Immersive journalism: What if you could experience a news event in 3D by using an Oculus Rift?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

If you’ve heard of the Oculus Rift at all, you probably think of it as the off-the-charts geeky, facemask-style VR headset that’s designed for playing 3D video games. And that’s true — but virtual reality has other applications as well, including potentially journalistic ones: USC fellow and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Peña, for example, is creating immersive experiences that give participants an inside look at a news story, such as the war in Syria, or the military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

As Wired explains, de la Peña talked about her work at a recent conference in Sweden, and how she got the idea from early versions of “documentary games” like JFK Reloaded, which put players in Dallas at the time of the president’s shooting. So much of journalism is about “capturing a moment in time,” said de la Peña, a former journalist who has written for Newsweek and…

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Our 300-person company runs entirely on the cloud. Here’s how

Originally posted on Quartz:

Close to 300 employees work for Freshdesk, and most of our work life is online. This would have been nearly impossible a few years ago, but it’s sort of the norm today for a business like us. We get a lot of our work accomplished from our homes and when we’re on the move—from our phones and our laptops without a hitch.

That’s largely because most of what we’re working on doesn’t reside on anyone’s hard disk—it’s somewhere up there on the cloud, beautifully synced. I don’t remember the last time someone attached a doc to an email and asked me to take a look—we all throw Drive links instead. If this had been 2006, we’d probably have had a dedicated IT department for managing proprietary installations and such, but right now, we just sign up for things that get our jobs done online, and get our colleagues on board…

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Commuters think biking to work is fine, but there are better ways to get there


I personally like to use public transport but walking is always preferred.

Originally posted on Quartz:

For most people, a satisfying commute is not necessarily a happy one—a not-so-unhappy one will do. Yes, it’s true that the ideal commute is not absolutely zero commute; many of us can use the time to decompress or get some thinking done. But it’s also true that beyond a certain point—roughly 15 minutes one-way, on average—we just want our lives and sanity back.

Even within that general framework of unpleasantness, some commutes are more enjoyable than others. A group of researchers at McGill University in Montreal recently tried to establish a clear hierarchy among the main six work-trip modes: driving, riding (bus and metro and commuter rail), walking, and cycling. They asked nearly 3,400 people who commuted to campus on a single mode to describe their typical trip in both winter and summer, and to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of that trip. The researchers then converted the…

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How technology can make better fathers

Originally posted on Quartz:

My father was physically away more than he was around.  Given our globalized economy (in fact, last year business travel was predicted to increase as the global economy improved), there’s no indication that traveling for work will slow in our increasingly connected world.

On the other hand, the negative effects of a growing up with a parent that’s away a lot are well documented. Children with active, present fathers are more likely to be emotionally stable and educationally successful. Meanwhile, having a father who’s absent or not around much has a big impact, especially on boys: it’s linked to aggressive behavior and higher levels of delinquency.

This isn’t a new phenomenon—but technology has made a huge, positive impact on the problem. A 2001 study of workers at the World Bank Group, who have to travel frequently, found that travel contributed to a high amount of stress for both workers and their spouses. This study focused on international…

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BKS Iyengar, the man who brought yoga to the West, has just died


I always thought how great this man was as I passed by his institute everyday. May his soul rest in peace.

Originally posted on Quartz:

BKS Ivengar no-caption

Yoga guru Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as BKS, died at a hospital in Pune, India today after suffering kidney failure. The 95 year-old yogi is often called the father of modern yoga and is credited with bringing the practice to the West, where it quickly grew from a spiritual practice to a commercial industry.

The yoga that many in the West are familiar with, which focuses on body alignment and breath control, and often uses props like blocks and belts, began with Iyenger who began his own yoga training as a sickly teenager, after being afflicted with malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid and influenza throughout his childhood.(Doctors had predicted he would not live past the age of 20.) After regaining his health, he taught in India and in the 1950s befriended the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who became his yoga student and brought Iyenger to Europe where he began teaching other musicians.

When he traveled to the US for the first…

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Why China is going after celebrities for using drugs


Jackie Chan’s son arrested for drug use.. This is sad.

Originally posted on Quartz:

The son of Chinese kung fu star Jackie Chan has been arrested for drug use—Jaycee Chan, 32, was detained by police in Beijing last night after testing positive for using marijuana, and could face as much as three years in prison. The arrest of Jaycee Chan, also an actor, appears to be part of a larger anti-drug campaign that is specifically targeting China’s entertainment industry, a sign that authorities may be trying to tighten their hold over one of the country’s fastest growing industries.

It’s a somewhat surprising move given the elder Chan’s connections in China, where he is a member of the People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body, and has long been a vocal spokesman for the Chinese political system as well as investor in mainland property and film. (Ironically, Chan was also an ambassador for China’s National Narcotics Control Commission in 2009.)

While China has cornered the market for patents on cannabis-related products, and the use of…

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The mixed-race advantage in online dating


This is pretty much it!

Originally posted on Quartz:

Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of research energy devoted to untangling the racial hierarchies in online dating, where white men and Asian women seem to come out the top. However, in a new study released yesterday, researchers say that in some cases multiracial daters are even more desirable than those of any single racial group, even whites.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of Texas-Austin and relied on 2003-2010 data from a major US dating website, which they did not identify. The researchers looked at nearly 6.7 million initial messages sent between heterosexual men and women in the following groups: Asian, black, Hispanic, white, Asian-white, black-white, and Hispanic-white.

The breakthrough came when the researchers found that three multiracial groups were favored more than anyone else, something they referred to as the “bonus effect.” These three groups were Asian-white women, who were…

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Look for VMware and Red Hat to get with the mobile development program


Mobile development is really big. Taking notes.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Mobile app development is big. If you don’t believe it, check out Microsoft’s Azure Mobile Services. Or AWS Mobile Services. Or Google’s Mobile Back-end Starter. Or Facebook’s acquisition of Parse last year. IBM is also trying to weave together SoftLayer, BlueMix and WebSphere to come up with its own mobile-focused dev platform. There’s clearly a lot of action here.

The theory is that mobile app developers need something more tuned to their experience than a general-purpose Platform as a Service (PaaS). Since mobile-first is now the law of the land, look for the enterprise IT players that don’t already field a mobile toolkit or a Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) to assemble one, buy one or partner with one. Fast.

Wanted: Enterprise-class mobile apps

[company]Amazon[/company] debuted its long-rumored mobile app development tool set at its New York Summit last month. And even though that may be seen…

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The gradual fade to gold


This is beautiful!

Originally posted on write meg!:

We’ve reached the tipping point, I think.

Though this summer never reached skin-melting level here in Maryland, the air has already taken a cooler turn. The mornings are crisper — weather typically reserved for late September. The small tree outside my office window has red in its highest branches, and fallen leaves skitter across streets and parking lots.

This is premature, I know; it’s still August, and not even late August. But the store shelves have already been ransacked by nervous students. Pumpkins, witches and ghouls adorn seasonal aisles. Halloween candy beckons at the grocery store, and costumes will soon follow. Early-morning marketing emails remind us to “take advantage of summer before it’s gone!” (and buy their coconut-scented lotion, of course).

I can’t say I’m sad, exactly . . . we know autumn is my absolute favorite season, and I can’t wait for boots and scarves and holidays with…

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