What I'm Reading - 5/25/2018
Three to five links every weekday - 'Articles That Make You Think About Implications' edition.
Computational design is the hottest phrase in manufacturing and 3D printing at the moment. It’s changing the way people make all kinds of goods, and Nike used it to design and manufacture its new Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint shoe, which it’s announcing today.
The shoe is a specialized edition of its Zoom Vaporfly Elite 4%, which was used by elite runner Eliud Kipchoge during Nike’s Breaking2 event, which resulted in the fastest marathon ever run. The special sauce in this edition is the FlyPrint upper, which is printed on the fly by a specially customized 3D printer out of a proprietary Nike polymer.
I spoke with Nike’s Brett Holts, product line manager for running footwear and Roger Chen, a senior director for Nike’s NXT Digital Innovation department, about the process and the shoe.
Two minds may be better than one, but one mind connected to millions of others would be infinitely superior.
That's the thinking behind several companies that are currently racing to link mind and machine by way of devices called brain-computer interfaces. The first to put the functionality of a laptop in your head would pave the way for people to communicate seamlessly, instantly, and with whomever — or whatever — they want.
So far, two figures are publicly leading that race: Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Their clandestine projects, known as Neuralink and Building 8, respectively, focus on approaches that will require brain surgery, according to researchers familiar with their efforts.
But there's a less ambitious and less invasive way to tackle the brain-computer interface problem. It involves translating data from brainwaves into simple commands that can be processed in an app or device. A startup called Nuro is taking this route. It hopes its software platform can give the ability to communicate back to people who've lost it as a result of severe injury or disease.
Vevo, the music industry’s attempt to create its own video hub, isn’t dead. But it doesn’t look very healthy for the company, which launched nine years ago.
A series of moves over the past few months have removed most of Vevo’s reason to exist, capped off with the news today that it’s not going to run its own site or apps anymore.
In essence, Vevo is going to stop pretending that it is anything other than a shell company that delivers videos from the big music labels to YouTube.
Vevo’s not-quite-but-eventual demise isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the labels. Some people in the music industry, including some current and former Vevo employees, will tell you that the labels blew their chance to build a big, valuable video asset based on their videos, which wouldn’t be dependent on YouTube and Google.
But building a big, valuable digital video asset that wouldn’t be dependent on YouTube and Google would be a tough thing for any company, in any circumstance. Let alone a joint venture between Sony and Universal, two of the world’s biggest music labels.
“Look, Jose,” the cop said to the genial grandfather sitting across the desk. “The fact is, you’re being charged with murder.”
Tim McWhorter, the chief investigator for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office in rural Alabama, was reaching. He had very little to tie Jose Manuel Martinez — a soft-spoken man with an easy smile who’d spent much of the last few months playing soccer and make-believe with his grandchildren — to the bloody body of a young man found in a nearby hayfield.
But Martinez seemed to make a decision. “You guys have been real respectful to me, and I appreciate that,” he said. “Do you want me to tell you the truth?”
“Yeah, I killed that son of a bitch.” Martinez’s eyes, which McWhorter had found so friendly moments before, were now black and cold. “He said some bad stuff about my daughter. I stand up for my family. I don’t let anyone talk about my family.”
McWhorter was still trying to make sense of that when Martinez delivered a much bigger revelation: “I’ve killed over 35 men in my life.”