Matt’s Favorites: More NSA Snooping, Mussel Mania, Studying Sprinters And More
So how shall we begin our work week in the tech world? How about like this?
* New details on the National Security Agency’s surveillance program are coming to light Friday in a report by the Guardian, which is releasing more information about documents given to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report suggests that the NSA can search the emails and phone calls of U.S. citizens without a warrant, using a secret backdoor to its database.
* Here’s a national story on something we’ve known about in Michigan for quite some time: The zebra mussel, a freshwater species native to southern Russia, and its close cousin, the quagga mussel, are now in more than 600 bodies of water in 27 states according the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.’
* What makes Bolt so fast? At a University of Virginia clinic they’re trying to study and analyze it scientifically.
* A Japanese cargo ship loaded with nearly four tons of science gear, supplies and spare parts pulled to within about 30 feet of the International Space Station Friday and stood by while astronaut Karen Nyberg, operating the station’s robot arm, locked onto a grapple fixture to complete a smooth automated rendezvous.
* Vicious fights! Stunning beauties! Surprises around every corner! Yes, it’s reality TV but with a lot more depth – as much as 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). It’s live coverage of deep-sea exploration off the northeastern United States and tens of thousands of people are tuning in.
* Can’t decide between the new Moto X or the LG G2? Here’s some help.
* The U.S. reports major progress in work towards a vaccine for malaria.
* Come Sept. 10, the current iPhone rumor season will end and a new one will begin. That’s because that’s the day Apple will unveil the next incarnation of its iconic device — that is, if All Things D’s unnamed sources have it right. Ina Fried of the tech news Web site reported the date late Saturday, adding that the unveiling of Apple’s Mac OS X, aka Mavericks, isn’t expected at the Sept. 10 event, and that there’s no indication that an Apple television or smartwatch project is “close to debuting.”
* A video from Infinity Augmented Reality suggests that Google Glass-type glasses will help you attract women back to your apartment, no matter how creepy you are. It’s already enjoyed more than 1.5 million YouTube views.
* Can an audiophile find joy in a full-size $40 headphone? Turns out yes. JVC’s HA-RX700 not only sounds better than a lot of $100 headphones, it’s remarkably comfortable and ruggedly built.
* Much has been said about the danger of increasingly intense hurricanes due to climate change — a concern that entered the public consciousness in a big way with Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans and continued late last year with Hurricane Sandy’s ravaging of the Eastern Seaboard. But swirling storms of wind and water aren’t the only hazard. Now NASA is raising the alarm about fire. The space agency released an animation last week, based on satellite and climate data, that dramatically shows how the risk of fire may increase in North America throughout the century. With warmer spring temperatures and earlier snow melt, dry conditions are increasing, which means fire seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer, and bigger fires are becoming more common.
* Here’s insane video of a family’s car being struck by lightning.
* Happy 50th birthday to the cassette tape, cool portable format of my youth. And a reminder to whoever stole all my mixtapes from my car in Traverse City back in the ’80s: You will never escape karma.
* The list of applicants for the one-way Mars One colonization mission has now topped 100,000.
* Even though 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous say they draw on a ‘higher power,’ a new look at the programs shows that science might help explain why they work.
* The U.S. Air Force is shutting down a key part of its network for tracking satellites and orbital debris, possibly as soon as Oct. 1, according to an Aug. 1 memo obtained by SpaceNews.
* One of the bigwigs of LulzSec gets a year in the pokey for hacking Sony.