TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 27

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

1. Hollywood is less diverse than its audiences — and it might be hurting the bottom line.

By Austin Siegemund-Broka in the Hollywood Reporter

2. Facebook’s new suicide prevention tools finally get it right.

By Ashley Feinberg in Gizmodo

3. How will we understand the power of the bacteria in our bodies? Meet the crowdsourced American Gut project.

By American Gut

4. The road to artificial intelligence begins with computers mastering video games like a human being in the 80s.

By Rebecca Morelle at BBC News

5. Salting roads and plowing snow is inefficient and costly. A smart algorithm can save cities millions.

By Marcus Woo in Wired

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

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 26

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

1. It’s time to break up the NSA.

By Bruce Schneier at CNN

2. By prescribing appearances, sororities are contributing to a culture of segregation.

By Clio Chang in U.S. News and World Report

3. In Egypt, the U.S. still values security over human rights.

By the Editorial Board of the Washington Post

4. Bartering for eggs is saving giant turtles in Cambodia.

By Yoeung Sun at Conservation International

5. How does Internet slang work its way into American Sign Language?

By Mike Sheffield, Antwan Duncan and Andrew Strasser in Hopes and Fears

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

Watch How Dust Makes an Amazing Journey From Africa to South America

This NASA footage shows show dust from the Sahara winds up in the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest might be a little less green if not for a massive plume of Saharan dust that drifts across the Atlantic Ocean each year, according to a new, multi-year study by NASA scientists.

NASA used light pulses from its CALIPSO satellite to measure the transatlantic dust cloud in three dimensions. They found that wind carries roughly 182 million tons of Saharan dust out to sea each year. The cloud sheds roughly 50 million en route to South America, but the remainder fans out over the Amazonian basin and the Caribbean Sea, dusting the soil with 22,000 tons of phosphorus, a nutrient commonly found in commercial grade fertilizer.

Amazingly, the special delivery of plant food almost perfectly matches the amount of phosphorous the Amazonian jungle loses through heavy rains and run-off water.

“This is a small world,” said study author Hongbin Yu, “and we’re all connected together.”

 

TIME Innovation

See the Men Who Got Their Hands Cut Off and Replaced With Bionic Ones

Milorad Marinkovic holds an egg with his bionic arm with his bionic arm in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 24, 2015.
Ronald Zak—AP Milorad Marinkovic holds an egg with his bionic arm in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 24, 2015.

"I can do almost everything with it. I just don't have any feeling in it."

Three Austrian men who lost motor control over their hands volunteered for a breakthrough surgical procedure to amputate their lifeless appendages and replace them with bionic hands.

Doctors hailed the operations as the first cases of “bionic reconstruction,” in which the mechanical hand is hardwired directly into the patient’s arm, enabling the patient to open and close the fingers without external controls, the Associated Press reports.

Milorad Marinkovic demonstrates writing with his bionic hand as he poses for a photograph at his home in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs. The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction,” which includes voluntary amputation, transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Ronald Zak—AP

Nerves and muscles transplanted from the patient’s legs run signals from the brain directly into the prosthetic arm. “I can do almost everything with it,” one patient, Milorad Marinkovic, 30, told the Associated Press. “I just don’t have any feeling in it.”

Milorad Marinkovic shows his bionic arm as he poses for a photograph at his home in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs. The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction,” which includes voluntary amputation, transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Ronald Zak—AP

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 25

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

1. The U.S. wants to hack your phone because it doesn’t have the real spies it needs.

By Patrick G. Eddington at Reuters

2. Eight universities account for half of all history professors in the U.S. How did that happen?

By Joel Warner and Aaron Clauset in Slate

3. Bill Gates is investing in low-tech impact entrepreneurs in India.

By David Bank in Entrepreneur

4. “Liquid biopsy” can detect cancer from a few drops of blood.

By Michael Standaert in MIT Technology Review

5. Let’s build the infrastructure to make microfinance institutions into true innovation hubs.

By Jessica Collier in Medium

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

Saying ‘Open Sesame’ Actually Unlocks Doors Now

A new app wirelessly unlocks doors by a classic spoken command

The expression “open sesame” was popularized by a folk tale in One Thousand and One Nights, but it’s taken roughly three centuries for the expression to start opening doors in real life.

MIT graduate student Dheera Venkatraman calls his “Sesame” app for Android Wear smartwatches an “exceedingly simple project” to unlock a door using spoken commands. The wearer simply needs to shout into the watch face, “OK Google, open sesame” to open the app. It then wirelessly transmits a command via Bluetooth to turn an Internet-connected lock.

Of course, the lock itself has to be outfitted with a fair amount of hardware. Venkatraman fastened a small rotating cuff to a deadbolt handle. The apparatus is still very much an early build with a few exposed wires running along the door. Still, Venkatraman has shared instructions on his website so hobbyists can gather up the components, copy the code and add their own refinements to an idea that’s been some 300 years in the making.

TIME Innovation

Meet the Kid Who Made an Unbelievable, Real-Life Batsuit

It withstands punches and cuts

A Philadelphia University student designed a real-life Batsuit that withstands punches, baseball bats and even blades.

The industrial design student, Jackson Gordon, created the 25-pound suit in his spare time and unveiled it earlier this month at Katsucon, an anime convention, USA Today reports. Gordon started on the first prototypes last September, and raised over $1,000 on Kickstarter in November to buy supplies.

Gordon says it’s not quite done yet. “Designing is never finished,” Gordon told USA Today. “You either run out of time or you run out of money.”

[USA Today]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 24

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

1. For some returning from war, a ‘G.I. bill for farming’ eases the transition home.

By Abby Wendle at Harvest Public Media

2. In Egypt, a class project to fight sexual harassment has grown into a campus-wide movement encouraging women to “Speak Up.”

By Ahmed Fouad in Al-Monitor

3. Your kid’s school is missing the tech revolution, and it’s all your fault.

By Jason Tanz in Wired

4. Community courts focus on rehabilitation and compassion for non-violent offenders.

By Henry Gass in the Christian Science Monitor

5. A new ‘Uber for packages’ service is partnering with Waffle House to build a network of delivery points around the south.

By Amar Toor in the Verge

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

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 23

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

1. The propaganda war against ISIS doesn’t tell us anything about the real fight.

By Paul Waldman in the Week

2. Programs supporting women-owned small businesses will boost the economy.

By Claudia Viek at the American Sustainable Business Council

3. System-wide disruption — including a new medical school admissions test — is remaking medical education.

By Melinda Beck in Wall Street Journal

4. Prison reform could unleash resourcefulness and hustle currently behind bars. The tech sector should get on board.

By Baratunde Thurston in Fast Company

5. The first power plant powered by ocean waves is officially online.

By Kaleigh Rogers in Motherboard from Vice

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

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 20

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

1. Hollywood’s diversity problem goes beyond “Selma.” Asian and Latino stories and faces are missing.

By Jose Antonio Vargas and Janet Yang in the Los Angeles Times

2. Shifting the narrative away from religion is key to defeating ISIS.

By Dean Obeidallah in the Daily Beast

3. Innovation alone won’t fix social problems.

By Amanda Moore McBride and Eric Mlyn in the Chronicle of Higher Education

4. When the Ebola epidemic closed schools in Sierra Leone, radio stepped in to fill the void.

By Linda Poon at National Public Radio

5. The racial wealth gap we hardly talk about? Retirement.

By Jonnelle Marte in the Washington Post

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.

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