This device gives needle-free injections using a jet the size of a human hair

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This device can give you injections without having to use a needle. 

Developed by Portal Instruments, the hand held device can be loaded with a disposable dispenser and quickly replaced. 

The injections work by blasting a jet of air that is the size of a human hair meaning there is no blood and the mark can heal quickly. 

Produced by Jasper Pickering. Special thanks to Leon Siciliano.

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Unlock Your Inner Houdini With These 10 Easy Magic Tricks You Can Learn Right Now

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Magic is back. Well, if it’s not entirely back yet then magic is at least on the rise. For New Year’s Eve last year I went on a bucket list vacation and hit up Reykjavik, Iceland for NYE and then bounced over to London for a few days afterward, taking advantage of Iceland Air’s indefinite layover policy. I say magic is back because at the party we were at on NYE in Reykjavik they had a professional magician on hand to go from table to table and blow everyone’s mind while bottles got popped.

Then, just 3 or 4 days later, at Mr. Fogg’s Residence in London while sipping on one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, a magician rolled up to our table and proceeded to blow my mind for the second time in less than a week. This dude had an entirely new set of tricks that were just as good, if not better, as the magician we’d seen in Iceland.

You don’t have to be a professional magician to have this same effect on a party. You can master those 10 easy to learn tricks above, and blow some damn minds next time you and your bros are cracking a few cold ones.

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The promise of managing identity on the blockchain

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Blockchain, the secure distributed ledger technology first created to track bitcoin ownership, has taken on a number of new roles in recent years tracking anything of value from diamonds to real estate deeds to contracts. The blockchain offers the promise of a trusted record that can reduce fraud. Some industry experts say that over the coming years, it could be used to control identity information in a more secure fashion.

As we have seen, just last week with the massive Equifax hack, our personal information is highly vulnerable in online databases in their current form. The fact is that whenever we have to identify ourselves, we are forced to present a variety of information to prove we are who we say we are, whether that’s to register for an online service, to cross a border or even prove you are old enough to drink at a bar.

The argument goes that if our identity were on the blockchain, it would give us more control over this information, and with proper applications allow us to present just the minimum amount of information a given party needs to identify us. That could be your date of birth at a bar, your credit score at a bank or a unique identifier to access an online service.

It’s unclear if the blockchain can be that identity panacea that some have suggested, but there are a range of opinions on the matter.

Yes, it’s happening

Of the experts we contacted, only one was fully enthusiastic about blockchain as an identity tool. Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and VP of blockchain technologies, sees blockchain already having a big impact as people demand more control of their identities. He says that we are constantly being asked to share personal information to access places or information or to do business with companies — and that each of these actions puts us at risk for identity theft. He believes the solution to this problem could lie on the blockchain.

“Imagine a world where you are in direct control of your personal information; a world where you can limit and control how much information you share while retaining the ability to transact in the world. This is self-sovereign identity, and it is already here. Blockchain is the underlying technology paving the path to self-sovereign identity through decentralized networks. It ensures privacy and trust, where transactions are secure, authenticated and verifiable and endorsed by relevant, permissioned participants,” Cuomo explained. In fact , he says that he’s already seeing businesses and governments beginning to establish and use these networks to meet citizen demand and deliver the promise of self-sovereign identity.

No, probably not

It sounds pretty good to hear Cuomo describe it, yet not everyone is enthusiastic as he is, seeing many obstacles to using the blockchain for identity purposes. Steve Wilson, an analyst at Constellation Research, who has studied the blockchain extensively has serious reservations about it as an identity management system.

“Identity is not going to move to the blockchain in any big way (not as we know it). Blockchains were designed to solve problems quite different from identity management (IDM). We need to remember that the classic blockchain is an elaborate system that allows total strangers to nevertheless exchange real value reliably. It works without identity and without trust. So it’s simply illogical to think such a mechanism could have anything to offer identity,” Wilson explained.

He adds, “The public blockchains deliberately and proudly shirk third parties, but in most cases, your identity is nothing without a third party who vouches for you in some way. Blockchain is great for some things, but it’s not magic, and it just wasn’t designed for the IDM problem space.”

Eve Maler, who works at identity management firm ForgeRock, which landed an $88 million investment last week, also finds the possibility highly unlikely for a variety of practical reasons. “Identity will not move to the blockchain if this means personal data will be put on a public permissionless blockchain (distributed ledger technology in its purest form), as this is now widely considered bad practice,” she said.

She added, “The “distributed nodes” element of the technology is valuable for architectures where trust in a central authority is difficult or undesirable to establish, but can be challenging where it is desirable to record sensitive information because of the increased attack surface (every node has a copy of everything) and resulting increased privacy considerations.”

It depends

Then there are those who fall somewhere in the middle. They aren’t ready to write it off, but they see a lot of obstacles along the way to implementing it, or see it as a part of a broader ecosystem of identity tools, rather than a full replacement to what we have now.

Charles Race, president of worldwide field operations at cloud identity firm Okta, which went public this year, thinks it’s possible blockchain will emerge. He envisions a similar set of use cases as Cuomo, but sees a lot of obstacles that stand in the way of using the blockchain to implement identity management broadly moving forward.

“A trusted entity will need to establish some legal and enforceable rules and policies for how it all works, they’ll need to make it easy for the average person to use securely, and they’ll need to convince a critical mass of people and service providers to adopt and trust the ID — all while finding an economically viable business model. Some institutions are uniquely positioned to solve all of these chicken-and-egg issues at once and bring this big idea to life — first among them are our citizen-facing government agencies,” Race explained. But he adds, “The trouble with this idea is that a universal ID poses risks to privacy and hence [could] encounter significant political opposition.”

Andre Durand, CEO at Ping Identity, an identity management firm that was sold for a reported $600 million to Vista Equity Partners last year, says it’s not likely to happen as a full replacement over the next five years, but it could begin to play a role in identity. “What is much more likely is that the things Distributed Ledger Technology is uniquely designed for, keeping accurate records in a distributed system, will become part of the identity management ecosystem and help improve aspects of it,” he says.

Ian Glazer, an identity industry expert says it really about choosing the right tool for the job, but he doesn’t necessarily see there ever being one answer that fits every identity scenario including blockchain.

“To ask if identity will move to blockchain is not the right question. Better to ask will use cases emerge that blockchain-related technologies are uniquely qualified to solve. Likely there will be some. But just like relational databases, LDAP and object databases, no one storage/retrieval mechanism has proven to be the single “right” tool for the job,” Glazer told TechCrunch.

Like any emerging technology, there are going to be a range of opinions on its viability. Using the blockchain as an identity management system is no different. It will probably begin to take on some role over the next five years because the promise is just so great, but how extensive that will be depends on how the industry solves some of the outstanding issues.

Featured Image: aelitta/Getty Images

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Birds are flying around in Hurricane Irma’s eye

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Birds are flying around in Hurricane Irma’s eye

A radar image of Irma's eye.A radar image of Irma’s eye.

Image: radarscope/twitter

How do birds stay safe during a hurricane? They fly right into the middle of it.

Masses of birds can fly for miles within the eye of a hurricane, surrounded on all sides by powerful wind and thunderstorms yet sheltered from them within the middle of the storm. 

Flocks of birds have been showing up in radar images of Hurricane Irma’s eye, as the birds move with the storm up the west coast of Florida. 

“The birds get into the end of the hurricane’s spiral and they move toward the eye of the hurricane,” birding expert Kenn Kaufman said in a 2011 interview with Audubon

“They may not necessarily do that in any organized way; more likely they’re out there in all this wild wind and when they chance into the calm of the eye they may make an effort to stay there and travel with it rather than fighting the winds again.”

According to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, these birds may have flown for hundreds of miles, in search of calmer weather. 

The flocks of birds will likely stay within Irma’s eye until the Category 2 hurricane dissipates and they can safely land in a brand new area. 

“When the storm reaches land, some of them may start fighting the winds,” Kaufman said. 

“Others may go with it and travel with the eye until the hurricane dissipates. The majority of seabirds, if they are not too weakened from having flown for so long without food, will probably find their way back to shore quickly. They have great powers of navigation.”

Irma is now making its way up Florida’s west coast, bringing dangerous storm surge flooding and high winds to Naples and other cities along the Gulf of Mexico. 

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Visualizing The Future Of Food

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The urban population is exploding around the globe, and, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins explains below, yesterday’s food systems will soon be sub-optimal for many of the megacities swelling with tens of millions of people.

Further, issues like wasted food, poor working conditions, polluted ecosystems, mistreated animals, and greenhouse gases are just some of the concerns that people have about our current supply chains.

Today’s infographic from Futurism shows how food systems are evolving – and that the future of food depends on technologies that enable us to get more food out of fewer resources.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

THE NEXT GEN OF FOOD SYSTEMS

Here are four technologies that may have a profound effect on how we eat in the future:

1. Automated Vertical Farms

It’s already clear that vertical farming is incredibly effective. By stacking farms on top of another and using automation, vertical farms can produce 100x more effectively per acre than conventional agricultural techniques.

They grow crops at twice the speed as usual, while using 40% less power, having 80% less food waste, and using 99% less water than outdoor fields. However, the problem for vertical farms is still cost – and it is not clear when they will be viable on a commercial basis.

2. Aquaponics

Another technology that has promise for the future of food is a unique combination of fish farming (aquaculture) with hydroponics.

In short, fish convert their food into nutrients that plants can absorb, while the plants clean the water for the fish. Compared to conventional farming, this technology uses about half of the water, while increasing the yield of the crops grown. As a bonus, it also can raise a significant amount of fish.

3. In Vitro Meats

Meat is costly and extremely resource intensive to produce. As just one example, to produce one pound of beef, it takes 1,847 gallons of water.

In vitro meats are one way to solve this. These self-replicating muscle tissue cultures are grown and fed nutrients in a broth, and bypass the need for having living animals altogether. Interestingly enough, market demand seems to be there: one recent study found that 70.6% of consumers are interested in trying lab grown beef.

4. Artificial Animal Products

One other route to get artificial meat is to use machine learning to grasp the complex chemistry and textures behind these products, and to find ways to replicate them. This has already been done for mayonnaise – and it’s in the works for eggs, milk, and cheese as well.

TASTING THE FUTURE OF FOOD

As these new technologies scale and hit markets, the future of food could change drastically. Many products will flop, but others will take a firm hold in our supply chains and become culturally acceptable and commercially viable. Certainly, food will be grown locally in massive skyscrapers, and there will be decent alternatives to be found for both meat or animal products in the market.

With the global population rising by more than a million people each week, finding and testing new solutions around food will be essential to make the most out of limited resources.

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