CNN recently reported on the "death" of the home stereo system, and while that's an exaggeration, few people -- young or old -- have "stereos" anymore. CNN was asleep at the wheel on this one; precious few folks have had stereos for decades. Music is now almost always consumed in cars, and over phones and plastic computer or Bluetooth speakers. If there's an imminent "death" on the horizon, it will surely strike MP3 players and iPods. Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Film crew to dig up Atari landfill site, maybe score 3.5 million copies of E.T.
- The opposite of standing desks: the computer workstation for the person with everything.
- Unlocking The Truth is the most brutal sixth grade metal band ever.
- Hatebeak: a death metal band fronted by a parrot.
SAN FRANCISCO--Google Maps began as roads and satellite photos. Now, through a project called Ground Truth, it's becoming an ever more sophisticated virtual mirror of the real world.
But how? Google engineers described their methods Wednesday at the Google I/O show, describing how they've moved from licensing satellite photos to building 3D version of the world that can be updated in minutes.
The answer might surprise close Google watchers accustomed to the company's heavily automated, algorithmic, computer-centric way of doing things. There's plenty of that, but it also takes lots of elbow grease, said Michael … Read more
Google today said it had updated maps for 10 countries and regions in Europe, bringing the number of countries it has mapped through its globe-spanning Ground Truth project to 40.
The new maps cover the following places: Andorra, Bulgaria, Estonia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
The update comes as part of Ground Truth, the 4-year-old effort to combine licensed map data with algorithms, photography, and old-fashioned human labor to create the best map possible.
In addition to new roads and highways, the update encompasses walking paths, ferry lines, building outlines, park boundaries, and university campuses, Google said … Read more
Climate change activist, former vice president, and near-president Al Gore will present a 24-hour live Webcast--"24 Hours of Reality"--on September 14-15 that's meant to counteract what a statement about the event calls misinformation on global warming.
The Webcast consists of 24 back-to-back screenings of a new multimedia presentation by Gore, introduced live by presenters in 24 different parts of the world, and in 13 different languages. It heralds a new focus for Gore's nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection, which is changing its name to The Climate Reality Project. Reads a statement on the Reality Project's Web site:
This campaign comes at a critical time. As the impacts of climate change are growing more prevalent, so is the resistance to finding the truth and implementing solutions. Just like the tobacco companies that spent decades in denial that smoking causes cancer, oil and coal companies are determined to sow denial and confusion about the science of climate change, ignore its impacts, and create apathy among our leaders. This event is the first step in a larger, multi-faceted campaign to tell the truth about the climate crisis and reject the misinformation we hear every day."
Apple is facing criticism from a gay rights group after the company approved an iPhone app from a religious ministry that encourages people to "cure" themselves of homosexuality.
Advocating "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus," Exodus International launched its app last month to spread the word about its cause. The app connects users to the ministry's Web site and offers links to its latest news and blog posts.
Lie Detector Pro is a fun app that allegedly can detect whether you are generally a liar or generally truthful, but mostly it's just fun to play with. To start the test, place the iPhone in your hand, read the instructions, and hit Next. From there you will be asked a series of questions onscreen, and you will need to speak your answers out loud.
The app supposedly measures your stress level, the tonality of your voice, and whether your hands are shaking to detect if you are dishonest in your replies. The questions are mostly simple ("What … Read more
New particle trapping technology and significantly lower sulfur diesel fuel has opened the door for more diesel-powered vehicles to be sold in all 50 states. But the increase in engine cleanliness hasn't translated into increased diesel vehicle sales the way German automakers wanted.
The problem? Consumer perception hasn't caught up with engineering advances.
To combat the dated stigma that diesels are dirty, slow, expensive, and won't start in the cold, VW has launched TDI Truth & Dare, a new Web site that aims to debunk these myths.
The videos may provide a bit of entertaining education, but … Read more
It takes a total geek from out of this world (think the nerds from "Big Bang Theory") to cough up good money (about $45) for this, let alone wear it on a date. If this were April Fool's, we'd have thumbed our noses at it as a gimmicky gag. As it is, we'll leave you to decide if this portable lie detector is what you really, really need.
The literature takes some wading through, specifying this as a wearable device that "dynamically reflects your psycho-emotional response to the world, promoting internal states to be … Read more