Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Data

The predictive abilities of big data is being used to improve farming outcomes (Photo: Shu...

Data scientists studying crop growth and weather patterns in Colombia have advised rice farmers not to plant crops, saving millions of dollars. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Colombian Rice Growers Federation have developed a computer model that can work out what crops work best under specific weather conditions in certain areas.  Read More

Artist's concept of LADEE entering lunar orbit (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) experiment made history yesterday as it beamed data back to Earth from lunar orbit at previously unheard of speed for a space mission. Operating from the LADEE lunar orbiter, the LLCD used lasers to transmit data to Earth at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) as a demonstration of a technology that NASA hopes will one day not only keep up with the communications demands of future missions, but also greatly enhance their capabilities.  Read More

Global PC shipments dropped by 13.9 percent, over Q1 of last year

When PC sales slumped last year, a common line of thinking was “wait for Windows 8.” Well, we waited ... it came ... and now things are even worse. International Data Corporation (IDC) just released global shipment data for the first quarter, and PCs celebrated Windows 8’s arrival by having their worst quarter ever.  Read More

FreedomPop now offers two new devices with free 4G data

FreedomPop is finally ready to bring its free 4G data service to the masses (as long as they are in the United States). We recently covered FreedomPop when it intended to bring 4G data sleeves to iPhone and iPod touch users, and while it still is offering those, it's also rolling out a USB dongle and a 4G mobile hotspot.  Read More

Making a call using FreedomPop's iPod touch case

The iPod touch is more or less an iPhone without the phone functionality. When connected to a Wi-Fi network, it can do most of the same functions as the iPhone. However, Wi-Fi is not available everywhere, and without it, the touch loses some important functionality. FreedomPop is launching an iPod touch case for US$99, that brings free 4G data to touch owners.  Read More

A new algorithm developed at the University of Birmingham is capable of making accurate ed...

Phones obviously already know where we are and where we have been, thanks to GPS and other clever positioning technologies. Now, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, your smartphone may soon be able to make accurate educated guesses as to where you’re going to be in 24 hours time. And here’s the dirty trick responsible for the algorithm’s future-telling powers: it spies on your friends and connects the dots where necessary.  Read More

An overhead train of the Chicago 'L' system (Photo: Greg Kieca/Shutterstock)

Walk Score has ranked the 25 largest US cities by the usefulness of their transit systems. New York sits at the top of the list released by the website, which otherwise provides its users with information about the most walkable inner-city neighborhoods. San Francisco came second in the public transit rankings, with Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia rounding out the top five.  Read More

Rotated Dow Jones Industrial Average graph shows several key economic events

With the 3D craze sweeping across everything from movies to printing, it was only a matter of time before data presentation entered the realm of the tangible, too. Sculptor Luke Jerram wanted to better understand the significance of the charts and figures the media bombards us with daily, so he took performance graphs for several years of New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) data and rotated them about their X-axis. The resulting sculptures turned out to be both visually compelling and highly unusual.  Read More

MIT's Materials Project website is a database of chemical compounds, that scientists can u...

Remember what it was like in the days before the internet, if you were trying to find out something specific? If you wanted know what flounders eat, for instance, you would have to physically go to the library, look up “marine biology” in the card catalogue, find the appropriate books in the stacks, look up “flounder” in their indexes – and even then, you might not find what you were looking for. It was certainly a lot more work than just typing in “flounder diet” on Google. Well, materials research so far has been kind of like that pre-Google era, in that scientists have had to spend months conducting research in order to determine how different compounds will react with one another. With the launch of MIT’s Materials Project website, however, it looks like that could be about to change.  Read More

An example of a typical server cluster (Image: Creative Commons)

Toshiba has just completed the installation of a demonstration modular data center on the outskirts of Tokyo, signaling its entry into the emerging market. Rather than housing racks of data servers in dedicated buildings, the modular approach allows for the relatively quick construction of units housed in steel framed containers, which can be stacked to increase capacity without encroaching too much on the surrounding environment. In addition to reducing costs, Toshiba claims that its solution also requires less power to operate.  Read More

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