Munich wants to extend the thrill of the open highway to cyclists with a network of bike lanes running through the city and into the suburbs, in a bid to encourage car-free commuting.
The ambitious plan calls for a network of 14 two-way bike paths, each 13 feet wide and fully segregated from automobile traffic, that would spread out over an area of about 400 square miles. No crossroads, no traffic lights. It’s an autobahn for cyclists, or, as the Germans obviously call it, a Radschnellverbindungen.
The planned routes would connect Munich with small city centers, universities, and employment centers. They would be built over a combination of what’s now open land, small streets, and conventional size bike lanes.
Building the Radschnellverbindungen’s not a done deal yet. Local authorities must approve the project before construction starts, and it won’t be cheap. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung pegs the estimate at $1.75 million per mile.
A senior IT professional who was a trusted employee of a top Silicon Valley law firm is headed to prison.
Dimitry Braverman was arrested last year at his home in San Mateo, California. The 42-year-old man was accused of loading up on stocks and options for companies he knew had mergers or other major transactions on the way, because he had access to confidential information at the law firm he worked at, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati.
Braverman, who made $305,000 in profits off the illegal transactions, pled guilty in November. The companies he traded on included retailer Gymboree, Drugstore.com, Epicor Software, Seagate Technology, software firm Dealertrack Technologies, storage company Xyratex, and pharmaceutical companies YM Biosciences and Astex Pharmaceuticals.
Aristotle Onassis made his first real money listening in on phone calls while he worked as a switchboard operator in Argentina. He went on to marry Jackie Kennedy.
Google is teaming up with Sri Lanka to provide 3G mobile Internet to the entire nation using Google's Project Loon high-altitude balloons:
"The entire Sri Lankan island – every village from (southern) Dondra to (northern) Point Pedro – will be covered with affordable high speed Internet using Google Loon's balloon technology," said Samaraweera, who is also IT minister. Officials said local Internet service providers will have access to the balloons, reducing their operational costs.
Muhunthan Canagey, head of local authority the Information and Communication Technology Agency, said he expected Google to have finished sending up the balloons by next March. "Service providers will be able to access higher speeds and improve the quality of their existing service once the balloon project is up and running," Canagey told AFP. "We can also expect prices to come down," he said after he signed the agreement with Michael Cassidy, a Google vice president.
[...] Google plans to keep the balloons aloft in the stratosphere for 100 days, transmitting Internet signals to the ground, and with their movements guided by an algorithmic formula. Tests were carried out in New Zealand in 2013.
Official figures show there are 2.8 million mobile Internet connections and 606,000 fixed line Internet subscribers among Sri Lanka's more than 20 million population. Sri Lanka became the first country in South Asia to introduce mobile phones in 1989 and the first to roll out a 3G network in 2004. It was also the first in the region to unveil a 4G network two years ago.
Although the balloons are designed to provide 3G speeds to people on the ground, they will communicate with cell networks using higher speed transmitters. From EconomyNext:
Deputy Investment Promotions Minister Eran Wickremeratne told EconomyNext that each ballon could cover about 5,000 square kilometres and with a little over a dozen the entire country could be covered. "They have a finite lifetime and you have to keep sending them up," he said. "So coverage is one side, access also means the cost, which has to be affordable." The Google Loon balloons have LTE standard transceivers which can connect to cell phone networks filling gaps in their networks. "Service providers will enter in to agreements with "floating cell towers" that will be shared bringing down transmission costs leading to further reductions in cost of service provision," de Silva said.
[...] Cell phone signals generally propagate on a line of sight basis and there can be gaps in mountainous areas where it is physically not possible or in other sparsely populated or wilderness areas where it does not make economic sense to cover. Google Loon balloons are expected to navigate in the stratosphere and fill gaps in coverage.
Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords, according to a new study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on the skin of the lower back. This expands to nine the number of completely paralyzed individuals who have achieved voluntary movement while receiving spinal stimulation, though this is the first time the stimulation was delivered non-invasively. Previously it was delivered via an electrical stimulation device surgically implanted on the spinal cord.
In the study, the men's movements occurred while their legs were suspended in braces that hung from the ceiling, allowing them to move freely without resistance from gravity. Movement in this environment is not comparable to walking; nevertheless, the results signal significant progress towards the eventual goal of developing a therapy for a wide range of individuals with spinal cord injury.
In addition to stimulation, the men received several minutes of conditioning each session, during which their legs were moved manually for them in a step-like pattern. The goal of the conditioning was to assess whether physical training combined with electrical stimulation could enhance efforts to move voluntarily.
For the final four weeks of the study, the men were given the pharmacological drug buspirone, which mimics the action of serotonin and has been shown to induce locomotion in mice with spinal cord injuries. While receiving the stimulation, the men were instructed at different points to either try to move their legs or to remain passive.
The UK's Pirate Party are celebrating 6 years since forming the party by launching a campaign retrospective; a series of blogs, posters, podcasts and videos.
On 30th July 2009, Andrew Robinson registered Pirate Party UK as a political party for the first time. Today, we are proud to celebrate our 6th Birthday, and launch #WeArrSix, our Pirate Party campaign retrospective.
Over the last 6 years, the world has changed dramatically, but Pirate Party UK have campaigned tirelessly for civil liberties, digital freedoms and democratic reform. During this time, PPUK have fought to create a dialogue around issues that are core to how people live in the modern age.
Over the next 4 weeks Pirate Party UK will be running a series of blogs, posters, podcasts and videos looking back over the last 6 years of UK political and Pirate history in detail, as well as looking ahead to the next 6. This includes raising the funds we need to make it all happen through a Crowdfunder at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/WeArrSix
Deutsche Welle reports on failed round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations:
Sticking points were said to have included differences over protecting regional food specialties, the auto trade, and protection for drug makers.
Among other things, New Zealand, the world's largest dairy exporter, has said it will not back a deal that does not significantly open dairy markets.
The question of data protection for drug manufacturers was also a bone of contention, with the US wanting data on biological drug development to remain monopolized for 12 years, as compared with Australia's five years.
The deputy trade minister from Chile, which has no protection at all for drugmakers, said any deal must reconcile public needs with commercial interest. "For us it's vital to have an agreement that balances public policy goals for intellectual property in medicines," Minister Andres Rebolledo said.
The New Zealanders are upset about their distant Canadian cousins protecting their dairy industry, the NZ stuff reports:
The heavily protected Canadian dairy industry has earned the wrath of Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston for standing in the way of a good deal for dairy in the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Hawaii.
Rolleston said the public position of the Canadians was "unacceptable".
A 2014 paper written by Canadian academic and former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay says it costs a Canadian family about $300 a year to prop up the dairy industry.
The Canadian government slaps on quotas of 246 percent for cheese, and almost 300 percent for butter.
Outside key dairy electorates, the supply management system that protects farmers is not popular.
A series of ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cables will weave a cluster of West Coast university laboratories and supercomputer centers into a network called the Pacific Research Platform as part of a five-year $5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.
The network is meant to keep pace with the vast acceleration of data collection in fields such as physics, astronomy and genetics. It will not be directly connected to the Internet, but will make it possible to move data at speeds of 10 gigabits to 100 gigabits among 10 University of California campuses and 10 other universities and research institutions in several states, tens or hundreds of times faster than is typical now.
The challenge in moving large amounts of scientific data is that the open Internet is designed for transferring small amounts of data, like web pages, said Thomas A. DeFanti, a specialist in scientific visualization at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or Calit2, at the University of California, San Diego. While a conventional network connection might be rated at 10 gigabits per second, in practice scientists trying to transfer large amounts of data often find that the real rate is only a fraction of that capacity.
the push towards V2I—vehicle to infrastructure—communications systems is meant to help solve this problem, timing traffic signals for optimum traffic flow. V2I is still some years away, but in the meantime BMW has released an iOS app that achieves some of the same functions, at least for drivers in Oregon (Portland and Eugene) or Salt Lake City.
The EnLighten app—which has actually been available as a standalone iOS and Android app for a while now—lives on a driver's iOS phone but runs through BMW's iDrive infotainment system. When running, the iDrive screen shows the status of the nearest traffic signal ahead, along with a real-time prediction of when the light will change.
EnLighten, which has been developed by a company called Connected Signals, works by interfacing with the city's traffic management system, then combines that data with the car's location (via GPS). And although the BMW version of Enlighten currently only works in three cities in the US, the standalone app (which doesn't integrate with a car's infotainment system) will also function in Las Vegas, Arcadia and Walnut Creek in California, and Christchurch, New Zealand, with more cities planned for the near future.
According to Reuters the former CEO of the collapsed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, Mark Karpeles, has been arrested:
Mark Karpeles, the former head of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, was arrested on Saturday in connection with the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency, Japanese media reports said.
The French-born Karpeles, 30, is suspected of falsifying data on the outstanding balance of the exchange, at one point the world's largest hub for trading the digital currency, they added.
Police were unable to immediately confirm the reports.
'This breakthrough is very exciting for us. In just six months we have developed a truly unique demonstration which is able to use standard IP end-points and translate the IP flow into an IP-over-ICN abstraction (publish/subscribe model), where a single hop within the ICN network used SDN switches with pre-installed forwarding rules for the ICN flows,' says Dirk Trossen, Principal Scientist at InterDigital and POINT's Technical Manager. The POINT project kicked off in January 2015 and is supported by the EU to the tune of EUR 3.5 million.
ICN, which stands for Information Centric Network, has been the focus of many research teams since 2006 for its potential to replace the IP-based Internet as we know it. ICN notably allows for content to be fetched from multiple servers and caches, for savings in the synchronous and quasi-synchronous delivery of popular content, for securing the content rather than the endpoint, and for allowing operators to apply traffic engineering rules.
However the requirements of such a switch – including heavy standardisation, strong stakeholder support and the fact that viable methods to create a truly scalable internetworking of individual ICN highlands has not yet been found – have cast doubt on its feasibility.
To overcome this obstacle, POINT tries another approach. Instead of seeking to replace Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks, the project aims to harness the innovation potential of IP-based applications and solutions, while benefitting from specific ICN solutions in terms of their potential for better performance compared to their IP-based counterparts. At its core is the fundamental question: Is an IP-over-ICN system a better solution for IP-based services than pure IP-based networks?
A customer use case in the project's presentation flyer helps to illustrate the POINT approach: John, a London priest wanting to reach out to older parishioners whose health doesn't allow them to attend services in person, would like to set up a live video streaming service to fulfil this need. Unfortunately his bandwidth is not high enough, and paid streaming services are too expensive. He reluctantly chooses to use YouTube despite his fear of losing his content rights and sends over the data, thereby enabling a high number of users to view the video simultaneously. With the POINT software, John could have created a unicast stream received by users as a multicast stream, meaning he wouldn't have to worry about his bandwidth anymore, and could do without both paid and free streaming services.
Just like the title says, ISPs are once again trying to take down net neutrality by claiming that because the Internet uses computers, it is not a telecommunications service, but rather an information service, which would make it subject to lighter regulation.
Internet service providers yesterday filed a 95-page brief (PDF) outlining their case that the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules should be overturned.
One of the central arguments is that the FCC cannot impose common carrier rules on Internet access because it can’t be defined as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The ISPs argued that Internet access must be treated as a more lightly regulated “information service” because it involves “computer processing.”
“No matter how many computer-mediated features the FCC may sweep under the rug, the inescapable core of Internet access is a service that uses computer processing to enable consumers to ‘retrieve files from the World Wide Web, and browse their contents’ and, thus, ‘offers the ‘capability for... acquiring,... retrieving [and] utilizing... information.’ Under the straightforward statutory definition, an ‘offering’ of that ‘capability’ is an information service," the ISPs wrote.
Internet providers are now common carriers, and they're ready to sue. "If broadband providers provided only pure transmission and not information processing, as the FCC now claims, the primitive and limited form of 'access' broadband customers would receive would be unrecognizable to consumers," the ISPs also wrote. "They would be required, for example, to know the IP address of every website they visit. But, because Domain Name Service ('DNS') is part of Internet access, consumers can visit any website without knowing its IP address and thereafter 'click through' links on that website to other websites."
Since all of the ISPs are trying so hard to stop net neutrality, these laws are probably worth keeping on the books.
An international team of researchers led by scientists at the University of Georgia has discovered how parasitic plants, which steal their nutrients from another living plant, evolved the ability to detect and attack their hosts. Their findings, published recently in the journal Science, could lead to new techniques to control the thieving weeds.
As plant roots grow, they release hormones called strigolactones into the soil. This is a signal that normally helps fungi form a beneficial connection to the plant, in which they each trade nutrients. But the seeds of parasitic plants also possess the ability to sense strigolactones, which prompt them to germinate, attach to the host root and syphon off nutrients.
"It's kind of like root radar," said Nelson, who is also a member of UGA's Plant Center. "But the incredible thing is that this strigolactone detection system seems to have evolved from plant genes that normally control a seed's ability to detect fire."
When a forest burns, compounds in the smoke and ash leach into the soil. Many plants have evolved the ability to detect these compounds, which signal that their competition--large shady trees or dense ground cover--has been destroyed and it might be an opportune time to grow.
The findings could lead to new weed control strategies.
Yesterday, it was announced that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor GOTY edition was officially released on Linux and MacOS. This is one of the first truly great games in its prime to see the light of day on Linux in recent years. This is largely due to the influence of Valve and it's gaming machine push. It is largely to be seen if Valve can continue this trend and make Steam machines viable enough for the masses upon release. Here is some great Linux specific coverage of the release. If you wish to support Linux gaming and the porting house directly responsible, you should buy it directly from them (and receive a steam key to redeem). With the state of gaming on Linux being one reason many have given for years regarding the lack of Linux desktop acceptance, this excuse may be starting to disappear. If Valve sees its dream come to fruition, we will see whether that point has been valid all along or not.
From a Gamasutra article:
Feral Interactive today announced that the open-world action adventure game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition is out now on Mac and Linux via Steam, and will be released on the Mac App Store by early August. Developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for consoles and Windows, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor received high praise for its innovative gameplay and immersive setting. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor delivers a dynamic game environment where the player orchestrates their personal plan of vengeance as they bend Mordor to their will. The game begins on the night of Sauron's return to Mordor, as his Black Captains brutally execute the Rangers of the Black Gate. Players become Talion, a ranger who loses his family and everything he holds dear, only to be returned from death by a mysterious Spirit of vengeance.
The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 until September 2007. The telephone interception target list includes the switchboard for the Japanese Cabinet Office; the executive secretary to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; a line described as "Government VIP Line"; numerous officials within the Japanese Central Bank, including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda; the home phone number of at least one Central Bank official; numerous numbers within the Japanese Finance Ministry; the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa; the Natural Gas Division of Mitsubishi; and the Petroleum Division of Mitsui.
Today's publication also contains NSA reports from intercepts of senior Japanese government officials. Four of the reports are classified TOP SECRET. One of the reports is marked "REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL", meaning it has been formally authorised to be released to the United States' "Five Eyes" intelligence partners: Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand.
One of the things Apple was supposed to announce at WWDC in June was a new version of the Apple TV, the company's now more than three-year-old set-top box. Days before the keynote, though, the New York Times reported that those plans had been postponed at the last minute because "the product was not ready." Today, a report from Buzzfeed, the same outlet that originally reported on the WWDC plans, says that a refined version of the same box will actually be coming out in September alongside Apple's next-generation iPhones and the final version of iOS 9.
The basic hardware sounds pretty much the same as it did back in March when the original rumors made the rounds. The new box will include a version of the A8 SoC included in the iPhone 6 and sixth-generation iPod Touch, more internal storage, Siri support, and a new remote control with some kind of integrated touchpad (I'd take anything that would save us from the endless clicking the current Apple TV requires).
Most importantly, the new Apple TV would be released alongside an SDK and app store that would open the platform up. Currently, content providers have to work with Apple to create channels which are then pushed out to everyone with an Apple TV. An app store could increase the amount and variety of content available on the device, and (alongside the gamepad APIs introduced back in iOS 7) could make the set-top box into a sort of mini game console in its own right.
Is Apple too late to this party, with Roku already doing well, or will they come dominate this the way they did MP3 players? Can anyone with Apple TV comment?