Category Archives: Technology

Hoisting YouTube’s Content ID system on its own petard

A couple of years ago Google introduced its Content ID system to YouTube. Copyright holders upload their content to Content ID and whenever someone uploads a video to YouTube it’s matched against this massive content database. If any segment of the … Continue reading

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A brilliant inventor and fighter for equal opportunity

In the early 1960s James West and his colleague Gerhard Sessler invented the electret microphone while they were working together at Bell Labs. The condenser mics that were being used at the time cost hundreds of dollars; an electret mic that … Continue reading

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Computer writes political speech. Does anyone notice?

Can you tell the difference between a political speech written by a computer program and one written by a speechwriter? Valentin Kassarnig at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has written a computer program that writes political speeches on demand and it … Continue reading

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Jerry Lawson: A video game pioneer

Jerry Lawson was a largely self-taught electrical engineer and video game pioneer who was almost forgotten during his lifetime. His father was a longshoreman who loved to read about science; his mother was uncompromising in her insistence that her son get a … Continue reading

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Baseball, wheelhouses, and the effects of technological change on language

  If you watch baseball on TV, you’ve almost certainly heard an announcer describe a pitch as being in the batter’s wheelhouse when the pitch is in the area of the strike zone where the batter has the most success … Continue reading

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How virtual reality affects balance

In an earlier article we wondered whether Daredevil has a harder time keeping his balance because he’s blind. Blindness raises questions about balance because human balance rests on the complex interaction of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems. Any problems Daredevil may have … Continue reading

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Moore’s Law and the Technologies of Daily Life

One small step. One giant leap. On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. It was awesome. It still is. The picture above shows part of the instrument panel of the Apollo lunar command module. The person in the picture … Continue reading

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