Why we need to build the stuff of science fiction: A teen reporter talks to a music technologist

TED Blog

Engineer and musician Gil Weinberg creates robots that are able to improvise. This robotic drum prosthetic can play beats no human can. Photo: Courtesy of Gil Weinberg Engineer and musician Gil Weinberg builds musical robots that improvise. This robotic drumming prosthesis can play beats no human can. Photo: Courtesy of Gil Weinberg

Gil Weinberg creates musically included robots so good they can improvise. The founder of the Music Technology program at Georgia Tech, he also creates innovative music apps and has contributed his technologies to many a band and ensemble.

Sam Roth, an 11th grader in New York City, was excited to interview Weinberg about his experience speaking at TEDYouth 2014. Below, an edited transcript of their conversation.

How did you get involved with music technology?

I was a musician first — I played piano until college. Only when I got to college did I start to get interested in computation and computer science. Then I thought that it could be an interesting idea to combine both of them. I was playing with a jazz band and, at some point…

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This Soap Ingredient Linked to Liver Tumors In Mice

TIME

Triclosan, a widely used antibacterial, is everywhere: in your cleaning supplies, soap, acne lotion, fabrics and even toothpaste. So too are the signs that it might be toxic: a 2012 study showed that triclosan impairs muscle contraction in cells, and other studies have linked it to endocrine disruption and bacterial resistance. Now, new research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that long-term use of triclosan may promote the growth of cancerous tumors in lab mice.

Mice exposed to triclosan for six months—which is the equivalent to about 18 human years—had significantly more liver fibrosis, or hardening of the tissues. “If you have a damaged cell that’s been attacked by a mutagen”—like tobacco smoke, for instance—”triclosan promotes the development of the tumor,” says co-leader of the study Robert H. Tukey, PhD, professor in the departments of chemistry and biochemistry and pharmacology at the University of California…

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6 Ways You’re Using Olive Oil Wrong

TIME

Everyone knows olive oil is great for your health and a staple of the Mediterranean diet. But even though it’s now found in most kitchens, it’s still steeped in mystery and confusion. Read on for some of the biggest mistakes people make with olive oil, and how to use it correctly.

1. You buy the “light” version to save calories

All olive oils have roughly the same amount of calories and fat (about 120 calories and 14g fat per tablespoon). “Light” refers to the color and flavor of this oil, which is highly refined to make it more neutral than other types of olive oil.

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2. You’re afraid to cook with the extra-virgin stuff.

It’s true that extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point than other types of olive oil and some other fats—that is, the temperature where oil begins to…

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5 Ways to Make Yourself Work Out When You Don’t Want To

TIME

As the days start to get shorter and the temperatures drop, you may be tempted to slack off on your workout routine. After all, it’s also no longer swimsuit season and we can hide under cozy layers! But it’s so important to keep moving and find something you not only love to do but also can do all year round.

For instance, during the spring and summer, I love to run, bike, swim, play tennis, chase my little guy all over the playground and hike with him in his baby carrier. But as winter approaches, I can fall back on my yoga practice, Pilates workouts, bundled walks, strength training, and skiing. Though, there are still some mornings when I would much rather snuggle in bed.

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Here are some motivational tricks to help you break a sweat because you’ll definitely feel better after…

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Scientists Discover Why Mosquitos Love Human Blood

TIME

Scientists have discovered the reason that mosquitos switched from feeding on animals to humans: the smell of a chemical vapor on human skin.

The chemical, called sulcatone, has a unique scent that mosquitos learned to associate with food, The Independent reports.

“It was a really good evolutionary move,” said Leslie Vosshall of Rockefeller University in New York, who led the study published in the journal Nature, “We provide the ideal lifestyle for mosquitoes. We always have water around for them to breed in, we are hairless and we live in large groups.”

Researchers found that mosquitos that still feed on animals do not respond to the presence of sulcatone, but those that prefer humans are drawn to the scent.

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