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Please see our weekly newsletter collection below. Our own staff and members contribute bits and bytes of interesting news and articles. They say that futurists make funny historians but we do our best to bridge that divide by illustrating our past themes and speakers as they develop and evolve. We hope that you enjoy reading these communications as much as we enjoy creating them for you. And if you have any news to share, please contact any member of our staff.

2017 January 13

Have you seen the agenda for TTI/Vanguard’s upcoming Data Big and Small Conference being held in San Francisco on Feb 16–17, 2017?
Who among us did not love the magic of Google’s Project Loon at [next] last month? Turns out that balloons (Mike Cassidy San Francisco, Dec 2016) are so much better than drones at Internet delivery that parent company Alphabet is shuttering its Titan project.
That the humble and essential bumblebee has been added to the endangered list comes as no surprise to anyone who heard Paulo de Souza’s quest to save honey bees (San Francisco, Dec 2014).
Based on results of atomic-level, bottom-up computational simulation, experimental researchers at MIT are compressing and fusing graphene flakes (Michael Strano, Charlotte, Dec 2010; Qing Cao, San Francisco, Dec 2016). The result is a material with just five percent the density and tenfold the strength of steel—a win–win reminiscent of Julia Greer’s (San Francisco, Dec 2015) strong, lightweight ceramic nanotrusses.
Ten years ago this week, Apple launched the iPhone and an accidental revolution.“It was just going to be, not a revolutionary product, but an evolution to iPod,” says Andy Grignon, a senior manager on the project.
Stanford researchers have developed disposable hand-powered centrifuges based on the principle of the whirligig. Their “paperfuge,” which whirls at 125,000 rpm, can stand in for expensive point-of-care diagnostics, plasma separation, and other vital medical services. Low-cost health solutions in the developing world (Mark Tibbitt, San Francisco, Dec 2016; David Schafran, Washington, D.C., May 2012; David Talbot, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009) can also benefit the developed world, where health-care costs are still not under control.
Surely one of the holy grails of applied physics is absolute zero. “Sensors would become more sensitive,” says NIST physicist John Teufel. “You can store information longer. If you were using it in a quantum computer, then you would compute without distortion [Rodney Van Meter, San Francisco, December 2014], and you would actually get the answer you want." Teufel, who previously cooled a quantum drum to its ground state (one-third of a quantum) has now sucked more energy out of the device using squeezed light to drive the drum circuit, pointing the way toward achieving the ultimate in cold and stillness.
At CES, member firm Intel showed a high-fidelity video capture system, developed with Hype VR, that lets viewers move around a video scene as if they were there. Is it as cool as what Nolan Bushnell (San Francisco, Dec 2016) showed us last month? Check out the video and judge for yourself.
One hundred percent of TTI/V Director Steven Cherry’s students get most of their news from Facebook. So he welcomes the idea that the social network is taking that responsibility seriously with something it calls The Facebook Journalism Project, working with news agencies “to develop news products, bolster local news, develop profit centers with news partners and provide new training initiatives for journalists.”
And speaking of fake news, past speaker Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia (Washington D.C., Sep 2015) has a new tool to help people understand fake news and how it travels around the Web (Bob Garfield, Atlanta, Feb 2014; Aaron Swartz, Rome, Jul 2008; Dan Gillmor, San Jose, Feb 2003; TTI/V conference on the Future of Print Journalism in the Digital Age, Cambridge, May 1994) .
The U.S. Department of Energy is protecting its scientists with rules enabling them to perform science without fear of retribution for publishing honestly on their work (Paul Cohen, San Francisco, Dec 2014; John Perry Barlow and Eric Haseltine, Atlanta, Feb 2014). 

“Science is never rigid, it is flexible. It can bend towards any direction that ultimately tends to do good to humanity.”—Abhijit Naskar

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