Things Are Good: Copernicus Satellite Constellation Shares Big Climate Data

To some people space missions seem like a waste of resources, yet, thanks to many space missions we get scientific benefits. Launched by the European Union, the constellation of satirists known as Copernicus are constantly doing weather observations. Copernicus’ six families of satellites are scanning the planet to help understand climate change. It’s already been ...

Dead Wild Roses: Autonomous Vehicles

      The dour feminist in me would like to point out that women are still struggling toward full autonomy in society after some 2000 years of ‘civilization’ ( :/ ), but the hot topic of self driving vehicles has crossed my desk and merits a comment or two with regards to society. A healthy ...

Dead Wild Roses: Just A Friendly Reminder – Fight for Net Neutrality

The fight to maintain Net Neutrality has been raging.  You have not heard about it because it is not in the big companies interests for you to know about it.  Think it isn’t a big deal?   Please partake in the observed behaviour of said companies and remind yourself that these infractions happened during the time ...

Things Are Good: Why Net Neutrality is Important

The current federal administration in the USA is really challenging norms in American society, the most recent attack is on net neutrality. Earlier this year the Trump administration tried to prop-up the profits of a handful corporations at the cost of internet freedom and failed because of actions taken by the average citizen. What the ...

Things Are Good: NASA Designs Plane Modifications to Save Fuel

A seemingly simple change to airplane design can make a huge difference in fuel efficiency: add another engine. Yes, as counterintuitive as it sounds, NASA has figured out that by adding an engine to the rear of the plane the airflow of the plane itself can provide more thrust. Airplanes are notoriously bad for the ...

Things Are Good: Use a Browser Tab to Raise Funds for Charity

Donating money, time, or resources to charities makes the world a better place, but what if you don’t have any of those things to spare? If you’re using the internet via a web browser maybe you can donate some spare CPU cycles though. A new site called Donate Your Tab uses your computer’s spare computational ...

Things Are Good: Using a Blockchain for a Smarter Energy Grid

Blockchain technology stems from Bitcoin and provides a platform for change greater than Bitcoin itself. Researchers in the renewable energy industry have realized that blockchains can be used to replace outdated billing and tracking. Presently when a company produces energy it requires verification form other companies and each step eats into profits – a more ...

Things Are Good: More People can Help the Blind: Be My Eyes Now on Android

Be My Eyes is an app designed to help people with low vision to get help from thousands of people around the world. It works by connecting people with vision problems to those with good vision. For example, a blind person might need to know which object is red so they take a picture with ...

Things Are Good: Parkinson’s Research Using Massive Data Collected from 23andMe

23andMe hopes to find a cure for Parkinson’s through data mining. Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects millions of people, and a cure is hard to find. The company collects gene samples from people who want to know their genetic lineage, which it then stores and uses for research. Along with submitting their ...

Things Are Good: Improved Air Conditioner Beams Heat Into Space

Air conditioner suck up a lot of energy in hotter months by dumping heat from inside buildings to the outside, ironically heating up neighbouring locations. A Stanford research team developed a more efficient cooling system for AC by pre-cooling water that circulates through the machine. It cools water during the night by essentially beaming the ...

Things Are Good: A Helping Hand for Shaky Mice

Your browser does not support the video tag. Almost everybody uses a computer daily, even those with involuntary muscle movements. The inability to effectively use a mouse as a result of a lack of muscle control bothered one programmer enough to create a solution. SteadyMouse is a Windows-only piece of software that makes it easier ...

A Puff of Absurdity: The Plight of the Millennials

Further explanation here.  First, a bit about statistical norms and the normal distribution. In social sciences, for something to be considered a statistically significant characteristic of a group, it just needs to be present in about 68% of the population, or one standard deviation from the norm. There’s tons of variation in the other 32%, ...

Things Are Good: eBird App is Helping us Understand Birds

eBird is a mobile app that has been around for a few years and used around the world. As a result the app has been used to collect a rich dataset of bird sightings which provides enough data for researchers to have a very accurate understanding of some bird species. You can use the data ...

PostArctica: Ellis D. Kropotechev and Zeus, This marvelous time-sharing system. 1967

Stumbled on to this interesting little 16mm film made by a couple of Standford grad students in 1967. Some computer history and plenty of innuendo. Enjoy!

Things Are Good: Even Massive Multinationals Support Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is what allows the internet to be what it is, and without it the internet would be pretty much useless. The Trump administration is presently trying to eliminate net neutrality to protect the profits of a very small group of companies. It’s worth noting that the Obama administration also tried this but didn’t ...

Things Are Good: Using a Blockchain to Rebuild Trust in Governments

Cryptocurrencies have popularized the use of a digital concept called a blockchain. These blockchains can be used to track transactions and increase accountability of shared networks. If this sounds familiar, a few months ago we looked at how blockchain technology can be used to track physical items. Citizens around the world have been losing trust ...

Things Are Good: Algae Used for Carbon Capture at Cement Plant

Every year cement production contributes about 5% of the global emissions generated by humans. Any improvement around cement production will have a good impact on lowering carbon entering our atmosphere. In Sweden there’s one company using algae to lower its emissions. The country has carbon emission rates that are likely increasing in the next few ...

Things Are Good: VLC Demonstrates the Awesomeness of the FOSS Movement

VLC plays anything you can throw at it as it’s an amazing piece of software. The application is focussed on doing one thing really well: playing media. It’s so good because of the philosophy behind it, known as Free and open-source software (FOSS). Meaning that anybody anywhere can contribute to the source code and make ...

Things Are Good: Prototype Parkinson’s Bracelet Stabilizes Hands

Parkinson’s negatively impacts millions of people around the world by making their muscles harder to control. Basically, in people with Parkinson’s the brain fires extra signals which can cause involuntary muscle movements like shaking. Think of it as your brain stuck in a feedback loop of excitement which it can’t escape – no matter how ...

Things Are Good: Blockchain Technology to Track Real Blocks

Blockchain technology is changing the world of commerce and law, now it can be used to track real world blocks instead of just digital blocks. The technology got attention thanks to the rise of Bitcoin, which is still going strong, and has been improved since then. More recent takes on the technology like Ethereum have ...

Things Are Good: An App That Rewards You for Riding a Bike

Biko rewards cyclists with free stuff just for riding their bike! Rewards include small things like coffee to very expensive consumer items. The idea of rewarding cyclist for not killing the environment using cars isn’t new, Stockholm basically pays cyclists. When it comes to using Biko please consider that they collect marketing data from your ...

Things Are Good: New bank Account Morally Monitors Your Purchases

money Aspiration financial firm is a B-corporatoin that wants to help people “vote with their wallets”. It’s incredibly hard for individuals to stay up to date on the damage that large organizations do despite that a lot of people care. Consumers want to punish companies for some of their actions from United kicking people off ...

Things Are Good: Treepedia Lets Cities See Where Trees are Needed

Treepedia is a new tool from MIT that uses Google street view to asses what the coverage of trees are in specific areas. It lets you know what your neighbourhood is like and doesn’t just bias cities with big inaccessible parks. This means that cities (and people!) can use this tool to find where trees ...

Scripturient: WiFi hysteria again

Every so often, old crackpot ideas, hoaxes, cons and plainly silly pseudoscience resurface online under the guise of Trump-like alternate fact. Scary stories about chemicals in your food, fake health tips, and Facebook-stealing-your-photos nonsense compete for attention with actual news and factual stories. The old bromide about wireless signals (WiFi) killing things is just one ...

Things Are Good: Be Safe Online

The American government recently repealed laws set to protect your privacy online, clearly the government doesn’t care about private communication. This impacts people around the world because a lot of internet traffic travels through the states via various online services. Safe and secure conversations are needed to keep a democracy running and we all deserve ...