Matt’s Favorites: The Big Bang For Dummies, Google After Death, Zuckerberg Gets Political, Panda Bats, And Much More
And what’s the latest from the tech world on this soggy ol’ Friday? Here, take a towel and dry off, and check out these dandies…
* If you thought the big bang theory was boring and particle physics was hard to understand, you’ve never seen it explained by a cartoon version of CERN physicist Tom Whyntie. He is able to put the information from a three-month long science course, into an easy to understand three-minute long TEDEd video, with the help of animation team at Hornet Inc.
* What happens to your emails when you die? Google is looking to solve that problem with a new feature that let’s you leave instructions for your online data after death. The search giant announced Thursday the launch of Inactive Account Manager. The service is like a will and testament for your digital life.
* Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has launched a new political action group, FWD.us, to focus on immigration reform. Zuckerberg, who announced the move through an editorial in The Washington Post, called U.S. immigration policy “strange” for a nation of immigrants and “unfit for today’s world.”
* Awwwww. What looks like a tiny badger or a panda with wings, is actually a newly discovered genus of bat. The little guy was found in the Bangangai Game Reserve in South Sudan. Researchers from Bucknell University and Fauna and Flora International who found the animal were working to conduct field research and push conservation efforts when they stumbled upon this tiny critter.
* Finally, an objective measure of pain? Pain has long been thought to be at least somewhat subjective, making it difficult to measure consistently from one person to the next. But in a new study out of the University of Colorado at Boulder, healthy volunteers subjected to a dose of intense heat all experienced a consistent pattern of neurological activity that scientists captured on function MRI, which tracks blood flow through the brain.
* Fresh off defending its title as the Worst Company in America. Electronic Arts ‘streamlines operations.’ That means they fired a bunch of people.
* Early Thursday morning the sun erupted, sending billions of solar particles into space at over 600 miles per second, raising the prospect of solar radiation storms above the Earth, according to NASA. A spokesman said the resulting emissions sparked a short-lived radio communications blackout on Earth.
* Have you ever dreamed of being Tony Stark, with the ability to turn your body into a machine? Well you might just have the chance to be part robot, or at least the ability to create your own repulsor. Advancer Technologies uses electromyography to help fans of the “Iron Man” movies have their very own hand armor.
* The key weapon in TV broadcasters’ fight with Internet video upstart Aereo is something inelegantly known as a dongle. The miniature TV antenna picks up free, mobile broadcast signals. It attaches to iPhone and iPad power ports and extends about 7 inches, allowing users to view live local TV channels at not-quite-high-definition quality.
* Is an algorithm the future of currency? That’s what anyone who’s curious about Bitcoin is trying to figure out. The digital money has piqued the interest of many, mainly due to its complexity as a technology and its meteoric rise in value in recent weeks.
* Are you ready for Swarmaggedon? That’s the birth of billions of 17-year cicadas, who are scheduled to emerge from the ground this year. The cicadas will emerge when the soil eight inches underground is a steady 64 degrees. Here’s more.
* More Earth-gazing satellites are needed to better understand the phenomenon of so-called dark lightning, according to researchers speaking at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union Wednesday in Vienna. Dark lightning is invisible to the naked eye, but in certain, extremely rare conditions could produce gamma-ray radiation in an airplane equivalent to a few chest X-rays or a full-body CT scan, the researchers said, though they emphasized that the phenomenon does not appear to be dangerous to flyers.
* Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered a Chinese hacking ring that they said broke into the servers of dozens of online videogaming companies and stole valuable source code over a four-year period. Kaspersky Lab warned on Thursday that an organization it christened “Winnti” had infiltrated the servers of at least 35 game developers and publishers, mostly in East Asia including South Korea, but also in Germany, the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Peru, and Belarus.
* Nvidia Corp plans to return $1 billion to shareholders this fiscal year, the company said on Thursday, helping its shares trim earlier losses caused by worries about its mobile business and a slumping PC market. Shares in the chipmaker were down as much as 4 percent after Nvidia told investors earlier at its annual analysts’ day that it expects its Tegra mobile processor business to remain flat this year.
* Foursquare, a service that helps smartphone users find nearby restaurants, shopping venues, clubs and tourist attractions, said on Thursday it raised $41 million in a new financing round that relied on debt, rather than equity, to give the start-up the money it needs to keep expanding.
* A new camera captures the true shape — and the true beauty — of untouched snowflakes.
* Europe’s best-known mummy wasn’t just a medical mess; he also had terrible teeth, according to a new study. Ötzi, a Stone Age man who died atop a glacier about 5,300 years ago, suffered from severe gum disease and cavities. His teeth, back and front, were also heavily worn from chewing coarse grain and use as a “third hand” for gripping tools and cutting.
* The next major versions of two of Apple’s key products are said to face delays as the company scrambles to add new security and display technologies.