GeekSpeak for 2012-05-12

Robutt Apocalypse

Goldilocks range around red-dwarf stars is smaller then we thought, how tides work, robot buttocks, Japan loosing population, harvest asteroids, facebook new feature that you pay for, Mayan calendar goes beyond 2012, and much more, plus calls from listeners. Steve Brenner, Ben Jaffe, and Lyle Troxell.

Tidal Heating Shrinks the Goldilocks Zone

A previously little-considered heating effect could shrink estimates of the habitable zone of the Milky Way’s most numerous class of stars — ‘M’ or red dwarfs — by up to one half, says Rory Barnes, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. That factor — gravitational heating via tides — suggests a menagerie of previously undreamt-of planets, on which tidal heating is a major source of internal heat. Barnes presented the work yesterday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division on Dynamical Astronomy in Timberline Lodge, Oregon.

Vesta Was Almost a Planet

Vesta, the second largest object in the main asteroid belt, has an iron core, a varied surface, layers of rock and possibly a magnetic field — all signs of a planet in the making, not an asteroid.

So concludes an international team of scientists treated to a virtual front row seat at Vesta for the past 10 months, courtesy of NASA’s Dawn robotic probe.

PADDing Your Kindle

Impress your friends with your Star Trek Kindle!

Advertising company settles over alleged Facebook 'likejacking'

Adscend Media, an affiliate marketing company, and managers Jeremy Bash and Fehzan Ali agreed not to spam Facebook users and pay US$100,000 in court and attorney fees, according to the settlement.

The attorney general’s office alleged in January that Adscend Media’s spamming generated up to $20 million a year.

Oldest Mayan calendar found goes way beyond Dec. 12, 2012

The hieroglyphs, painted in black and red, along with a colorful mural of a king and his mysterious attendants, seem to have been a sort of handy reference chart for court scribes in A.D. 800 — the astronomers and mathematicians of their day. Contrary to popular myth, this calendar isn’t a countdown to the end of the world in December 2012, the study researchers said.

“The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future,” said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. “Numbers we can’t even wrap our heads around.”

Facebook Highlight Promotes Status Updates for Fee

The new and aptly named ‘Highlight’ option (available to those willing to shell out a few extra bucks) guarantees that more friends and family will have time to see a status post by featuring it in the news feed section of their pages for a longer period of time.

Scientists Finally Create Robotic Buttocks - Reacts to Touch

Nobuhiro Takahashi of the University of Electro-Communications has finally given mankind the humanoid robot butt it so desperately needed. Like an uncomfortable person on the subway, it reacts to different types of human touch.