Canned rocks? Why, Japan? Why?

A privately owned railway in Japan called the Choshi Electric Railway operates on only four miles of tracks. Business is bad, so the company is trying to monetize in part by selling rocks from under the tracks. In cans! Why, Japan? Why? 

Now you can chat with Einstein

A company called UneeQ has created an artificial intelligence (AI) digital version of Albert Einstein. The company's "conversational and experiential" AI enables what the company calls a "meaningful experience with one of history's greatest minds." The software faithfully re-creates Einstein's personality, according to the company. 

Einstein's voice was created by Aflorithmic. His face was created by Goodbye Kansas Studios. And his knowledge comes from WolframAlpha.

Is virtual Albert Einstein believable? It's all relative. 

It's time to get over your block block

People are funny about blocking others on social media.

Both blockers and the blocked act like blocking is at least a rude affront and at worst an act of aggression.

People who block are sometimes accused of being intellectual cowards who can't stand disagreement.

The act of blocking is seen by some as how filter bubbles are created, resulting in a delusional social experience where everyone agrees.

I'm here to tell you that blocking is none of these things.

It helps to embrace my "cocktail party" metaphor for social media. Just like a cocktail party, we use social sites like Twitter or Facebook in order to enjoy the company of others, have stimulating conversations, cultivate relationships among people we want to know better and to learn new things.

Every user's account, in this metaphor, is their home, to which they can invite to their party anyone they choose for any reason they choose.

Anyone invited is free to accept the invitation, or decline it, and for any reason they choose.

The act of blocking someone is akin to choosing to not invite them to your party.

Reticence to block is precisely what makes Twitter uncivil. If you're inviting everyone to your party, including the serial disruptors, jerks and sociopaths, then you shouldn't blame Twitter -- you're the one who invited those people by not blocking them. 

Twitter has 330 million active monthly users. You will never interact with 99.9% of them. Blocking is merely an opportunity to exert a little control over some of the people you will never in the future interact with. It’s the other side of the following coin. Blocking is good. Blocking is right. Blocking improves Twitter. Blocking turns Twitter into a perfect cocktail party. 

So stop complaining about Twitter. And start blocking like it’s a bodily function.

How spending on the Internet of Things saves you money

The IoT revolution comes with many benefits. Chief among these is how inexpensive IoT devices can be. But reaping the benefits of IoT requires that those devices also be small and energy efficient, enabling a great many of them to be deployed. Some of them must also be efficiently battery-powered, which means minimizing on-board processing capabilities.

Many IoT devices are small, inexpensive and good at one or a small number of tasks, including the collection of sensor or location data. They should also be good at offloading that data for further processing. And that's where the power of MEC and 5G come in for the future of IoT.

IoT devices can generate tons of data. Two of the benefits of IoT devices are low power consumption and low cost. By enabling low-latency processing of this data at the edge instead of on the devices or in the cloud, IoT solutions can remain flexible, and the devices themselves can:

  • Remain inexpensive.

  • Operate with minimal maintenance.

  • Use smaller, cheaper and long-lasting batteries.

Ultimately, all that means the whole operation can be made more cost-effective. Here’s everything you need to know.