Rasikanand Harvind

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2,400 years ago, Plato saw democracy would give rise to tyrannical leaders

Plato was not a fan of democracy. Many might consider this just a blip on the philosopher’s otherwise excellent political analysis. But his description of the “democratic man” does give pause for thought.<p>In the <i>Republic</i><i>,</i> written in 380 BC, Plato describes such the democratic man—by which he means a …

Political Science

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in 50 years — but farmers found an astonishing way to make the desert bloom again

If we are going to adapt to our changing world, it's experiments like these that will show us the way.<p>In the steep fields of Ethiopia's highlands, when rain falls on the parched, overworked land it runs downhill, carrying soil with it. Farmers commonly lose 130 tons of soil per hectare a year, …

Farming

Meet The 25-Year-Old Swedish Woman Using 3D Scanning To Make Shoes Fit Perfectly

Caroline Walerud wants you to forget your shoe size. Or, at least, to forget that number you’ve been reeling off to salespeople for years, like a U.S. 9, or a European 40. It’s likely that it isn’t quite right anyway, given the complex anatomical structure of our feet and the inconsistent sizing …

Cambridge University

Skype's Star Trek-style translator is now available to all Windows users

Microsoft has today added its Star Trek-style translator to Skype for Windows.<p>With live translation available for six voice languages (English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish) and 50 messaging languages, it’s a big step in breaking down barriers in communication.<p>Released for preview …

Language

This mind-controlled robotic arm can relay the sensation of touch

Here’s something you might have missed: the latest mind-controlled, robotic prosthetic arm can communicate the sensation of touch back to a user’s brain.<p>You read that correctly. While the whole world was foaming at the mouth over a moderately improved iPhone this week, the Washington Post reported …

Robotics

35 startups in Asia that caught our eye

Here’s our newest round-up of the featured startups on our site this week. If you have startup tips or story suggestions, feel free to email us. …