As the story goes, they discovered that beer and diapers frequently appeared together in a shopping basket on certain days; the presumed explanation was that fathers picking up diapers bought a six-pack when they were out anyway. This correlation was then used to optimize displays and pricing in the stores.
Sit behind the computer too much and you might find yourself wanting to see more natural wonders. Well, Google Japan found a new way for people to explore the world, one cave at a time.
The search giant sent several photography crews to shoot long exposures of several popular underground (natural and man-made) formations in Japan. The two areas include the centuries-old Okubo-mabu mineshaft (part of Iwami Ginzan) and massive Akiyoshi-do limestone cavern, available for viewing via the Street View interface. Click on the gallery below; 360-degree views of silver, stalactites, and stalagmites await your eyeballs...
(Via AV Watch)
Crafted lets you play a 2D version of the megapopular game Minecraft, using many of the same sounds and graphics--so much so that we're surprised it's still available in the iTunes App Store.
Mojang's Minecraft has achieved a huge following for its open, sandbox style of gameplay, letting you manipulate every block in the world. Once you've gathered the right materials, you can make picks for mining, axes for chopping down trees, torches so you can see at night, and a whole laundry list of other items.
Crafted offers a similar experience, but all in 2D. … Read more
What's a search engine geek doing in the space business? Barney Pell, CTO and co-founder of Powerset, a search technology company that was acquired by Microsoft, has for the last year been working on building a robotic spacecraft to land on the moon, as the co-founder of a new company called Moon Express. (Pell also co-founded StockMaster, which was acquired by Red Herring when I worked there.)
MOUNTAIN PASS, Calif.--Here in a hot, dusty corner of Southern California desert, a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table--so critical to advanced technology industries that they're a matter of national security--are being unearthed. Molycorp's rejuvinated $500 million facility, now under construction and set for completion in July 2012, will reduce the environmental impacts of the rare-earth-element-mining process and dramatically cut costs, providing a homegrown source for the elements used in so many national defense, energy, and consumer electronics products. This week, I toured the facility here, the only place in the United States that … Read more
Miner Disturbance is a fun mining game that will immediately remind you of arcade classic Dig Dug, but offers much more. The object of the game is to complete goals as you dig downward into each mine. Some goals will require that you collect a certain number of minerals, and others will only require that you've dug to a specific depth.
But as you dig your way deeper, you'll face baddies like moles, bats, and other underground dwellers that you'll be able to defeat by swinging your pick. As you go farther into the game, you'll … Read more
Last week, Bassel Ojjeh, CEO of the data analytics startup nPario, gave me an interesting look into how behavior tracking is being used in advertsing, as well as a somewhat startling look at his previous employer, Yahoo.
Prior to starting nPario, Ojjeh ran Yahoo's Strategic Data Solutions group, which he says managed one of the largest data stores in the world. When he was there in 2009, he said, it collected over 8 petabytes of usage data from 550 million users, over about 16,000 servers. This data was used to improve Yahoo's user experience, advertising targeting, and … Read more
Space Miner Blast is a slimmed-down arcade version of one of our favorite games on the iPhone called Space Miner: Space Ore Bust. The original game included a storyline in which you tried to keep your uncle's space-mining company afloat by mining various sectors of space and using the ore to make money so you could upgrade your ship. Though we still recommend the original as a more involved and unique game, Space Miner Blast takes the basic gameplay mechanic (flying around and shooting asteroids) and makes it into a fun challenge on its own.
Space Miner Blast tasks … Read more
Today we're talking about self-driving cars. Our news hook, of course, is the recent New York Times story about Google developing self-driving cars--cars that are already cruising the public California highways and driving in traffic.
There have been other big stories in the development of self-driving cars. The first big news to get the public's attention was the running of the DARPA Grand Challenge for robotic cars, in 2004. A car built by Carnegie Mellon University drove the farthest, but no vehicle finished the course. In the 2005 Grand Challenge, five vehicles finished, and the winner was a vehicle called Stanley, which was developed by Stanford.
We're going to talk today about self-driving cars and about what's going on at Stanford, as the team there is preparing to take on even more challenges in self-driving cars. We have two great guests in the studio:
First, Sven Beiker, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. Since Spring 2009, he has taught the Stanford class "The Future of the Automobile." Sven was at BMW from 1995 to 2008, working on technology scouting, innovation management, systems design, and series development.
Also with us: Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Analytics and visiting scholar at Stanford. Paul is a noted futurist whose essays have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Show notes and talking points… Read more
Editor's note: This post originally published yesterday before the round table took place. It was updated today with a new time stamp and the video interview.
Did you ever wonder where the raw materials for your phone or camera or laptop came from, or who assembled it? Popular stories this year about the working conditions at smartphone manufacturer Foxconn finally brought to light one piece of this puzzle. Workers there, stories say, suffer not just low wages but physically and psychologically unsafe conditions, which have led to a rash of suicides at the plant.
But even before your gadget is assembled, its raw materials must be pulled out of the earth. Some of these materials, notably tantalum, which is used in capacitors, are mined in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Income from these mines directly funds warring groups; ongoing fighting over resources leaves civilians terrorized and brutalized.
There are things you can do to push companies toward building more ethical and humane products. That's what we're covering today. Our guests are Aaron Hall, a policy analyst for the Center for American Progress and the Raise Hope for Congo project; and Global Post reporter Kathleen McLaughlin, who's been working on the investigative series Silicon Sweatshops since 2009.
Show notes and talking points… Read more