This is Malte Spitz, German Green Party politician and cell phone user. Super user, actually. Recently, he started wondering just how much data his cell phone company had on him. So, he asked for it. And under German Constitutional Law, the company had to fork it over. Spitz then took the data, all six months of it, and it available to the German newspaper “Die Zeit,” which took it and made an intriguing, some might say frightening, visualization of it. Not hard, considering Spitz cell phone was registered and logged by a local cell phone tower no fewer than 35,000 times in that six month period. In this episode of The World’s Technology Podcast, we’ll feature an interview with Spitz, and find out why he asked for his information, and what he intends to do now. You can read, and hear, a longer interview with Malte Spitz over at Deutsche Welle‘s Spectrum program.
Also on this program, we’ll do a survey of how countries that currently use nuclear power, and those that had plans to, are feeling in the wake of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima plant in Japan. It all raises the question of risk assessment, not just with nuclear power, but with all the things that we might have cause to fear in our lives. To give us some perspective, we’ve got an interview with Dan Gardner, author of Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear.
Haven’t you always wanted to take a peak inside Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft? I know I do. Luckily, the BBC was granted access to get inside the craft, and we’ll have the report. If you’ve got $200,000 to spare, it just might be a sweet, if short, ride.
And here’s a question: how would you like to help the FBI solve a cold case? Well, you might have to know a bit about cryptography, or not. No one’s really sure if the scraps of paper left behind at a 1999 crime scene are encrypted clues, or just gibberish. So, they’ve made the notes available online, and are asking for the public’s help.
Finally, we pay tribute to a giant of stickiness, Harry Coover. Coover worked with cyanoacrylates, and that work eventually gave rise to the product we all know and love (and hate), Super Glue. Coover passed away this week at the age of 94. He had more than 400 patents, and was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2010.
(Photo: German Green Party)