Five for Friday: Let's Get Smart(er)

A weekly roundup of interesting technology, medical, and sustainability news served up in perfect conversation-starter tidbits.

This week we're channeling Olivia Newton John as we sing (mostly off-key): "Let's get smar-ar-ter, smart-ar-ter: Let's get smar-ar-ter, smart-ar-ter!"

1. From the White House - Starting with the most official news of the week, the White House announced a new policy aimed at the facilitation of automated vehicles. Also included in this fact sheet from the POTUS' office is an update on the Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge which awarded $40 million to help Columbus, OH as it becomes the country’s first city to integrate emerging technology including driverless cars. More on that here.

2. From the NYT (via the Star Tribune because we love the hometown teams) - About that announcement from the White House--it all comes down to safety. This article describes the relatively hands-off approach the federal government is taking to self-driving car regulation...for now anyway.

robot worker

3. From Tech Target - The robots have arrived and they're ready to take over 'routine digital tasks'. I for one am pretty excited. If you've ever spent more than five minutes manually cutting and pasting Excel columns, you should be, too. (I'd also be pretty jazzed if I had a coworker who looked like this guy <--.)

4. From Nanowerk - If you've ever watched TV footage of an oil spill and wondered if there isn't a better way to clean up after a disaster, rest assured smarter people have been working on it. This quick article introduces you to Ingenuity Lab, a company that's using nanotechnology to handle "complex separations" such as crude oil and water.

5. From The Hill - I think we can all agree the biggest news story of the week was #Brangelexit, so if you'd like to bring some smarter news to your weekend social engagements than the latest gossip headlines, here's a post from earlier this month that commemorates the 11-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with updates on how the city of New Orleans is recovering. Brad Pitt's Make It Right project, which built sustainable housing for those who lost their homes, is worth remembering amidst the muck being slung this week. (For the record, this is not me shilling for Team Brad, just a helpful article on the topic of sustainability.)

P.S. If you're really feeling the ONJ reference above, her amazing video is here.

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