GeekSpeak for 2009-07-25

Glowing Humans and Robot Rats

We [ask for your favorite podcast|http://forums.geekspeak.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=26], cover the the week in geek news and take some calls.

Space Station Toilet Breaks Down

The crew of the shuttle Endeavour is confined to using the craft’s loo. ISS residents are using a back-up toilet in the Russian part of the station.
If repairs fail, Apollo-era urine collection bags are on hand, Nasa said.
“We don’t yet know the extent of the problem,” flight director Brian Smith told reporters, adding that the toilet troubles were “not going to be an issue” for now.

NPR: In Your Face: Big Pix, Few Pixels

New iPhones have three. Most point-and-shoot digital cameras have about 10. The Canon 5D Mark II has a ridiculous 21.1. Megapixels, that is. So imagine what 0.3 megapixels look like. (Here’s a hint: pretty terrible.) That’s what inspired Michal Daniel to use a camera of that size. While everyone else was shopping around for the highest quality camera, he was hunting for the worst.

Palm and and Apple struggling for control of Palm Pre Syncing

First, Palm made the Pre phone and made it sync with iTunes, then Apple deliberately broke that functionality with an iTunes update. Now, Palm has fixed it again by mimicking Apple’s USB vendor code and reporting Apple to the USB Implementers Forum for foul play.

Impact mark on Jupiter, 19th July 2009

Over the weekend, Jupiter was apparently struck by an unknown object, probably a comet or an asteroid. The discovery was made by Anthony Wesley in Australia, an amateur astronomer well-known in both the amateur and professional astronomy communities. The news quickly spread around the world and, for the past 72 hours, the planetary astronomy community has been filled with excitement—emails are flying, with people exchanging information about the new discovery and its development. Major observatories are canceling their scheduled observations so that they can point their telescopes at Jupiter.

Humans Glow

Cool! We all glow, not just the pregnant ones…

Researchers Unveil Whiskered Robot Rat

A team of scientists have developed an innovative robot rat which can seek out and identify objects using its whiskers. The SCRATCHbot robot will be demonstrated this week (1 July 2009) at an international workshop looking at how robots can help us examine the workings of the brain.

Air Yakiniku, Food for Thought

When the virtual restaurant Air Yakiniku appeared online last January, it became both an instant success in Japan (where else?) and one of the more curious signs of these globally lean times. The “restaurant,” a Korean barbecue, works like this: once you’re on the site, you’re given an apron to print out and wear to keep “grease” from splattering on your computer. I’m not joking. Then you’re asked to choose from slices of pork, chicken or beef, which a hand splays out on a full-screen sizzling BBQ spit. Visitors are encouraged to have (real) bowls of rice and dipping sauce on hand as they watch and listen to their beef crackle and char. A bell softly dings when the meat is cooked, a hand with chopsticks appears, and it’s time to … um … eat.

Vacuum leaks lead to more Hadron Collider delays

The restart of the Large Hadron Collider has been pushed back further, following the discovery of vacuum leaks in two sectors of the experiment.

The world’s largest particle collider is now unlikely to restart before mid-November, according to a Cern press statement. The project had been expected to start again in October.

Jupiter Has a New Black Spot

Even though it’s in the middle of a post-makeover checkout, the Hubble Space Telescope was turned toward Jupiter this week to capture a picture of the bruise left behind by a comet or asteroid – and it’s a real beaut of a shiner.

Hubble’s view, captured by its brand-new Wide Field Camera 3 on Thursday, is the sharpest visible-light image of the impact site, which was first seen by Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley on Sunday and has been changing day by day. The picture also represents Hubble’s first science observation since it was upgraded during May’s final servicing mission by the space shuttle Atlantis’ crew.

NASA Images the Moon Landing Sites for the First Time

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions’ lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon’s surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules’ locations evident.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.

Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution.

USB: Missile Launcher

The USB Missile Launcher allows you to shoot foam missiles from the comfort of your desk. Cheesy co-workers are no longer safe from your assaults.

Tilt, rotate, and fire your USB Missile Launcher using only your keyboard. Included software features sound effects. Mute them for your stealth operations.


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