Blast From the Past

August 2, 1870

Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube railway, opened in London, providing a passage under the River Thames.

August 15, 1965

The Beatles played to a crowd of over 60,000 at Shea Stadium in an event later seen as the birth of stadium rock concerts. As 1965 was the height of “Beatlemania” in the United States, the noise in the stadium was so great that none of the Beatles could hear each other, or even themselves, and they rushed through a 30-minute set. The Beatles earned $304,000 for the concert, which was, according to the event promoter, Sid Bernstein, “the greatest gross in the history of show business.”

August 29, 1831

Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction—the production of voltage across a conductor moving through a magnetic field—that allows for the operation of generators, transformers, many kinds of motors, solenoids, and iPod headphones. —Jeremiah Budin


It seems like every day we humans are one step closer to becoming a race of Schwarzenegger-esque cyborgs. In today’s Soon We Will All Be Robots news, scientists at the University of Michigan have developed the BioBolt, a brain implant that sits on top of the cortex and, using the epidermis as a conductor, fires neurons to a computer—the upshot of which is that it could eventually help paralyzed people gain control of their bodies and walk again. In the meantime, its researchers say that the BioBolt could be used to diagnose diseases like Parkinson’s or suppress seizures. And hopefully by the time they’ve figured out how to use it to its full potential, someone will have developed the technology to help us figure out who the right Sarah Connor is.

Researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of California have demonstrated that they can control rats’ memories with the flick of a switch. The rats were taught to push a lever in order to get water. They then had electrodes implanted in their brains and were then exposed to enough pharmacological substances to forget how to do the lever/water thing. The researchers were then able to turn the rats’ memory of the task on and off by flipping an electronic switch. This research could eventually benefit Alzheimer’s patients, stroke victims, and people with injury-induced memory loss. —J.B.


Possibly signaling the beginning of an encouraging new trend in marketing, Coca- Cola has unveiled a “plant billboard” in the Philippines. The 60 x 60 ft. billboard is covered in green Fukien tea plants outlining the shape of a giant Coke bottle. According to botanist Anthony Gao, a Fukien tea plant can absorb up to 13 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, meaning that the sign absorbs “a total of 46,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, on estimate.” It’s unlikely that Coke will be making too many of these billboards, though, considering how expensive this one must have been—it’s made out of recycled bottles and utilizes a sophisticated drip irrigation system to water the plants. Let’s file this one under Can’t Hurt. —J.B. (Spotted on Endgadget)

Canon’s Actions Speak Louder, Cheaper Than Billboards

Canon is making a less flashy statement about its concern for the environment—and they’re saving money in the process. In 2008, Canon conducted an energy savings program at five of its U.S. offices, and, over the next two years, managed to save 2.7 million kilowatt-hours, equivalent to over $300,000 in utility fees. They offer these four tips for how to make your office green:

  1. Install energy-efficient LCD monitors. Donate CRT monitors to local schools and charities.
  2. Replace traditional light bulbs with low-carbon lighting. Reduce lighting near natural light sources and low traffic areas. Install motion detectors to automatically switch off power in empty office spaces.
  3. Replace stand-alone personal printers with multi-function systems. Increase energy-efficiency and save paper and toner by defaulting to black and white, double-sided printing.
  4. Limit the hours that buildings are lit and climate controlled during the business week. Have security teams monitor for devices left on overnight. Implement environmental education and training for staff.

—J.B. (Spotted on Mashable)


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