The National Geographic Society and IBM sell DNA-testing kits to trace human history scientifically
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.25.2011 at 11:36 am 0 Comments
The best record of early human migration is found not in ancient bones or archaeological artifacts, but in the DNA of people living today. In 2005, to make that information accessible, the National Geographic Society and IBM launched the Genographic Project.
The UN created FAOSTAT with the aim of helping scientists feed the world
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.24.2011 at 4:36 pm 0 Comments
Monitoring the global food supply involves tracking data on agriculture, land use, fishing, forestry, food aid, nutrition and population growth. To make sense of it all, researchers at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations built FAOSTAT, the world's largest database of food and agricultural information, with more than a million statistics covering five decades and 245 countries and territories.
The FBI's CODIS database solves cold cases with genetic data
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.24.2011 at 3:15 pm 0 Comments
In 1990, when the FBI began building its master DNA database—the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS—investigators could generally use DNA analysis only for cases in which they possessed both crime-scene evidence and a specific suspect. Not anymore.
As we were putting together this special issue on how Big Data is supercharging our ability to understand and transform the world, I was struck by the sheer range of ways that data itself can be understood. Data is information. It’s numbers. It’s bits. It’s one side of a binary state, or an assemblage of such heads and tails. It’s code, whether digital or DNA or both. It’s the decision that leads to a reality, and it’s everything we can gather and glean from that reality.
Turn an iPad into an accessory that can frame, light, and store professional-looking photographs
By Jake LudingtonPosted 10.08.2011 at 3:43 pm 2 Comments
Photographers have been using Apple’s tablet for viewing and sharing photos since it came out, but the device can also be a useful tool for enhancing shoots in the studio and on location. With the right apps and, in some cases, a few additional accessories, the iPad can work as a remote for setting up shots, an easy-tomaneuver light source, a second screen for editing, and more.
When I’m building something weird—my pedal-powered Panzer, for instance—I have to pull together all sorts of obscure parts. Over the years I’ve noticed that I continually reuse some of them in project after project. here are the five that I can’t live (or work) without.
By Rick BrodiaPosted 10.08.2011 at 3:13 pm 2 Comments
One of the most significant changes might be in speed, says Avi Greengart, the research director for consumer devices at market-intelligence firm Current Analysis. Carriers are rolling out faster 4G LTE (Long-Term-Evolution) networks, and hardware manufacturers will soon produce smartphones with powerful multicore processors.
In 2003, MasterCard introduced PayPass, a system in which a credit card outfitted with a near-field communication (NFC) chip could be passed within a couple inches of a reader to pay without swiping. Google Wallet, a new app for Android smartphones, takes NFC a step further, allowing users to make purchases with a wave of a smartphone. Shoppers can authorize the app to charge a preexisting Citi MasterCard card or deduct money from a prepaid debit card.
By John VoelckerPosted 10.06.2011 at 10:39 am 2 Comments
It's been hard in recent years to tell how seriously BMW takes electric cars. In 2009, BMW-owned Mini put 600 experimental electric Mini Coopers into test fleets, but the cars were clunky and the program was beset with logistical problems. GM and Nissan have both been selling electric cars for nearly a year now; BMW, meanwhile, is preparing to launch another test fleet—1,000 "ActiveEs," 1-series coupes converted to run on batteries. Then, in July, things seemed to change.