The little spacecraft that could: A significant historical event occurred last week when Voyager 1 left the solar system and entered interstellar space, the first man-made artifact to do so.
Even more amazing is that this feat was accomplished by a craft launched in 1977 and is the Model T of spacecraft. It has an 8-track tape recorder and computers with one-240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone, according to The New York Times.
Voyager is so far away that it takes 17 hours and 22 minutes for its signals, traveling at the speed of light, to reach Earth, according to Network World. Voyager has transmitted the first sounds of interstellar space. It sounds sort of like you dialed a fax machine.
Fingering the guilty: Apple's reveal of its new iPhones last week was underwhelming for many (Apple's stock fell after the announcement), but one new feature was the ability to unlock your phone using your fingerprint.
Wired.com had an interesting take on an unintended consequence.
In a court case, civil or criminal, the government cannot compel you to make a "testimonial" statement that might incriminate you because of the Fifth Amendment.
That means you cannot be compelled to give up the password to unlock your computer or cell phone.
But the courts have decided that taking the Fifth does not protect you from having to give fingerprints or DNA samples.
Therefore it appears you could be required to unlock your phone with your fingerprint but not if you use a traditional password.
Put on that new Depeche Mode album: Atlantic.com has a story about the McMillan family of Canada who decided gadgets were cheating their children of their childhoods. So they shun everything that came after 1986, the year the McMillan parents were born.
That means: phones, but no iPhones. Videos, but no DVDs. Video games, but no Xboxes. Photos, but no Instagrams. TV, but no cable.
On a road trip this summer, they navigated using paper maps and kept the kids entertained with coloring books and stickers.
Google knows all: Michael Horowitz writes on computerworld.com that "Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world."
He reasons that the millions of Android phones log on to millions of Wi-Fi networks.
"Many [probably most] of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords."
You can turn off this backup in the privacy area of the settings on your phone by disabling "back up my settings" or "back up my data."
A real bug: Engineers have been calling small flaws in machines "bugs" for more than a century.
But the term became ensconced in computer language in 1947, when engineers working on the Mark II computer at Harvard University found a moth stuck in one of the components. They taped the insect in their logbook and labeled it "first actual case of bug being found."
The National Museum of American History has this logbook, and you can see the famous computer bug at americanhistory.si.edu.
Website of the week: scifi.stackexchange.com -- a question-and-answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts.
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