By timothy from Slashdot's mass-transit-best-among-the-masses department
theodp writes "Drawn by amenities and talent, the WSJ reports that tech firms are saying goodbye to office parks and opting for cities. Pinterest, Zynga, Yelp, Square, Twitter, and Salesforce.com are some of the more notable tech companies who are taking up residence in San Francisco. New York City's Silicon Alley is now home to more than 500 new start-up companies like Kickstarter and Tumblr, not to mention the gigantic Google satellite in the old Port Authority Building. London, Seattle, and even downtown Las Vegas are also seeing infusions of techies. So, why are tech companies eschewing Silicon Valley and going all Fool for the City? 'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' Paul Graham presciently explained in 2006. 'It has fabulous weather, which makes it significantly better than the soul-crushing sprawl of most other American cities. But a competitor that managed to avoid sprawl would have real leverage.'"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's sweetness-and-light department
writes "Sweet tooths rejoice! 400 light years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus, sugar molecules have been confirmed in a gas cloud surrounding a young star. The star, IRAS 16293-2422, though early in its life is relativity close to the size of our Sun. It is part of a Binary star system. '"In the disk of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde, which is a simple form of sugar, not much different to the sugar we put in coffee," study lead author Jes Jorgensen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, said in a statement.' Glycolaldehyde has been found before in space, but never this close to a Sun-like planet. In fact 'the molecules are about the same distance away from the star as the planet Uranus is from our sun.' This discovery proves that the building blocks of life could have possibly existed in the earlier parts of our own solar system. This particular sugar reacts with propenal to form ribose, which is a major component for organic life on Earth."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's confuse-them-with-scale-models department
hypnosec writes "Google has been recently granted a patent that could not only improve online search but, also will possibly give the search engine giant an awful lot of information about the world. Google, through the software, wants to scan and analyze the content within videos, YouTube videos most probably, and look for objects in the real world, identify them, and make a catalogue out of those objects. The patent describes Google's technology of scanning a video, picking out landmarks, objects and context; and subsequent tagging and categorization."
Adds reader MojoKid: "The privacy implications of such an automated system are enormous. Facebook's own automatic facial recognition software was highly controversial when it debuted, and what Google has now patented puts Facebook to shame. The larger question, unaddressed in this patent, is whether we want our individual personal data to be tagged, filed, and logged without permission or choice."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's vould-have-an-enormous-schwangstucker department
mikejuk writes "A recent research technique manages to hide malware by stitching together bits of program that are already installed in the system to create the functionality required. Although the Frankenstein system is only a proof of concept, and the code created just did some simple tasks, sorting and XORing, without having the ability to replicate, computer scientists from University of Texas, Dallas, have proved that the method is viable. What it does is to scan the machine's disk for fragments of code, gadgets, that do simple standard tasks. Each task can have multiple gadgets that can be used to implement it and each gadget does a lot of irrelevant things as well as the main task. The code that you get when you stitch a collection of gadgets together is never the same and this makes it difficult to detect the malware using a signature. Compared to the existing techniques of hiding malware the Frankenstein approach has lots of advantages — the question is, is it already in use?"
Except for the malware part, this has a certain familiar ring
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By timothy from Slashdot's frankenstein-program-stitches-them-together department
writes "Scientists at DARPA say there are some 1,300 satellites worth over $300B sitting out in Earth's geostationary orbit (GEO) that could be retrofitted or harvested for new communications roles and it designed a program called Phoenix which it says would use a squadron 'satlets' and a larger tender craft to grab out-of-commission satellites and retrofit or retrieve them for parts or reuse."
This program incorporates a design challenge aspect, in which various teams compete to design systems to effect the actual capture. From the article: "In the Zero Robotics challenge, three finalist teams emerged from a series of four, one-week qualifying rounds: "y0b0tics!" (Montclair, NJ); "The Catcher in the Skye" (Sparta, NJ); and "Nitro" (Eagleville, PA). Then in June the teams gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to watch via video link as their algorithms were tested on board the ISS, DARPA said. The algorithms were applied across three situations in which the SPHERES satellite simulated an active spacecraft approaching an object tumbling through space. In each scenario, at least one of the teams was able to approach the tumbling target and remain synchronized within the predefined capture region, DARPA said."Read Replies (0)