The battle between American workers and technology heats up

The battle between American workers and technology heats up

For more than 200 years Luddites have received bad press—worse even than the British Members of Parliament who voted in 1812 to put to death convicted machine-breakers. Yet even at the time, the aggrieved weavers won popular sympathy, including that of Lord Byron. In an “Ode to Framers of the Frame Bill” the poet wrote: “Some folks for certain have thought it was shocking/ When Famine appeals, and when Poverty groans/ That life should be valued at less than a stocking/ And breaking of frames lead to breaking of bones.” He used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to urge for a mixture of “conciliation and firmness” in dealing with the mob, rather than lopping off its “superfluous heads”.

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Once again, technological upheaval is rife

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‘I couldn’t stop myself’: inside the 12-step program for internet addiction | Technology

‘I couldn’t stop myself’: inside the 12-step program for internet addiction | Technology

“Hi, my name is Sarah* and I am an internet and technology addict.”

So began a meeting on a recent Wednesday afternoon, as 18 people quietly gathered on a Zoom call. Text in their small video boxes showed they hailed from locations as disparate as Oregon, India and Namibia.

Sarah and the other attendees are part of a growing fellowship called Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous, a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous that provides tools and support to deal with compulsive internet use. It launched with just a few founding US groups in 2017 and has quickly grown to have thousands of members around the world, with more than 100 online and in-person meetings in seven different languages.

Since Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, its 12 steps have been adapted for addictions and compulsive behaviors including overeating, overspending and gambling. Now the traditionally abstinence-based

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Why embracing complexity is the real challenge in software today

Why embracing complexity is the real challenge in software today

Redistributing complexity

The reason we can’t just wish away or “fix” complexity is that every solution—whether it’s a technology or methodology—redistributes complexity in some way. Solutions reorganize problems. When microservices emerged (a software architecture approach where an application or system is composed of many smaller parts), they seemingly solved many of the maintenance and development challenges posed by monolithic architectures (where the application is one single interlocking system). However, in doing so microservices placed new demands on engineering teams; they require greater maturity in terms of practices and processes. This is one of the reasons why we cautioned people against what we call “microservice envy” in a 2018 edition of the Technology Radar, with CTO Rebecca Parsons writing that microservices would never be recommended for adoption on Technology Radar because “not all organizations are microservices-ready.” We noticed there was a tendency to look to adopt microservices simply because

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Christopher Nolan on the Promise and Peril of Technology

Christopher Nolan on the Promise and Peril of Technology

By the time I sat down with Christopher Nolan in his posh hotel suite not far from the White House, I guessed that he was tired of Washington, D.C. The day before, he’d toured the Oval Office and had lunch on Capitol Hill. Later that night, I’d watched him receive an award from the Federation for American Scientists, an organization that counts Robert Oppenheimer, the subject of Nolan’s most recent film, among its founders. Onstage, he’d briefly jousted with Republican Senator Todd Young on the subject of AI regulation. He’d endured a joke, repeated too many times by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, about the subject of his next film—“It’s another biopic: Schumer.”

The award was sitting on an end table next to Nolan, who was dressed in brown slacks, a gray vest, and a navy suit jacket—his Anglo-formality undimmed by decades spent living in Los Angeles. “It’s heavy,

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Fuel cell technology can be made much more efficient thanks to immersion in caffeine, much like myself and the rest of the planet

Fuel cell technology can be made much more efficient thanks to immersion in caffeine, much like myself and the rest of the planet

Fuel cells are one of those technological developments, a bit like nuclear fusion, that occasionally show promise but always seem at least a few major steps away from becoming a reality in day-to-day life. However, Japanese researchers seem to have made some major developments in the efficiency of the tech, thanks to that wonderful, magical substance, caffeine.

Researchers from the Graduate School of Engineering at Chiba University in Japan have published a study in the scientific journal Communications Chemistry, detailing their discovery that the addition of caffeine to platinum electrodes in fuel cells lessens the obstruction of efficient oxygen reaction. 

Currently the presence of water affects the performance of fuel cells by reacting with platinum catalysts, meaning that fuel cells need to make use of a substantial amount of platinum, a particularly valuable substance to maintain an effective reaction.

By immersing the platinum electrodes in an electrolyte solution containing caffeine,

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