GeekSpeak for 2010-03-13

Tasty Hydrophobic Explosive URLs

The Geeks cover recent news in the tech world, and ask for your donations for KUSP.

Antimatter Supernova

“…a supergiant star two hundred times bigger than the sun utterly obliterated by runaway thermonuclear reactions triggered by gamma ray-driven antimatter production.”

New Hydrophobic Surface Research

University of Florida engineers have achieved what they label in a new paper a “nearly perfect hydrophobic interface” by reproducing, on small bits of flat plastic, the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders.
“They have short hairs and longer hairs, and they vary a lot. And that is what we mimic,” said Wolfgang Sigmund, a professor of materials science and engineering.
A paper about the surface, which works equally well with hot or cold water, appears in this month’s edition of the journal Langmuir.

Fat Taste Discovered?

Australian scientists claim they’ve stumbled upon a sixth sense — but not the kind where you see dead people. No, researchers down under have found a new flavor sense: fat.

Everyone knows that fat is an excellent vehicle for food flavors and has a highly appealing mouthfeel. A new study, however, suggests that along with sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (essentially, the ability to detect protein), we can also actually taste fat itself.

Google opens the floodgates to its Apps Marketplace | DVICE

Google just announced Apps Marketplace, igniting a torrent of applications that all work online. If you have one of Google’s free-for-the-taking hosted-domain apps accounts, once you log in, you’ll be able to access all of these additional tools. There are 50 of them so far — mostly for business use — and that number is certain to grow in number and scope. With your permission, the third-party applications can access any of the data in your Google Calendar, Gmail, documents, or contacts. See the video below for a more detailed explanation.

ShadyURL - Don't just shorten your URL...

ShadyURL
Don’t just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening.

Wifi Detecting T-Shirt

This is one of those cool gizmos that you wish you’d have thought of first! You don’t have to hold your PDA or cell phone up like you’re the statue of liberty, or glare at the laptop for not being able to find a Wi-Fi signal. Now, just wear your Wi-Fi T-shirt and show everyone the status of broadband availability where you’re standing.

The signal strength of a Wi-Fi network will be displayed right on your too-cool T-shirt! The bars on the front of this awesome T-shirt glow and change as the signal changes. Don’t be surprised if you go for a walk and end up with a throng of the gadget-obsessed following behind you, looking for a hot spot!

Wear the Wi-Fi T-shirt to coffee shops and shopping malls to detect those Wi-Fi free-for-alls, or just wear it for fun. Other Internet and Wi-Fi fans are sure to notice. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

You’ve heard of shabby chic, but this awesome T-shirt is geek chic.

The FCC Wants You to Test Your Broadband Speeds

“The FCC is asking the nation’s broadband and smartphone users to use their broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nations’ telecoms.”

President Obama Discusses Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Law

“For years the entertainment industry has been lobbying for tougher measures against online piracy. In France this has resulted in the implementation of a ‘three strikes and you’re offline’ regime and many other countries are considering similar measures.”

In related news, the [[ACTA|Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement]|http://boingboing.net/2009/11/03/secret-copyright-tre.html] needs some attention as well.

Google Maps Biking Directions!

Use Google Maps to:

  • Get turn by turn biking directions
  • See trails and bike lanes directly on the map
  • Drag and drop points to customize your route

Harvard Catalyst Challenge

The medical establishment is about to get a dose of web 2.0-style medicine in the form of a crowdsourced, socially networked contest that opens the fight against Type 1 diabetes to the public at large — and to Harvard’s medical research departments — using InnoCentive’s online challenge platform for competition and collaboration.

myouterspace.com

William Shatner is putting his promotional talents to work for Myouterspace.com, a social network for sci-fi geeks, gamers, animators, writers, and actors.

Google - public data explorer

The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the data become easier to understand.

Fitbit

The Fitbit Tracker contains a motion sensor like the ones found in the Nintendo Wii. The Tracker senses your motion in three dimensions and converts this into useful information about your daily activities.

ShadyURL

Don’t just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening.

Lunar Craters May Be Electrified

Crater walls effectively block plasma streaming from the sun, leaving little electrically charged matter to cancel out static buildup from a rover on the move, an astronaut walking, or any other activity that generates friction.

Software Recognizes Sarcastic Tweets

A team from the Hebrew University, Israel, has developed an algorithm that identifies sarcastic sentences by using a machine learning technique in which a small number of sarcastic sentences act as seeds for the software to learn and generalize upon.

Seagate confirms 3TB drive

After a few weeks of rumors, Seagate’s senior product manager Barbara Craig has confirmed that “we are announcing a 3TB drive later this year,” but the move to 3TB of storage space apparently involves a lot more work than simply upping the areal density.

Google aquires AdMob - NYPOST.com

5/21 Federal Trade Commission approved Google’s $750 million dollar acquisition of AdMob. There were industry concerns that it will extend its market dominance to the wireless search arena.
That thinking was suspended when Apple announced a deal to buy rival mobile-advertising company Quattro and unveiled its service, iAd.

1000 Genomes project releases pilot data

An international consortium of specialists in genetics has announced the 1000 Genomes Project, in which at least 1,000 people from around the world will have their genomes fully sequenced as part of an effort to discover the relationship between genetics and disease. At present, over 100 regions of DNA are known to be related to illnesses, but the maps that exist are vague and are drawn from an extremely small population pool.

Google Activates Android Kill Switch

This week the engineers at Google remotely activated the so-called Android “kill switch,” a technology that allows the company to remotely remove applications installed on users’ phones. The applications in question, designed by a security expert for research purposes, were described as “practically useless.” They were not used maliciously nor did they access private data, or so says Android Security Lead Rich Cannings in a company blog post. Instead, the apps simply misrepresented their purpose to encourage downloads.

Open-Source Making Significant Traction

Open-source software is at an inflection point in the enterprise. According to a survey by an independent comapny.Accenture, more than two-thirds of organizations anticipate increasing their investment in open source this year, and almost 40% said that they expect to migrate mission-critical software to open source within the next 12 months.