Geekly Update - 21 September 2022

Category: Tech-News

Are those repetitive radio signals from deep space actually coming from Nigerian scammers? Was your investment portfolio auctioned off due to an astonishing data protection failure? And will new tech from T-Mobile put Smokey the Bear on the unemployment line? 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

Strange radio bursts have been detected from galaxies far, far away. Astronomers are struggling to decode what they believe could be messages from distant civilizations. If my hunch is right, the translation will turn out to be something like this: “FROM THE DESK OF MR. BAIL ANTILLES, ALDERAAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION – Dear friend, Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information Gathered from the Alderaanian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of FORTY-FIVE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS, into your account.

A survey of 327 AI researchers researchers found that 36 percent believe artificial intelligence could cause a catastrophe on the scale of nuclear war. Yes, yes, but the other 64 percent think things will be just fine. Do you feel lucky?

What happens to sensitive data when big companies shut down a data center? At global investment firm Morgan Stanley, those unwanted hard drives and backup tapes ended up being sold at auction. But several thousand unencrypted drives were auctioned off without first being wiped. Oops. The SEC has fined Morgan Stanley $35 million for failing to safeguard 15 million customers’ data as required by federal regulations. Will each victim receive $2.33 in compensation?

Geekly Update 09-21-2022

If you want to buy a floppy disk, you'll have to see a man named Tom Persky. Persky operates, and is perhaps the 'last man standing' when it comes to selling and recycling the not-quite-obsolete computer storage disks. Airlines are the largest customer for floppies, because the avionics systems in many commercial planes haven't changed much in 20 years.

Security researcher Brian Krebs reports that a Florida teen employed by a cybercriminal group was kidnapped, beaten, and held for a $200K ransom by a rival cybercrime gang who threatened to kill him. The teenager, known as Foreshadow in the cybercrime underground, was a low-level player in a SIM swapping operation to facilitate cryptocurrency theft.

Should your car refuse to start if it thinks you've had a few too many drinks? The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that the government require all new vehicles to include technology capable of detecting drunk or impaired driving.

Smokey the Bear, you're fired! T-Mobile and startup Pano AI are leveraging 5G cell towers equipped with wildfire-detecting cameras in wilderness areas to give early warning to fire fighters. The cameras look for telltale smoke patterns indicating a potential wildfire, and send high-resolution video to fire departments.

Last year Verizon bought Tracfone for $6 billion. This year, they've launched Total, a new prepaid brand to compete with T-Mobile's Metro and AT&T's Cricket Wireless. Total-branded prepaid phones will be available at Walmart, Target, Dollar General, and online (but not in cereal boxes). The entry-level $30 per month plan will include one line and 5GB of high-speed data.
Audio deepfakes can be created created from as little as 10 seconds of recorded audio obtained from a human speaker. Convincing conversations generated by deepfake audio software can be near impossible for humans to recognize as fake. But some researchers have found a way to detect the subtle differences in speech produced by humans from speech generated by AI fakery.

And finally, here is this week's Just Here For The Headline entry: Japanese Scientists Create Remote-Controlled Cyborg Cockroaches.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 21 September 2022"

Posted by:

21 Sep 2022

I enjoy being 146% smarter, but 147% smarter is even more betterer!

There is no "Smokey the Bear" it is merely "Smokey Bear."

See the last paragraph at

Posted by:

21 Sep 2022

V*s*ble (by Verizon) is another prepaid cell phone provider. Verizon itself has more-or-less dropped all non-unlimited data plans, our 2-phone 2GB plan with them jumped up to $97/month. I think Visible (alternate spelling) is supposed to fill in the gap.

Posted by:

Rich Fischer
22 Sep 2022

The "Smokey Bear song" says: Smokey the Bear Smokey the Bear prowling and a growling and a sniffing the air...

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

A few years ago, I bought a portable floppy disc drive that plugs into a USB jack.I still have some floppy discs from when I had a computer running Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.1.

I know it sounds backwards,but you never know when you might encounter an application or program that is on a floppy disc.

Over ten years ago,I had to start a probate action with a lawyer who specialize in that kind of law.While waiting in the office for an appointment with him,I noticed his secretary was loading all kinds of floppy discs into a PC.I thought to myself how a lawyer can still use floppy discs for his practice.He was in his late 60s,so I figure he started his practice using them.I was going to ask the secretary the reason for the usage of the floppy discs,but thought better.Talk about not being up to date.

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

Did you ever read "Maxos", Charles Stross's letter to Nature (2005) ?

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

SmokeyBear is CORRECT! Also: why did hifi5000 use the attorney if he discovered that he still used floppy drives / disks? hmmmm!!!

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

In the rural south it's common to see smoke coming up through trees. The fire is under control, but it's cooking moonshine. I had to chuckle thinking of the 5G boys becoming acquainted with the curators of the fire.

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

In the rural south it's common to see smoke coming up through trees. The fire is under control, but it's cooking moonshine. I had to chuckle thinking of the 5G boys becoming acquainted with the curators of the fire.

Posted by:

DBA Steve
23 Sep 2022

It is SMOKEY THE BEAR. It has always been SMOKEY THE BEAR. I still have a Little Golden Book from my childhood (in the 50s) entitled "SMOKEY THE BEAR." I'm not sure where this re-branding has come from.

Posted by:

26 Sep 2022

The original was SMOKEY THE BEAR and then some bonehead political correctness bureaucrat wanted to give Smokey the last name Bear...
Smokey is a bear, not a person (he's actually a cartoon)... as the song says, "Smokey the Bear (not Smokey Bear) Smokey the Bear prowling and a growling and a sniffing the air."

Posted by:

02 Oct 2022

I have a USB floppy drive too. Not so long ago, I was using an Amiga 3000 as my computer and it was the way I got material from the internet to the Amiga. I still have Amiga programs on floppies because I'm using an Amiga emulator called Amiga Forever. I'm sure there are plenty of people still using floppies on legacy systems.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 21 September 2022 (Posted: 21 Sep 2022)
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