Geekly Update - 15 October 2020

Category: Tech-News

Can you get paid for reporting spammy emails? How easy is it fool a self-driving car into slamming on the brakes? What's the most compelling reason to buy the newly announced iPhone 12? And what happens when dogs are fitted with augmented reality goggles? Get answers in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

DoNotPay, the robot lawyer service, says you can forward any email to, and it will automatically unsubscribe you, and possibly earn you some cash. Details are sketchy, but DoNotPay says they'll include you in a class-action lawsuit against the spammer, and share the spoils if there is a settlement. It's a gamble, though. You must sign up for the service which costs $36 a year, and there's no guarantee you'll get a payout.

Researchers have demonstrated that self-driving cars can be fooled into slamming on the brakes by an image of a stop sign on a hacked billboard. The same effect can be achieved by shining an image on the road, possibly causing accidents or traffic jams.

Artificial photosynthesis holds promise for harnessing energy that can be efficiently stored. Prof Erwin Reisner's team at Cambridge University has studied how leaves use photosynthesis to create carbohydrates, and are developing a system that mimics natural photosynthesis, using enzymes to split water and create hydrogen for fuel.

Researchers at MIT have developed a solar-powered system that can efficiently extract drinkable water from “dry” air. By scaling up, it could become a practical water source for areas with limited access to water and electricity.

Geekly Update 10-15-2020

Encryption faces new challenges from law enforcement agencies worldwide, who are warning of "the dangers of encryption" and calling for "backdoors" that can be used to lawfully gain access to encrypted devices and transmissions. Encryption experts fear that any such backdoor would inevitably be used by criminals.

KrebsOnSecurity reports that a coordinated attack designed to disrupt the Trickbot botnet was carried out by the U.S. military’s Cyber Command. Trickbot has infected millions of computers and is often used to spread ransomware.

CNet says the biggest reason to buy a 5G iPhone 12 is FOMO -- Fear Of Missing Out. In most cases, they say, the boost in speed that comes from a 5G connection isn't significant enough to really matter.

NASA has signed a space exploration cooperation agreement with eight nations. The Artemis Accord involving the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates seeks to establish "a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans." NASA plans to send a manned crew to the moon in 2024, the first time since 1972.

Singapore Airlines is offering reservations to eat gourmet dinners on A380 jets grounded at Changi airport by the pandemic. The initial seats sold out in just 30 minutes.

The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs. The goggles have a built-in camera and a display that can be used to send commands to the dogs from a remote location.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome! Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 15 October 2020"

Posted by:

Bill C
15 Oct 2020

Can I get a pair of those goggles for my wife?

Posted by:

15 Oct 2020

Subscribe to DoNotPay, after receiving the first letter from them, forward it to their address, wait for... possible, profit. It will cost $36, but you also will have a chance to sue them later for not fulfilling their promises.

Posted by:

15 Oct 2020

I am waiting for the CNET article on WoFo (Want of Missing out).

Posted by:

15 Oct 2020

In locations with fast connections, I can see 5G being useful for tethering a laptop to a cell phone. It might even replace copper/ fiber wifi for home service.

My interest will depend on the increased monthly fee for service.

Posted by:

Bruce Thompson
15 Oct 2020

I always enjoy Geeky updates but this issue is special. Thanks

Posted by:

Bruce Thompson
15 Oct 2020

I always enjoy Geeky updates but this issue is special. Thanks

Posted by:

Dave Rodgers
16 Oct 2020

@Bill C. NO you cannot. If that were possible, they would be sold out in minutes.

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