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Nicholas Negroponte On the Future: Predictions From 24 Years Ago

Nicholas Negroponte is best known today for his work with the One Laptop Per Child project, but he's been doing interesting and pioneering technological work for a long time. In 1984, Negroponte gave a talk at the very first TED conference. His talk was about how people interact with computers, both in the present (in 1984!) and his hopes for the future. Negroponte's discussion is surprisingly relevant to modern technology; his view of technology from the very early days of the personal computer focuses on the human side of the equation rather than the technology itself, and that human element hasn't changed much in twenty-four years.

For example, Ngeroponte talks about touch screens (now popular in the iPhone) and criticizes Apple's then-new Macintosh computer's use of a mouse -- he argues that Apple would be better to rely on touch than a mouse, because "you don't have to pick up your fingers in order to use them." He also points out that fingers are a lot higher-resolution input devices than mice, and "you have ten of them!"

It's a great talk -- intellectual, funny, and prescient. It's also pretty neat watching him use a totally high-tech Laserdisc player to illustrate his points. Have a look:

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Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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What's the Saltiest Water in the World?
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Saltwater is common around the world—indeed, salty oceans cover more than two-thirds of the globe. Typical saltwater found in our oceans is about 3.5% salt by weight. But in some areas, we find naturally occurring saltwater that's far saltier. The saltiest water yet discovered is more than 12 times saltier than typical seawater.

Gaet’ale is a pond in Ethiopia which currently holds the record as the most saline water body on Earth. The water in that pond is 43.3% dissolved solids by weight—most of that being salt. This kind of water is called hypersaline for its extreme salt concentration.

In the video below, Professor Martyn Poliakoff explains this natural phenomenon—why it's so salty, how the temperature of the pond affects its salinity, and even why this particular saltwater has a yellow tint. Enjoy:

For the paper Poliakoff describes, check out this abstract.

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