GeekSpeak for 2009-09-05

Paper Video and Snow Leopard

Snake Robots, Flash Exploits that Mozilla warns, and much more.

Snow Leopard has been Released!

This page lists all the current known software incompatibilities with Snow Leopard, so you can know what will break before you upgrade.

(Geeky Hint: To load the kernel in 64-bit, hold down the ‘6’ and ‘4’ keys on boot).

Mozilla to protect Adobe Flash users

A recent study suggests that [80% of Flash users are using a vulnerable version|http://www.h-online.com/security/80-per-cent-of-users-surf-with-vulnerable-versions-of-Flash—/news/114090], so this can only help. Unfortunately many are using Internet Explorer, which doesn’t help.

Privacy Missing from Google Books Settlement

“If Google digitizes the world’s books, how will it keep track of what you read?

“That’s one of the unanswered questions that librarians and privacy experts are grappling with as Google attempts to settle a long-running lawsuit by publishers and copyright holders and move ahead with its effort to digitize millions of books, known as the Google Books Library Project.”

This Kilogram Has A Weight-Loss Problem

“[T]he metal cylinder in Paris will be replaced by an eight-digit number. Anyone with a watt balance, and a lot of spare time, will be able to measure it for themselves.”

Tetris Helps Brain Development?

Be suspicious of articles scant on details, especially if their findings seem to make sense.

Amazon Offers to Replace Copies of Orwell Books

Good outcome, bad [DRM|Digital Rights Management].

Robots Learn to Lie

Is it important that computers and robots tell us the truth? Or should they learn to lie – like their human makers?

In an experiment performed in a Swiss laboratory, 10 robots with downward-facing sensors competed for “food” – a light-colored ring on the floor. At the other end of the space, a darker ring – “poison” – was placed. The robots earned points for how much time they spent near food as opposed to poison.

The experimenters, engineers Sara Mitri and Dario Floreano and evolutionary biologist Laurent Keller, also gave the robots the ability to talk with each other. Each robot can produce a blue light that can be seen by the others and which can give away the position of the “food” ring. Over time, the robots evolved to deceive each other about the food ring.

YouTube - swimming snake robot

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water.

Kepler May Be Able to Detect Exomoons!

In March, NASA launched its Kepler telescope with the hopes of discovering an Earth-like planet that could be hospitable to extraterrestrial life.

However, one team of scientists has gone as far to say that the orbiting telescope will likely discover habitable “exomoons” as well.

PDF Here:
http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0907/0907.3909v2.pdf

Overreaching a Warrant in Database Search Ruled Out of Bounds

“Investigators looking into steroid use by professional baseball players obtained search warrants and subpoenas for the drug tests [database] results on 10 major league players, but they took the results on 104 players.”