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Matt’s Favorites: Flying Bicycles, Hands-Free Texting Unsafe, Greens For Nukes, Coffee Shortages And More

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As the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is bent… so grows the economy… and human knowledge… and general coolness. Here’s the latest!

* Okay, so I haven’t yet gotten a flying car or vacations on Venus in this crummy low-tech future. (It’s oh so disappointing to those of us who grew up on The Jetsons.) But it could make up for a lot if I could have a flying bicycle.

* Well, so much for voice commands, at least at their current level of technology: Using voice commands to send text messages and emails from behind the wheel, which is marketed as a safer alternative for drivers, actually is more distracting and dangerous than simply talking on a cellphone, a new AAA study found.

* Dear God, no: A disease called coffee rust has reached epidemic proportions in Central America, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers and the morning pick-me-up of millions of coffee drinkers. Coffee shortages loom.

* You might think any self-respecting greenie would be dead-set against nuclear power. Well, wrong again, Bob. A new movement calls for nukes as the only way to keep the lights on without climate change.

* At a time when life as we know it was just getting its start on Earth, Martian clay may have harbored a key component for one of life’s molecular building blocks, researchers say. Boron found in a Martian meteorite suggests the Red Planet may once have had the right chemistry to give rise to RNA, according to a new study.

* It’s a video game more than seven years in the making. Square Enix revealed Monday during Sony’s presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that “Final Fantasy XV” would finally see the light of day. The latest entry in the long-running role-playing series was previously known as “Final Fantasy Versus XIII” and it was first revealed at E3 way back in 2006.

* Also from E3, It’s all about the games for Nintendo. Instead of a typical flashy presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the Japanese gaming giant opted to showcase several games for its Wii U system during a brief Tuesday presentation at its booth on the show floor of the gaming industry’s annual trade show.

* Facebook has added support for hashtags, fixing a broken link that prevented its 1.11 billion members from associating themselves with celeb gossip, breaking news, and popular memes.

* In the Flopped Technologies Dept., ESPN is dropping its 3D channel to concentrate on other new technologies, like 4K TV.

* Here’s what happens when Photoshop skills meet Apple’s wierdly redesigned professional desktop. Ready to play Whack a Mac Mole?

* You’ve probably not been the same since you saw the latest Apple ad. It’s helped you understand your indispensable place in the world, your iPhone’s indispensable place in your life, and Apple’s indispensable place in American business. For those who didn’t quite get it, the folks at Funny or Die thought they’d rewrite the voiceover to make things a touch clearer: “You may never find a boyfriend, but you don’t need one. You’ve got a phone,” soothes the voice.

* The Large Hadron Collider is a monumentally awesome machine, and has given us tentative confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle.” Now scientists hope to follow that with a new accelerator that could explain what makes up 95 percent of the universe. At three ceremonies around the world Wednesday, researchers hailed blueprints for the International Linear Collider (ILC), a 19-mile-long smasher that might help solve the riddle of dark matter and dark energy

* Hey, U.S. Navy, could you keep it down? You don’t have to shout. The Navy gets with the times and drops its requirement to communicate in all-capital letters.

* No, this isn’t a spaceship. It’s an undersea hotel. And of course I want to go.

* Here’s a new idea for computer memory that can be read 10,000 times faster than today’s magnetic memory.

* A nifty idea for the future of aviation: Modular multipurpose passenger compartments that can be placed on rail cars and picked up by airplanes at the airport.

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