Geekly Update - 17 October 2018

Category: Tech-News

Which auto maker has the best auto-pilot software? What's the most common cause of death for selfie snappers? And is it legal for the cops to force you to unlock your smartphone? 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

Winners of the 2018 Ig Nobel prizes included a proposal for self-colonoscopies, the use of roller coasters to dislodge kidney stones, and the efficacy of using human spit as a cleaning agent.

The FBI forced a suspect to unlock his phone using face recognition. It turns our this is legal, unlike forcing you to divulge a password.

The UK has accused Russia of a broad range of cyber-espionage activities, from stealing Olympic drug test records to interference in elections in the USA and other countries.

The history of Reddit is lovingly explored in a new book entitled, “We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory.”

Geekly Update 10-17-2018

A painting by the mysterious artist known as Banksy self-destructed immediately after being purchased at a Sotheby's auction for over one million dollars.

GM’s Super Cruise beats Tesla’s Autopilot in safety, according to Consumer Reports.

Researchers counted 259 selfie-related deaths from October 2011 to November 2017. Falling off a cliff and getting hit by a train were popular worldwide, while the USA ranked first in firearms-related selfie deaths.

Is a robotic finger that can be attached to your smartphone cool or creepy?

A gecko in a Hawaii hospital made dozens of phone calls, but it wasn't trying to sell auto insurance. Someone left a mobile phone in the hospital's lab, and the curious critter was making calls with his "tiny gecko feet."

A college level course in artificial intelligence is available free to everyone courtesy of Helsinki University, and it’s in English.

Google is killing its "Inbox" email interface after four years of trying to recruit users. Some alternatives for avant garde Inbox users are available.

The waterproof Kobo Forma e-reader is a worthy competitor to the Kindle Oasis.

The LG v40 phone has five cameras, and this author argues that’s not too many.

Apple has shut out all independent repair shops with its proprietary software lock that renders MacBook Pro units “inoperable” if it is not run immediately following a repair. Only authorized Apple service centers have access to the “diagnostic” tool

California’s Net Neutrality law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, September 29. On October 4, the entire broadband ISP industry sued to block the law’s enforcement.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 17 October 2018"

Posted by:

Chris
17 Oct 2018

How is a photo not a password when used to protect your data? Sounds like a useless ninth circuit decision...


Posted by:

Doc
17 Oct 2018

I think it can (and may) be argued that BOTH of California 'Governor Brown's were two of the best that California has seen.

Before you get your panties in such a tizzy you won't be able to use them - I said It "May" and "Can" be argued. Both were looking FAR into the Future at a world which had not yet unfolded. The Elder of the two wanted to turn State Hospitals into 'Regional Medical Centers' because they already had a full medical, psych, and educational programs, and Vocational Educational services which were already staffed and working for in-and out- services which could serve K-College educational needs (not in all disciplines of course) - and had 24/7 medical and surgical staff - all that was needed to meet the equivalent of today is a reinforced roof on a few of their OR buildings; while the younger looked to the future to see AI and privacy issues, remedial educational programs which were blocked by Brown I's Legislator, looks to renewables for power (homes and industry), revisits Brown I's feel it's important to feed and house the population of our state (old, young,mentally ill, and needs of the elderly), (yes, with increased taxes)worries about AI and laws needed to regulate how and where it is used, and understand the need to balance water use (don't build cities in deserts) between people and Agriculture, and the place computers and their next few generations can be used to help even the playing field between those with handicaps and disabilities with those of 'normal' people.

Simply, Edmond 'Pat' Brown built the infrastructure for the future, and his son, Jerry Brown, built much of the future upon the backbone of that infrastructure (or what was left of it).

Standing up to Big Linea (HUGE and Large ISP's) he again shows his ability to leave the state a better place than when he arrived - and while not a single issue voter as so many people are - his major agenda is trying as hard as he can to protect our privacy (which I do no see under the current federal administration) and to bring fiscally responsible solutions to the poor and homeless - (thus the lack of medical care and food and utilities for the poor). He even believes that internet access has now become a 'human right' and has signed bills to bring subsidized Networks and Television to even the homeless. A house mate who simply CANNOT comprehend why personal data is important -- she was homeless for 30+ years, and is now pushing 61 - finds that her LAN provided by a large ISP for $10 a month keeps her medical bills down by allowing her the ability to not feel 'isolated' in a rural community. Showing, again, that isolation brings illness and suffering which cost a LOT more than the $120 a year LAN that her ISP provides. When her mother went into recovery after a deep and serious mastectomy when she had absolutely no cash - kept her out of ER on MANY occasions for psych related issues, and allowed her to speak directly to her mother. And while in a radio shadow that requires a half mile walk up a hill for two bar reception, she was able to SKYPE with her mother, cutting down both the mothers hospital stay, and her own panic-anxiety attacks. My guesstimates judging from my own PTSD (most likely 'Nam) stay in ER, that $10/month saved the state about $3, 500 alone. And who can really calculate the reduced stay of her mother 600 miles away alone in a hospital room?

While we hold IN OUR HANDS, the PROMISE of the future, it takes a Wise governor to direct the use of, and the rules surrounding it's implementation. It's not a simple issue that can be discussed and implemented using amiable platitudes, but a series of calculitic issues that can, at best, only be guessed at.

Like they say in one of he TED talks, a fist sized piece of dirt contain more microbes than our solar system contains atoms -- 'reasonable platitudes' don't - CANNOT - deal with the interactions of so many different biomes and their attendant problems and issues -- Moral, Ethical, Legal, and collective (extra-legal/Moral/Ethical) most of which do not yet exist and cannot even be dreamed about; even with top-of-the-line LSD or other top-tier psychedelic or relative. To say 'move slowly and with Honest and True contemplation I would argue that even a well educated, long experienced, and a good, long experienced leader (Governor) cannot even come close to 'seeing' those as yet transcendental issues which WILL rise to the surface and be able to be dealt with then. And only then.

Again, to be clear to all, I am not declaring my 'party allegiance' and hope that NOT ONE PERSON thinks of me as a push-button-single-action voter; but one who follows two generations of governors (related across a generation) who are NOT single issue voters and have the intelligence NOT to vote on single issues despite how easy it can seem to become - such voting ONLY creates greater, deeper, and stronger divides when faced with less than 20 years, before Malaria and Dengue become established, undeniable an undebatable parts of our endemic disease patterns within the United States --- thus North America. It takes ONE bite from ONE mosquito to bring the disease from the Southern United States to a housing unit in Toronto or Anchorage where it will not become endemic, but is able to cause an outbreak severe enough to stop dead-in-their-tracks any convoy attempting to bring in the impossible, machines and people who can treat tropical disease in near Artic environments.

It's not as sexy and doesn't have the slogans that pro-gun lobbies have been cooking up and shelving for more than 50 years. And just when you think you have me pegged, I can tell you that I am pro-firearm to an extent that most of you would find unbelievable: Want an MI-AI (our current main battle tank) or an M-777 (field artillery that can hit a dime at 43 [soon to be father] miles]) if you can feed it (at $5K a round), and keep it 'good' or better condition.

Surprised? I have a lot of ideas, like school should be free K-post grad, with EVERY person eligible and a computer in the hands of every student so they don't walk about with 3 Almanac's and 2 Atlas', as a minimum complement of books necessary for success in school. Don't judge a book by it's cover. OR buy it's carrier. The first computer programmer was a woman, and we are low learning that a woman 'discovered' DNA, supernovas, and things we have probably never heard about.

Women have proven that they are not just equal to men, but many might argue, faced with their difficulties, are even more persevering and productive than many men. (PLEASE note the modifiers placed so that no statement is really absolute, just one which might consider more than a passing guttural, knee-jerk reaction.). And who better, in general, than women which future shapes and builds the builders of our Brave New World when we have less than 12 years until only the efforts of Hercules can stay, let alone change, the current trajectory of our future.

Put a Computer in one hand, and a child in the other, and I can see nothing but a brilliant Future for Humankind. Even if so far it seems as though one party has hamstrung our race against time where the winner decides if we will live in Glory, or die in Shame.


Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
18 Oct 2018

Doc, re you article about Pat and Jerry Brown, can you make little bookmarks available to us slow readers who will need several days to slog through the history lesson?


Posted by:

Paul S
18 Oct 2018

Wow, who knew we would find an op-ed style piece in the comments section to Bob's Geeky Update this week. Note: There has been a Gov. Brown three different times in CA state history, although only two people named Edmund Gerald Brown have served. And yes, CA does have a term limit provision. Jr.'s first term was before the term limit proposition became law. Doc, you have my "little gray cells" working hard this morning.


Posted by:

bb
18 Oct 2018

(Also on Net Neutrality but in a whole lot less words.)

California passes a law. FCC says, "You can't pass a law because we decided to not pass a law."

(Then nominee) Kavanaugh agreed: If Congress don't pass a law, then I won't decide what is lawful.

Obviously, "There ought to be a law" by Congress. All we have to do is wait.

As the disgraced comic once said, "Yeah ... Right!"


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