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How Facebook Designs the 'perfect Empty Vessel' For Your Mind
From ACM News

How Facebook Designs the 'perfect Empty Vessel' For Your Mind

One day in March, I was sitting across from Facebook's design director, Kate Aronowitz, at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park when she told me, "It takes a lot of work...

Governments Won't Need to Issue Ids: Data Brokers Will Identify You For Them
From ACM Opinion

Governments Won't Need to Issue Ids: Data Brokers Will Identify You For Them

Our government collects a lot of information about us. Tax records, legal records, license records, records of government services received—it's all in databases...

The Meaning of (making) Life
From ACM Opinion

The Meaning of (making) Life

Christina Agapakis is a rising star among the new generation of biology researchers. Trained in the science of custom-building organisms known as synthetic biology...

Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World
From ACM Opinion

Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World

Type an address into your phone, and up will pop a step-by-step route from where you are to where you want to be. This is, in its way, magic—magic that has, at...

The Touch-Screen Generation
From ACM Opinion

The Touch-Screen Generation

On a chilly day last spring, a few dozen developers of children’s apps for phones and tablets gathered at an old beach resort in Monterey, California, to show off...

The Best Books About Biotechnology
From ACM Opinion

The Best Books About Biotechnology

I've spent the last few weeks creating a syllabus for myself on the world—people, techniques, theory, history—of biotechnology. I've talked with some scholars,...

How Augmented-Reality Content Might Actually Work
From ACM Opinion

How Augmented-Reality Content Might Actually Work

Augmented reality is very exciting. The promise of it is this: all the information on the Internet overlaid on the real world exactly where and when you need it...

The Definitive Story of Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Phone Phreaking
From ACM Opinion

The Definitive Story of Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Phone Phreaking

Like the flap of a butterfly's wings causing a hurricane half a world away, the ripples of unintended consequences from Ron Rosenbaum's "Secrets of the Little Blue...

Why Google Maps Is Better Than Apple Maps
From ACM Opinion

Why Google Maps Is Better Than Apple Maps

There's a simple answer: people.

In China, 25 Million People ­se Only Their Cell Phones to Read Books
From ACM Opinion

In China, 25 Million People ­se Only Their Cell Phones to Read Books

On vacation in China earlier this month, I stopped by Shanghai's seven-story downtown "Book City," bustling with activity on a weekday afternoon that, as a publisher...

The Giant ­nderground Machinery That Runs San Francisco's Famous Cable Cars
From ACM Opinion

The Giant ­nderground Machinery That Runs San Francisco's Famous Cable Cars

Every day and night, beneath the streets of San Francisco, huge wheels turn, pulling cable cars to their far-flung destinations and back again, as if weaving them...

The Greatest Bond Villain of All: Technology
From ACM Opinion

The Greatest Bond Villain of All: Technology

Tech has always played a prominent role in the Bond franchise; it's a key element of the plot formula: Bond opens with a chase scene, the core mission is revealed...

The Consequences of Machine Intelligence
From ACM Opinion

The Consequences of Machine Intelligence

The question of what happens when machines get to be as intelligent as and even more intelligent than people seems to occupy many science-fiction writers.

Meet Mira, the Supercomputer That Makes ­niverses
From ACM Opinion

Meet Mira, the Supercomputer That Makes ­niverses

Cosmology is the most ambitious of sciences. Its goal, plainly stated, is to describe the origin, evolution, and structure of the entire universe, a universe that...

Iphone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'phone' of 2022 Look Like?
From ACM Opinion

Iphone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'phone' of 2022 Look Like?

The near-term future of phones is fairly well-established. The iPhone 5 was released Wednesday and its similarity to every Apple phone since 2007 serves as a reminder...

The Jet Propulsion Lab Is Way Weirder (and Awesomer) Than You Even Imagined
From ACM Opinion

The Jet Propulsion Lab Is Way Weirder (and Awesomer) Than You Even Imagined

For a center of cutting-edge scientific research, Caltech's Jet Propulsion Lab seems to be a pretty wacky place. Luke Johnson, a graphic designer at the lab, set...

E-Reading: A Midterm Progress Report
From ACM Opinion

E-Reading: A Midterm Progress Report

E-readers have been around long enough now that the novelty has largely worn off.

Why There Are Too Many Patents in America
From ACM Opinion

Why There Are Too Many Patents in America

Recently, while sitting as a trial judge, I dismissed a case in which Apple and Motorola had sued each other for alleged infringement of patents for components...

The Robot of the Future That's About to Explore the Deep Past of Mars
From ACM News

The Robot of the Future That's About to Explore the Deep Past of Mars

I want to tell you about a special place on the surface of Mars. Back in the solar system's early days, a large object slammed into the red planet, leaving behind...

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?
From ACM Opinion

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

In the last week or so, cyberwarfare has made front-page news: the United States may have been behind the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran; Iran may have suffered another...
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