GeekSpeak for 2013-10-26

Vegas Farming Conference Upgrades Spudger

Teaser medium

Non-planned guest Masumi Hayashi-Smith shares some soil knowledge. We chat about theater, beer foaming, learning to code with Code.org, Firefox OS awesomeness and much more.

New Data Center in SF Bay?

“Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google’s fingerprints are all over it.”

Most IT Workers Don't Have College Degrees in STEM Fields

Who are these employees who install new computers, keep the corporate network running and help other workers reset their passwords? Cultural stereotypes about nerds with pocket protectors aside, what do we know about the people who keep the bits flowing and the digital lights on?

For instance, the IT guy—and they’re about three times more likely to be men than women—doesn’t necessarily have a computer-science degree. About a third come to IT with degrees in business, social sciences or other nontechnical fields. More than 40% of computer support specialists and a third of computer systems administrators don’t have a college degree at all.

GeekBit: Beer Bottle Slow Motion Footage

“Beer tapping” is the kind of jerky thing that jerks do at bars. They walk up to you—you with your nice, cold bottle of beer, the one you’ve been looking forward to all day while you were working at your hard, stressful job—and they thump their bottle down on yours. Your beer erupts in a foamy mess. You can try to catch some of that quickly disappearing beer, if you want. But, really, it’s gone.

But then, when you’re done being annoyed, you think: Why did my beer do that?

The answer, it turns out, is super complicated, and has to do with the physics of small bubbles and the power of a reflecting pressure front.

GeekBit: Optical Illusions

Super Clever Sunglass Illusion

GeekBit: Optical Illusions #2

Thanks to my evil twin Richard Wiseman (a UK psychologist who specializes in studying the ways we perceive things around us, and how easily we can be fooled), I saw this masterful illusion video that will keep you guessing on what’s real and what isn’t. It’s only two minutes long, so give it a gander

OS X 10.9 Mavericks is Free, Massively Improves Battery Life

The 2011 release of OS X 10.7 Lion seemed to mark the natural endpoint of the “big cat” naming scheme. But Apple couldn’t resist the lure of the “cat, modifier cat” naming pattern, releasing OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion a year later. Perhaps it just wanted to give its cat nine lives.

BitCoin atm in Canada

The future of currency, I assume, will be something like BitCoin – and in Canada it is becoming very available.

Apple's free OS is no threat to Linux at all, Torvalds says

Linux has been giving its OS away for 22 years, said Torvalds during a question-and-answer session at LinuxCon Europe in Edinburgh on Wednesday. But Apple’s decision to offer its OS for free as of Tuesday is entirely different from Linux’ philosophy, he said. In fact, one of the reasons Torvalds uses the term open source instead of free software because there is a difference between open and free, he said.

OSX - Microsoft and Free Software

Interesting article on the OS X free upgrade and other Apple vs Microsoft strategy.

TED Talk: Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets’ research is the Northwest’s native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas.
There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet.

Book: Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.