GeekSpeak for 2010-11-20

Security Theater

Ben, Alex, Lindsey, and Miles cover the Week in Geek and airline security.

Locking Up Antimatter

FLATOW: … How were you able to capture antimatter?

Prof. HANGST: Okay. We have kind of a magnetic trap. Antihydrogen is neutral, so it has no net charge. So you can’t trap it the way we normally trap charged particles. It has a little magnetic character, like a little compass needle that flies around with the atom. So it can be deflected by very strong magnetic fields. And what we did here was we created the antihydrogen atom in the magnetic trap. So that if it was cold enough or moving slowly enough, it didn’t escape this magnetic bottle.

FLATOW: Hmm. And how many atoms were you able to capture?

Prof. HANGST: Well, in this article we reported 38 as a proof of principle. This was the first signal that we saw, so of course we report the signal as soon as it comes because we’ve been working a long time to see anything at all. So this is a proof of principle experiment, but we’re making steady progress since then.

Robot actor makes stage debut in Japan

A life-like robot called Geminoid F has taken to the stage in Japan, but is there a chance it will it take over from the “real” performers?

Geminoid F was seated for the duration of the short play and her actions were controlled from behind-the-scenes by a human.

Satan's Data Connection

Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers.

MakerBot Thing-o-matic 3D Printer

MakerBot Thing-o-matic is an affordable open source 3D printer. You get the parts and build it yourself. Its small enough to fit on your desktop, and will print from usb or thumb drive. It will print just about anything you can create a 3D image for- as long as its under 4×4×6... and as long as you want it made out of ABS plastic.

RepRap is a free desktop 3D printer

RepRap is a free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects. Since many parts of RepRap are made from plastic and RepRap can print those parts, RepRap is considered a self-replicating
machine. Almost anyone can one build given time and materials.

Windows Phone Locks-in MicroSD Cards

There has been discussion for a few weeks now about how Microsoft’s new smartphone OS handles expendable storage, with many people reporting that inserting the wrong card can reduce the OS to a crawl. Now Engadget have discovered that the Windows Phone OS makes permanent changes to a card that can prevent it from being read, written to or formatted on any other device.

John’s Phone Launched for Technophobes

Only capable of making and receiving calls, John’s Phone is dubbed the world’s simplest mobile phone, specifically designed for anti-smartphones users. It does not provide any hi-tech features. No apps. No Internet. No camera. No text messaging. All you have to do – in fact, all you can do – is call, talk and hang up.

TSA Backscatter X-ray Backlash

“Things are happening so fast that I don’t know if I should bother. But here are some links and observations.” – Bruce Schneier (well-known Security Expert) has created a blog post that summarizes many of the point and arguments AGAINST the TSA Backscatter X-ray. Schneier has been a long-term critic of “Security Theater” and measures being put in place in the name of security that don’t actually provide a significant reduction in risk.

Different Loan Offers Depending On Browser

“Capital One’s online car loan rates differ depending on which browser you use to go loan-hunting. Apparently the bank’s loan-offering robot doesn’t think much of Firefox users.”