.
October 10th, 2013
08:32 AM ET

What's a space walk really like?

Say what you will about the science. The movie "Gravity" makes you feel like you're in space.

Of course, only a few people know that feeling firsthand. NASA astronaut Michael Massimino is one of them.

Massimino flew on two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. And he has logged more than 30 hours across four space walks.

That's exactly what the movie's main characters are doing when everything goes wrong.

So, what's it really like to spacewalk?

"You have to be methodical about what you do. You don't want to move too quickly," Massimino says. "You have to be very, very slow. You have to think about what you're doing. Work with your teammates, both outside the spaceship, inside the spaceship and the people on the ground."

Massimino admits it can be scary. But he adds, "I can't think of anything better to do for a living than go out and spacewalk and work out there in the beauty of space."

Find out what Massimino thinks of the movie, and George Clooney in particular, in the full interview above.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Movies • Space
October 4th, 2013
07:56 AM ET

Is Qatar abusing migrant workers?

Qatar's new World Cup facilities will be constructed by thousands of migrant laborers toiling in extreme heat.

And human rights groups say that many already working in the country are being severely mistreated.

Gulf migrant researcher for Amnesty International James Lynch tells me the exploitation of workers in Qatar is far too commonplace.

"We've met workers who have been in severe distress having not been paid for months at at time, not able to leave the country, and living in dire conditions," he says.

"And add to that the very long working hours that go beyond the legal limits and the exterme heat as well."

The head of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee tells CNN the country is committed to workers' safety.

But Hassan al-Thawadi also acknowledged that it takes time to develop and enforce labor rights laws in Qatar.

International scrutiny is growing and the pressure is on. Both Qatar and FIFA, which is currently holding an executive crisis meeting on the 2022 World Cup, are being urged to act.

October 3rd, 2013
02:07 PM ET

What is Twitter's true value?

Twitter is widely expected to make public its IPO documents this week.

All the talk about a Twitter float got us thinking about the fundamental value of Twitter.

What is its true purpose? Who uses it... really? And just how will it make money?

I hit all those points with News Stream contributor Nicholas Thompson, editor of the NewYorker.com. He points out that Twitter is not as titanic as it's often made out to be.

BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do
September 24th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do

By Kristie Lu Stout

Hong Kong (CNN) – I can't even remember the last time I thumbed a message on its itty-bitty qwerty keyboard.

And yet, I stubbornly keep my BlackBerry in my bag and on my desk, fully charged.

As with my Palm Vx of yesterday, breaking up with a beloved gadget is hard to do, especially when you have history.

FULL POST

September 12th, 2013
08:02 AM ET

Behind the shocking numbers of the U.N. rape report

When I first read the report, I was aghast.

A U.N. study published this week revealed a truly shocking prevalence of rape across the Asia-Pacific region.

Out of more than 10,000 men surveyed:

  • Nearly a quarter of men interviewed admitted to raping a woman or girl.
  • Nearly half the respondents reported using physical or sexual violence against a female partner.
  • And nearly half of those who admitted to rape, first did so as a teenager with 12% of them under 15 years of age at the time.

The survey was conducted across six countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea.

The findings in the report are mind-boggling. So how did the team gather such brutally honest responses?

"The methodology is something that we feel is quite innovative for the study," said James Lang, the Program Coordinator for Partners for Prevention, which carried out the study.

"We used these handheld devices - iPod Touches - to ensure men would answer the questions about the perpetration of violence in a completely anonymous way."

The survey team also never used the word rape. Instead, participants were asked questions such as, "Have you ever forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex?" or "Have you ever had sex with a woman who was too drugged or drunk to indicate whether she wanted it?"

In addition to revealing the prevalence of sexual violence in the region, Lang says the study reaffirms that such violence is preventable.

"To prevent violence, we have to make violence unacceptable," Lang tells me. "We have to change these norms in communities where violence is allowed, as well as norms around gender equality and the subordination of women."

Lang's study has the statistics to shock anyone into recognizing the scourge of sexual violence in the region. Here's hoping it will spur policymakers across Asia into action and end the impunity for men who use violence against women.

September 6th, 2013
02:08 PM ET

LEGO: Getting more girls to build with bricks

With sales soaring 13% during the first of this year, LEGO is now the second-biggest toy company in the world.

Revenue growth was driven largely thanks to customers here in Asia, where the new "Legends of Chima" line has performed particularly well.

The company also says its LEGO Friends line is going strong. The franchise is unabashedly girly with its pink-hued boxes and sets like "Heartlake Pet Salon." When it launched, many said it reinforced sexist stereotypes.

So if "Friends" is more Barbie than LEGO, why is it such a huge hit for the Danish toymaker?

"It's really hitting at the heart of that particular consumer interest," LEGO CFO John Goodwin tells me.

"For a long period of time we had our evergreen products - the LEGO City line and LEGO Star Wars. But we felt there are a number of children out there, particularly girls, who were not getting themes relevant to their interest."

Goodwin goes on to say, "We are also seeing more girls' purchases of evergreen lines on the back of the Friends introduction because that whole experience of construction is getting more relevant for them."

So is a predominantly pink, gendered toy a bad thing if it gets more girls to build with bricks? I'm starting to think otherwise.

As for other female fans of LEGO who still can't stomach the series, there's always this - LEGO's first female scientist minifig.

September 6th, 2013
02:01 PM ET

Samsung's new smartwatch

Samsung says its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch is an engineering marvel.

CNNMoney's Adrian Covert calls it "unimaginative, reductive and maybe even retrograde."

Decide for yourself as Samsung Mobile's Ryan Bidan shows Covert the primary features of the device.

August 30th, 2013
07:10 AM ET

Game Faces: Josef Fares

Video games aren't always seen as the best medium for storytelling. But I think they should be, for one simple reason: interactivity.

As the player, you're experiencing the story first-hand. Whatever happens to the protagonist of the story is happening to you as a player. How you act and react forms part of the story.

I think interactivity should, in theory, allow people to have a greater connection with the story. But too many games use non-interactive, cinematic sequences to show their most important scenes. At a time when games could hammer home the advantage they have over movies, the player instead puts down the controller to passively watch it unfold without his input.

So it's funny that it took a Swedish filmmaker to make a game that avoids cinematic tricks to tell his story.

FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Personal musings
August 29th, 2013
10:48 PM ET

Nintendo unveils the 2DS

It's safe to say few saw this coming: Nintendo's latest version of the popular 3DS handheld game console is ditching the 3D screen.

The Nintendo 2DS will play all 3DS (and DS) games - they just won't be in 3D. The upside? The 2DS will cost just $129 in the United States, $40 cheaper than the existing 3DS.

Kristie Lu Stout spoke to Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime about the 2DS, the Wii U's struggles, and Nintendo thinks you should swap Nike FuelBand for Wii Fit U.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Games • General • Titans of Tech
August 23rd, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Why your mobile phone is a weather station

Your smart phone is smarter than you think.

The UK-based OpenSignal has developed an app that crowd sources the weather using data from your mobile battery.

That's right, you can tell how hot it is outside thanks your cellphone's energy source. That's because smartphones have built-in thermometers to track battery temperature to help prevent overheating.

It's something the company discovered by accident. A year ago, OpenSignal discovered a strong correlation between battery temperature and daily temperatures recorded at a weather station.

Its WeatherSignal app, available for Android phones, crowd sources the temperature data from thousands of users who are running the app.

How accurate is the data? And will it be able to predict the weather one day?

Click on to my News Stream interview with OpenSignal co-founder and CTO James Robinson to find out.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Data • Gadgets • Technology • Weather
« older posts
newer posts »