Staff picks for the week of Jan. 25, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralFrom how we think of ourselves to how we shop, eat, and apparently even how we take our latte, technology is filling gaps in our lives that we didn’t even know existed. This week’s staff picks demonstrate just how embedded in our lives technology is.

I found out my secret internal Tinder rating and now I wish I hadn’t (Read by Camillia S.)

On the surface, dating apps are a catalog of potential suitors to quickly click through to determine if you’re interested or not. It can be a great way to meet new people or just pass the time, but rarely do we think about the complex algorithms needed to make dating apps work and what all of the data really means. This article examines the complexity behind Tinder’s desirability algorithm and what desirability – different than attractiveness, according to the CEO of Tinder – means in present-day society. It’s interesting and somewhat strange that our level of desirability is dependent on a numerical figure in a dating app.

The tiny chip that could power big changes in how you shop (Read by Heidi B.)

Shopping as we know it is changing thanks to radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. The chips, which provide RFID-equipped products with their own unique identifier, are boosting both in-store and online sales of select major retailers. RFID-equipped merchandise cues nearby display screens to instantly showcase more information about the product. RFID also allows employees to quickly find certain items even if they’re not on the right shelf. Speedily finding the right items is helping online “pick up in store” sales as well, which have a tendency to be cancelled because of inaccurate or out-of-date inventory data. Tech that can help me find the last pair of jeans in my size? Count me in.

Smartphone accessory 3D-scans your food to count calories (Read by Alex H.)

If you’re anything like me, your resolve to eat healthier in the New Year has already begun to waver. Cold weather calls for comfort foods like hearty soups, grilled cheese, and hot chocolate. How bad could they be? Well, a new smartphone accessory on the horizon could mean the difference between blindly consuming calories and knowing exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. A doctoral student from the University of Washington has created a 3D scanner that attaches to your phone and scans your food, offering up its nutritional value. Taking the guesswork out of what I eat might be the end of the age-old saying “ignorance is bliss”!

Machine imprints any image onto your coffee with ridiculous detail (Read by Ed M.)

Remember when people came for miles around just to gaze upon a piece of toast that slightly resembled the silhouette of Elvis or Jesus? This new machine can bring those sightings to your local coffee shop every day.

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