Michael Ho’s Techdirt Profile

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About Michael HoTechdirt Insider

Mike oversees the research department at Floor64. He has held various research roles at companies including BFGoodrich, Raychem and Nano-Tex. Before joining Floor64, Mike coordinated product development as a project leader at Nano-Tex. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and completed work towards a PhD at Stanford University. He continues to pursue his technical and scientific interests in a wide variety of fields.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeho



Posted on Techdirt - 29 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: All Natural Doesn't Necessarily Mean Good For You...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

A growing trend in food packaging seems to be using the words "all natural" to describe ingredients. This is meant to be an improvement over the previous "completely artificial" ingredients that have been used for decades. However, as some point out, the use of natural ingredients doesn't necessarily mean what consumers might think it means. Starbucks found out that "natural" might not satisfy all of its customers when it switched from Red #40 to a natural food coloring made from crushed insects. Those crushed insects aren't harmful, but that's not exactly what folks were expecting from a "natural" ingredient, either.

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Posted on Techdirt - 28 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Digital Photography Magic (aka Photoshopping)

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Altering a few pixels here and there in a digital photo can have remarkable effects. Sometimes the result is unexpected and hilarious, but sometimes it's simply amazing what can be done to photos. Perhaps you've used software (eg. photoshop) to remove "red eye" from your favorite selfies, but there are some even more advanced algorithms that can make your photos look much better... than they otherwise would.

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Posted on Techdirt - 27 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Computers Creating Content...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Artificial intelligence is getting better and better. Computers can beat humans at all kinds of games without breaking a sweat. To stay ahead of the machines, we keep moving the goalposts on what qualifies as "strong AI" by coming up with more and more tests that computers can't quite pass. If you think software will never be able to write poetry as well as Shakespeare, perhaps you'll have to modify your test in a few years.

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Posted on Techdirt - 26 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Space Mining

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It's fairly common in science fiction for space mining operations to exist, but the reality is that just getting anything into space is pretty expensive -- and there isn't all that much stuff in space that needs to get re-supplied with materials. However, the legal basis for claiming ownership of space resources may be clearing up, and a few companies might actually be driving down the costs of getting a spacecraft into space. The concept of striking a literal gold mine in space might not happen, but the technology to collect resources in space might still be valuable for future space exploration.

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Posted on Techdirt - 22 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Trendy Drinks

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Some folks like to drink coconut water because it tastes good -- not because it's a fashionable, semi-exotic-sounding liquid that has some specious health claims. Some fads, like drinking raw milk are actually not that healthy. But if you just like trying out new stuff to drink (and carry around in a bottle or cup), check out a few of these links.

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: More Than A Little Collaboration Necessary

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Science is getting more and more complicated as we learn more and it becomes nearly impossible for any single human being to understand, let alone perform, all of the experiments necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge out a little further. It seems that the field of particle physics is quite accustomed to publishing papers with "kiloauthors" without a problem, but the practice may be extending to other fields now as well. (Just imagine how long the copyright should last... lifetimes of the authors plus 70 years.)

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Posted on Techdirt - 20 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: (Not So) Huge Tracts Of Land...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Maybe if you had a sizable fortune, you wouldn't want huge tracts of land to live on, but more than a few billionaires seem to like owning islands or a few hundred acres in remote locations. But you don't necessarily have to be rich to rule a tiny part of the world -- you just need to have the will to do it. Sorta.

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Posted on Techdirt - 19 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Sailing Through Space Without Rockets

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

One of the problems with space travel is that the chemical fuels required to get around in space.. really limit how far a spacecraft can go. A spacecraft can only carry around so much fuel, and then once that fuel is gone, the ship is basically drifting in space. There are some creative solutions to this challenge, though. If you aren't in a hurry, you can try to propel an object with the momentum of light. Or you can shoot very small atoms at high velocity to create thrust. But you cannot change the laws of physics!

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Posted on Techdirt - 18 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: No Electricity? No Problem (Sorta)...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

So many modern conveniences require an electrical outlet or a natural gas line into your house. Sure, there are some nifty gadgets that can generate electricity when you're out camping or otherwise off the grid, but what do you do if you want some appliances at home -- and you forgot to pay your utility bills? Try out a few of these devices.

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Posted on Techdirt - 15 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Robots That Ask, 'Would You Like Fries With That?'

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Robots are poised to take over a LOT of repetitive tasks that people are still doing because it's been hard to get computer vision and robot arms to replicate some kinds of detailed work. Machines are getting a better quickly, though, and plenty of manual labor jobs could be eliminated in the near future. Automation isn't quite ready to take over a huge fraction of the labor market just yet, but it might not be too long before no one will be able to joke about young kids looking for an unskilled job and upselling fries with a fast food order.

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4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 14 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Minimizing Pointy-Haired Bosses

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Over the past century, there have been dozens of management philosophies that have been touted as "the way" to keep employees motivated and encourage excellence and productivity. But it's far from a solved problem. Stack ranking (aka vitality curve) has fallen out of favor a bit, and a trend of self-managing has appeared that could keep employees more satisfied with their bosses -- because if you're managing yourself, you only have yourself to blame. Some companies are trying to quantify various metrics for organizational behavior to make it more objective and fair. Maybe we'll know how it all works in a few more decades, but in the meantime, check out these HR experiments.

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2 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 13 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Sky Diving Without A Parachute....

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

We've mentioned Gary Connery before for his stunt of jumping out of a helicopter at 2,400 feet without a parachute -- which is a pretty high altitude, but not exactly an Alan Eustace or Felix Baumgartner record-breaking altitude. Sky diving without a parachute is generally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, though. But there are some exceptions.

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Keep It Secret. Keep It Safe.

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Not that long ago, a very common bike lock was rendered ridiculously insecure when it was revealed on the internet that a cheap plastic pen and some twisting skills were all that were needed to open the lock without a key. Lock picking has been around for centuries with some locks being easier to crack than others, making some people distrust various lock-makers or distrust certain lock-pickers. Whoever the "bad guy" is, keeping things secret and safe has been a challenge and will continue to be one. Here are just a few more examples of locks and insecure locks.

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7 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 11 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Robots Doing The Heavy Lifting

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Robots are cool in so many ways. People usually think of them as huge machines that are clumsy and awkward. However, robots come in all sizes nowadays -- and they're getting smaller while still being able to do some tough jobs. Bots aren't just vacuuming our floors. They'll soon do a lot more tasks autonomously and replace a lot of physical labor. Here are just a few examples of robots pulling (sometimes more than) their weight.

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4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 8 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Hangovers -- Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Hangovers are pretty common for alcohol drinkers, but oddly, medical science doesn't really have an exact cause for the phenomenon. Sure, there's a bit of dehydration and trace amounts of toxic compounds from some alcoholic spirits, but brain inflammation from high alcohol levels seems to be just something that happens (pending further study). There have been some studies on hangovers, but no reliable cure just yet. If you want to try a few things that might work, check out some of the links below.

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5 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 7 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Frankenstein Was The Doctor, Not The Monster...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Medicine is often a somewhat gruesome practice. To treat some injuries/diseases, sometimes you need to perform some extreme surgeries. It's not always pretty. However, some surgeons are working on unusual procedures that sound a bit more like Frankenstein than modern medicine. Transplants from animals, whole head transplants -- if these procedures actually work, doctors could extend the lifespans of people in a way that brings up more and more questions about the quality of a person's life. These operations are far from perfected now, but so were a lot of surgeries not too long ago.

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8 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 6 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Braiiins... And Brain Implants

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Cyborgs are already walking among us -- if you count people who have advanced pacemakers and other implanted devices (eg. insulin pumps, cochlear implants, etc). There are also a handful of folks who are actively trying to become cyborgs, like Kevin Warwick. However, brain implants still need to be a lot less invasive and traumatic if anyone is going to really get a direct, permanent brain interface. Here are just a few links on neuro-interfaces that are making some progress.

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4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 5 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: The Promises Of Graphene

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Materials made of carbon are amazingly useful. We've pointed out various cool things that graphene can do before, but the list really seems to go on and on (even though there are less than a handful of products on the market that actually incorporate graphene). Still, graphene could improve a lot of things, and material science often takes decades to really establish a market for a specific material. Check out these links... and maybe in 30 years or so, we'll finally get to see some of these things.

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5 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 4 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Parents, Don't Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Cowboys...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There are as many different kinds of parenting as there are parents (or more...) -- every kid is different, and no two parents treat their kids the same way. Definitely, some questionable parenting techniques exist, but who's really to say what's correct? (Okay, child services and/or a judge....) Some folks believe in a free-range kid policy, but others think that's crazy or dangerous. If you're not already flooded with parenting advice, check out some of the following links.

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4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 1 May 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Drink No Wine Before It's Time?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Some folks are really into aged spirits -- as in old alcohol, not ancient ghosts. But if we can't really trust our tastebuds, will anyone really know if an aged wine is really aged? More importantly, though, does it really matter if no one can taste the difference between a day-old beverage and one that's 15 years old? Maybe some wine/scotch snobs will care, but most drinkers probably won't.

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11 Comments | Leave a Comment..

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