So what are the latest and greatest and wildest and weirdest stories from the world of science and technology? Well, let’s talk it over.
* That tiny lock symbol on your browser bar may make you feel secure about your data. But according to new reports from the New York Times, ProPublica and the Guardian, the most common types of encryption used can be cracked by the National Security Agency. Soooo…. privacy, it’s an illusion.
* But at least we have space tourism. Here’s a look at what $250,000 will buy. And hell YES if I hit the right six numbers I am so doing this.
* Here’s a look at the advanced technology on display at Germany’s IFA, the European equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show.
* And here’s a look at a possible Netflix for books.
* And let’s all wish a happy 50th birthday to the lava lamp.
* Lighting up the night sky with a trail of fiery exhaust, an Orbital Sciences Minotaur 5 rocket blazed away from the Virginia coast late Friday, boosting a small NASA probe into an extreme elliptical orbit to set up a leisurely month-long flight to the moon.
* They are calling it the September Showdown. Team USA and Team New Zealand will face off in the America’s Cup finals, which begin Saturday in San Francisco Bay. The teams will be racing in the most technologically advanced sailboats ever made.
* And don’t we all hate vocal fry? It’s the way women speak these days, replacing the Valley Girl questionization of every sentence so common among Generation Xers. You know what fry is: that low, creaky vibration during speech produced by a partial closure glottis while articulating a sound.
* Okay, I’m trying to figure out how this is OK: the U.S. Department of Agriculture has quietly approved the U.S. importing of chicken processed in China. Yes, the home of bird flu and toxic dog food. Sounds like one more reason to stick to restaurants that serve food clearly labeled as local.
*Speaking of China, it looks like the United States isn’t the only country facing a language barrier. Thirty percent of Chinese can’t speak Mandarin, the country’s national language.
* Human influences are having an impact on some extreme weather and climate events, according to the report Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective released September 5, 2013 by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
* And this is cool: The sound engineer who recorded Nirvana is still using analog tape.
* And if you think it’s cool to unbox your new cell phone, check out unboxing a humanoid robot.
* Scientists recently discovered that Tamu Massif, an underwater volcano that measures more than 120,000-square miles, is a single shield volcano. It is the largest on Earth, and among the largest in the entire solar system. Located about 1,000 miles off the coast of Japan, the base of this Pacific Ocean volcano is about four miles below sea level, though scientists believe it was just below the surface as it formed some 145 million year ago.
* As Apple gets ready to roll out its next generation iPhone 5 on Tuesday, speculators have already moved on to what the company will do next with its mobile phones. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is testing various screen sizes, ranging from 4.8 inches to 6 inches, and KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will increase the iPhone screen size from 4 inches to 4.5 or 5 inches next year.
* And despite the fact that it’s still weeks before an iPhone 5S will likely be available at Apple Stores, lines have already been spotted, with some fans willing to go the distance, no matter what.
* The crew behind the formerly dominant social networking site MySpace have an impressive roster of tech startups to their credit in the years since.
* Also, Microsoft has slashed the price on its 41-megapixel camera-cum-smartphone from Nokia.
* And while we cheer 110-mph trains on parts of the Detroit-to-Chicago run, the Japanese are testing a maglev train that can hit 310 mph.
* The California State Senate approves a bill that would allow for a pilot program to test digital license plates. Will it involve tracking? Well, The Man already knows where you are from your phone anyway…
* A Brigham Young University study offers hope to all those who fear someone is texting them fibs. It turns out lying texters take longer to reply and write shorter texts.
* And when it comes to navigational apps aimed to steer you out of dangerous areas, what’s the line between utility and racism?
* For ages, the iPhone has been tech columnist Danny Sullivan’s go-to gadget. But the Galaxy S4, with its large screen, has now become his “first reach” device.
* And a Criaigslist buyer accidently gets his mitts on a phone with an upgraded Windows Phone software system.