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futurescope:

Swarm Robotics: Invasion of the Robot Ants

Even though the video is from last year, it’s worth a look. James McLurkin, assistant professor at Rice University in the department of computer science, shows some impressive robot dances.

Watch as a throng of tiny, self-organizing machines—flashing lights on, speakers playing vintage video game music—search, cluster, and disperse with a single command. We owe much of this groundbreaking technology—known as “swarm robotics”—to visionary engineer James McLurkin, named one of the country’s top five robot designers by Time magazine. His machines perform striking organizational and teamwork tasks in a method with origins in the behavior of ants and bees, and with real-world application and stakes: his swarm can clear minefields, execute complex missions on Mars, and search the aftermath of natural disasters for survivors. Learn more from McLurkin and witness his mechanical colony in action.

[read more] [via exponential times] [watch a self-organizing thousand kilobot robot swarm]

Spooky And amazing !

fastcompany:

Insights from the time-diaries collected from Americans over the past 11 years show we’re shifting in our priorities.

If you can’t catch a breath during the frantic daily grind, don’t blame it on not having any free time.

Americans actually have more leisure time, are less rushed, less stressed, and sleep much more than we think we do. According to sociologist John Robinson, or better known as “Father Time” to his colleagues, most people have around 40 hours of free time per week.

Robinson, a professor at the University of Maryland and director of the Americans’ Use of Time Project, has been studying how people spend their time for more than 50 years. In 1972, he became one of the first social scientists to collect detailed time diaries of people all over the country. According to his massive studies and research, Robinson tells Fast Company that modern Americans only merely feel like we are working more hours and we also tend to exaggerate about our work hours since the actual hours on the job have been decreasing steadily for the past 40 years.

If this is the case, then why don’t we feel like we have more time and what exactly are we spending our time on? Below Robinson gives us the major findings from decades of time-use and social attitudes research:

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webofgoodnews:

Yao Ming aims to save Africa’s elephants by persuading China to give up ivory

As a shy, nervous 22-year-old NBA rookie, Yao Ming confronted the concentrated power of Shaquille O’Neal for the first time — and came out a winner.

Now, more than a decade later and long retired from the game, the former Houston Rockets star faces a challenge perhaps as daunting as it is radically different: to wean the Chinese nation off its love of ivory and save Africa’s dwindling elephant population.

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