Show Notes – May 11th, 2015

Live in the studio today is Lena and her guest Miguel

Drones Could Airdrop Relief Supplies to Combat Zones in Syria Drones—like sharks and William Shatner—are often misunderstood by the public. Many associate the autonomous fliers with warfare and creepy government spies. But drones can be heroic, dropping life-saving supplies to civilians in combat zones.That’s what U.S. Air Force member/Stanford PhD student Mark Jacobsen wants to do with his crowdfunding effort, the Syria Airlift Project. While spending time

Japanese bankers get exosuits to help move stacks of cash Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation announced Friday that it will provide Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exosuits to select senior employees as part of a pilot program aimed at reducing the strain of moving currency. “There have been many cases …

NYC Produces Twice As Much Garbage As Any Other City On Earth New York City is great at a lot of things. Walking! Skyscrapers! Pizza! And according to a new study on the world’s megacities, NYC can add one more thing to its list of things it excels at: Trash!Over at Motherboard, Brian Merchant has declared New York the world’s most wasteful city. This is based on a huge research project on megacities (metropolitan areas with over 10 million people) that was

Anti-graffiti device nabs taggers by sniffing their fumes Australian taxpayers spent a whopping $34 million last year to remove graffiti from Sydney’s commuter trains. To combat this urban blight, the Australian Department of Transport is rolling out an electronic “nose” that alerts authorities in real-time…

Google executives talk Snowden and NSA backdoors during AMA Senior members of Google’s public policy team took to Reddit today to discuss the company’s stance on government surveillance reform and the pending expiration of Section 215 of the Patriot Act that allows for the bulk collection of phone records. Go…

Russia and China promise not to hack each other Russia and China have further solidified their growing friendship this week by making a cybersecurity pact. According to The Wall Street Journal, the two countries have sworn not to launch cyberattacks against each other. They’ve also agreed to an ex…

Mozilla launches Firefox OS phones in Morocco and Senegal Firefox OS might be in a distant fourth place (or further?) here domestically, but Mozilla sees plenty of value for it in emerging countries. Specifically? Senegal and Madagascar in Africa, where it recently partnered with French telecom Orange to la…

Great, Now Even Cacti Can Spy On Us In dystopian science fiction, overbearing police states have cameras and sensors perched on everything imaginable— like buildings, lamp posts, human bodies, and….fake desert flora?A local Fox affiliate in Paradise Valley, Arizona, reports that over the past few days the town has been quietly installing license plate readers in fake cacti around town. Although fake plants have been used to hide u

VR Soccer Is As Entertaining As Real Soccer Soccer—or football if you’re from anywhere else but the U.S.—is the most popular sport in the world. But what if it could be better? I mean…I’m not talking so much in the sense of fast-paced athletic play than I am grown up men making idiots of themselves with VR headsets. I’d watch that.A Norwegian television show decided to conduct a little experiment to see what soccer would be like if player

MIT Study suggests current solar power tech is good enough The standard line about solar power is that while good in theory, the technology just isn’t there to keep our lights on and our Netflix streaming. But a new study from MIT (PDF) suggests that’s not the case. According to the massive report (an epic 3…

Google adds pre-registration and alerts for Android apps Starting with Glu’s Terminator Genisys: Revolution mobile game, you can now pre-register for apps from the Play store. Now if a developer wants to drum up some interest before an app release, they can stick a placeholder page in the store where users…

MetroPCS shuts off its old phone network on June 21st You’d better move quickly if you’re holding on to an older MetroPCS cellphone. The T-Mobile-owned carrier has posted a Frequently Asked Questions warning that its outgoing CDMA network will effectively shut off on June 21st. Any legacy phones are “no…

CHIP is a $9 Raspberry Pi killer The Raspberry Pi was definitely a game changer when it hit shelves at only $35. But CHIP is hoping to make the Pi look positively pricey by comparison. The Kickstarter campaign has already blown way past its $50,000 goal. In fact, at the time of this…

Plan Your Fantasy Road Trip With This Google Maps Guide To Westeros Redditor and Etsy shop owner selvag created this incredibly detailed guide to Westeros, Google Maps-style. You’ll never take a wrong turn at Moat Cailin again! [Via ScienceFiction.com]

A Web Browser On The Apple Watch Is As Bad As You’d Imagine There is a short list of things that smartwatches are good for. Browsing the internet is not one of them. Apple didn’t include a web browser on its smartwatch, and for good reason. But that didn’t stop noted iOS jailbreaker Comex from hacking one on there. Given that Watch OS is really just a version of iOS 8.2 with a different UI, most of the pieces of the puzzle for enabling a web browser were a

Flying Car Crashes During Test Flight A flying car crashed during a test flight in Slovakia on Friday. The Aeromobil car was piloted by Stefan Klein, a co-founder of the company. Klein was able to deploy a parachute for the vehicle, which is said to have helped ease the severity of the impact.Witnesses near the Nitra Janíkovce airport described seeing the flying car go into a tailspin before the parachute was deployed. Klein was taken

The Void wants to offer fully immersive virtual reality games Ken Bretschneider dreams of a virtual reality experience that will have you literally running, jumping around and chasing digital villains. That’s why this fall, he’ll start building The Void: a virtual reality gaming center with 60 x 60 foot rooms w…

Drone Vandalism Is Now A Thing By this point, drones have been co-opted into most human activities: proposals, religion, and yep, porn. As of Wednesday morning, you can also add vandalising a gigantic NYC billboard to that list. As Wired reports, well-known graffiti artist KATSU has been working on his plan to scribble on billboards for a while. The benefits are obvious: quick access to any part of a building, near-immunity fro

Some SSDs Can Lose Data After Just A Few Days In Storage Solid-state drives outclass hard drives as a storage medium in almost every way: they’re faster, less fragile, and can store more data per square inch. But according to some experts, SSDs suck at long-term storage of information, thanks to one particular problem: temperature. Under optimal conditions, consumer-grade SSDs — the ones you’d find in most laptops — retain data for two years when not po

FCC Stuffs Lobbyists’ Attempt to Stay Net Neutrality Rules The FCC has denied petitions filed by a wide range of lobbying organizations that sought to stay the FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations. The CTIA Wireless Association, USTelecom, AT&T, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, CenturyLink, American Cable Association, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association all filed petitions hoping to prevent the FCC from for

Appeals Court Rules That Your Electronics Can Stay Turned On In Flight Back in 2013, the FAA saw sense, and ruled that passengers can use their electronic fondleslabs during takeoff and landing. And, shortly after, the Association of Flight Attendants sued, claiming the FAA had overstepped its bounds. An appeals court just ruled against the AFA, meaning takeoff Candy Crush is here to stay. The AFA argued that the FAA had overstepped its authority by changing policy w

‘Lego Dimensions’ will include ‘Portal’, Doctor Who and Homer Simpson If the combined might of Batman and Gandalf wasn’t enough to intrigue you, how about throwing in a Timelord (with a Scottish accent)? More details of the Skylanders-baiting Lego Dimensions game have been gleaned from a building instruction sheet for …

An Interactive Map Of Murder Rates Around The World The interactive Homicide Monitor allows you to click on a country and see its murder count in a specific recent year, and the rate the number represents per 100,000 people. For some countries, you can also see the weapon most commonly used. (No surprise, the good ol’ USA has some of the more terrifying stats.)[Via Boing Boing]

Apple’s new environmental initiative focuses on China’s forests Apple’s been vocal about trying to get its global operations running entirely on renewable energy, but the company is now looking to reduce its impact on paper, wood and similar fibers too. Outlining several environmental initiatives for China, the c…

Could a Medieval Law Help Govern the Internet? Algorithms increasingly work together to help automate our digital lives—but not every result is perfect, positive or even predicted by their creators. Now, researchers are wondering if the revival of Medieval law could help work out who pays up when things go wrong.New Scientist reports that Kate Crawford from Microsoft Research wants revive something known as the deodand. The magazine explains:I

A game that explores the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease You’re standing in a living room. It might be your living room. Something’s not quite right — for every object you recognize, there’s another you don’t. Normally, if you get this feeling while playing a video game, you’re in the middle of a horror, …

We’re one step closer to navigable 3D pictures of real places If you’ve experienced a VR representation of a real place, chances are that you’ve just been looking around a static, 360-degree panorama of a room. OTOY believes that the days of the fixed-camera 3D picture are now done thanks to light-field technol…

Self-Driving Cars Are Already Getting Into Accidents Self-driving cars have been hailed as The Next Great Solution for Not Getting Killed, and autonomous vehicles could potentially drastically reduce accidents by minimizing opportunities for human error. Someday. As of now, 8% of the self-driving cars on the road in California have been in collisions.Four out of the roughly 50 unmanned cars driving around California have been in accidents since rece

Where to Find the Best Live Streams on Meerkat and Periscope Meerkat and Periscope are two apps with a similar purpose: To let you broadcast live video over the web for anyone who wants to tune in. But what if your circle of friends aren’t live streaming enthusiasts? Here’s how you can find some streams of note on both networks.In the appsInside the apps is where most users are going to get started, and if there’s nothing happening in your existing group of

AeroMobil’s flying car prototype crashes mid-test AeroMobil may have its work cut out for it if it’s going to deliver a practical flying car within two years. Unfortunately, inventor Stefan Klein crashed a prototype in Slovakia this weekend after it entered an unrecoverable tailspin during a test fl…

A Tiny Video Game-Playing Business Card You Can Smuggle In Your Wallet A year ago Kevin Bates singlehandedly justified the antiquated tradition of swapping business cards with a thin and tiny handheld console that could even play video games. He originally created the Arduboy as the ultimate business card to show off his electronics skills to potential employers, but now anyone can finally buy one through Kevin’s recently-launched Kickstarter campaign.The internet’s

‘The X-Files’ six-episode series premieres January 24th Back in March, Fox confirmed that FBI agents Mulder and Scully would return to television, and now we know when. The network announced that The X-Files six-episode run will begin on January 24th at 10 PM ET, following the NFL’s NFC Championship Game….

So Domain Trolling Is Totally a Campaign Tactic Now The first big trend in online campaigning is emerging for the 2016 presidential race, and it’s domain trolling, or buying up the domain names of your political foes. Go to TedCruz.com and you’ll get redirected to a webpage praising Obama. Go to CarlyFiorina.org and you’ll see 30,000 sad-face emoticons representing all the people she laid off as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. And go to HillaryClinton.net

Google suspends Map Maker service after digital vandalism Google is suspending Map Maker, the service that allows anyone to contribute to Google Maps, following a prank submission that showed the Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo. When the mapping mischief was first discovered, most of us had a good…

AT&T Offering Rollover Data to Top GoPhone Plans AT&T today announced Rollover Data for its $45 and $60 monthly GoPhone plans. Beginning May 15, new GoPhone customers will be able to enroll in the rollover program, while existing customers can enroll on their next renewal after May 15. Data Rollover for GoPhone requires a smartphone, and requires the customer to renew their GoPhone plan on time. Data that is rolled over is only available for

Self-driving cars involved minor accidents, but don’t blame the tech Since California began issuing permits for self-driving car tests on public roads last fall, four out of nearly 50 vehicles had minor accidents. According to an Associated Press report, three of the four were Google’s Lexus SUVs outfitted with Delphi…

Hunt dinosaurs and craft tools while stranded naked on ‘ARK’ island ARK: Survival Evolved begins with a simple premise: You’re stranded on an island, naked, cold and hungry, and you must survive. Also, there are dinosaurs. And other survivors. And… dragons? (Maybe it’s not so simple after all). ARK is an open-world…

5 Original Web Series That Should Totally Be on TV Web series are just getting started. Long before successes like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards came on the scene, high-quality Web programs struggled to claim the spotlight. But now that Netflix has legitimized the concept, people are starting to notice. Think I’m kidding? When the writers’ strike hit in 2007, Lost temporarily transitioned into Webisodes called Lost: Missing Pieces. In

A Chinese billionaire sent 6400 of his employees on a French vacation – Quartz QuartzA Chinese billionaire sent 6400 of his employees on a French vacationQuartzThe Chinese conglomerate Tiens Group treated 6,400 of the company’s employees to a four-day trip to France last week in a move that appears to be part benevolence, part publicity stunt. The massive tour group, which Reuters reported is expected to spend …Chinese Company Takes 6400 Employees On Awesome European Vacay

The Oculus Rift Is Real and You Can Have One in Spring 2016 For those of you who haven’t spent the last two years waiting for this day, this post is going to sound a little crazy. For everybody else: praise the lord, Oculus VR has finally announced a release window for the consumer Oculus Rift. According to a blog post that went up this morning, “Since the earliest days of the Oculus Kickstarter, the Rift has been shaped by gamers, backers, developers, and

A New Study From Facebook Reveals Just How Much It Filters What You See A few years ago, I gave a talk about how algorithms and social media shape what we know. I focused on the dangers of the “filter bubble” — the personalized universe of information that makes it into our feed — and argued that news-filtering algorithms narrow what we know, surrounding us in information that tends to support what we already believe. The image at the top is the main slide.In the talk

A new black market site is helping users fence stolen accounts and software licenses via Paypal While we are starting to see newer payment options surfacing like Apple Pay, Paypal is still a popular way to pay for things online. Whether its electronics on eBay, or flights and hotels on Travelocity, Paypal is there for anyone who would rather use it over a credit card. And…

Federal court rules NSA’s data collection program is illegal The US court of appeals has ruled that the NSA’s bulk phone data collection wasn’t authorized under law. The metadata surveillance program has been scrutinized ever since Edward Snowden made its existence public almost two years ago. But no ruling ha…

Someone Finally Sued the Police Over Invasive License Plate Readers License plate readers that scan plates and store

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