TIME Innovation

How a Little Bribery Could Be a Good Thing

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. A little bribery might actually be a good thing.

By Jan Hanousek and Anna Kochanova at the Centre for Economic Policy Research

2. Remember the rover that was supposed to last three months on Mars? It just logged day 4,000.

By A. J. S. Rayl at the Planetary Society

3. What if there was a step between renting and owning?

By Brett Theodos and Rob Pitingolo at the Urban Institute

4. Here’s the unexpected reason college tuition has skyrocketed.

By Paul F. Campos in the New York Times

5. Are small businesses being overlooked in the fight against poverty?

By Randall Kempner in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Apple watch

Here’s What Consumer Reports Says About the Apple Watch

Apple Watch Consumer Reports
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg Customers look at Apple Watches on display at an Apple Store in Palo Alto, Calif., on April 10, 2015.

The product-testing nonprofit ranked 11 smartwatches

Apple Watch is the top smartwatch when compared to a handful of other popular devices on the market, a new report says.

Product-testing nonprofit Consumer Reports said Monday that in a pool of 11 smartwatches, the Apple Watch scored the highest in lab tests of durability, health functionality, readability, ease of use and ease of interaction. Second place was a tie between the Android-powered LG G Watch R and the Apple Watch Sport, which is the low-end Apple Watch.

Here’s a look at the top four smartwatches (not counting the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches as different devices):

1. Apple Watch
2. Apple Watch Sport; LG G Watch R (tie)
4. Pebble Steel

“In the end, our top-rated smartwatch is the stainless-steel Apple Watch. Its performance on the scratch-resistance test and excellent scores for ease of pairing and ease of interaction make it our top choice,” Consumer Reports writes. “Not an iPhone user? Not to worry, several Android-compatible models and one multi-OS-compatible smartwatch [Pebble Steel] got very good overall scores as well. ”

Read next: 7 Most Surprising Things About Owning an Apple Watch

 

TIME Innovation

Why Food From Forests Could Help Feed the World

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Education alone won’t end income inequality.

By Maureen Conway in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

2. Here’s why ISIS is so successful at recruiting young people.

By Jesse Singal in the Science of Us

3. Are there moral limits on free speech? (What if it gets someone killed?)

By Noah Feldman in Bloomberg View

4. Could food from forests help feed the world?

By Bhaskar Vira in the Conversation

5. Use data, not nepotism, to deliver aid to Nepal.

By Ravi Kumar in Time

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Meet the Country’s First Self-Driving Semi Truck

Self Driving Freightliner Inspiration Truck Daimler
Daimler AG

Highway driving could get less boring

Daimler Trucks North America has unveiled the first self-driving commercial truck licensed to drive on U.S. public highways.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck allows drivers to cede full control of all critical functions when cruising down the highway, given appropriate traffic and environmental conditions, the company said in a statement. Like other self-driving vehicles on the market, the autonomous semi hopes to reduce accidents, road congestion and fuel consumption.

The truck isn’t a fully self-driving truck, since drivers are required to control the vehicle when exiting the highway, driving on local roads and docking for deliveries. But these sort of limited self-driving vehicles — designated level 3 by federal regulators — are paving the way towards 100% autonomous vehicles — level 4 — in which a “driver” isn’t expected to drive or control the car at any point during the ride.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is now one of several limited autonomous vehicles you might encounter while driving around the country. Google’s level 3 driverless cars have been licensed to hit the roads in several states for a few years, while the company is testing a prototype for fully automated cars that don’t even have steering wheels or pedals.

TIME Apple watch

These May Be the Most Absurd Apple Watch Accessories Yet

Golden Dreams Apple Watch in 18ct rose gold
Courtsey of Golden Dreams The Golden Dreams Apple Watch in 18-karat rose gold.

Jewelers are gold-plating and diamond-studding Apple Watch faces and bands

Third-party jewelers are continuing to show off what may be Apple Watch’s most ridiculous accessories yet — everything from gold plates to diamond-studded bands. Some are way cheaper than the $10,000 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition; others are ten times as expensive.

One gold plate accessory is being offered by Watch Plate, which promises to affordably gold-plate your Apple Watch for $399, as 9to5Mac points out. All you have to do is drop off your Apple Watch at FedEx, and within three business days you’ll get your device back “looking like a million bucks (well, more like $10,000),” according to the site.

Other jewelers are also offering cheaper gold Apple Watches, though you’ll have to buy the watch custom-made. Swiss company Golden Dreams, for example, is accepting pre-orders a range of personalized yellow, pink and white gold Apple Watches for around $3,500.

And then there are a few jewelers who are going all out — as in six-figure Apple Watches covered in diamonds. That’s the story at luxury design firm Brikk, which is taking pre-orders for its Lux Watch models, whose watch faces come in titanium, yellow gold or pink gold, all studded with diamonds ranging from 2-karat to 12-karat.

Of course, the best option for those seeking an easy gold Apple Watch might just be to make a knockoff. As shown by popular YouTuber Casey Neistat, all it takes is some good-quality gold spray paint, tape and cutting tools to turn your watch into a counterfeit Apple Watch Edition that many people might just think is real.

Read next: 7 Most Surprising Things About Owning an Apple Watch

TIME Innovation

Are “Micro-Schools” the Future of Education?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Are personalized “micro-schools” the future of education?

By Anya Kamenetz at NPR

2. Millions of Americans get tests, drugs, and operations that won’t make them better.

By Atul Gawande in the New Yorker

3. Can bacteria help us fight the ravages of climate change?

By Esther Ngumbi in Scientific American

4. Here’s a drone you can fly with your phone, from the designer of the Roomba.

By Jessica Leber in Fast Co.Exist

5. What’s killing the growth of mobile banking?

By Herb Weisbaum in NBC News

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Apple watch

Third-Party Apple Watch Bands Are About to Be a Huge Thing

Apple Watch Goes On Sale At Handful Of Boutiques Around The World
Chris McGrath—Getty Images Shimada shows off his newly purchased Apple Watch outside boutique store, Dover Street Market Ginza on April 24, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

Apple launched an official program for strap makers

Third-party Apple Watch bands were on the market even before the smartwatch launched last month — but now Apple is pulling in strap makers with a new developers’ program.

Apple launched the “Made for Apple Watch” initiative on Monday, which provides third-party accessory developers with precise smartwatch specifications, according to the program’s new website.

Like the similar “Made for” programs for iPhone, iPad and iPod (“MFi”), the Apple Watch specifications are intended to ensure the accessories comply with Apple performance standards. For Apple Watch bands, that means using the appropriate sizes and materials compatible with its features and environmental regulations. It also means following the company’s ban on integrated magnetic chargers.

There’s no mention of integrating accessories with Apple Watch’s hidden diagnostic port, a possibility many developers are hoping will be added in the future. That could allow faster charging or even battery straps, though other developers argue that the port is hidden for a reason.

Read next: 7 Most Surprising Things About Owning an Apple Watch

TIME

Check Out McDonald’s Revolutionary New Takeout Bag

Happy Meals get happier

McDonald’s has invented a new takeout bag.

Behold, the aptly named “BagTray,” a joint development from the geniuses at McDonald’s Hungary and the ad agency DDB Budapest. The paper bag transforms with a single tear of a perforated strip into a detachable serving tray.

The reinforced cardboard tray at the bottom of the bag keeps the meal and the inevitable grease-stained wrappers in a tidy little package — so tidy, in fact, that you can supposedly place a Happy Meal on your lap.

No word on whether they’ve been released or will be in the U.S., but fans can cross their greasy fingers for now.

[Gizmodo]

TIME Innovation

Why the Next Leader of the U.N. Should Be a Woman

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. After 70 years of men in charge, the next leader of the U.N. should be a woman.

By Gillian Sorensen and Jean Krasno in the Washington Post

2. Here’s how to design a better Monday.

By Studio 360 and IDEO

3. What brought some cities back from the economic brink? Making peace with their suburbs.

By Nancy Cook in the National Journal

4. There’s an app to document and salvage Nepal’s cultural heritage.

By Annette Ekin at Al Jazeera

5. Elon Musk just made growing weed easier.

By Wes Siler in Gizmodo

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

How to Feed 9 Billion People

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Here’s how we feed nine billion people. And why.

By Madeleine K. Albright in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

2. Hate your bank? With an open banking platform, developers could build better financial institutions.

By Noel Peatfield at Open Source

3. There’s an upside to war-torn heritage sites.

By the University of Leicester

4. Americans are trading the ballot box for the mailbox.

By Sean Green and Kyle Ueyama at the Pew Charitable Trusts

5. Could a knee brace power an artificial heart?

By Mike Williams at Rice University

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com