Don’t Write Off Checks

Like the paperless office, a check-free society is still far off

3 min read
Photo of ripped up check.
Photo: Graham Stewart/iStockphoto

One of the oldest forms of payment recently came dangerously close to cashing in its chips. Britain’s Payments Council, a nongovernmental organization in the United Kingdom responsible for overseeing the nation’s noncash monetary systems, ruled in 2009 that “cheques” (as it is spelled in the U.K.) would be abolished from the country entirely by 2018.

But last year the council rendered a surprise stay of execution for this often overlooked payment method. “The cheque,” states council chair Richard North on the organization’s website, “is staying.”

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Mojo Vision Puts Its AR Contact Lens Into Its CEO’s Eyes (Literally)

With batteries on board and communicating wirelessly, the augmented reality contact lens reaches a major milestone

6 min read
closeup of eye with contact lens containing electronic components

Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins wears one of the company’s augmented reality contact lenses.

Mojo Vision

Editor’s note: In March, I looked through Mojo Vision’s AR contact lens—but I didn’t put it in my eye. At that point, while non-working prototypes had been tested for wearability, nobody had worn the fully functional, battery-powered, wirelessly communicating, device. Today, Mojo announced that its augmented reality lens had gone on-eye—specifically, on the eye of Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins, on 23 June.

“I’ve worn it. It works....and it was the first ever on eye demonstration of a feature complete augmented reality smart contact lens,” reported Perkins in a blog post. “The final technical hurdle to wearing the lens was ensuring that the power and radio communications systems worked without wires. Cutting the cord [proved] that the lens and all major components are fully functional and reduce many of the technical challenges in building a smart contact lens.”

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Explosive Power Beats Even Moore’s Law

The power of destructiveness is the most impressive metric of modern technology

2 min read
A photo of a nuclear explosion with islands in the foreground.

On 30 October 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb, which had the destructive power of 50 megatons of TNT, or 210 petajoules.

Alamy

The rising number of components on a microchip is the go-to example of roaring innovation. Intel’s first microprocessor, the 4004, released in 1971, had 2,300 transistors; half a century later the highest count surpasses 50 billion, for the Apple M1 Max—an increase of seven orders of magnitude. Most other technical advances have lagged behind: During the entire 20th century, maximum travel speeds rose less than tenfold, from about 100 kilometers per hour for express trains to 900 km/h for cruising jetliners. Skyscrapers got only 2.4 times as tall, from the Singer Building (187 meters) to the Petronas Towers (452 meters).

But there is one accomplishment that, unfortunately, has seen even higher gains since 1945: the destructive power of explosives.

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This Gift Will Help Your Aspiring Engineer Learn Technology

Know someone that is hard to shop for? We have the perfect gift for you.

4 min read