GeekSpeak for 2012-09-08

Supporting women in open technology and culture

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We are joined by Valerie Aurora, executive director of The Ada Initiative an organization aimed at “Supporting women in open technology and culture.”

Valerie’s recent article DEFCON: Why conference harassment matters is a call to action for the Geek community!

In the first half of the show we will cover GeekNews.

DEFCON: Why conference harassment matters

This weekend was DEFCON 20, the largest and most famous hacker conference in the world. I didn’t go to DEFCON because I’m a woman, and I don’t like it when strangers grab my crotch.

THATCamp Feminisms West

The Humanities and Technology Camp- March 15-17 | Claremont, CA, USA

THATCamp is an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot.

Star Trek News!

TrekMovie has an update on our earlier story regarding the title for the Star Trek sequel We can now confirm the title that has been chosen by JJ Abrams and Paramount for the 2013 movie.

Also, Michael Dorn is considering doing a new Star Trek series. Check out this interview!

Shuttle Endeavour's final flight itinerary revealed


Before the space shuttle Endeavour glides into retirement at the California Science Center, the spacecraft will take one last spin in the air, flying over a good chunk of California.

Amazon Debuts Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD


Amazon used a Sept. 6 event in California to debut a range of products, including a frontlit Kindle e-reader with a higher-resolution screen, an updated Kindle Fire, and the new Kindle Fire HD in two screen sizes.

GeekBit: How to Keep a Riderless Bike From Crashing

Researchers assumed that two mechanisms kept a riderless bike upright. First is the “caster effect,” which relies on the position of the front wheel relative to the steering axis—the imaginary line that extends from the front forks downward. On most bikes, the front wheel meets the ground just behind this axis, so it tends to center itself like the casters on a shopping cart. The other mechanism is known as gyroscopic precession: Because the front wheel is spinning forward, any tilt to the left or right creates a force that will steer the bike in that direction, pulling it out of the fall.

To show that neither of these mechanisms is in fact crucial, engineer Andy Ruina of Cornell University and colleagues used a computer to design a bicycle that excludes both mechanisms. Unlike a normal bike, the front wheel of their vehicle lies in front of the steering axis, so the caster effect can’t operate. On top of that, both front and back wheels are connected to duplicate wheels spinning in the opposite direction, so any gyroscopic precession is canceled out.

Geek Feminism Wiki

Our guest, Valerie Aurora, suggested using the Geek Feminism Wiki to inform the success of adopting the Ada Initiative’s Conference Policie Suggestion

A resource for and about women in geek communities.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Accuses UK Government of "Draconian Internet Snooping"

According to British daily The Telegraph, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that plans to monitor individuals’ use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom. The plans, by Home Secretary Theresa May, would force British ISPs and other service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain. Sir Tim has told the Times: ‘In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that.’ Sir Tim has also warned that the UK may wind up slipping down the list of countries with the most Internet freedom, if the proposed data-snooping laws pass parliament. The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet.

Jimmy Wales threatens to encrypt Wikipedia if UK passes snooping bill

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has joined the opposition to the Communications Data Bill that was proposed by the UK government earlier this year. Civil rights groups have raised the alarm about provisions that could require British ISPs to keep records of every website their customers visit for 12 months. Now Wales is threatening to enable encryption on Wikipedia for UK Web users to protect their privacy.

Wood Pulp Extract Stronger Than Carbon Fiber Or Kevlar

The Forest Products Laboratory of the US Forest Service has opened a US$1.7 million pilot plant for the production of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from wood by-products materials such as wood chips and sawdust. Prepared properly, CNCs are stronger and stiffer than Kevlar or carbon fibers, so that putting CNC into composite materials results in high strength, low weight products. In addition, the cost of CNCs is less than ten percent of the cost of Kevlar fiber or carbon fiber. These qualities have attracted the interest of the military for use in lightweight armor and ballistic glass (CNCs are transparent), as well as companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, and medical industries.
- Zothecula

Robotic Cheetah Runs Faster Than Usain Bolt

DARPA’s robotic cheetah has now surpassed the human land speed record, running as fast as 28.3 mph, faster than the fastest known human, Usain Bolt.
Planetsave (http://s.tt/1mOiJ)