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Do Social Tools Make Employees More Productive?

According to a recent Microsoft survey conducted by research firm Ipsos, nearly 50% of employees believe social tools make them more productive while more than 30% of companies restrict the use or undervalue them. Typical professional uses for social networks include communicating with colleagues, sharing/reviewing documents, and communicating with customers/clients. Many executives are still resisting the move to social networks because of the loss in predictability or productivity. Supporters say that deferring new innovations can cause companies to be overrun by their competitors.

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Will 3D Printed Food Help to Solve World Hunger?

Systems & Materials Research Corporation recently received a six-month $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of a universal 3D food printer. The company's creator imagines a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the Earth's 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritious meals one layer at a time, from cartridges of power and oils.

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Is Warp Speed Possible?

NASA scientists are currently working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Thanks to a loophole in the theory of relativity, a ship could theoretically travel in such a way that the universe moves around it, allowing it to reach faraway planets very quickly. Results have been inconclusive so far, but physicist Harold White says it's only a matter of time before warp speed travel is achievable.

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Can the Desktop PC Market Be Reinvigorated?

As consumers increasingly use cheaper, smaller tablets and smartphones, a recent IDC report showed that PC sales are down 14% year over year, and Apple's desktop sales are flat. PCs are still more powerful than competing computing devices, and still have a prominent role in the enterprise, but many think PC makers haven't figured out how to leverage the transition into mobile devices.

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Would You Enjoy This Kind of Tech-free Weekend?

A new summer camp, called "Camp Grounded," invites over 200 adults to take a break from technology for a weekend. The retreat, which takes place near Anderson Valley, Calif., brings people together in a "summer camp" atmosphere. The rules are: No technology use, no cell phones allowed, and no talking about work.

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Will You Use a Mobile Device to Check Your Health?

A "Smartphone Physical" debuted at the TEDMED conference in Washington D.C. this month. Using devices and attachments paired with an iPhone, patients were able to measure and record their blood pressure, lung function, weight, oxygen saturation, and eyesight. The technology, developed by medical students and biomedical engineers at Johns Hopkins University, could be used in assisted living centers, offering a convenient way for residents to provide medical data to physicians.

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Is Social Media a Valuable Healthcare Resource?

An increasing number of medical professionals are embracing social media for sharing helpful information and providing personalized patient care. HealthTap, one of the newest networks, for example, is an online hub of 1.2 million doctors who field questions from patients around the world. Some say “social” doctor/patient relationships, however, can become easily muddled. Many health institutions, too, discourage staff from “friending” patients on Facebook and other social media platforms at the risk of jeopardizing treatment as well as reputations.

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