Amazon has issued a recall alert and cancelled all orders for glasses told to view the upcoming solar eclipse. The glasses were counterfeit and has the proper ISO certification printed on the items, even though they weren't. Not knowing which ones were real and which were counterfeit on it's face, Amazon decided to cancel ALL sales and issue a recall.
Wired Magazine is reporting that hackers have managed to encode a computer virus into DNA, which can then infect any computerized instrument that is used to analyze the strand. If hackers are now creating malware in our DNA, how can it be fought? Fortunately, though, it's not a very practical or widespread application. Yet.
This week, the US Army issued a directive ordering soldiers to not use DJI drones and other UAVs due to cyber vulnerabilities and the potential for spying by the devices on the battlefield. DJI is shocked by the move without consultation. What would be the threat? Leo says that drones have radios and GPS, and often have internet connectivity. So it's possible that drones could be taken over by a third party and used for spying, especially for mapping terrain. But Leo says it's also likely there's could be a certain amount of paranoia at work here.
Apple employees have begun to move into their circular spaceship campus designed by Steve Jobs and Jony Ive. The campus has open area offices with no closed doors. The idea was to encourage collaboration, but some are complaining about not being able to have privacy or a quiet place to focus on their work. The building is also one floor and you can get anywhere in the building in less than a 1/4 mile.
This week was the annual DefCon hackers convention in Las Vegas and Leo says that hackers are now more interested in creating hacks for the government, where they can make more money than hacking online. They also created a 3D printed robot that was able to crack a safe in 30 minutes. Leo says it's not super practical, but still cool.
Elon Musk is afraid that machines are getting smarter and smarter and he worries that they are an existential threat to humanity and may decide that they can rule over us or even worse, get rid of us. Leo thinks Musk has watched too many movies. Rodney Brooks, an artificial intelligence expert from MIT, said most people worried about that aren't working in AI, and he says that they aren't too worried because AI is too hard to perfect. Most are limited machines who can't move beyond their programming. It's a thin veneer of what looks like AI, but in reality, machines are pretty dumb.
This week marked the annual Day of Action for Net Neutrality designed to lobby the FCC and Congress. Leo says that naturally, most of the broadcasters ignored or gave lip service to covering the event, because they are all tied to major internet providers who "have a dog in this hunt." Leo says that the internet needs to be treated like a utility, something that needs to be open and available to all.
Using a technique called "neighbor spoofing," a Florida man is being accused of making over 96 million robo calls selling time shares in violation of FCC Do Not Call laws. The FCC has suggested a fine is in the offing, but there's no word on if the perp is going to be arrested or if the robocalls have stopped.
This week during the gaming conference E3, Microsoft announced the most powerful gaming console ever made. It's called the Xbox One X, and it's smaller, heavier, liquid cooled and more powerful than any other console on the market. It also comes with a 4K Blu-ray player with HDR support built-in. Scott says that the HDR capability of the player is really more important than the resolution simply because most people won't really see the difference unless they have a screen that's 70" or larger. But HDR is really noticeable, even on sets under that size.
When a story came out recently that a JPL Engineer was detained and his work phone seized, it caused Leo to do some research about your legal rights coming back into the country. Turns out that the 4th amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure has been suspended when you're in "international waters," and that's what an airport technically is. So the Border Patrol and the TSA have the legal right to take your phone, computer and tablets and demand the password to access all your data.