GeekSpeak for 2009-06-27

NASA Twiddles the Knob With Imperial Units

Geeks Miles, Ben, Alex, and Lindsey talk about the week’s news including imperiled Space Shuttles and ringtones as public performances while they answer your calls and comments.

ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

[ASCAP|The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers] (the same folks [who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire|http://www.brandnamebullies.com/excerpts.html]) appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in public, you’re violating copyright law by “publicly performing” it without a license. At least that’s the import of a brief it filed in ASCAP’s court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T.

This will doubtless come as a shock to the millions of Americans who have legitimately purchased musical ringtones, contributing millions to the music industry’s bottom line. Are we each liable for statutory damages (say, $80,000) if we forget to silence our phones in a restaurant?

Blu-ray Adoption Still Sluggish, HDTV Sales Up

Poor Sony. I guess this is what happens when you try to pay off the market.

With Transparency and Data for All

The data shall set us free? We’ll see how this plays out, but the signs are encouraging.

NASA To Trigger Explosion On the Moon

NASA is preparing to launch the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which will fly a Centaur rocket booster into the moon, triggering a six-mile-high explosion that scientists hope will confirm whether water is frozen in the perpetual darkness of craters near the moon’s south pole.

Google Takes On Tourism With City Tours Experiment

City Tours is a new addition to Google Labs that puts Google squarely in the tourism business: Give it a city name, and Google not only suggests sites to see, but it also maps out a multi-day itinerary and proposes a minute-by-minute travel schedule for you to follow.

Prototype Nokia phone recharges without wires

Wireless power. And while early lab experiments have been able to “beam” electricity a few feet to power a light bulb, the day when our laptops and cell phones can charge without having to plug them in to a wall socket still seems decades in the future.

Twitter Statistics

Check it out!

Shrinking Quarters via Electromagnetic Forming

A local laboratory known as Hackerbot Labs had built a device which uses electromagnetic forming in order to shrink quarters down to the size of a dime. This device would be ideal for us to test our new highspeed video camera and other equipment, while collecting interesting data on how this device is functioning.

Wikipedia Gets Ready for a Video Upgrade

The organization behind Wikipedia is close to launching an editable online video encyclopedia to enhance the current textual one. The hope is to revolutionize the popular reference site and goad content providers—from public broadcasters to the music industry—into allowing more video to enter the public domain.

NASA Criticised for Sticking to Imperial Units

NASA’s decision to engineer its replacement for the space shuttle using imperial measurement units rather than metric could derail efforts to develop a globalised civilian space industry, says a leading light in the nascent commercial spaceflight sector.

Gay (Geek) Pride Parade in WoW

The Rough Trade Gaming Community (RTGC) is a social, ‘umbrella’ organization for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered (GLBT)/friendly gamers. They have a strong presence in several popular multiplayer games, including World of Warcraft and City of Heroes/Villains.

RTGC, along with The Spreading Taint and Stonewall Family are hosting their 5th annual Proudmoore Pride Parade Saturday June 20, 2009 in World of Warcraft.

Window damage on Atlantis

Meetings have been taking place on Wednesday into evaluating damage to the pressure pane on Atlantis’ number 5 window, after a work light knob was observed to be embedded between the pane and the dashboard panel. The damage can only be fully assessed once the knob is removed, with the threat of a six month schedule impact to STS-129 noted, should the damage prove to be unacceptable for flight.

Did Shaq Just Find Out He Was Traded On Twitter?

Another day, another weird Twitter story. Tonight the news broke that NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal was being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Huge news, but what’s humorous is that apparently Shaq found out he was traded on Twitter.

Correction: Alex said that Shaq was traded to the Arizona Suns, incorrectly. Clearly not a sports follower. He was actually traded to Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Inflatable Car

XP’s Mini Utility Vehicle prototype cuts costs and time by using 70 percent less parts and novel materials that require simpler factory devices.

San Francisco-based XP Vehicles Inc. (XP) has more than 12 years of development work invested into the Mini Utility Vehicle (MUV) electric car prototype.

Changes in technology, the current political environment, competitor blockades, regulations, oil prices and consumer demand have created a perfect storm that has poised XP’s inexpensive electric vehicle to not only become a specialty market solution, but also penetrate the market with an entirely new car company, something that has rarely happened in the past 50 years.

Goofy USB Device: USB toothbrush

Turns out they sell for about $10.50, and do indeed operate on USB power.


The geeks cover news, and take calls. Alex Sleeis and Lindsey Lonne join us!