File-sharing site The Pirate Bay caused an Internet stir last week when it introduced a new content category called “Physibles,” essentially designed to allow people to pass one another physical objects for download . The term refers to data files that are actually able to become physical objects via 3D printing technology. Before long, The Pirate Bay said in a blog post, “you will print the spare parts for your vehicles.” Some saw the announcement as an overhyped publicity stunt. Others saw a powerful revolution of how humans acquire essential goods. But one expert Mashable spoke with this week said that 3D printing is indeed bound for the mainstream — and even sooner than The Pirate Bay might think. “If you want to draw that parallel, we are kind of in the early 1980s of the computer industry right now, when it was just moving from mainframes into home computers,” said Hod Lipson , a Cornell University associate professor of both Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Computing & Information Science. “I see a big future for 3D printers in personal-scale applications that will unfold over the next decade.” That big future will probably include kids like Riley Lewis and Vernon Bussler (right and left, respectively, in the accompanying photo). Riley and Vernon are eighth graders. Along with a small cohort of classmates at Discovery Charter School in the Bay Area, they’re already getting pretty deep into the world of 3D design and printing. After Riley developed a strong interest and aptitude for 3D printing a couple of years ago, a company called 3D Systems donated a 3D printer worth several hundred dollars for him to use at school. The class of some dozen students is one a very small number of middle school labs beginning to delve into the emerging industry. The group’s work has been featured in a Popular Science blog post, and they have already produced items including dice, jewelry and replacement parts for the printer. Their progress reflects a tangible future for the medium that exists outside of exclusive laboratories and research facilities. “It’s just amazing to have an idea and then be able to create a perfect rendition of it, something you can physically hold and touch,” Riley told Mashable . Vernon said that their classmates react with “a combination of ‘that’s cool’ and ‘I don’t get it.’” According to Lipson, more and more people will begin to “get it” in the coming years.
You’ll Download Physical Objects Sooner Than You Think, Thanks to Kids Like These
Our Take: We love this idea imagine being able to email your physical project work to your examiner half way round the world.
Name: Verbling Quick Pitch: Verbling is a web-based platform where individuals can pair up with native speakers to practice speaking new languages on live video.
Genius Idea: Verbling makes language learning easy by offering a free way to connect instantly with native speakers with timed prompts and conversation-starting topics. Verbling was launched in 2011 when co-founders Jacob Jolis and Mikael Bernstein met while attending Stanford University. The two dropped out of the prestigious school and teamed up with then-Google software engineer Fred Wulff to build the language-learning startup of their dreams. Verbling.com, a Y Combinator -backed startup, is a website that people can access globally to speak with native language speakers living in different countries. For now, only Spanish and English speakers can access video chat, but the founders hope to add Arabic, French, Chinese and German — among 10 languages in total — by the end of the year. The idea of Verbling is to solve one of the biggest problems for language learners — not being able to practice speaking with natives. People devote time and money to learning language basics, but slowly lose linguistic skills without practice. “It’s very difficult to find native speakers without going abroad,” said Bernstein who speaks English, Swedish, German and Russian. “With Verbling, you can do that instantaneously. You don’t have to schedule or waste any time trying to find someone.” Verbling is all about the trade.
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New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers
As universities become more competitive amid a tough-hiring environment, students are faced now more than ever with the pressure to succeed in the classroom. To alleviate some of those pressures, a service called NoteWagon encourages — with cash — students to work together and exchange notes on various subjects.
The social platform is trying to redefine college education by offering students the ability to swap course content in a social manner. Students who take excellent notes in class and are willing to help their peers can upload notes and study guides from their university classes and share them with others. NoteWagon pays these students for their contributions and also extracts a small fee from the ones that access the notes.
Students Turn Classroom Notes Into Cash With Social Site NoteWagon
Via The Guardian:
Online courses are on the rise as firms continue to cut training budgets and the newly redundant update their skill sets Your desk may overlook the desolate edge-of-town business park and the only lunch venue is the canteen, but look on the bright side: you could spend your meal break browsing a book from the New York public library, absorbing an Oxford University lecture on the fall of the Roman empire or taking a short course to enhance your mastery of Excel. Immobilised office workers can nowadays roam the intellectual world courtesy of the internet and can foster passions or update skills in brief, instant gobbets when their in-tray allows, instead of committing themselves to a strict academic timetable. Now the economic downturn has forced firms to reduce staff training and the newly redundant have to rethink their skills to impress potential employers, online resources are likely to become crucial. “This is the time when people are thinking about their skills sets, either because they want to get a better job or because they want to learn more about, say, Renaissance art,,” says Adrian Beddow of Learndirect , which offers a range of downloadable e-courses covering corporate skills from IT to employment law
The secret to e-learning
Via The Guardian:
Evidence for games is weak, says Which? report
Experts say they are no better than a crossword People who spend money on “brain trainers” to keep their minds agile may get the same results by simply doing a crossword or surfing the internet, according to research published today. A panel of experts, including eminent neuroscientists, found there was no scientific evidence to support a range of manufacturers’ claims that the gadgets can help improve memory or stave off the risk of illnesses such as dementia …
Which? panel questions brain training claims