You might see an unexpected crowd at Seattle's Benaroya Hall over the next few days. From Wednesday through Sunday, professional video gamers from all over the world will be there for a high-stakes tournament known as The International. The winning team will take home a $1.4 million prize. Tickets to the tournament sold out in less than a minute.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 10:17 am
"Hackerspaces" are popping up all over the Northwest. But these aren't dens of computer infiltrators.
What we're talking about are community workshops for tinkering, machine tooling, 3-D printing and any other hands-on creativity you can think of. Some market themselves under the more benign-sounding label of "maker space." These workshops are now drawing attention as private incubators for entrepreneurship.
Ever since the ballad of John Henry, the man who raced against a steam drill to see which could lay railroad tracks the fastest, we've had a fascination with pitting humans against machines. People like Henry lost the battle long ago, at least when it comes to labor. Next, computers outwitted us in math and then chess. The arts have held out the longest. Surely a computer couldn't replicate the unmistakably human sound of a Stradivarius violin? Think again.
Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. Then, film critic Robert Horton looks at some of Hollywood's most famous duos. Finally, Geekwire's Todd Bishop wraps up the news from the world of tech.
NASA is returning to the moon this summer, but not to plant a flag and hit a golf ball. The space agency is building lasers to send information. Why are lasers the new technology for space communication? Ross Reynolds hears from Don Cornwell, the mission manager for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration at NASA.
Got a question? Ask Google. Can’t remember a name? Go to your smart phone. But are digital conveniences making us more forgetful? Tom Stafford psychologist at the University of Sheffield in the UK says no. He explains why our brains are just actually adapting.
Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 10:25 am
For most Northwest baseball fans, the Mariners games against the Astros are where the action is at this weekend. But there's another set of games on Saturday like none you’ve ever seen in America's pastime.
The athletes in this league are blind. That's right: baseball for the visually impaired.
It's a warm afternoon in Spokane. The smell of cut grass and barbecue is in the air. And Bee Yang is up to bat.
A teammate who has partial vision directs Yang to the plate: “Keep going, 20 feet forward, 10, 5, homeplate, tap.”
Planetary Resources, a company based in Bellevue, decided to bridge the gap between the planet and the cosmos with the world’s first crowd-funded, publicly-accessible telescope. Their Kickstarter campaign recently raised over $1.5 million from 17,614 people in just 33 days.
Critics of Washington’s new $300 million data center complex have been saying for years that it was overbuilt. Now, the state acknowledges as much. In a new report, Washington’s Chief Information Officer concludes two of the four data halls will not be needed.
When Mike McGinn ran for mayor in 2009, he campaigned on the promise of high-speed internet for all of Seattle. But once elected, he struggled to implement anything close to that. Four years later McGinn still presides over a city of internet haves and have-nots.
When science fiction author and casual prophet Isaac Asimov wrote about his visit to the World’s Fair in New York in 1964, he imagined what the world would be like in 50 years. Almost 50 years later he seems to have gotten a few things right: “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The IBM exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English.”
Jaron Lanier is a pioneer in virtual reality and the Internet. But in recent years he’s become more and more skeptical of the promises of the Web. Ross Reynolds talks to Jaron Lanier about his new book, "Who Owns the Future."
Canada, Culture And Commerce: Vaughn Palmer, Robert Horton, Todd Bishop Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. "Despicable Me" opens in theaters June 3 ahead of the Independence Day holiday. Film critic Robert Horton talks about what makes a good animated film. Then, Todd Bishop reviews the latest tech news including an app that can help you catch a foul ball at a Mariner’s game.
Based on recent reports by the Guardian and intelligence leaks by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, it’s clear that the federal government can track online activity pretty easily. But there’s also a mysterious far-off corner of the internet, one that’s much harder to track. It’s a place where people go to buy illegal drugs and even dangerous weapons. And they pay for all of it in electronic currency. Andy Greenberg, Forbes Magazine writer, tells David Hyde about this online black market, also known as the Silk Road. Greenberg is author of the book "This Machine Kills Secrets," a chronicle of the history and future of information leaks, from the Pentagon papers to Wikileaks and beyond.
In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, a coalition of nearly 90 organizations from Greenpeace USA to the Electronic Frontier Foundation have come together to protest the NSA and FBI’s surveillance program. The coalition formed the website Stop Watching Us, which calls for the immediate end to internet and phone record surveillance without probable cause and a full public account of the data collection program.
In January 2012, many of these same internet groups showed their power by successfully stopping the anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA that would have expanded law enforcement’s ability to combat online crime such as copyright infringement and counterfeit goods trafficking. David Hyde talks to Rainey Reitman, Activism Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and listeners voice their concerns (or lack thereof) about government surveillance.