GeekSpeak for 2009-03-14

Pi, Polka, Cheese, and David Merrill

[David Merrill|] joins the Geeks to chat about different forms of interacting with computers. We all know about the keyboard and mouse, but the future is wide open – hey even the now is fairly amazing.

Satellite debris passes by space station

The crew of the international space station had a close call with a spent satellite engine in Earth orbit Thursday, forcing the crew to take shelter aboard its return capsule before the object passed harmlessly, NASA said.

Chinese Government Forcing Online Gamers to Use Real Names | Gam

According to brief report in People’s Daily Online, China’s notoriously Internet-repressive government will begin requiring online gamers to register using their real names.

LiveJournal Break Ins

This is good advice for any type of online account where people use Hotmail.

Keeping Your Journal Safe
Recently some journals and communities have been broken into, their contents deleted, and their owners locked out. We want to explain how this can happen and give you some steps you can take to help prevent this from happening to your journal or community.

First of all, we would like to dispel the rumor that these break-ins have something to do with the accounts that have recently been friending large numbers of users (sometimes called friending bots). We do not believe these are related. The problem appears to stem from Hotmail’s policy of recycling inactive email addresses.

The recent break-ins resulted from hijackers finding and accessing lapsed Hotmail accounts that were used with LiveJournal accounts and publicly displayed on Profile pages in the past. You should be aware that Hotmail recycles email addresses that haven’t been used in more than a year. If you validated a Hotmail address for your journal and displayed it publicly in the past, but then let the address lapse, someone who finds and re-registers that address can use it to obtain control of the journal.

Next major search breakthrough

Stephen Wolfram has a track record of scientific breakthroughs and some controversy. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Caltech in 1979 when he was 20 and has focused most of his career on probing complex systems. In 1988 he launched Mathematica, powerful computational software that has become the gold standard in its field.

In May, Wolfram will unveil his latest creation, now called Wolfram Alpha. It applies his work with Mathematica and NKS (A New Kind of Science) to Web search. “All one needs to be able to do is to take questions people ask in natural language, and represent them in a precise form that fits into the computations one can do,”

National Pi Day?

Congress passed the legislation Wednesday. It’s official! Counting down to 3/14 1:59pm (3.14159).

American Adults Flunk Basic Science

This recent survey suggests that we still have a long way to go, unfortunately. Most do not know how long it takes for the Earth to go around the sun?

Computers Call the Shots for L.A. County Children

Reducing bias or sacrificing human judgment in the child welfare arena? So far, the decisions made by the algorithm are actually pretty close to what humans would make. Human review hasn’t been removed altogether though.

FFmpeg Finally Releases Long-Awaited Version 0.5

After many years of release-free development, FFmpeg, the most widely used audio and video codec library, has finally returned to a regular release schedule with the long-awaited version 0.5

! Links from David

! DIY technology sources

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