Light Start – Fiddle your FitBit, cyborg drummers, water on Mars, speeding SA and RotTR

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Do not try this at home – How to fiddle your FitBit (and other trackers)

FitBit-Charge-HRWe’ve heard tell of places like Discovery, which will award you with points for having a fitness tracker keeping tabs on you. Heard tell, mind you, because we’re not big on this health thing. But there are shortcuts now, because of course there are. Note that we don’t advocate that you’re about to read. It’s probably fraud, after all, and while we’re lazy, we’re not that lazy. A couple of engineers have come up with Unfitbits, methods of generating exercise data for fitness wearables (using drills and dogs and things) without actually doing the workouts. The point, they say, is to create false data for American insurance programs – given how many high-profile hacks there have been of late, their reasoning makes sense. Still, to use it with Discovery’s program wouldn’t be a great idea. There’s the fraud angle and you’re also not getting any healthier – which is kind of the whole point.

Source: The Atlantic

Robotics gives a one-armed drummer his hand (and skills) back

If you have seven minutes, take a look a the video above (head to the website if you’re seeing this in the newsletter) and you’ll see what happens when you merge man with machine and ask them to make music together. Jason Barnes is a drummer who, in 2012, was savagely electrocuted and lost his right forearm. Normally that would spell the end of a musical career – though extensive training could also correct that – but Jason later met up with Gil Weinberg, the professor of musical technology at Georgia Tech. Weinberg had made an eight-armed drumming robot and, later, the advanced drumming prosthetic that Barnes now uses to jam with his robotic and human chums.

Source: Digital Trends

Water? On my Mars?

Hale CraterDracula had it wrong. The blood isn’t the life, it’s the water that does the trick. Unless you’re an undead apex predator who wouldn’t be caught dead (ha!) sparkling in the sunlight, that is. For the rest of us, there’s H2O. And there’s now strong evidence that the live-giving liquid (no, not coffee) is present on the red planet. Chemical analysis of certain dunes on Mars have shown the presence of water-rich salts, which points towards actual liquid that runs down the dunes if the conditions are correct. If you’re after all the technical details, and lovely words like ‘perchlorates’ and ‘recurring slope lineae’, then hit up the source link below. If you’re packing for your trip to Mars, hold on a bit. We’ve found salt, not the water. Yet. And it’s in mighty small quantities. Still, it’s a start.

Source: Ars Technica

 

Know your speeding cameras – a South African spotters guide

MadMax_CarCombatSouth Africans, quite often, drive based on their environment. If there are cops nearby, driving is sedate, and lawful, and decent. If there are no cops, a little less so. And if anyone in Jozi is late for a meeting, heaven help anyone that stands in their way. But one thing that all South Africans do is keep an eye out for speed cameras. We don’t always pay the fines but most of us try to avoid racking them up, in case the Post Office ever starts delivering things again. MyBroadband has a great rundown of the types of speeding cameras using in SA, as well as what you need to know about them before paying the fine they claim you’ve generated. Go read it – know your RADAR from your LIDAR.

Source: MyBroadband

Rise of the Tomb Raider is getting its own Xbox One

RotTRRise of the Tomb Raider is launching on the Xbox One before you’ll see it anywhere else. And since just about every game is getting its own console bundle these days, on both sides of the fence, it makes sense that the launch platform will have a bundle of its very own. And, fancy that, Microsoft have announced a Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle for the States, with a 1TB Xbox One, Rise of the Tomb Raider and the excellent Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition reboot all included. It hasn’t been confirmed for South Africa yet but it’s going to happen. We’ll give you the pricing update once Microsoft SA shakes a leg.

Source: Polygon

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