Technology has radically changed how we work, now it’s transforming where we live

The village of Tenkasi and home to 500 employees of software company Zoho (credit: Zoho)

When Sridhar Vembu waved goodbye to his family and left the small farming village where he was born, the teenager joined millions of others across India who were migrating to the country’s cities, seeking the education and jobs that could help them escape generations of grinding poverty.

Vembu would go further than most. After receiving an engineering degree in Chennai he went on to Princeton for a PhD, and then to California where he founded Zoho, a wildly successful global software company that has made Vembu a billionaire.

Vembu’s life is a remarkable journey from humble beginnings to incredible success…


A startup pushes back against cancel culture

One of the weirdest tech success stories today is the conversation app Clubhouse.

On the surface, it appears to be a glorified conference call with several people talking while a small audience listens.

Sometimes the sound quality is so poor I can’t hear what they are saying. At other times the sound is TOO good — during one session I heard someone scrape their chair backwards and walk to another room where it sounded like they were rummaging through a drawer for cutlery.

But despite this really simple idea and the spotty audio, Clubhouse is getting lots of attention. It’s…


The prehistoric wonder was discovered in Siberia after being entombed in ice for tens of thousands of years

Credit: Valery Plotnikov/The Siberian Times

At the same time NASA and SpaceX are racing into the future on Mars and beyond, other scientists have been camped out in the frozen Siberian wilderness, painstakingly digging into our past.

Their latest discovery is unprecedented. A tuft of coarse reddish hair sticking out of the ice led them to an almost fully preserved Woolly Rhino.

“The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning,” paleontologist Valery Plotnikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences told The Siberian Times.

Scientists believe the animal is about 80%…


When you listen to someone’s voice online, are you sure it’s a real person? Because there’s a chance it might be Descript.

Descript.com

Have you seen this Arthur C. Clarke quote about new technology?

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

It’s what people thought when they heard their first radio or experienced their first elevator.

It’s also how I felt the other day when I stumbled across something called Descript.

At first glance, Descript doesn’t sound that remarkable. It is a collaborative audio/video editor that includes a screen recorder, publishing and full multitrack editing.

This seems very neat and useful but it hardly sounds like magic.

But it is. Let me explain.

Imagine you just finished a clip of yourself talking…


Critics say the cryptocurrency is an energy glutton that produces too much CO2, but they couldn’t be more wrong

Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

Some people really don’t like Bitcoin.

People like the Bloomberg columnist Lionel Laurent. Last week he called it a predatory hoax on desperate people. Worse, he sniffed, this speculative gold rush is consuming more energy than entire countries.

He’s right about the second part.

The computerized calculations that are used to create Bitcoin consume more energy than some countries, including the UAE and the Netherlands.


Google and Facebook have never been more powerful, but thanks to new competitors it’s never been easier to leave.

Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

We made a deal with Big Tech. They are allowed to vacuum up our personal data and become billionaires, and in return we get cool things to do on the Internet.

It has been a great deal for them. Google alone has raked in $1 trillion since 2000, while Mark Zuckerberg is now richer than entire countries like Iceland and Bolivia.

But for some reason being a billionaire isn’t enough for these guys. It turns out that more than wealth, what they really want is power.

So Amazon is buying up media like the Washington Post, Google is manipulating searches…


A decade after hearing about crypto I decided to jump in

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The first time I came face-to-face with Bitcoin was a humid Friday night in Singapore. We were on a pub crawl along a stretch of river that slides past the skyscrapers in the financial district before emptying into Marina Bay. Several hours into the evening we ducked into an old shophouse and then up a flight of narrow wooden stairs to a bar on the second floor called the Spiffy Dapper.

I stepped inside the dimly lit room and stopped, my eyes drawn to a strange machine against the wall. I stood there a moment, a little drunk and unfocused…


Singapore becomes the first country to approve lab-grown meat

Credit: Eat Just

After years of discussions with Singapore regulators, the US company Eat Just has been given the green light to sell its lab-grown chicken in restaurants and stores.

This is the first time cultured meat has been cleared for sale to customers anywhere in the world, and could mark the start of a revolution in how we produce and consume our food.

“We’re going to start out with a single restaurant and then scale out to five, 10, 15 and then eventually into retail,” Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick said. …


Dominos and F45 are, and it’s not because they’re providing better pizza or fitness

Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

The gym is tucked away in a dingy downtown mall known for its all-night bars and prostitutes. Pointed in the right direction by a mall security guard, I walked down a long corridor made sticky by spilled beer. I gave a wide berth to a couple drunks who trailed a fug of cigarette smoke and started wondering if I should be somewhere else on an early Saturday morning.

Things didn’t improve when I finally reached the gym. It was small and squarish with no mirrors and little equipment.

It didn’t look like much but this is F45, the fitness phenomenon…


A stranger arrives with the truth about our past, and a warning for what lies ahead

Pixabay

The black torus dropped out of hyperspace into the emptiness beyond Saturn and started scanning the solar system. The ultrawave flickered over the gas giants and their icy moons before moving quickly inward to the rock worlds and finally to the water planet, where it paused.

Back on the torus, a small bubble emerged from its surface and kept growing until it formed a perfect black sphere which then detached and moved away. …

Craig Brett

Writer and product designer. I’m also on Substack: https://craigbrett.substack.com/

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