PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 4/19/2018

Three to five links every weekday - some days later than others.

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MIT DEVELOPS SCALABLE MANUFACTURING PROCESS SPOOLS OUT STRIPS OF GRAPHENE FOR USE IN ULTRATHIN MEMBRANES

MIT engineers have developed a continuous manufacturing process that produces long strips of high-quality graphene.

The team’s results are the first demonstration of an industrial, scalable method for manufacturing high-quality graphene that is tailored for use in membranes that filter a variety of molecules, including salts, larger ions, proteins, or nanoparticles. Such membranes should be useful for desalination, biological separation, and other applications.

“For several years, researchers have thought of graphene as a potential route to ultrathin membranes,” says John Hart, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT. “We believe this is the first study that has tailored the manufacturing of graphene toward membrane applications, which require the graphene to be seamless, cover the substrate fully, and be of high quality.”


INTEL IS GIVING UP ON ITS SMART GLASSES

Intel has confirmed that it plans to shut down the New Devices Group (NDG), and cease development on the Vaunt smart glasses project we revealed earlier this year. The story was first reported this evening by The Information, which also notes that the closure will probably result in “some layoffs” from the team that was reportedly around 200 people.

It was always unclear how precisely Intel intended to bring the Vaunt glasses to market, though sources indicated that Intel wanted to find a partner with retail expertise to partner with. Jerry Bautista, the lead for Vaunt, told me back in December that Intel was ”working with key ecosystem hardware providers — whether they’re frames or lenses and things like that. Because we believe there’s a whole channel to people who wear glasses that’s already there.”


IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW WE ENDED UP IN A CYBER DYSTOPIA, READ READY PLAYER ONE

In the OASIS, users can be and do almost anything — which the book’s hero, Wade Watts, claims is the antidote to all social injustice. But thanks to Halliday’s stultifying influence, this limitless potential is devoted primarily to recreating the media of the ‘80s ad nauseam. Rather than rewarding innovation, the OASIS is designed to grant power to those who are most obsessed with the past, reserving its greatest blessings not for its forward thinkers, but for those who can most accurately recite all the dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (This is an actual plot point.)

If that seems backward, and far more concerned with where we’ve been than where we’re going, that’s because it is. But as many of the modern internet’s architects are declaring the internet broken, offering mea culpas, apologizing for their short-sightedness and irresponsibility, and getting called into Senate hearings, the book is a document worth reexamining in 2018; not because this novel-length blind spot has anything to say about where we are today, but because the ignorance and misguided optimism embedded in its pages is precisely how we got here. It is instructive now, as a road map for how we arrived at our present cyber-dystopia, and the dangers of building a world for “everyone” on the concerns and fantasies of the few.


ALIEN: DESCENT PUTS THE XENOMORPHS INTO A WIRELESS VR ARCADE EXPERIENCE

FoxNext Destinations and Pure Imagination Studios are bringing the horror of the Xenomorphs to the malls of Orange County, California. Alien: Descent is a new location-based virtual reality experience based on the hit movie franchise — and unlike other VR arcades, this one won’t weigh down players with a PC backpack. It opens on April 26, and folks can sign up for tickets now on its webpage.

Up to four players can investigate a beleaguered Weyland-Yutani mining station in Alien: Descent. Each person will don a head-mounted display (HMD) along with motion-tracking sensors on their arms and legs, and they’ll be armed with a “weapon” to fight off any sinister alien lifeforms they might encounter. The space at The Outlets in Orange County will also have moving platforms and other environmental tricks to add to the immersion.

What I'm Reading - 4/20/2018

What I'm Reading - 4/18/2018