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Submission + - Ordnance Survey releases mapping tool (

rHBa writes: The BBC reports that the UK mapping organisation Ordnance Survey has added 4 new products to its open data portfolio: OS Local, Names, Rivers and Roads. Perhaps the most interesting of the free data sets is OS Local which provides a base map to identify ‘hotspots’ such as property pricing, insurance risk, and crime.

The OS are not creating a new Google Maps-style service of their own but rather are providing their data for use by other third-party apps and online tools. They expect developers and designers to use the data to enhance their own products and improve the information people can access via the web.

What uses would you put this sort of data to if it were available in an easily parsable format for your area?

Submission + - Did Neurons Evolve Twice? (

An anonymous reader writes: When Leonid Moroz, a neuroscientist at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Fla., first began studying comb jellies, he was puzzled. He knew the primitive sea creatures had nerve cells — responsible, among other things, for orchestrating the darting of their tentacles and the beat of their iridescent cilia. But those neurons appeared to be invisible. The dyes that scientists typically use to stain and study those cells simply didn’t work. The comb jellies’ neural anatomy was like nothing else he had ever encountered.

After years of study, he thinks he knows why. According to traditional evolutionary biology, neurons evolved just once, hundreds of millions of years ago, likely after sea sponges branched off the evolutionary tree. But Moroz thinks it happened twice — once in ancestors of comb jellies, which split off at around the same time as sea sponges, and once in the animals that gave rise to jellyfish and all subsequent animals, including us. He cites as evidence the fact that comb jellies have a relatively alien neural system, employing different chemicals and architecture from our own. “When we look at the genome and other information, we see not only different grammar but a different alphabet,” Moroz said.

Submission + - Facebook Sued For Alleged Theft of Data Center Design (

itwbennett writes: British engineering company BladeRoom Group says it contacted Facebook in 2011 about using its technique, which involves constructing data centers in a modular fashion from pre-fabricated parts. What happened next isn’t clear, since much of the public version of BRG’s lawsuit is redacted. But it claims Facebook ended up stealing its ideas and using them to build part of a data center in Lulea, Sweden, that opened last year. 'Facebook’s misdeeds might never have come to light had it decided that simply stealing BRG’s intellectual property was enough,' the company said in its lawsuit, filed Monday at the federal district court in San Jose, California. 'Instead, Facebook went further when it decided to encourage and induce others to use BRG’s intellectual property though an initiative created by Facebook called the ‘Open Compute Project’.'

Submission + - Japan to build 250-mile-long, four storey-high wall to stop tsunamis

An anonymous reader writes: Japanese authorities have unveiled plans to build a giant 250-mile long sea barrier to protect its coastline from devastating tsunamis. According to the proposals, the £4.6bn ($6.8bn) barrier would reach 12.5m high in some places – stretching taller than a four storey building. It would be made out of cement – and actually be composed of a chain of smaller sea walls to make construction easier. The plan comes four years after a huge tsunami ravaged Japan’s north-eastern coast.

Submission + - Apple's encrypted iPhone backups leak key user metadata (

An anonymous reader writes: Most people think encrypted means hidden. For Apple iDevice users, new research shows that encrypted backups of their devices are coupled with unencrypted metadata that "plainly shows a full list of every application ever installed, software versions, device identifiers, names of all the computers he's ever connected the device to, file names (of contact cards, for instance, to help build a list of known associates), attachment file names for iMessages, file maps, permissions, phone number, hashes, and timestamps for when files are created, accessed, and modified."

Submission + - Black holes blast starmaking material right out of galaxy (

sciencehabit writes: Think of it as solar wind on steroids. Powerful gales from supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies can blast gas and other raw materials right out of the galaxy, robbing it of the raw materials needed to make new stars, a new study suggests. The new findings should help astronomers refine their models of how galaxies evolve, the researchers say.

Submission + - Intel to rebrand Atom chips along lines of Core processors (

angry tapir writes: Intel has announced that going forward it will use style of branding for its Atom chips that is similar to its branding for Core chips. Atom CPUs will have the X3, X5 and X7 designations, much like with the Core i3, i5 and i7 brands. An Atom X3 will deliver good performance, X5 will be better and X7 will be the best, an Intel spokeswoman said.

Submission + - Facebook's Colonies (

sarahnaomi writes: That the internet is the most powerful tool humanity has ever created is old hat. I'm sure I could find the same thing written somewhere in a 1995 issue of Wired. And over those last 20 years, that knowledge has come with a simple imperative: we must increase access, close the digital divide, lest entire populations of people—who are likely already disadvantaged, as access trickles down with economic and geopolitical privilege—be left behind.

Facebook this week released a major report on global internet access, as part of the company's campaign, which aims to bring cheap internet to new markets in partnership with seven mobile companies. Facebook says 1.39 billion people used its product in December 2014, and it's natural for the company to try to corral the other four-fifths of the planet.

But aside from ideals and growth markets, the report highlights a tension inherent to the question of access: When Facebook sets sail to disconnected markets, what version of the internet will it bring?

Submission + - Whiteboard subsitutes for distributed teams?

DoofusOfDeath writes: I work on a fully distributed software development team with 5-10 people. Normally it's great, but when we're doing heavy design work, we really need to all be standing in front of a whiteboard together. This is expensive and time consuming, because it involves airplanes and hotels. Conference calls, editing shared Google docs, etc. just don't seem to be the same. Have people found any good tools or practices to replace standing in front of a real whiteboard?

Submission + - Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time? (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Many websites allow you to look for freelance programming jobs or Web development work. (, for example, offers links to several dozen.) The problem for developers in the European Union and the United States is that competition from rivals in developing countries is crushing fees for everybody, as the latter can often undercut on price. (This isn’t a situation unique to software development; look at how globalization has compelled manufacturing jobs to move offshore, for example.) With all that in mind, developer David Bolton surveyed some freelance developer marketplaces, especially the ones that catered to Western developers, who typically need to operate at price-points higher than that of their counterparts in many developing nations. His conclusion? 'It’s my impression that the bottom has already been reached, in terms of contractor pricing; to compete these days, it’s not just a question of price, but also quality and speed.' Do you agree?

Submission + - LHC Set to Restart at Double Power Reignites Doomsday Fears

hcs_$reboot writes: CERN's world’s largest particle accelerator located in the Jura mountains near the Franco-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider, is set to restart at double power for three years from March 2015, after a two-years refit.
'With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries. I'm looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us.' CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said in a statement.
However, two leading and well respected scientists, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson, have issued independent warnings that high energy collision experiments with the LHC could trigger an Earth-wide or even universe-wide catastrophe. LHC particles collisions of a scale never achieved by any accelerator in the past will allow CERN to look into deep mysteries of the universe, such as dark matter. The Large Hadron Collider was used in 2012 to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson, known as the God particle.

Submission + - 1st low cost arm64 hardware

turb writes: Announced today at Linaro Connect in Hong Kong was the HiKey board the first in the 96board program. ( For $129, the HiKey is a 64 bit 8 core Cortex-A53 at 1.2Gz SoC with 1 Gig of LPDDR3, Mali 450, OTG, 2 USB ports, wifi, bluetooth, HDMI, uSD and eMMC. Demoed as part of the announcement were builds of Debian and Android using a 3.18 kernel. Boards will be shipping in March.

Submission + - 19,000 French Websites Hit By DDoS, Defaced In Wake Of Terror Attack

An anonymous reader writes: Since the three day terror attack that started in France on January 7 with the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, 19,000 websites of French-based companies have been targeted by cyber attackers. This unprecedented avalanche of cyber attacks targeted both government sites and that of big and small businesses. Most were low-level DDoS attacks, and some were web defacements. Several websites in a number of towns in the outskirts of Paris have been hacked and covered with an image of an ISIS flag. The front pages of the official municipality websites have been covered with the Jihadist militant group's black flag. In a report, Radware researchers noted that Islamic hacker group AnonGhost has also launched a "digital jihad" against France.

Submission + - Lost Beagle2 probe found 'intact' on Mars (

Stolga writes: The missing Mars robot Beagle2 has been found on the surface of the Red Planet, apparently intact.

High-resolution images taken from orbit have identified its landing location, and it looks to be in one piece.

The UK-led probe tried to make a soft touchdown on the dusty world on Christmas Day, 2003, using parachutes and airbags — but no radio contact was ever made with the probe.

Many scientists assumed it had been destroyed in a high-velocity impact.

Submission + - CERN looking for help filling in the gaps in photo archive

rHBa writes: According to the BBC scientists at the European nuclear research centre CERN have uncovered an archive of images from its first 50 years and are asking for help in deciphering what is going on in them. Dr Sue Black, who was a key figure in the campaign to save Bletchley Park, said "we believe that much of this information could be crowd-sourced from the CERN community."

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham