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What the Internet of Things Means for Food Choices

Via Geek Wire comes word of a Seattle-based cloud texting company, ZipWhip, that has built a coffee maker that can take orders from employees via text message and automatically brew whatever the company's employee has texted--latte, cappuccino, and so on--and finish off the order by writing the employee's name with edible ink in the foam of the drink.

Looking to the Past to Find the Future

A core principle of good forecasting: look back twice as far as you look forward.  In considering the future of spatial change, cities, and the built environment, this principle naturally brings me to consider the role of cultural heritage and cultural memory in informing futures thinking.  The recent Urban India 2030: History, Technology, and Community for Sustainable Urban Futures symposium in Mumbai did this very well in two ways.  


In the Name of Progress: What Role Should Government Play in Medical Innovation?

I recently spent some time catching up on the excellent podcast, Planet Money, and I really enjoyed one episode in particular, Lighthouses, Autopsies and the Federal Budget. The show was about what governments should or shouldn't pay for, but what it got me thinking about, was how huge a role government policy will play in the innovation landscape of the future.

"Your profile got hacked by spambots"/"No, I've been tweeting about spambots"

A couple days ago, I had an interesting IM conversation with a friend of mine that can be summed up, roughly, as follows: "Your Linkedin profile has gotten taken over by spambots." To which I responded, after looking at my account, "No... I've just been tweeting about spambots."

Super Happy Block Party Hackathon

IFTF would like to invite you to the first annual Super Happy Block Party Hackathon. If you have never been to a hackathon before, all you need to know is the time and location: March 31, 1pm-1am, downtown Palo Alto.

How Inequality Threatens the Promise of Big Data

This year, the health team’s research has focused on big data and the world of innovation that it will open up. But while emerging technology will give us much more comprehensive data than we’ve had in the past, it won’t be perfect. Inequality will probably create significant data blind-spots/gaps in the future, because it does in the present and it has in the past. 

The Reimagining of Higher Education

Higher education worldwide is moving toward creative disruption on multiple fronts.  As signals emerge that these disruptions are beginning to take hold, IFTF is expanding on its long history of work in education to more deeply explore the situation that higher education providers face and the frontier projects that are dramatically reimagining this area for the future.

Why Local Currencies Matter to Health Care

In a move that stands somewhere between performance art and economic policy, a theater group whose name translates to Secret Agency is launching a local currency in the German city of Oberhausen. Modeled after local currencies in Brazil, what's particularly striking is that the project aims to enable residents to create value, in spite of a relatively austere environment.

What the Appendix's New Found Purpose Suggests about Medical Innovation

Via Smart Planet comes word of a small study that pretty much blew my mind. It turns out the appendix, contrary to accepted wisdom, may actually have a purpose. That purpose? Storing beneficial bacteria that helps keep us healthy--a finding that signals a broader recognition of the role that certain kinds of bacteria have in keeping us healthy.

Report from San Francisco: Art Hack Weekend

Last weekend I participated in Art Hack Weekend, where many of San Francisco’s leading web designers, developers, artists and hackers converged to exchange concepts, projects, and to create the next phase of cutting edge web apps using emerging web technologies from HTML5 to Kinect sensors, new javascript libraries, and WebGL.

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