Geekly Update - 21 December 2016

Category: Tech-News

Have you spotted any Unidentified Flying Pies in your neighborhood? Can you guess how many computers were linked together by the early Internet in 1973? When self-driving cars are rented on demand, rather than owned, will the demand for new cars go up or down? And how much embezzled money can you spend on video games before your employer gets suspicious? Find out... in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. And it's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

The ultimate road trip is depicted in a Google Map that traces the shortest route through all 50,000-plus sites on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire tour covers 217,605 miles, but the map is broken into four regions to make vacation planning easier.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a… pie? Yes, a regulation meat-and-potato pie was launched 100,000 feet into space to see if the pie's molecular structure changes with space travel, enabling the pie to be eaten quicker. The folks organizing the World Pie Eating Championship sponsored this "experiment."

Have you ever wondered what the Internet looked like in 1973? This map of the ARPA Network (the precursor of the Internet) shows just 45 computers linking MIT, Harvard, UCLA, Xerox, NASA, and a few other early players. IBM 360 and Digital Equipment PDP-10/11 mainframes powered most of the 40 nodes, located in the continental USA, Hawaii, and London. Eighteen years later, Senator Al Gore sponsored the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, which allocated funds for the development and expansion of the network that eventually became known as the Internet.

Paradoxically, auto makers may sell more cars when people stop owning them. Gary Silberg, a KPMG auto analyst, explains that personal vehicles are parked 95% of the time. When autonomous cars are shared, they’ll spend more of each day working and wear out faster.

Overcharging? Tesla now charges $0.40 per minute to remain connected to one of its supercharging stations for more than five minutes after your electric car is fully charged. Apparently, people have been treating charging stations as parking lots while they dine or shop.

Now that’s a nerd: Kevin Lee Co (not “Company”), a 45 year-old corporate controller, was arrested for embezzling $4.8 million from his employer. Besides the usual self-indulgences, Mr. Co spent $1 million on in-app purchases from the smartphone game, “Game Of War.”

Uber is once again thumbing its nose at regulators. The company has launched its self-driving cars in San Francisco without applying for required testing permits. Uber says it doesn’t need no stinking permits because its experimental cars are not yet smart enough to be “autonomous” as defined in state regulations. California’s Attorney General has promised to seek an injunction.

Cuba has signed a deal with Google giving Cubans quicker access to Gmail, YouTube, and other Google services via the Google Global Cache network, which stores content on servers located closer to end users. If Cuban citizens had access to the Internet, this would be great!

Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Time Warner Inc. won a legal battle to shut down a Utah-based company that edited movies to remove scenes it deemed “not family-friendly” before streaming the butchered films to subscribers.

The federal agency responsible for ensuring that voting machines are secure from hackers was hacked itself, according to security researchers at Recorded Future who discovered a file of log-in credentials for the network of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for sale on the “dark web.”

Facebook has “deputized” three fact-checking firms (Snopes, and Politifact) to fact-check posts and flag suspected “fake news” with a “Disputed” tag. In other (fake) news, the three organizations are hiring every warm body within 200 miles of their offices.

Two lawyers behind infamous “p**n troll” Prenda Law, Paul Hansmeier and John Steele, have been arrested on 18 federal counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money-laundering, and conspiracy. Prenda’s business model was to upload p**n to torrent sites, subpoena the identities of downloaders from ISPs, then extort “settlement” money from victims who wished to avoid expensive, embarrassing lawsuits.

The man who hacked Photobucket to enable theft of photos used in an extortion scheme was convicted and sentenced to work full-time, without pay, to develop software tools that help Photobucket detect child p**nography uploaded to its servers. Photobucket plans to hire and pay Athanasios “Thaos” Andrianakis when his 15-month sentence ends.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 21 December 2016"

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Too bad the 3 firms doing fakebooks 'fact check' all learn heavily left. And they do not do much to check any facts either.
I have seen things on Snopes that were blatantly wrong. They just look a little bit, but if there is anything political about it, they immediately turn hard left.
Never trust news from fakebook.

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Sorry Howard. Snopes is very rarely wrong. They all are occasionally.

Politifact has been widely criticized for many errors (about the same amount on claims from the right or the left). They have taken statements that were absolutely false and labelled them "mostly true" or "half true".

FactCheck is usually pretty accurate.

The fact that the fake news from the right makes many more outrageous false claims than the fake news from the left doesn't make the fact checkers biased.

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Meat and potato pie??? If they want it to be consumed faster they should just serve cherry pie and not worry about sending it to space.

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Movies: I've always thought that there was a market for 'regular' movies to be alternately released as more family-friendly (remove offensive language and nude scenes), and wondered why the movie companies haven't done that themselves.
Seriously, it wouldn't have any adverse affect on the movie (story, etc.) itself and it would reach a FAR larger audience. Personally, as much as I *like* them, I've never seen even ONE nude scene, in any movie, which I thought was "integral" to the ploy. At all. In any way. The only exception to that statement would be, of course, "Adult" (i.e.: p**n) movies, which are ONLY about the nude scenes.

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Some other interesting ARPANET and Internet maps

Posted by:

21 Dec 2016

Sorry Charley. " 'The fact" that the fake news from the right makes may more outrgeous false clais tha the fake news from the left doesn't make the fact checkers biased? The fact? I love how the left always says "the facts" --I guess the debate has been settled also, again without a discussion. At least the people on the right know they're on the right. People on the left thinks they're in the middle.

Posted by:

22 Dec 2016

Actually Chuck, I think that people ON the left think they are IN the right. :)
Thomas Jefferson preserved this quip, writing in a 1799 journal that John Adams had said: “A boy of 15 who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at 20.”

Posted by:

22 Dec 2016

Uber may not need no stinkin' permits, but it needs vehicle registrations, which have been revoked by the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

Posted by:

Richard Dengrove
22 Dec 2016

Lots of assertions, no evidence. As far as I can tell Snopes has actually been a bit to the right. Of course, for some, anyone who doubts Pizzagate is biased.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In this linked article, Forbes offers a compelling analysis of an article about Snopes, and whether they should be considered an accurate or impartial source for fact-checking. Makes me wonder if Facebook shouldn't be touching Snopes with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 21 December 2016 (Posted: 21 Dec 2016)
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