The Power is in Our Hands

Changes only get made when enough people care about an issue and put their heads together to form a collective solution. For the people in my neighborhood, the problem was the high prices that we were paying on our energy bills. No matter what we did to use less energy, the prices would never budge. We had a suspicion that the power company was monitoring our energy usage incorrectly, but we couldn’t prove it. We held a meeting to find a solution, and discovered that we all had the power to choose Texas energy companies besides the one that we had grown dissatisfied with over the years.

The idea that we could even move to another company was something that we hadn’t considered, because we weren’t aware of the existence of any other companies. The concept of another company bringing energy to our homes was hard to wrap our heads around, but it was possible. I wonder if our energy company had done something to prevent us from knowing about the other companies. I’ve never seen any advertisements for these other companies on television or through the mail. The power company would have to pay every local television station a

Dissolving Implants Could Monitor the Brain One Day, Rat Study Shows


Tiny, wireless, electronic implants that melt away in the body could one day help doctors monitor the brain, new research in rats suggests.

Similar devices could be used elsewhere in the body, potentially as a way to deliver medicine to targeted locations, the scientists said in the study.

Electronic implants can now help treat everything from heart attacks to traumatic brain injuries. For instance, pacemakers can help keep the heart beating properly, while brain sensors can monitor patients for potentially dangerous swelling and pressure in the brain. [5 Crazy Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech]

However, standard permanent electronic implants can pose risks to patients because these devices can become sites of infection, researchers said. Such afflictions can trigger immune responses and result in complications associated with their surgical removal.

Now, scientists working with rats have developed new implants that can monitor brain activity and then dissolve, or “resorb,” a few weeks after implantation.

“We are excited because this work demonstrates a new kind of implantable electronic device, with a key unique feature — complete bioresorbability — that opens up many possibilities for its use in improving health outcomes for patients,” study senior author John Rogers, a materials

Tweets and Reddit posts give snapshot of our changing language


Bootyful, cyw, scrims. Do you know these words? If not, you soon might. They are some of the fastest growing words from online niches around the world, as identified by new software that charts the rise of language online.

Bootyful, an alternative spelling for beautiful, has had a dramatic rise in usage on Twitter in South Wales. Cyw (coming your way) has become popular in the north of the country. Scrims comes from gaming forums, where it refers to practice sessions before competitive games.

The software that found these words was developed by Daniel Kershaw and his supervisor, Matthew Rowe, at Lancaster University, UK. Kershaw and Rowe took established methods lexicographers use to chart the popularity of words, translated them into algorithms, then applied them to 22 million words worth of twitter and Reddit posts.

Their goal is to peer into the niche portions of the internet, and chart novel language making its foray out into the mainstream. “If we see an innovation taking off on Reddit or Twitter, the question is what point is it going to appear in a newspaper,” says Rowe.

Kershaw and Rowe’s algorithms

Climate change credibility tool shows what news you can trust


Climate change credibility tool shows what news you can trust

“GLOBAL warming is the greatest scam in history.” Denialist headlines like this one litter the internet, confusing the public and frustrating climate scientists.

That frustration prompted Emmanuel Vincent at the University of California, Merced, to create Climate Feedback, a tool that lets climate scientists review journalists’ reports on the subject and give each story a credibility score.

The system uses a web annotation browser extension called Hypothesis to enable an invited group of climate scientists to comment on words, sentences or data points within media stories. Anyone who installs the plug-in can see the additional layer of commentary.

“Highlight misinformation, and it sends a visual cue to the reader to be cognitively on guard”

For example, one Forbes article headlined “Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat” has 33 comments from nine scientists who have given it the lowest possible credibility score. The piece, one of the site’s most popular climate stories of 2015, “contains many invalid and unjustified claims”, says Jan Lenaerts, who studies polar climate and ice sheets at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. It’s not the first attempt to fact-check