Towletech v.118: Supermoon, Eddie Redmayne, Jurassic Wedding, Curiosity Rover

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A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web.

 Road Tonight's supermoon will be the biggest of the year

 Road Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk says artificial intelligence could potentially be "more dangerous than nukes" 

 Road Check out the debut trailer for The Theory of Everything - the upcoming film starring Eddie Redmayne as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking:


 Road Researchers can now listen to voices in a room by filming a bag of chips and analyzing the video of the vibrations on the bag. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 12.47.30 PM Road Terminator 5 gets official title Terminator: Genisys. The film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, and Jai Courtney, opens July 1, 2015. 

 Road Jeff Goldblum really knows how to inject some adrenaline into a wedding.  

 Road Samsung is reportedly working on a new phone with a wraparound, flexible display. 

 Road Legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli announced it will be taking a "brief pause" from making films. 

 Road Neil deGrasse Tyson tells people to "chill out" about genetically modified food (GMOs), issues follow up message after people proceed to not chill out. 

 Road Tyson also narrated a new video this week celebrating the Mars 'Curiosity' rover and how it has exceeded all expectations these past two years on the martian surface.  


 Road Optical computers, the kind that could perform calculations at the speed of light, could be on your desk by 2020.

 Road Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 1.02.01 PMHBO's upcoming re-imagining of Michael Crichton's sci-fi western thriller Westworld adds James Marsden to its cast, which already includes Sir Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood.  

 Road Introducing the washing machine that can fit in your backpack

 Road Wired looks at what happens when technological innovation leads to jobs becoming obselete. "The idea that robots could make employment itself optional may sound fantastic. No more work! But the end result could be more, not less angst. We’d still have to find our place among the robots, except this time without work as a guidepost for defining a sense of purpose. By eliminating the need for people to work, robots would free us up to focus on what really makes us human. The scariest possibility of all is that only then do we figure out what really makes us human is work."

 Road Amazon and publisher Hachette continue to be at each other's throats over the price of ebooks with Amazon raising prices on Hachette books, stopping pre-orders, delaying shipping times, and getting readers to sound off until the dispute is resolved. 

 Road President Obama spoke out in favor of net neutrality this week and the tech community was understandably pleased


  1. EchtKultig says

    Neil deGrasse Tyson should be careful about wading into areas where he doesn’t have professional qualifications and burning through people’s goodwill. I’m neither a knee jerk organics foods alarmist or a shill for big agrobiz, but I discern a worrying trend to that equates the “rational” westernized mindest: embrace of gay rights and science education, etc. with a blanket acceptance of corporate science. Of course GMOs could be harmful in certain circumstances, and of course there’s a revolving door at the FDA that insures that they don’t face as high a degree of scrutiny as possible. Look at how many pharmaceuticals have had their approvals revoked in the past 30 years because, “oops, turns out this causes problems for some of the population”. There should not be an either/or distinction but it’s becoming that way. It’s kind of like the recent story about a gay activist who also embraces the NRA: I’m actually fine with the second amendment (I’m by no means a standard ‘liberal’) but I’m not fine with him blogging for the NRA. An organization completely filled with right-wing kooks, many of whom would happily see us imprisoned or executed. BTW an irony particularly evident in some areas in the country is the ideological disparity between the people who consume organic foods and the people who produce it. A while ago I spotted that a major organic farm that supplies whole foods et al. had a statement on their website about the sanctity of Christian (one man, one woman) marriage. It is what it is. Their attitude scares me less than some of Monsanto’s practices, but only just.

  2. Mikey says

    @Lucky: to be fair, the Terminator sequel IS called “Genisys”. So a minor typo while typing up a comment on a film with a bizarrely spelled title is perfectly forgiveable.

  3. Randy says

    “Amazon and publisher Hachette continue to be at each other’s throats over the price of ebooks ”

    The pay-per-copy model is dead.

    Rather, books should be funded in advance by people who want that content to exist.

  4. Randy says

    ” The scariest possibility of all is that only then do we figure out what really makes us human is work”

    What absurdity.

    What makes us human are our thoughts and interests. People will do this, whether or not they are paid (like scientists or writers, for example).

    Freedom from slavery and absent obsolete social ostracism, those free to think and speak exercise that which is most human, while the rest sleep.

  5. Randy says

    I didn’t actually read Tyson’s GMO statements, but if I know him, he’s already overlooked the basic principles that GMO violates, regardless of the science: the choice of which foods you want to become part of you, and the choice to grow your own food without suddenly being accused of violating a corporate patent.

  6. Critifur says

    What makes me angsty s far as not working is not the working. I can find so many fulfilling things to do, it is the not working, and having an income that already frightens me. How exactly will people make a living, when so many cannot make a living now? Certainly not a social program, because the people that own all the robots will shrug and say not their problem. That group of people will own all the money, and all the power, and will not be willing to make sure that the rest of the population has anything to survive on.

  7. Critifur says

    Is the article about James Franco having a boyfriend a sort of Rickroll, because your link to a flexible wraparound screen from Samsung just takes me to the James Franco article, and this is not the first time on this blog.

  8. Kyler G says


    Thanks for catching that. The link has been fixed. Occasionally our blog platform hyperlinks to the wrong place even when it is coded correctly.

  9. R says

    Re: the Wired article… I agree. To be human does require some aspect of work. Research and psychology backs that up.

    That doesn’t mean everyone would need a paid job in a world where robots are so prolific that humans don’t need to work, but humans need something *to do.* Double bonus points if what we do provides some sort of challenge.

    Maybe we could all live in a Star Trek world where people take up the arts, explore the world and beyond, or farm because they enjoy farming, etc.

    But we live in a world right now where the powers that be are concentrating more and more wealth and power at the top, while thinking less and less about people not only at the bottom – but people below the top at all.

    Can we confidently go forth into a future of humanity in which work is no longer technically necessary and everyone could live in relative wealth — if at least some of the surplus is shared such that people have a guaranteed living wage bottom — when we know the people with the wealth and power today would resist that future to the bitter end?

    I don’t think that’s a wise idea. We need to make sure that whatever the future brings, it brings jobs and a living wage for everyone.

  10. anon says

    I’m rather skeptical of the claim you can get sound from filming a bag of potato chips. For there to be any fidelity, you need thousands of frames per second, and there aren’t many cameras like that, and the lighting would have to be super strobiscopically bright to enable the exposure.

    As for jobs being replaced by machines: this happens all the time. In Europe people get six weeks of vacation and have nearly the same productivity as Americans–and few complain they are getting too much vacation time. So it’s likely that what will increase is vacation time–though many Europeans use their vacations to earn more money under the table to avoid taxes.

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