GeekSpeak for 2013-06-29

Duck Implants Flashlight, Altavista Stops Searching for Exoplanets

The geeks discuss a wide variety of silly things, including habitable-zone exoplanets, hand-heat-powered flashlights, Google Reader and Altavista going away, electric car speed records, a 3D-printed duck foot, and surgically implanted magnets.

Thoughts From Readers on Replacing Google Reader

There are a lot of RSS aggregators. In the poll, the clear winner of the small list of options we could squeeze into the list was Feedly; in fact, it was the only replacement option to break into a double-digit percentage, tied with the catch-all “other alternative” choice.

Surgically Implanted Headphones

Headphones can be so easy to lose — but not when you have them implanted in your ears.
That’s what Rich Lee decided to do. Inspired by an Instructables tutorial on how to make invisible headphones using magnets and a coil necklace with an attached amplifier, the 34-year-old entrepreneur went a step further and implanted one such headphone in each ear.

Drayson Racing electric car sets new world speed record

Its Lola B12 69/EV vehicle hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h) at a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire.

Chief executive Lord Drayson, who was behind the wheel, said the achievement was designed to highlight electronic vehicle technology’s potential.

The previous 175mph record was set by Battery Box General Electric in 1974.

Teenager designs hand heat-powered flashlight

St. Michaels University School student Ann Makosinski has been named one of 15 finalists in Google’s global science fair for a project that created a flashlight that runs on the heat of a human hand.

Buttercup the Duck Gets 3D Printed Foot

Buttercup the duck was born with a backwards left foot.
Owner Mike Garey decided not only to amputate Buttercup’s foot (Garey says it would be too painful and prone to infections), but also to design a replacement foot as well.
Garey used Buttercup’s sister Minnie’s left foot as the basis for the design of Buttercup’s new foot, which he modeled using 3D software. Once the artificial mold was designed, Garey sent the design to a 3D-printing company called NovaCopy, who printed out and donated a three-dimensional mold of the foot.

Yahoo Puts AltaVista To Death

“Remember AltaVista from the late ’90s? Yahoo is finally pulling life support and letting Altavista die a noble death after over 15 years of hard service.”

The Homer Car

In the 1991 Season 2, Episode 15 of The Simpsons, Homer came up with an idea for a new carhe called “The Homer.” Well, it took more than two decades for the engineers at Porcubimmer Motors to turn the idea into reality, but you can’t rush a car that’s “powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball.”

Behold, The Homer:

Apple proposes combined-input port for space-deprived devices

People who use their computers on the go know the limitations: A superslim lightweight laptop is convenient for all those work-in-transit times in cafes, airports, train stations, and conference halls but there is not much port space. Now a newly published patent application from Apple proposes a solution: the two in one port. In the patent published this month, from Changsoo Jang of Apple, a “Combined Input Port” is discussed, where two different interfaces could be in one port.

3 Habitable Super-Earths Orbiting Nearby Star

Gliese 667C is a well-studied star lying only 22 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius, but it appears to have been hiding a pretty significant secret. The star has at least six exoplanets in orbit, three of which orbit within the star’s “habitable zone” — the region surrounding a star that’s not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on a planetary surface.

Where there’s the potential of liquid water, there’s the possibility for life. Therefore, if you were to gamble on the life-giving potential of any given star in the galaxy, Gliese 667C would triple your chances.

Facebook Says Technical Flaw Exposed 6 Million Users

Facebook has inadvertently exposed six million users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses to unauthorized viewers over the last year, the company said late Friday.

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Facebook blamed the data leaks, which began in 2012, on a technical flaw in its huge archive of contact information collected from its 1.1 billion users worldwide. As a result of the problem, Facebook users who downloaded contact data for their list of friends obtained additional information that they were not supposed to have.