Future Tech stories

 
With another year come and gone, things aren't looking any better for the U.S. Postal Service. The beloved bearer of pre-approved credit cards and last minute birthday gifts purchased on the Internet is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. There are various factors contributing to this centuries-old institution's decline, but the portliest albatross around the agency's neck is the precipitous decline in demand for first-class postage due to the faster and cheaper nature of electronic communication. This damning technology-fueled obsolescence only promises to accelerate. Engineers and basement tinkerers are tirelessly exploring the wild nerdish frontiers of 3D printing, and should we ever perfect a true Star Trek-esque transporter (which is not a completely nutso concept BTW), there will be zero need for any form of parcel service, public or private. But the lowly post office isn't the only government function on the verge of a tech-laden death knell. This century may render a number of traditional governmental roles wholly obsolete. Some of these moribund functions are obvious, while some may seem surprising. But they are coming. Here's a short list of public institutions that will be completely outmoded by the time today's preschoolers hit retirement — if not much sooner. (Note: we're looking at this trend in the scope of the U.S. system, but international readers will find parallels — this is a global thang).
 
On Saturday, November 19, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will welcome a new special exhibit to its halls, titled "Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration." Before you read any further, you should know this isn't just any ordinary space exhibit. Beyond Planet Earth isn't a collection of relics from the space race and a history of America's efforts to explore the vastness surrounding Earth. It's got that, sure, but what the exhibit is really about is where we're going: both in the near-term, and as far out as 500 years from now. More than that, it's either the first — or certainly one of the few — major exhibits that presents space exploration as a global effort, and one that will become more international as humanity reaches out into the stars. Beyond Planet Earth doesn't brush NASA under the carpet by any means, but the exploration of space is a human endeavor, and one that's adding new nations and corporations to its roster all the time. Read on to find out what you can expect to see beyond the cradle.
 
In what the brains at Duke University are calling the "first-ever demonstration of a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body," two monkeys have been wired up with implants that let them "move and feel virtual objects." This could mean big things for medicine, entertainment and VR anime holodecks.

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