Category Privacy

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

PRIVACY | TECHNOLOGY

Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop

Growing privacy concerns and the lack of control over data captured by smart devices has prompted a surge in new products designed to help consumers opt-out of surveillance. Among them is a wrist-worn device that jams nearby microphones. [NYT]

AVIATION

No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The Air

Flying is an amazing example of human ingenuity. But providing an explanation for how exactly planes are able to stay in the air is a much more difficult feat. The two prevailing theories, developed by scientists whose work long predates air travel, attempt to explain lift but neither gives a complete account of the scientific process. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

LEADERSHIP

Don’t Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems

Problem spotters don’t especially enjoy bearing bad news, but they do it to advance the organization and help you, the leader. Maybe it’s because they have a different perspective. Maybe it’s that they are better at expressing the issue, where others struggle. Stop making it so hard on them to help you. [HBR]

BIOLOGY | ASTRONOMY

What Does It Means for a Planet to be “Habitable”

For many years scientists believed a planet needed two things to support life: a rocky surface and liquid surface water. Now the general consensus is . . . that there is no general consensus. [MIT TECH REVIEW]

EXISTENTIAL THREATS | PODCAST

The Bomb

Fred Kaplan is the author of the new book The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War. In this in-depth discussion between Sam Harris and Mr. Kaplan, they cover the history of nuclear deterrence, nuclear politics, U.S. first-strike policy, preventive war, limited nuclear war, and the details of nuclear weapon command and control. Although terrifying, all of it is worth your time. [MAKING SENSE PODCAST]

Read More

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

PHYSICS | QUANTUM MECHANICS

Space Heater: Scientist Find New Way to Transfer Energy Through a Vacuum

Phonons are wavelike collections of atoms that transfer heat, and it was long thought they could not work through a vacuum, instead requiring two objects to touch. But a vacuum is never really a vacuum because quantum fluctuations generate virtual particles that constantly pop in and out of existence. Scientists at Cal Berkeley have now demonstrated that phonons can use these particles to transfer heat through “empty” space. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

NEUROLOGY

Implanting False Memories in a Bird’s Brain Changes Its Tune

By manipulating brain cells with lasers, researchers have altered the memories of young zebra finches, bypassing their usual way of learning songs from older birds. Scientists are hoping their findings will one day be useful in helping humans affected with neurodevelopmental conditions and psychological trauma. [NEW SCIENTIST]

PRIVACY

‘The Goal is to Automate Us’: Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. In this interview she explains the origins of surveillance capitalism, why the term “digital natives” is tragically ironic, and how Larry Page realized that human experience could be extracted and monetized as Google’s “virgin wood.” [THE GUARDIAN]

PSYCHOLOGY

How to Get Teens to Give up Junk Food: Tell Them They’re Victims of Corporate Manipulation

Rather than just being told junk food is bad for them, a group of eighth graders was exposed to the marketing strategies food companies used to target them. Months later, the students showed a surprising change in their snack habits and food choices. [FAST COMPANY]

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Why Electric Cars Still Don’t Live Up to the Hype

With uncertainty about a number of contributing factors, including the overall cost of owning one, it’s still too soon to tell if EVs are the solution for a sustainable transportation future. [WASHINGTON POST OPINION]

Read More