The Download

What's up in emerging technology


New “Rotational” 3-D Printing Gives Objects Impressive Strength

Harvard researchers have demonstrated a new technique they call “rotational 3-D printing” that provides precision control over the materials it prints.

Learning from nature: Natural products like bone and wood have complex microstructures that give them… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Lewis Lab/Harvard SEAS

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Light is all around us.

Artificial Lighting Is Hurting Ecosystems, and Tech Tweaks Can Fix It

We’re starting to understand the true effects of light pollution on the natural world—and as we do, we’ll be able to tune lights to counter the effects.

Blinded by the light: The world is incredibly illuminated. More than 10 percent of Earth’s land can… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Ashim D’Silva | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

Slack Hopes Its AI Will Keep You from Hating Slack

If you work at one of the 50,000 companies that pay to use Slack for workplace collaboration, you probably spend hours on it, swapping information, bantering, and sharing files with your colleagues. It’s a casual, flexible way to interact—you tap out...

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Yesterday This truck is not autonomous.

At the Detroit Auto Show, the Autonomous Car Dream Is Still a Way Off

Last week’s CES technology show sold a vision of driverless cars—but this week’s motor show appears to disagree.

Robotic bluster: The Verge argues that autonomous-car hype at CES was a ploy to win some much-needed public approval. As the tech blog points… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • North American International Auto Show
Bitcoin is falling.

Cryptocurrencies Plummeted Amid Talk of Clampdowns—But We Don’t Really Know Why

Bitcoin and other competing digital currencies have been suffering downturns, though you shouldn’t believe anyone who tries to tell you exactly why this is happening.

The numbers: At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price was down more than 20 percent… Read more

Net neutrality is already a hot-button topic for many people.

The Fight to Save Net Neutrality Is Heating Up

The many bids to try to stop the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules are gathering momentum.

Democrat push: Senate Democrats say they need just one more supporter to win a vote to overturn the FCC repeal. They’re using the Congressional Review Act,… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Free Press | Flickr
January 16, 2018 Typing at computer

Pairing AI with Humans Has Made Glassdoor a Success Story in the War on Trolls

Glassdoor, the jobs search and ratings site, has been able to build a collaborative working environment for its human and AI content reviewers.

The AI’s job: Machine-learning algorithms scan for fraud and profanity on the site. Cara Barry, who leads… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Ilya Pavlov | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

And the Award for Most Nauseating Self-Driving Car Goes to …

In many ways this year’s CES looked a lot more like an autonomous-car show than a consumer electronics show.

There were announcements aplenty from the likes of Ford, Baidu, Toyota, and others about self-driving vehicles, upcoming driving tests, and new...

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January 16, 2018

The World’s Biggest Shipping Firm Plans to Track the Planet’s Containers on a Blockchain

Keeping tabs on millions of shipping containers is difficult. But IBM and A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping firm, are building a blockchain they say will streamline the process and save billions of dollars.

The problem: International… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Bernard Spragg. NZ | Flickr
A Kinsa smart thermometer in use

Smart Thermometers Provide a Real-Time View of Spreading Flu Outbreaks

Tech-savvy health-concious types are giving interesting insights into this year’s flu.

Real-time tracking: The New York Times reports that Kinsa makes smartphone-paired digital thermometers claimed to be in 500,000 American homes and producing 25,000 data… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Kinsa