Episode 65 – Robots Wearing Your Skin

Robots wearing your skin


  • Robots are getting more and more lifelike
  • If you think about the Terminator movies, the robots had human skin and other tissues
  • That’s….not at all what this is about, actually
  • Researchers involved in tissue engineering currently grow tissues in glorified fish tanks full of nutrients and building block compounds
  • The tissues grow on a trellis so they have a framework to grow on
  • This in an of itself sounds almost like science fiction, but researchers want to improve the process, by growing them inside a robotic body
  • Why?
  • When your body builds (or repairs) tissues, it does so under the normal stresses of daily life
  • Muscles get stronger by using them until they need repair and then the body rebuilds the tissue with additional resilience.
  • Likewise bones, when growing, do so under load. Also broken bones generally heal stronger than they were before the break.
  • The idea here is to get superior, more durable tissue transplants by having them grow under stress, strain, and load that they will be used under in the recipient’s life.
  • ….but eventually that Terminator thing could be a reality if this takes off
  • So What If: We find a way to put human consciousness inside one of those bad boys – does that “defeat death”? Would you do it?

The old man and the battery


  • John Goodenough is the co-inventor of lithium ion battery cells.
  • Working on solid-state batteries. Safer than Li-Ion, supposedly. Also higher energy density – store more for the volume.
  • Been lots of investments, but nothing has come to market yet. Tricky issues with lifecycle management and expense. Needs to be affordable and also last once on the market.
  • Goodenough and his team have announced some breakthroughs to address these concerns.
  • He uses battery-driven cars as a target. That is, Goodenough seems to think that battery technology must improve to drive ahead full e-vehicles.
  • They have created a new glass electrolyte and a cell using it. “The glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is extracted from seawater that is widely available.”
  • They claim 3x storage capacity, and have tested over 1,200 cycles. Operates from -20C to +60C.
  • Aimed at vehicles and stationary electric storage.

Ryzen from your grave!


  • AMD’s ZEN platform has finally arrived
  • They’ve named it Ryzen
  • Actual 8 cores and 16 Threads @ mid 3Ghz with boost to 4Ghz
  • It brings AMD into the modern age with dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe X4 storage, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.
  • It’s also amazing value for money – delivering 52% more IPC than the previous generation
  • Bleeding edge 1440p and 4k gamers will still prefer Intel’s top chips (and pay dearly for them)
  • Ryzen excels at Video, Audio, Mathematics and 3D Modeling applications (the more threads the better!) with the 1800X often besting Intel’s beastly 10-core, 25MB Cache, 140 Watt – $1,700 i7 6950x… at $499 – less than ⅓ the price!
  • Long and short of it: If you want a monster of a multitasking system that can game perfectly well and want to do it for short money, this is your processor line.

YouTube TV


  • This is not a re-branding of YouTube Red. For $10 a month, YT Red lets you download videos, watch original content, and stream ad-free. That’s not this. YouTube TV is something else.
  • Rather, this is a bundle pack of 40 channels for $35 a month, which gives you 6 accounts to login with.
  • ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, ESPN, USA, FX, Oxygen, E!, Disney, NatGeo, and content from local television networks. Premium channels like ShowTime available for a level-up.
  • You also get the YouTube Red original content.
  • You DON’T get ad-free viewing unless you’re also a Red subscriber.
  • Cloud DVR system. IT’S MAGICAL. (Wait, no it isn’t…)
  • tv.youtube.com to be notified when it’s available.

Nokia 3310 – The invincible phone is back!


  • Tiny, durable, cheap, almost eternal standby
  • Nokia brick phones are legendary for lasting forever, both physically and battery-wise
  • The new Nokia 3310 is a true feature phone
  • Costs ~ $52
  • Standby for a month
  • 22 Hours of talk time
  • 240×320 2.7” Color screen
  • 1,200mAh battery
  • Ships with an update color version of “Snake”
  • Also apparently has a “Games and Apps Store” but it wasn’t accessible since the test device had no service.
  • Is there actually a market for this device?

Privacy Watch

Your rights when crossing the US border.


  • According to UC Hastings law professor Ahmed Ghappour, “your Fourth Amendment right to not be subjected to “unreasonable search” is suspended at the borders. Ghappour explained this gives border agents a lot of leeway in terms of how much they search and detain people crossing into the US. He talked to Ars about recent cases where people have been asked to hand over the passwords to their phones and computers, as well as other personal items.”
  • Heard various opinions on this, and the short version is that you can be uncomfortably detained by refusing to cooperate. There’s not a lot you can do about this, although you don’t have to comply. Non-compliance doesn’t mean you’re getting arrested, but it could certainly screw up your travel plans.

Content I Like

PBS–City In The Sky


  • 3 part series about the world of airplane manufacturing, airplane refitting, airplane reclaiming, jet engine manufacturing and maintenance, airports, jet fuel distribution, luggage management, navigation, air traffic control, meal prep, etc.
  • Could have been nerdier, but still lots of interesting tech details along the way.

Logan (the last Wolverine movie, at least chronologically in the X-Men timeline)

  • No spoilers, but it was really, really good. And you don’t need to be an X-Men fan. Go see it.

Today I Learned

Water is used in rice fields to prevent weeds. Rice doesn’t actually need that much water, but since it can thrive in such conditions, whereas the weeds cannot, it’s a natural protection against them.


If a pregnant mother suffers organ damage during the pregnancy the fetus can send stem cells to help repair the damage



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *