Tech universe: Friday, 30 July

By Miraz Jordan

A round-up of the latest technology news from around the globe.

A thumb-sized magnet could be all that's needed to protect spaceships from solar wind radiation. Photo / Supplied
A thumb-sized magnet could be all that's needed to protect spaceships from solar wind radiation. Photo / Supplied

SHIELDS UP: A magnet the size of your thumb could be all we need to shield spaceships from radiation in solar wind. The magnet separates positive and negative charges in the solar wind, which in turn generates intense electric fields, protecting the spacecraft. There should be a way to turn those electric fields into propulsion too. Full story at Gizmodo.

IN THE PINK: If you don't want your car to be stolen paint it pink, or yellow. A Dutch study shows thieves prefer black, blue or silver cars. On the other hand, car dealers say the resale value for pink cars is lower than for black. I'd go for blue, with insurance. More at Voxeu.org.

MY DATA IS YOUR DATA: Organised crime was responsible for 85 per cent of all stolen data last year, according to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report. 38 per cent of breaches used stolen logins. Mostly responsible were Eastern Europe, North America, and East Asia.

Keep changing those passwords folks. Report at Cnet.

SMS FOR YOUR LIFE: Volunteer health care workers in Rwandan villages are saving lives with their cellphones, in spite of long walks to charging stations. They report on the pregnant women in their care, then the health clinic sends text messages with advice. And to think I find it annoying when the charger's in the next room. CNN reports.

PRESS 1 FOR A RASH: It's hard to stay healthy if you don't read or write well or even speak the same language as your doctor. In Chicago talking touchscreens housed in computer kiosks at clinics and hospitals help patients answer health questions and learn about how to stay well. I hope they provide headphones. Details at Northwester.edu.


- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz

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