Global Tech

Xiaomi Steals Google Exec on Road to Global Stage

Xiami

Most of the world is buzzing with speculation about what prompted a top Google executive to defect to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, but few are giving much credit to one of China’s hottest tech companies for luring Hugo Barra to join its ranks. Most media are focusing instead on an apparent love triangle between Google co-founder Sergey Brin and an unnamed current love interest, who just happens to be an ex-girlfriend of Barra. But instead, I would venture to guess that Barra’s departure has less to do with this titillating love story, and more to do with Xiaomi’s aggressive global aspirations   More

Media & Marketing

Armed with Smartphones and Social Media, Brazil’s Mídia Ninja Spreads the News

(Photo via Shutterstock)

There’s a new kind of journalism coming from the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The Mídia Ninja is a collective of volunteer citizen journalists who are using smartphones and cameras to record and live-stream street protests in Brazil. And as its influence grows, the ninja is setting the agenda for political discontent, The Guardian reports. The Mídia Ninja has used social media to break news stories on police infiltrations, wrongful arrests, and more. In the past few months it has grown to a group of 2,000 collaborators in 100 cities, and it is beating the mainstream media to important stories.   More

Business Global Tech

WeChat Faces U.S. Skeptics, Banking Friction

WeChat screenshots via Flickr

I’ve been traveling through Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau these last few days, so thought I’d end the week with a look at Tencent’s hugely popular WeChat mobile messaging service and the challenges it faces in its quest to go global and commercialize. I’ve been quite surprised by how widespread WeChat, known in Chinese as Weixin, has become in all three of these Chinese-speaking areas. But at the same time, comments from one of my industry friends also indicate Tencent could face an uphill battle winning acceptance in the US, where it could face heavy competition from rival products and skepticism due to its China connections. New media reports also indicate WeChat’s hyped new relationship with China Merchants Bank may also be running into problems, indicating the road to commercialization may not be as smooth as Tencent had hoped.   More

Jobs Learning

America’s Economic Recovery Hinges on STEM Education

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Of all of the potential threats to an economic recovery in the United States, one issue stands above the rest for companies like Dow. The issue isn’t tax reform. It isn’t energy prices. It’s not even budget issues in Washington. All of those are important. Perhaps the most important issue for us at Dow—the one that has the potential to either wreck or resurrect the American economy—is whether this country has enough qualified workers to sustain the economic recovery that we see looming just over the horizon.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Internet of Things

Why Designers and Engineers Need Chances to Cross-Pollinate

Understanding and making the most of disruptive technologies such as genomics, robotics, the internet of things, and synthetic biology will be a challenge best met by a mix of engineers and designers, says designer Jonathan Follett, principal at Involution Studios. In a podcast with O'Reilly's Jenn Webb today, Follett says that the problems these new technologies present to humanity make it crucial that the two disciplines evolve and work together.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Detroit Startup Wants the World to Get Glocal

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Launched in 2011, Detroit's Glocal offers users a tailored local experience via online community forums. It aims to counter a loss of connection with local community that many see as a negative effect of the global hyper-connectedness driven by social media. Techonomy spoke with Glocal President Lincoln Cavalieri about the importance of zooming in on what’s happening in your own neck of the woods.   More

Cities

Why Detroit Is Fertile Ground for an Innovation District

With 90-percent occupancy rates, 10,000 new jobs, a brand new Whole Foods, and the repurposing of a long-abandoned GM building as a design center, midtown-downtown Detroit—soon to be linked by a new rail line—is poised to become the country’s next "innovation district," suggest Brookings Institution's Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley in The New Republic this week.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Global Tech

No PhD Required: Science Goes Grassroots

Champions of Change honoree Karen Oberahuser (University of Minnesota)

“Citizen science” is trendy. From keynote presentations at major scientific conferences to official recognition from the White House, citizen science seems to be everywhere. But what exactly is it? Broadly defined, citizen science covers any activity by which regular people are contributing to scientific research, or integrating science more closely in their day-to-day lives. (We’ve already seen how people are getting involved through crowdsourcing; this new trend goes a step further.) Citizen scientists are those who believe in the power of technology and research—and are finding ways to advance their lives and those of others by embracing a scientific approach.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Detroit’s Workfolio Helps Anyone Build Their Own Personal Website

Workfolio Interesting

Workfolio was founded in Detroit, but today also operates out of New York. The company aims to make creating online professional profile websites intuitive for everyone in the working world. Techonomy spoke with Workfolio Founder and CEO Charles Pooley about personal branding, how he got into DIY Web design, and what sets Detroit apart from other cities.   More

Business Cities

As the Maker Movement Surges, So Do “Stories” of Creation

Big art at [freespace], a collaborative working space in San Francisco's SOMA district. Image via Ewan McIntosh of Flickr

On a stretch of San Francisco's Mission Street where multi-tenant housing residents, a homeless population, and employees of the hulking Federal building tensely coexist, a “civic hack” is transforming a vacant building. The two-month [freespace] experiment undertaken by social entrepreneurs, artists, activists, techies, and locals is changing the neighborhood. The truth is that sharing space can be difficult. The quiet, well-equipped home office or garage workshop outfitted with your own sharp tools seems safer and easier, albeit less dynamic. But collaborative spaces offer clear benefits: serendipitous connections spark ideas, learning, and opportunities to tackle larger challenges.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Tesla Hits China Speed Bump, BYD Turns Around

(Image via Shutterstock)

A couple of interesting news bits are coming from the new energy vehicle sector, including a potential roadblock into the China market for up-and-coming U.S. player Tesla and new results from struggling domestic electric car maker BYD that look encouraging but not too exciting. The main common theme in this latest news is that new energy vehicle makers continue to hold out hopes for the China market, banking on strong government policies to boost the market, even though progress has been slow so far.   More

Business Media & Marketing

Potential Google-NFL Deal Means Season Games on YouTube

If reports of a potential Google-NFL deal pan out, come 2015, Sunday Ticket subscribers could be watching season games on YouTube. With DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket rights set to expire at the close of the 2014 season, competitors will soon have the chance to bid on the popular sports content package, putting an apparently interested Google in good position to take control. Speculation of the Sunday Ticket switch-up came after reports of a recent meeting between Google CEO Larry Page, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Robert Kyncl, head of content at YouTube.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

$10 Million Genomics X Prize Is Canceled

The X Prize Foundation has canceled its Archon genomics challenge, which would have awarded $10 million next month to the first team to generate medical grade sequences of 100 whole genomes for $1,000 or less per genome within 30 days. The bar for the prize, which was first announced in 2006 and set at $10,000 per genome at a lower accuracy level, had been raised due to industry advances in the years since.   More

Global Tech

Kirkpatrick: Internet.org Aims for Global Connectivity

From the perspective of hyper-connected countries like the U.S., South Korea, or Sweden, it might shock us to learn that some 5 billion people around the globe are still without Internet access. Yet the Internet today remains—unfairly—a network for the rich, with just one-third of the world’s population currently connected. In an effort to bring connectivity to the next two-thirds, Facebook is joining forces with a group of mobile tech giants to launch the global partnership Internet.org, which was unveiled Tuesday. Internet.org—a conglomerate of Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Opera—has three aims: make access affordable, use data more efficiently, and grow mobile business.   More

Global Tech

Understanding Zuckerberg’s Push for Global Access

Photo by Dan Farber

In Indonesia, a typical weekend for a typical poor twenty-something frequently begins with a trip to a local store to buy some prepaid data access for his or her cellphone. The rest of the weekend will be spent using up that data, mostly accessing Facebook. As in so much of the world, the main way a huge percentage of Indonesians know what's happening with their friends is by using Facebook. With the announcement this week of Internet.org, a consortium of companies devoted to expanding mobile Internet access in the less-developed parts of the world, Mark Zuckerberg has found firm footing as a leader in public policy. The consortium was his idea, and emerged from his passions.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

How a Database May Demystify a Deadly Children’s Disease

PALISI meeting in session.

Iris Melendez was pregnant with her second child in 2004 when her healthy two-year old son Nathaniel developed a mild cold and a fever. A doctor diagnosed mononucleosis, but 48 hours later the boy had pneumonia, a collapsed lung, and septic shock. Two weeks later he was dead. The cause? Complications of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a sudden condition that typically begins with a lung infection and affects 10,000 or more children a year in the U.S. At least 30 percent of the time, it’s fatal. In agonizing grief, but with another baby due in 8 weeks, Melendez and her husband Hank Adamczyk began researching ARDS. They wanted to understand why Nathaniel had contracted it, and were desperate to know how to prevent their next child from falling victim to it.   More

Global Tech Media & Marketing

Meeting in Myanmar? Tech Conferences Are Hot Across Asia

Last year's Techventure event (photo courtesy National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore)

If you’re a regular at the world’s largest and most important technology conferences, you know al lot of them happen in the U.S. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself flying overseas for key conventions in coming years. Across Asia, tech industry pros and enthusiasts are finding increasing value in events that offer great opportunities for inspiration, networking and fun. Like their American counterparts, many of Asia’s conferences are geared toward connecting startups with potential investors, business partners, and mentors. They often follow a formula that includes pitch contests, hackathons, exhibitions, and discussion panels that focus on startup challenges. New events are popping up all the time, but a few major ones dominate the scene.   More

Media & Marketing Opinion

Why Bezos Should Buy the L.A. Times

Jeff Bezos via Niall Kennedy.

In the wake of Jeff Bezos’s purchase of The Washington Post, he would do the journalism business a big favor by cutting a similar deal for The Los Angeles Times. And while he's at it, the Amazon multi-billionaire should snap up the seven other newspapers owned by the Times' parent, the Tribune Company. They include The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant, and The Orlando Sentinel. Since the Tribune Company emerged from bankruptcy last December 31, it has signaled its plans to either spin off or sell the newspaper part of its media empire. Bezos could quickly flesh out his news and information universe.   More

Business Cities

Mayors Endorse the Sharing Economy

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The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution promising to make their cities more shareable, CollaborativeConsumption.com reports. The Shareable Cities Resolution states that mayors resolve to encourage a better understanding of the sharing economy and create local task forces to review and address regulations that may hinder participation.   More

Global Tech Security & Privacy

“Good Hackers” Gather in Washington to Help Besieged Journalists

FreedomHack in session.

Developers, activists, and journalists gathered in a Washington startup incubator on a recent weekend for “FreedomHack,” to build digital products to aid citizen journalists in Mexico. Reporters Without Borders reports that a skyrocketing number of them have been killed, attacked, or threatened in Mexico since 2010.   More