Podcast Episode 23

Citizens of Tech Podcast #023 – Genetic Cassette Emulation


‘OpenEmu’ for OS X Now Supports Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1 and More


  • Eric loves emulators.

  • OpenEmu is for OS X. Big upgrade. “Free Mac OS X multi-platform retro video game emulator, has received a substantial upgrade”

  • Version 2.0.1 adds support for a ton of systems.

    • Atari 5200, 7800 and Lynx

    • Bandai WonderSwan

    • Coleco ColecoVision

    • GCE/Milton Bradley Vectrex

    • Magnavox Odyssey2/Videopac+

    • Mattel Intellivision

    • NEC TurboGrafx-CD/PC Engine-CD + PC-FX

    • Nintendo Famicom Disk System and Nintendo 64

    • Sega SG-1000 and Sega CD

    • Sony PlayStation and PSP

  • Oh yeah, it supported all of these old systems already…

    • Atari VCS/2600

    • Game Boy

    • NES

    • Genesis

    • Virtual Boy

    • MAME arcade games

    • Sega’s Saturn

    • Other platforms


Retro-tech: 2015 was an astounding year for one cassette tape factory


  • Cassettes aren’t dead. I know vinyl is hipster retro cool. But cassettes? “National Audio Company (NAC) President Steve Stepp told Ars that his Springfield, Missouri, company had been seeing a (very) healthy 20 percent year-over-year growth in demand for audiocassette tapes for several years. But 2015 was even better. As of the beginning of October, NAC reported a 31 percent increase in order volume over the previous year.”

  • As other cassette manufacturers have been going away, NAC has been buying up their gear. That’s pretty good for NAC, because no one is making new gear for cassette manufacturers. “The company has 50 to 60 different pieces of heavy machinery in reserve that it has purchased through the years. “Thirty or 40 of that we’ve cannibalized for parts,” Stepp told Ars.”

  • Who is driving demand? Indie bands. Blank cassettes. Trendy modern artists, sort of like the vinyl thing, including Metallica and The Flaming Lips.

  • Playlist, thy name is mix tape.



Ukrainian startup: We’ve solved long-range wireless charging


  • Long range wireless charging. As in, power through the air. That’s what we’re talking about here. Not simply your phone on an induction mat.

  • Of course…we’re talking 5 meters. So…uh…is that long distance really?

  • Oh and…your phone is still in a cradle.

  • So, yeah. It’s early days. How does it work, anyway?

    • Like a crystal radio. “The idea of a crystal radio is simple: with just a coil of copper wire, antenna, capacitor, crystal detector, and high-impedance earphones—and no additional power—you can listen to some radio stations, though the sound level is weak.”

    • “What XE claims to have done is build an efficient combination of a transmitter and receiver so that the power passed along could be used to charge the buffer battery.”

    • Believe it or not, the antenna is the breakthrough. They are using shortwave frequencies for the transmission, which usually requires a long wire antenna. Now they’ve got one that works, but will fit inside an iPhone case.

    • Yes, but won’t this boil my insides and cause me cancer and make my pets’ hair fall out? “Addressing the obvious safety concerns, Chuba said that the transmitter’s nominal rating power is 2.5W and its maximum output is 5W, which is safe for people and animals.”


With a historic landing, SpaceX launches new age of spaceflight



  • SpaceX sends an vehicle into space and returns it to the earth safely for reuse. “SpaceX did it. On Monday night the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket soared into space, separated from the second stage, and then made a guided flight back to a landing site in Florida. The historic flight marked the beginning of the orbital economy by promising a future of dramatically lower launch costs.”

  • So…didn’t Blue Origin get there first? Yeah. But what SpaceX did was more impressive. Far more. “However, it is worth noting that on Monday night the Falcon 9 rocket descended from about twice the altitude as the New Shepherd vehicle, and at about twice the speed, approximately Mach 7.5. It did not simply drop back to Earth from a vertical launch; rather, the Falcon 9 flew hundreds of kilometres away from the coast before turning around and flying back. By doing so it became the first orbital rocket ever to achieve such a feat, and presumably the first of many.”

  • This graph highlights the major differences between the two flights, and illustrates just how much more complex of an undertaking the SpaceX flight was.


Gene editing tech named Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year


  • Would you like to edit a genome? Well, now you can. “CRISPR is a futuristic technique that can be used to edit and manipulate the DNA of any organism—crops, livestock, and even humans. It can allow scientists to control gene expression and selectively turn genes on or off.”

  • Yeah, but isn’t it really expensive? Not so much, it seems. “CRISPR is not only remarkable for its ability to manipulate the DNA of a targeted organism, it is also remarkable because it is an extremely inexpensive and relatively easy technique to use. In terms of the resources it requires, it could be implemented in almost any microbiology lab worldwide.”

  • So, let’s edit out all the bad things and make humans live forever and stuff! Not so fast. “The most contentious use of CRISPR is its application to humans. CRISPR could provide a potential solution for many diseases that are genetically inherited, but researchers would need to consider the ethical implications of genetically altering patients. They would also need to consider the ethical implications of failing to use genetic modification if it has the potential to save a life.”



Oculus Rift. You didn’t think it would be cheap, did you?



  • Cost of headset.

  • Cost of hardware that can render pixels.

  • Estimated that less than 15% of existing PC configurations can run this.

  • Really, you want specially designed games.


Today I Learned

Why are there no commercial flights that fly over Antarctica?


  1. Geography. It’s just not the shortest path.

  2. ETOPS rules. ETOPS governs how far certain planes can travel considering the number of engines they have. Two engine plane – no go to Antarctica. Four engine plane – yeah, that would work…if there were somewhere in Antarctica that enough people to fill a four engine plane would need to go.

  3. If you want to fly that far south, you gotta prepare the plane extra special. There are rules. For example, special survival equipment for planes going below 72 degrees latitude.




And that wraps up Episode 23 of Citizens of Tech. You can follow the show @citizensoftech on Twitter and find us on Facebook. Also visit citizensoftech.com for this and all our prior episodes. And just remember, if you were abandoned on a desert planet as a child, they are totally not coming back for you. Suck it up, kid.

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