All Along the Watchtower

Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Public Relations Marci Kaminsky opened the floor at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center for a discussion on “Transparency in the New Economy” by reassuring the audience that the talk was planned in advance of the recent privacy debacles concerning the IRS and the NSA. The irony of the lecture’s scheduling serves as a reminder that the issue of privacy in a technology-driven world, although more or less physically intangible, gains momentum and yields real repercussions for Americans every day.

In a capstone to illustrate the growing importance of the issue of privacy, the headlining debut of Heartland Monitor’s 17th quarterly poll disclosed a prevailing discomfort among Americans about information sharing, as well as the lag time in innovation between increasingly “smarter” technology and adequately stringent privacy measures. In presenting the data, Edward Reilly, global CEO of Strategic Communications at FTI Consulting, highlighted a key finding of a “negative gut reaction to big data” among 1000 respondents surveyed between May 29th and June 2nd of 2013—just 4 days before the controversial release of Edward Snowden’s report on the government’s PRISM program in The Washington Post and the Guardian.

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A New Battery

Imprint Energy, Inc. is an advanced battery technology company developing proprietary Zinc Poly™ batteries for small portable electronics, including mobile accessories, compact wireless devices, wearable technology, health and fitness monitoring, and medical devices. The Zinc Poly electrochemistry system removes longstanding limitations on the rechargeability of zinc-based batteries and offers significant volumetric energy density, form factor, cost, and processing advantages versus other rechargeable battery chemistries. Imprint Energy’s batteries are printable and patternable using low-cost manufacturing processes. The privately held company was founded in 2010 by research conducted at UC Berkeley.

droneattack2

“The bird war, the bird attack, plague-call it what you like.”

At last year’s Paris Air Show, some of the hottest aircraft were the autonomous unmanned helicopters—a few of them small enough to carry in one hand, that allow military buyers to put a camera in the sky anywhere, anytime. Manufactured by major defense contractors, and ranging in design from a single-bladed camcopter to four-bladed multicopters, these drones were being sold as the future of warfare at prices in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In May, at a different trade show, similar aircraft were once again the most buzzed-about items on display. But this wasn’t another exhibition of military hardware; instead, it was the Hobby Expo China in Beijing, where Chinese manufacturers demo their newest and coolest toys.

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