Skip to main content
Move the World.

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Ideas, where we share with you the coolest stories we’ve shared amongst ourselves. Our theme this week? The future is already here.

No more grocery store checkout lines: “Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically.”

A new type of propulsion is causing a stir in the physics community: “The basic idea of the EM Drive is an asymmetrical cavity where microwaves are bounced around inside. Since the microwaves are trapped inside the cavity, there is no propellent or emitted electromagnetic radiation to push the device in a particular direction, standard physics says there should be no thrust on the device. And yet, for reasons even the researchers can't explain, the EM Drive does appear to experience thrust when activated.”

Photoshop, but for your voice: “The same company that gave the world Photoshop wants to do for the human voice what it did for the human image—give people the tools to warp it in anyway they see fit. At the Adobe Max Creativity Conference, the company premiered VoCo: an audio editing suite that will allow users to make people say whatever they want just by typing.”

A new chapter for AirBNB: The renting company is making a big push into the world of experience booking. “The first batch of Airbnb Trips will include lessons from a samurai master in Japan, training with long-distance runners in Kenya, and surfing with a local pro in Malibu.”

Watch an ad, go for a ride: “Would you watch a few ads on your smartphone if it meant you got a free ride on the tram or subway? Of course you would, especially if you discovered you didn't have any change for a ticket.”  

Up Next

Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.

Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.

Social Change
Should We Legalize Gangs?
Should We Legalize Gangs?
Social Change
Should We Legalize Gangs?
Gangs are a major cause of violence and organized crime. Here’s why countries should think twice before trying to...

Gangs are a major cause of violence and organized crime. Here’s why countries should think twice before trying to smash them.

Wildfires
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
Watch Now
Wildfires
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
When facing literal hellfire, this community effort may be the only way to protect homes and lives from devastating wildfires.
Watch Now

California is burning like never before, with wildfires damaging nearly one million acres in 2018 alone. Despite the State’s best efforts, preventing forest fires doesn’t seem possible from the top down. With climate change accelerating the frequency and scale of these wildfires at an alarming rate, experts are turning to private citizens to help with forest fire prevention and control. Or as we like to say, to help fight...

Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Watch Now
Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Take a look inside a town built for foster families
Watch Now

Peppers Ranch is a community of a dozen families raising at least five foster kids. Is it a model for providing better foster care to more kids? In this episode of Catalysts, we visit Peppers Ranch and meet some of the people and families who call it home. We talk to foster child Scott, who was close to aging out of foster care but unprepared to live on his own. We also meet Tonya Ratcliff, a mother of 13 children who felt...

Innovation
Who Will Save Your Parent’s Life Story?
Who Will Save Your Parent’s Life Story?
Watch Now
Innovation
Who Will Save Your Parent’s Life Story?
When her dad had Alzheimer’s, this journalist wrote his life story to help his caregivers understand him. Now, she’d doing the same for hundreds more.
Watch Now

Memory Well is a new service where professional writers work with the elderly to tell their life stories online. It preserves their memories - and improves the care they receive in hospices and nursing homes. It started on the difficult day when MemoryWell founder Jay Newton-Small put her father into a long-term care home. She realized that the staff wouldn’t know him like she did - so, as a journalist, she wrote up his...

Dispatches
Why Don’t Vaccines Work as Well in Poor Countries?
vaccines in third world countries
Dispatches
Why Don’t Vaccines Work as Well in Poor Countries?
Our best tool for preventing disease is the least effective in the places where it's most needed.

Our best tool for preventing disease is the least effective in the places where it's most needed.

Crossing The Divide
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
Watch Now
Crossing The Divide
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
When we encounter ideas we don’t like, we often shut them down. Professor John Inazu explains why that’s a bad thing and what we can do to fix it.
Watch Now

When we encounter ideas we don’t like, we often shut them down. John Inazu, the author of Confident Pluralism and the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University School of Law, explains why that’s a bad thing and what we can do to fix it.

Wrong
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Watch Now
Wrong
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
In the heart of cold and flu season, it's natural to reach for the Vitamin C. But we may want to think twice. While...
Watch Now

In the heart of cold and flu season, it's natural to reach for the Vitamin C. But we may want to think twice. While it has ballooned into a billion dollar business and crystallized as an all-powerful supplement in our collective conscious, countless studies have showed that Vitamin C’s ability to cure is questionable at best, and may even increase your risk for certain diseases. Did we all really get Vitamin C totally...wrong?

Rise
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
Rise
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.
By Michael O'Shea

There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.