Thursday, May 26, 2011

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. XII, Thursday Edition

For various reasons I didn't post yesterday, so Geek Shit Wednesday is Thursday this week.  I know you just can't live without geek shit.

Satellite Imagery Reveals Lost Pyramids Of Egypt

17 new (or old, whichever) pyramids were discovered in Egypt recently in a new infrared satellite survey.  Imaging shows not only these structures, but 1,000 tombs and a whopping 3,000 buried settlements untouched by archaeologists.

Since the analysis of the imagery, at least two of the pyramids have been confirmed through conventional excavation.  The project, overseen by American Dr. Sarah Parcak, has the Egyptology world buzzing.

"She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.
"'We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the "Aha!" moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found and I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.
"'To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist,' she said."
I'm really excited to see this technology applied to surveys of other parts of the world.  Who knows what lost civilizations lie buried beneath the Gobi, or flooded by the Amazon?  
Patriot Act Extended; Mobile GPS Information Legislation Introduced
The Patriot Act has been extended, leading some privacy advocates concerned that geolocation info recorded by mobile devices might be abused by the government.  Happily, a bipartisan team of legislators have introduced a bill to protect this information.  
"Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, want to make things crystal clear: no warrant, no geolocation info.

"'GPS devices are everywhere and that’s a good thing,' Chaffetz tells 'We just don’t want nefarious characters tracking people without someone knowing, nor do I want law enforcement to be able to just follow everyone all the time.'"
The bill not only covers information collected from phones and other GPS devices, but also leaves room for technological advancement, referring to "successor devices" so that future innovations would be protected under the bill.
Nook And Kindle Battle It Out Over Battery Life: Nook Wins
Barnes & Noble has been in a press-release war with Amazon over the battery life of their respective e-readers, the Nook and the Kindle.  

When the Nook's initial specs were released, Amazon threw a fit over the numbers related to the device's (superior) battery life.  The problem?  They said the numbers were based on usage of a half-hour a day, as compared to their complete hour.  So they updated their info, doubling their numbers and possibly deceiving prospective buyers.

"B&N countered with a very detailed statement, outlining the exact tests made. It also looks like the Kindle was also tested in the same way:

'With up to two months on a single charge, the all-new Nook has the longest battery life in the industry and superior battery performance to Kindle 3. In our side-by-side tests, under the exact same conditions, continuous use of the device resulted in more than two times Kindle's battery life.

'While reading at one page a minute, the all-new Nook battery lasts for 150 hours, where the Kindle battery, using the same page-turn rate, lasts for only 56 hours (both with Wi-Fi off).'"

So there.  

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