• You Might One Day Be Driving a Car Made With Algae

    Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin say they have engineered a “wonder material” that can sustain the exhaustible means by which we live. Called nanocellulose, the “wonder material” can be used to make buildings, cars, planes and replenishable biofuel

    “If we can complete the final steps, we will have accomplished one of the most important potential agricultural transformations ever,” said R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., Ph.D., in a news release issued by the American Chemical Society.

    Cellulose, one of the most abundant organic polymers on earth, consists of wood fibers that make up tree trunks and cotton fibers, according to the American Chemical Society. Materials made with nanocellulose are stronger than steel and stiffer than Kevlar. To harness its properties, scientists have been researching ways to produce it abundantly and cheaply.

    While few organisms can produce cellulose in its micro form that preserve its intrinsic advantages, Brown said he and his and team have

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  • No Mo’ Robo calls!

    If you don’t know what a robocall is, consider yourself lucky. Robocalls are the next generation of telemarketers, but instead of a human being calling homes one by one from a nondescript office building, Robocalls are automated sales pitches that target cellphones at a rate of thousands of calls per minute.

    This problem has troubled the Federal Trade Commission, which has been fielding more complaints than the 02 Arena after Justin Bieber showed up late for a performance in London. Unable to solve the problem alone, the FTC threw up its hands and offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who could stop the swarm of unwanted calls.

    There were two winners of the FTC “Robocall Challenge” who split the $50,000 prize. One of them, Aaron Foss, joined us to discuss his creation, Nomorobo.

    Simply put, Nomorobo automatically recognizes an incoming robocall before your phone rings, intercepts it and hangs up before your phone rings. It’s like the Israeli Iron Dome for unwanted calls.

    “You know when

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  • Pay Phone Time Machine: Go Back to NYC Circa ’93

    It’s hard enough to admit to yourself that 1993 was 20 years ago, but it’s even harder to imagine New York City circa 1993.

    Times Square was an unsavory place, subways were plastered with graffiti and the city had a crime problem. All that has changed now, but what if you could travel back in time and experience the city as it once was?

    Now you can – just pick up a New York City pay phone. No, it doesn’t transport you in a literal sense, but if you dial “1-855-FOR-1993” from any of the city’s 5,000 pay phones, you will hear what was happening on that phone’s block in 1993 from someone who was there. The exhibit includes audio stories from artists, activists, “celebutantes” and “club kids” -- even the metropolis’ only homegrown New York City Marathon winner.

    This cool interactive campaign is called “Recalling 1993,” and it was organized by the New Museum as a promotion for its current exhibit, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.” Named after a Sonic Youth album, the

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