features

8 Obsolete School Supplies and the Tech That Replaced Them

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It’s easy to look at kids in school today and think they have it easier than we did.

They get to use iPads instead of three-ring binders, Wikipedia instead of a dusty encyclopedia CD-ROMs and their classrooms are more connected than ours ever were. But while new tech makes learning a more enriching experience, it also makes it a lot harder to slack off.

Think back to those classes in which it was easy to share answers with your friends and get by without really doing too much work. Now, imagine having to log your homework in a personalized app that tracks your progress and reports it back to your teacher. Oh, the humanity. Read more…

More about Technology, Features, Education, High School, and Nostalgia


Spoiler: Americans Can’t Draw Their Home States

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What does your state look like to you?

Ask most Americans that question and they’ll probably confidently describe a rudimentary shape for you. Ask them to draw that shape and they’ll stare blankly for a few moments before sprinting in the other direction

In order to exploit two of Americans’ greatest shortcomings (geography and art), we took to the streets of New York City to task tourists and natives with drawing their home states — from memory.

The results range from semi-impressive to hysterical, with most leaning toward the latter. Who knew so many New Yorkers think their state resembles candy corn, or that Ohioans unanimously agree to their state’s row boat shape? Read more…

More about Video, Art, Features, Humor, and Us


30 Years After the Discovery of HIV, a Timeline of AIDS Milestones

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April 23 marks 30 years since the U.S. announced the discovery of what causes AIDS: a retrovirus called HTLV-III, later renamed HIV. At their 1984 press conference, in the face of one of the world’s most terrifying medical epidemics, Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler and virologist Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute projected scientists would be able to produce an AIDS vaccine within two years

“That turned out to be totally incorrect,” Heckler told PBS in 2006. “But at that time, we did not know that the replication of the virus would be so difficult — and it still is a problem.” Read more…

More about Health, Features, History, Social Good, and Medicine


5 Autism Simulations to Help You Experience Sensory Overload

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) describes a complex group of brain development disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication and behavior. Often diagnosed at a young age, approximately one in 68 American children is on the autism spectrum. It’s a figure 10 times higher than 40 years ago, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Because ASD can vary widely, it’s frequently misunderstood, and attitudes toward autism can be misguided. In addition to the many resources geared toward neurotypical people, such as social networks for parents and organizations like Autism Speaks, many autistic individuals and even game developers have created virtual simulations that render common experiences for people with autism — hypersensitivity to sights and sounds among them. Read more…

More about Youtube, Health, Videos, Features, and Social Good

Internet Users Send 204 Million Emails Per Minute

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A lot can happen in 60 seconds. A decent typist can write approximately 80 words, the Wright brothers can make their historical first flight five times and YouTube users upload 72 hours of footage.

While social media can create the sense that the Internet is a small town where everyone is connected and, for the most part, gets along (outside of election season), the truth is quite the opposite. The data transferred on the Internet each minute by its roughly 2.4 billion global users is vast and incomprehensible.

In one minute, email users send 204 million messages, Amazon makes about $83,000 in online sales and Apple users download 48,000 apps. On the social front, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content, 277,000 tweets are tweeted and Tinder users swipe left or right 416,667 times. Read more…

More about Online Shopping, Social Media, Features, Real Time, and Big Data

One Man’s Quest for the Perfect Hand: 39 Years and a 3D Printer

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Jose Delgado, Jr., likes the reaction he’s getting to his new 3D-printed hand. “Wow,” his bosses at the warehouse say. “Where did you get that?”

It’s the most realistic prosthesis he’s ever owned, though it took Delgado, 53, five decades to get here.

When he was a teenager, Delgado was often picked last for softball or baseball, even though he and his brothers regularly played catch. “They didn’t think I could hold a ball or a bat,” said Delgado, who was born without a left hand.

At the time, Delgado had a hook prosthesis that worked via rubber bands. When he unbent his arm, the bands pulled open the hook. Delgado spent most of his adult life using hook prosthetics, until three years ago when he got his first myoelectric replacement. Read more…

More about Health, Features, Tech, Medicine, and 3d Printer


Average U.S. Office Worker Uses 10,000 Sheets of Paper Per Year

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While digital media theoretically lessens the need for paper — everything from e-readers to online shopping has the potential to cut down on paper usage — data shows that the average American still uses the equivalent of a 100-foot Douglas fir tree each year.

For Earth Day on Tuesday, Catalog Spree and PaperKarma gathered information on the serious paper waste situation in the U.S. The data comes from the Clean Air Council and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal government’s arm dedicated to human health and the environment.

More about Environment, Features, Social Good, Earth Day, and Us World

9 Simple Tips for Making Your Website Disability-Friendly

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The Internet isn’t always “one size fits all.” Every day, inaccessible web design prevents billions of people in the disabled community from an easy online experience.

For those with visual impairments, learning difficulties, hearing loss and more, there are dozens of unique challenges waiting behind every URL. But building a disability-friendly site is a lot simpler than you might think.

Laurence Berry, a designer for UK-based design and tech organization FutureGov who has also written extensively about accessible web design, says the easiest way to build user-friendly sites is to figure out their key obstacles Read more…

More about Internet, Features, Design, How Tos, and Dev And Design

6 Easy Changes to Make Any Office Greener

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Image: Mashable, Tyler Tronson

Earth Day is coming up. Have you been doing your part?

If your home’s already as green as can be, it’s time to make your workplace eco-friendly. There are plenty of simple changes you can make to create a greener office space.

We put together a short list of tips, and also spoke to the folks at the Earth Day Network, who shared a few ways for how to make any office more environmentally conscious.

1. Recycle.


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One of the easiest, least demanding ways to go green is to recycle. Set up a few colorful recycling bins around the office to encourage people to properly dispose of paper, aluminum, plastic, glass and other items. You should also set up separate bins for items such as batteries and ink cartridges. Read more…

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9 Apps and Resources to Learn American Sign Language

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Learning to sign is easier than ever, thanks to the Internet

The visual language, designed to aid the deaf or hard of hearing, is a set of gesticulations and hand movements that correspond to the spoken word.

There are numerous ways to learn American Sign Language (ASL) outside the old classroom method. From free online lessons to video tutorials, a world of possibilities is open for those aspiring to teach themselves this hands-on language

1. YouTube videos

One of the easiest ways to learn quick sign language is through YouTube tutorials. The video hosting site has dozens of teachers serving free lessons on how to sign the alphabet, common phrases, numbers and more Read more…

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