Spyder Bites (July 25, 2015)

Spyder Bites logo (Credit: Mindy Weaver, IconBug, CC BY 3.0)
Spyder Bites is a carefully curated chaotic mishmash of generally nerdy stuff that I come across in a given week.

In this issue...
  1. So apparently the aliens got to Stephen Hawking.
    See, a while ago, the esteemed Mr. Hawking went on record claiming that we should absolutely under NO circumstances pursue the advancement of artificial intelligence (even though he just totally got himself an AI upgrade). But reach out and talk to aliens? Hellzya! In fact, he partnered with some crazy rich Russian guy to spend $100M to find space foreigners. Hard to argue with the logic: "...in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life." Which is super scary and super exciting.
  2. Speaking of which... did you hear that Earth has a doppelgänger?
    Yep, NASA announced this week that there's another Earth. Ok, not quite. They are on the cusp of finding another earth. Which will totally be the same thing, eventually. And just in time too, because we're not doing so well with this one and it might be good to have a backup plan. The trip to Other Earth is about 1400 light years so we might need to refuel a couple of times on the way there.
  3. Could you use your smartphone with your eyes closed?
    Imagine that in this hyper-connected, smartscreen-infused world of ours, you're blindSound impossible to navigate? Thankfully there's a breakthrough in screen design for the visually impaired: Blitab has a tablet with haptic feedback on the screen. Basically, software that reads content and then uses little bubbles to produce braille, allowing visually impaired users to surf the web, read content, etc. And let's face it, as we all get older, this is the kind of tech we'll be needing within a few decades. (Sorry)
  4. And in more amazing design news, how about making water from thin air?
    While you bike, no less. For serious: "As air moves through the upper chamber, it is slowed by several barriers. The decrease in airflow speed allows for the release of water molecules, which are pulled from the air and then stored in a bottle for the cyclist’s consumption." This is the kind of stuff that gets me so darned excited about science, tech and design. Who comes up with these incredible ideas?

  5. Black Hat Hackers - 1, Chrysler - 0.
    If you missed it, WIRED had a terrifying article this week about 2 black hat hackers taking over a Jeep via WIFI, from a very large distance. They screwed around with the wipers and, you know, killed the engine on the highway. (Shivers) To date, car manufacturers have been a little cavalier about these kinds of hacks but finally, this one got to Chrysler and they recalled 1.4M cars as a result. Which is good. And bad. Because I never want to ride in hubby's Ford Focus ever again. And I'm thinking of going old school for my future car purchases. Maybe a nice, safe exploding Pinto?
  6. And now for a peek at my aspirational shopping list...
    First of all, I'm totally saving up for this Aston Martin Vulcan ($2.3M). It looks like a Batmobile! (Live Long and I'm Batman). Ok, maybe first I'll just blog about more stuff using this sleek LapDesk while wearing these adorkable superhero socks and actually save up for this amazingly handy BauBax gadget-storing jacket. (Actually, hubby would love that.) I actually really want this totally adorkable Cracken cardigan. Thank dawg this is just aspirational shopping!! :)
Well, that's it for this week, nerds! See you soon!