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The Beat

Hacked & Burned

As we hit the first week of December, Stephen Fortune picks out his highlights from the world of tech


Designed to accompany this weeks festival in Chicago, this tumblr is a dizzying cross section of the breadth of contemporary glitch art.

GIF OF THE WEEK: 25th anniversary

Alan Butler has made a deliciously meta gif to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The three computer scientists behind the .gif format chase a holographic representation of their code schematic through space. And they're cast in NYAN cat form. Obviously


Waterloo University have developed SPAUN, a software simulation of 2.5 million nuerons. Equipped with a virtual eye and a robotic arm this AI has shown itself capable of solving rudimentary problems, albeit about 100 times slower than us humans!

CYBERCRIME OF THE WEEK: Software fugitive nearly rumbled by metadata

John McAfee (fallen angel of noughties cybersecurity and presently on the run from the Belizean government for an alleged murder) nearly suffered at the hands of irony! The VICE team accompanying him accidentally betrayed his location by leaving in GPS metadata in this photo.


The beat combines street view images with geotagged instagram photos. You can explore the juxtapositions by browsing via instagram hashtags. And leave it to the Verge to spotlight how the website “lets you see who's smoking weed and where”!

HARDWARE OF THE WEEK: Popslate - E ink second screen for iPhone

An iPhone case with an embedded e-ink screen? Shut up and take my money!

GEEK OF THE WEEK: Michael Yingling - Calvin&Hobbes search engine

Hats off to Michael Yingling. Using his technological nous he crafted a Calvin&Hobbes search engine (from scratch!) that returns comic strips of the iconic cartoons. Better still, his labor of love has gotten the seal of approval from the comics publishers.

ALGO ANXIETY OF THE WEEK: Smartphones with emotional intelligence

We can all laugh at Siri's attempts to recognise our commands and do our bidding. But researchers are hard at work programming emotional intelligence into vocal recognition software. By analysing how you speak future phones will be able to tell what sort of mood you're in.

WETWARE OF THE WEEK: Engineered 3D brain jelly

MIT have worked out a low-cost way to 3D print artificial brain cells in gelatinous cubes!

TECHNONOMY OF THE WEEK: 3D printing at the Staples Store

Staples are set to offer 3D printing services in their Belgian and Dutch outlets starting in 2013. As Ryan Oakley asks “who wants to be the first to go to Staples and ask them to print a 3D Printer?”

Text by Stephen Fortune

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