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Computers may be ubiquitous now, but they were just beginning to enter the mainstream in 1990. Like any revolutionary technology, the desktop computer was viewed with more than a little scepticism by the average person. Luckily, David Neil of PBS’s Newton’s Apple was there to explain to a group of dubious high-schoolers that computers are not inherently evil. And he brought a two-storey exhibit to help illustrate.
If you’re studying for the algebra test tomorrow or thinking about how little you use maths now after you failed it a million times in high school, here’s something to melt your brain with just a tad: maths might not actually exist. It’s not an actual thing of the universe, it’s just something humans invented. Or is it the other way around?
The chaos of the Boston Marathon bombing is a few months behind us now, but the mechanics of the high-tech manhunt it inspired are no less awe-inspiring than they were the day they happened. PBS’s fantastic NOVA series took a deep dive into the technology that went into tracking down the suspects, and it’s now available to watch online for free.
Your brain isn’t designed to digest a big matrix of numbers and then just burp out knowledge. It is designed to spot and recognise patterns, and it’s been trained to do that over thousands of years.
It’s going to look silly! More seriously, it seems like we’re all going to have to accept that wearing technology is going to be the real future and not just the imagined future of science fiction movies.
Can you imagine a world where Photoshop doesn’t exist? A world where we can take every picture at face value and believe that there was no airbrushing, no retouching, no nothing? I can’t. Photoshop has made it impossible for me to not question what I’m seeing and at the same twisted time has also redefined my image of what things are supposed to look like.
“Hacker” is one of the most loaded internet words getting thrown around these days. To many (hi, TV news networks), the label is inherently malicious, and goes hand in hand with threats to blow up the interwebs. Others who self-identify as such, will never ever stop whining about how it means just the opposite. But are hackers of either flavour heroes? Can they be?
Things that have changed because of the internet: newspapers, magazines, porn, dating, shopping, television, movies, video games, lunch, cooking, cats, weather, pictures. Ah, you get the point. The internet has changed pretty much everything. And sometimes it creates stuff too. Like the rise of web comics.
You probably think the sky is blue because of the ocean and air and reflections or something like that. But how does it turn red sometimes? Or orange? Or, rather, why does the sky have to be any colour at all? PBS explains it so you can explain it to your future kid.
Playing the video game Minecraft is a joke that writes itself. Ooh, look at nerds building the world they want to live in! But it’s actually engaging, like playing with a digital Lego. Could it also be the ultimate educational tool? PBS’s Idea Channel examines Minecraft’s case for wrinkling our brain.