GeekSpeak for 2016-03-05

Squirrel’s Comic Font Illustrates Google Car Crash

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Augmented Reality comic books, Squirrels cause power outages, and a look at highway sign fonts. Also; how a former NASA administrator says they have lost their way, and a Google car hits a bus.

Former NASA chief on US space policy: “No vision, no plan, no budget”

During a congressional hearing Thursday, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin had harsh words for the space agency—and the space policy crafted by President Obama’s administration. Under the Obama administration’s guidance, NASA has established Mars as a goal for human spaceflight and said that astronauts will visit the red planet by the 2030s. However, a growing number of critics say the agency’s approach is neither affordable nor sustainable.

Squirrel Trouble

An electrified squirrel causing a black-out in your neighborhood is more than an unfortunate occurrence for all parties involved—it’s a regular event that happens much more often than you might think.
Now, thanks to the work of an East Coast resident going by Cyber Squirrel, you can track the furry animals sadly snared in the grid.

Disney CEO asks employees to chip in to pay copyright lobbyists

The letter concludes with a suggested donation to DisneyPAC. Ars is not publishing the suggested amount in case it is personalized to the source’s compensation or position at Disney.

“For your convenience, DisneyPAC has implemented a payroll deduction system, through which your contributions to the PAC will be deducted from your weekly paycheck,” Iger explains.

The US government’s decision to scrub Clearview font from highway signs really frustrated its designers

After 12 years of deliberation, the US government finally took action on a controversial subject: Fonts.
In the Jan. 25 issue of government publication Federal Register, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that it will deauthorize the use of Clearview as a typeface for signage. The edict applies across all 50,000 miles of freeway and four million miles of road in America. Every state in the union must now use an older, officially sanctioned font, known colloquially as “Highway Gothic.”

If it sounds trivial, remember that picking a font for a road sign is very different from picking a font for a brochure.

Google self-driving car strikes bus in California

As the light turned green, the autonomous vehicle tried to drive back to the center of the lane to get around the sandbags. The autonomous vehicle’s operator saw a bus approaching in the left-hand mirror “but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV [autonomous vehicle] to continue,” the report said.

ARIIA App

ARIIA is a simple, lightweight music player optimised for listening to your music on the road. It’s tailored around gestural interaction, bringing the ease of use in compromised circumstances. At the moment it links up to the iOS Music app so you get access to your iTunes (and Apple Music) songs. Spotify is not yet supported.

A solar-powered soccer pitch in Lagos also uses players’ footfall to keep the lights on

Africa is already waking up to the possibilities that renewable energy provides, the African Union has pledged a $20 billion investment over the next decade. In East Africa, pay-as-you-go solar energy services are already proving a mainstream success. In West Africa, things are still at an early experimental stage. One such experiment is a solar-powered football pitch which also uses kinetic energy generated by footballers playing.


Season 16, Episode 9