Business Digital Government

New 4G Contracts Test Beijing’s Fair Trade Commitment

The coming months will be a pivotal time for Beijing to show its commitment to free trade, as China’s three telcoms operators get set to award billions of dollars in new contracts to build 4G mobile networks. The building spree will mark the first batch of big new contracts since both the U.S. and Europe took moves last year that could severely limit or ban the import of Chinese networking equipment for reasons of national security and unfair competition.   More

Digital Video

Does Facebook Want to Make Us Closer or More Separate?

A thoughtful article at Wired.com by Evan Selinger asks the right questions about the TV ads for the new Facebook Home app for Android phones. How appropriate is the kind of self-absorbed distraction that the ads depict users of the software indulging in? Should we celebrate people who tune out those around them, opting instead for entertainment provided by their friends? While one ad shows a guy on a plane being greeted by a young relative, another depicts a young woman at a family dinner completely ignoring her relatives as she enjoys her friends' snowball fight, a ballet performance, and a loud drummer.   More

Digital

How to Fake an Internet Phenom in Five Easy Steps

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True story: Kevin Ashton, general manager of consumer electronics firm, Belkin, offers a remarkable step-by-step tutorial in Quartz on how to create the next big household name using social media. It’s easier than you’d think. Using some ingenuity and a little cash ($68, to be exact), Ashton created “Santiago Swallow,” a modern-day Internet celebrity with a verified Twitter account and more than 90,000 followers—who is entirely fake.   More

Life Science

A Cancer Genomics Arms Race Is Underway

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Supercomputers and DNA sequencing instruments are the weapons of choice in an "arms race within the war on cancer." Medical centers in New York City alone are reportedly spending more than $1 billion on building, equipping, and staffing new genomic research centers.   More

Learning

Student Activists Want Schools to Teach Entrepreneurship

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An effort to engage students in discussions about education policy got its start last year as nothing more than a Twitter hashtag, #StuVoice. But with more than a thousand followers, Student Voice has now become a movement, and this month, with support from Dell, the group organized its first live event. On a recent Saturday morning, elevator doors at Microsoft's New York office opened to a crowded scene of high school and college students chattering away in much-longer-than-140-character conversations. One of the most popular panels featured several successful teen entrepreneurs discussing how the current education system fails to support entrepreneurship.   More

IoE Video

MakerSwarm Aims to Open the Internet of Everything to Everyone

The Internet of Things is about lots of things. Not just the Internet of your things, or five or seven of some company's things that don't really play well with any other company's things. It's about casually connecting ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million, a trillion things to build a richer more connected life. Last week at DEMO Mobile, my company, MAYA Design, offered a sneak peek into a new app from our secret labs. It's an authoring tool for the Internet of Everything called MakerSwarm. MakerSwarm allows anyone—kids, geeks, moms, dads, me, you—to connect smart devices in minutes without writing a single line of code.   More

Life Science

Technology to Unlock Cancer Data for Patients’ Sake

GenoSpace CEO John Quackenbush

"If you think about the scientific revolutions that have occurred in history, they've been driven by one thing--the availability of data. From Copernicus to quantum mechanics, it's data that drives innovation." So says computational biologist John Quackenbush in an interview in the May edition of Fast Company. And despite all the talk about massive amounts of genomic data being churned out by next-generation sequencing instruments, much of it is not actually available, at least not in the way Quackenbush and a lot of cancer patients want it to be.   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Now, Everybody’s an Investigator

As the real-time manhunt continues in Boston—with the city on lockdown and one suspect still at large—we’re witnessing a profound shift in the role of the crowd. Since the Boston Marathon attacks on Monday, the public has been asked for by law enforcement officials, and taken it upon themselves, to help solve the crime. Having a plethora of evidence from a variety of sources—photos, video, and eyewitness accounts—has been key in the effort to apprehend the perpetrators. But where it gets hazy is when the public, emboldened on sites like Reddit and 4Chan Think Tank, becomes judge and jury, and ends up wrongly implicating lookalikes.   More

IoE

Everything Changes with the Internet of Everything

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If you get lost, your sneakers could help find you. The coming age of the Internet of everything promises radical shifts in how we live, how we solve problems, and how we recover from difficulty. The technology industry is racing to instrument and connect a vast range of things and processes in the physical and digital worlds. Several big companies have identified it as a giant opportunity—Amazon, Cisco, Ericsson, GE, IBM, and Qualcomm among them. They all believe that what many call the Internet of everything (or IoE) could have an even bigger impact on the world than the Internet we had on the world that preceded it.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

New Smartphone Moves From Alibaba, China Mobile

Smartphone image via Shutterstock

We’re seeing some interesting new moves in the smartphone space from e-commerce leader Alibaba and dominant carrier China Mobile, as each makes big new bets in the fast-evolving area. Alibaba is launching its mobile operating system on a new series of smartphones with several Chinese partners, following a similar aborted attempt last year. China Mobile, meanwhile, is planning a major overhaul for its popular but rapidly aging Fetion mobile messaging service, in an attempt to compete with newer, more popular third-party apps like Tencent’s WeChat.   More

Cities

Rock-Bottom Real Estate Creates Opportunity in Detroit

Detroit image via Shutterstock

Jerry Paffendorf and Dan Gilbert have radically different visions of urban renewal, but both seek to leverage the depressed Detroit real-estate market to spur entrepreneurship and opportunity. Paffendorf, a refugee from the Silicon Valley startup scene, created a website called "Why Don't We Own This?" which offers prospective buyers an information-rich online map of auction property. The idea behind the site is to encourage innovators to buy and renovate inexpensive properties to use for creative or entrepreneurial endeavors.   More

Business Digital

Too Much Like-Mindedness Hurts Companies, and the Country

(Image via Shutterstock)

After the political rhetoric and partisan saber-rattling of the elections, the fiscal cliff debate, and recent presidential appointments, the country seems increasingly divided. In their book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing focus on one of the long-term trends driving the political rift. As Americans have become increasingly mobile over the last 40 years, they have sorted themselves into increasingly homogeneous neighborhoods, choosing to live near those who share similar beliefs, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.   More

Cities Digital Security & Privacy

Investigators Will Crowdsource Clues to Boston Attack

Tracking down the perpetrators of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing will depend in part on determining the techniques they used, an aspect of the investigation that will rely heavily on evidence gathered from videos and photos of the crime scene. The New Yorker's Paige Williams spoke with former crime-scene analyst and Boston University School of Medicine instructor Adam B. Hall about the types of clues investigators will be looking for, and why. Forensic chemistry, explains Hall, lets investigators put together chemical evidence in crimes that involve drugs, arson, and explosives. To learn about the devices used in the Boston attack, Hall says investigators will be collecting every piece of evidence they can.   More

Cities Digital Security & Privacy

Google’s Person Finder Launched Moments After Boston Explosions

Google Person Finder

Within moments of the explosions at the finish line of the Boson Marathon today, Google put its Person Finder into action to help friends and family locate loved ones who might have been affected and were unreachable by cell phone. At 7:00 pm, the app was tracking about 3,000 records.   More

Digital

Want to Appear in a Crowdsourced Music Video? Click Here Now

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The Dutch design studio Moniker wants you to help animate its new music video. Featuring the music of Light Light, the project, called "Do Not Touch," records the movement of users' pointers as they collectively "behave" in response to onscreen images and instructions. At last view, 41,446 pointers (and counting) have participated in the video. The experience is surprisingly meditative, despite the antics of anarchist pointers who refuse to follow instructions. The highlight is simultaneously watching and participating as thousands of arrows form a smiley face.   More

Digital Life Science

The Healing Power of the Crowd

The applications of crowdfunding—leveraging technology to raise small contributions from the many—continue to grow. The crowdfunding platform is now being utilized to finance disaster relief, build startups, develop scientific research, support artists and musicians, develop inventions, enable citizen journalism, and aid political campaigns. Now a former Peace Corps volunteer, 26-year-old Chase Adam, is using crowdfunding to increase access to healthcare in 13 developing countries.   More

Digital Government Partner Insights

Coming, Ready or Not: Cell Phones as Sensors

In the Mexican city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas state, an interesting experiment is unfolding that could be an early forerunner of a future trend—the use of cell phones as sensors. Under the city's "Vigilante Taxi Driver" program, cab drivers use GPS-enabled cell phones to send messages and photographs about everything from accidents and potholes to burst water mains, downed streetlights and criminal activity—effectively acting as additional eyes and ears of government to combat high crime rates and run-down infrastructure. The reports go to a control center for routing to the appropriate government agency.   More

Jobs Learning

Big Data Era Creates Demand for New Breed of Scientist

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With mountains of Big Data piling up, it's no surprise that the need for Big Data scientists is also increasing, and that universities are responding to the need with new training programs. The University of Washington, which offers a Big Data Ph.D., is one of several programs featured in a story today by New York Times tech reporter Claire Cain Miller.   More

Cities Digital Global Tech

Alibaba, Baidu Invest in Chinese Taxi Apps

Shanghai taxi image via Shutterstock

The rapid rise of location-based services (LBS) on the Internet is spawning a new generation of start-up companies, with taxi finders one of the latest to join the trend. Such apps use GPS technology to create services that rely on a person’s location, such as helping that person to find nearby restaurants or shops. Just this week a friend was telling me about one such new LBS to help frustrated consumers find taxis, and now we’re reading about two other companies that are moving onto the investor radar with their own new tie-ups.   More

Learning

Startup Helps Teachers Keep Tabs on Digital Reading

Anyone who can remember cramming last minute for an exam or skipping whole chapters of assigned reading in the classroom may soon be part of a long-gone era. With the growing popularity of the flipped classroom and greater integration of technology into the curriculum, teachers are discovering a whole new set of tools to help monitor student progress. At Texas A&M University, for instance, educators no longer have to wonder about which students are sidestepping textbook readings—they already know.   More