Tank + Wheelchair = Tankchair

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Tankchair

1. Meet the Tankchair.

"Soden is the inventor of the Tankchair, which is a wheelchair in the same sense that an aircraft carrier is a boat. His fearsome-looking machine can traverse rugged hillsides, sandy beaches, snowy embankments, and, with a top speed approaching 30 miles per hour, keep up with traffic on a typical city street. Its brain is built by a company that designs Apache helicopter control systems, so the chair can elevate to a standing position or fully recline to aid blood flow. Some versions have gun mounts and fishing reels. Some have roll bars. A few glow in the dark. One chair Soden built for a paralyzed Phoenix police officer has a “vomit light” to neutralize suspects—a pulsing LED so powerfully incapacitating that it induces nausea. If Michael Bay had devoted himself to making medical equipment instead of action movies, this is what he would have built."

 

2. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has launched a multiprong effort to ensure a "trustworthy digital supply chain." Step 1: kill the bots

"No economic model in which a significant percentage of the goods sold are fraudulent is sustainable.  We must identify bot-generated, non-human traffic and remove it from the supply chain.  The first step is to develop a common taxonomy so the entire ecosystem can speak the same language when talking about “transacting in only human traffic”.  Second, we must have a set of principles, operational and technical in nature, that help guide sellers of inventory in the identification and filtering of fraudulent activity."

 

3. The man who catches chess cheaters

"The most notorious public cheating case to date has been that of the then-26-year-old Bulgarian Borislav Ivanov. He was first accused of using computer assistance in December, 2012, at the Zadar Open in Croatia, where, barely a 2200-player, he scored six out of nine in the Open section, including wins over four grandmasters. Allegedly he had cheated in at least three open tournaments before that, too. Finally, Ivanov was disqualified from both the Bladoevgrad Open, in October, 2013 and the Navalmoral de la Mata Open in December, 2013, after both times refusing the inspection of his shoes, where he had allegedly hid a wireless communications device."

 

4. In the early 1980s, Japan's flopped 'fifth-generation computer' struck fear into the hearts of Americans.

"The Fifth Generation Computer Systems project (FGCS) was an initiative by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, begun in 1982, to create a computer usingmassively parallel computing/processing. It was to be the result of a massive government/industry research project in Japan during the 1980s. It aimed to create an "epoch-making computer" with-supercomputer-like performance and to provide a platform for future developments in artificial intelligence. There was also an unrelated Russian project also named as fifth-generation computer."

 

5. Tom Hughes, the 'pre-eminent' American historian of technology died earlier this year. MIT's Rosalind Williams new appreciation:

 "Tom sealed his pre-eminence in the field with the publication of Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930 (1983). This was more than a comparative history of electrification in the United States, Britain, and Germany. It was also a manifesto declaring the concept of technological systems, which reoriented the history of technology from a focus on the invention of devices to a focus on the construction of large complex systems. Because such systems are defining structures of modern life, this reorientation confirmed the history of technology as an element of general history."

 

Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip:

boycott. To refrain by concerted action from communicating, purchasing, or using, &c. From the name of Captain Boycott, a land agent who was so treated in 1880 by the Irish Land League.

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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