CLOSE

What You're Missing at TED2012 Right Now

As you and I sit here like dopes in front of our computers, a swarm of alpha nerds are basking in the Long Beach sun and enjoying TED2012. Only two talks from the show have been released so far, and they have somewhat differing messages: Abundance is Our Future (by Peter Diamandis) and The Earth is Full (by Paul Gilding). I'll go ahead and embed the latter, as it's a bit more depressing:

But I Want More!

Well, it's a tough gig, but somebody's gotta liveblog the entire conference. No, really! The Guardian's intrepid Carole Cadwalladr is posting dispatches from the conference, including some snippets that are delightfully bonkers when taken out of context. Here, let me decontextualize some of yesterday's coverage for you:

8.48am: ...And what if we could use lightning as GPS?

9.16am: Also, I have to mention that at the opening night party last night, I stumbled on two roboticists have a conversation about teledildonics.

And, yes, I've checked. That is an actual word.

9.45am: Ah...there's some sort of crowd-sourcing dancey performance art on now. Men in bodystockings throwing beach balls.

10.04am: The drones have taken over an electric organ and a proto-xylophone. And they're playing the James Bond theme tune!

12.40pm: Right. They're singing about pigeons dying now. I'll spare you the details...

Okay, that's enough cribbing from Cadwalladr's brilliance. You really just have to read it -- this is coverage by a nerd, for nerds, of nerds -- wonderful stuff.

The Party Line

If the live blog doesn't cut it for you, check out the official TED blog, featuring still photography and summaries of the talks. This is also where you'll find video as it's posted -- and it's slowly trickling out, as we're just starting the third day of the conference now. There's also a TED2012 Conference Page that includes a feed of @TEDNews, a boon for the Twitter-addicted (though @TEDchris is slightly more exciting). You can also watch the conference via live streaming video if you have a TED Live membership (but don't go rushing to buy -- membership starts at $995, though a good chunk of that is tax-deductible).

You might also appreciate the Program Guide, which tells us that today we'll see talks from John Hodgman, Jon Ronson, Philippe Petit, and Liz Diller (among many others).

Nanocopters Perform Bond Theme

To tide you over until more session videos are posted, here's (non-TED) video of Vijay Kumar's swarm of nanocopters performing the Bond theme:

Back to the Live Blog

As it approaches 8:30am Pacific, Cadwalladr is presumably about to begin Thursday coverage. I'm getting my popcorn. Oh, breaking news! Kumar's talk on "agile aerial robots" has just been posted!

nextArticle.image_alt|e
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
arrow
technology
Jeff Bezos Is Helping to Build a Clock Meant to Keep Time for 10,000 Years
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo

Few human inventions are meant to last hundreds of years, much less thousands. But the 10,000 Year Clock is designed to keep accurate time for millennia. First proposed in 1989, the long-lasting timepiece is finally being installed inside a mountain in western Texas, according to CNET.

The organization building the clock, the Long Now Foundation, wanted to create a tribute to thinking about the future. Founded by computer scientist Danny Hillis and Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, the group boasts famous members like musician Brian Eno and numerous Silicon Valley heavyweights. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is putting up the $42 million necessary to complete the project, writing that “it's a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking."

Measuring 500 feet tall when it's completed, the clock will run on thermal power and synchronize each day at solar noon. Every day, a “chime generator” will come up with a different sequence of rings, never repeating a sequence day to day. On specific anniversaries—one year, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years—it will animate a mechanical system within one of five rooms carved into the mountain. On the first anniversary, for instance, the clock will animate an orrery, a model of the solar system. Since they don’t expect to be alive for many of the future anniversaries, the clock’s creators won't determine animations for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years—that'll be left up to future generations. (To give you an idea of just how far away 10,000 years is, in 8000 B.C.E., humans had just started to domesticate cows for the first time.)

Though you can sign up to be notified when the clock is finished, it won’t be easy to see it up close. The nearest airport is several hours’ drive away, and the mountain is 2000 feet above the valley floor. So you may have to be content with seeing it virtually in the video below.

Clock of the Long Now - Installation Begins from The Long Now Foundation on Vimeo.

[h/t CNET]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Tynker
arrow
technology
Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons
Tynker
Tynker

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios