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Newsletter
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 March 17

Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works has revealed some details of a compact fusion reactor it hopes to commercialize within 10 years. Like the fusion project (Dennis Whyte, San Francisco, Dec 2015) we’ll visit on our April field trip in Boston before the Hyperconnected meeting (registration, agenda), it uses newly available superconducting magnets, but unlike it, it has a torus instead of tokamak design.
www.aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-reveals-compact-fusion-reactor-details
 
Mary Lou Jepsen’s (Geneva, Sep, 2005) latest startup is out of stealth. It’s mission is modest:  transforming health care and telepathy.
www.spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/imaging/why-mary-lou-jepsen-left-facebook-to-transform-heath-care-and-invent-consumer-telepathy
 
Once you have a prosthetic limb (Dustin Tyler, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Jon Schull, San Francisco, Dec 2014), how to power it? Solar-powered skin, of course.
www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39353751
 
The more sensors within a device, the more entry points for hackers. Take the accelerometer. Researchers have taken over embedded hardware using sound waves, demonstrating the vulnerability of IoT devices (Srdjan Capkun, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016).
www.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/technology/phone-hacking-sound-waves.html
 
What else is being hacked? John Deere tractors. Because the green giant has locked down its software—and, thereby, its hardware, farmers are looking to Eastern European comrades for workarounds and finding software hacks on the dark ag web.
www.motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-american-farmers-are-hacking-their-tractors-with-ukrainian-firmware
 
How to confound art forgers: Tag (Mike O’Neill, San Francisco, Feb 2017) the originals with “smart water.”
www.npr.org/2017/03/21/520922468/archeologists-in-syria-use-data-water-to-confound-antiquities-smugglers
 
Good news: Z Holly’s podcast, The Art of Manufacturing, is back on the air for a second season.
 
Can the crowd-sourced AI that Pietro Michelucci, told us about (Austin, Feb 2016) solve Alzheimer’s disease? It can try.
www.fastcompany.com/3055277/how-the-global-hive-mind-is-teaming-up-to-find-a-cure-for-alzheimers
 
U.S.-based technology (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube) infused the Arab Spring—as discussed at TTI/V’s Revolutions conference (Mohamed Nanabhay, Esra’a Al Shafei, Sascha Meinrath, Rebecca MacKinnon, Joshua Levine and Peter Ackerman, Washington, D.C., May 2012)— and now it’s infusing political action back in its homeland.
www.time.com/4706278/meetup-trump-resistance-protest-movement/
 
Along similar lines, an MIT Media Lab project has gamified (Serious Fun, Chicago, May 2011) the tedious practice of letting your Congressperson know what you think.
www.fiftynifty.org/about
 
A radio’s transmit signal is 100 million times stronger than the receive signal, creating a problem that engineers have traditionally solved by separating the two functions. But researchers at Cornell have found a way to put the two signals on a single chip (Vamsi Talla, San Francisco, May 2016).
/www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2017/03/engineers-devise-two-way-radio-single-chip
 
How does the brain navigate? (Angelika Dimoka and Paul Pavlou, Paris, July 2011; Terry Lohrenz, Miami, Jul 2005).
www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-brain-takes-a-guided-tour-of-london/
 
Instead of killing all the lawyers, as Shakespeare never advocated, we’ll replace them with robots (K Krasnow Waterman, Atlanta, Feb 2014; Michael Bernstein, San Francisco, Dec 2013; Brian David Johnson, San Francisco, Feb 2017). But it’ll be a slow, gradual process, according to the experts.
www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/technology/lawyers-artificial-intelligence.html
 
On a topic close to the heart of one of us, Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is following in the footsteps of SAS by introducing beer to its lineup that is specially brewed to taste good at 30K feet. The secret is exploiting our elevated sensitivity to umami when aloft. Bottoms up, Steven!
www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/business/airlines-flights-liquor-beer-high-altitude.html
 
Physical location is less and less important these days, but we’ll mention anyway that TTI/Vanguard’s New York City office is moving to 1120 Avenue of the Americas (43rd Street)—on the edge of the theatre district. If you’re in New York seeing a show, give us a call—there are some pretty good beers to be found back on Earth as well.

“Unconcerned but not indifferent.”—Man Ray

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