UK Scientists Create World’s Smallest Surgical Robot to Start a Hospital Revolution 

“For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.”

—Ellis, Rachel. “UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution.” The Guardian. August 19, 2017.

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial

“At the heart of premium mediocrity, underneath all the hustling and towel-based-personal-branding, behind the luck-making and laughing-salad-eating, there is a deep and essential kindness. Kindness towards parents. Kindness towards the talented who work harder because they have found more meaningful work to do. Kindness towards those unlike you in every way except willingness to play the premium mediocre fake-it-till-you-make-it MVP game. A cheerful willingness to pronounce strange names and try strange foods, in the spirit of learning your part in an emerging theater.

Yes, sometimes it means accidentally buying our own bullshit for a while. Sometimes it means believing our own illusions for a while. That’s not coastal elitism. That’s not hypocrisy. That is the art of the premium mediocre performed life.

Those are the alternative facts of bicoastal life, facts that are part of trying to invent the future, even if large parts of it look like poorly designed Hollywood sets peopled by bad actors.”

—Rao, Venkatesh. “The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial.” Ribbonfarm. August 17, 2017.

So much of this blog post seems right on point.

Mathematical Secrets of Ancient Tablet Unlocked After Nearly a Century of Study

“Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius.

‘The tablet not only contains the world’s oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new.’”

—Kennedy, Maev. “Mathematical secrets of ancient tablet unlocked after nearly a century of study.” The Guardian. August 24, 2017.

Orb Media

Orb Media: “Rather than bombarding the public with breaking news while providing little in the way of context, Orb practices proactive journalism. We ask how events may (or may not) fit into a meaningful, global trend. We use today’s digital tools to consider our world as a set of interlocking human and natural systems, rather than a confounding deluge of random events.”

Hvper

“Every day I get the entire internet compressed into a single page. My first stop is Hvper, which is a super aggregator that collects the top headlines of every news source out there into ONE single page. I see what’s at the top of mind in the both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, plus HuffPo and Fox News, plus Al Jazeera and the Drudge Report. Plus Reddit, Digg, BuzzNews, Twitter, CNN, ABC, Verge, Wired, and on and on. All of it! The whole news media landscape in a one-page dashboard. Each headline is clickable directly to the source. It is fast, clean (no ads!), free and magical. Must read.” h/t Cool Tools.

Dilution of whisky – the molecular perspective | Scientific Reports

“We carried out computer simulations of water-ethanol mixtures in the presence of guaiacol, providing atomistic details on the structure of the liquid mixture. We found that guaiacol is preferentially associated with ethanol, and, therefore, primarily found at the liquid-air interface in mixtures that contain up to 45 vol-% of ethanol. At ethanol concentrations of 59 vol-% or higher, guaiacol is increasingly surrounded by ethanol molecules and is driven to the bulk. This indicates that the taste of guaiacol in the whisky would be enhanced upon dilution prior to bottling.”

—Karlsson, Björn C. G. “Dilution of whisky – the molecular perspective.” Scientific Reports. 17 August 2017.

The State of Cryptocurrency, Mid-2017 Edition

Main takeaways:

  1. It’s not that hard to get up to speed.
  2. Overall, the cryptocurrency ecosystem feels younger than I thought.
  3. Blockchain is the technology that will let lifestyle businesses cross the chasm from fringe to mainstream.
  4. Micropayments still aren’t going to work.
  5. Money leads to Power which leads to Centralization.

Cryptocurrencies and their technologies can seem overwhelming, but it’s easy to get up to speed.

“I really only started reading up in depth on cryptocurrency and the related technology like blockchain three months ago, and felt like I could at least follow all the talks.

If you want to get up to speed, you’re only a couple Saturdays of reading away…”

—Pearson, Taylor. “The State of Cryptocurrency, Mid-2017 Edition.” Hackernoon.com. August 16, 2017.

You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf

“Disparaged and abandoned by his fellow Quakers, Lay eventually helped win the debate over slavery. He wanted to provoke, to unsettle, even to confound — to make people think and act. His greatest power, indeed his genius, lay in his gift as an agitator. In every meeting he attended, public or private, he drew a line over the issue of slavery. He asked everyone he met, Which side are you on?”

—Remixer, Marcus. “You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf.” The New York Times. August 12, 2017.

Which side are you on is probably a good question we all should be asking of ourselves (and others).