Google subcontractors leaked 1,000 voice recordings to a media outlet in Belgium who said that 153 recordings weren’t preceded by “Ok Google.” Read more about Amazon, Apple, and Google assistant recordings and what gets analyzed and/or saved at ArsTechnica.
The open-office workspace might not be working so well. It’s hard to get work done when your office mates make a lot of noise. One way to solve that is to to put up some walls. FastCompany introduces us to pods, boxes, micro-offices, and phone booths that hope to create some quiet space in the office.
“According to Code.org, 90 percent of parents in the U.S. want their children to learn computer science—it will be crucial for many jobs in the near future—but only 40 percent of schools teach it … A focus on STEM is not enough: Code.org also reports that while 70 percent of new STEM jobs are in computing, only 7 percent of STEM graduates are in computer science.”
But don’t despair. Edutopia shares 15+ resources that you can use to teach or learn to code.
Developed by Mschf Internet Studios, Netflix Hangouts is a new Chrome extension that lets you watch Netflix at work while appearing that you’re having a video conference call. “Just go to the show you want to catch up on during work hours, and press the extension’s icon in your Chrome menu to bring up a fake four-person conference call. Then you can sit back and watch the show in the window’s bottom right feed while three fake colleagues get down to business.” Learn more about this fun way to get fired at The Verge.
A growing number of health systems and insurers are starting to provide drug prices to physicians so they can help patients avoid “sticker shock” at the pharmacy.
“The pricing tool, which is embedded in each participating physician’s electronic health records and prescribing system, shows how much patients can expect to pay out of pocket, based on their insurance and the pharmacy they choose … It also allows the doctor to find a cheaper alternative, when possible, and start the process of getting authorization for a drug, if the insurer requires that. Learn more about it at NPR.
Parenthood is the main cause of gender imbalance in STEM. Almost half of all women leave or go part-time after they have their first child. This is twice the number of men. Read Cui Wang’s experience as a young scientist and mother at Scientific American.
Open office space and small apartments could be transformed by the work of Boston University researchers, who recently unveiled an “acoustic metamaterial” that blocks all sound.
“The implications for architecture and interior design are remarkable, because these metamaterials could be applied to the built environment in many different ways. For instance, they could be stacked to build soundproof yet transparent walls. Cubicles will never be the same.”
Read more about it at Fast Company.
Deleting your Google search history can be a good way to protect your personal privacy and keep your information from getting hacked. “Erasing stored Google searches is about more than keeping your past search habits private from a supervisor, spouse, or parent … when you delete your Google search history, you remove all sorts of information that could potentially be used by shady characters. Beyond the funny videos, the news stories, the trivia, and other content, think of how many times you have searched for an address, a phone number, information about an employer, and other data that could help a hacker steal your identity, find you in person, and other unwanted outcomes.” Learn more about deleting your browser history at Business Insider.
Ajay Bhatt led a team at Intel created the USB connection. Instead of making the plug reversible and save us all a lot of frustration, Bhatt chose to save money by designing so that it used fewer wires and could only be plugged in one way.
“The biggest annoyance is reversibility,” Bhatt told NPR. Nonetheless, he stands by his design.
Unfortunately, Bhatt has not made a single penny from his USB design, because Intel owns the patent.
The submarine Boaty McBoatface took measurements deep in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica and discovered something new about the mixing of warm and cold water that may affect future climate change models.
“The resulting warming of the water on the sea bed is a significant contributor to rising sea levels,” the researchers say. “However, the mechanism uncovered by Boaty is not built into current models for predicting the impact of increasing global temperatures on our oceans.”
Read more about Boaty McBoatface’s deep-sea mission and how it got such a cool name at NPR.