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Matt’s Favorites: Innovation Event, Adopt A Family, Air Force Space Plane Up A Year, 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 on this frigid, snowy Monday? Glad you asked. There’s plenty of cool new stuff from science and technology to warm your bones…

* First, here are links to the Tech Report home page and Tech Report Page Two, where you will find much worthwhile news. Also links to our latest reports on tech-related event notices and tech-related awards and certifications.

* Also, join WWJ Technology Editor Matt Roush and panelists gathered by the Southfield accounting and business advisory firm Plante Moran for a webinar on a novel idea for getting innovation into your organization — buying it. The event takes place Thursday, Dec. 12 from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time online. The webinar  builds off the results of Plante Moran’s just-released 2013 Innovation Survey, which indicate that seven out of 10 organizations are convinced that they would be more successful with innovation if they collaborated. Register here.

* And a bit of a distant early warning: The final day of your WWJ Technology Report for 2013 will be Friday, Dec. 20. We will resume publication on Monday, Jan. 6. Yep, that’s right, I’m taking a two-week vacation — my first one since 2000. We’ll see how crazy I go being off work that long.

* The U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane is nearing a major milestone — one year of travel in Earth orbit, performing duties in support of long-term space objectives. The unmanned X-37B spacecraft — flying a mission known as Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) — launched into space atop an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Dec. 11, 2012. What payloads the space plane is toting and the overall mission goals on its confidential cruise are classified.

* And speaking of secret rockets, a rocket carrying a secret payload for the U.S. government successfully launched from the central California coast last week.

* And speaking of secret unmanned aircraft, here’s a big scary new one.

* Astronomers recently discovered an exoplanet that is the size of 11 Jupiters. The massive alien planet orbits star HD 106906, and is farther away from the star than any other planet in a sun-like system. The discovery is puzzling astronomers, because they have never seen such a large planet so far from its host star. In our own planetary system, Neptune and Uranus are the farthest large planets. Their orbits are 15-30 times larger than Earth’s orbit. An orbit 650 times larger, for a planet that is so huge, will force a re-thinking of the current understanding of planetary formation.

* Okay, we’re finally getting closer to yet another “Star Trek” technology — the food replicator in the Enterprise. Start-up company Natural Machines is now tempting our tummies with a 3D-printed pizza made using its working prototype Foodini food printer.

* The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will determine what computer software is eligible for patent protection, Reuters reported Friday. Several tech companies, including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, and Netflix, have urged the court to take on this decision.

* Thirteen people have pleaded guilty to charges they were involved in a 2010 cyberattack on PayPal for the eBay unit’s refusal to process payments for WikiLeaks. The hacktivist collective claimed responsibility for engineering the December 2010 distributed-denial-of-service attack in retaliation for the online payment processing company’s suspension of an account linked to WikiLeaks after the document-leaking organization released a large number of classified documents.

* Here’s exciting news of new research into cancer cures that kill the cancer by getting the patient’s own immune system to do so.

* The online community Reddit has helped one of its members find a lost dog. Here’s the charming tale.

* A new theory of superconductivity may revolutionize electrical engineering.

* And here’s part of what’s wrong with academia today: The guy who discovered the “God particle” says he probably couldn’t keep a job on a university faculty today because he doesn’t churn out enough research papers. Just a few really good ones? Not good enough, says Dr. Higgs.

* GPS will tell you how to get to the nearest Apple store. With iBeacon, Apple hopes to guide you around once you’re inside, whether it’s to pick up an order, upgrade to a new iPhone or shop for a pair of headphones.

* From Twitter and Facebook to Amazon and Google, the biggest names of the Internet are blasting a federal judge’s decision in a defamation lawsuit by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader convicted of having sex with her former high school student. The Internet giants recently filed briefs in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The briefs are part of a lawsuit involving ex-Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones against an Arizona-based website thedirty.com. A jury found in July that posts on the site about Jones were substantially false and awarded her $338,000. The companies say that if upheld, the northern Kentucky judge’s ruling in favor of the former cheerleader has the potential to “significantly chill online speech” and undermine a 1996 federal law that provides broad immunity to websites.

* Efforts to put an end to e-mail phishing scams are working, thanks to the development of e-mail authentication standards, according to a pair of Google security researchers. Internet industry and standards groups have been working since 2004 to get e-mail providers to use authentication to put a halt to e-mail address impersonation.

* Mix alcohol and a smartphone, and at some point in the evening, there will probably be drunk-tweeting. But what if Twitter’s blue bird mascot and his buddies had a cocktail party of their own? That’s what San Francisco graphic artist Josh Ellingson pondered when he started his whimsical “Drunk Tweets” series of paintings.

* Monica Hall went to her AT&T store to buy an iPad Air. It turned out to be a demo model. However, what followed is the stuff of complete confusion and customer frustration.

* The much-maligned 14-year-old Rebecca Black returns with a new song and video. Will it make her even more virally famous? Well, it’s already garnered more than 3 million YouTube views.

* A startup hip to the ways of the Web and a publishing rival from pre-Net days are trying to teach each other a lesson. It’s a tussle involving research papers and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

* The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that it plans to delay the upcoming incentive wireless spectrum auction until 2015. The FCC chairman says the agency only has one chance to get this auction right.

* For the past few years, DigitalGlobe has been snapping high-resolution shots of Earth from its constellation of satellites, picking the most interesting ones, and asking the public to help select its image of the year. This year the company gave CNet access to the 20 nominees, which show our planet at its most awesome, weird, and wacky.

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