Recently a road closure led to Google Maps suggesting an alternate route in Colorado. Unfortunately, anyone who took the detour encountered a single lane muddy road, leading to many of the drivers getting stuck with no way out.
Drivers on their way to the airport encountered an unwelcome site: a crash on Peña Boulevard (which leads to the airport) led to a traffic jam, which is the last thing anyone wants to see when they have a flight to catch. But Google Maps said it had a solution! With the traffic jam in full force, it suggested an alternate route to get to the airport. And better yet, it promised to do it in nearly half the time the journey would have taken on Peña Boulevard.
Who wouldn’t want to jump on that promise? Unfortunately for about 100 drivers, the detour was a terrible suggestion. Recent storms converted the single lane dirt road into mud. Worse yet, both sides of the road had steep ditches, so there was no turning around. Cars quickly got stuck, leading to an even worse traffic jam with no escape.
As it turns out, the road Google Maps took so many drivers down may have not been open to the public and couldn’t handle the influx of massive traffic. Local news trucks even found a road closed sign, but it had fallen to the ground. The whole sequence of events once again proves it’s usually wise to second guess map directions, especially when it offers to cut travel time in half by leaving the main road. Even if other people are also taking the same route, they may be listening to the same bad directions you are. [CNN]
In Other News:
- UK Citizens can port their number with a text: Starting today, The United Kingdom’s “Text to Switch” rules take effect. The new rules state that when a customer texts their carrier for a port out code, the carrier must respond with that code within a minute. That should make switching carriers far easier than it is now. [TechRadar]
- Security systems are useless when off: It may seem obvious, but if you have a security system and don’t turn it on, the alarm system can’t help you. Security solutions company Cove surveyed nearly a thousand people who had a break-in, and of those who had a security system about half of them admitted it was off during the break-in. Unfortunately, when it comes to any security, humans are the weakest link. [ZDNet]
- Another City hit with ransomware: Now a third Florida city found its computers infected ransomware, specifically Ryuk. Ryuk typically infects computers through a malicious link in an email. Previously we reported that Lake City paid out nearly $500,000 to decrypt its files, and now Key Biscayne finds itself with the same decision to make. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, unfortunately, when it comes to any security, humans are the weakest link. [Ars Technica]
- Microsoft is deleting your ebooks: Microsoft used to sell ebooks in its Microsoft Store. But those are going away, and the company will delete purchases you made, and you won’t be able to read those books anymore. The only good news here is, the company promised to offer refunds for all books purchased. [Gizmodo]
- Electric Vehicles in the EU get more “vroom vroom”: Starting today, any hybrid or electric vehicles sold in the EU are required to have an Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS). Hybrid and electric cars are quieter than internal combustion engine vehicles, and so may be more dangerous to pedestrians and other road users. The AVAS will make sounds when the car is traveling under 12 mph. Jaguar already posted a clip of the sound its vehicles will make if you want a preview. [The Verge]
- Google’s upcoming Fuchsia OS gets a developer site: Google is working on an alternative OS called Fuschia. It isn’t Linux, it isn’t Chrome, and it isn’t Android. But it may be somewhere between all those options. Now Google has opened up a developer site for anyone interested in taking a closer look at the upcoming OS. [9to5Google]
- Bixby gets a third-party skills store: If you’re among the tens of people who love and use Bixby, good news: Bixby is getting a store. The Bixby Marketplace will apparently “enhance Bixby” by offering tools that are similar to Alexa Skills. These Capsules extend what Bixby can do, but probably not enough to make anyone use it on purpose. [Thurott]
- Apple recalling more MacBooks: MacBook owners have it rough right now. First, the keyboards were failing, then batteries were catching fire, and now it seems the Logic Board may be going on strike. Apple says a “small number” of MacBook Air models from 2018 may see an issue “with power” and it will replace the Logic Board for free [9to5Mac]
In 2018, NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Spacecraft. The TESS is essentially a space telescope (proving yet again everything sounds more impressive with the word space in front of it) and is specifically designed to find planets outside our solar system (dubbed exoplanets).
The space telescope has been hard at work, discovering planets, taking beautiful pictures of the stars, and even spotting comets. Now NASA says that the satellite found a new exoplanet, and its the smallest one found by TESS so far. Designated L 98-59b, the planet is about 80% the size of Earth.
We’re interested in planets close in size to Earth because they make good potential candidates for life as we know it. But size isn’t everything—gravity, for instance, is influenced by the makeup of the core of a planet, and a world the same size as Earth could have far more or less gravity depending on its core.
In the case of L 98-59b, the planet’s position makes it an unlikely candidate for life—it sits in the “Venus Zone” which suggests a runaway greenhouse effect. Unless you prefer to be tossed around by constant hurricane-level winds and battered with acid rains, Venus is a terrible place for anything alive. [Engadget]