GeekSpeak for 2009-03-07

Pluto Emotions, Star Trek Geekery and More

The new Star Trek movie trailer, people still talking about Pluto and more GeekNews.

Some People Can't Let Things Go. Pluto is not a planet.

Sorry for the informal title, but this new item is just plain goofy. The Illinois Senate has decided to promote Pluto back to being a planet. There are several things wrong with this:

1. Pluto does not fall under the new definition of a planet. Whether we think it is fair, or unfair, it’s the way it is. So sayeth the IAU (International Astronomical Union)

2. Who says the senate of Illinois has any authority to make such a claim? Oh yes, that’s right. Nobody!

Not to mention, the resolution is subjective, and states incorrect facts. Namely, many Americans have discovered planets, contrary to the resolution’s claim.

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StarTrek: Star Trek Fragrances

Star Trek colognes and perfume based on the original 1960s television show. In our latest look at Trek’s big Spring Collection, TrekMovie has all the exclusive first details and images on this unique addition to the pantheon of Star Trek merchandise.

Dog bubble toy lets you blow bacon bubbles

Bubble Buddy ™
The original Scented Bubble Blowing Dog Toy fordogs! Includes one 4 fluid ounce bottle of Sizzlin ’Bacon scented bubbles for hours of chompin ’fun.
Easy to use for kids and adults, simply pull on thetrigger operated air-bellows mechanism and watch
the bubbles stream out. This dog bubble toy let’s
you blow bacon bubbles for your dog to fetch!

Robot Programmed to Love Goes too Far

“Despite our initial enthusiasm, it has become clear that Kenji’s impulses and behavior are not entirely rational or genuine,” conceded Dr. Takahashi.

Ever since that incident, each time Kenji is re-activated, he instantaneously bonds with the first technician to meet his gaze and rushes to embrace them with his two 100kg hydraulic arms. It doesn’t help that Kenji uses only pre-recorded dog and cat noises to communicate and is able to vocalize his love through a 20 watt speaker in his chest.

Kepler Mission

Friday, 3/6/09, NASA successfully launched the Kepler mission. From their website:

“The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.

Results from this mission will allow us to place our solar system within the continuum of planetary systems in the Galaxy."

Previously discovered planets have been too large and/or far from their suns to contain liquid water. Many of planets that will be discovered by this mission will be smaller and closer to their suns; the discovery of these planets will be the first step (the first of many) toward discovering life on other worlds.

What’s a Hulu? The Origins of 8 High-Tech Names

You know the names, but do you know where those names came from? Here are the stories behind the naming of TiVo, BlackBerry and more – including what they were almost called.

StarTrek: Klingon Keyboard: for serious Trekkies

Are you one of the biggest nerds in the world? If so, you probably know the fake Klingon language from Star Trek. And maybe you want to write things in this fake tongue. But here you are stuck with a stupid English keyboard. What to do? Buy a keyboard with Klingon symbols on it, that’s what!

StarTrek: Command Chair, feel like Captain Kirk

Feeling powerless? Escape to the captain’s chair from the Star Trek original series, and start barking out orders and making dramatic pronouncements as your family rolls their eyes. Just don’t let the missus see that credit card bill when it zips over $1000 out of your cash hoard at a speed exceeding warp nine. Start carrying around a Star Trek communicator when you’re away from home, and your apparent insanity will have come full circle.

StarTrek: Record Set for Watching Star Trek

Piscataway, NJ 9 Feb. 2009 Staff. Richard Perkins never though he would set any records, but this local student has reached a milestone few others could conceive of: a cumulative 27293 minutes of Star Trek in less than three weeks.

Armed with nothing more than a library card, a freezer full of prepared meals and a non-functioning cellphone, Perkins began with classic Star Trek and moved in ascending order through Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. “I lost a bet a little while ago with some buddies, and since I didn’t have class for a while, I decided to go for it,” Perkins remarked.

Bionic eye gives blind man sight

A man who lost his sight 30 years ago says he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye.

Ron, 73, had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London’s Moorfield’s eye hospital.

He says he can now follow white lines on the road, and even sort socks, using the bionic eye, known as Argus II.

State of Colorado Calls Firefox Insecure, IE6 Safe

“The State of Colorado’s Office of Technology (OIT) has set up a work skills website. The problem is that the site says ‘DO NOT use FIREFOX or other Browsers besides IE. It has been decided that Mozilla based, non-IE browsers pose a security risk.’ (Original emphasis from site.) If the leading IT agency for the State is making these uneducated claims, should the people worry about their other decisions?”

PDF Vulnerability Now Exploitable With No Clicking

“With Adobe’s patch for the current PDF vulnerability still some time away, news has emerged of more techniques that are available to exploit the vulnerability, this time without needing the victim to actually open a malicious file.”

Microsoft confirms IE8 kill switch in Windows 7

“Microsoft has confirmed that users will be able to remove its IE8 browser, as well as several other integrated applications, from Windows 7.”

Diebold Election Audit Logs Defective

“Premier Election Solutions’ (formerly Diebold) GEMS 1.18.19 election software audit logs don’t record the deletion of ballots, don’t always record correct dates, and can be deleted by the operator, either accidentally or intentionally. The California Secretary of State’s office has just released a report about the situation (PDF) in the November 2008 election in Humboldt County, California.”

Solar Panel Drops to $1 per Watt

“Is this a milestone or the bottom for silicon-based panels?” The problem being that these cheap panels rely on relatively rare materials that can’t scale to the levels we need to put some on everyone’s roof. Where do we go from here?


Corrections: Our planets are named after the Roman gods.

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