IoT Early Warning System Helps Save People From Mudslides

Network World, 08/24/2016

This article describes an early warning system for mudslides and flood in rural El Salvador that uses a mesh network of simple devices, within local villagers’ needs and cultural structures. The article can be used to highlight differences between the U.S., where a vast array of technological advances can aid in mitigating disasters, and remote areas of the world where many of the basic technologies involved, such as cell-phone networks, do not exist or are not reliable.

The Ad-Blocking Browser That Pays the Sites You Visit

Wired, 9/1/2016

The Brave web browser (released earlier this year) allows only ads that don’t track users from site to site; it has now added a feature to record how much time users spend on different sites and allow them to send micropayments to those publishers. The article raises examples of how the web has impacted the economics of media and publishing, and also touches on online tracking, data anonymization and de-anonymization, and even Bitcoin.

The White House Releases Policy to Help Government Agencies Go Open Source

TechCrunch, 8/8/2016

The U.S.’s Federal Source Code Policy was recently revised to require that all custom code created or commissioned by government agencies must be available to all other agencies, and that 20% of it must be released open source. This emphasizes how integral software is to government operations, and offers an opportunity to remind students about how open source software works.

Paraplegics Take a Step to Regain Movement

Duke Today, 8/10/2016

Patients using brain-machine interfaces to control robotic prosthetics, along with virtual-reality devices that simulated moving their own limbs, were unexpectedly able to regain some actual control of their own limbs, apparently reengaging their spinal cord nerves. Includes a short description of computational modeling of how the brain controls movement.

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