The world’s most extraordinary episode of hyperinflation happened between 1919 and 1922 in post-World War I Germany. To get the full picture of the events that led to rapid inflation by Germany’s post-World War I ruling regime, the so-called Weimar Republic, you have to go back to the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870. Prussia, a sort of proto-Germany, won the war quickly, taking only about six months to defeat France. Prussia paid for the war by taking on debt, and the short duration of hostilities and decisive victory made it relatively easy for the new Germany (created out of the … [Read more...]
What Happens When Your Self-Driving Car Gets Hacked?
It's terrifying to find out that your personal computer has been compromised by a hacker. You instantly begin a damage assessment. What personal information is contained in the compromised machine? How long have you been monitored by spyware? These questions race through your mind. But what happens when the computer being compromised is your car? There are surely security measures built in to every autonomous vehicle, but the vulnerability that may be hardest to control is one hackers can exploit without even knowing your car exists. Because autonomous vehicles operate in response to inputs … [Read more...]
Is This Company About to Beat Tesla, Google and Apple to an All-electric Autonomous Car?
Despite the attention and even cult-ish devotion given to Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple and Google, and the unfettered media fascination with every word out of Elon Musk, a company far away from California is preparing to dominate the market for all electric autonomous vehicles. The company has an army of engineers working on its test vehicles. And it is so advanced in its plans for the vehicles it has already begun mass production. And rather than collaborating with another auto-maker or software company, this company is doing all its work in-house. The company is GM. GM … [Read more...]
Can You Guess This Big Secret about the Internet of Things?
Today the Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting a vast array of new devices to the web, and produces mountains of data that designers, manufacturers and consumers can use to improve their products’ experience. But the big secret about the IoT isn’t how devices can communicate with people—it’s how they can now communicate with one another. A great example of this inter-device communication is the ability of new Audi vehicles to communicate with traffic lights in Las Vegas, telling them how much longer the driver will need to wait at the intersection before proceeding. Vehicle to … [Read more...]
Is Cyber Monday Infected with More Unscrupulous Fakes?
Today is “Cyber Monday.” It’s the Internet’s response to Small Business Saturday, in which people are encouraged to shop online. Every year people are doing more of their shopping online, with an increase in online shopping in 2015 of 14.6%, online purchases made up over 10% of retail sales (excluding items like gasoline and automobiles). America’s e-commerce surge is led, not surprisingly, by Amazon, which processed over $79 billion in online sales last year. Next come Wal-Mart, with $13 billion, and Apple with $12 billion. But is there trouble brewing in Amazon’s e-commerce … [Read more...]
Is the World Witnessing a Frenzy of Better Robo-Retail?
After years of development, Lowe’s has rolled out its Lo Bot, a helpful machine created to guide customers around the company’s massive big-box stores. Ask Lo Bot where an item is and the robot will take you right to it. The Lo Bot isn’t the only robot showing up at retail operations. Another robot, a humanoid known as Pepper, has been showing up in different stores around the world. A version of Pepper has been infused with IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology. The Watson integration is open to app developers and could lead to all new capabilities for the robot. Behind the … [Read more...]
Just Five Ways this $11 Billion Satellite Can Save Lives and Boost GDP
On November 19, NASA will launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) satellite into orbit over America. The GOES-R is a leap ahead of the previous system (GOES) and will sit over 22,000 miles above the earth’s surface. Nature describes GOES-R saying: GOES-R can take pictures as often as every 30 seconds, much faster than the several-minute intervals of current GOES weather satellites. That rapid-fire imagery allows the satellite to track developing changes in thunderstorms, hurricanes and other severe storms. It also enables meteorologists to follow plumes … [Read more...]
With Trump Win, Mexico and Canada Quickly Come to the table on NAFTA
After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday, leaders of both Mexico and Canada were quick to come to the table saying they’d be willing to look at renegotiating, or in Mexico’s words “modernizing,” the trade deal. Mexican Foreign Minister Ruiz Massieu told reporters that, regarding NAFTA, his country thinks now “is an opportunity to think if we should modernize it, not renegotiate it, but to modernize it." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also told reporters today that he is ready to renegotiate NAFTA. Trudeau said “I think it's important that we be open to … [Read more...]
Could Innovative New Tech Stem the Retail Return Tsunami?
In 2015 Americans returned $260.5 billion worth of retail merchandise. That's an astonishing 8% of total sales. Much of that returned inventory can't simply be placed back on the shelf. If unsealed or broken, it can take too long to get items back on the shelf, and ultimately they become a loss for the retailer. But there is new technology on the rise that could stem at least some of the tsunami of returns plaguing retailers. The technology is called "augmented reality," and it allows customers to see versions of possible purchases in their home, even before buying them. Randy Rieland … [Read more...]