Friday, November 17, 2017
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How Much Energy Is Enough?


There has been a remarkable transition in the automobile-buying public in the U.S. All-electric vehicles are pushing their way to the top of the popularity list, and for good reason; they run clean and the fuel cost is far less than gasoline. But, there is still a carbon footprint, ...
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Securing the Industrial Internet of Things


The costly data breaches of recent years, most notably the Equifax disaster that was revealed in September, are becoming uncomfortably common. It's hard to tell whether hackers are getting smarter or companies are getting lazier, or just plain stingy. It's likely to be a bit of all ...
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All the News


I had the good fortune to grow up in a much simpler age in a small town in Upstate New York. When I was five, the local bakery would send a horse-drawn wagon down our street, which was a magnet for all of us kids. We would surround the wagon clutching our precious pennies and nickels ...
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Chomping at the Bit: Quantum Computing


Today's technology has advanced to the point where we routinely manipulate single subatomic particles, sometimes with baffling results. This is typified by the classic double-slit experiment, first documented in 1927 by Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer. The experiment demonstrated ...
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Tough Choices for China


Automation is upending the entire job market. Over the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. jobs are vulnerable to machine replacement, according to a study by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). This number is so high, partly because the U.S. has such a high percentage of employees ...
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Watch This on YouTube


I was on my way to Pascagoula, Mississippi, for a ship launching at the Litton-Ingalls shipyard. It was around 1963, and my seat-mate, Les Solomon, the technical editor of Popular Electronics magazine, was his usual ebullient self, happily gabbling away. The occasion for the ...
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Wear Dark Goggles


When I was in grammar school, the ongoing "big" science story was about a new 200-inch reflector destined for California's Mt. Palomar observatory. The new mirror would make the Palomar telescope the most powerful on the planet. But it was so huge, it took two years to simply cool down ...
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Wearables Are Coming Into Their Own


Wearable technology has been a forward-looking concept that has had a hard time finding a home in the day-to-day life of consumers. In 2004, at the CyberArt Festival in Bilbao, Spain, fashion house CuteCircuit introduced its HugShirt, a sensor-laden garment that records the strength ...
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Augmented Reality: More Real or Less?


Not confined to chunky headsets with thick cable tethers like its kissing cousin virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) uses a variety of everyday objects, devices and surfaces to project digital information into the physical world.
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Far from Dead, Print Resurges


I love my Nook Book e-reader, even with its annoying quirks. At any time that I am reading electronically stored material, I am also reading two other books in hard copy. Of those books, a recent paperback read had a very special characteristic: it cost me absolutely nothing. ...
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Big Data: The New Frontier


Big data is expanding on a scale that is difficult to reckon with. According to IBM, every single day 2.5 exabytes (2.5 x 1018) of data are generated. Since the early 2000s, considered "the beginning of the digital age," the percentage of global data stored digitally has grown ...

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Content Providers, Take Note


Question: Have I gotten too smug in my total acceptance of today's technology? I have been royally spoiled over the years, before the technology became a factor, but much of the spoiling came on so gradually that I really didn't notice until I did a little reminiscing on the Internet ...

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Fake Friends: Robots on the Move


Industrial robots are not new. Large companies, particularly major automakers, have been using robotics in manufacturing for years. What is new, however, is the reduction in size and cost that is making them more widely available. This is combined with efficient software and a connection ...

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What Ever Happened to Cubits?


As you travel the Interstates close to the Canadian and Mexican borders, you will see many highway signs that show distances in both kilometers and miles, and some only in kilometers. This is a serious reminder that the U.S. is incredibly isolated when it comes to using (or not using ...

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How Much Is Enough?


Sitting on my desk, next to my computer screen, is a 3 TB USB-3 external hard disk drive, purchased at Costco. It's been there for a couple of years, acting as a backup. Sitting on the floor behind the tower is a much smaller, 500 GB HDD. Hanging over the left side of the tower, plugged ...
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We Don't Make 'Em Like We Used To


The age of mass employment in manufacturing has passed, likely never to return. Often cited by political figures, the need to renew and create manufacturing jobs at home has been a sort of Holy Grail for policymakers in the U.S. This is not a uniquely American issue. Politicians in ...
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Hijacking on the Information Highway


Poorly-secured, Internet-enabled devices have become targets in the latest round of cyber attacks. The recent attack on Internet infrastructure company Dyn in late October, in which a huge number of IoT devices were used to obstruct access to sites including Twitter, Amazon, Netflix ...
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More Gigafactories Needed


Lithium. It's number 3 in the Periodic Table, it is the lightest of known metals, and was first used as early as the 2nd Century A.D. in ancient Greece by physician Soranus to control bipolar disorders. The Greek physician didn't know it was the lithium that was working the wonders ...
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Digital Forensics


Digital forensics is the star attraction in one of our front page stories this month, and it involves preserving and protecting historic software of all types: utilities, productivity and office software, games, and videos that have somehow survived all of the potential damage that ...

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Turnover in Washington: What's Next for U.S. Manufacturing?


As always, manufacturing is a hot topic in Washington, especially following a hotly-contested presidential election. First, it's important to recognize that the U.S. economy has moved massively away from manufacturing to become largely service-oriented. According to the International ...
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