Comcast being able to extort money out of Netflix to run on their network is just the beginning of content producers and providers getting screwed. Goodbye free internet.
The companies that control the internet have continued down a dark path, free of any oversight or meaningful competition to check their behavior. In January, AT&T announced a new “sponsored data” plan that would dramatically alter the fierce one-click-away competition that’s thus far characterized the internet. Earlier this month, Comcast announced plans to merge with Time Warner Cable, creating an internet service behemoth that will serve 40 percent of Americans in 19 of the 20 biggest markets with virtually no rivals.
And after months of declining Netflix performance on Comcast’s network, the two companies announced a new “paid peering” arrangement on Sunday, which will see Netflix pay Comcast for better access to its customers, a capitulation Netflix has been trying to avoid for years. Paid peering arrangements are common among the network companies that connect the backbones of the internet, but consumer companies like Netflix have traditionally remained out of the fray — and since there’s no oversight or transparency into the terms of the deal, it’s impossible to know what kind of precedent it sets. Broadband industry insiders insist loudly that the deal is just business as usual, while outside observers are full of concerns about the loss of competition and the increasing power of consolidated network companies. Either way, it’s clear that Netflix has decided to take matters — and costs — into its own hands, instead of relying on rational policy to create an effective and fair marketplace.
In a surprising breakthrough for the world of materials science, researchers have created some of the most powerful artificial muscles we’ve ever seen. And they did it with simple fishing line. These freakishly strong and cheap muscles could revolutionize robotics, and perhaps one day our bodies.
Ray Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, has spent much of his career trying to build artificial muscles out expensive, cutting-edge materials like carbon nanotubes. But Baughman’s team recently discovered that elegant solutions can come in cheap and easy packages: the answers to many of their research questions could be bought for $5 at a local tackle shop. Sometimes, scientific discoveries are just a matter of rethinking how we use something that’s part of our everyday lives.
Study co-author Márcio D. Lima demonstrates the strength and energy density of his team’s artificial muscles “The energy per cycle that we obtain from these artificial muscles, and their weightlifting abilities, are extraordinary,” says Baughman. “They can lift about 100 times heavier weight and generate about 100-times higher power than natural muscle of the same weight and length.” When Baughman says power, he’s referring to the the rate at which these artificial muscles perform (i.e. the work they carry out per unit time). It’s a measurement that most people are accustomed to hearing expressed in units of horsepower. Buaghman’s fishing line muscles can generate about seven horsepower of mechanical power per kilogram of polymer fiber. That’s the kind of power-to-weight ratio you see with jet engines –about five-times that of your typical internal combustion engine.
Try the demo on the website. It claimed to have doubled my reading speed instantly. Pretty cool if that’s a fact.
Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays. Scrolling, pinching, and resizing a reading area doesn’t fix the problem and only frustrates people. Now, with compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our “Redicle” technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you. Best of all, Spritz’s patent-pending technology can integrate into photos, maps, videos, and websites to promote more effective communication.
Super Mario Bros. theme duplicated almost exactly with an instrument invented thousands of years ago!
Listen to this young girl playing her sheng, a Chinese instrument invented thousands of years ago. The woodwind may be ancient, but the sound is pure 1980s nostalgia—it’s the Super Mario Brothers theme, right down to the sounds of Mario collecting coins and mushrooms. Amazing!
Music was a big part of the old school Nintendo experience, and it’s eerie how the notes coming out of an instrument you probably never heard of sound so shockingly familiar. This young musician has certainly put in a ton of practice—clearly, all those hours playing Super Mario have paid off. [YouTube via TastefullyOffensive] (via This Centuries-Old Musical Instrument Sounds Exactly Like Super Mario)
It’s happening in Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, Bosnia, Syria, and beyond. Revolutions, unrest, and riots are sweeping the globe. The near-simultaneous eruption of violent protest can seem random and chaotic; inevitable symptoms of an unstable world. But there’s at least one common thread between the disparate nations, cultures, and people in conflict, one element that has demonstrably proven to make these uprisings more likely: high global food prices.
Just over a year ago, complex systems theorists at the New England Complex Systems Institute warned us that if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe. Sure enough, we’re seeing them now. The paper’s author, Yaneer
Bar-Yam, charted the rise in the FAO food price index—a measure the UN uses to map the cost of food over time—and found that whenever it rose above 210, riots broke out worldwide. It happened in 2008 after the economic collapse, and again in 2011, when a Tunisian street vendor who could no longer feed his family set himself on fire in protest. Bar-Yam built a model with the data, which then predicted that something like the Arab Spring would ensue just weeks before it did. Four days before Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation helped ignite the revolution that would spread across the region, NECSI submitted a government report that highlighted the risk that rising food prices posed to global stability. Now, the model has once again proven prescient—2013 saw the third-highest food prices on record, and that’s when the seeds for the conflicts across the world were sewn.