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How Falling Off a Bike Made Me Want to Build a Crowd Powered City

I remember the shock of being on the tarmac with traffic and trucks narrowly missing me on the busy familiar road I had been cycling on for 12...


I remember the shock of being on the tarmac with traffic and trucks narrowly missing me on the busy familiar road I had been cycling on for 12 years in London. I inadvertently drove my bike into a pothole. Like the proverbial Alice in Wonderland, I went through the rabbit hole and started thinking about the city and the neighborhood I live in, particularly why citizens seem helpless to do anything to fix their streets.

Since I am a designer of mobile operating systems I am used to creating feedback loops for users to file bugs so that we can improve software systems. The challenge of applying this sort of thinking to cities is to create an evolutionary operating system that is not merely a one way bug-reporting tool that files complaints to already overworked city councils, but a two-way bug solving tool that citizens can use to come together to crowdsource solutions to common problems, help optimize and share scarce resources, and possibly crowd-fund those solutions with local businesses, neighbors, and town councils.

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Why I'm Building a Community of Dreamers

Like astronauts gazing back on Earth for the first time, SHADOW is way to see the world from a different angle.

I don’t really believe in limits. Since I was a kid, I’ve always seen obstacles as opportunities: to make ourselves vulnerable, to learn about each other, to stretch way beyond our boundaries. Looking at life this way is generally exhilarating. But it can also be exhausting. So a year ago, when my work with the Watch the Throne tour wrapped up and I suddenly had some free time, I did what most of us would do. I slept. And in that sleep, the deepest I had in a very long while, I dreamed of SHADOW.

SHADOW is the world’s first alarm clock that helps people remember and record their dreams. It transcribes your dreams, pulls out the keywords, strips away any data that could identify you, and pushes it to a giant global data cloud—where other SHADOW users can see global dream patterns and find dreamers like them around the world.

Why do I care so much about dreams? Because we sleep for a third of our lives, and we forget 95 percent of our dreams within five minutes of waking up. But some really pivotal things—laws of physics, technological advancements, classic works of literature—were born of dreams. We’re socialized to think of sleep as inactivity, but certain parts of our brain—the parts that handle things like problem-solving and memory—are most active while we’re sleeping. That’s a huge amount of potential we’re forgetting each morning.

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As students at the Austin Center for Design, we were tasked with creating double-bottom line businesses that drive both revenue and impact.

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Surfing Robot Tells Scientists Where the Sharks Are

Stanford University marine biologists are using a surfing robot to track the migratory patterns of great white sharks.

Surfers may unwillingly be the first to know when a great white shark approaches the shore, but it's now the full-time job of a robotic surfer to keep tabs on these aquatic predators. Researchers at Stanford University have enlisted a Wave Glider robot in their efforts to track the migratory patterns of great white sharks off the California coast, near San Francisco. They're bringing that data into the non-scientist's pocket with a shark-tracking iPhone app to raise awareness for their work.

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An App that Sees and Prevents Future Traffic Jams

Windows Phone app Greenway knows where the traffic will be before it strikes and gets you to your destination twice as fast.

Anyone’s smartphone can caculate the shortest distance between two places and even recommend a route to avoid traffic along the way. But what about an app that helps prevent traffic jams before they begin? That’s the premise of Greenway, a new program for Windows Phone that plugs its users’ locations, destinations, and speeds into an algorithm to figure out where and when traffic jams are likely to occur. Then, it provides a route to steer cars away from those roads. The route is called, appopriately, the “Greenway,” and it's optimized for traffic, time, and the amount of gas used based on data about where other drivers are headed at the same time.

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Bike to Work, Earn Money For International Food Aid

A new app will donate money to the charity of your choice on your behalf. All you have to do is walk, run, or bike—anywhere, any time.

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