25+ Incredible Facts That You Probably Didnt Know

Nothing makes you more of a nuisance than sharing random trivia without any context. Broadening our knowledge about the world, however, is something we can’t avoid. It’s too interesting and too easy to get lost in. To teach you everything you need to know to bore people to death we’ve compiled some of the most surprising truths from Fact Republic.

From a carrier pigeon racing with internet technology to a badass Titanic passenger, the things on this list will surely spark your interest in random trivia. Scroll down to learn a thing or two and upvote your favorite entries! If, however, this series doesn’t ease your thirst for knowledge, check out these 30 happiest random facts as well!

5 Awesome Sci-Fi Movie Technologies That’d Suck In Real Life

Why are we still driving non-flying cars to our non-space workplaces while fantasizing about our merely two-boobed prostitutes? Where are all the snazzy gadgets and awesome technologies movies promised us? In many cases, they’re right here. We just don’t use them because, well, they kinda suck. Like how …

5

Controlling Computers With Hand Gestures Is Awful

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise plays a future cop who tries to warn everyone that Max von Sydow is evil, but no one will believe him, even though he’s clearly Max von Sydow. But what most people remember best are the scenes wherein Cruise controls his futuristic crime lab computer by waving his arms around.

How cool is that? Instead of having to say “enhance” and then clicking a boring old mouse, Cruise picks up files and videos from the air itself, and explores them using simple gestures. Soon, other movies were jumping in on this hot futuristic action. From Iron Man 2

Marvel Studios

… to Prometheus

20th Century FoxSpoilers: This movie will show up a lot in this article.

… to Star Trek: Discovery.

CBS Television StudiosThank you in advance for the 100 comments about how this one’s not a movie.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

As everyone who has ever owned a Kinect knows, this crap gets old fast. The biggest issue is that your arms get tired very quickly if you hold them up for even a short period of time. If you make that a long time, the feeling gets absolutely excruciating. Engineers actually identified this problem in the ’80s, and even gave it a name: the “gorilla arm” effect. You know, because your arms get “sore, cramped, and oversized,” and you end up looking and feeling like a gorilla. Not even a cool sci-fi cyborg gorilla like in Congo.

Take another look at that Minority Report scene. When Cruise goes to shake Colin Farrell’s hand, he accidentally moves a bunch of files he’s working on. That would happen all the time. Imagine you’re holding 350 slides that took you five hours to organize and you suddenly get an itch on your butt:

20th Century FoxOr any other activity where you might be shaking your hand while staring at your screen …

Any interface that lies flat and gives you a wide range of control — even if you only move your hands a few inches — would beat this thing … hands down. If only we had something like that!

4

Sci-Fi Holograms Are Inferior To 2D Images In Almost Every Way

If somebody in a sci-fi movie needs to look at something important, a paltry two dimensions simply will not do. They need holograms for absolutely everything, even when audio alone would do the job. Like in Star Wars, when R2-D2 shows Leia’s holographic recording to a horned up Luke:

LucasfilmWhile Obi-Wan silently screams on the inside.

Here it is again in The Last Starfighter:

Universal Pictures

And here’s a dude’s head popping out of a monitor on Star Trek: Discovery:

CBS Television Studios

Hell, even the highly advanced race of spacefaring giants who created mankind love holograms! From Prometheus:

20th Century FoxYou need to adjust the tracking on your Space Voldemort.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

You may have noticed something about the holograms above: They A) look like crap, B) are completely pointless, or C) both. That pretty much sums up holograms in the real world, too. Remember that time Tupac’s blue ghost crashed a Snoop Dogg performance? And remember how the company responsible went bankrupt soon thereafter? Turns out there isn’t much real use for blurry, semi-transparent 3D projections that cause eye strain if you look at them for too long.

Even the nicest example is so fuzzy and transparent that it’s not clear why you would bother with it over a 2D video feed. In the 2017 Ghost In The Shell, a hologram is used to reconstruct a murder scene, but it’s so imprecise (red tint, kinda blurry, semi-transparent) that it’s hard to think of a use for it other than making up for the investigator’s chronic lack of imagination.

Paramount Pictures“Ohhh, that’s what tables look like. OK, I’m good.”

In Prometheus (again!), the Weyland Corporation’s holograms don’t have a tint, but they’re so transparent that everyone on the crew probably ended up with a migraine anyway.

20th Century Fox“Oh, I thought it was the script causing that.”

If you absolutely need to communicate visual information over a vast distance, why would you choose this technology? Think of the bandwidth charges! We already know the future doesn’t have Net Neutrality.

3

Nobody Likes Video Calls (Except In The Movies)

With the possible exception of flying cars and sex-bots, no technology shows up in sci-fi movies as often as video calls. Whether they’re discussing something of galaxy-shattering importance or reminding their spouse to buy eggs, everybody in the future does everything via video calls. We see it in …

Marvel StudioGuardians Of The Galaxy

Warner Bros. PicturesDemolition Man

TriStar PicturesTotal Recall (the good one)

Columbia PicturesTotal Recall (the Colin Farrell one)

Paramount PicturesStar Trek Into Darkness

… and like a million other movies. We’ll stop now, or we’ll be here all day.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

We are! Video calling is finally a reality! And it sucks. Seriously, unless it’s for Twitch streaming, nobody uses it. And it’s easy to see why.

You can take voice calls in almost any situation where you can talk, but if you take a video call, you have to look like a decently dressed, reasonably groomed human being. Plus, you have to make sure you didn’t leave something like, say, a giant pink dildo visible in the background. Which has happened. On the BBC.

And yet sci-fi characters love this technology so much that they’ll literally risk their lives to use it. In 2017’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, right as the characters are leaving a planet’s orbit, the face of their boss pops up smack dab in the middle of their ship’s front viewport. That could kill you while you’re driving a car, let alone piloting a spaceship.

EuropaCorp“Just called to remind you that driving and Skyping is illegal. Also, you’re fired.”

2

Super Advanced Robots Always Have Needlessly Terrible Vision

One of the coolest types of shots is when we go inside a robot’s head to see the way they look at the world. Like in the Terminator movies, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger sees everything through a badass red filter, with a bunch of important-looking numbers and text readouts:

TriStar PicturesWhy isn’t the text in Austrian, though?

Or the recent RoboCop remake, where the Robo-Vision (that’s the official name, look it up) shows everything in an old-timey reddish sepia tone, with, again, added text and data prompts:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer“08 threats and 15 cliches detected.”

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

Look at any decent first-person shooting game. The status bars and prompts are always minimal and in the corners of the screen. If they took up 30 percent of your monitor, like in the examples above, the developers would have angry nerds with actual guns outside their houses. All those big letters and numbers are covering up important visual information, allowing AmishTeabaggz42069 to sneak up and shoot you in the head. And what are they even there for? Terminators have computers for brains. Why do they need to see the data they themselves are processing?

On top of that, the obligatory red tint makes these killer robots effectively colorblind, and prevents them from easily distinguishing between, say, blood and other liquids, which you’d think would be important in their line of work. At the other end of the spectrum, we have medical robots like Baymax from Big Hero 6, whose internal HUD looks like this:

Walt Disney Pictures“Slack-jawed and dumb-looking … perfectly healthy for a teen boy.”

All those widgets are probably helpful for a robot that patches up humans, but that blue tint … isn’t. Baymax needs to see his patients as accurately as possible, not just to identify any physical symptoms, but also to make treatment easier. It’s been demonstrated that blue light hinders injections, since it’s harder to find a vein under the patient’s skin.

Meanwhile, in Chappie, the law-enforcing robots that patrol the streets are all apparently equipped with crappy late ’90s webcams. Imagine trying to shoot the correct criminal if this was what you saw:

Columbia PicturesCan robots get motion sickness?

To be fair, all these examples are still an improvement over 1973’s Westworld, wherein the highly advanced Yul Brynner robot, whose sole purpose is to shoot people in gunfights, can’t even tell a fork from a spoon.

Metro-Goldwyn-MayerSporks make their heads explode.

1

Computer Screens In Science Fiction Movies Are Worse Than The Ones We Have Today

In sci-fi movies, computer screens are elaborate displays of carefully matched colors and captivating animations (even when no one’s using them). They’re all packed with graphs and numbers and all sorts of doubtlessly essential information. Marvel at the snazzy monitors in 2009’s Star Trek

Paramount Pictures

… and Avatar

20th Century Fox

… and naturally, good ol’ Prometheus:

20th Century Fox

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

We lose ten minutes of work time every time a pigeon lands outside our window. If you had to do your job next to a bunch of huge screens that kept looping through colorful graphics, you’d probably get quite distracted. And if your own screen insisted on performing a lovely animation every time you updated some data or asked for an analysis, you’d probably start daydreaming about Microsoft Excel for the first time in your life.

In almost every sense, these sci-fi screens are a huge step backwards compared to what we have now. Nearly all of them have low contrast (making it harder to read things at a glance) and a grand total of four colors, all of which are usually variations of blue and green. The Avengers:

Marvel StudiosThis would look better if they were all playing Galaga.

Mars (a National Geographic miniseries):

National Geographic

Prometheus:

20th Century PicturesLast time, we promise!

Not only does this mean that you run out of ways to highlight important stuff quickly, but the preponderance of blue and lack of red tones can even be dangerous. See, when your eyes have adapted to a dark environment, light of any color except red will disrupt that adaptation. This is called the Purkinje effect. That’s why interfaces for things like submarines and airplanes use a lot of red, which allows, for example, pilots flying at night to clearly see both the screen and the view outside their cockpit. But on the other hand, blue looks neater, so that’s a fair tradeoff.

These sci-fi screens fail at the most basic function of a user interface: conveying information quickly and easily. Everything important is hidden in dense blocks of tiny text and numbers scattered around the screen. The only way the following screenshots make sense is if the characters have superhuman vision or magnifying glasses:

Marvel StudiosThe Avengers

Paramount PicturesStar Trek Beyond

20th Century PicturesAvatar

For comparison, here is a real-life NASA mission control room:

NASA

Note the lack of flashy animated visualizations. The multiple high-contrast colors. The text that is readable when you’re at the intended distance. And Earth has yet to be attacked by alien invaders. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Prometheus isn’t a bad movie, but please make sure you’ve seen Alien before watching Prometheus. We talk about that movie a lot on this site too.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25385_5-awesome-sci-fi-movie-technologies-thatd-suck-in-real-life.html

New Google App Finds Your Museum Doppelganger But Not Everyone Is Loving The Results

A while back, we made a post about people who were perusing art galleries and museums and spontaneously stumbled upon their doppelganger, in fine art form.

Perhaps inspired by this, Google have decided to add a feature to their Arts & Culture app that uses facial recognition technology to match your selfie with a famous portrait. The portraits are pulled from a database of celebrated works collected from over 1000 museums worldwide, so the chances of a half-decent match should be fairly high, shouldn’t they?

Well now the results are in, and it’s fair to say that they are mixed, at best. This seems to part of the appeal however, as people have begun posting their hilarious (mis)matches online and they are proving to be wildly popular. You can see why!

Sadly, the feature isn’t yet available outside of the U.S. so if you’re not stateside and would like to give it a try, you’ll have to be a little patient. In the meantime however, you can scroll down below and check out what others have been compared with. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite!

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/google-art-history-match-selfies-app/

Georgia looks to drop electric voting machines in favor of paper ballots

A unique effort is underway in Georgia to safeguard elections by taking voting machines back to the future.

“The most secure elections in the world are conducted with a piece of paper and a pencil,” said Georgia State Rep. Scot Turner. “It allows you to continue into the future to verify the result.”

Turner has proposed a bill that would retire Georgia’s electronic touch-screen voting machines and switch to paper ballots that voters would fill out and then be counted by optical scan machines. The technology has been in use for decades to score standardized tests for grade-school students.

Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, said the electronic voting machines currently in use in Georgia are accurate and efficient and replacing them with paper would be a step backward.  (REUTERS)

“You can try and hack these machines all day long,” Turner said. “But that piece of paper that you can touch and feel and look at is going to give the voter the confidence that the election is actually being recorded the way it should have been.”

But Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, said the electronic voting machines currently in use in Georgia are accurate and efficient and replacing them with paper would be a step backward.

“The fraud we see in Georgia is with paper ballots,” Kemp said. “So, I would be very careful going back to the old days of the hanging chad.”

Hanging chad is a reference to incompletely punched card ballots in Florida that put the outcome of the 2000 presidential race in limbo for 36 days. The delay prompted calls nationwide for upgrades in voting technology.

Hanging chads are incompletely punched card ballots in Florida that put the outcome of the 2000 presidential race in limbo for 36 days. The delay prompted calls nationwide for upgrades in voting technology.  (AP)

Georgia went to direct-recording electronic voting machines (DREs). Voters select candidates on a touch-screen computer, which records their choices on an electronic ballot.

Georgia is one of five states still using DREs statewide without a physical paper trail backup. A sixth state, Nevada, uses DREs with a paper trail statewide.

The rest of the nation uses a patchwork of voting systems that vary from state to state and, often, countsy to county.

“I don’t know that there needs to be one specific way to cast a ballot and record a vote, but there are a number of best practices,” said Jeh Johnson, who served as director of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

Johnson said what’s crucial is redundancy — having a backup system for recounting votes if there’s a technical glitch or deliberate meddling.

Paper ballots have been phased out in much of the country but a proposed bill in Georgia would bring it back.

“The cyber threat to our country is going to get worse before it gets better,” Johnson said. “Bad cyber actors — whether they’re nation states, cyber criminals, hacktivists, those who engage in ransomware — are increasingly aggressive, tenacious and ingenious.”

Last year, DHS declared America’s election systems as “critical infrastructure” — underscoring the importance of protecting how the nation conducts democracy. Solutions are likely to vary from region to region, just as voting technology varies. And experts say that diversity is part of the protection.

Fox News producer David Lewkowict contributed to this report.

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/19/georgia-looks-to-drop-electric-voting-machines-in-favor-paper-ballots.html

Not Their Best Work: Boston Dynamics Has Engineered A Microwave That Can Get Tired

Boston Dynamics—the company behind such amazing projects as the BigDog military robot and DI-Guy human-simulation software—is known for being at the forefront of the robotics field. But its latest offering is pretty underwhelming given its impressive history of cutting-edge achievements in robotic technology: Boston Dynamics announced earlier today that it has engineered a microwave that can get tired and sometimes goes to bed.

Oh well. They can’t all be winners!

The project, dubbed DrowsyWave, is the result of tireless research by a highly specialized team of Boston Dynamics engineers who set out to achieve one goal: to make a microwave oven that experiences the feeling of being tired and needs to sleep just like a human being does. After over a year of work, the engineers had their first major breakthrough. “Our test microwave groaned out a yawn midway through reheating a chimichanga and shut down,” said head researcher Elanor Nguyen. “It was clear from monitoring its systems that it had actually gotten tired and needed a little shut-eye. We are ecstatic to announce that this microwave is capable of feeling exhaustion, and can even start gasping for breath after completing strenuous microwaving tasks.”

Uh, cool? This doesn’t really move humanity, but it’s nice Boston Dynamics wanted to share its iffy new invention with us.

Nguyen went on to say that the DrowzyWave tired microwave is capable of begging for sleep if kept awake or working for too long and that it audibly groans in agony when a user puts something frozen in it because it doesn’t have the energy to cook anything for too long. All in all, it’s kind of an underwhelming accomplishment with unclear applications to the field of robotics, but even a company as cutting-edge as Boston Dynamics is allowed to swing and miss every now and then.

There’s no doubt about it: The microwave that can get tired is not something that Boston Dynamics should feel particularly proud of. Maybe we expected a little more from the company who brought us a badass quadruped combat robot that can carry 350 pounds of gear over rough terrain, but cut Boston Dynamics some slack. They have a pretty impressive track record of making awesome stuff besides microwaves that need to rest all the time.

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/not-their-best-work-boston-dynamics-has-engineered-7341

U.S. Regulators Subpoena Crypto Exchange Bitfinex, Tether

U.S. regulators are scrutinizing one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges as questions mount over a digital token linked to its backers.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent subpoenas on Dec. 6 to virtual-currency venue Bitfinex and Tether, a company that issues a widely traded coin and claims it’s pegged to the dollar, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The firms share the same chief executive officer.

Tether’s coins have become a popular substitute for dollars on cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, with about $2.3 billion of the tokens outstanding as of Tuesday. While Tether has said all of its coins are backed by U.S. dollars held in reserve, the company has yet to provide conclusive evidence of its holdings to the public or have its accounts audited. Skeptics have questioned whether the money is really there.

“We routinely receive legal process from law enforcement agents and regulators conducting investigations,” Bitfinex and Tether said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “It is our policy not to comment on any such requests.”

Erica Richardson, a CFTC spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, tumbled 10 percent on Tuesday. It fell another 3.2 percent to $9,766.41 as of 9:19 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to composite pricing on Bloomberg. The virtual currency hasn’t closed below $10,000 since November.

See also: Mystery shrouds Tether and its links to Bitcoin exchange

While Tether and Bitfinex don’t disclose on their websites or in public documents where they’re located or who’s in charge, Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for the firms, said in a Dec. 3 email that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde is the CEO of both. Phil Potter is a Tether director, according to documents — dubbed the Paradise Papers — recently leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. He’s also the chief strategy officer at Bitfinex.

Last year, Wells Fargo & Co. ended its role as a correspondent bank through which customers in the U.S. could send money to bank accounts held by Bitfinex and Tether in Taiwan. The firms sued the lender, but later withdrew the complaint. Torossian previously declined to identify the banks used by Bitfinex unless a non-disclosure agreement was signed, which Bloomberg News refused.

No Audit

While little public information exists about how tethers are created, market pricing suggests traders believe that each coin is worth $1. Trading the token for Bitcoin at Bitfinex has helped drive up Bitcoin prices, Barry Leybovich, a product manager at IPC Systems Inc. who creates risk and compliance products for financial institutions interested in blockchain applications, said last month.

A document on Tether’s website, compiled by accounting firm Friedman LLP, shows it had $443 million and 1,590 euros ($1,970) in bank accounts as of Sept. 15. Tether tokens were valued at $420 million that day, according to Coinmarketcap.com. Tether hasn’t identified the banks where that money was held, and their names were blacked out in the document.

Friedman said in its report that it didn’t investigate the reliability of Tether’s records. The accounting firm and Tether have recently cut ties, Tether said in a separate statement Monday.

“Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable timeframe,” Tether said.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the podcast: 

Friedman didn’t reply to messages seeking comment.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-30/crypto-exchange-bitfinex-tether-said-to-get-subpoenaed-by-cftc

    Georgia looks to drop electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots

    A unique effort is underway in Georgia to safeguard elections by taking voting machines back to the future.

    “The most secure elections in the world are conducted with a piece of paper and a pencil,” said Georgia State Rep. Scot Turner. “It allows you to continue into the future to verify the result.”

    Turner has proposed a bill that would retire Georgia’s electronic touch-screen voting machines and switch to paper ballots that voters would fill out and then be counted by optical scan machines. The technology has been in use for decades to score standardized tests for grade-school students.

    Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, said the electronic voting machines currently in use in Georgia are accurate and efficient and replacing them with paper would be a step backward.  (REUTERS)

    “You can try and hack these machines all day long,” Turner said. “But that piece of paper that you can touch and feel and look at is going to give the voter the confidence that the election is actually being recorded the way it should have been.”

    But Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, said the electronic voting machines currently in use in Georgia are accurate and efficient and replacing them with paper would be a step backward.

    “The fraud we see in Georgia is with paper ballots,” Kemp said. “So, I would be very careful going back to the old days of the hanging chad.”

    Hanging chad is a reference to incompletely punched card ballots in Florida that put the outcome of the 2000 presidential race in limbo for 36 days. The delay prompted calls nationwide for upgrades in voting technology.

    Hanging chads are incompletely punched card ballots in Florida that put the outcome of the 2000 presidential race in limbo for 36 days. The delay prompted calls nationwide for upgrades in voting technology.  (AP)

    Georgia went to direct-recording electronic voting machines (DREs). Voters select candidates on a touch-screen computer, which records their choices on an electronic ballot.

    Georgia is one of five states still using DREs statewide without a physical paper trail backup. A sixth state, Nevada, uses DREs with a paper trail statewide.

    The rest of the nation uses a patchwork of voting systems that vary from state to state and, often, countsy to county.

    “I don’t know that there needs to be one specific way to cast a ballot and record a vote, but there are a number of best practices,” said Jeh Johnson, who served as director of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

    Johnson said what’s crucial is redundancy — having a backup system for recounting votes if there’s a technical glitch or deliberate meddling.

    Paper ballots have been phased out in much of the country but a proposed bill in Georgia would bring it back.

    “The cyber threat to our country is going to get worse before it gets better,” Johnson said. “Bad cyber actors — whether they’re nation states, cyber criminals, hacktivists, those who engage in ransomware — are increasingly aggressive, tenacious and ingenious.”

    Last year, DHS declared America’s election systems as “critical infrastructure” — underscoring the importance of protecting how the nation conducts democracy. Solutions are likely to vary from region to region, just as voting technology varies. And experts say that diversity is part of the protection.

    Fox News producer David Lewkowict contributed to this report.

    Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/19/georgia-looks-to-drop-electronic-voting-machines-in-favor-paper-ballots.html

    CES Was Full of Useless Robots and Machines That Dont Work

    Theres a woman in Sweden named Simone Giertz who makes a living building shitty robots. Her well-intentioned creations fail comically at waking her up, brushing her teeth, washing her hair, applying lipstick, and making her breakfast.

    At CES in 2018, any number of these robots would have been right at home.

    CES is a massive annual trade show in Las Vegas where hundreds of thousands of people gather to see the latest and greatest new products in consumer tech. In recent years, the show has transformed into a sprawling behemoth that dominates the entire city for a week.

    The event is meant to deliver a vision of the future. The technology on display is supposed to show you what the next generation of cars, TVs, computers, cameras, etc. will look like. At best, the products deliver a rough sketch.

    Take the FoldiMate, a giant robotic machine that costs $850 that can supposedly fold your clothes. The machine, which took up more space than a washing machine, might be worth it if you could dump a huge pile of laundry inside some chamber and have your garments returned to you in neatly folded stacks. But that type of machine has yet to be built.

    In order for the FoldiMate to work, you must individually button up each shirt then manually clip it onto the machine, which could be more time consuming than just folding everything yourself.

    The machine can only fold certain items too. Dress pants and traditional button up shirts are fine, bulky sweatshirts, baby clothes, socks, or undergarments are off the table.

    The FoldiMate fit right in with the other smart home-type products at CES, where the primary innovation in the past year seemed to be adding Amazon Alexa to absolutely everything.

    The Haier smart mirror caught my eye as I stepped into the Central Hall of the convention center. It promised to help me dress by recommending outfits for travel, work, or a date. It could also give detailed washing instructions for different garments and track where it was sitting in my closet.

    Intrigued, I asked how it would know so much about all my clothes. Do I dump all my laundry into a big scanner? I asked naively.

    The cheery brand ambassador laughed. The mirror gets all its information from RFID chips in the clothing, which all clothes will come with in the future.

    I asked how this product would help someone who buys their clothes in the year 2018 and still wears a not insubstantial amount of sweaters from college.

    Her face dropped and she explained that for the time being I would have to manually enter all of the information by hand by tagging every item in my wardrobe. The mirror also plays workout videos, she said, as I walked away.

    As I walked down the long corridors between booths I saw walls of TVs, rows of massage chairs, and many, many cars.

    One man dressed in shimmering red coattails and a red top hat explained the intricacies of different types of Kicker amplifiers and speakers to a group of auto industry marketers.

    Finally, I was confronted by a small robot dance crew. The 3-foot-tall, white, child-shaped bots were meant to provide companionship for seniors and children. Naturally, they were broken.

    As they swayed back and forth, the iPads affixed to their chests all read Sign into Chrome.

    I asked how frequently the screens on these robots malfunctioned and a woman standing in the booth area she didnt know.

    But many companion robots didnt seem to work. Their touch screens either didnt recognize my finger, couldnt execute basic voice commands, or their high-pitched robotic voices were too difficult to understand.

    These are the robots technology companies want old people to rely on, but trying to connect with them was like attempting to extract emotional support from a broken Windows tablet.

    One companion bot called the Loobot can supposedly be controlled with your mind. It can even read a childs facial expression, the man at the booth told me. But in order for it to work, the user has to wear an uncomfortable metal headband.

    Drone cages were set up all over one area of the South Hall. One drone whizzed by and a loud voice came over the loudspeaker. Amigo drone, its your friend, the voice said. Take it with you everywhere you go.

    I wondered how I would take it anywhere I normally go in New York City, or most other places where drones are restricted by no-fly zones.

    Then there was the self-driving luggage.

    90Funs Puppy 1 self-driving rollaway, which uses Segway technology to roll behind you, couldnt go 10 feet without falling on its face. A Chinese competitor I observed in action kept losing its owner and was abysmally slow. I couldnt imagine running late for a flight and trying to keep any of these in tow.

    The United States Post Office had a giant booth with a game set up where you could pretend to deliver a package. A Kodak booth was set up to promote its new cryptocurrency. American Express kept trying to airdrop me marketing materials every time I walked by.

    A giant banner in the main hallway read A better life. A better world. But all I could think of is how much I wanted to be back home in the real world where, even if its primitive, most technology just works.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/ces-was-full-of-useless-robots-and-machines-that-dont-work

    Ripple is now the second largest cryptocurrency, behind Bitcoin

    Image: Wit Olszewski/shutterstock

    After a period of tremendous growth, the banking-oriented cryptocurrency Ripple has overtaken Ethereum and is currently the second largest coin in terms of market cap behind Bitcoin. 

    Ripple’s price rose 42.7 percent in the last 24 hours alone according to CoinMarketCap, with its market cap surging to $73.6 billon. 

    This is the first time a cryptocurrency has overtaken Ethereum since May 2017, when Ripple quickly surged in price before cooling off at the end of the month.

    There’s no clear reason behind Ripple’s most recent price surge. The cryptocurrency’s technology, which is fundamentally different from Bitcoin and is designed for fast and secure global financial transactions, was recently tested by Japanese and South Korean banks. 

    Other cryptocurrencies have had a mixed day; Bitcoin hasn’t moved nearly at all in the last 24 hours and is currently trading at $14,402; Ethereum rose 2.8 percent to $733.4; Bitcoin Cash fell 7.9 percent, to $2,393, and Litecoin dropped 4 percent and is currently trading at $241. 

    Ripple’s price growth in 2017 has been absolutely insane, even by cryptocurrency standards. You could’ve bought one Ripple for $0.0065 on January 1, whereas the current price is $1.89, a 29,000 percent increase. 

    Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/29/ripple-overtakes-ethereum/

    Future President or Not, Oprah Winfrey Gave a Textbook Great Speech for the Ages

    Why was Oprahs speech at the Golden Globes last night so captivating? Thats easy. Shes Oprah. The cadence. The inflection. The mix of cozy warmth and undeniable power. Oprahs hugs could end wars, Reese Witherspoon declared, introducing her A Wrinkle in Time co-star. By the same token, Oprah could perform a reading of Donald Trumps Twitter feed and still move an audience to tears.

    But she wasnt reading Donald Trumps Twitter feed last night. Just the opposite. As a former speechwriter for President Obama, I was struck by how textbookin the best possible wayOprahs remarks were. Behind her extraordinary delivery was a master class in writing a powerful, thoughtful speech.

    Lets start with a section about two-thirds of the way down. (Thats only five paragraphsa reminder to all of us that if Oprah can keep it short, so can we.) With clarity and concision to stir the heart of even the grumpiest high school English teacher, she states her thesis: We all have lived too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.

    Even for Oprah, this is a bold statement. And that brings us back to the beginning. Because everything she says in the run-up to her Main Idea is about building the authority to say it.

    She starts with an anecdote from her childhood, but she doesnt tell us her life story. Instead, she picks a moment that answers the question, Why is an entertainer qualified to tell us about justice? She reminds us that she started life as an ordinary person, from an ordinary family, and recalls watching Sidney Poitier become the first African-American to win a best-actor Oscar. She tells us about her own emotions in that moment. But she also describes a sea change first reflected in, and then accelerated by, Hollywood entertainers.

    In the next section, she states what she began by suggesting: that the moment she describes back then is a lot like the moment were living through now. She also, subtly, begins to pivot from a speech about race to a speech about gender: It is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching.

    Then, she does what everyone who gives a speech has to do at some point she thanks people. A lot of speakers hit pause, acknowledge VIPs, and hit play again, hoping the audience hasnt lost interest. Not Oprah. She picks only the most important people in her life. She says something short and kind about each of them, in a way that takes us through her biography.

    Implicitly, paragraph four is about answering the most important question of any speech. Why should we, the audience, care?

    Finally, with the first sentence of the fourth paragraph, she moves from acknowledgments back to the body of her speech with a figure skaters grace: I want to thank the Hollywood Press Association. We know the press is under siege these days. Of course, Golden Globes voters are hardly the ones risking their lives to expose Russian corruption or being jeered at Trump rallies. But sometimes a single common word in this case, press is enough to connect two wildly different ideas. .

    And Oprah isnt through making connections. The remainder of graf three is a dazzling series of transitions: from freedom of the press to the importance of truth. From the importance of truth to the power of sharing our stories. Then we reach the big one: Im especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up. Theres a kind of lateral movement – she starts at Im Accepting an Award and finishes at Im Going to Say Something About #MeToo.

    Having brought us to our final destination, Oprah begins zooming out. This is not just an entertainment industry issue. Domestic workers. Farm workers. Factory workers. Restaurant workers. Technology, politics, business, sports, the military. Paragraph four is explicitly about expanding our focus. Implicitly, its about answering the most important question of any speech. Why should we, the audience, care?

    Only then, in paragraph five, is Oprah ready for the most moving two sections of her remarks. She abruptly narrows in on a single story: that of Recy Taylor, an African-American woman who had the courage to speak out after being raped in the Jim Crow south in 1944. Its an extraordinary retelling, worth watching in full. But if Oprah hadnt already established her authority and told us why we should care about the larger issue, it wouldnt work in this context. She has. It does. And after telling a powerful story, she zooms back out to the big picture, delivering her equally powerful thesis.

    The rest of the speech is about sticking the landing and because shes set up everything up so gracefully, its not a hard landing to stick. She includes the audience, both in the room and at home, in a call to action. She lays out a vision the time when nobody has ever has to say Me too again. If the first two-thirds of her speech were about defining the present, the final third is about defining the future. Its a classic way to finish. That forward momentum is what brings a crowd to its feet.

    Its also, apparently, what makes the internet decide Oprah should be the 46th president of the United States. But whether or not youre jumping on Oprah 2020 bandwagon, you can learn from her remarks. Have a clear main idea. Establish your authority. Tell the audience why the issue matters. Alternate between zooming out to the big picture, and zeroing in on personal stories. Once youve done all that, wrap up with a vision for the future. Most of us will never deliver a speech like the one we saw last night. But if we follow the example it provided, we can speak our truth in the most compelling possible way.

    Theres power in that. Ask Oprah if you dont believe me.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/future-president-or-not-oprah-winfrey-gave-a-textbook-great-speech-for-the-ages