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April 25th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Have we reached peak beer?

When craft brewers get together, we agree that this is the greatest time in history to be a beer drinker in America. In 1981, there were only 82 breweries in the United States, and our beer, fizzy and flavorless, was the laughingstock of the beer world. Today, America is home to over 5,300 small, innovative craft breweries making unique, flavorful, creative brews.

But we also agree that the horizon isn’t so bright. After years of 15 percent growth, the craft sector is down to the single digits. Part of that is to be expected in a maturing part of any market — but it’s also a result of a pushback by a handful of gargantuan global brewers, aided by slack government antitrust oversight. I worry that yet another major shift in the beer landscape is upon us — and this time, American consumers will be the losers.

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April 23rd, 2017 at 11:14 am

Researchers Develop a Technology That Digitally Creates Odors From Ambient Molecules in the Air

Perfumery is an intricate science that takes a lot of effort to get right. Many people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into perfecting that fragrance that we so willingly splash on in the morning. With the advancement in technology over the past two decades, chemists have been able to develop techniques that create an even larger array of scents and fragrances that people have never smelled before. For the first time ever, people can actually get personalized, unique scents to wear. How much that would actually cost, is a different matter.

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April 23rd, 2017 at 10:21 am

The maker of an internet-connected garage door disabled a customer’s device over a bad review

There’s a new, dystopian risk to using internet-connected gadgets: If you complain, the company that made it might remotely kill your product.

This is what happened to one customer who bought Garadget — an internet-connected garage door opener. It lets you remotely lock or unlock your garage with an app, or see if it’s open.

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April 22nd, 2017 at 11:36 am

A real-life company is implanting microchips in employees

After a semi-painless injection between the thumb and index finger, a microchip is implanted in another employee. A cyborg is now created, and this human/machine mashup runs off to buy a smoothie using his or her new sub-dermal implant.

If that sounds futuristic, it’s because we’re conditioned to this as a sort of science fiction trope: human gets implanted, its overlords are now in control. For a Swedish company, however, the practice of implanting microchips into its employees has become routine, popular even.

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April 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

“I probably started reading ultra hardcore about seven or eight years ago,” says Tom Bilyeu, an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. “Ultra hardcore” means that Bilyeu reads everywhere: While he brushes his teeth, while he gets dressed, in the 30 seconds it takes to cross rooms in his house, he’s reading.

“My big secret is,” says Bilyeu, “I read in all those little transitional moments.” Plus, for the last eight years, he’s optimized his intellectual consumption by listening to audiobooks at three times the normal speed.

Audiobooks are the latest trend in book publishing. They’re part of the podcast boom, and they’re helping US publishers keep losses down as ebook sales from big-name companies continue to slump. What’s been around since the 1980s has a sleek new face, and today who’s listening, where, and why, offers a glimpse into a new reading trend sweeping the US.

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April 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am

7 companies working to make ‘flying cars’ a reality

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may think flying cars are a bad idea, but several companies are working to make them a reality as early as next year.The vehicles these companies are working on aren’t the same from flying cars from “Back to the Future.” Rather, they are pursuing electric, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for shorter urban commutes.

Like the name suggests, these are vehicles that can take off without needing a runway.

Competition is mounting when it comes to the flying-car moonshot — here are 7 companies working on their own VTOL aircrafts:

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April 21st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Marijuana ‘trimmigrants’ have the hardest job in the industry ― and they could soon be upstaged by robots

Every summer, tens of thousands of migrant workers swarm a remote area of Northern California — the marijuana-growing capital of the US — to find work as “trimmers” after the weed has been harvested.

Their job is to prune the fluffy, green buds with small pairs of scissors to clear them of leaves before they wind up on dispensary shelves or in dealers’ pockets.

The work is arduous and pays between $100 and $300 a day for 10 to 15 hours of labor on the black market, which generated 87% of pot sales in North America in 2016.

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April 20th, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The Jetsons’ world of 3D print

When I was a kid I always wondered about how cool it would be if we could live in the world of the popular American animated sitcom The Jetsons. The show aired from 1962 to 1963, but the cartoon was set 100 years in the future. As it sometimes turns out with sci-fi stories, the future becomes reality. The Jetsons featured 3D printing, tablets, holograms, smart watches, flying cars and other strange inventions. While the flying cars may not have become a reality quite yet – they are testing drones as a method of delivery – I used to love the Jetsons’ food replicator that could churn out anything from asparagus to stroganoff. This now is a reality with companies like Foodini and CojoJet making it possible to create delicious 3D-printed entrées and desserts with the press of a button.

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April 20th, 2017 at 11:00 am

A UK entrepreneur takes flight by attaching miniature jet engines to his limbs

A YouTube collection of grainy video clips highlights the progress Gravity founder Richard Browning has made toward his outlandish dream over the past year. Each seems more terrifying than the last, with multiple jet engines attached to his limbs in various configurations, as he hovers a few feet from the ground.

The press material attached to the announcement heralds the oil trader turned entrepreneur as a real life Iron Man, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re watching some sort of backyard mad scientist, a few moments away from the world’s most dangerous Jack Ass stunt. Browning acknowledges how downright alarming the footage of the Daedelus rig appears, but shakes off any notion that he’s actually in danger at any point during the three-and-a-half minute package.

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April 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Rolls-Royce charts course for autonomous shipping

The company has secured the grant from Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for innovation, which it plans to invest in an R&D centre in Turku, Finland.

Engineers at the site will carry out development projects focusing on land-based control centres and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in remote and autonomous shipping.

There is still very little AI or machine learning used in the maritime industry, according to Sauli Eloranta, head of innovation and technology at Rolls-Royce Marine.

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