Matt’s Favorites: See You Thursday At LTU, Gravity Stars ISS, And More
So what is the latest and greatest from the wild, wonderful, wacky worlds of science and technology? Well, how are these for a Tuesday?
* And then there’s this Thursday’s uber-cool event at Lawrence Technological University on Detroit’s comeback. The panel will be Nico Gatzaros, COO, 400 Monroe Properties, Fishbones, America’s Greenline, Ryan Hoyle, director of global recruiting at GalaxE Solutions, Gabe Karp, partner at Detroit Venture Partners, LLC, Greg Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of UPTO.COM, and Derek Weaver, president of the 4731 Group, It all starts at 8 a.m. and it’s all free. More and registration at http://www.cbsdetroit.com/techevents.
* The new Warner Bros. movie “Gravity” stars Sandra Bullock, George Clooney — and the International Space Station. The space station plays a key role in “Gravity,” which opened Oct. 4 and features two astronauts struggling for survival after their spacecraft is destroyed by debris. The interior of their craft has a number of ties to actual experiments performed aboard the orbiting laboratory. In preparation for her role, Bullock spoke with astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman to discuss Bullock’s character and what life is like in microgravity. A NASA video shows Bullock and Coleman together, reminiscing about their collaboration. [See Photos from the new film “Gravity”] (And yes, I know, it’s silly to think you could go hopping from space station to space station, occasionally using only a fire extinguisher as a rocket motor. Relax, it’s a movie. At least they make it quiet in vacuum.)
* Wonder if this would work in Detroit — a bunch of folks in Oakland are crowdfunding their own private security police.
* Over in West Michigan, Benton Harbor’s Whirlpool Corp. has ditched IBM’s collaboration software for Google Apps. (Wall Street Journal subscription required.)
* The New York Attorney General’s office has issued a subpoena to vacation rental site Airbnb, to request data about hosts who might be breaking the law, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The Attorney General has been investigating host in New York for over a month in response to complaints from legislators and housing advocates, the person said. Airbnb works like a matchmaking service for renters and people who have a home available for rent. A 2010 New York law made it illegal to rent out an entire apartment for fewer than 30 days.
* “One of these days, an object with our name on it is going to hit the Earth,” according to Michio Kaku, “CBS This Morning” contributor and physics professor at City College of New York, about the threat of an undetected asteroid or comet colliding with Earth. It’s happened before — most recently in Russia, when a meteorite struck the city of Chelyabinsk, damaging buildings and injuring hundreds. But before you go out and buy a helmet to protect yourself from falling space rocks, Kaku put the risk in perspective on “CTM,” noting that the frequency with which “city-busting” sized meteorites strike the planet is about once every 100 to 200 years. But there is still a real danger of smaller asteroids — those about the size of a football field — slipping by undetected because there is no formal program designed to search for them. Kaku suggests building an early-warning telescope dedicated to this purpose.
* LG is set to gear up mass production of curved smartphone screens as it preps its own flexible display phone. “LG Display is launching a new era of flexible displays for smartphones with its industry-leading technology,” Sang Deog Yeo, chief technology officer of LG Display, said in a statement Monday.
* After more than 20 years in the making, the world’s first FDA-approved bionic eye will soon be launching commercially in the United States. The device could help the tens of thousands of people who suffer from a rare, degenerative eye disease. CNET’s Sumi Das explains how the Argus II device works to bring light into the darkness.
* In climate change news, the Telegraph reports that previously undetected streams of meltwater have been observed beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. The streams of water, some of which are 250 meters (800 feet) in height and stretch for hundreds of kilometers, could be destabilizing parts of the Antarctic ice shelf immediately around them and speeding up melting, researchers said.
* Got a hankering for watching HBO, VH1, or Showtime live from your smartphone or tablet? AT&T has good(ish) news for you. On Monday, the carrier launched over 100 live TV channels as part of its U-Verse app for select iOS and Android devices.
* Now here’s a useful app if you’re into DVRing a whole bunch of stuff — Spoiler Shield, which edits out TV show and sports spoilers from social media.
* And here’s an interesting idea: Could IBM’s super genius Watson computer put Google out of business?
* And speaking of super smart computers, the Human Brain Project, an effort to build a computer structurally like the human brain, kicked off Monday.
* Tablet deals like this one don’t come along often. In an effort to sign on new tablet customers, Sprint will sell the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for $49.99 with a new, two year service agreement and tablet data plan.