GeekSpeak for 2014-06-14

Don't Drive Like My Brother's Computer

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All Our Patent Are Belong To You

Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

Would a Google car sacrifice you for the sake of the many?

Google self-driving cars are presumably programmed to protect their passengers. So, when a traffic situation gets nasty, the car you’re in will take all the defensive actions it can to keep you safe.

But what will robot cars be programmed to do when there’s lots of them on the roads, and they’re networked with one another?

Mercedes Details 2015 S-Class Coupe's Curve Tilting Function

Active suspension is nothing new, but the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe has a clever function in its Active Body Control suspension system—Dynamic Curve. In turns, special plunger cylinders raise the suspension struts and lower the opposite side, depending on the direction of the bend. This has the result of tilting the car body slightly towards the inside of the corner, countering centrifugal cornering forces.

GeekBit: Soyuz undocking, reentry and landing explained

How does an astronaut return to Earth from the International Space Station? What does it feel like to re-enter the atmosphere? How does the Soyuz capsule function? Watch and find out. This video is based on an actual lesson delivered to the ESA astronaut class of 2009 (also known as the #Shenanigans09) during their ESA Basic Training. It features interviews with astronauts who have flown on the Soyuz and dramatic footage of actual landings.

GeekBit: How Big Are Solar Flares, Anyway?

See visually how big the earth is if it were beside a solar flare.

Two giant planets may cruise unseen beyond Pluto

…Small groups of the objects have very similar orbital paths. Because they are not massive enough to be tugging on each other, the researchers think the objects are being “shepherded” by a larger object in a pattern known as orbital resonance.

US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

The U.S. Marshals Service is selling off 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that were seized when the Silk Road website was shut down. At current exchange rates, they’re worth around $17-18 million. The coins will be auctioned off in nine blocks of 3,000 coins, plus one block with the remainder.

Android’s App Permissions Were Just Simplified — Now They’re Much Less Secure

Google just made a huge change to the way app permissions work on Android. Apps already on your device can now gain dangerous permissions with automatic updates. Future apps can gain dangerous permissions without asking you, too.

This is all thanks to the latest Play Store update and its simplified app permission interface. The core idea here — making Android app permissions comprehensible to normal users — is good. The implementation is the big problem.

iOS 8 strikes an unexpected blow against location tracking

It wasn’t touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy. As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize that address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.

Disable & enable Google Play system apps

On devices running Android 4.0 and higher, you can disable pre-installed Google Play system apps through your device Settings. After a system app has been disabled, it will be hidden on your device.

US government OKs sharper satellite images

Until this week, satellite operators like DigitalGlobe were prevented by law from selling images to foreign or commercial organizations in which features smaller than 50 centimeters were visible. The restriction was meant to ensure that foreign powers didn’t get access to satellite images that were too good.

But now that’s changed. DigitalGlobe said it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce to sell sharper images to its clients.

Dog Screen Cleaner (Android App)

Funny dog that cleans your screen. You will enjoy this dog, and be fun when that cleans your screen.