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Google

Submission + - The world's greatest competitive programmer (technologyreview.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Technology Review profiles Petr Mitrichev, who has since 2005 dominated the world of competitive programming, a little known sport where competitors furiously code for five hours in pursuit of glory and cash prizes worth tens of thousands of dollars. Mitrichev now works for Google, and competes only for leisure, but is still ranked number one. Many large tech companies, such as Facebook and Google, now sponsor and pay close attention to competitive coding contests, seeing them as a place to recruit new talent.
The Internet

Submission + - HTTP Standards Group Looking at Google SPDY for HTTP 2.0 (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: The next version of HTTP i.e. HTTP 2.0 may probably be adopting quite a few things from Google SPDY it is being reported. IETF HTTPbis Working Group met last week for discussion over at Vancouver, Canada on the proposed changes and from the discussions it seems that the working group might adopt the SPDY protocol as the basis of its own protocol. HTTP 1.1, the current standard in use for communications across the web, was formulated and rolled out back in 1999. This standard was definitely a sort of renaissance back in those days but, over the years the web has changed a lot. Revisions are inevitable part of a standard and to suit current times internet heavy weights have given their proposals. Members over at the Working Group definitely do not want to reinvent the wheel and they are not willing to start anything from scratch. For this reason SPDY is going to be the starting point for the formulation of the new standard. Some of the points that the working group will be looking into include header compression, mandatory TLS, client pull/server push among others.

Submission + - Pay-by-Voice could leap frog Pay-by-Smartphone (nytimes.com)

circletimessquare writes: "While the world waits for a smartphone wallet, that idea might have already been made quaint by the company called Square that bought us the little Credit Card swiper that attaches to your iPhone audio jack: pay by just announcing your voice. 'You walk into a shop or cafe. The cashier knows that you’re on the premises, because your name and thumbnail photo appear on his iPad screen. He rings up your items by tapping them on the iPad. And now the magic moment: To pay, you just say your name. The cashier compares your actual face with the photo on the iPad’s screen, taps O.K., and the transaction is complete. No cash, no cards, no signatures — you don’t even have to take the phone out of your pocket.' A number of hacks seem apparent. David Pogue's New York Times article also summarizes nicely the state of play in novel electronic payment methods."
Security

Submission + - EPIC Files Motion About Ignored Body Scanner Ruling (epic.org)

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a motion in court yesterday regarding the court's ignored year-old ruling on EPIC vs. DHS. EPIC is asking the court to require DHS to start taking public comment within 60 days or, as an alternative, forbid DHS from using body scanners in primary airport screening altogether. If the court orders the latter, that would give EPIC what it originally sought in its lawsuit. Meanwhile, for what it's worth, the related petition on whitehouse.gov has a little more than half the signatures it needs to get an official 'response.' The signing period ends on August 9.
Education

Submission + - Teachers Think White Females Lag in Math (utexas.edu) 2

ancarett writes: Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin found that American high school math teachers tend to rate white female students’ math abilities lower than those of their white male peers, even when their grades and test scores are comparable. Their research drew from the Education Longitudional Study (2002) with data on about 15,000 students and their teachers. According to the researchers "teachers hold the belief that math is just easier for white males than it is for white females." Their findings appear in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society.
Programming

Submission + - Light Table - a new IDE concept (chris-granger.com)

omar.sahal writes: Bret Victor (covered previously on slashdot) demoed the idea of instant feedback on your code. Victor's concept runs a little like a interpretor on your code, but in realtime. This allows the programer to instantly see what his programe is doing. Chris Granger has turned this novel idea into Light Table — a new IDE designed to make use of the Victor's insights.

Bret Victor — Inventing on Principle — https://vimeo.com/36579366
Update on the project — http://www.chris-granger.com/2012/04/15/light-tables-numbers/

The Internet

Submission + - Research to "reveal the unseen world of cookies" (guardian.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian newspaper have teamed up with Mozilla to research the monitoring of online behaviour through cookies and other web trackers. After downloading the Collusion add-on for Firefox, you can generate a visual representation of all the cookies that have been downloaded which are linked to the sites you have visited. This shows quite an interesting picture. The Guardian then want the data from Collusion to be uploaded to their site after which they say "we can build up a picture of this unseen world. When we've found the biggest players, we'll start tracking them back – finding out what data are they monitoring, and why."
Microsoft

Submission + - Avatar Kinect - available now (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Is Avatar Kinect a world changing innovation or is it just silly?
The idea is simple enough. It uses the Kinect to determine body position and facial expression and maps these in real-time onto an avatar displayed on the screen alone with other similar avatars.
The big question is what it good for?
Simple answer is that you can hide behind your avatar. It is an opportunity for anyone who feels less than confident about their appearance to become a performer — Microsoft is running a stand up comedian via avatar competition for example. The internet has long provided an anonymous platform where users can express themselves and Avatar Kinect extends this to facial and body expressions. Perhaps this is how video phone calls finally catch on — I'll get my avatar to phone you.

Submission + - China Completes Record Submarine Dive (wsj.com)

thebchuckster writes: China's first manned deep-sea submersible completed a Pacific Ocean dive to 5,057 meters (16,591 feet), surpassing current U.S. capabilities and setting a milestone in a race to explore for potentially vast resources in the deepest parts of the world's oceans.
Medicine

Submission + - X-rays for Stargazing turns into cancer treatment (discovery.com)

derGoldstein writes: Discovery posted an interesting story of how X-rays that are used by astronomers for determining the various chemical abundances inside stars could also potentially be used for more effective radiation therapy: "radiation treatment is a coarse instrument at best, since it destroys surrounding healthy cells as well as cancerous tumors. Much research is underway for targeted methods to reduce the collateral damage and attack just the cancer cells, including embedding nanoparticles inside tumors. ... Nahar and Pradham envision a prototype device capable of generating x-rays at the key frequencies to trigger a flood of low-energy electrons in platinum and gold, based on their computer simulations. Gold or platinum nanoparticles would amass naturally in cancerous tumors in the body, and could then be zapped with the focused x-ray beam."

Submission + - Adobe Closes Its App Stores (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Without offering much of an explanation beyond saying it comes from “developer feedback”, Adobe has pulled the plug on its AIR Marketplace and InMarket app stores. However, the Apple Intelligence blog “9to5Mac” is quite clear as to what has happened: “Another win for Apple here,” it says."
Android

Submission + - Mozilla making mobile OS using Android (blogspot.com)

karthikmns writes: Mozilla, Yes! the Firefox Mozilla has taken a step to develop an all new OS for mobile platforms. This internet browser giant has launched a Boot 2 Gecko(B2G) project. Similar to Firefox B2G is also an open source project which aims to clean up mobile fragmentation.
ISS

Submission + - NASA Tentatively Approves Combining SpaceX Flights (spacenews.com)

thomst writes: Space News reports that NASA has given tentative approval for SpaceX to combine the two remaining flights designed to prove the Hawthorne, Calif., company can deliver cargo to the international space station, according to William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, although formal approval for the mission is still pending. If NASA does approve the plan, SpaceX's Dragon capsule would be the first civilian spacecraft actually to dock with the International Space Station. According to NASA spokesman Joshua Buck, the current plan calls for SpaceX to launch a Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Nov. 30, which would then rendezvous and dock with the space station on Dec. 7 — a day that would live in spaceflight history.
Earth

Submission + - Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 6

Hugh Pickens writes: "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their frontyard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. "We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future," said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail and pittosporum, among others but according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. "It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money," says Quan Ha."

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