The Internet: A Warning From History


Lifeline Telephone Services


Lifeline Telephone Services

We have starting taking it for granted, this extremely convenient system in our lives, telecommunications. From ordering a late-night pizza to having all-night-long shouting matches about some inane political issue with someone on the other side of the globe, we have loved it, hated it, manipulated it, exhausted it and made telephones indispensible. What is so indispensible to us is not even dreamable to many. And that is where Lifeline Telephone Services comes in. A government program, Lifeline provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income consumers. This is to give them access to the opportunities and security provided by the telephone. This overwhelming presence in our lives that we use and abuse is for many an immediate necessity – a means to access jobs, be in touch with the families and have 911 services.

Lifeline is supported by the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). Since the lowest of…

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Chinese University Students Develop a Smartphone App that Detects the Ripeness of Watermelons

Agriculture in China 农业中国

It’s summer. And nothing is worse than hauling home some 20-pound watermelons – only to find that they are mealy and tasteless. It has happened to me before. But it seems it’s time to end the misery – a new smartphone app named “pick a good watermelon”, developed by a group of Chinese university students, now tries to solve the ancient task of choosing a perfect watermelon, according to Chinese media reports…Full-text article: South China Morning Post June 2013

Key point

  • The “Watermelon App” works by analyzing the sound a melon makes when it is tapped by the consumer. If a hollow thumping sounds is detected, then the watermelon is determined to be ripe and ready for consumption.

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Rumors suggests that Google is working on a game console.


Google is working on an Android-based console for video games and a smart watch as a direct attack on rival Apple, reports a trusted newspaper.

There are already several Android-based gaming consoles – such as Project Shield and OUYA. Although only Ouya is on the market yet.

An Android game console. That’s what Internet giant Google is currently working on.

At least if you believe the international newspaper the Wall Street Journal, which claims that Google will now build on the huge success, of the operating system Android, which was released back in 2008. Google keeps reportedly close eye on the extremely affordable OUYA to see how much consumer interest in an Android game console.

It’s not just a console, Google plans to make. Also an Android-based smart watch that can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth should be on the road, according to the Wall Street Journal.


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Bill Gates invests in academic social network ResearchGate, report claims


When it emerged last month that the academic social network ResearchGate had raised $20 million, the most significant missing detail was the identity of the investors. However, according to a Wall Street Journal Germany report, that lineup included Bill Gates.

The Microsoft(s msft) founder, who won back the title of world’s richest person last month, tends to invest in energy technologies these days, but ResearchGate arguably also falls into the category of “startups that can really change things.”  Like Mendeley in the UK, the Berlin-based ResearchGate provides a way for researchers around the world to contact and collaborate with each other and, importantly, to read each other’s research without worrying about publishers’ restrictions.

The promise of this sort of collaboration is extensive: if researchers can coordinate their efforts better, the idea goes, they can cut down on duplication, inspire one another and accelerate the pace of their scientific…

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