Posts by Bill Weir

  • More Than Mere Magic Mushrooms

    Bill Weir at This Could Be Big2 yrs ago

    This week we're talking about fungus two ways. One that can survive exclusively on polyurethane and another that can replace Styrofoam.

    Both polyurethane and styrofoam are not biodegradable, so without a solution, all the plastic bottles and old toys we throw out every year will be sitting in landfills for centuries.

    Yes, you can recycle plastic, but that just means turning it into another product and recycling hasn't sufficiently slowed the production of new plastic.

    According to a Yale study, globally we produced 245 million tons of plastic in 2006, compared to only 1.5 million tons in 1950.

    One of the fungi we're looking at is called pestalotiopsis microspora . It was discovered by a group of Yale researchers on an expedition in Ecuador and can subsist on polyurethane alone in airless environments, like the bottom of a landfill.

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  • Bill Gates on Using His Money to Save Lives and Fix U.S. Schools, and Steve Jobs

    Bill Weir at Newsmakers2 yrs ago

    For the moment, Bill Gates is no longer the world's wealthiest man.

    But he didn't lose the title to Mexico's telecom titan Carlos Slim; he gave it away. And as a result, the businessman-turned-philanthropist can point to a different kind of scoreboard.

    "Well, it's easiest to measure in the health work," Gates told me, "where over 5 million lives have been saved."

    In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo! and ABC News, the former head of Microsoft talked about how Steve Jobs' death affected him, his fix for American schools and his annual letter, which sets the priorities for one of the most generous charitable efforts in history.

    With a pledge to give away 95 percent of Gates' personal wealth, the Gates Foundation claims to have granted more than $26 billion since 1994. While some of that money is devoted to improving U.S. education, roughly 75 percent goes to the poorest countries in the world, and Gates scoffs at the idea that the money would be better spent at home.

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  • Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera Shoots Amazing 360-Degree Photos

    Bill Weir at This Could Be Big3 yrs ago

    You think you've seen every possible camera angle during a sporting event? Just wait until they put cameras IN the ball. It seems inevitable after agroup of students in Berlin built this throwable panoramic ball camera which employs 36 small cameras trained to fire at the top of flight. There is a patent pending and they will unveil the design at a big tech expo in Japan later this year, so smart money says some version of this will be available late next year -- just in time for a new kind of Christmas tree photo.

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  • Death of the Keyboard: Laser-Guided Typing

    Bill Weir at This Could Be Big3 yrs ago

    Here's a quick and easy way to decide if you're cut out to be a forensic scientist; flip over your keyboard and shake. If not immediately disgusted by the detritus and DNA that comes sprinkling down, congrats! CSI Milwaukee can use you!

    And the rest of you? Take heart. Because revolting, bulky and breakable keyboards could soon be a quaint memory when the last vestige of the typewriter is replaced by lasers and sensors. The Celluon Magic Cube is among the first wave of virtual keyboards to hit the market, a device that projects keys of light on to any flat surface, interprets your finger-tapping and sends each p and q to any Bluetooth device.

    Aatma studios in San Francisco took this new reality to an obvious fantasy with a video mock-up of a mythical iPhone 5, using laser projection to make keyboards AND thumb typing obsolete, so get right on that, Apple.

    We also take a look at Panasonic's new shampoo robot and a revolutionary way for the weak and waterlogged to actually paddle out and catch a wave.

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  • Mind Control Flies Toy Helicopter: Autism or Epilepsy Cure?

    Bill Weir at This Could Be Big3 yrs ago

    Our maiden blog! I haven't been this tingly since bathing in champagne to celebrate the announcement of this new blog!

    We have grandiose plans to make this THE place to discover the latest, seismic breakthroughs in the way we live, work and play and our first entry has staggering implications.

    Until now, if you wanted to understand the inner-workings of your brain, you had to slide into a huge, expensive and claustrophobic CT machine. But now a device with the simplicity of a head massager can read the electrical activity deep inside your melon and relay those commands to any number of devices.

    It is the $300 Emotive Epic headset, and it could change how paraplegics move, soldiers shoot and the lazy change channels. But Emotive's founder and inventor thinks it can help understand and cure diseases from autism to epilepsy.

    Until there is mind-control romance, we take a look at the bubbliest trend in on-line dating; location-based social apps. After Joel Simkhai created a gay hook-up app called Grindr, he says countless women begged him for a straight version.

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