GeekSpeak for 2014-05-03

Badger Corrects OpenSSL's Spin with Pyramid Power

Teaser medium

Window manager geeking out, privacy with Badger by EFF, Core Infrastructure Initiative, spin that exoplanet, and how to win at rock-paper-scissors.

SpaceX wins injunction to stop USAF buying Russian rocket engines

A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge issued an injunction late Wednesday prohibiting a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing from proceeding with plans to buy Russian-made rocket engines used to send U.S. Air Force satellites into space.

Badger by the EFF

Privacy Badger is EFF’s answer to intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry, and many advertisers’ outright refusal to meaningfully honor Do Not Track requests. This week, Mozilla published research showing that privacy is the single most important thing that users want from their web browsers. Privacy Badger is part of EFF’s growing campaign to deliver that privacy by giving you the technical means to disallow trackers within the pages you read on the Web.

A Day in the Life of an Exoplanet

For the first time, astronomers have determined how fast an exoplanet is spinning. To save you the dramatic tension, I’ll tell you right off the bat: 25 kilometers per second, or about 28,000 mph. That’s fast. With some reasonable assumptions, that means the planet has a day that’s about eight hours long, a third of an Earth day, which is pretty amazing given that the planet is 10 times the mass of Jupiter!

Yahoo Disables Do Not Track Settings

Yahoo yesterday announced that it will stop complying with Do Not Track signals that Web browsers send on behalf of users who wish to not be monitored for advertising purposes.

“As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo,” a company blog said. “As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.”

The Geeks' Favorite Window Managers for the Mac

Ben and Lyle share their favorite window managers for OS X.

Moom and Spectacle are both window managers with nice UIs. Moom costs money, but is much more configurable.
Slate for programmers who are interested in a super-configurable window manager. Ben and Lyle have both moved happily over to Slate.

Open Source: Core Infrastructure Initiative

The OpenSSL Heartbleed security fiasco made everyone aware of just how fragile and under-financed many vital open source projects were. To help fix the cash flow problem, a dozen top technology companies, including Amazon, IBM, Intel, and VMware, joined forces with The Linux Foundation to form the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII).

Ancient Egyptians Transported Pyramid Stones over Wet Sand

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the sand over which the sledge moved. By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed. The researchers published this discovery online on 29 April 2014 in Physical Review Letters.
For the construction of the pyramids, the ancient Egyptians had to transport heavy blocks of stone and large statues across the desert. The Egyptians therefore placed the heavy objects on a sledge that workers pulled over the sand. Research from the University of Amsterdam has now revealed that the Egyptians probably made the desert sand in front of the sledge wet. Experiments have demonstrated that the correct amount of dampness in the sand halves the pulling force required.

Tape Technology Breakthrough

Sony has developed a magnetic tape material that can store data at 148 gigabits per square inch, roughly 74 times the density of standard tapes.

The technology represents the world’s highest recording density for the medium, the electronics giant said, and could allow the creation of tape cartridges with a capacity of 185 TB.

By comparison, LTO-6 (Linear Tape-Open), the latest generation of magnetic tape storage, has a density of 2 gigabits per square inch, or 2.5 TB per cartridge uncompressed.

How to win at rock-paper-scissors

Game theory pioneer John Forbes Nash Jr, played by Russell Crowe in the film A Beautiful Mind, is known for, among other things, the Nash Equilibrium: rock-paper-scissors being evenly split.

MIT researchers looked at the data from a massive rock-paper-scissors tournament at Zhejiang University in China, and found that Rock-Paper-Scissors is predictable!

Superheavy Element 117 Confirmed

The stage is set for a new, super-heavy element to be added to the periodic table following research published in the latest Physics Review Letters. Led by researchers at Germany’s GSI laboratory, the team created atoms of element 117, matching the heaviest atoms ever observed, which are 40 per cent heavier than an atom of lead.
The periodic table of the elements is to get crowded towards its heaviest members. Evidence for the artificial creation of element 117 has recently been obtained at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darm-stadt, Germany.

Caller Robert from Santa Cruz

Question about having two Google+ accounts after YouTube and Google+ merged. What’s happening and is there anything he can do.

Answer – nope, Google has been very bad about account merging and the like.
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/youtube/p32OgkGN46o