GeekSpeak for 2013-04-27

IKEA Robot Tweets Private Eyes

Hacking Twitter, Geek Entertainment news, robots and artificial intelligence, Geek Word of the Week and much much more with Bonnie, Lyle, and Ben.

Entoptic Phenomenon

Really cool stuff that Ben was obsessing about!

Caller Don had heard that Entoptic images might have influenced some of the more geometric images in the Lascaux caves

Data Science of the Facebook World

“More than a million people have now used our Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook. And as part of our latest update, in addition to collecting some anonymized statistics, we launched a Data Donor program that allows people to contribute detailed data to us for research purposes.
“A few weeks ago we decided to start analyzing all this data. And I have to say that if nothing else it’s been a terrific example of the power of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language for doing data science. (It’ll also be good fodder for the Data Science course I’m starting to create.)
“We’d always planned to use the data we collect to enhance our Personal Analytics system. But I couldn’t resist also trying to do some basic science with it.”

Geek Bit: The Sun

Three years of solar activity in four minutes!

Geek Bit: The Moon

NASA put together this incredibly compelling video showing the Moon’s motion over 2013, where each frame of the video is one hour of time! It’s mesmerizing.”

CBS Twitter accounts hacked by 'pro-Damascus group'

The Twitter accounts for two CBS news programmes in the US have been suspended after being hacked.

Stocks Finish Near Session Highs After Brief Plunge on 'Bogus' AP Tweet; Dow Soars 150

Stocks took a steep plunge following a false AP tweet that indicated that the White House had been the victim of an explosion and that President Obama had been injured. The AP confirmed its Twitter account was hacked and the spokesman said the tweet was “bogus.” The Twitter account was suspended shortly after the fake tweet.

Disney Will Release a New STAR WARS Film Every Year Starting in 2015

Get ready for a whole lot of Star Wars, folks. Disney took the stage today for its presentation at CinemaCon—a convention for theater owners—in Las Vegas, and the studio made the bold announcement that it is planning on releasing a new Star Wars film into theaters every summer starting with 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII. The studio will alternate every other year with an “Episode” film and a standalone film, and based on previous rumors there certainly won’t be a lack of characters for them to mine.

Antares Rocket Launched Successfully

A new commercial U.S. rocket soared into the Virginia sky Sunday (April 21) on a debut flight that paves the way for eventual cargo flights to the International Space Station for NASA.

The third try was the charm for the private Antares rocket, which launched into space from a new pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, its twin engines roaring to life at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) to carry a mock cargo ship out over the Atlantic Ocean and into orbit. The successful liftoff came after two delays caused by a minor mechanical glitch and bad weather.

Futurama Cancelled Again

Comedy Central has decided not to renew Futurama, which means that the 31st-century-set animated comedy will end its 140-episode run on Sept. 4. The final 13 episodes, which represent the second half of season 7, begin airing on June 19 at 10 p.m.

Some Windows XP users just can't afford to upgrade

The problem wasn’t getting a new PC, she could swing that. The problem was that the specialty software she uses that had been upgraded for Windows 7 required an upgrade fee of close to $10,000. Something tells me 15% off Windows 8 will not make up the difference for that cost.

Voice-activated texting while driving no safer than typing

It’s every bit as dangerous to speak into a mobile device that translates words into a text message as it is to type one.

“It didn’t really matter which texting method you were using, your reaction times were twice as slow and your eyes were on the road much less often,” said Christine Yager, who did the research for the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Teachable robot helps assemble IKEA furniture

The IIT group has developed a robot whose purpose in life is to help a person build an IKEA table. Rather than having the main surface of the table attached to a bench with a precise position and orientation, the robot is going to hold the table in midair while the person screws in one of the table legs.

CISPA may already be dead in the Senate

Experts and sources with knowledge of the situation say the most controversial Internet bill of the year, the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), is already dead in the water.

That’s good news for the millions worldwide who have formally registered their opposition to the bill. Designed to help the U.S. fight online attacks, CISPA would make it easier for corporations that are hacked to pass what they know to government agencies—including, critics say, swaths of your private information that would otherwise be protected by law.

But though CISPA resoundingly passed the House of Representatives April 18, “it is extremely unlikely for the Senate” to vote on the bill," the ACLU’s Michelle Richardson told the Daily Dot.

Saying Privacy Is 'Off the Table,' NYC Police Commissioner Demands More Surveillance Cameras

From the Department of Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste comes word that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks that now is a great time to install even more surveillance cameras hither and yon around the Big Apple. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaev brothers were famously captured on security camera footage and thereby identified. That just may soften up Americans to the idea of the all-seeing glass eye. “I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table,” Kelly gloats.

LivingSocial Hacked

LivingSocial, the daily deals site owned in part by Amazon, has suffered a massive cyber attack on its computer systems, which an email from CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy — just sent to employees and obtained by AllThingsD.com — said resulted in “unauthorized access to some customer data from our servers.”
The breach has impacted 50 million customers of the Washington, D.C.-based company, who will now be required to reset their passwords. All of LivingSocial’s countries across the world appear to have been affected, except in Thailand, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines, as LivingSocial units Ticketmonster and Ensogo there were on separate systems.
One positive note in a not-so-positive situation: The email sent to employees and customers noted that neither customer credit card nor merchant financial information was accessed in the cyber attack.

Private Asteroid-Mining Project Launching Tiny Satellites in 2014

A billionaire-backed asteroid-mining company aims to start putting its big plans into action soon, launching its first hardware into space by this time next year.
Planetary Resources, which counts Google execs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt among its investors, plans to loft a set of tiny “cubesats” to Earth orbit in early 2014, to test out gear for its first line of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft.

Don suggests that