Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Food, fuel, and funds for thought

Asteroids can be valuable, even when you're smacked by one. See (from Yahoo News): "Russian asteroid crater revealed to be filled with over $1 quadrillion of diamonds." That's a lot, even by Washington standards :-)

These are "impact diamonds," forged in the shock and pressure of the asteroid striking. Not every form of carbon is as valued as diamond. Here's a thoughtful piece asking whether the US trend away from the use of coal matters as China uses more and more. See (from the WSJ) "Coal Comfort."

Coal produces a lot of electricity -- and a lot of electricity goes to computing. Do you (or does your employer) use a rented computer? Then consider (from the LA Times) that, "Software let rent-to-own companies spy on customers." With: keystroke logging. Screenshot capture. Peeking through webcams.

How could that happen? Some rental companies use add-on software called Detective Mode, ostensibly to keep track of the location of their computers. But that's not all the software has been used for ...

The FTC's complaint also noted that photos taken by Detective Mode's webcam included pictures of children, individuals not fully clothed and couples engaged in sexual activities.
While also, I would imagine, capturing less salacious but equally sensitive info ... 

What about the info we give away freely? Maybe you're a digital sharecropper (or worse). That's often the case with social networking. As in: you (and I) provide free content that Google, Facebook, etc. use to sell ads. See (from IEEE Spectrum) "From Surf to Serf."

Sometimes more information is just what the doctor ordered. Suppose miniaturized gadgets could tend to medical matters inside the body -- to precisely meter out drugs at an injury site, say, or monitor local healing -- and then fade away (rather than hanging around with who knows what long-term toxicological effect)? Wouldn't that be keen?

Why, yes. Yes, it would. And maybe soon, we'll have such tech. See (from the BBC)  'Melt in the body' electronics devised." Hopefully such devices will come without Detective Mode preloaded.

Now to combine medical marvels with my favorite fuel ... suppose someone came up with hot fudge sundaes whose calories just melted away ... that would really be something.

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