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Martin Grossner

Martin Grossner

The Pluto Hop, Skip, and Jump mission is one among 22 innovative concepts funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program to welcome new ideas for space science and exploration.   ( Benjamin Goldman )

Most likely a massive believer of a future that involves soft robotic spacecraft, artificial gravity devices, and technologies that could give science fiction a run for its money, NASA has funded 22 interstellar projects that could change the face of space science and exploration.

The innovative concepts received money from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts or NIAC program.

Winning Projects: What Future Space Exploration Looks Like

“The program gives fellows the opportunity and funding to explore visionary aerospace concepts that we appraise and potentially fold into our early stage technology portfolio,” said NASA’s Space Technology Mission Doctorate associate administrator Steve Jurczyk in a statement, adding that NIAC seeks to engage researchers, scientific innovators, and agency civil servants in this initiative.

NIAC Phase 1 grants were awarded to 15 of the 22 concepts and provided about $125,000 for nine months of initial definition and analysis work for each project.

“A Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture,” an initiative by University of California Berkeley’s Adam Arkin along with his team, seeks to harness bioengineered microbes on Earth in order to potentially give rise to crops on planet Mars.

John Brophy, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, aims to use potent lasers for illuminating solar panels on traveling spacecraft, which would make the vehicles’s ion-propulsion systems lighter, far more efficient, and therefore faster in its probe.

So-called vacuum starships that do not depend on helium or hydrogen but instead keep an air-displacing interior vacuum could soon fly on Martian sky, if John-Paul Clarke of Georgia Institute of Technology succeeds in his “Evacuated Airship for Mars Mission” development.

Other innovative concepts feature interstellar spacecraft solely powered via Mach effects, a Pluto-hopping space vehicle, a Turbolift system for inducing artificial gravity, and a tiny probe hovering above the surface of Martian moon Phobos, to name a few.

NIAC Phase 2 Grants In Focus

Seven more concepts, which previously received a Phase 1 grant, also received NIAC Phase 2 grants worth up to $500,000 for two more years of development.

This year’s Phase 2 portfolio, according to NASA, comprises a wide range of concepts. The lineup involves a Venus probe harnessing in-situ power and propulsion for investigation the Venusian atmosphere, a high-powered laser for studying the composition of asteroids and other heavenly objects, and an ultra-robust rover that can win against harsh conditions on Venus, Mercury, and other planetary bodies.

The hope is for the grantees to “change the possible” as what NIAC does best, according to program executive Jason Derleth.

This Thursday, April 13 at 2 p.m. EDT, NASA is holding a major press briefing to reveal the latest results on ocean worlds in our solar system. At the mysterious event, the agency will reveal findings on its “broader search for life” beyond our planet, along with discoveries that could affect future exploration of ocean worlds.

The announcement is tied to data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and its Hubble Space Telescope. While held at the NASA headquarters, it will also involve experts positioned in different parts of the country.

Source : techtimes.com

(Bloomberg) -- It’s time for the humans to have another Go.

An artificial intelligence program romped to a lopsided victory over South Korean Go master Lee Sedol in 2016. Now, Google DeepMind’s AI software is heading to the 2,500-year-old board game’s roots, taking on top-ranked Chinese player Ke Jie in May in a formal re-match between man and machine.

The Alphabet Inc. company and China’s government are convening a five-day AI symposium from May 23 in the picturesque water-town of Wuzhen, expected to draw some of the top minds in the field from both Google and around the country. The proceedings include not just the marquee human-AI match-up, but also a number of experimental matches in which Go masters may team up with their own AI counterparts, or join forces against a single machine player.

The idea is to showcase the evolution of machine intelligence, Demis Hassabis, chief executive officer and and co-founder of Google DeepMind, wrote in a blog post. The aim of the forum is to discuss how machine-learning methods behind AlphaGo can be useful in grappling with real-world issues such as energy consumption.

“There remains much more to learn from this partnership between Go’s best human players and its most creative A.I. competitor,” Hassabis wrote.

AlphaGo made headlines last year after winning a five-match tournament against Lee, who was considered the world’s best player of Go over the past decade. DeepMind’s success astounded experts, who thought it would take as much as a decade before AI could beat top-ranked professional players of the game. While its rules are simple -- players battle for territory by placing white or black stones on a 19-by-19 grid of squares -- it’s regarded as far more complex than chess, by an order of magnitude of 10 followed by 99 zeros.

The widely covered contest provoked discussion on social media about whether the AI could in fact beat a player from the nation that spawned the game several millennia ago. AlphaGo, however, has since engaged in a number of casual online matches -- including with Ke Jie -- and consistently won.

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. last month also pitted its "Jueyi" AI against human players, to demonstrate the company’s growing prowess in computer science. But AlphaGo’s original victory in Seoul positioned Google as a leader in next-generation super-smart computing. The search giant now uses AI in a range of products -- automatically writing emails, recommending YouTube videos and helping cars drive themselves.

Author: Bloomberg News
Source: https://www.information-management.com/news/googles-alphago-ai-takes-on-china-after-south-korean-triumph

Defining semantics is a matter of semantics, not less so in the Big Data space.

The Semantics conference is one of the biggest events for all things semantics. Key research and industry players gathered this week in Leipzig to showcase and discuss, and we were there to get that vibe.

Enterprise Knowledge Graphs

Graphs are everywhere: we have social graphs and knowledge graphs and office graphs, and in the minds of most these have been associated with Facebook and Google and Microsoft. But the concept of Knowledge Graphs is broader and vendor-agnostic.

All graphs can be considered as knowledge graphs, insofar as they represent information by means of nodes and (directional) edges. Nodes represent entities and edges represent relationships between them, such as Customer-buys-Product. Another way of stating this is by using the Subject-Predicate-Object metaphor borrowed from natural language.

However, not all information is represented by means of graphs, for a number of reasons mostly having to do with complexity, cost, and performance. In the enterprise, the new imperative to deal with such issues is the data lake: a storage repository that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format, including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.

By adding a semantic layer to data lakes, what we get is Enterprise Knowledge Graphs. Even though there are a number of approaches and implementations to representing graphs, a set of standards under the Linked Data moniker combined with extensible, curated vocabularies for numerous domains offers a lightweight semantically enriched approach to enterprise data integration.

Linked Data has had a rough time finding its way to the enterprise, but a lot of water has flowed under the bridge connecting the 2009 PwC technology forecast to the 2015 Gartner Hype Cycle for Advanced Analytics and Data Science. Linked Data are shown as currently being in the Trough of Disillusionment, expected to reach the Plateau of Productivity in the next 5-10 years, which according to industry pundits is a good thing as it means we're finally getting there.

Managing the Graph

Promising-sounding or not, enterprises need more than cool technology and hype cycles to move to adoption: they need solutions for managing their data and metadata. Data solutions are well-known, metadata solutions less so, but adopters like BBC, Credit Suisse, and Roche show the way.

Managing data vocabularies and mappings is crucial for instating Enterprise Knowledge Graphs, and the aptly named Semantic Web Company (SWC) presented its own solution in this space called PoolParty. PoolParty is a semantic middleware that helps organizations develop knowledge graphs based on Semantic Web standards.

PoolParty is the outcome of intensive R&D since 2009 and provides features such as vocabulary management, text mining and entity extraction, concept tagging, semantic search, recommendations, analytics, and visualization. SWC reinvests 50 percent of its revenue in constantly improving its modular product to reach new audiences.

Social Engagement

The fact that IBM was at the conference speaks volumes on the importance semantics has for the company. IBM presented the research underpinnings of the Social Engagement Dashboard (SED), a solution for analytics in enterprise social networks. SED is built on top of IBM Connections, but IBM touts it as a generalized solution to ingest any social network or collaboration-related data.

Research on SED (codenamed Project Breadcrumb) has been running within IBM for a couple of years, and during that time IBM has successfully integrated and analyzed data from CRMs, social networks, and other sources using property graphs. SED tries to capture context through metrics such as activity, influence, and broker potential to build recommendation systems for the enterprise.

SED derives behavior patterns for employees, with the end game being to provide management with an overview of connectivity, roles, and efficiency in the organization, to classify employees in behavior templates, and to motivate them to observe and adjust. Admittedly, this raises an array of questions and brings a Circle-like setting to mind, but IBM pledges to transparency and privacy as a remedy.

Learning for Healthcare

Last but not least, Siemens presented some of its current research with semantic underpinnings and applications in the healthcare domain. Siemens has a long-established tradition in healthcare, and is now looking into ways to move forward utilizing semantic technology.

Siemens is engaged in various R&D projects with a multitude of research and industrial partners, and together they have identified some key dimensions in the digital transformation of healthcare: mobilizing data in a trusted network, integrating external data sources, putting the patient in charge, and providing always-on and personalized services.

Siemens is focused on addressing three key issues: generating a model for clinical processes and decisions, mapping decisions to outcomes, and drawing causal conclusions. Its approach, called Learning with Memory Embeddings, uses semantics to model healthcare knowledge graphs and a Machine Learning combinatorial model inspired by the human brain. 

In a world where more and more objects are coming online and vendors are getting involved in the supply chain, how can you keep track of what's yours and what's not?
Source : zdnet.com

Ever tried to do reverse email lookup? There may be many reasons for reverse email address search. With the tremendous growth in the number of internet users, curse like email abusing, spamming, stalking, etc. are also increasing simultaneously. And, it becomes quite important to find the person behind email address when you receive an email from an unknown sender.

The temptation to know “Whose email is this?” may lead you to reverse email lookup search on Google or other search engines. But the various search engines may help you only if the person has previously used that email address in his/her user profile on any social media, blog/website, public forum or any online community. In case, the unknown sender hasn’t used his email at any such places; your reverse email address search keeps hanging in the middle. Thus, it becomes quite difficult to find the person behind the email address.

Recently, I tried and tested various reverse email lookup tricks to find the person behind an email address. Also, we tested and analyzed many paid as well as free email finder tools that allow you to perform reverse email address search. Finally, we came up with this in-depth “Reverse Email Lookup Guide” to help you know whose email is this?

Reverse Email Lookup Tricks to Find Person Behind Email Address

If you’re a busy person, then you probably get a lot of Emails during the day. You probably get newsletters, Business Emails, News Alerts and so on. The majority of the time you get Emails from sources you know if you signed up for.  But, there will come a time when you will get an Email from someone you don’t know.

In that Email, it says all sorts of great things you’ve either won or can get something if you do this or that. Your first impulse is to respond and say you’ll do anything, but before you do, it would be a good idea if you investigated who the Email is from.

1. Discover Who Someone is by Using Their I.P Address

Not everyone has the same amount of knowledge, so not everyone will know what an I.P address is. I.P stands for Internet Protocol Address. It’s an exclusive address that identifies a device and something that is used by devices to talk to each other within the network.

You can use this I.P address to find a person because it’s like a street address or a phone number that someone uses. This kind of information is unique to each person, so you have a good chance of finding out who someone is by using it.

The I.P address is not in plain site, and you have to do some clicking to find it. Right beside the drop-down menu in the Email the other persons received, you will see an arrow pointing down.

How to find out who is behind an Email address - Whose Email is This - Reverse Email Lookup Tricks to Know Whose Email is This - Find Person Behind Email

Click on the drop-down menu and look for Show Original. You will see a lot of information that might confuse you but look for a sequence of numbers that look like this:

How to find someone IP Address - How to Know Whose Email Is This - Reverse Email Lookup Trick

Once you have the IP address, you need to use a tool such as Youngwatsignal or IPLocation. Thanks to these tools you can discover the country and the city the sender is from.

2. Do a Google Search to Know Whose Email is This

Doing a Google search is probably the first thing that crossed your mind to find out more information on someone, right? Why wouldn’t it be since whenever you want to know more about something the first thing you do is Google it.

You can do the same thing with an Email address you are suspicious about. Copy and paste the Email address in the Google search bar and see what information you get. If it’s an Email address that is or was being used in some type of scams, then you should be able to find some information on it.

3. Find Their Profile on Social Media Using Email

I mean, who doesn’t have a social media account these days, right? Whether you use it for work or personal use, everyone has one, and so does the person who Emailed you. That’s why searching for them on social media is a fantastic way you can get information about them.

How to search for someone on Social Media - Whose Email is This - Reverse Email Lookup Tricks to Know Whose Email is This - Find Person Behind Email

Since there are quite a few social media networks out there, you’d probably spend hours and hours looking for that person. Take the shortcut and use Knowem. It’s a very useful tool that by using a brand name, product, personal name or username. With this tool, you instantly search over 500 social media websites. Can you imagine yourself?

4. Use Facebook to Investigate Person Behind an Email

Whenever you want to search for someone on Facebook, you usually type in their name. But, in this case, you only have an Email to go on. So, the first thing you need to do is copy the mysterious Email address and then paste in Facebook’s search box.

If Facebook has a profile with that Email address, you will see it in the search results. It’s no secret that Facebook has billions of users so; you definitely have possibilities of finding who is behind the Email address by using Facebook.

If you hit the jackpot and found the person’s Email address, the first thing you need to do is download the profile picture. Some users (but not all) usually use the same picture for various social networks.

Now, upload that same profile picture onto Google Images and then click on the camera icon that is right beside the search box. What this is going to do is that it is going to show you if that person uses that same picture somewhere else. If so, you won’t just have their Facebook profile to get to know them better, but the other accounts you also found.

5. People Search Tools for Reverse Email Lookup

There are people search tools out there for reverse email lookup that can make the searching a lot easier. Those reverse email lookup tools will do a comprehensive search in places you probably didn’t even know existed. For example, you have Pipl and Spokeo. These tools allow you to perform a reverse Email lookup and get you the information you need.

They are both useful tools, but I have to admit that Spokeo features a more comprehensive database. Spokeo searches for web documents, but it also looks through social networks and whois information of domains.

It will look for any information that is related to the Email you entered. It doesn’t matter how small that info is, if it’s related to the Email, it will uncover it.

Keep in mind that there may be some information that only subscribed users can have access to. If you need to know who this person is, you will need to subscribe.

Another great tool is Email Sherlock, just like the other two reverse email lookup tools, you can enter Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or even a custom domain Email ID. Which one is the best out of the three? If you want to use the tool for reverse email lookup that gives you the most amount of information, then Email Sherlock is a perfect choice.

Email Sherlock does something that the other two reverse email lookup tools don’t. It will send an Email to the ID you are investigating that someone is doing a reverse image search notifying them that someone is investigating them.

6. Use Rapportive to Know Person Behind an Email

Rapportive is a tool that will give you the information you need, and it is very easy to use. I should begin by mentioning that it’s a service that will only work for Gmail.

Whose Email is This - Reverse Email Lookup Tricks to Know Whose Email is This - Find Person Behind Email

If you usually get Emails from people you don’t know, you might want to keep an extension like Rapportive in your browser. So the next time you get another one of those Email, you can instantly get information on the sender.

 

This Gmail tool will get you LinkedIn profiles right inside your Gmail account. Just open the Email, and to the right, you will see all the LinkedIn information about the person who sent the Email. You will also see shared connection, where they are, and you even get to see a picture. If you use either Chrome or Firefox, this is a reverse email lookup tool you can enjoy.

7. Be Careful with Phishing Scams

Last but not least, you need to know how to identify a phishing scam. It’s not always an honest person that is behind the Email address. Unfortunately, the Email you received could be a phishing scam. So, how to know that this is what’s behind the Email you received?

You can tell that it’s a phishing scam if the Email you received is from a financial institution. If the Email is asking you to confirm your personal information or even your pin number, then erase it!  There is a 99.9% chance that you received a phishing scam Email.

Finding out who is behind these kinds of Email is more complicated, and I don’t know if you want to get into that kind of thing. I would just recommend you erase it and always be careful as to what Emails you respond to.

How to Know Whose Email is This?

There are many ways you can investigate someone and find the person behind an email, thanks to the Internet. Unless the person who sends the Email is some professional at hiding, there is a good chance that you are going to find at least a little bit of information on the sender.

Do you get a lot of mysterious Emails? Which reverse email lookup trick you use to find someone behind that email? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Rahul Dubey
Source: https://techreviewpro.com/reverse-email-lookup-tricks/

 

Saturday, 08 April 2017 17:59

How to remove Android virus

If your Android phone or tablet is playing up there is a slim chance it could have a virus. Our helpful guide demonstrates how to remove a virus from Android, plus how to avoid Android malware in the first place.

Step 1 of 8:

Android viruses are rare, but they exist. Almost exclusively installed via dodgy apps, the best way to avoid an Android virus is to keep to the secured confines of the Google Play store.

Should your device get lumbered with some malware, we will explain how to put it into Safe mode, if necessary remove the malicious app's administrator status and then uninstall the app.

If this fails a factory reset should remove the bug once and for all, though you would understandably prefer not to have to do so if your Android isn't backed up.

Before we begin, it's worth pointing out that your Android phone or tablet probably doesn't have a virus. What you're more likely to be seeing is an ad that wants to convince you the device is infected and that you need to download an app, or sluggish behaviour (in which case you should also check out our guide on how to speed up Android).

If your convinced that malware is at large, read on for instructions on removing it from your device.slideshow image

Step 2 of 8:

Where do Android viruses come from?

The number-one way an Android virus finds its way on to your phone or tablet is on the back of an app.

This is true of all the biggest Android viruses to hit the headlines over recent years: Gunpoder, Ghost Trojan, Googlian and Godless all came to be in this manner, while Mazar sneaks in via a text message prompting you to download the Tor browser (guess what: you're not downloading the Tor browser).

Android viruses have various aims, with some running malicious processes on your device, some stealing your personal information and others downloading additional software, which may not always be malicious itself. Whatever they're up to, you don't want them there.slideshow image

Step 3 of 8:

How to avoid Android viruses

  • Don't install apps from outside Google Play unless you know what you're doing: This functionality should be disabled by default, but to check you can open your phone or tablet's Settings menu, go to Security, then ensure the Unknown Sources option is disabled
  • Avoid cloned apps: 99 percent of the time you will be safe downloading apps from Google Play, but malicious code has been found within apps there. Avoid downloading what appear to be cloned apps from unknown developers, or apps that simply don't do what they say they doslideshow image

Step 4 of 8:

  • Check app permissions: No matter from where you are installing an app, check its required permissions before hitting Install. Does a video player really need to see your contacts? You can also check reviews online and browse the developer's website to see whether it's a genuine operation or cowboy business
  • Keep Android up to date: The latest version of the Android operating system won't necessarily be available for your phone or tablet, but you should check that it is as up to date as it can be. Next time you upgrade, consider a brand that is known for its timely operating system updates (for example, Nokia). Check out our guide on how to update Android for further advice
  • Install an antivirus app: You don't need to install antivirus on Android, but it can give you peace of mind if you're concerned about viruses, and the apps often have other useful functionality too. Be warned that Android antivirus is known to occasionally report false-positives, but if you know an app is okay you know an app is okay. We've rounded up some mobile security software in this separate articleslideshow image

Step 5 of 8:

How to remove a virus from Android

Put your phone or tablet into Safe mode. This prevents any third-party apps running, including any malware.

On many devices you can press the power button to access the power off options, then press and hold Power off to bring up an option to restart in Safe mode.

If this doesn't work for your device then you should Google 'How to put [your model name] into Safe mode' and follow the instructions.

When in Safe mode you'll see 'Safe mode' at the bottom left of the screen.slideshow image

Step 6 of 8:

Open your Settings menu and choose Apps, then make sure you're viewing the Downloaded tab.

Chances are you will know when your device started misbehaving, and you can usually line that up with a new app you might have downloaded.

If you don't know the name of the app you think has infected your Android phone or tablet, go through the list and look for anything dodgy-looking or that you know you haven't installed or shouldn't be running on your device. slideshow image

Step 7 of 8:

Tap on the malicious app (clearly it won't be called 'Dodgy Android virus', this is just an illustration) to open the App info page, then click Uninstall.

In most cases, this is all you need to do to remove the virus, but occasionally you might find the Uninstall button is greyed out.

This is because the virus has given itself Device administrator status.slideshow image

Step 8 of 8:

Exit the Apps menu and tap on Settings, Security, Device Administrators. Here you'll find a list of any apps on your phone or tablet with administrator status.

Simply untick the box for the app you want to remove, then tap Deactivate on the next screen.

You should now be able to return to the apps menu and remove that app.

With the virus now off your Android phone or tablet, all you need to is restart the device to take it out of Safe mode.

Now that it's working correctly it's a good time to back up whatever important data you have stored on the device, and install an Android antivirus app to protect you from any future viruses that come your way.

slideshow image

 

Source : pcadvisor.co.uk

Saturday, 08 April 2017 17:35

How to Build an Online Community

Listen to how she discussed the benefits of building a strong community around your brand, how they rolled out this strategy at Moz:

Moz has successfully built its community through live events. At SEJ, we’ve also seen the importance of meeting our community through SEJ Summit, our conference series specifically designed for search marketers held year-round across the United States.

The members of a brand’s community may not necessarily be product consumers. They may be a group of individuals who share a common belief, or who are followers of your brand.  These followers may become your biggest brand advocates, who can defend you in bad times, and empower your brand even more during good times.

Here are a few tips on how to build your own community.

Target Emotions

One of the biggest advantages of building a community is allowing people to follow your brand, and they do this voluntarily. They weren’t forced, they deliberately decided to follow you. And once they do, they either love your brand or they’re upset. If they love your brand, then they’re your biggest brand ambassadors who will champion your causes. If they’re upset about your brand, welcome their insights, and hear them vent or rant about your brand. For sure, they’ll make it known in your community and will elicit good engagement between those who love you—and those who hate you. Good engagement will help your community grow.

Educate Your Followers

One good strategy to further build your community is to not talk about your brand. Instead, educate your followers about their need for your product, without even mentioning your brand.

Procter & Gamble has a campaign called “Everyday” which offers insights and tips to the different members of their communities.

How to Build an Online Community | SEJ

The My Black is Beautiful community celebrates the collective beauty of black women. It provides fellowship amongst the members, plus it gives tips and provides education to its members.

How to Build an Online Community | SEJ

Hear Them Out

Take advantage of the dialogue amongst the members of your community. Hear out their feedback, and make sure that you take action from their suggestions. Starbucks has successfully leveraged its community insights to come up with product ideas, experience ideas, merchandise materials, and community ideas in its My Starbucks Idea campaign.

How to Build an Online Community | SEJ

In Conclusion

Build a dynamic community by welcoming your followers—both the good, and the not so good ones. Allow room for engagement and discussion, so you can learn from them. Educate them so they can also learn from you. Foster growth by helping them connect with others, so they can learn from each other as well.

Source : searchenginejournal.com

Many people assume that Google leverages all of its vast information resources in every way possible. For example, the great majority of people who think about it probably assume that Google uses their Chrome browser as a data source, and in particular, that they use it to discover new URLs for crawling.

We decided to put that to the test.

Brief Methodology Note

The test methodology was pretty simple. In principle, all we needed to do was setup a couple of pages that Google didn’t know about, have a bunch of people visit those pages from a Chrome browser, and then wait and see if Googlebot came to visit it. In practice, there was a bit more discipline involved in the process, so here is what we did:

  1. Created four brand new articles as web pages. We used two of these as test pages, and two of them as control pages.
  2. Uploaded them to a web site by direct FTP to a web server. By that, I mean we didn’t use any Content Management Systems (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, …) to upload them to make sure that something in that process didn’t make Google aware of the pages.
  3. Waited a week to make sure nothing went wrong, causing Googlebot to visit. During that week, we checked the site log files every day to make sure that no Google bot visits occurred.
  4. Enlisted 27 people to follow this process:
    • Open Chrome
    • Go into settings and disable all their extensions
    • Paste the URL of the first test page in their browser and then visit it
    • Paste the URL of the second test page in their browser and then visit it
    • Reenable their extensions after completing the steps above
    • Grab their IP address and send it to me so I could verify who followed all the steps and who didn’t
  5. Checked the log files every single day until a week after the last user completed their steps

Note that the control pages were never visited by humans, and that’s what makes them controls. If something went wrong in the upload process, then they might get visited, but that never happened. No views of either control page ever occurred, either by humans or bots, so this confirmed that our upload process worked.

What do people believe about this?

In anticipation of this test, Rand Fishkin of Moz put out a poll on Twitter to see what people believed about whether Google uses Chrome data for this purpose. Here’s his result:

Twitter poll: Does Google use Chrome browser user data?
Click on image to see original tweet

As you can see, a whopping 88% believe Google sniffs new URLs from Chrome data, and the majority of those are sure they definitely do it. Let’s see how that compares with the results of our test.

The Results

The results are pretty simple: Googlebot never came to visit either page in the test.

As it turns out, two people in the test did not actually disable their extensions, and this resulted in visits from Open Site Explorer (someone had the Mozbar installed and enabled) and Yandex (due to a different person, though I’m not clear on what extension they had installed and enabled).

Summary

This is a remarkable result. Google has access to an enormous amount of data from Chrome, and it’s hard to believe that they don’t use it in some fashion.

However, bear in mind that this test was specific to testing if they used Chrome to discover new URLs. In an earlier test, we showed that Google does not use smartphone clipboards to discover new URLs either. My guess is that Google still is of the mindset that if there is no web-based link path to a page, it doesn’t have enough value to rank for anything anyway.

This does not mean that Google does not use Chrome data in other ways, such as to collect aggregate user behavior data, or other metrics. Google’s Paul Haahr confirmed that they do use CTR data as a quality control in highly controlled testing to measure search quality.

Note: He did NOT say that it was a live ranking factor, but more a way of validating that other ranking factors were doing their job well. That said, perhaps Chrome is a source of data in such testing. It could easily be made truly anonymous, and perhaps add a lot of insight into user satisfaction with search results.

In any event, this part of the conversation is all speculation, and for now, we’ve shown that Google does not appear to use simple Chrome visits to new web pages as a way to discover URLs for crawling.

Thanks to the IMEC Labs group for their assistance on this test, and to the IMEC board of Rand FishkinMark TraphagenDan Petrovic, and Annie Cushing for their guidance. Please follow all of them and me, Eric Enge, for more info on IMEC tests in the future!

Source : stonetemple.com

Tuesday, 04 April 2017 18:14

The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It

SAN FRANCISCO — Twenty-seven years ago, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web as a way for scientists to easily find information. It has since become the world’s most powerful medium for knowledge, communications and commerce — but that doesn’t mean Mr. Berners-Lee is happy with all of the consequences.

“It controls what people see, creates mechanisms for how people interact,” he said of the modern day web. “It’s been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people’s content, taking you to the wrong websites — that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create.”

So on Tuesday, Mr. Berners-Lee gathered in San Francisco with other top computer scientists — including Brewster Kahle, head of the nonprofit Internet Archive and an internet activist — to discuss a new phase for the web.

Today, the World Wide Web has become a system that is often subject to control by governments and corporations. Countries like China can block certain web pages from their citizens, and cloud services like Amazon Web Services hold powerful sway. So what might happen, the computer scientists posited, if they could harness newer technologies — like the software used for digital currencies, or the technology of peer-to-peer music sharing — to create a more decentralized web with more privacy, less government and corporate control, and a level of permanence and reliability?

“National histories, the story of a country, now happen on the web,” said Vinton G. Cerf, another founder of the internet and chief internet evangelist at Google, in a phone interview ahead of a speech to the group scheduled for Wednesday. “People think making things digital means they’ll last forever, but that isn’t true now.”

The project is in its early days, but the discussions — and caliber of the people involved — underscored how the World Wide Web’s direction in recent years has stirred a deep anxiety among some technologists. The revelations by Edward J. Snowden that the web has been used by governments for spying and the realization that companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have become gatekeepers to our digital lives have added to concerns.

Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, center left, and Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, center right, with other attendees at the Decentralized Web Summit. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times
On Tuesday, Mr. Berners-Lee and Mr. Kahle and others brainstormed at the event, called the Decentralized Web Summit, over new ways that web pages could be distributed broadly without the standard control of a web server computer, as well as ways of storing scientific data without having to pay storage fees to companies like Amazon, Dropbox or Google.

Efforts at creating greater amounts of privacy and accountability, by adding more encryption to various parts of the web and archiving all versions of a web page, also came up. Such efforts would make it harder to censor content.

“Edward Snowden showed we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web,” said Mr. Kahle, whose group organized the conference. “China can make it impossible for people there to read things, and just a few big service providers are the de facto organizers of your experience. We have the ability to change all that.”

Many people conflate the internet’s online services and the web as one and the same — yet they are technically quite different. The internet is a networking infrastructure, where any two machines can communicate over a variety of paths, and one local network of computers can connect with other networks.

The web, on the other hand, is a popular means to access that network of networks. But because of the way web pages are created, managed and named, the web is not fully decentralized. Take down a certain server and a certain web page becomes unavailable. Links to pages can corrode over time. Censorship systems like China’s Great Firewall eliminate access to much information for most of its people. By looking at internet addresses, it is possible for governments and companies to get a good idea of who is reading which web pages.

In some ways, the efforts to change the technology of creating the web are a kind of coming-of-age story. Mr. Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web while working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as a tool for scientists. Today, the web still runs on technologies of the older world.

Consider payments. In many cases, people pay for things online by entering credit card information, not much different from handing a card to a merchant for an imprint.

The Internet Archive hosted the Decentralized Web Summit in an old church building in San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times


At the session on Tuesday, computer scientists talked about how new payment technologies could increase individual control over money. For example, if people adapted the so-called ledger system by which digital currencies are used, a musician might potentially be able to sell records without intermediaries like Apple’s iTunes. News sites might be able to have a system of micropayments for reading a single article, instead of counting on web ads for money.

“Ad revenue is the only model for too many people on the web now,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “People assume today’s consumer has to make a deal with a marketing machine to get stuff for ‘free,’ even if they’re horrified by what happens with their data. Imagine a world where paying for things was easy on both sides.”

Mr. Kahle’s Internet Archive, which exists on a combination of grants and fees from digitizing books for libraries, operates the Wayback Machine, which serves as a record of discontinued websites or early versions of pages.

 

To make that work now, Mr. Kahle has to search and capture a page, then give it a brand new web address. With the right kind of distributed system, he said, “the archive can have all of the versions, because there would be a permanent record located across many sites.”

The movement to change how the web is built, like a surprising number of technology discussions, has an almost religious dimension.

Some of the participants are extreme privacy advocates who have created methods of building sites that can’t be censored, using cryptography. Mr. Cerf said he was wary of extreme anonymity, but thought the ways that digital currencies permanently record transactions could be used to make the web more accountable.

Still, not all the major players agree on whether the web needs decentralizing.

“The web is already decentralized,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem.”

One that can, perhaps, be solved by more technology.

Source : nytimes.com

Plans to keep a record of UK citizens' online activities face a challenge from tech firms seeking to offer ways to hide people's browser histories.

Internet providers will soon be required to record which services their customers' devices connect to - including websites and messaging apps.

The Home Office says it will help combat terrorism, but critics have described it as a "snoopers' charter".

Critics of the law have said hackers could get access to the records.

"It only takes one bad actor to go in there and get the entire database," said James Blessing, chairman of the Internet Service Providers' Association (Ispa), which represents BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others.

"You can try every conceivable thing in the entire world to [protect it] but somebody will still outsmart you.

"Mistakes will happen. It's a question of when. Hopefully it's in tens or maybe a hundred years. But it might be next week."

Scrambled data

The Investigatory Powers Bill was approved by the House of Lords on 19 November and is due to become law before the end of 2016.

Now, several virtual private network (VPN) operators have seized on its introduction to promote their offerings.

VPNs digitally scramble a user's internet traffic and send it to one of their own servers before passing it on to a site or app in a form they can make sense of. A similar process happens in reverse, helping mask the person's online activity.

As a result, instead of ISPs having a log of everywhere a customer has visited, the only thing they can provide to the authorities is the fact that a subscriber used a VPN.

Media captionEXPLAINED: What is a VPN service?

"We saw a boom in Australia last year correlated to when its data retention law went into effect," Jodi Myers, a spokeswoman for NordVPN told the BBC.

"And we are already seeing an increase in inquiries from the UK."

Ms Myers said her firm had just begun offering UK-based customers extra security measures - including encrypting their data twice and sending it via two servers - to address any concerns that its standard measures were not sufficient.

"Our biggest advantage is we have a zero log policy," she added.

"Our headquarters are in Panama, which doesn't have data retention laws, so it allows us to do this.

Media captionWhat is encryption?

"And even in the worst-case scenario that our servers are confiscated, there would be nothing on them because of the way they are configured."

Another VPN provider said the UK government would find it difficult to prevent the use of such workarounds.

"The legislation specifically mentions connection service providers and not just ISPs, and the assumption is that VPNs based in the UK will have to give up their logs under this law," said Caleb Chen, a spokesman for Private Internet Access.

"But as a US-based company, my legal team has advised me that we would not be under any obligation to do so.

"And even if the government were to try to take it a step further and say no UK citizen could use a VPN that was not compliant with the law, those services would still be available."

He added that the widespread use of VPNs by businesses to provide staff with remote access to their email and other work-related files would also make it difficult to restrict the technology's use.

Theresa MayImage copyrightPAImage captionThe Investigatory Powers Bill was introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary

Iceland option

One of the UK's smaller internet providers, Andrews & Arnold, is looking into other ways to help its users circumvent the law.

"Customers can install a Tor browser, which encrypts traffic to one of thousands of different internet connections throughout the world hiding what they are doing," said managing director Adrian Kennard.

"We are also working with a company called Brass Horn, which is planning to sell Tor-only internet access.

"In addition, we may base some of our own services outside the UK to reduce the amount of information that is logged and recorded. One possible place that we might put equipment is Iceland."

A spokeswoman for the Home Office declined to discuss ways it might tackle such efforts.

"The Investigatory Powers Bill provides law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies with the powers they need to protect the UK and its citizens from terrorists and serious criminals, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight," she said.

"Terrorists and serious criminals will always seek to avoid detection.

"To ensure they do not succeed, we do not comment publicly on the methods or capabilities available to the security and intelligence agencies."

Source : bbc.com

John B. Goodenough, an emeritus professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, pioneered the lithium-ion battery technology that is now the industry standard, and now the 94-year-old is ready to push the envelope on battery innovation again. Goodenough along with senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, lead a team of researchers who have developed a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is safer and more efficient than existing lithium-ion technology.

The new battery uses a sodium- or lithium-coated glass electrolyte that has triple the storage capacity of a lithium ion battery. It also charges in minutes instead of hours and operates in both frigid and hot weather (from -20 to 60 degrees centigrade). Early tests suggest the battery is capable of at least 1,200 charge-discharge cycles, significantly more charging cycles than a comparable lithium-ion battery, and best of all, the glass-based electrolyte will not form the dendrites that plague lithium-ion battery technology.

The dendrites accumulate as part of the standard charging and recharging cycle and eventually cause a short circuit that often results in a smoldering or burning battery.

Goodenough believes this battery technology could be the breakthrough that brings the electric car into the mainstream. “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said in a statement published by the University of Texas as Austin. This same battery technology could also be used to store energy in both solar and wind-power systems.

Goodenough and his team have succeeded in developing the glass-based anode, and are now working on the cathode portion of the battery technology. Currently, the team is troubleshooting the cathode issue with encouraging results in small-scale tests using jelly-roll cells. The goal is to produce large-scale cells eventually and then move the technology over to manufacturers who will develop it commercially.

Source : ca.news.yahoo.com

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