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America’s Education Dilemma: How to Inspire the Next Generation of Engineers, Scientists, and Mathematicians

Educators, technologists, and politicians all worry about the future of the American student.  Less and less American college students are interested in math and science while their international peers are excelling in those critical fields.  Fostering a generation of thinkers, tinkerers, inventors, scientists, and medical innovators is as important to national security as any national defense budget.  So as we struggle to figure out how to get kids more interested in math and science, some clever people are already creating solutions.  The key to fostering key critical thinking skills and a properly wired brain is START EARLY.  It’s no secret that childhood stimulation is key to brain development.

Behold a recently funded kickstarter project called ATOMS, “ATOMS are a system of plug-n-play sensors, motors, and logic blocks for kids and adults to make things that can do amazing thing.”  Not THIS is how you inspire the engineer and scientist of the future, make learning fun, cool, and challenging.  Read more.

What’s more you can control and interact with your creations via any IOS device.  Talk about cool and innovative!  You can also attach the ATOM bricks to existing toys, legos or virtually anything.

To highlight the claims I made earlier: A report in 2012 by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance found that US students aren’t progressing to catch up to their foreign peers. See the infographic below, the USA ranks 31st and 23rd in Math and Science respectively even with a the 2nd highest starting teacher salaries in the world. You can read the entire story here.

Education Olympics The Education Olympics [Infographic]

Don’t you wish you had some of these to blow up you Lego Deathstar when you were a kid?  I sure do.  It’s projects like these that will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.  Perhaps, even save the country.

helveticool:

Bloomberg Flexible Display / Antenna Design New York Inc.

Two ultra thin displays are mounted on an elegant arm that can be easily rotated from horizontal to vertical position, with software automatically adjusting screen orientation. Display heads can be separately rotated for horizontal or vertical orientation, allowing for multiple display configurations.

(via thenextweb)

How Everyone Will Watch TV in the Future

bxfsh:

8.1.2012—Brian Proffitt gives a great run-down on the past and future of cable TV and its relationship to the growing technology in the TV space and 2nd screen in his article for ReadWriteWeb. It’s a great read and quite a thorough assessment of everyone’s favorite medium. 

I especially like his take on the second screen: 

"Far from a challenge to cable TV, the second-screen could actually help save it. Cable TV providers could use the second screen to enhance viewing of primary video content and deliver even more targeted advertising - helping to offset income lost from the decline of bundling. That, in turn, would help cable TV service providers hold down subscription costs, and stem the bleeding of customers looking for less expensive alternatives."

One important omission from this piece is viewer video consumption habits.  Traditional ‘couch potato’ TV viewing will never go away, however as technology evolves viewers will expect more and more options.  The future of video, through cable TV or otherwise, stems from capturing the viewer at the moment they want to watch something.  Whether content is piped in from over-the-top technology or traditional copper wire, video needs to be available in bathtub on a tablet, on a laptop in the kitchen, or in bed on a smartphone.  On top of that, mobile devices need to function as second screen utilities during traditional TV viewing.  Talk about versatility!  We’ve yet to see software (apps) than can deliver all this type of functionality under one roof.

Currently the massive amount of available apps and options fragment consumer attention as people jump between the HBOgo’s, Youtube’s, Roku’s, and Netflix’s of the world (small subset of what’s actually available now).  It’s very hard to see who will come out on top but it will likely be those who can consolidate utility and content access within a simple easy to use interface.

joshbyard:

Rate of Technological Change May Be Outstripping Humans’ Ability to Manage and Adapt to It

Our relationship with tools dates back millions of years, and anthropologists still debate whether it was the intelligence of human-apes that enabled them to create tools or the creation of tools that enabled them to become intelligent.
In any case, everyone agrees that after those first tools had been created, our ancestors’ intelligence coevolved with the tools. In the process our forebears’ jaws became weaker, their digestive systems slighter, and their brains heavier.
Chimpanzees, genetically close to us though they are, have bodies two to five times as strong as ours on a relative basis and brains about a quarter as big. In humans, energy that would have gone into other organs instead is used to run energy-­hungry brains. And those brains, augmented by tools, more than make up for any diminishment in guts and muscle. Indeed, it’s been a great evolutionary trade‑off: There are 7 billion people but only a few hundred thousand chimpanzees.
In the distant past our tools improved slowly enough to allow our minds, our bodies, our family structures, and our political organizations to keep up. The earliest stone tools are about 2.6 million years old. As those and other tools became more refined and sophisticated, our bodies and minds changed to take advantage of their power. This adaptation was spread over more than a hundred thousand generations.

(via Virtual Reality Is Addictive and Unhealthy - IEEE Spectrum)

joshbyard:

Rate of Technological Change May Be Outstripping Humans’ Ability to Manage and Adapt to It

Our relationship with tools dates back millions of years, and anthropologists still debate whether it was the intelligence of human-apes that enabled them to create tools or the creation of tools that enabled them to become intelligent.

In any case, everyone agrees that after those first tools had been created, our ancestors’ intelligence coevolved with the tools. In the process our forebears’ jaws became weaker, their digestive systems slighter, and their brains heavier.

Chimpanzees, genetically close to us though they are, have bodies two to five times as strong as ours on a relative basis and brains about a quarter as big. In humans, energy that would have gone into other organs instead is used to run energy-­hungry brains. And those brains, augmented by tools, more than make up for any diminishment in guts and muscle. Indeed, it’s been a great evolutionary trade‑off: There are 7 billion people but only a few hundred thousand chimpanzees.

In the distant past our tools improved slowly enough to allow our minds, our bodies, our family structures, and our political organizations to keep up. The earliest stone tools are about 2.6 million years old. As those and other tools became more refined and sophisticated, our bodies and minds changed to take advantage of their power. This adaptation was spread over more than a hundred thousand generations.

(via Virtual Reality Is Addictive and Unhealthy - IEEE Spectrum)

(via thenextweb)

This just blew my mind. Could this really be a plausible version of our future?

Personally I’m not sure I could adapt to an enhanced world 100% of the time.  Then again, if you asked someone in the 1990’s if they’d willingly allow themselves to be tracked, share personal information about themselves all the time, and carry a screen around with them like a lifeline they’d probably laugh in your face, and yet here we are.

The scariest part of this whole concept, integration of technology into our brains, is that we open up our minds and bodies to what was once only reserved for hard drives and processors…. hacking.  Check out these articles I found a while ago about how we’re well on our way: Super-soliders and Augmented Humans

Also, do I want everything I do to be a game?  This movie made it seem like everything from cooking to dating was some sort of challenge, some sort of additional motivator beyond basic human survival.  Then again I downloaded Zombies, Run! on my android this morning… wtf this is already starting.  It’s for exercise though so it’s okay right?  Well now that I think about it synced reality apps like Zombies, Run! are just the beginning of a slow acculturation and acceptance of a world we’re already well on the road to realizing.

Between reality synced games and military experimentation with soldier microchip implants we’ll be primed and willing to go along with whatever crazy enhanced world awaits us.

retronator:

Guys, guys! Have you seen the future yet?

This is amazing, crazy, scary and probably not too far fetched, all at the same time.

Or at least it’ll be one of those movies about the future we’ll all laugh about while driving flying cars.

reuters:

Tablets with paper-thin screens that can be folded and tucked into your back pocket, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — the stuff of science fiction may be coming to a store near you.
Some researchers are experimenting with wearable devices, such as Google Glass, a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on eyeglass frames to record video, access email and surf the Web. Others, like Microsoft, are investigating the use of 3-D cameras to create images that pop up when a person calls. Samsung has a concept video that shows a bendable, transparent 3-D smartphone-hybrid tablet that can also be used as a real-time interpreter.
Few of these new technologies will hit store shelves any time soon - companies and researchers are more actively working on touchscreen innovations in the near term.
READ ON: The brave new world of tomorrow’s tablet computers
High-res

reuters:

Tablets with paper-thin screens that can be folded and tucked into your back pocket, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — the stuff of science fiction may be coming to a store near you.

Some researchers are experimenting with wearable devices, such as Google Glass, a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on eyeglass frames to record video, access email and surf the Web. Others, like Microsoft, are investigating the use of 3-D cameras to create images that pop up when a person calls. Samsung has a concept video that shows a bendable, transparent 3-D smartphone-hybrid tablet that can also be used as a real-time interpreter.

Few of these new technologies will hit store shelves any time soon - companies and researchers are more actively working on touchscreen innovations in the near term.

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