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Off Book | Generative Art - Computers, Data, and Humanity | PBS Arts

An intriguing combination of programmers, artists, and philosophers, these creators embrace a process that delegates essential decisions to computers, data s...
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DigitAG& journal
a curious wanderer in the digital space
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Bioinspired Robotics: Softer, Smarter, Safer on Vimeo

The Bioinspired Robotics platform at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering looks into Nature to obtain insights for the development…
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4 Ways a Robot or Drone 3D Printer Will Change Architecture

4 Ways a Robot or Drone 3D Printer Will Change Architecture | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
From building skin to Mars exploration, here are four robot and aerial drone 3D printer applications poised to both cruise the earth and take to the skies.
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prosthetic knowledge — A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style Academic...

prosthetic knowledge — A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style Academic... | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
A Neural Algorithm of Artistic StyleAcademic paper from Bethge Lab shows method of recreating various artistic styles using neural networks and applying them onto photographs:
“In fine art, especially...
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Systematic review shows 'smart drug' modafinil does enhance cognition

Systematic review shows 'smart drug' modafinil does enhance cognition | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
The drug modafinil was developed to treat narcolepsy (excessive sleeping), but it is widely used off-licence as a ‘smart drug’ to promote cognitive enhancement, where qualities such as alertness and concentration are desired to assist someone with, for example, exam preparation. Past studies on sleep-deprived individuals have shown a strong positive effect of modafinil on these functions, but there has been less attention and scientific consensus on the drug’s overall effectiveness as a cognitive enhancer in people that are not sleep-deprived – presumably the majority of people taking it.

Now, a new systematic review, published online in the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology shows that modafinil does indeed confer significant cognitive benefits in this group, at least on a particular subset of tasks.

Dr Ruairidh Battleday and Dr Anna-Katharine Brem from the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School evaluated all research papers on cognitive enhancement with modafinil from January 1990 to December 2014. They found 24 studies dealing with different benefits associated with taking modafinil, including planning and decision making, flexibility, learning and memory, and creativity.

Unsurprisingly, they found that the performance-enhancing capacity of modafinil varied according to the task. What emerged was that the longer and more complex the task tested, the more consistently modafinil conferred cognitive benefits.

Modafinil made no difference to working memory, or flexibility of thought, but did improve decision-making and planning. Very encouragingly, the 70% of studies that looked at the effects of modafinil on mood and side effects showed very little overall effect, although a couple reported insomnia, headache, stomach ache or nausea (which were also reported in the placebo group).

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Study: There Are Instructions for Teaching Critical Thinking | Big Think

Study: There Are Instructions for Teaching Critical Thinking | Big Think | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Whether or not you can teach something as subjective as critical thinking has been up for debate, but a fascinating new study shows that it’s actually quite possible. Experiments performed by Stanford's Department of Physics and Graduate School of Education demonstrate that students can be instructed to think more critically.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of critical-thinking skills in modern society. The ability to decipher information and interpret it, offering creative solutions, is in direct relation to our intellect.
The study took two groups of students in an introductory physics laboratory course, with one group (known as the experimental group) given the instruction to use quantitative comparisons between datasets and the other group given no instruction (the control group). Comparing data in a scientific manner; that is, being able to measure one’s observations in a statistical or mathematical way, led to interesting results for the experimental group.Even after these instructions were removed, they were 12 times more likely to offer creative solutions to improve the experimental methods being used in the class, four times more likely to explain the limitations of the methods, and better at explaining their reasoning than the control group. The results remained consistent even in the next year, with students in a different class. So what does this imply about critical thinking, and how can we utilize these findings to improve ourselves and our society?

We live in an age with unprecedented access to information. Whether you are contributing to an entry on Wikipedia or reading a meme that has no sources cited (do they ever?), your ability to comprehend what you are reading and weigh it is a constant and consistent need. That is why it is so imperative that we have sharp critical-thinking skills. Also, if you don’t use them, you will have nothing to argue with your family about at Thanksgiving. More importantly, it keeps your brain from nomming on junk food and on more of a kale-based diet. Look at any trending topic, and test yourself. Is this true/accurate? How do I know either way? Is there a way I can use data (provable, factual information) to figure this out?

Certainly, we can train ourselves to become better critical thinkers, but it’s also important that we teach these skills to kids. Studies have shown how important this ability is to our success, and yet many feel that we’re doing a terrible job of teaching it. This study, however, may lead to educators and parents realizing that these skills are teachable. The implications of a better thinking society are not quantitative, but I do believe they would be extraordinary.

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By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean

By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
A complete guide to the hotter, higher, trashier, fish-free oceans of the near future.
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Algorithms can be a digital star chamber– Frank Pasquale – Aeon

Algorithms can be a digital star chamber– Frank Pasquale – Aeon | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Algorithms are producing profiles of you. What do they say? You probably don’t have the right to know
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Lux Research: Cost, speed & sustainability benefits of synthetic biology will make it a ‘permanent and growing aspect' of flavors market

Lux Research: Cost, speed & sustainability benefits of synthetic biology will make it a ‘permanent and growing aspect' of flavors market | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Synthetic biology will become a “permanent and growing aspect of the flavors & fragrances landscape” predicts a new report from Lux Research, which says the approach is more sustainable than traditional techniques such as synthesizing flavors from petrochemicals, or devoting vast tracts of land to growing plants containing minuscule levels of target compounds.
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A New Way to Store Data Invented by Intel and Micron Could Speed Up Computers | MIT Technology Review

A new kind of hard drive available next year will be able to move your data many times faster than the best today.
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At Synthorx, Synthetic Biologists Put Artificial Life Forms to Work | MIT Technology Review

At Synthorx, Synthetic Biologists Put Artificial Life Forms to Work | MIT Technology Review | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
A startup company says it is expanding the language of DNA to create new tools for drug discovery.
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First Near-Fully Formed Brain Grown In Lab, Ohio State Scientists Say

First Near-Fully Formed Brain Grown In Lab, Ohio State Scientists Say | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it

Scientists at Ohio State University say they've grown the first near-complete human brain in a lab. The brain organoid, if licensed for commercial lab use, could help speed research for neurological diseases...


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Bacteria Laced Fashion

Bacteria Laced Fashion | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Sarine Zaken is the world’s first designer to incorporate living bacteria
into clothing and jewelry that people can actually wear! A third year
student at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, the young Israeli
 fantasized about incorporating something alive into her final project.

While that may seem a bit creepy at first, a chance encounter led her to
Professor Eshel Ben Jacob, whose work with a unique bacteria called
Paenibacillaceae completely revolutionized her design approach.
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Futuristic electronics one step nearer

Futuristic electronics one step nearer | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
When researchers dream about electronics of the future, they more or less dream of pouring liquids into a beaker, stirring them together and decanting a computer out onto the table. This field of research is known as self-assembling molecular electronics. But, getting chemical substances to self-assemble into electronic components is just as complicated as it sounds. The secret behind the breakthrough is... Soap.
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DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled

DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled
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Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist

Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
We can design a better future using biology, but we must consider the big questions first, says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

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The Sensel Morph: INTERACTION, EVOLVED.

The Sensel Morph: INTERACTION, EVOLVED. | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
The first pressure-sensitive, multi-touch input device that enables users to interact with the digital world like never before.
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Teaching how to think is just as important as teaching anything else

Teaching how to think is just as important as teaching anything else | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
A new paper on teaching critical thinking skills in science has pointed out, yet again, the value of giving students experiences that go beyond simple recall or learned procedures.

It is a common lamentation that students are not taught to think, but there is usually an accompanying lack of clarity about exactly what that might mean.

There is a way of understanding this idea that is conceptually easy and delivers a sharp educational focus – a way that focuses on the explicit teaching of thinking skills through an inquiry process, and allows students to effectively evaluate their thinking.
What are thinking skills?

Let’s first understand what we might mean by thinking skills. Thinking skills, or cognitive skills, are, in large part, things you do with knowledge. Things like analysing, evaluating, synthesising, inferring, conjecturing, justifying, categorising and many other terms describe your cognitive events at a particular functional level.

Analysis, for example, involves identifying the constituent elements of something and examining their relationships with each other and to the whole. One can analyse a painting, a piece of text, a set of data or a graph.

Analysis is a widely valued cognitive skill and is not unique to any discipline context. It is a general thinking skill.

Most syllabuses from primary to tertiary level are organised by content only, with little mention of such cognitive skills. Usually, even if they are mentioned, little is said about how to teach them. The hope is they will be caught, not taught.

Rigour in course design is too often understood as equating to large amounts of recall of content and specific training in algorithms or set procedures. It is far less common, but far more valuable, to have courses in which rigour is found in the demand for high-level cognitive skill formation.

This is not to say that knowledge is not important in the curriculum. Our knowledge is hard won; we should value what we have learned for how it makes our lives more productive or meaningful.

But there is nothing mutually exclusive about developing high levels of cognitive skills with content knowledge in a discipline context. It just demands attention to these skills, using the content as an opportunity to explore them.

It is knowing how to provide students with these skill-building opportunities in context that is the mark of an outstanding teacher of effective thinking.

After all, we do not expect the scientific, cultural and political leaders of tomorrow simply to know stuff. They must also know what to do with it.

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Electronic Gadget Cemetery in Ghana | Next Nature Network

Electronic Gadget Cemetery in Ghana | Next Nature Network | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Agbogbloshie is a former wetland that is turned into a slum and now it is full of toxic electronic waste.
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Science meets typography in fascinating Fe2O3 Glyphs project

Science meets typography in fascinating Fe2O3 Glyphs project | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Craig Ward and Linden Gledhill use a ferrofluid and magnets to create completely unique hieroglyphics, and they're amazing
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magazine no. 36 - uncube

magazine no. 36 - uncube | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Uncanny Valley
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Robot Issue - uncube issue no. 36: Uncanny Valley - takes a close look at current developments in robotics and intelligent systems with respect to architecture and beyond. From bionic limbs to stone cutting, construction sites to K9 pets, we talk to innovators and researchers about our relationship with robots and how they will serve us in the future – and about some of the implications that we may need to consider more carefully

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Genetically Modified Algae Could Replace Oil for Plastic

Genetically Modified Algae Could Replace Oil for Plastic | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Tweaked cyanobacteria can churn out a plastic precursor, potentially replacing fossil fuels
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Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed, says 140 years of data

Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed, says 140 years of data | DigitAG& journal | Scoop.it
Study of census results in England and Wales since 1871 finds rise of machines has been a job creator rather than making working humans obsolete
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