GeekSpeak for 2009-12-12

Confirmation Bias

Professor Dominic Massaro joins the Geeks to speak about how human beings are “hard wired” to confirm their biases. And what you can do about it to understand the world better.

Saturn moon mutated by red matter

Why is Saturn’s moon Iapetus so weird?
Well, everything about Saturn and its moons is weird. But the 1500 km (900 mile) wide moon Iapetus may win the prize for the most bizarro. It has a weird equator-ringing ridge that may have formed when the moon solidified and shrank. It’s walnut shaped! It’s got several whopping huge impact basins on it.
But the really odd thing is that the two hemispheres of the moon are so wildly different in color:

Norway spiral video

A videotape of a strange spiraling cloud captured over Norway at dawn on Wednesday morning has had the Internet all atwitter (literally) with speculation as to its causes – everything from space aliens arriving to celebrate Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize award, to clandestine aviation tests.

Amazon lets shoppers pay with a phrase

A simple phrase and pin code may be all you need the next time you pay for that book or CD at Amazon.

The online retailer on Thursday debuted a new feature called Amazon PayPhrase, designed to let busy shoppers store their name, address, and payment information in a single phrase and pin code. Instead of entering all that data at the online checkout counter, you type your phrase and pin number when it’s time to cough up the cash.

Self-Destructing Bacteria Could Be the Key to Better Biofuels

“Researchers at Arizona State University have genetically engineered cyanobacteria that dissolve from the inside out, making it easy to access the high-energy fats and biofuel byproducts located within. The development could be tremendously beneficial for fuel production, since cyanobacteria are photosynthetic microbes (AKA pond scum) that have a higher yield potential than most biofuels currently being used.”

Men, Women and IQ

“Are men smarter than women? No. But they sure think they are. An analysis of some 30 studies by British researcher Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology at University College London, shows that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ. But women, it seems, underestimate their own candlepower (and that of women in general), while men overestimate theirs.”

Fiberevolution: Is the 'Bandwidth Hog' a Myth?

“With the debate on net neutrality in full swing in the US, we’ve been hearing about Bandwidth Hogs again. ‘Bandwidth Hog’ is a sound bite that conveys a strong emotion: you can virtually see the fat pig chomping on the bandwidth, pushing back all the other animals in the barnyard with his fat pig shoulders all the while scrutinizing with his shiny piggy eyes to see if the farmer isn’t around…”


Todays teaser comic is by Ben Jaffe and [Yachin “Bonny” You|http://www.yachinyou.com]