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A ban on texting while crossing the street

Hawaii’s capital Honolulu has introduced spot fines, ranging up to $US99, for pedestrians using their mobile phones while crossing the street. The Distracted Walking Law is one of the first of its type in the world and comes in response to an increasing pedestrian accident rate in the United States, Britain and Australia. The ban comes as cities around the world grapple with how to protect phone-obsessed “smartphone zombies” from injuring themselves. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/25/560089121/distracted-walking-law-bans-texting-while-crossing-streets-in-honolulu

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Sunglasses with facial recognition

Police officers in Zhengzhou, China have been spotted wearing sunglasses equipped with facial recognition software that allows them to identify individuals in a crowd. Not only do the surveillance glasses actually work, but they also work better — and faster — than traditional CCTV setups. Security footage is notoriously grainy, and even if cameras are being monitored in real-time, the lag between spotting someone who might be a person of interest and calling authorities can be enough time for that person to make a clean getaway. The sunglasses are connected to a handheld device that uses facial recognition software to compare who the wearer sees against a pre-loaded database packed with photos of 10,000 suspects. And it does so in just one tenth of a second. https://futurism.com/chinese-police-facial-recognition-glasses-surveillance-arsenal/

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Fine dining with kids

Nibble+squeak hosts dining events for babies, toddlers, and young children. Their mission is to get new parents out, dining at restaurants they loved pre-kids. Their events are part of a broader effort to create more spaces in society where little ones are welcome and parents can relax. Since the events tend to take place either in a private room or before the restaurant opens to the public, they are an attractive proposition to restaurants because they provide a new source of revenue. www.fastcompany.com/40524680/this-startup-wants-to-make-dining-out-with-a-toddler-less-of-a-nightmare

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An answer to baldness?

Japanese scientists have developed a way to grow hair follicles at a record rate. The study reported in Biomaterials used two kinds of cells placed in silicone containers to cultivate “hair follicle germs” — the sources of the tiny organs that grow and sustain hair. Led by professor Junji Fukuda at the Yokohama National University, the team managed to cultivate 5,000 within just a few days, enough to replenish hair. The method is a massive step up from existing laborious techniques that can create just 50 or so “germs” at once. www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/dealing-with-baldness-this-japanese-hair-growth-solution-could-be-the-answer?

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A paste that transforms deserts into fertile land

Scientists at Chongqing Jiaotong University in China have created a paste that’s made from the same substance found in plant cell walls. It’s made from a sodium carboxymethyl cellulose solution which creates support and protection for plants to grow. When the paste is combined with sand in an arid environment, it’s still able to keep water and nutrients for growth. A project in a northern China desert saw positive results in just six months. Flowers and vegetables were growing in nearly 500 acres of sand with the new technology, which essentially makes the land fertile in an extremely hot climate. http://www.distractify.com/news/2017/09/25/Z1OEAxp/china-researchers-deserts-fertile-land

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Food security for the 21st century

Edenworks operates aquaponic ecosystems that grow leafy greens and fish using 95% less water than conventional farms, no pesticides, and no GMOs. Located in Brooklyn, their fresh food is on the shelf within 24 hours of harvest. They offer a new model for farming: indoor ecosystems that grow delicious and healthy food while taking pressure off nature. www.edenworks.com

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A platform that helps startups bootstrap

Loom solves the problem that many founders are willing to give away parts of their business, but don’t know freelancers who might be prepared to do work. Plus, the platform helps people who don’t have money to offer. Up to 15,000 freelancers (mostly developers) are listed on the platform and about 1,000 founders have posted projects so far. https://www.fastcompany.com/40519191/paying-freelancers-with-equity-shares-an-idea-for-boostrapping-startups

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