Aug
29th

NASA Scientists Say That Aliens May Destroy the Earth If We Don’t Stop Global Warming

GortNo, really. That is what they are doing at NASA these days. They pulled the plug on manned space exploration, but they are warning about global warming alien destruction. Sigh. “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto.”

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations, say scientists

“It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity ‘prepare for actual contact.’

In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.

Beneficial encounters ranged from the mere detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), for example through the interception of alien broadcasts, to contact with cooperative organisms that help us advance our knowledge and solve global problems such as hunger, poverty and disease.

Another beneficial outcome the authors entertain sees humanity triumph over a more powerful alien aggressor, or even being saved by a second group of ETs. ‘In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also from the opportunity to reverse-engineer ETI technology,’ the authors write.

Other kinds of close encounter may be less rewarding and leave much of human society feeling indifferent towards alien life. The extraterrestrials may be too different from us to communicate with usefully. They might invite humanity to join the ‘Galactic Club’ only for the entry requirements to be too bureaucratic and tedious for humans to bother with. They could even become a nuisance, like the stranded, prawn-like creatures that are kept in a refugee camp in the 2009 South African movie, District 9, the report explains.

The most unappealing outcomes would arise if extraterrestrials caused harm to humanity, even if by accident. While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents, humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy uninhabitable.

To bolster humanity’s chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse ‘until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with.’

The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilizations.”

Yeah. Remember this is NOT April 1st. They aren’t kidding.

Aug
29th

“The Waiting On My Tablet Edition” of Dr. Bill.TV Netcast #203

PlayPlay

Dr. Bill Netcast – 203 – (08/27/11)

Steve Jobs resigns, new Star Trek on TV? Win8 to eliminate bogus download times, Google + ignore option, the Amazon tablet, some people do care about Firefox 6, GSotW: Unlocker! GoToAssist: http://bit.ly/jw3Y7y Carbonite: http://bit.ly/carbtpn

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Aug
27th

Geek Software of the Week: Unlocker!

UnlockerHave you ever tried to delete a file, or directory, only to get a message: “File Locked by System?” Then you have to reboot, and hope that unlocks the file? What!?!? It still didn’t unlock! Sigh. Well, now, there’s an answer! Unlocker!

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Aug
26th

OK, So SOME People DO Care About Firefox 6!

The organization “Chitika Insights” is the research arm of online advertising network “Chitika.” They use their data to monitor and report on Internet trends – search engines, clickthrough rates, the mobile war, and more. So, when they show Firefox 6 usage IS up… I guess some folks were suitably impressed!

Firefox 6 Takes Off, up to Over 8% of Traffic

“August 16th saw the release of the newest version of Firefox; Firefox 6, and already the browser is taking off with rave reviews. The second version released under Mozilla’s new rapid-release process, Firefox 6 has seen a huge bump in our network since release day.

To quantify the spike of traffic, Chitika took a look at all USA and Canadian traffic from August 16th to August 22nd, and took a look at the hourly growth of Firefox 6 as a function of both overall traffic, and just Firefox traffic.

Clearly, Firefox 6 is growing, already consisting of just over 8% of our total traffic by the end of the day on August 22nd. Also of note, though, is the periodic growth of Firefox 6: peaks tend to occur at the beginning of each day, and valleys occur at the early morning hours when Internet Explorer is primarily in use.”

Aug
26th

Could the Upcoming Amazon Tablet be the “iPad Killer?”

Maybe. It will be cheaper… cheaper is always good!

Amazon Tablet to undercut iPad price by hundreds

“The long rumored iPad-killer that could be Amazon’s upcoming tablet is expected to launch sometime in September or October. But with the recent $99 fire sales of the discontinued HP TouchPad doing amazingly well, there are new reports that Amazon may introduce their tablets at a similarly low price point to excite the masses.

According to the New York Post, an insider source has revealed that the Amazon tablet will sell for ‘hundreds less’ than the entry-level iPad, which retails for $499. Although that doesn’t mean the tablet will go for $99, it does mean it could be sold at most around $299. This sounds about right if Amazon is going the budget tablet route, as recent contenders in that space, such as the Vizio 8-inch Tablet, have had to drop down to that price point.

Amazon is also known to take loss leaders with extreme discounts made up for by increased volume and distribution of other content and services from the Amazon ecosystem.

The two rumored Amazon tablets include an entry-level 7-inch model codenamed ‘Coyote’ and a higher-end 10-inch model codenamed ‘Hollywood’ that’s also expected to sport a quad-core NVIDIA Kal-El processor. Previous rumors had pegged the retail price for these tablets at $349 and $449, respectively. But with the way the market has been developing with the recent webOS casualty and the iPad still predicted to control the tablet market through 2013, Amazon may just get much more aggressive.”

Aug
26th

Google Adds “Ignore” Option to Google +

You didn’t really want to deal with hew-mons anyway, did you?

Google+ Adds Ignore Option

“Is that one Google+ friend chatting a bit too much about Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple or posting too many vacation photos? Not to worry; the search giant this week added the ability to ignore people.

‘We want to make sure you can represent your real-life relationships on Google+—whether you want to connect with someone or not,’ Google’s Olga Wichrowska said in a Thursday post. ‘So starting today, we’re rolling out a new option to Ignore people, in addition to the existing (and stronger) option to Block them.’

By ignoring someone, ‘you’ll see less of what a person is sharing,’ Wichrowska wrote. This is less severe than blocking them, which limits how they can communicate with you rather than just hides their annoying updates. In both cases, the offending party is not notified.

Specifically, ignore stops putting that person’s updates in your incoming stream, stops notifying you about their activities, and removes them from your Circles page.

If that sounds good, there are several ways to ignore a person: click ‘ignore’ next to a person’s name in the Google+ Notifications bar or stream; via the incoming stream; or from the Circles page—highlight their name and click ‘ignore.’

You can undo any ignores via “More Actions” on the Circles page.”

Aug
25th

Bogus Download/Copy Times to be Removed in Windows 8

Have you ever watched the blue bar crawl during a download and seen it say, “10 minutes, no, 20 minutes, no, an hour 20 minutes?” Yeah, it is a joke! But, Windows 8 may “fix” this, by removing it! Yep! Now, it will just tell you download speed, and size… makes sense!

Microsoft unveils file-move changes in Windows 8

“Microsoft has been throwing out crumbs on forthcoming features for Windows 8, but dodged serving up the main course.

Windows 8 will clean up the system for downloading files to your PC and changing file names, Microsoft has said on its newly launched Building Windows 8 blog.

The successor to Windows 7 will combine file download dialogue boxes into a single box, you’ll be able to stop and pause downloads, and rather than trying to estimate how long a download has left to run, the new operating system will instead feature a graph that shows the data transfer speed, transfer rate trend, and how much data is left to transfer.

Discussing the file changes in a video on the Windows 8 blog here – a video that doesn’t work in Firefox – Microsoft acknowledged Windows’ downloads estimates are something of a joke.

When it comes to re-naming files, Windows users get a dialogue box with thumbnails of files where there is a naming clash – and a check box next to each thumbnail which you can tick to show which files you want to keep.

In keeping with recently established Windows engineering team tradition, Microsoft has justified the changes by quoting telemetry data gathered on Windows PC users’ habits.

According to that data, copying, moving, renaming, and deleting files are ‘far and away the most heavily used features within Windows Explorer’ and account for half of all commands.”

Aug
25th

Will There Be a New Star Trek TV Show?

EnterpriseI sure hope so!

New Star Trek TV Series Being Planned, Takes Place After Voyager

“Star Trek hasn’t been on television since 2005. After Enterprise it just seemed like the whole thing needed a rest. But with JJ Abrams taking his sweet time about getting another movie off the ground, maybe a fresh TV show is the right way to go.

There’ve been rumblings that a new Trek TV series might be in the works for awhile now. For instance, at one point a new Trek animated series was being worked on. Now here’s a new addition to the list of Star Trek TV series possibilities: A live-action project, code-named ‘S.E.T.I.,’ being developed by David Foster.

He spoke about his plans to TrekWeb. Apparently this is a project he’s been working on since 2006 and while Foster’s tight-lipped about the nature of the project he does have this to say:

The series concept is fully developed, subject to change of course, with a solid 5-7 year series plan, pilot script and a conceptualized finale that intends to define Star Trek for generations, extensive character bios, costume and ship/set designs, and more. This is a drastic departure from the typical 8-10 page treatment of the previously pitched Star Trek series ideas that have not included even a pilot script.

In the wake of JJ Abrams’ 2009 movie a lot has changed in the Star Trek universe. That film was specifically designed to change the timeline established by all other Star Trek’s which came before. However, it sounds like this new idea will ignore the latest movie and stick with established canon. Foster explains:

The vision that we have created is true to the ‘pre-2009 screen canon’ (TV and movies). We were also careful with the Star Trek: Enterprise canon as well. Through the years, I have had the chance to get to know many of the original series cast, crew, and even some of the studio execs. I have developed an extremely deep passion for the original vision of Gene Roddenberry. And while Star Trek has moved on with other series that were not exactly in line with Gene’s original vision, the roots are there to tap into.

The show would pick up in a time period after the one covered in Star Trek: Voyager. We’re talking Next Generation era technology here. Don’t expect to see a lot of cast from other previous Trek incarnations though. They’re going younger. Here’s how they explain what it will be about:

The series is highly energized with a much younger cast, and uses cutting-edge future technologies with newly envisioned special effects and designs. It includes Klingons, Ferengi, Andorians, Vulcans, Trill, and many more. The Klingons are getting very restless since the Praxis incident forced them to come to the peace tables, and are tired of having to rely on the Federation for support. The Ferengi have discovered a vast new resource that has propelled them towards instant riches and power beyond anything they have previously experienced.”

 

Aug
25th

Steve Job’s Letter of Resignation

Wow. We knew this day would come. But, wow.

“To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve”

That about says it… so, what is in the cards for Apple now?

Aug
22nd

“The Green, Glowy Dot Edition” of Dr. Bill.TV Netcast #202

PlayPlay

Dr. Bill Netcast – 202 – (08/20/11)

Firefox 6 ships, but who cares? HP Kills its Tablet, Smartphone, and Personal Computer Divisions, IBM has chips more like a human brain. WordPress: impressive growth! GSotW: Clonezilla. GoToAssist: http://bit.ly/jw3Y7y Carbonite: http://bit.ly/carbtpn

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