Last night in the TED office: War Stories

TED Blog

War isn’t easy to talk about. TED’s Juliet Blake knows this first-hand — she is the daughter of German Jews who never spoke about the war that wiped out so many members of their family. And yet, that devastation is exactly why it is so important to have conversations about the worst of human experiences. Over the years, Blake — executive producer of PBS’s TED Talks Education (TED’s first TV special) and producer of the upcoming film The Hundred-Foot Journey (alongside Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey) — has come to recognize the importance of journalists, documentarians and peacekeepers who bring stories from war-torn localities out to the world. This is why she chose to host a session in the TED office last night, dedicated to “War Stories.”

The evening began with Wes Moore, author of the best-selling book The Other Wes Moore. Moore is also a veteran — he…

View original post 665 more words Hackers Make An Open-Source Nest Thermostat


Sure it’s not made of metal, nor did it convince Google to give its creators billions of dollars, but dammit if this isn’t a cool hack. The folks at, creators of the Spark Core, a unique Wi-Fi development board that allows you to add Wi-Fi controls to Arduino projects, have used their tech to create a Nest-alike with some of the same features as Tony Fadell’s popular wall wart.

The team essentially created a web-connected thermostat by cutting out a nice hunk of wood and some plastic and adding a Spark Core and some control logic. The device can change temperature by scrolling the large wheel on the front and displays the temperature using an LED display. Most of the other logic – including temperature logging and remote control – happens on a remote server. To sense the temperature and humidity they added a Honeywell HumidIcon…

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Google Unveils Smart Contact Lens That Lets Diabetics Measure Their Glucose Levels


This isn’t Google Glass in a contact lens, but it may just be Google’s first step in this direction. The company’s Google X lab just teased a smart contact lens on its blog that is meant to help diabetics measure their glucose levels.

The company says it is currently testing prototypes of this contact lens that use a tiny wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor. These chips are embedded in between two soft layers of lens material.

In its announcement, Google notes that scientists have long looked into how certain body fluids can help them track glucose levels. Tears, it turns out, work very well, but given that most people aren’t Hollywood actors and can cry on demand, using tears was never really an option.

According to Google, the sensor can take about one reading per second, and it is working on adding tiny LED lights to the…

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Why we’re exanding our farm

Searching for Simple

We are getting closer.  Closer to me finishing school, and closer to the wedding. But, something even closer than that will happen within the next few weeks.  We will start to fill our hog barn.  My Farmer informed me by the end of next week is when we’ll start putting pigs in.

Pigs have always been a part of my life, and most certainly my farmers.  We both don’t really know any different.  So, it only made sense for my farmer to expand his hog farm by putting up another barn.  — But, why do that?  Why not just be happy with where we’re at?  Why are we getting bigger?

When my Farmer realized that I was “the one” and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, he also realized he would have to work hard to support me and our family.  We are…

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Bee is for Boston

Cassie Writes Science

Boston’s Copley Square is the epitome of urban life. Surrounded by towering skyscrapers, people mull about the streets, shop in popular stores, take pictures in front of the Boston Public Library, and people-watch on the grass in the center of the square. But hiding in the midst of this metropolis are colonies of honeybees.

The hives nestled on the rooftop of the Fairmont Copley Hotel belong to a growing trend in big cities such as Houston, San Francisco, and New York. For the past few years, restaurants and hotels ranging from fashionable boutiques to large chains have joined individual city-dwellers in the beekeeping craze. In Boston, at least four restaurants and hotels are raising bees and harvesting honey.

Nationwide, the rise in urban beekeeping can be attributed to the “locavore” movement sweeping the country. People want to know where their food comes from, even if that means growing it…

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How To Make Agriculture Youth Friendly In Nigeria: The Problems and Solutions.


Encouraging Youth Farming

Encouraging Youth Farming


Engaging youth in agriculture has been a prominent topic recently and has risen up the development agenda, as there is growing concern worldwide that young people have become disenchanted with agriculture.

With most young people – around 85% – living in developing countries, where agriculture is likely to provide the main source of income it is vital that young people are connected with farming.*

The Problems.

1. Perception / Image
The number one impediment against youths embracing agriculture as a livelihood in nigeria and africa as a whole is the image problem. Youths generally feel agriculture is a dirty profession. A profession that doesn’t allow you make up or knot a tie. With over 70 percent of farmers as adults who live in the rural areas with non existent basic amenities. The idea that a young school graduate will abandon the sparks of city lights and…

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Gardens and empire


An excerpt from the book ‘Sex, Botany & Empire’ by Patricia Fara

During the 18th century the movement of people in Britain’s developing empire was almost entirely outwards from the centre. In contrast, plants were being carried back in the opposite direction. Kew gardens expanded rapidly, and by 1788, 50,000 trees and plants were growing in the beds and hothouses.

Banks superintended an international network of botanic gardens that made this redistribution of the world’s crops possible and also extended Britain’s power. Declaring that Kew should become ‘a great botanical exchange house for the empire’, Banks converted the royal gardens into the head office of an international agricultural chain commited to commercial development.

Portrait painting of Joseph Banks, a portly older white man who is an early 19th century gentleman

Joseph Banks

By the early 19th century, gardens had become a standard symbol of colonial conquest. As part of his schemes to make tea cheaper for British consumers by growing it in India, Banks became intimately involved…

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