3D Printing for Everyone: Stunning Designs and How to Get Started

3D printing

3D printing is making the unfathomable real, and it’s available to everyone. With 3D printing, the revolution in manufacturing is here. And it’s not just engineers, material scientists, inventors, artists and entrepreneurs using the technology. It’s anyone who wants to create a miniature, replicate something, make a new game piece, solve a problem or just experiment and have fun. 3D printing is making the impossible possible, and it’s making it accessible to everyone. 3D printing pioneer Joshua Harker wanted to make in real space what he could only draw in two dimensions. This drove his experimentation with the additive process. In combining art and engineering, he “wanted to bridge the traditional medium [of sculpture] with new technology” and be able to create objects “that never could be made before.” His Tangle series uses organic forms so complex with tapering forms, knots and bends that they couldn’t be made any other way.        …read more

What ‘Mr. Robot’ Gets Right about Cybersecurity and Hacking Attacks

With Rami Malek, Christian Slater and the cast back for season three of ‘Mr. Robot,’ we spoke to cybersecurity specialists about what makes this show so impressively realistic in its portrayal of hacking culture. It’s sadly too easy to rattle off the many ways Hollywood has watered down cybersecurity and hacking scenes in films and shows over the past two decades: Swordfish, Live Free and Die Hard, CSI: Cyber, The Net… I could go on and on. But it’s been difficult to name films or shows that accurately depicted cybersecurity threats, the defense against those attacks and the programming languages used by the pros…until Mr. Robot came along in 2015. The series follows Elliot (Rami Malek), a hacker and programmer whose gang of fellow counterculture misfits aim to attack the online defenses of E Corp, a massive conglomerate resembling Google or Microsoft. Rami and his hacking crew, fsociety, aim to        …read more

5 Tech Standards Apple Murdered and 5 More on the Chopping Block

tech standards

From the floppy disk to the smartphone, Apple is a serial killer of tech standards. Apple has long been seen as a forward-thinking tech company that values minimalism over superfluous functionality, unafraid of taking risks to clear a path for technology to speed ahead. Historically, they’ve often opted to do away with existing tech standards to allow that momentum to build. Sometimes these standards were showing their ripe old age and were obvious candidates for tech assassination. Other times, their demise felt more like premature deaths: casualties of Apple’s penchant for slaughtering dated technology. In either case, it’s hard to deny that this murderous trait is part of what defines the monstrous tech company and sets the stage for their meteoric rise as the most valuable company on the planet. Last week as they introduced the hotly anticipated iPhone X, they erased the phone’s home button, an iconic feature that        …read more

Give Them a Tech Edge with 10 Fantastic Coding Apps for Kids

coding apps for kids

Get your children into tech with these excellent coding apps for kids. (Even better: Many of these are free!) With our increasing dependence on technology, coding has moved from a niche pursuit to a much-needed skill. Since computer programming is essentially learning (a) foreign language(s), it requires a vast amount of learning and practice. While a great many universities offer computer science degree tracks, too often the students who enroll in these programs are experiencing coding for the first time — at the collegiate level. This means that, in all likelihood, students who would’ve otherwise excelled in the field may be too wary to take the plunge during the ever-important college years. Or they may flounder from a lack of a foundation. The sad truth is only approximately 25% of middle schools and high schools offer computer science courses. While that percentage will surely continue to grow, as of now a        …read more

Creating Consciousness: Artists, AI and Playing with Fire

consciousness

For centuries, artists have warned about the dangers of creating consciousness. From Greek mythology to ‘Frankenstein’ to ‘Westworld,’ here are some of their cautionary tales. There was once a lonely and isolated sculptor by the name of Pygmalion. He knew no women and had no wife. His entire life had been dedicated to his art, and the only beauty he knew was what he created through stone: lifelike figures of beautiful women. One day he formed perfection: a sculpture of a female of unparalleled beauty. The artist was overwhelmed and soon fell madly in love with his creation, giving her the name Galatea. Every day and night he admired her and prayed to the goddess Aphrodite to give Galatea life so that they might be married. Hearing his desperate prayers, the goddess descended from Mount Olympus, determined to judge this great beauty herself. Of course, when Aphrodite finally saw Galatea, she too was        …read more

Has Snapchat Taken Things Too Far with the Snap Map?

With internet-facilitated crimes on the rise, the Snap Map increases the vulnerability of social media users, especially young people. At times it’s hard to remember life without the constant beckoning of the internet, whether by computer or cellphone. Today we’re more “connected” than ever, cultivating personal relationships with the help of Facebook, professional networks with LinkedIn and our social networks with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook (again) and more. This couldn’t be truer for today’s youth, who are growing up in an increasingly tech-saturated world. It’s more normalized to share Instagram stories or Snapchat “snaps” than to pass handwritten notes in class. The world is literally at their fingertips, both the good and bad parts, and with unlimited access, it’s scary to think what they can access, or who is trying to access them. The technological landscape is advancing, and internet-facilitated crimes, like sextortion, are on the rise. Sextortion is a        …read more

Adobe VoCo Sounds Like Trouble, But Will It Be?

Adobe MAX

With a Jordan Peele voice-altering teaser, Adobe MAX introduced Adobe VoCo last fall. Could this experimental ‘Photoshop for audio’ lead to a less trustworthy world? Digital media editing has become so sophisticated that photographs are now questionable forms of evidence. The phrase “it’s just Photoshopped” makes every physical depiction of a real event questionable. Now it’s someone’s words that can’t be trusted. Introducing Adobe VoCo, an experimental voice manipulation feature that can alter a speaker’s words in the sound of their very own voice. In an Adobe MAX 2016 Sneak Peek event, comedian Jordan Peele jokingly calls VoCo developer Zeyu Jin a witch for creating an incriminating soundbite of him saying who he kissed after winning a prestigious award. While the software does sound like a fun way to create prank calls, it doesn’t go without serious implications. To clarify, with a mere 20 minutes of audio of one person’s voice,        …read more

No, You Can’t Buy Paul Ryan’s Browsing History: Internet Privacy and the True Price of the Digital Age

internet privacy

Is the internet privacy controversy what it seems? In late March 2017, the U.S. Congress voted to dismantle internet privacy rules voted upon by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in October 2016. The original FCC ruling would have stopped Internet Service Providers from collecting and selling browsing logs to advertisers without first obtaining permission from users. Instead, Congress overturned the rule, and the order was signed in early April 2017. The decision has created what can only be described as mass commotion across social media and many news outlets. Much of the outrage is unwarranted, though. The internet is useful, and even vital, in today’s world, but one of its pitfalls is the precarious dissemination of misinformation. At first glance, you’d think it would be preferable to have a system where ISPs needed your go-ahead before sharing your data with advertisers. Yet in the grand scheme of things, the original        …read more

Social Media’s Emerging Tools for Mental Health

positive effects of social media

Instagram and Facebook aim to create positive effects of social media on users’ mental health. Countless think pieces have been written about social media’s negative impact on mental health, but are there positive effects of social media on our psyches? It’s often still a cultural taboo to openly discuss one’s struggles with mental health, but many celebrities have used social media as a platform to be honest about their experiences. Justin Bieber mentioned on Instagram that he became overwhelmed with his workload and the pressure of his overzealous fans. Cara Delevingne tweeted about her depression. Kesha spoke about her abuse. Celebrities who open up on social media about pressure or mental struggles are sometimes still met with online ridicule. But their bravery also creates space for conversations about mental health. NAMI reports that an estimated one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. But for        …read more

Disconnected: Everybody’s Working for Facebook

disconnected work for Facebook

Is the social network contributing anything meaningful to users in return? Is Facebook connecting people? Or is it doing the opposite: rather than bringing us together, is it leaving us more disconnected? Recent discussions about the echo chamber effect that followed the 2016 U.S. presidential election left a lot of us wondering who exactly Facebook benefits. With most of its earnings (a whopping $18 billion in 2015) made entirely through ad revenue, users are contributing to Facebook’s growth, but is Facebook contributing to ours? More than just a tech company, Facebook is undoubtedly one of the biggest media platforms on the planet. The newsfeed is a literal stream of news. It tells us stories about what’s happening in the world around us, locally and globally. The trouble is, there is no such thing as truly neutral news; there’s always going to be bias. So while some of it may be        …read more