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Science

Idle: New Species Named For SpongeBob SquarePants 74

An anonymous reader writes "Sing it with us: What lives in the rainforest, under a tree? Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of mushroom almost as strange as its cartoon namesake. Scientists from the San Francisco State University have discovered a new species of mushroom in Borneo with sponge-like properties. Its strange behavior convinced them to name it after the famous Bob. There is no word on whether or not their chances of getting future grant money will be improved by this choice." Did you know (prior to clicking on the Wikipedia link above) that SpongeBob was created by a marine biologist?
Apple

Apple Causes Religious Reaction In Brains of Fans 636

satuon writes "In a recently screened BBC documentary called 'Secrets of the Superbrands', UK neuroscientists found that the brains of Apple fans are stimulated by images of Apple products in the same areas as those triggered by religious imagery in a person of faith. According to the scientists, this suggests that the big tech brands have harnessed, or exploit, the brain areas that have evolved to process religion."
Patents

Ridiculous Software Patents: a Developer's Nemesis 173

StormDriver writes "Have you ever thought about patenting a pop up note, an online poll, a leaderboard in an online game, or a system where you open apps by clicking icons? I have some bad news for you – it's impossible. Not because the claim is stupid, it's just that all of those things are already patented. And it's all fun and factoids, until one day you find yourself in the role of a software start-up."
Data Storage

Submission + - Deduplicating storage on the cheap (vanheusden.com) 1

flok writes: "Deduplicating software/appliances are the bomb currently. Everyone wants them, everyone is developing such a thing.
Software finds duplicates using hashes, and using advanced algorithms those hashes are looked up from huge memory-caches. But wait, looking up data, isn't that the task of a database? This made me think and after a couple of hours I implemented MyDeDub, a deduplicating network block device which stores its data (and hashes) in a MySQL database. As it looks now, filesystems on MyDeDub stay consistent, massive space is saved and it even performs, well, somewhat. It is implemented in Java so even an old windows 98 system might suffice. You can find the software here."

Submission + - PostCrossing - the past revisited (postcrossing.com)

flok writes: "In the past if you wanted to tell someone something, you would take a piece of paper (or card) and give that to a company which would then take care of delivering it to the recipient. This costed a few bucks and took at least a day. Now that we have e-mail and twitter nobody ever does this anymore. But still, don't you ever miss the joy of finding such a card on your doorstep? Some of them had pictures on them related to the text on the card, others had drawings, etc. etc. A while ago some people decided that they would like again to receive those cards. Feel the joy again and such. www.postcrossing.com let's you relive this: you can pick at random someone to send a card to and submit your address to receive a card yourself as well. And the best: it is free! Well, apart from buying the card and postal costs."
Security

Submission + - Tor a carrier for Botnet traffic?

flok writes: "The Tor anonimity network is a generic carrier for all kinds of (TCP) traffic. Its goal is enabling people to use the internet without anyone between them and the destination point being able to determine what is happening. It also allows you to offer services without anyone being able to trace back these services to you. Now botnets need to communicate with a central instance which lets them know what to do (e.g. send spam, ddos websites, etc.). Tor is an ideal carrier for this: no outsider can see what kind of traffic comes out of a system running such a bot and no-one is able to see whereto this traffic goes. So you can't stop the traffic between the bot and its master without blocking the whole Tor network and it is kind of hard as well to find where all this traffic goes to (the botnet master node). So; what should we do? Dis-allow hidden services in Tor? Or block Tor totally?"

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