Tech Sightings, July 3, 2014

Posted July 3rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm (UTC+0)
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IeSF Removes Male-only Restriction from its e-Sports Tournaments

Traditionally a male dominated industry, the International e-Sports Federation removed its ‘male-only’ Hearthstone qualifier for e-sports tournaments. In a statement released yesterday, they announced the creation of two event categories: ‘Open for All’ genders, and events reserved for women.

Facebook Experiments Had Few Limits

Until recently, Facebook’s Data Science group operated with few boundaries. Little was known about the group, until this week when reports about a 2012 experiment became public. Nearly 700,000 Facebook users were manipulated to show more positive or negative posts. The study found that users who saw more positive content were more likely to write positive posts, and vice versa. Unlike most researchers, who are required to obtain consent from participants, Facebook relied on users’ agreement to its Terms of Service, which at the time said data could be used to improve Facebook’s products.

Chemical Scanner Could Change Shopping

An Israeli inventor has created a pocket-sized scanner called SCiO (an infrared spectrometer the size of a thumb drive). The gadget can identify the molecular structure of a substance by shining light on it and reading its chemical makeup. It can then send that information to a smartphone.

How Free Will the Internet Be in 2025?

A new report by the Pew Research Center predicts that by 2025 “every human being on the planet will be online.” One foreseen problem is the current open structure, which has made the Internet so powerful. The report indicates a concerted effort to move technology, such as television to the Net, and to define the Net in TV terms: as a place you go to buy content.

Venture Capitalist Prevails at Auction for $19 Billion in Silk Road Bitcoins

In a U.S. government auction, Tim Draper prevailed over 44 other bidders registered for an auction of bitcoins seized last year from Silk Road, a website that stockpiled the currency while selling illegal drugs. He snapped up nearly 30,000 bitcoins and now plans to sell the digital currency in countries trying to build stronger economies.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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