Matt’s Favorites: Fingerprint Fears, Thermal Solar And Much More
So what’s the newest and coolest from the fab worlds of science and technology on this fine Monday morning? Well, hang on, this won’t hurt a bit…
* First of all, here are the links to your Tech Report home page, the Tech Report Page Two (home of much fascinatin’ news), as well as our latest event notices, as well as a couple of nifty awards and certifications.
* Should you fear Apple’s new fingerprint unlocking system? Some say yes . Jokes on the link-sharing community Reddit had punch lines like, “Apple introduced fingerprint scanning — world’s largest name-to-fingerprint database now available without even trying.”
* California is turning its abundant sunlight into thermal solar power — enough to supply 140,000 homes.
* The people of Giglio, Italy, who have been living for months in the shadow of the capsized ocean liner Costa Concordia, have been waiting for this day with hope and fear. Now the moment of truth has finally arrived: the ship is ready for parbuckling — rotating the 952-foot-long wreck to an upright position so it can be removed.
* Apple may be on track to sell half as many iPhone 5Cs in the first 24 hours as it did with last year’s iPhone 5, according to a new report.
* Let’s call it “Insta-love”: Robin Coe and Matthew Fleming actually managed to fall in love just by randomly following each other’s Instagram feeds.
* The floor of Honolulu Harbor is scattered with dead crabs, fish, lobsters, worms and sea fans. The water is a murky brown. The reefs are destroyed, and now experts are warning swimmers to stay out of the waters because of an increased risk of shark attacks. It sounds like the wreckage of an oil spill — but this ecological disaster was caused by something seeming innocuous: it was caused by leaking molasses.
* At least one big-name data broker thinks a thoroughly American tech writer is an Asian who owns a cat and a boat and loves to travel. Sounds like someone who leads a much more interesting life than I do. That’s the profile Acxiom revealed when I plugged my name, address, and other information into the data broker’s free AboutTheData.com service. The beta of the service was released last week.
* Space travel is getting less technologically complex: Japan’s space agency controlled the launch of its most recent space telescope with just eight people and a couple of laptops.
* Remember all those worrisome predictions about a worker shortage once the Baby Boom retires? Yeah, well. Maybe not. A newMIT report says fully 45 percent of American jobs are vulnerable to replacement by automation.
* This is why we don’t have phasers like they do on Star Trek dept.: A scientist has calculated that it would take the combined power of more than 70 of the world’s most powerful lasers to vaporize the water contained in just one person. Even more for a fat guy. So we’ve got a ways to go yet.
* Speaking of Star Trek, from Slashdot: As the NSA scandal moves from appalling to laughable, the latest report in the Guardian indicates that the current NSA chief spent US taxpayers’ money to create a command center for his intelligence operations that was styled just like Star Trek.
* The tech hub that is Boulder, Colo. was largely shut down by the floods there last week.
* Professor S. Shyam Sundar, co-director of Penn State’s Media Effects Research Laboratory, determined that the information college students post on Facebook gives insight into their level of self esteem and feeling of self-worth. After studying the Facebook habits of 225 South Korean university students, Sundar and his team concluded that people with low self esteem are most concerned with what others write about them on Facebook. People with high self-esteem spend more time cultivating their profiles and managing what information they present.
* Better late than never, Sprint is finally getting into the early upgrade game. The company is preparing to launch Sprint One Up, a program that allows its customers to pay for their smartphones or tablets in monthly installments and upgrade after every year by trading in their devices, CNET has learned. One Up is slated to launch on Sept. 20.
* Watch out, Verizon. Sez here AT&T is gaining on you in terms of network reliability.
* Thanks to pictures from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, now we can get up close and personal with one of the solar system’s biggest asteroids, the 330-mile-wide Vesta.
* If you’ve ever had an MRI you know how hideously loud the machinery is. Well, no more.
* Okay, trippy physics time: A physicist postulates that the three-dimensional universe we see around us is just the event horizon of a black hole of a collapsing four-dimensional star. Yikes.