Michael Ho’s Techdirt Profile

mhhfive

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 - 26 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Flying With The Greatest Of Ease

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Airplanes have been commonplace for quite some time now, and we've grown accustomed to what an airplane should look like. Ask any kid to draw a plane, and you'll probably get familiar results. However, this doesn't mean we've reached the end of novel plane designs. Plenty of unconventional planes are being designed and tested, and here are just a few.

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Posted on Techdirt - 25 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Suicide Isn't Painless -- Neither Is The Death Penalty (Yet?)

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Regardless if you're for or against the death penalty, there's at least some agreement that the method of execution shouldn't be cruel and unusual. The drugs for lethal injections seem to be running into supply problems, resulting in some botched executions. One might think the methods for assisted suicide would step in, but doctors like Jack Kevorkian are pretty scarce.

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Posted on Techdirt - 24 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Breaking Bad... Passwords

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Passwords are everywhere. They get us access to our phones, computers, email, social media accounts, cloud storage accounts, banks accounts... just about everything important (and unimportant -- which is part of the problem with passwords). You might think you're clever by choosing a 4-digit PIN that doesn't look like a birthday date or year, but if you're using 2580 and think you're smart, think again.

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Posted on Techdirt - 23 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Speedy Connections In The Future

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Who doesn't like a fast broadband connection? The faster, the better! The only problem seems to be that there are some capacity limits with current technology. Details, details. But what if there were some technologies that could vastly increase those capacity limits? There might be some awkward situations where fiber-based internet service wasn't as fast as a wireless connection. Perhaps ingrained data cap pricing tiers would still stick around? Here are just a few developments that could bring much faster broadband (someday, maybe).

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Posted on Techdirt - 20 March 2015 @ 5:05pm

DailyDirt: No More Pure Chocolate

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Most folks like chocolate, but there are a few weirdos out there who don't. Sometimes, chocolate is used to mask the flavor of stuff that's good for you (like vitamins or minerals), but for the most part, chocolate lovers want to keep their chocolate free of adulterants. The supply of chocolate might have a hard time keeping up with the growing demand for it, so it could be difficult to preserve the exact same recipes for chocolate that we have now -- and there could be "vintage chocolates" on the market, sold like fine wines, someday. Here are just a few chocolate tidbits for the choco-philes/chocoholics out there.

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

DailyDirt: Mars Or Bust

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Missions to Mars require a lot of planning and a sizable budget -- especially considering that a manned mission is impossible with current technology. Sending robotic probes to Mars can be tricky, but obviously they can be done. Safely transporting a human (or handful of humans) to Mars is slightly more challenging because people need to eat, breathe and not die from radiation exposure -- among many other risks. A goal of reaching Mars by 2030 doesn't seem too likely at this point, but maybe in a few more decades.

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

DailyDirt: Alien Lifeforms In Our Solar System

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

So far, we only have one example of life -- the biosphere of Earth. Our planet probably isn't unique in the universe, but compared to the other large objects in our solar system, Earth looks special. However, there are a few other spots in our solar system that could support life. It would be so nice to find another living neighbor -- as long as they kept to themselves after we meet them.

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Posted on Techdirt - 17 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Will Computers Have 20/20 Vision?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Algorithms for image recognition are getting better all the time, but computer vision is still very different from how humans look at images. Computers aren't capable of describing an image as well as a typical 5-year-old, but they can sift through millions of images before a kid can blink. Here are just a few examples of algorithms getting better at seeing the same things that we see.

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Posted on Techdirt - 16 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: The Strongest Natural Materials

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Mother Nature is actually really good at making some impressively strong and tough materials. Kevlar and steel are pretty strong and useful, but there are a few natural materials that are stronger. Spider silk has been a synthetic target for decades, but being able to create just the spider silk protein isn't enough to make super strong fibers. Spiders actually produce different kinds of silk for different purposes with different mechanical properties, and the process of spinning spider silk isn't easy to duplicate without using spiders. If we're going to use less "plastic" in the future, we might need to figure out how to re-create some unique natural materials.

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

DailyDirt: Strange But Sustainable Food

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The world actually produces enough food to feed everyone, but there's a lot of food waste and inefficient distribution in the supply chain. Obviously, it'd be nice to end world hunger, but we haven't figured out how to do that just yet. Various solutions involve changing some of the things we eat the most -- eg. eating less meat and more plants. Here are a few more wacky ideas for altering the human diet.

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

DailyDirt: Passwords? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Passwords

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Fingerprint-based biometric security systems are everywhere now, but there are some well-known problems with using your fingerprints instead of a password. First off, you unconsciously leave copies of your fingerprints just about everywhere you go. Still, fingerprint sensors seem to be getting better and better. I'll stick to my 4-digit PIN for now, though, thanks, but if you like using your finger for your digital locks, check out these links.

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

DailyDirt: Viral Videos Spreading Everywhere

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There was a time when it was possible to keep track of popular internet memes, but there's a countless number (maybe some neural net behind youtube has a tally while it's not trying to recognize cat videos) being created all the time now. Some marketing folks are trying to mimic viral videos and engineer their own, and it'll probably get harder and harder to spot the fake memes. ICYMI, here are a few links on viral videos of varying seriousness.

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Posted on Techdirt - 10 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Mars Is Not A Pleasant Vacation

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Getting on a rocket to Mars has been a dream for space exploration enthusiasts for decades. However, there are a lot of engineering problems that still need solutions before people can safely get to Mars (and back, unless you favor the one-way trip strategy). Optimists might expect humans to walk on Mars sometime in the 2030s, but realistically, there would have to be a significant change in the way deep space exploration is funded for that to happen. If you're just entering 5th grade or so, maybe you can consider a career on Mars. But perhaps you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.

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Posted on Techdirt - 9 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Water Repellent Surfaces... Like Lotus Leaves Or A Duck's Back

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

We've covered hydrophobic materials before because it's just neat to see stuff not get wet when splashed with water. Commercial products like spray paints, water-resistant clothes and Teflon already exist, but repellent materials are not all equal. Some materials repel liquids better than others, and the way the surface is applied -- painted, chemically bonded, etched, etc -- makes a difference, too. Here are just a few more examples of hydrophobic surfaces (and a hydrophilic one) that people are working on.

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

DailyDirt: Recipes Analyzed By Algorithms

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Algorithms are data mining every aspect of our lives and the world around us -- to pull out interesting bits of information that we should act on. Companies like Google and Facebook come up with algorithms to figure out when to put ads in front of our eyes and how to display pertinent information (sometimes at the same time). Other algorithms are apparently watching what we eat, and trying to highlight what makes food taste good for us or how to formulate the "perfect Pepsis" or find unexpected recipes or flavor combinations. Here are just a few examples of software-based culinary art.

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

DailyDirt: Science With (And Without) Verification

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The scientific method has undoubtedly advanced the growth of knowledge, but with the enormous amount of data that can be collected now, it can be difficult to turn all that information into reliable and understandable facts. On the other hand, science is also pushing the boundaries of what can possibly be measured -- but can we still call it science if we're proposing unknowable multiverses and spatial dimensions that can never be explored? Almost anyone can publish their crazy ideas -- and sometimes those sketchy papers submitted to arxiv.org lead to successful work proving an infinite number of twin primes. Do the crackpots outnumber the "real" scientists? Does it matter?

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

DailyDirt: Messing With Mice Brains

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The genes that make humans distinct from other animals are being narrowed down. We have a lot in common with other mammals and especially other primates, but relatively tiny differences in a set of genes could explain how human language and intelligence evolved and developed. Understanding the complexity of human intelligence and genetics will likely take decades or longer -- and we may never fully understand every aspect of consciousness. However, we're making some progress and creating some smarter mice along the way. Check out a few of these experiments.

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Posted on Techdirt - 3 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Computers Are Learning How To Play More Video Games, But They'll Never Appreciate A Good Game?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Researchers can program computers to play all kinds of games and even beat the best humans at them. So far, we're not worried about AI that can beat us at chess or Jeopardy, but maybe we'll be more worried when a computer can program another computer to play chess at a grandmaster level. Luckily, there's at least one billionaire willing to chip in a few million bucks to try to keep Terminators from destroying humanity.

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Posted on Techdirt - 2 March 2015 @ 5:00pm

DailyDirt: Curious Carbon Configurations

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Carbon gets a lot of negative publicity because it's associated with carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, but the element itself is critical to life and has numerous fascinating properties. Carbon comes in a variety of allotropes, and we're discovering other carbon-based structures all the time. Here are just a few more examples.

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

DailyDirt: Big Bones Are A Myth, But Obesity Has Legit Causes

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Some people are naturally skinny and able to eat almost anything they want without gaining weight. Obviously, there are also plenty of folks who need to watch their diets very carefully and exercise regularly to prevent unhealthy weight gain. The causes for obesity are not well understood, and while many observers like to say it's obvious that people need to expend more calories than they consume, the challenge of doing so isn't as simple as it sounds for many. There aren't any miracle diets or drugs, but as we study obesity and understand it more, there could be more palatable treatments someday.

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