Matt’s Favorites: Defense Show, UM Robots, Latest Smartwatches, Famous First Tweets And More
Here we are back on a Monday, and I won’t depress you with the weather forecast. Let’s just say it ought to get better by, oh, I don’t know, July. But meanwhile, snuggle up to your screen and check out this tasty tech…
* The National Defense Industries Association will host the Michigan Defense Expo May 20-21 at Macomb Community College’s Warren campus. Exhibitors are also now eligible to reserve a 60 minute time slot on our “Exhibitor Presentation Stage” held within the Exhibit Hall. This is a new addition to the 2014 MDEX, and it provides exhibitors a large scale platform to showcase your capabilities, technology, services and vehicles. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ndia-mich.org.
* How close are we to having robot companions with artificial intelligence? Check out this fascinatin’ video from the University of Michigan for some answers. Neat stuff.
* It was way back in 1946 when comic strip artist Chester Gould outfitted supercop Dick Tracy with a two-way wrist radio and watch. Well, it’s finally actually happening. Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue gives us the latest look at the smartwatch.
* Here’s one that will tug at your heartstrings. A giraffe is caught on camera nuzzling a 25-year zoo employee in The Netherlands. The man was dying of a brain tumor and requested a visit to the zoo one last time.
* Ohio State University’s mumps outbreak is growing, with 40 people now infected, according to new numbers released by Columbus Public Health Friday. That’s up from 28 cases tied to the Columbus university that were reported Tuesday. Officials say that while the MMR vaccine is very effective at preventing mumps, it’s not perfect — around 10 percent of vaccinated people can still get the disease, especially if they’re in repeated close contact with someone suffering from it. Those vaccinated do tend to get less sick, helpfully. Most people recover from the mumps without incident after a miserable couple of weeks, though in rare cases complications like brain swelling or deafness can set in.
* That Malaysian airliner would have been a lot easier to find if it had been equipped with the latest technology. But it was not. Now there may be a press to require it on all airliners.
* In honor of Twitter’s eighth birthday, here are a bunch of famous first tweets.
* Apple is planning a radical redesign of the MacBook “soon,” if a forum post out of China is to be believed. A key aspect of the redesign would be the elimination of the fan assembly, according to MacRumors, which describes the post as coming from a reliable leaker of future Apple hardware. A fanless design almost always implies ultra-thin and light.
* A new report based on the trove of secret NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden gives a glimpse of the agency’s role in the cyber-intrigues taking place between the United States and China, with files showing that the NSA hacked into Chinese router-maker Huawei’s servers with the hope of gaining info on government plans and of exploiting the company’s products to spy on other foreign rivals.
* Turkey’s battle over Net censorship is heating up, with the government there reportedly blocking a method that let citizens sidestep a Twitter ban, the White House expressing “serious concern” over the ban, and Google reportedly refusing requests from Turkish authorities to take down YouTube videos that cast the prime minister in a critical light.
* A mother makes her daughter pose for a picture to prove that it will travel far and wide on the Web. She ends up getting prank calls, pizza deliveries and a lesson for herself.
* As expected, President Obama met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and other tech executives Friday afternoon to discuss efforts to reform the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance programs.
* Police state alert: The Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. Sheriff’s Department, in arguing against an open records request, say that ALL cars are constantly under investigation, just because. The agencies took a novel approach in the briefs they filed in EFF and the ACLU of Southern California’s California Public Records Act lawsuit seeking a week’s worth of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) data. They have argued that “All [license plate] data is investigatory.” The fact that it may never be associated with a specific crime doesn’t matter. This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity. Here’s more.
* Why U.S. wages aren’t going up, part the infinity: The gentleman’s agreement that several tech firms are now widely known to have taken part in to minimize employee poaching (uhm, also known as competition) went much further than has been generally reported, according to PandoDaily. The article lists other companies besides the handful that have been previously named as taking part in the scheme to prevent recruiting, and gives some insight into what kind of (even non-tech) organizations and practices are involved.
* Lovely: A report from Australia says that “UN scientists are set to deliver their darkest report yet on the impacts of climate change, pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed.”
* Call me crazy, but I still think airships are among our greatest inventions as a race. And now Goodyear is out with its newest, state of the art blimp. Totally cool.