GeekSpeak for 2009-09-12

Evolution of Facebook Battery Algae

The geeks cover a gaggle of news items, and take calls with questions and comments about technology.

How Much is Your Online Identity Worth?

Ever wondered how much your online identity is worth to a cybercriminal? A new tool from Symantec Corp. will perform the calculation for you.

The Norton Online Risk Calculator, unveiled within a microsite to coincide with the launch of Norton 2010, calculates your net worth on the black market by asking a few questions about your personal Internet use.

It takes a few minutes to answer the questions, after which you get three results: how much your online assets are worth, how much your online identity would sell for on the black market, and your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Pear that looks like a baby buddha

A Chinese farmer has invented baby-shaped pears – and he is planning to export his novel idea over here.

Plucky farmer Gao Xianzhang has created 10,000 of the mini marvels this season and he plans to take the fruits of his labour to the UK and Europe.

Britain could soon see the arrival of the pears, which are shaped like mini buddhas.

If the idea catches on, sales of the mini pears could hit the profits of British farmers who are already struggling to fend off sales of cheaper foreign produce in recession-hit Britain.

Obama Tells Kids to be Wary of Facebook

“Be careful what you post on Facebook. Whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life.”

Google Enlarges Their Search Box

I just thought I was crazy when I noticed a perceptual difference when searching with Google. Turns out, thousands of others were thinking the same thing!

Feds to Let Citizens Log In With Yahoo, Google, Paypal Accounts

“Under the new program, which will go into effect in the coming weeks, people will be able to sign in, request information, participate in forums and build user profiles on the government’s websites without having to set up a new user account. Anyone will be able to interact with the government sites using credentials provided to them by Yahoo, Google, AOL, VeriSign or PayPal, among others.”

Hubble Is Back Online!

The Hubble Space Telescope is finally back online, and returning absolutely beautiful imagery.

Space Shuttle Discovery lands in California

Detoured by bad weather in Florida, the shuttle Discovery dropped out of orbit and swooped to a flawless California landing Friday to close out a successful space station resupply mission.
Shuttle commander Frederick “C.J.” Sturckow and pilot Kevin Ford fired the shuttle’s twin braking rockets at 4:47 p.m. PDT to drop the ship out of orbit for an hour-long descent to Edwards Air Force Base.

Robot to be controlled by human brain cells

A robot controlled by human brain cells could soon be trundling around a British lab, New Scientist has learned.

Kevin Warwick and Ben Whalley at the University of Reading, UK, have already used rat brain cells to control a simple wheeled robotMovie Camera.

Facebook Lite Released: I Like It!

“As expected, Facebook is slimming down. The new ‘Lite’ version of Facebook is available for users in the United States and India, according to TechCrunch.
The new version of the site appears to be much cleaner and simpler. It appears, at a quick glance, to be a better site for Facebook newbies or for anyone who finds the current site overwhelming or noisy. It also pushes the old-school Facebook apps off a cliff, which is just as well for the newest Facebook-connected services. Try it at lite.facebook.com.”

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

“A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.”

How Much is Your Online Identity Worth?

Ever wondered how much your online identity is worth to a cybercriminal? A new tool from Symantec Corp. will perform the calculation for you.

The Norton Online Risk Calculator, unveiled within a microsite to coincide with the launch of Norton 2010, calculates your net worth on the black market by asking a few questions about your personal Internet use.

It takes a few minutes to answer the questions, after which you get three results: how much your online assets are worth, how much your online identity would sell for on the black market, and your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Algae-Based, Non-Metallic Batteries

“A group of researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have discovered that a particular type of algae — with a bad reputation for causing damaging algal blooms in oceans throughout the world — produces a substance that can be used to make inexpensive, non-toxic, simple-to-build, flexible, thin and durable batteries that, after optimization, are expected to perform on par with today’s most advanced lithium-ion batteries.”

Twitter: Your 'tweets' belong to you

“Twitter has modified the terms of service that govern the proper user of the microblogging and social-networking site to state unequivocally that messages posted belong to their authors and not to the company.”

Pear that looks like a baby buddha

A Chinese farmer has invented baby-shaped pears – and he is planning to export his novel idea over here.

Plucky farmer Gao Xianzhang has created 10,000 of the mini marvels this season and he plans to take the fruits of his labour to the UK and Europe.

Britain could soon see the arrival of the pears, which are shaped like mini buddhas.

If the idea catches on, sales of the mini pears could hit the profits of British farmers who are already struggling to fend off sales of cheaper foreign produce in recession-hit Britain.

Goodbye, DRM; hello "stealable" Digital Personal Property - Ars

“People hate [DRM|Digital Rights Management], but one [IEEE|Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers] study group has a possible fix for many of its problems: make digital content easy to steal from others. The moment that happens, consumers can be trusted with content.”

Study Shows Music Improves Health in the Long Term

Starting in April 1990, Mitrovic and colleagues had 370 patients listen to music twice a day for 12 minutes, and 370 patients listen to no music at all. [After] a seven-year follow-up period, … they did … reveal statistically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures and heart rates. They also had significantly less angina and heart failure.

Mirror touch screen computing

Electric Mirror, known for its Mirror TV, has recently gone one step ahead with the launch of “Touch” surface computing mimicking the Microsoft Surface. Touch is mainly aimed at the hospitality industry. It offers guests access to the latest news headlines and the ability to search the surrounding area for restaurants, bars and other places of interest to ramp up a hotel’s “wow” factor. Touch uses latest innovations to provide a complete solution, from project management and customer service to design-engineering, production and system integration.

Podcast of the Week: 365 Days of Astronomy

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is a project that will publish one podcast per day, for all 365 days of 2009. The podcast episodes are written, recorded and produced by people around the world.

They just won a Parsec Award!


! More about online Identity

Lyle likes [this wonderful 2005 OSCON keynote about Identity 2.0|http://identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/] .