Techspoitation

Comcast's secret war on file sharing

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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION For the past several months, Comcast has been covertly sending commands to your computer that tell it to stop receiving information — especially if that information is coming to you via BitTorrent, Gnutella, or other file-sharing applications. In May disgruntled Comcast users started posting on message boards about how BitTorrent and Gnutella weren't working for them anymore. Read more »

Are you my genome friend?

Home genomics: just another self-help scam?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION A company called 23andme.com launched last week and got wads of media attention for being the first user-friendly Web site devoted to home genomics tests and analysis. For just $1,000, the company will take a swab of your cheek, sequence your genome, and tell you a bunch of things about how you fit into the Family of Humanity. They'll also allegedly give you nifty details about yourself, such as whether you have athletic abilities or a propensity for disease.

And 23andme is just the beginning. Read more »

Mapping the unmappable

Visualize global censorship
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION The weirdest (and saddest) map mashup ever is the Access Denied Map. This ever-growing online map highlights countries whose Internet-filtering governments won't let their citizens access the Access Denied Map. Read more »

Why I voted for Josh Wolf

Opting for freedom of online expression
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Last week's mayoral election in my hometown of San Francisco was one of those weird moments that make you think you're living in a Philip K. Dick novel, looking at hundreds of alternate futures peeling away from the present like little slivers of psychosis. It was a dismal election, in which the incumbent, conservative–for–San Francisco Gavin Newsom, was the only candidate who had any hope of winning. Read more »

Carbon indulgences

Preserving biodiversity must go hand in hand with eradicating poverty
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Airlines from Virgin Blue to Quantas have been touting new ecofriendly programs under which passengers paralyzed by enviroguilt over all of those jet-fueled carbon dioxide emissions can pay an extra carbon offset fee for tickets. Read more »

Consumer biotech

Predicting the future of the home-tech phenomenon
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION When will we tire of the endless scandals over bricking iPhones, RSI-causing Wiis, and PlayStation shootings? I think the time is coming soon, my friends. In fact, the whole consumer electronics craze is about to die off and give birth to a new home-tech phenomenon. I refer, of course, to the consumer biotech revolution that's just on the horizon.

Consumer biotech isn't a new idea. Home pregnancy tests are a form of consumer biotech, as are Viagra and Prozac. Read more »

When science attacks

Killer scandals
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Two scandals rocked the sci-tech world last week. Not to put too fine a point on it, they reminded us that bad research and implementation can kill.

In South Africa, a widely used antiaircraft cannon called the Oerlikon GDF-005 suffered from what many observers believe was a computer malfunction, which killed 9 soldiers and maimed 15 in a training exercise. Read more »

Moaning Lisa

You cannot pin her down. You cannot forget her.
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION She looked at me with her motion detectors as I rubbed the piezoelectric sensor between her thighs. Then I spun the potentiometers that jutted out from her chest like nipples. Read more »

Always away

The curious case of IM etiquette
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION My social world is divided into two camps: people who use instant messaging and people who don't. When I start my workday by booting up my computer, I consider myself to have arrived at the office when my IM program comes to life and is suddenly populated by dozens of tiny names and faces. In fact, it's sometimes hard for me to work with people who aren't on IM. E-mail just isn't fast enough. And the telephone is too fast.

I find meetings on the phone frustrating because I can't multitask easily while talking. Read more »

Whose bionics?

Turning the TV clock back on feminism
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Of course I tuned into the series premiere of Bionic Woman last week. Some of my earliest TV memories are of watching the first Bionic Woman, a hopelessly and gloriously 1970s series about Jamie Sommers, a tennis player who gets bionic implants that give her super strength in her legs, one arm, and one ear. She was a cyborg before cyborgs were cool. Read more »