new scientist

You Can Squeeze 2.2 Petabytes of Data Into One Gram of DNA

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5978581/you-can-squeeze-22-petabytes-of-data-into-one-gram-of-dna

You Can Squeeze 2.2 Petabytes of Data Into One Gram of DNA Scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute are squeezing unparalleled amounts of data in to synthetic DNA, and now they’ve achieved something absolutely amazing: they can store 2.2 petabytes of information in a single gram of DNA, and recover it with 100 percent accuracy.

The researchers have encoded an MP3 of Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech, along with all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, into a string of DNA. Scaled up, that represents a storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram. What’s amazing, though, is that they’ve managed to achieve that whilst also implementing error correction in the complex chains of molecules, allowing them to retrieve content with 100 per cent accuracy.

The technique uses the four bases of DNA—A, T, C and G—to achieve the high information density. It is, understandably, still incredibly expensive: creating synthetic DNA and then sequencing it to read off the data is getting far easier, but it’s still a time- and cash-consuming business. Keep hold of your hard drives for now, but DNA could represent a viable storage solution in the future. [Nature via New Scientist]

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Thursday, January 24th, 2013 news No Comments

How China’s Web Censorship Is Driving Traffic to a Miami Pet Spa Website

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5964199/how-chinas-web-censorship-is-driving-traffic-to-a-miami-pet-spa-website

How China's Web Censorship Is Driving Traffic to a Miami Pet Spa WebsiteChina’s well-known for its long and illustrious history of censoring the web. But rather than just blocking sites, it’s employing some rather strange techniques—which means the online home of a small pet spa in Miami is receiving an insane number of hits every day.

New Scientist has taken a peek inside the sinister world of Chinese web censoring, and it makes for fascinating reading. Richard Fisher explains that, far from simply blocking websites, Chinese authorities are employing all kinds of techniques to prevent their population from seeing the real web.

Often that involves subtle tricks, like giving the appearance of a slow internet connection. But sometimes the country uses DNS poisoning, which uses cheeky redirection to throw up a website that wasn’t requested. In particular, a Miami pet spa, known as The Pet Club, is one of the chosen sites. New Scientist explains:

[W]hen people in China try to access torproject.org – a tool that prevents online tracking – they instead often get the IP address of thepetclubfl.net

No one knows why the censors picked The Pet Club’s website. Until now, Dennis Bost of Universal Merchant Solutions in Hollywood, Florida, who set up the website for the salon owners, had been puzzled by the web traffic he’d been seeing. “I’m amazed at the number of hits they get from China,” he says. “They’re a grooming salon. No one is popping over from Beijing to have their Shar Pei groomed.”

Sounds likes a good idea, if you’re a Chinese official hell-bent on censoring the web without generating too much suspicion. Or at least, it used to seem like a good idea: let’s hope, for the sake of China’s online community, that Gizmodo and New Scientist aren’t routed to The Pet Club, too. [New Scientist]

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5936536/new-frankenstein-virus-can-build-itself-on-any-computer-from-stolen-snippets-of-code

New Frankenstein Virus Can Build Itself on Any Computer From Stolen Snippets of CodeWhat if a virus were a shapeshifter, able to change its appearance each time it infects a machine? What if a virus used your own files against you, able to ransack the programs on your computer for the bits of code it needs? Judging from the progress made on the Frankenstein virus, a venture sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, that may soon be a reality.

Developed by two professors at the University of Texas at Dallas, New Scientist says the Frankenstein virus is essentially a program compliler with directions about the algorithms it needs to assemble. Once unpacked and functional, it begins searching the software on your computer for the code it needs—generally taking little snippets called gadgets. These gadgets are written to perform specific actions and thus can be transposed over to another program more easily. The researchers only had the Frankenstein virus create two simple algorithms as a proof of concept, but they believe it can assemble any program, including full-scale malware.

And though there have been other viruses that can change their code, Frankenstein is believed to be more dangerous because it can also change its every aspect of itself to hide on your computer.

Frankenstein is different because all of its code, including the blueprints and gadget-finder, can adapt to look like parts of regular software, making it harder to detect. Just three pieces of such software are enough to provide over 100,000 gadgets, so there are a huge number of ways for Frankenstein to build its monster, but it needs blueprints that find the right balance. If the blueprint is too specific, it leaves Frankenstein little choice in which gadgets to use, leading to less variation and making it easier to detect. Looser blueprints, which only specify the end effects of the malware, are too vague for Frankenstein to follow, for now.

Obviously the military wants this for its ongoing cyberwarfare efforts. But if this ever gets in the hands of script kiddies, we’re in trouble. [New Scientist]

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 news No Comments

free apps drain 75 percent more power, badly built advertising to blame

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/20/free-apps-power-drain/

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It’s often said there’s no such thing as a free lunch and that’s doubly the case for free apps. A team from Purdue University found that nearly three quarters of the power used when you run an app like Angry Birds is actually used for adverts. It developed eprof, an app that investigates what processes are draining from your battery. Loading it onto the very old-school Android-powered myTouch 3G and Nexus One (not to mention a HTC TyTn II running Windows Mobile 6.5). Drilling down into those Angry Birds figures: the game itself only consumes 18 percent of the power, while advertising platform Flurry has 45 percent and GPS location tracking a further 15 percent. Project leader Abhinav Pathak lays the blame at the feet of poorly coded apps that need to be made significantly more efficient. He’s now working with Microsoft to bring his software to Windows Phone and will present his findings at the EuroSys conference in Bern next month. If you don’t think you’ll be able to give up free apps, just remember to shut down GPS before you start smashing those pigs.

Study: free apps drain 75 percent more power, badly built advertising to blame originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink New Scientist, Cult of Mac  |  sourceAbhinav Pathak, (PDF)  | Email this | Comments

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5894572/in+app-ads-are-destroying-your-battery-life

In-App Ads Are Destroying Your Battery LifeYou intuitively know that all of those applications running in the background on your phone are latently eating away at your battery’s charge, but a new study reveals that the main culprit isn’t any useful function. It’s location-pinging ads.

The study, conducted by a team lead by Abhinav Pathak from Purdue University, analyzed the energy used by several popular free Android apps (PDF) like Angry Birds, Facebook, the New York Times, and Chess. The team developed an “energy profiler” they call “Eprof” that determines what processes within an app are using energy. The results are shocking: 65 to 75 percent of energy consumed by the free apps studied are used by third-party advertising modules within the programs. These apps continue to run in the background even when you’re not actually using the app. Only 10 to 30 percent of that energy is used to power the applications’ “core functions.”

Apps shouldn’t continue to serve you ads when you’re not locking at the apps. It’s a bug, or something more nefarious. According to the researchers, developers don’t notice energy consumption problems—bugs or otherwise—because most apps are “energy oblivious,” meaning that the developers don’t pay attention to how much energy apps use. [Eurosys 2012 via New Scientist]

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Monday, March 19th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5887555/google-street-view-is-coming-to-the-great-barrier-reef

Google Street View Is Coming to the Great Barrier Reef Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest natural coral formation on Earth and you’ll soon be able to see it in all its glory—from your desk.

The Catlin Seaview Survey, a collaboration between Google, the University of Queensland, and the Caitlin Group, will perform a diagnostic on the reef system’s health via a panoramic underwater photographic and video survey. The program has already taken some preliminary surveys, though the group plans to undertake the projects main component—three surveys begin at 20 points around the reef—in September.

Images will be captured by a 360-degree camera (actually four conveniently positioned fish-eye lens SLR’s) affixed to the front end of an Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) for shallow surveys, and robotic subs for surveys between 30 and 100 meters. The group hopes to also study how and if the migratory behavior of tiger sharks, green turtles and manta rays has been affected by global warming.

Starting today Internet users should be able to access these images via Google Street View and will also be able to watch video of each study section on YouTube. [University of Queensland via New Scientist]

Image: Caitlin Seaview Survey

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The Capital Network That Runs The World

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/capitalist-network-runs-the-world-2011-10


There really is a secret capital network that runs the world, according to an analysis published in the esteemed New Scientist (via Patrick.net).

The work revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships. Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms – the “real” economy – representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

While the existence of a core capitalist network isn’t surprising, this is the first time it has been mapped and quantified.

Here are the 1318 companies that control (60 percent of) world assets, with the really powerful companies in red.

image

And here’s the top fifty:

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

* Lehman still existed in the 2007 dataset used

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Friday, October 21st, 2011 news No Comments

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/4kp8gKPskWY/in-early-tests-99-wii-balance-board-outperforms-17885-medical-rig

Another day, another story about some cheap, plastic Wii motion control accessory finding an application outside of gaming. In this case, it’s the balance board, and not only is this device helping stroke victims recover, it’s saving them money, too.

In fact, doctors at the University of Melbourne found that the balance board, normally used for pseudo Yoga or navigating Mii’s down a virtual ski slope, was so sensitive it could very well replace traditional laboratory-grade “force platforms” doctors use to assess a patient’s balance.

When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of “excellent” quality. “I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up,” said lead researcher Ross Clark, in an interview with New Scientist.

Even better, Clark’s team has already published a paper that verifies the Wii balance board is “clinically comparable” to the nearly $18,000 lab force platform. That’s great news for many smaller physio clinics that would otherwise be unable to afford the traditional rig. [New Scientist]


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Sunday, January 17th, 2010 digital No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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