Best Of the Web: New Tech Toys, How To Read More, What’s the Worst Pain…

The best of new consumer products have been on display at the CES conference in Las Vegas, and there are some pretty cool ones. Elsewhere, a bunch of “how to” articles :  holding chopsticks, using your smartphone camera, learning a new skill. On the science front, several great articles including alien radio signals, the intelligence of crows and pictures of an atom.  There are scary big brother developments such tech attaching to bees! And a few articles on Big Tech and much much more. Enjoy!

Toy Department

Presenting the Best of CES 2019 finalists! At the annual CES show in Las Vegas has been going on this past week. The event showcases the latest in consumer tech. There’s tons of articles on the subject, this one has a good summary for all the main categories. Highlights include: FenSens car sensor (for any car) for when things get too close, VTOL air taxi, Optoma’s smart laser cinema projector, Whirlpool’s oven that displays how to cook, Royole’s foldable smartphone, LG TV that can roll out of your sight, heated Razor by Gillete and  BotBoxer’s smart punchbag,

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish Humorous take on tech. The author will not buy a smart speaker, bitcoin or music on vinyl amongst others.

Google Assstant is coming to Google Maps today It will let you control navigation, reply to texts (complete with auto-punctuation, which is a neat new trick) and control music.

How to take better photos with your smartphone, thanks to computational photography Useful tips on how to get soft-focus backgrounds, blurry car lights and more

Microsoft is working on a remote desktop app for iPad  “Microsoft is working on a remote desktop app that allows users to access their Windows 10 PC from an iPad with an internet connection”

Star Trek style translators step closer to reality at gadget show “Waverly Lab’s “Pilot” headphones translate 15 languages and are priced from $180 and $250. If each person in a conversation is wearing a Pilot, they can speak directly to one another using their own language.”

This smart mirror uses AR to let you ‘try on’ different hair styles  hmm

Alexa is everywhere: Kohler’s smart toilet brings voice assistant into bathrooms Just what we needed

LG’s 49-inch, ultrawide monitor is a multitasker’s dream Looks cool

Disrupting Yourself

The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skill Useful system where you find the “what”, “how” and “why” books for your skill. For example for “overcoming procrastination” the “what” book is The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel, the “how” book is The Now Habit by Neil Fiore and the “why” book is The Replacing Guilt blog sequence by Nate Soares

7 things that are killing your startup Since reaching a peak in 2001, the number of high-tech startups in the U.S. has seen a steady decline. Culprits include the level of student dent, millennials! (one-quarter compared to gen-X), and patents.

How to Lose Tens of Thousands of Dollars on Amazon “A growing number of self-proclaimed experts promise they can teach anyone how to make a passive income selling cheap Chinese goods in the internet’s largest store. Not everyone’s getting rich quick.”

Psychology’s five revelations for finding your true calling Some good advice in here including: “The researchers found that people who believe that passion comes from pleasurable work were less likely to feel that they had found their passion (and were more likely to want to leave their job) as compared with people who believe that passion comes from doing what you feel matters”. Purpose > pleasure

Department Of Self-Development

Unplugged: what I learned by logging off and reading 12 books in a week Journalist switches devices off and reads a lot. “Stepping back from the inane clamor of daily Twitter made it easier to spot what is good and revealing on social media”. And she also provides some good reviews of books in the piece.

How To Read More In 2019, According To Your Favorite Authors Tips include “I use Goodreads to casually track what I’ve read”, “I get most of my reading done on the subway, on planes, in the bathtub”, “I’m more about page counts — I aim to read 100 pages a day, and usually end up with more like 30 or 50, which is fine”,” and ““I incorporate as many audiobooks as I can into my life”

The dark side of decision-making in groups: Nastiness to outsiders New evidence from experiments in Slovakia and Uganda that supports an alternative hypothesis from social psychology that simply being a member of a group makes us more anti-social to outsiders.

Study Spanning Almost a Decade Reveals The Impact Single-Parent Families Have on Kids“Children who had always lived in single parent families scored as high or higher as those who had always lived with both parents in terms of life satisfaction, the quality of their peer relationships, or their positivity about family life.”

How and when taking pictures undermines the enjoyment of experiences “taking pictures (compared with not taking pictures) can decrease enjoyment of highly enjoyable experiences. This study suggests that, by constantly striving to document their experiences, consumers may unwittingly fail to enjoy those experiences to the fullest”

How to Use Chopsticks Like Mr. Miyagi “Man who catch fly with chopstick, accomplish anything. Useful visual guide.

Department Of Health

Smoking hookah could put people at a ‘significantly higher’ risk of diabetes and obesity “We found that the adverse effects of hookah smoking could be even greater than cigarette,”. Uh oh – no more Edgware Rd (London) or Arab St (Singapore)

Link Between Social Media and Depression Stronger In Teen Girls Than Boys, Study Says  the study showed a 50% increase in depressive symptoms among girls versus 35% among boys. The caveat was that it was a correlation and they haven’t proved causation.

Cancer Deaths Fall for 25th Straight Year “Between 1991 and 2016, deaths from cancer [in the US] dropped 27 percent. In real numbers, that’s almost 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths… The decline in deaths is largely driven by reductions in smoking and improved treatment, as well as earlier detection for some cancers”. Great news

The Fat-Burning Effects of HIIT Workouts Are Exaggerated “researchers pooled the results of 28 trials, covering almost 1000 people. After crunching the numbers, they found “no evidence to support the superiority of either high-intensity interval training or steady-state cardio for body fat reduction.”” But HIIT requires less time so that could be an advantage, plus it may have other benefits aside from fat loss.

Artificial Sweeteners, Not Good, Not Bad Review of studies found no convincing evidence that nonsugar sweeteners had any effect in adults on eating behavior, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood, behavior or cognition (either positively or negatively)

Sleep Patterns May Offer Clues to Alzheimer’s Poor sleep could be a leading indicator of poor brain health

Millions of Americans Are Wrong About Having a Food Allergy, Study Suggests Study found that while nearly 20 percent of people said they had a food allergy, only half as many people reported the sort of symptoms you’d expect from eating something you’re allergic to.

What’s the Worst Pain? Doc’s opinions vary from “ If you have tooth pain, face pain, eye pain, whatever, it’s coming in through this trigeminal nerve. …a blood vessel gets dilated or hypertrophied, and it pushes against the trigeminal nerve. Often, patients describe the resultant pain as being like a bolt of lightning hitting the side of their face. Or “worst kind of physical pain is the type that you feel you cannot control. This is a huge issue with people with intractable chronic pain… [like] when someone has a car accident and breaks a limb. That traumatic injury may also crush a nerve and the nerve crush causes neuropathic pain. Everything heals but the injury to the nerve causes neuropathic pain that never resolves”

Science Class

Crows Are So Clever They Can Judge Weight Using a Technique We’ve Only Seen in Humans“When we look at the way an object moves, humans are able to use this context to infer weight – whether it is light or heavy. Now, New Caledonian crows have demonstrated the same skill – accurately gauging the weight of an object based on how it moves in a breeze…. Previous intelligence tests have also demonstrated that crows have abilities on a par with great apes (such as making compound tools), but in this one, our feathered friends have surpassed non-human primates.”

This Breathtaking Science Photo Shows a Single Trapped Atom Looks like a white dot

25+ Astounding Science Facts We Didn’t Know at The Start of 2018 Includes “mitochondrial DNA can actually be passed down by males”, “It’s possible to build a device that generates particles with what appears to be ‘negative mass’” and “ researchers captured insane footage of a bacterium using its appendages to fish for little bits of DNA from its dead friends. It’s just as incredible as it sounds.”

An Incredible Aerial Tour of Earth’s Surface from the International Space Station Stunning

What’s Better Than One Mysterious Cosmic Signal?  A fast radio burst from the other side of the galaxy has seemingly been repeated last summer. Could it be from aliens?!

See China’s Lunar Rover Set Off Across the Far Side of the Moon Some great shots

Ministry Of Distractions

6 Analysts On The Music Industry Trends To Watch in 2019 Includes “more money into researching, and productizing, AI-generated music. “ the role of tech platforms in solidifying A&R infrastructure across Asia, Africa and Latin America”, “look for Spotify in 2019 to start building a ‘first team’ of artists”, “expect more attendance at festivals with high-end experiences like food & drinks. BottleRock is a great example”, and “expect more hip-hop artists to try and launch their own podcasts”

io9’s Guide to All the Movies You Should Give a Damn About in 2019 Includes Keanu Reevse’s “Replicas”, “Dragon Ball Super”, “What Men Want” and “Us”

The 13 most hilarious Amazon movie reviews from 2018 Includes “I hate super heroes….I also hate children”, “My children rented this movie [Jurassic World] without my permission on amazon, so I made them stay up for 24 hours straight watching it over and over till the rental ran out”!!!!

Don’t Mess With THIS Photographer Apparently some photographers use a rifle-style stock to hold the camera!

How a DNA Testing Kit Revealed a Family Secret Hidden for 54 Years Her husband wanted a DNA test and asked his wife whether she wanted one too. She said “sure”. Little did she know she’d discover her father was not her biological father. Gulp.

The best science images of the year: 2018 in pictures California’s worst wildfires, cloned monkey twins, the world’s smallest house, the world’s last male white rhino (sad) and more.

the world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died in March in Kenya.

Big Brother Ministry

Broward County (Fla.) district will get surveillance system with facial recognition “the technology can be used to check each face against a database of expelled students, sex offenders, felons and other potential troublemakers.” It’s coming to you next…

“Black Mirror” isn’t just predicting the future—it’s causing it The show allows watchers to make choices that will change the story-line. With more shows like this, Netflix could end up having data on whether you opted to kill your father in cold blood, or save him. The question is what could Netflix do with that highly sensitive emotional information.

Scientists fit bees with sensors to create ‘living IoT platform’ “A research team from the University of Washington are turning bees into tiny drones to create a living IoT platform… which analyse humidity, temperature, and light intensity once every four seconds.” I’m sure I’ve seen this on a dystopian TV show!

Department Of Big Tech

Apple’s Errors Good summary from Ben Thompson on Apple’s 3 predictable revenue errors: China’s WeChat challenge, release schedule of non-flagship phones and assuming iPhone growth. Ben concludes, though, “ there is nothing structurally different about the company’s competitive position today versus six months ago”

Tim Cook says that improving people’s health will be ‘Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind’Apple’s new pivot

TikTok: the world’s most valuable startup that you’ve never heard of Chinese app that kids all over the world are using. It’s a video sharing platform, where videos can be no longer than 15 seconds and they are based on various themes: music, cooking, travel, dance, fashion, and so on.

Technology, Ranked “the definitive list of every important technology ever, ranked by their importance.” Screw comes in at #99, canned food at #50, axe at #23, fire at #2 and …

2018’s tech trends and tribulations in 14 charts Includes “social media usership plateaued in its most valuable regions” and “tech companies are spending record amounts on fixed assets”

The 20 Internet Giants That Rule the Web (1998-Today) “Many of the top websites in 1998 were basically news aggregators or search portals, which are easy concepts to understand. Today, brand touch-points are often spread out between devices (e.g. mobile apps vs. desktop site) and a myriad of services and sub-brands (e.g. Facebook’s constellation of apps). As a result, the world’s biggest websites are complex, interconnected web properties.”


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