Future MacBooks Could Have Contextaware E Ink Keyboards

first_img E-Paper Keys Allow This Keyboard to Adapt to Any TaskAlienware, VR Parties in L.A. Stay on target There’s been talk that Apple plans to add a slick OLED strip of touch-sensitive controls to upcoming MacBooks. Now sources claim that they may get a killer keyboard upgrade, too.What kind of an upgrade, you ask? According to both 9to5Mac and TrustedReviews, Apple is toying with the idea of replacing all those boring old static plastic keys with a full spread of tiny E Ink displays. And it’s about more than just allowing Apple to source a single keyboard for every MacBook regardless of which country it’s going to be sold in.Yes, it’s neat that such a keyboard would allow, for example, Canadians to switch quickly back and forth between full English and French layouts — instead of having to slog on with a bilingual keyboard. The really cool part, though, is that these keyboards could be context-aware.As soon as you fire up an app — say, Final Cut Pro or  Photoshop — your MacBook could transform its keyboard to make commonly-used commands more accessible. Need to bang a boatload of numbers into an Excel sheet? No problem, just flick a software switch and light up a numeric keypad.There’s already a company making keyboards like this. No, not Art. Lebedev. Those Optimus keyboards are very cool and all, but they’re a little too pricey even for the $2499 MacBook Pro. It’s actually Sonder Designs, and a company spokesperson has acknowledged that they have indeed held discussions with Apple.That’s Sonder’s desktop keyboard there, and it’s up for pre-order at $199. Remove the healthy markup for retail and factor in the massive number Apple would be ordering if they go this way, and it’s probably not a terribly big cost to work into a higher-end MacBook Pro.last_img read more

Smart Macaroni and Cheese Fights Dumb Climate Change

first_imgStay on target It’s easy to feel terrified about climate change, mostly because thinking about the Earth’s rising temperatures and how that will decimate life on this planet is terrifying. But it’s also terrifying because it can make you feel helpless. Yeah you can be guilted into taking fewer showers or eating less meat, but the impact of single person can make is basically non-existent compared to the massive carbon emissions of unfeeling corporations enabled by uncaring governments.That’s why it’s so encouraging to see larger-scale business take genuine steps to make their practices more environmentally friendly. It briefly stops the terror. Take for example this new macaroni and cheese made with anti-climate change “regenerative agriculture” farming techniques. Finally, a good use for cheese!Annie’s homegrown elbow pasta and cheddar is the brain (and brawn) child of Montana farmer Nate Powell-Palm. On Powell-Palm’s farm they use several advanced eco-farm strats (I like to think that’s what they are called) to grow crops in ways that help the Earth instead of hurting it. Different crops like wheat and peas, along with livestock and their precious manure, are rotated in a way that helps the soil stay healthy with varied nutrients. This makes it easier to grow stuff all the time, and by making sure something is always growing the soil can maintain more carbon and nitrogen instead of spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.So why don’t we just do all farming like this? Well it takes a lot of effort. This macaroni from Annie’s is one of the larger scale attempts but even it is being produced on a limited run. They’re only making as much as the farm will allow, and the food market at large doesn’t have that kind of patience. Capitalism, baby!However, it takes small experiments to make big ones a success. Annie’s is already owned by food giant General Mills. Perhaps with time General Mills will start incorporating more of these environmentally friendly regenerative agriculture techniques into general production. Annie’s also makes bunny cookies the same way, but imagine if every box of Cheerios, Lucky Charms, or even Count Chocula was made thanks to a farm like Powell-Palm’s.Like we said, Annie’s macaroni and cheese is only being made in small batches. So if you don’t already live in Montana, the carbon you’ll emit driving there will probably do more harm than the macaroni does good. But just knowing this exist is as good a reason as any to be slightly less terrified of the harm humanity is doing to this one planet we call home.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutResearchers Transform CO2 Into Liquid Fuel last_img read more

No Alien Sightings Yet in TRAPPIST1 Planetary System

first_img It’s been more than a year since NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a single star.Only 39 light years away, TRAPPIST-1 quickly became one of the most interesting places to look for extraterrestrial existence. The search continues, though, as nonprofit research organization SETI Institute reports no signs of life—yet.“We now have unambiguous proof of the existence of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, and we know about their orbits, their size, and their mass,” Franck Marchis, exoplanet research chair and senior scientist at SETI, wrote in an update. “But a lot still remains to be learned before we can claim that they have liquid water on their surface, and we need to know far more than that before we can conclude that these planets might be habitable, or inhabited.”Last month, scientists at Arizona State and Vanderbilt Universities revealed that the TRAPPIST-1 system actually has too much water to support life. Though similar in size to Earth, the exoplanets’ masses and volumes suggest they are much less dense. Too light to be rocky and too compact to hold much atmospheric gas, the team was left only with H2O.“We typically think having liquid water on a planet as a way to start life, since life, as we know it on Earth, is composed mostly of water and requires it to live,” Vanderbilt University’s Natalie Hinkel said in a statement. “However, a planet that is a water world, or one that doesn’t have any surface above the water, does not have the important geochemical or elemental cycles that are absolutely necessary for life.”Which ultimately dashes any hopes of finding new neighbors in TRAPPIST-1.But not for Marchis, who is “stoked” about what we might find from future observations with large ground-based telescopes.“In less than two decades, nearby planetary systems like TRAPPIST-1 will become our cosmic backyard,” he said. “And if everything goes as planned with [interplanetary missions] we will soon learn the secrets of those exotic worlds.  Which I am convinced, will surprise us by their diversity, just as our own solar system has surprised us over the past two decades, surprises us today, and will surely continue to surprise us in the future.” NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more