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 Researchers in the renewable energy industry have realized that blockchains can be used to replace outdated billing and tracking.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 ...

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading. – Heather Whiteside discusses how the privatization schemes being toyed with at all levels of government represent nothing more than reckless gambling with public money and goods: When a federal, provincial, or municipal government builds a bridge, a highway, a school, or a hospital, we know who owns ...

Things Are Good: It’s Fine to not Check Your Email

Stop compulsively checking your email. Frequent checking of one’s inbox will lead to stress for a few reasons so it’s best to schedule your email checking to every couple of hours or so (depending on your job). By limiting how often you look in your inbox you will be able to focus on other tasks ...

Things Are Good: What It’s Like to Use the Internet in Cuba

The internet is a great resource for connecting people to people and connecting people to services and new ideas. Cuba, like other developing nations, has had a hard time connecting to the internet because of the sheer cost (laying cables underwater isn’t cheap!); and for Cuba the costs are higher since they can’t connect to ...

Things Are Good: Amnesty International’s Guide to Safe Messaging

Thanks to the bravery of whistleblowers we know that the Five Eyes are monitoring all internet chatter regardless of who’s talking. This is a big concern for people who care about freedom and rights to have personal communication. As a result, Amnesty International put together a review of messaging apps so you can make an ...

Things Are Good: Capturing Animals in 3D for the Future

We are witnessing one of the largest extinction events in history because people deny that climate change is happening. Regardless of the deniers and the death of entire species we can do something that will help the future of humanity: getting as much information about those species as we can while they are alive. One ...

Things Are Good: Easily Browse Online Anonymously

In a world where our digital lives are tracked by democratic governments (Canada and the UK amongst them) we need to ensure that we can have private conversations online. Over at Digg they have collected a very easy to follow setup to get your protecting your privacy online in only an hour! Keep Your Private ...