The science and tech fix you need

We bring you the winners and losers of the week, from underwater airports and robots writing symphonies to ginormous buses and driverless cars

Photo by: Getty Images
Photo by: Getty Images

Oh my! Is that a drone delivery?

Updated Dec 19, 2016

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1. Most hated airport in the US is going under water


It will be under water, but no penguins just yet. (Getty)

LaGuardia Airport in New York, one of the most hated in the US (as voted by passengers and pilots alike) could be an underwater airport by 2080, thanks to climate change. According to a new report published by the Regional Plan Association, some parts of New York and New Jersey will be under water due to rising sea levels. We have just over 60 years to enjoy LaGuardia – after that we'll be catching a connecting ferry.

2. Samsung will kill remaining Note 7s


Does it also explode under water? (Getty)

Following one of the worst PR disasters in  history, Samsung recently updated their Note 7s in the US to prevent them from charging. This makes them basically useless. Although 93 percent of the devices have been returned, there are still some left (and potentially exploding) in the wild. This bricking campaign aims to kill them off but Verizon announced that it will not be taking part due to concerns about risks.

3. China’s Transit Elevated Bus is left to rust

Do you remember the excitement when this futuristic bus was first announced? We were excited, too. I mean, who wouldn't want to ride a two-metre high bus that straddles the cars below, allowing them to pass through? But sadly, the project has now come to a halt. The complications are many but one thing is certain: traffic is here and it's here to stay.

4. A dream team of billionaires invests in a $1bn fund for clean energy


Ready to save the world. (Reuters)

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and a group of more super-wealthy tech executives have launched a $1 billion fund to increase the financing for clean energy research. They want to figure out a way to slow down the effects of climate change. Who knows, if they succeed, maybe we'll still be catching connecting flights to LaGuardia after all.

5. Skype Real-Time Translate comes to mobile and landlines


Hello, can you hear me? Bonjour, peux tu m'entendre? No? Non? (Courtesy of Skype)

This is exactly how you read it. Basically you can call a random person in France (for example) and actually understand what they're saying. Skype first released the Real-Time Translate in 2014, but it only worked for Skype-to-Skype calls. This update incorporates landline and mobile calls and covers nine languages.

 

6. What the DoD wants, the DoD gets


This is what happens when requirements are unclear. (Getty)

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) recently released a list of new technologies it wants to acquire. Only problem is, they don't exist yet. The file will change but here’s the current list. It reads like a Christmas wish-list for a cyberpunk sadistic Santa Claus.

  • Wireless recharging for drones in flight

  • Low-power mini-spy camera with AES-256 Encryption

  • Fast, low-cost methods for profiling and analyzing DNA

  • Unconstrained scalable facial recognition

  • Autonomous systems and concepts for demonstrations of disruptive technology

  • Countering violent extremism and foreign ideological subversion

  • Wireless health monitor

  • Concealable armour panels

  • Through-the-wall/floor void detection        

  • Avatar-based training videos for explosive ordnance disposal

  • Dynamic social media for training and exercises    

 

7. Google's self-driving car has a name: Waymo


Not to nitpick, but there doesn't seem to be a steering wheel. (Getty)

A new way forward in mobility, 'Waymo' has become the official name of Google’s self-driving car unit after it split from Google X. Company CEO John Krafcik wants to make one thing clear – Waymo focuses on self-driving car technology, not on making better cars. Interestingly, the company announced a 100-car pilot project in partnership with Fiat Chrysler this year. Guess who else is in the self-driving car technology business?

 

8. Can a robot write a symphony? Yes, it can.

It seems the wonders of machines know no bounds. Two researchers from Paris have developed a neural network that can produce chorales in Bach’s baroque style. The researchers used around 200 chorales to train the neural net. The name of Bach reborn is DeepBach. Have a listen to it below.

 

Tech Fixes in One Sentence

8. Faster, Stronger Predators will be flying over Europe.

9. IEEE releases a guide for ethical AI design.

10. Amazon made its first drone delivery in the middle of nowhere  rural England.

11. Yahoo got hacked. Again. Verizon gets upset in return.

12. Our cars will be talking to each other in the future, hopefully.

13. Microsoft will be where AI is

14. Nintendo released 'Super Mario Run' for iOS

 

This week's biggest loser

Yahoo. That's it.


Maybe her account was hacked too. (Getty)

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies