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 - 5 February 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: If People Were Meant To Fly In Space...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

When the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, the US launched a satellite and put together its own space agency less than a year later. In the past week, NASA has commemorated the loss of its astronauts in the Challenger and Columbia disasters, as well as the men who died in Apollo 1. There's a new generation of kids who have only seen SpaceX and Soyuz take stuff into low earth orbit (plus maybe a successful Orion test) -- and a few other private companies reaching the edge of space. Robots have been doing an excellent job of exploring mars and other destinations in our solar system, but we shouldn't forget about manned space exploration entirely.

After you've finished checking out those links, if you want to support NASA unconditionally, print out this form and send your money... into space.

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Posted on Techdirt - 4 February 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Harnessing A Lot Of Energy Ain't Easy

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

We've mentioned some advances in fusion energy research not too long ago, and it looks like Germany is ready to take a few more baby steps towards figuring out how to control insanely hot plasma. Still, we're a long way from plentiful fusion-generated electricity (not counting solar), but if we want to stop burning fossil fuels, we're going to need to do some more research.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 3 February 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Who Doesn't Like Cheap Oil?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

For a pretty good stretch, the price of a barrel of oil was about $90-$100, but now the price is around $35 or so. That's a good bargain for some consumers, but on the other hand, thousands of oil workers aren't working and plenty of companies that bet on oil prices staying high are going out of business. The simplified explanation is that the current oil supply exceeds the demand for it -- and it takes some time/politics for oil production to adapt. Oil prices might start to go back up significantly in 2017, but in the meantime, there are about 68 oil projects around the world worth about $380 billion that are on hold for a while.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 2 February 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Nature Vs. CRISPR

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The reality of designer babies seems to be more and more likely -- especially now that gene editing tools like CRISPR are becoming more refined and widespread in labs around the world. Legitimate concerns over a modern form of eugenics are being raised, and the ethical debates are getting less theoretical as the science pushes the boundaries of what can be done. People might be able to activate or delete genes without fully understanding the results, and the advances that can eliminate genetic disorders could also eliminate certain minorities or traits that are not necessarily disabilities.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 1 February 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Making Spirits Bright

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There was a time when making your own alcohol wasn't a completely legit thing to do. Sure, now anyone can just go down to a corner store almost any time and pick up a chilled alcoholic beverage, but if you're a real do-it-yourself-er, you won't want to drink just anything that comes in a pretty bottle. Here are a few projects you might want to check out someday when you're not feeling like guzzling something made by Anheuser-Busch-Inbev-SABmiller.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 29 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Winning Isn't Everything

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Not that long ago, we mentioned that progress towards an algorithm that could play the game of Go better than humans was on the horizon. It looks like our wetware shouldn't be too smug about being able to play Go now, but we can still have fun playing, right? And it'll still take a while before robots are any good at (non-contact) sports. Ping pong, FTW!

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 28 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Nature Doesn't Play By Our Rules...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Biology does whatever it can do, and it's usually pretty messy about it. Just when people think they've figured out a nice hierarchical system for classifying plants and animals and microscopic organisms, we find out that there's more going on and some things aren't as clear cut as we thought. We could divide up life into several kingdoms and/or three domains, but taxonomy isn't getting simpler with time. Life is a continuous spectrum that can't be separated easily, and classifications could become even more complicated in the future. If you thought a platypus was weird, check out a few of these creatures.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 27 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Just Like Clockwork

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Current robotic developments are impressive, but about 200 years ago, mechanical watches and clockwork mechanisms were at the height of miniaturized, complex technology. Watch complications (the functions other than the time in hours and minutes) have continued to grow in complexity with thousands of parts and dozens of time-related functions, but these features can't quite compare to the millions of "apps" that are available now. Check out a few of these clockwork examples and stop complaining about needing to recharge your battery every night.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 26 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow... (Ok, Stop!)

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Maybe this past weekend was a bit snowy for you if you live on the East Coast. Shoveling your driveway, and then shoveling it again, and then digging through the big mound of snow where the street meets your driveway -- fun times, for sure. If you were wondering if anyone had a robot snowblower, wonder no more.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 25 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: There's A Great Future In Plastics

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Plastics are incredibly useful materials. Unfortunately, being extremely durable also means plastics are annoyingly persistent in the environment as pollution. Less than 10% of plastic gets recycled, so the rest either ends up in landfills -- or floats into waterways to the ocean. We'll probably figure out some way to make use of landfill materials someday, but it'll be much harder to clean up the oceans if we continue at the rate we're going.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 22 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

If you're young enough, you were only taught about the eight planets in our solar system -- and possibly that there was a mysterious 'Planet X' or planet Tyche beyond Neptune. More recently, there's a new ninth planet proposal from the same folks who re-named Pluto as a dwarf planet. Check out these links on Pluto and this new ninth planet that might redefine the outer edge of our solar system.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Those Who Can, Write Textbooks...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Textbooks are surprisingly expensive items. The classic example is an introductory math textbook: where the math hasn't changed significantly for over a hundred years, but the price of the newest edition seems to suggest that there should be a lot of new material added to the book. Sure, there's a used book market -- and even rental books nowadays -- but the trend of rising textbook prices has some students and faculty questioning some of the publishing industry's practices.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 20 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Open Textbooks Starting To Save Students Real Money

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

One aspect of the open educational resources movement (OER) is open textbooks that are free to use -- content in the public domain or with copyright terms that require only attribution (or attribution and share-alike clauses). Open textbooks have taken some time to get written, reviewed and adopted -- but now that there are hundreds of these books available, students should be able to use them freely and benefit from (and even contribute to) these educational materials.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 19 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: What, Me Worry?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The price of oil is surprisingly low -- dipping below $30 a barrel recently. That's not a bad thing for consumers who like to drive and have warm homes in the winter and for the prices of a whole lot of other things. But let's not get too comfortable with hydrocarbon-based fuels for too long. There are a few concerning things about burning fossil fuels -- even if we're not worried about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. However, the alternatives might not be that great, either.

After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Posted on Techdirt - 15 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Stop! Don't Eat That...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Eating healthier is a common new year's resolution, and it might be good to start simple and stop consuming one unhealthy snack item. However, a completely healthy diet is a totally different task. There are countless fad diets that don't really work or aren't as healthy as they're supposed to be. On top of all that, we should also keep an eye out for the outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and food safety recommendations. Maybe people who drink all their calories aren't totally crazy....

If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

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Posted on Techdirt - 14 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Can't Get Enough Of The Moon...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It's been a while since Apollo 17. Getting to Mars sounds like a worthy follow-up mission, but just figuring out how to live inside a metal tube for longer than a year outside of low Earth orbit is also a pretty challenging project. NASA hasn't been very focused on going back to the moon recently, but that could change depending on who becomes the next US president. But in the meantime, here are a few other efforts working on missions to get to the moon.

If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

7 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 13 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Changing Our Environment

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

One of the properties of life itself is that it changes its environment. All life does it, not just us humans. But we might be the only animals that might care about our legacy on the world. We haven't completely figured out what mark we've left on the Earth (or if it's permanent), but we've definitely changed some things, for better or worse.

If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: What You Don't Know About Sneezing

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There are a lot of things about ourselves we just don't know. Why do we need sleep? How does general anesthesia work? A whole bunch of involuntary reactions are still mysterious. Partial explanations exist to describe what happens when these things occur, but that's not a fully satisfactory understanding. So what about sneezing? Think you know all about it?

If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

3 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 11 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Always More To Discover...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The universe is just incredibly vast and full of stuff we're only scratching the surface of detecting. Every so often, though, there are some folks who think we've learned it all -- or that there's not much more left to figure out. But there's always more. The pace of technology might not advance fast enough for us to be able to continue to discover new things at the rate we've been doing so, but the "peak science" event probably hasn't happened yet (or may not happen at all).

If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

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Posted on Techdirt - 8 January 2016 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Really Expensive (Or Just Time-Consuming) Foods

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Maybe you've heard that the word 'salary' comes from Roman soldiers being paid in salt. That's seems like a fuzzy bit of history, and no one actually knows with certainty how early Roman soldiers were paid, but at some point, they were paid with coinage -- or perhaps with some other kind of allowance to purchase salt. Luckily, most people don't get paid in spices anymore, but there are a few food items that are expensive enough that they could be used as currency. (And if you want to really get off the grid, you might want to know about how much it'll cost to really make everything yourself from scratch.)

If you've been thinking about doing other things yourself, like learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

6 Comments | Leave a Comment..

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