GeekSpeak for 2013-11-09

Knife-Wielding Android Goes Supernova

Teaser medium

Perils befall the internet Archive, perils reduce with driverless cars, and the Geeks would like to imperil AT&T. And then there’s more.

Robot Checkers

The Cornell researches developed a novel solution: “The human user does not need to demonstrate optimal trajectories as training data, but merely needs to iteratively provide trajectories that slightly improve over the trajectory currently proposed by the system.

“We argue that this co-active preference feedback can be more easily elicited from the user than demonstrations of optimal trajectories, which are often challenging and non-intuitive to provide on high degrees of freedom manipulators.”

Google to Make SJ Terminal

Google will build an $82M flight terminal at San Jose International Airport.

Internet Archive building damaged by fire

The non-profit organisation behind the Internet Archive has made a plea for donations following a fire at its building in San Francisco.

The group runs the popular Wayback Machine, an archive of 364 billion web pages, designed to show people what sites looked like in years gone by.

No data was lost, a spokesman said, but the damage was estimated at $600,000 (£373,000).

He said: “It is in difficult times like these that we turn to our community.”

How to Kill Junkware on Android phones

The pre-installed crapware that fills many Android phones is more than just annoying — it also frequently opens up big security holes. Here’s how to kill the crapware and keep your phone safe and in tip-top shape.

The crapware problem is much worse than you think. New research by the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University found that many popular Android phones are vulnerable because of security holes introduced by pre-installed apps you don’t want.

Microsoft Is Making $2 Billion Per Year From Android Patent Royalties

Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year in revenue from Android patent royalties, says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund in a new note on the company.
He estimates that the Android revenue has a 95% margin, so it’s pretty much all profit.

How a Supernova Gave Birth to Neutrino Astronomy

The fact is, 24 distinct neutrino events were detected. But in the world of neutrino physics, that is huge. It is estimated that for about 13 seconds, each square foot of the Earth was bombarded by approximately 100 trillion neutrinos from the supernova. (Yes, that is “trillion” with a “t.”) So, why were so few neutrinos detected?

Almost Certain Chance of Catching Next Supernova

The last star to go supernova in the Milky Way—that astronomers know of—exploded in 1604, before Galileo first turned a telescope to the heavens. But with a neutrino detector now being built within a Japanese mountain that could come online as early as 2016, researchers might be able to do something as yet undone: Make detailed observations of a supernova in our galaxy before it visibly explodes.

Air BnB Issues in NY

  • AirBnB allows people to rent rooms from individuals.
  • The Internet Association a lobbying group with many US internet companies support, is supporting AirBnB in an ongoing NYC court case.

90% of drivers would consider an autonomous car if it cut insurance rates

Consumers would allow a computer to drive their car if doing so would cut their insurance rates by 80%, according to a survey by CarInsurance.com.

“Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance,” CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups said in a statement. “Some of the liability of operating a car will doubtless be assumed by the manufacturer. But a lot of the decrease in rates could come simply because there would be many fewer accidents.”

net10 - Cell Service on AT&T Network

I wish I could say this was a great company; at half the price of AT&T I want it to be. But, so-far, my experience is very frustrating. Expect updates on GeekSpeak.

C.I.A. Is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data

The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company’s vast database of phone records, which includes Americans’ international calls, according to government officials.

GeekBit: Two More Eclipse Pictures!

I knew that if I posted a couple of cool pictures and/or videos of last Sunday’s total solar eclipse, more would come in that would be even cooler.

So here you go, I have two more to delight your eyeballs.

GeekBit: Albert Einstein Burns up in Re-Entry

Albert Einstein was the 4th ATV sent by the European Space Agency to resupply the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). It berthed* with the ISS in June, 2013, delivering a staggering seven tons of materials to space, including food, water, air, and propellant. It also reboosted the station, twice, to lift it to a higher orbit; over time the ISS orbit drops due to the very slow work of air resistance. The atmosphere at a height of 370 kilometers is incredibly thin, but over time it will make itself known.