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January 19th, 2020 at 9:01 pm

A survey of 20,000 creatives suggests brainstorming is a giant waste of time

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Perhaps more than any other category of professionals, creative types are expected to thrive in brainstorms. In the public’s imagination, their offices are filled with fidget toys and Post-it notes in an array of colors, all meant to absorb some of the energy of a group of fast-thinking, well-dressed hipsters deep in ideation mode.

But a new report based on a survey of 20,000 creatives from 197 countries suggests that, in fact, a majority of these professionals—including writers, musicians, photographers, and podcasters—find that brainstorming is largely unhelpful for solving a creative challenge.

The survey, commissioned by the Dutch file-sharing company WeTransfer, attests to the perils of this form of groupthink. “In the creative world we hear an awful lot about collaboration, but it seems that while working together is essential to bring an idea to life, it’s not that good for shaping ideas in the first place,” notes Rob Alderson, WeTransfer’s recently departed editor in chief.

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January 19th, 2020 at 8:58 pm

New Harvard study fights fat with salty, icy injections

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Injecting an icy saline slurry into fat deposits could be a new fat-reduction technique

It sure sounds like a pop-up ad you’d see online, but scientists have created and tested a new treatment that melts away belly fat. The new technique, developed by researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), involves injecting an icy saline solution directly into fat deposits to shrink them by half.

The new process sounds simple enough. It uses a sterile solution made up of saline, glycerol, and between 20 and 40 percent small ice particles, giving it a slushy texture. This mixture is injected directly into fat deposits, such as around the abdomen, where it crystallizes and kills the fat cells. Over the course of a few weeks following the treatment, the body will flush out the dead cells.

The team says that this process could be used to reduce fat stores in basically any part of the body, at any depth, as long as it can be accessed by a needle or catheter. Importantly, it doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on other tissues, such as muscle.

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January 19th, 2020 at 8:54 pm

New graphene battery recharges blazingly fast, and it’s already on the market

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Faster charging, longer lasting, and lower temperatures. These are the three major benefits from a lithium battery that has been infused with wonder-material graphene. Thing is, we’ve all heard about the benefits of graphene before, but despite all the hype, we’ve yet to really see it used in devices and products that you can actually buy.

That’s about to change according to Real Graphene, a Los Angeles-based technology company working on graphene-enhanced battery cells. Digital Trends spoke to CEO Samuel Gong about what benefits integrating graphene into a lithium battery will bring, and they’re extremely compelling. Even better news is that the tech is almost ready for mainstream use.

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January 18th, 2020 at 6:05 pm

The making of Mojo, AR contact lenses that give your eyes superpowers

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Using a display the size of a grain of sand to project images onto the retina, this startup could help everyone from firefighters to people with poor vision.

When I looked into the user interface of Mojo Vision’s augmented reality contact lenses, I didn’t see anything at first except the real world in front of me. Only when I peeked over toward the periphery did a small yellow weather icon appear. When I examined it more closely, I could see the local temperature, the current weather, and some forecast information. I looked over to the 9 o’clock position and saw a traffic icon that gave way to a frontal graphic showing potential driving routes on a simple map. At 12 o’clock, I found my calendar and to-do information. At the bottom of my view was a simple music controller.

Rather than wearing Mojo’s contact lenses—which aren’t yet ready to demo—I was looking at a mock-up of a future, consumer version of their interface through a VR headset. But the point was made. Instead of offering the pretty holograms of the Magic Leap and HoloLens headsets, Mojo aims to place useful data and imagery over your world—and boost your natural vision—using tech that can barely be seen. The startup named the lenses “Mojo” because it wants to build something that’s like getting superpowers for your eyes.

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January 18th, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Scientists have created an artificial retina implant that could restore vision to million

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Scientists have developed a retinal implant that can restore lost vision in rats, and are planning to trial the procedure in humans later this year.

The implant, which converts light into an electrical signal that stimulates retinal neurons, could give hope to millions who experience retinal degeneration – including retinitis pigmentosa – in which photoreceptor cells in the eye begin to break down, leading to blindness.

The retina is located at the back of the eye, and is made up of millions of these light-sensitive photoreceptors. But mutations in any one of the 240 identified genes can lead to retinal degeneration, where these photoreceptor cells die off, even while the retinal neurons around them are unaffected.

Because the retinal nerves remain intact and functional, previous research has looked at treating retinitis pigmentosa with bionic eye devices that stimulate the neurons with lights, while other scientists have investigated using CRISPR gene editing to repair the mutations that cause blindness.

Now, a team led by the Italian Institute of Technology has developed a new approach, with a prosthesis implanted into the eye that serves as a working replacement for a damaged retina.

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January 18th, 2020 at 5:54 pm

This is the world’s largest 3D-printed house

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Largest ‘permitted 3D-printed home’ was built at an incredible pace

SQ4D has just 3D-printed an impressively large home, and indeed is claiming that the 1,900 square foot abode is the ‘largest permitted 3D-printed home in the world’, no less.

While larger buildings have been constructed with 3D printing – including this two-storey affair in Dubai, which at almost 7,000 square feet holds the official world record – this is certainly one of the biggest houses we’ve heard about, and it was created at an impressive lick of speed.

SQ4D printed the house in 48 hours, albeit spread across eight days, and it was created right there on-site. That’s quick when you compare it to previous projects such as the 3D-printed houses in Mexico which were 500 square feet and took 24 hours to make.

Furthermore, SQ4D pegs the cost of the construction materials at less than $6,000 (around £4,600). The building work was carried out by the company’s Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS).

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January 17th, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Wi-Fi 6 will double your network’s range and triple its speed — once you upgrade your router, phone, PC, and everything else

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Wi-Fi 6 will upgrade your workhorse wireless network

5G is great, but it’s a big Wi-Fi upgrade that’ll likely help you out sooner with faster speeds and longer range at home, school and work.

We get it. 5G is a big deal. But honestly, you likely use Wi-Fi networks as much or more with your phone and PC, so tune out the 5G noise for a moment and appreciate what’s coming with Wi-Fi 6.

“While 5G is getting much of the limelight, Wi-Fi 6 will have a bigger impact in our connected lives — and sooner,” said FeibusTech analyst Mike Feibus.

Wi-Fi 6, the consumer-friendly new name for the tech standard actually called 802.11ax, won’t just boost data-transfer speeds — though it’ll do that, by a factor of three or so. It’ll also reach into corners of our house farther away from network gear, better handle the crush of people at airports and stadiums, and sidestep interference from your neighbors’ noisy network. On your phone or laptop, it should save your battery life, too.

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January 17th, 2020 at 9:52 pm

Jeff Bezos bullish on India, will invest $1 billion to digitize small businesses

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Amazon hopes to export goods worth $10 billion from India by 2025

 Jeff Bezos said Amazon will invest another $1 billion in India to help 10 million Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs) sell online amid nationwide protests by neighbourhood shopkeepers against his visit and the competition watchdog ordering a probe into ecommerce platforms.

Amazon, which has invested more than $5 billion in India since 2013, said its latest programme will help SMBs participate in India’s rapidly growing ecommerce and that it hopes to export locally made goods worth $10 billion from the country by 2025.

“Our goal is, don’t forget, to make sure that more people can participate in the prosperity of India,” Bezos told the audience at an Amazon event in New Delhi.

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January 17th, 2020 at 9:48 pm

How AI is really going to change real estate in 2020 and beyond

 

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By 2030, AI is predicted to add +$15 trillion to the global GDP thanks largely to solving data issues according to PwC. Lending money used to be a tricky business but time consumers and technology is changing. Banks and other industries are struggling to cope with the changing consumer demand, but a few are getting it right.

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January 16th, 2020 at 1:22 pm

Samsung’s ‘artificial human’ project definitely looks like a digital avatar

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It’s realistic, but can it walk and talk like a human?

On Friday we wrote about Samsung’s mysterious “artificial human” project Neon, speculating that the company was building realistic human avatars that could be used for entertainment and business purposes, acting as guides, receptionists, and more.

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January 16th, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first living robots

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Researchers foresee myriad benefits for humanity, but also acknowledge ethical issues

Be warned. If the rise of the robots comes to pass, the apocalypse may be a more squelchy affair than science fiction writers have prepared us for.

Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.

One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

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January 16th, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Davos 2020 : the World is drowning in debt

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New York (CNN Business)The world’s already huge debt load smashed the record for the highest debt-to-GDP ratio before 2019 was even over.

In fact, it broke that record in the first nine months of last year. Global debt, which comprises borrowings from households, governments and companies, grew by $9 trillion to nearly $253 trillion during that period, according to the Institute of International Finance.

That puts the global debt-to-GDP ratio at 322%, narrowly surpassing 2016 as the highest level on record.

More than half of this enormous number was accumulated in developed markets, such as the United States and Europe, bringing their debt-to-GDP ratio to 383% overall.

There are plenty of culprits. Countries like New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway all have rising household debt levels, while the government debt-to-GDP ratios in the United States and Australia are at all-time highs.

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are certificates more valuable than college degrees?