has to kill your love life? Yes, a dating website actually caters to ghosts, because of course it does....and no, this isn’t a joke (at least in the sense that the website actually exists). The Internet’s limitless potential for putting the sum total of humanity’s accumulated knowledge at a keystroke has the incidental effect of uniting lonely singles who prefer niche preferences, but ethereal spirits? That’s a new one.

Why the iPhone 5s makes me nauseous

October 3, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

For a girl who loves her Apple products, I’ve generally been pretty un-opinionated about the iOS 7. I’ve heard some complaints about the size of the app icons and other curmudgeonly complaints as everyone slowly updates. My favorite—and most frequently heard—complaint is actually that they changed the color of some of the app icons and now no one can find anything.

Top 10 must-see stories for September

October 3, 2013 3:30 pm | 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.

How the DEA gets its cell phone data fix

October 3, 2013 9:55 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In the early 1980s, the old, pre-Cingular AT&T came out with an ad campaign urging us to "reach out and touch someone” to market its long distance products. It seems that today’s AT&T has been helping the government access its enormous database of phone records – dating back 26 years with 4 billion call records being added everyday....

This office-training parody will make you nostalgic for the '80s

October 1, 2013 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ah, the ‘80s ... the Cold War was winding down, Arnold Schwarzenegger was terminating box office receipts, and hokey office-training videos were at their peak. Grasshopper – a company that provides entrepreneurs with virtual phone systems – captured all that and more in their parody/viral marketing campaign, the “Epic 80s Entrepreneur Training Video.”

California Internet “erase” button for teens faces not-so-minor hurdles

September 30, 2013 10:26 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

On September 23, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring all web sites to have an “eraser” button for users under 18 to delete their posts (SB 658). I couldn’t agree more that teens (and adults) posting damaging information about themselves and others is a

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.

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.

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