In this section, we recommend the content that we liked most this week. It may not be new, and have a range of formats, the only thing that matters is that it managed to distinguish itself from everything else we heard, read or viewed in the past week.
You should know by now that despite our love for digital goods and computer hardware, we're also very much in love with outdoor gear. This weekend Toothy Saber recommendations are about dipping your proverbial toe in these waters. So gear up and enjoy Eric Larsen, one of the most accomplished explorers alive as he discusses with Michael Meyer from Granite Gear, on how to design the ultimate winter expedition pack.
To us the most titillating Apple related report this week has to be the acquisition of InVisage corporation. They are responsible for some of the most recent and exciting innovation in image sensor technology, doing away with silicon as the main light gathering material substituting it with a "QuantumFilm" layer. If all of these sounds like tech babel, it should translate to better dynamic range (over three times higher), less or no jello effect in video due to a super fast global shutter and overall better color rendition and image sharpness. If or when Apple incorporates this technology into their iPhone line, we should expect to see further reduction of the distinction between camera phones and stand-alone cameras.
Still on the digital image department, Canon Inc., has just announced a very compelling, albeit very expensive, fixed lens camera the Canon G1X Mark III. Since a couple years ago smartphone manufacturers have come up with such fast innovation and iteration they started to eat into the budget and small sensor cameras market, and the answer from camera manufacturers has been to improve on the design of compact cameras with bigger sensors and more premium offers. This time around Canon did the unthinkable, a small almost pocketable camera with an APS-C size sensor, the one from the 80D no less! It's also weatherproof, has the tried and true dual pixel phase autofocus for fast accurate AF in stills and smooth focus pulls in video. There's no mic input which is sad for vloggers, and still no 4K which I don't find all that big of a deal. At almost $1200, even with all that hardware goodness, it's a hard swallow. You can easily go their mirrorless M5 or even the awesome Fuji X-T20, both with comparable "specced" sensors, lens zoom and aperture range, but with the added benefit of interchangeable lens for future upgradability/versatility and with a small penalty in size and weight.
In this transcript, Atul Gawande talks about ineptitude and ignorance. Until recently humanity suffered from ignorance, not knowing enough to make the best decisions. These days things have changed, and the reason people fail is a matter of ineptitude, meaning that the knowledge is available, but there is a failure to apply it correctly. It's a fascinating read and if you have the time I recommend listening to the complete audio interview.
How many times do we see grabbing headlines promoting a medical discovery that has a significant impact for treating a disease? Offen, but unfortunately reality almost never matches the hype. The reason is apparent, sensational headlines get greater engagement but at the cost of adequately informing the public and creating false expectations. Furthermore, they erode the public trust in medical science and promote misconceptions that may have adverse health consequences. In this case, we have a 2012 study that suggested caffeine improves debilitating movement symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease. The study had an extensive media coverage and changed patients consumption of caffeine. However, the investigators were not satisfied with the results and continued their research to confirm the original findings. Unfortunately, five years later the same researcher published his long-term follow-up results and contrary to the previous study, it didn't show any improvement with caffeine. Its a common phenomenon in science and preliminary results often fail to be replicated in further studies. However, the same media outlets that hyped the positive results of the first study failed to acknowledge the conclusion of the long-term follow-up, thus spreading misinformation to the public.
A thoughtful piece by Tim Harford about the role of technology in productivity and what we can learn from the past.
Forecasting the future of technology has always been an entertaining but fruitless game. Nothing looks more dated than yesterday’s edition of Tomorrow’s World. But history can teach us something useful: not to fixate on the idea of the next big thing, the isolated technological miracle that utterly transforms some part of economic life with barely a ripple elsewhere. Instead, when we try to imagine the future, the past offers two lessons...
Now is a perplexing time to be thinking about how technology shapes us. Some economists, disappointed by slow growth in productivity, fear the glory days are behind us...
Productivity finally surged in US manufacturing only in the 1920s. The reason for the 30-year delay? The new electric motors only worked well when everything else changed too. Steam-powered factories had delivered power through awe-inspiring driveshafts, secondary shafts, belts, belt towers, and thousands of drip-oilers. The early efforts to introduce electricity merely replaced the single huge engine with a similarly large electric motor. Results were disappointing.