The greatest inventions

Plus, the first Christmas trees.
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The Futurist is your daily tech, cosmic, and science (both weird or otherwise) newsletter with articles and content curated just for you.

Civilization Trivia:

In what year was the Christmas Tree first celebrated?

Hint: Not the 1950s in a Coca-Cola ad.


(Scroll to the bottom for the answer!)

The 50 greatest innovations of 2023 | Popular Science

“We celebrate innovation. Whether it’s a new medical treatment, infrastructure project, consumer product, or big idea, they almost always spring up as the solution to a problem. Some honorees address age-old annoyances while others speak to larger and even existential issues that profoundly affect people around the globe. This year, we’ve selected honorees that exemplify this desire to improve people’s lives.”

Give yourself a break with Constant Contact [Partner]

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Facebook researchers test AI's intelligence and find it is unfortunately quite stupid | The Byte

“A team of researchers at Facebook's parent company Meta has come up with a new benchmark to gauge the abilities of AI assistants like OpenAI's large language model GPT-4. And judging by current standards, OpenAI's current crop of AI models are all... still pretty stupid. ”

Microsoft Paint gets a must-try generative AI upgrade with DALL-E 3 integration | XDA Developers

“Microsoft has been stepping up its AI game in recent weeks. It has only just implemented Copilot within Windows 10 and then confirmed that the Copilot AI assistant will eventually run on GPT-4 Turbo. Now, Windows 11 users can generate DALL-E 3 AI-generated art within Microsoft Paint without any third-party tools.”


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Google switches on first-of-its-kind advanced geothermal project | New Atlas

“Google has announced that its innovative advanced geothermal plant in Nevada is now operational and connected to the grid, pioneering an approach that promises to unlock clean, always-on geothermal energy across a much larger range of locations. Where most geothermal projects need to seek out areas where highly-fractured, highly-permeable hot rocks are easy to get to, the Nevada plant, built in partnership with [geothermal energy partnership] Fervo, is a pilot to prove a technique borrowed from the oil and gas industry.”

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The answer: The mid-1500s in Germany

The answer: The mid-1500s in Germany

According to the The German Way website: “The German religious reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) is often credited with starting the Christmas tree custom, but the first appearance of a Tannenbaum was recorded in Germany many years after Luther’s death. It was in 1605 in Strasbourg in Alsace, then in Germany, that a chronicler wrote (in old German): ‘Auff Weihenachten richtett man Dahnnenbäum zu Strasburg in den Stuben auff…’ (‘At Christmas they set up Christmas trees in Strasbourg in their rooms…’). But it is likely that the custom dates back to at least around 1550, since the first of several Tannenbaum ballads was circulating in print at that time.”