Episode 39 – Thanksgiving is only in your Brain and Google Mortgage

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Welcome to another episode of Geek Bytes Podcast.

I’m Ramon Mejia…….and I’m Edgar Acosta

 Every podcast we bring you the roundup of the week’s best Geek and Tech news, then we discuss that news and anything else we’re interested in that week.

It’s Thanksgiving this week. So before we begin, I just want to thank everyone that listens to the podcast every week and give a special thanks to the couple of people that donate to our Patreon. They donate $0.25 an episode or about $1 a month and it really does help cover the cost of putting up the podcast each month. From the bottom our hearts, Thank You.

In Geek News this week, we’ll talk about how Google could be your next mortgage broker, Blue Origin launches reusable rocket, Li-Fi being 100 time faster than Wi-Fi, how taste is based in brain not tongue, the new 128GB RAM Chip, Tom Cruise in the next Mummy Reboot, Trailers of the Week and More…

Now let’s Begin our show with Geek News

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Geek News

Google could be your next mortgage broker

Tech Crunch reports that this week Google became a licensed mortgage broker in California. The company launched a mortgage comparison tool for home shoppers in California, with support for more states coming soon.

Launching under its ‘Compare’ brand, which already includes an auto insurance comparison tool, Google Compare will walk you through the basic steps (ZIP code, price of home, down payment, etc.) and then ask you for how long you plan to live in the house (to see if you want a 30-year mortgage or would be okay with an adjustable rate). At the end of the process, it will give you a recommended lender based on your preferences, together with a full breakdown of all the fees associated with the loan.

After that, though, it’s up to you to contact the lender, though you can also request a callback right from Google’s site (using an anonymous number, so your contact info isn’t shared with the lender).


Home Mortgages in Minutes

This week Quicken Loans announced Rocket Mortgage, an online mortgage that takes just a few minutes to complete. The process takes less than 10 minutes, which includes verifying employment, financial, and home assessment information, and providing a conditional approval as valid as something a loan officer would issue.

The system gives several slider bars allow the mortgage-seeker to play with the fees and interest rate until they get something they like. They then press a button that locks in the details and bout 30 seconds later, the loan is either approved or denied with the same amount of certainty someone would get through a loan officer.

Quicken admits that the final close of the loan may take a little longer, about a week, since paperwork has to be filed with places they don’t control like city records and insurance companies.


Real-World Testing Shows Li-Fi To Be 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi

The IBTimes reports that real-world testing of Li-Fi, an advanced wireless communication technology, has found it to be 100 times faster than currently-available Wi-Fi networks. Reporting impressive data transmission rates of around 1 GB per second, the new system was recently trialed, for the first time, in office and industrial settings in Tallinin, Estonia. At such speeds, it would take mere seconds to download a high-definition film of 1.5 GB.

In the past, lab tests of Li-Fi have yielded incredibly high speeds of up to 224 gigabit per second. Apart from faster data transmission, Li-Fi boasts several advantages over current Wi-Fi technologies. Since light waves cannot pass through walls, it ensures less interference between different devices and greater security against hacking. 


Blue Origin launches and lands reusable rocket

Blue Origin, the private space firm owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has just dropped a huge gauntlet in the race to develop a reusable rocket. It just launched its New Shepard space vehicle, consisting of a BE-3 rocket and crew capsule, to the edge of space at a suborbital altitude of 100.5 kilometers or 62 miles. The capsule then separated and touched down beneath a parachute, but more importantly, the BE-3 rocket also started its own descent. After the rockets fired at nearly 5,000 feet, it made a controlled vertical landing at a gentle 4.4 mph.

 SpaceX's rocket separates at a similar height of around 50 miles, its speed at that point is much faster than that of New Shepard -- around Mach 10 compared to Mach 3.7.


Tor asks for donations

The Tor Project launched its first crowdfunding project this week to expand its donor base beyond the US government and allow for spending flexibility. If you’re not familiar with the project, the Tor project allows for anonymous internet browsing by moving your traffic across different Tor servers, and encrypting that traffic so it isn't traced back to you.  It’s speculated that Tor could be seeking to become less reliant on the US government, which typically accounts for 80 to 90 percent of its annual funding.

Tor cited support of award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden on their promotional video.


Raspberry Pi’s latest computer costs just $5

Raspberry Pi has just unveiled the Pi Zero, a programmable computer that costs only $5 — about as much as a cup of coffee.

Available today, the Pi Zero is the charity organization’s smallest computer ever and packs enough power and components to match up to other offerings in the Pi family. 

For $5, you get a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, that’s 40 percent faster than the Raspberry Pi 1, 512MB RAM, microSD memory card slot, a mini-HDMI socket for video output at Full HD resolution and 60 frames per second, and Micro-USB sockets for data and power.


Taste based in brain not tongue

Most people probably think that we perceive the five basic tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory)—with our tongue, which then sends signals to our brain “telling” us what we’ve tasted. However, Nature Magazine reports that scientists have turned this idea on its head, demonstrating in mice the ability to change the way something tastes by manipulating groups of cells in the brain.

Charles S. Zuker and Mortimer B. Zuckerman lead a team that manipulating the neurons in the brain regions of mice and found that they could evoke the perception of sweet or bitter, without the mouse actually tasting either. 


Samsung's Crazy New 128GB RAM Chip

Samsung has revealed a new 128 GB RAM chip this week. The company developed new manufacturing techniques that connect RAM chips vertically using electrodes passing through holes rather than more conventional wiring you find in other RAM. Samsung squeezes in 144 chips, arranged into 36 4GB packages, to provide 128 glorious gigabytes of memory. Samsung claims that the new chip “boasts the largest capacity and the highest energy efficiency of any DRAM modules today.”


Tom Cruise in the Mummy Reboot?

According to Variety, Cruise will star in the new Mummy film, which is part of Universal’s planned shared cinematic monster universe.

Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have been tapped to develop the Universal’s classic monster stable into a modern movie franchise, and will produce The Mummy, with Kurtzman also sitting in the director’s chair. Jon Spaihts is writing the script.

According to the report, Cruise’s character will be featured in other films beyond The Mummy, helping to tie the universe together.


Fantastic Four 2 squashed

Fox has now officially removed the Fantastic Four sequel from their release schedule.

Fantastic Four 2 was originally scheduled for a June 9, 2017 release date, even before the first film hit theaters. The Fantastic Four wound up being the rare superhero movie flop. Grossing only $56 million domestically and $167 million worldwide on a production budget of $120 million.


That’s it for Geek News

We’ll move on to trailers of the week.

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Trailers of the Week

Every week we bring you the best trailers that came out this week. We play you clips and talk about them. We’ll start with…

Captain America: Civil War

An incident causes a division in the Avengers which escalates into an open fight between Iron Man and Captain America. Decide who’s side you’re on May 6th, 2016.


Barbershop: The Next Cut

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. Despite the good times within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and the crew to come together to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood. In theaters April 15th, 2015.


The Big Short

When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. In theaters December 23rd, 2015.


Legends of Tomorrow

RIP Hunter, a time traveler from the year 2166, leads a select group of heroes and former villains through time to prevent the rule of Vandal Savage, an immortal villain. In the trailer we see: Rip Hunter, Fire Storm, The Atom, White Canary, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Legends of Tomorrow premiers on the CW January 21, 2016.


That’s it for Trailers of the Week


That’s it for us this week.

For the Geek Bytes Podcast I’m Ramon Mejia and I’m Edgar Acosta. Now Go Geek out about something.

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Music Credits

"Happy Bee", "Movement Proposition", "Theme for Harold (var.3) ", "Take the Lead"

Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0