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Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 20, 2019 - UPDATE: Please do NOT vote for this post.

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23 days ago6 min read

The IEEE Spectrum weekly selection of awesome robot videos; Bruce Schneier continues his argument for public-interest technologists; Momentum gaining for hydrogen power in Japan; Ars Technia's recently enacted retraction policy illustrated with two examples; and a Steem report on the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry


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  1. Video Friday: Transferring Human Motion to a Mobile Robot Manipulator - This week, the IEEE Spectrum weekly selection of awesome robot videos includes: a couple videos in tribute to the late MIT professor emeritus, Woodie Flowers; Aibo, a cute robotic puppy who is now connected by wifi to household appliances; LiftTiles - that turn walls and floor into on-demand structures; a squad of desktop sized Furuta Pendulums; a tactile sensor that can manipulating rope and cable; A video of ANYmal, a quadruped robot, carrying out an autonomous industrial inspection; a video mini-bio of Katie Hamilton, one of the software engineers working on the Astrobee software; an artist's rendering of The Mayflower, an autonomous ship that's under development by IBM and Promare and planned for launch during 2020 - the ship is powered by wind and solar and aims to be one of the first full-sized autonomous vessels to cross the Atlantic; a robotic harvester that picks asparagus and some other vegetables; and more...

    Here is my favorite:


  2. Why Technologists Need to Get Involved in Public Policy - In this 15 minute Youtube video, Bruce Schneier continues his ongoing conversation about the need he perceives for public-interest technologists. Drawing analogies to public-interest lawyers, he says there is a need for people who can bridge the knowledge gap between technologists and policy makers. Defining a public-interest technologist as someone who uses technological expertise to address issues in the realm of social justice and public welfare, he identifies three dimensions for improvement to make his vision a reality: Supply, demand, and markets. On the supply side, he says that technical people need to be motivated to think beyond the "cool factor" and take accountability of the real-world impact of their work. For demand, he says jobs need to be created, and programs need to be funded; and for markets he suggests that infrastructure needs to be put in place to connect the supply with the demand.

  3. Momentum Builds for Hydrogen Fuel in Japan, Australia - A plant in Australia plans to begin shipping hydrogen to Japan next year as an energy source for hydrogen-powered cars and other devices. Another promising market for the hydrogen plant is in South Korea. According to Ben Wilson, the CEO of Australian Gas Networks, this will position Australia as a first-mover in the space. The hydrogen will be extracted from water through the use of proton-exchange membrane technology powered by Australia's abundant renewable energy sources. Wilson adds that this is possible because of the falling costs of the hydrogen extraction technology, and the increasing availability of renewables. This comes at a time when officials from Japan, the US, and the EU recently signed an agreement to "cooperate toward the emergence of mainstream hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell technologies."

  4. Two papers that we’ve covered have been retracted—here’s why - Apparently, Ars Technica has implemented a recent policy change to begin covering the retractions of articles that they have previously covered. This article contains two such examples. The first, a 2016 paper reporting that fish could develop an appetite for microplastics, was retracted for the inclusion of fabricated data. The second, a paper from June finding that human gene editing cut ife expectancy, was retracted for "honest errors" in the data. Ars Technica has edited both of their original articles to reflect the retractions.

  5. Update: The author has been accused of plagiarism in the following post. The alleged source link is here. As standard practice, I check author reputation and look for comments or votes from @cheetah or other indications of plagiarism in the comments, but there were none at the time I scheduled this post. I can't remove the beneficiary setting, so with my apologies, I will recommend that you don't vote for this post.

  6. STEEM Nobel Prize In Chemistry Awarded For Development of Lithium-Ion Batteries - In this post,@sauravrungta reports on this year's Nobel Prize winners in the field of chemistry. According to the post, the prize went to, "John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries." The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries makes a whole host of technologies possible, including laptop computers, smartphones, tablet computers, smart watches, and electric cars. Yoshino built the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985 by improving Goodenough's work. In turn, Goodenough's work relied on the foundation that was built by Whittingham. Without all three of these prize winners, much of today's unplugged technology might not be possible. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @sauravrungta.)


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