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November 11th, 2014
07:04 AM ET

The wonder of Interstellar

Interstellar is a good movie. It's not a great movie. But I still found it an enjoyable ride.

It's an odd thing to say, because in some ways it's my least favorite film by director Christopher Nolan. Objectively speaking, it's flawed. It feels far too long, dragging on to make sure every last loose end is tied up. Dialogue sometimes feels less like normal people talking and more like scripted monologues. And even by a movie's standards, there are more than a few dramatic flourishes that are just too implausible to suspend your disbelief over.

Despite all that, Interstellar works for me.

FULL POST

November 9th, 2014
08:44 AM ET

Using art to save the Asian elephant

Call it the elephant in the room. It may be a cliché, but the fact that elephant populations are dwindling around the world is a growing problem that can’t be ignored.

Africa has seen its elephant population decline from 1.3 million several decades ago to an estimated 419,000 now. Poaching still goes unchecked in some parts of the continent.

The Environmental Investigation Agency’s latest report says the situation is especially grim in Tanzania.

Tanzania lost 10,000 elephants to poaching last year alone – more than any other country in Africa.

And the EIA makes damning allegations about China, the world's largest ivory market. It links some smuggling to Chinese officials who have accompanied the president to Africa. Beijing has denied the claims.

But it’s not just African elephants facing a perilous future. Their Asian cousins are also in a battle for survival. FULL POST

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Filed under: Art & Science • China • General
November 8th, 2014
12:14 PM ET

Hope After Haiyan: building back better and safer

When I think back to Super Typhoon Haiyan, I often think of this image. It was captured from space by American astronaut Karen Nyberg.

Haiyan was one of the world’s most powerful storms in history, and you can see its sheer strength in that snapshot from orbit.

The super typhoon generated a storm surge as high as five meters. It roared ashore and wiped entire communities away. In the end, more than 6,000 people were killed and almost 4 million people displaced.

But Haiyan's legacy is more than a death toll. It’s more than shocking pictures of the storm’s strength or the devastation it caused.

It’s about the fate of millions of already impoverished people who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.

FULL POST

November 5th, 2014
02:17 PM ET

I think I'm too old for Call of Duty

I am 33 years old. But I think I am too old to play the latest Call of Duty game.

To be clear, this isn't to say I'm too old for video games in general. I love them! I play games all the time, whether it's Grand Theft Auto V or Pokemon X/Y.

Nor am I saying I'm too old for Call of Duty's brand of action, where the U.S. is constantly getting invaded, a double-cross is only ever minutes away, and everything explodes. That's all fine by me.

I feel too old to play Call of Duty because I don't think I have the reflexes to compete online in multiplayer anymore. FULL POST

October 24th, 2014
02:41 PM ET

Watch Mark Zuckerberg speak Chinese

In case you missed it, here's Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin Chinese at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

Zuckerberg surprised the audience by speaking and answering questions in Mandarin for almost 30-minutes.

His heavy accent caused a few moments of misunderstanding - like when he tried to say the word "billion" but it came out as "eleven."

But no matter. It was an inspiring effort!

October 23rd, 2014
06:51 AM ET

Anson Chan's message to Beijing

For four weeks now, pro-democracy demonstrators have blocked major roads and highways in Hong Kong.

It's a sight that's become the new normal in a city known as a hyper-efficient financial hub.

Parts of the central business district have transformed into a tent city - a hotbed of political activism while both sides refuse to back down.

The protesters want true universal suffrage. They don't want Beijing to vet who can stand in Hong Kong's next leadership election.

But Chinese authorities say there is no way Beijing will take back its decision on 2017 elections.

That’s not acceptable for former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Anson Chan.

"We need a new chief executive who at long last will stand up for Hong Kong’s best interests,” she says.

Anson Chan was the second in command in Hong Kong's colonial government and after the handover. In recent years, she's taken a high-profile role in the campaign for universal suffrage.

I spoke to Chan about the way forward for Hong Kong and passing the torch of democracy to a new generation.

She also has this message for China:

"I would like to say to Beijing - trust the people of Hong Kong, trust our young protest leaders. They are our future, and use Hong Kong as a testing ground for introducing full democracy."

Click on for the full interview.

October 13th, 2014
12:58 PM ET

Sachs: Ebola is a controllable epidemic

An American nurse has become the first person to contract Ebola in the U.S., raising fear and alarm about the outbreak in the West.

In the Ebola hotzone of West Africa, desperation grows as thousands of people are struck by the deadly virus - including healthcare workers on the front line.

The outbreak may be spreading, but professor and senior United Nations advisor Jeffrey Sachs tells me Ebola can be controlled in 6 months.

"This is a controllable epidemic but the epidemic has so far outrun the control efforts," he says.

"This is logistics, it's equipment, it's basic health protocols, it's diagnostics. All the pieces of a basic control system that need to be rapidly scaled up."

Watch the video to hear his recommended next steps, and what is at stake for Africa and the world if Ebola is not contained.

October 2nd, 2014
03:25 PM ET

Is Hong Kong playing chicken with China?

Hong Kong is in a standoff with Beijing. It’s a fight ostensibly about universal suffrage. But in some ways, it’s also a litmus test for financial freedoms under President Xi Jinping.

Right now, Hong Kong is governed by a “one country, two systems” charter mandating that until the year 2047, the territory will remain a capitalist economy - with a good deal of political autonomy.

The tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets this week are banking on Hong Kong’s financial leverage over the world’s second largest economy. But the unspoken worry is that Hong Kong just isn’t as important to China as it used to be.

FULL POST

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Filed under: China
October 1st, 2014
01:37 PM ET

How Hong Kong protesters spread their message

It has been dubbed the "Umbrella Revolution." But that isn't the only symbol to come out of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests.

Local artist Kacey Wong also explains the meaning of the yellow ribbons and numbers spotted on signs.

He believes there is a lot at stake during this demonstration for universal suffrage.

"Right now I can see this war on culture. The winners will get to keep their way of life and their culture. And if you lose in this war, we have to fall back," Wong says. "We don’t want to fall back into the chaos that we read in the news from mainland China. I think it is time for mainland government officials to learn that if they want to join the international community, they have to behave in a civilized way. And this is a golden opportunity."


Filed under: General
September 26th, 2014
02:19 PM ET

Life a little less 2D

Forget what you know about conventional printing – and start thinking three-dimensionally.

3D printing – once considered niche – is now becoming more mainstream. UPS, for example, just expanded its 3D printing services to locations across the United States to keep up with demand.

But Bre Pettis and the folks at Stratasys are working to bring 3D printing to your home.

Pettis is the co-founder of Makerbot, the company that pioneered 3D printers for consumers. Now at Makerbot’s parent company, he’s part of an innovation workshop called Bold Machines.

“We’re exploring the frontier of what’s possible,” Pettis says. “Imagine Iron Man’s workshop. We’ve got all the 3D printers in the Stratasys lineup – from Makerbots to wax printers – that make wax 3D models that you can then take into a foundry and make beautiful customized jewelry.”

So how does it work? FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • Movies • Technology • Titans of Tech
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