Galaxy DNA-Analysis Software Is Now Available ‘in the Cloud’

Galaxy — an open-source, web-based platform for data-intensive biomedical and genetic research — is now available as a “cloud computing” resource.

A team of researchers including Anton Nekrutenko, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University; Kateryna Makova, an associate professor of biology at Penn State; and James Taylor from Emory University, developed the new technology, which will help scientists and biomedical researchers to harness such tools as DNA-sequencing and analysis software, as well as storage capacity for large quantities of scientific data. Details of the development will be published as a letter in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Earlier papers by Nekrutenko and co-authors describing the technology and its uses are published in the journals Genome Research and Genome Biology.MORE

Data Transmission for the Internet of Tomorrow

Electrical engineers in Bochum have succeeded in developing a new concept for ultrafast semiconductor lasers. The researchers make clever use of the intrinsic angular momentum of electrons, called spin, to successfully break the previous speed barriers. The new spin lasers have the potential to achieve modulation frequencies of well above 100 GHz in future. This is a decisive step towards high-speed data transmission, e.g. for the Internet of tomorrow.

The researchers report on their results in the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics.

Optical data transmission: the basis of our information society

Optical data transmission by semiconductor lasers is a basic prerequisite for the globally networked world and today’s information society. The ever increasing degree of networking and the desire to exchange larger amounts of data are the driving force behind the development of ever faster optical data transmission systems. The maximum speed of conventional semiconductor lasers has long been a limiting factor – typical modulation frequencies are currently at levels well below 50 GHz. Continue reading Data Transmission for the Internet of Tomorrow

How the world is learning to speak in tweets

 We all know the Internet is becoming less of an American (and Anglo) playpen, and now there’s a graphic representation to illustrate that fast-evolving story.

Google includes code in its Chrome browser that can determine the language of a Web page and ask whether you’d care to have it translated. That provided an opening for Mike McCandless, who subsequently extracted the so-called Compact Language Detector software, which Google has open-sourced.

Eric Fischer then applied the data to Twitter to generate a couple of stunning images tracing the use of the micro-blogging service around the globe.

“There are a lot of near-identical colors for different languages because I was optimizing for maximum distinguishability of languages used near each other rather than for global uniqueness,” Fischer noted on his Flickr account. “The exception is English, which is in gray because it is so common almost everywhere that it threw off the process of choosing the other colors.”MORE


FBI investigates grade change hacking at Santa Clara

Mark Loiseau, who says the FBI gained access to his Verizon and Google Voice accounts

A Twitter post from an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University has prompted the school to acknowledge that it asked the FBI to investigate how a few dozen grades were electronically altered.

Mark Loiseau, 25, a senior electrical engineering student, received an unpleasant surprise this morning: three FBI agents showed up at his off-campus apartment wanting to have a friendly chat with him.

FBI agent Jeffrey Miller and his colleagues had complete dossiers on him and his friends, Loiseau told CNET this afternoon. “They had all my grades. They had pictures of me.”

It started out as a friendly conversation, Loiseau said, but then the FBI agents began to suggest that he was involved in illegally changing his or someone else’s grades. After receiving a denial, the trio of agents said that lying to a federal agent was a crime and that they wanted to search his computers.MORE

With Timeline, Facebook Bids To Reinvent The Social Biography

As a Harvard buddy of Mark Zuckerberg, Samuel Lessin had early access to Facebook in 2004. The then-nascent web site instantly became a part of his life. “The sum of those conversations was how I expressed myself,” he says, “it’s how people express themselves.”

So it’s not surprising that when Lessin took a job at Facebook last year he became product manager of Timeline, which transmogrifies one’s Facebook profile to a linear self-account that accumulates the moments of your life — via communications among friends, photos, videos, links, check-in and other data — in a chronological presentation.

Facebook execs explain that while the previous profile was like a five-minute conversation between acquaintances, Timeline is like meeting a friend for drinks and spilling your soul until the bar lights flicker for closing time.MORE

Boost for move to new net addressing scheme

Clock hands close to 12

Efforts to shift the internet to a new addressing system have been boosted by US internet service provider Comcast.

The firm has begun switching some customers over to a system built around the net’s new addressing scheme, called IP Version 6 (IPv6).

The change is needed because the older version has almost exhausted its pool of available addresses.

Some small UK ISPs have also begun putting domestic customers on a network that uses the new system.

Comcast is carrying out a trial in Pleasanton, California that willsee some customers in the town being connected to a network built around IPv6. To do this they will need home hardware that can handle IPv6 and its forerunner- IPv4.

Everything connected to the internet needs an address so data is sent to the right place. From the earliest days of the net, addresses have been pulled from the IPv4 pool which has about four billion numbers available.MORE

Valve’s online game service Steam hit by hackers

Artwork from Skyrim

The Steam video game service, used by 35 million people, has been compromised by hackers.

Its owner and operator, Valve, uncovered an intrusion into a user database while investigating a security breach of its discussion forums.

The attackers used login details from the forum hack to access a database that held ID and credit card data.

Valve said that, so far, it had no evidence that credit cards were being misused or Steam accounts abused. Continue reading Valve’s online game service Steam hit by hackers

Websites to give privacy warnings


Internet users will receive a warning if sites do not respect their privacy thanks to new tools being developed by the web’s standards setting body.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) wants to help users control how their personal data is managed.

It is designing controls to shield personal data and reveal when sites do not honour privacy requests.

The W3C now wants users, browser makers and businesses to help finish and implement the specifications. Continue reading Websites to give privacy warnings


mad scientist

At Google, X really does mark the spot.

Search engine giant Google has a secret product lab called Google X feverishly developing blue-sky projects such as space elevators, driverless cars and Internet-enabled household devices (coffee pots? clothing?), The New York Times reported Monday.

The labs are reportedly run “as mysteriously as the C.I.A.,” according to unnamed sources familiar with the project, and housed in two facilities — one in California at the company’s headquarters and one in an undisclosed location elsewhere in the country.more


Utility Knife Folds into Card You Can Stash in Your Wallet

cardsharp 2

Wouldn’t it be handy to have a utility knife in your pocket at all times?

With most knives, you have to worry about the obvious: Is it going to ruin my slacks? But the CardSharp 2from Iain Sinclair has a slick design that folds up to the shape of a credit card, so feel free to store it in your wallet.

The CardSharp 2 is slimmer and lighter than most knifes. Its stainless-steel surgical blade ensures long-lasting sharpness. The body, made of light polypropylene, includes a built-in sheath, that with a safety lock and non-slip armor rubber coating, help prevent injuries. A sharp idea indeed. With this, you’ll probably be the most handy guy in the office.SRC