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Matt’s Favorites: ATM Hacker Dies, False Memories Plated in Mice, And Much More

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mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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So what’s the latest from the ever-expanding world of high tech? SO glad you asked… looking for this cool stuff sure beats the heck out of manual labor!

* A prominent hacker who discovered a way to have ATMs spit out cash and was set to deliver a talk about hacking pacemakers and other wireless implantable medical devices has died in San Francisco, authorities and his employer said. Barnaby Jack died at his home in San Francisco Thursday. The cause of death is still under investigation. Jack, who was in his mid-30s, was scheduled to speak on Aug. 1 at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

* Tinkering with the brains of mice, scientists have given the rodents memories of events that never occurred. The researchers used a technique that involves activating neurons with light to train mice to “remember” a painful experience in a completely different context from that in which they experienced the pain. The false memories were encoded by brain cells in the same way as real memories are sealed in. So next stop “Total Recall,” the Philip K. Dick story and twice-made movie about a company that gives you the memories of a killer vacation at a fraction of the price of the real thing?

* It skipped tolls. It had a Twitter hashtag and a GPS tracker. It even posed for photos with groupies. The 50-foot-wide, 15-ton electromagnet attracted a sensation wherever it went during its slow, delicate 3,200-mile journey from New York to suburban Chicago. The land-and-sea trip culminated when scientists threw a rock star’s welcome for the mysterious, shrink-wrapped cargo on Friday as arrived at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to help study blazing-fast particles.

* Samsung expanded its lead in the global mobile phone market during the second quarter of 2013, accounting for nearly 28 percent of all mobile phones shipped, according to new data released last week.

* The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week switched on two new supercomputers that are expected to improve weather forecasting.

* Meet BreakUp Text, an app that does the relationship-ending dirty work for you. Because, well, why bother telling your lover sayonara yourself? Who needs the grief?

* Can the designer of an $80,000 speaker also design a great $65 one? Well, as he says of the cheaper pair, “They’re fun to listen to and they fail in a nice way.” Hear more.

* Another pretty picture of the airplane I can’t wait to fly in because its windows are so much bigger than earlier airplanes — the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Just watch out for the fires, OK?

* The latest supply delivery to the International Space Station includes a crucial spacesuit repair kit.

* And here’s the latest NASA thinking on asteroid mining.

* A Canadian try at firing a weapon made in a 3D printer is damaged on the first shot.

* Leslie Cohen Berlowitz, the embattled president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, will officially depart her post at the end of the month, the academy has announced. Berlowitz has been on paid administrative leave since early June, following reports that she had falsely claimed, on several grant applications and other documents, to have a doctorate.

* Slippery Slope Dept.: Turns out that British Internet porn ban will ban a whole lot more than porn. Like, pretty much anything controversial. 

* A new tweak of analyziing the swirling patterns left behind by the Big Bang could give scientists a direct peek into the cosmos’ first fraction of a second and possibly shed light on how it all began.

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