You’ll notice a bunch of new features about Google Maps today, which is officially rolling out its upgraded version. (Or you might not notice much, since some of them are a little buried.) Here are a few.
Opera Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute will take part in a global experiment in 21st century opera: on Sunday, February 16, a live performance of Death and the Powers, by acclaimed American composer/inventor Tod Machover, will be simulcast from The Dallas Opera to more than ten locations in Europe and the U.S.– including The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Streaming live from the Franklin Theater, the opera simulcast is the closing event of The Franklin Institute’s Robot Day.
The Olympics are here!
Well, okay, they’re not quite the Olympics — these are the Winter Games, the not-so-beloved younger brother of the Summer Olympics. Still, I don’t see why everyone can’t get behind an event where countries compete in athletic competitions to see who’s the greatest. America is going to show you who’s boss, Norway!
This year’s Olympics are in Sochi, Russia, and they cost $51 billion — more than every other Winter Olympics combined. They’re actually more expensive than the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which had three times as many events.
The 2014 Olympics have also been marred by Russian politics. In addition to the cost overruns, Russia’s law restricting gay rights activities has dominated pre-Olympics conversation. Russia’s law is so bad even American corporations have even publicly denounced it. The Google doodle is against it!
Cooking just got a whole lot easier, thanks to Belkin’s amazing new smartphone-controlled Crock Pot. Yes. A SMARTPHONE CONTROLLED CROCK POT. No more asking your work-from-home roommate to remember to turn on the Crock Pot for you at 10 a.m. so your dinner is ready at 6 when you get home from work (only me?). Instead, just throw the ingredients into the Crock Pot before you head off to work, then turn it on yourself from your phone once you’re at the office. You can use your phone to check in on your meal throughout the day, too, and adjust the cooking temp. Amazing, right?
Am I the only one annoyed with Michael Bay?
Bay is a Hollywood producer and director, known mostly for his work on films like Armageddon and the Transformers series. By now you’ve likely heard about his meltdown at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Bay was there promoting Samsung’s new 105-inch curved HDTV. He was brought on stage to discuss the product with a moderator. There was a problem with the tele-prompter. He freaked out. He left the stage. He never completed the job. Here’s the video. Here’s his apology.
“I guess live shows aren’t my thing,” he later said. What?
Every year in January — after they’ve shaken off the holiday hangovers and said goodbye to the in-laws — thousands of technology professionals, application developers, engineers and assorted tech geeks descend on Las Vegas for a glimpse at the next wave of consumer tech innovation.
Hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association since the 1960s, the International CES, which begins next Tuesday, is like the Super Bowl of high-tech gadgetry — if the Super Bowl lasted for five days; included super sessions from the biggest names in entertainment, media and technology; and featured daily Les Paul guitar jams hosted by Gibson.
This year, scattered among the 3D TVs , tablet computers and portable gaming consoles, attendees will discover a host of new and exciting devices and applications designed to make their lives easier, or at least more exciting. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come. With a smartphone in the hands of nearly two-thirds of Americans and tech-savvy consumers demanding real-time, interactive engagement, 2014 promises to be a breakthrough year for emerging technology. Here’s a preview of the tech trends you can expect to hear more about this year.
The Milken Institute has released its annual list of ‘best performing cities.’ Here’s how they came up with the ranking, per Richard Florida of the Atlantic Cities.
You may have heard about a pair of Penn students who’ve come up with a nifty new idea. They’ve created a virtual marketplace, Noteriety (motto: “Get A’s. Make Bank.”), where students can buy and sell notes from their classes. The idea is that if for some reason you should miss a class, or are just having trouble learning what you’re supposed to, you can buy notes taken by somebody else who did go or does understand what the hell’s going on. An article about the start-up in the Daily Pennsylvanian mentioned that it’s “backed by the PennApps Accelerator Program,” a “mentorship and sponsorship” effort aimed at encouraging student entrepreneurship.
Coincidentally, the same week the DP article on Noteriety appeared, the New York Times ran a story on a new study showing that increased class attendance in college leads to improved grades.
In the study, professors teaching a popular Intro to Psych course at the University of Texas instituted a new teaching method that replaced grading based on a final exam with grading based on a series of quizzes given during every class. The quizzes were short and tailored to a student’s previous performance; get a question wrong, and you’d soon find it staring up at you again.