David J. Redcliff

David J. Redcliff

This enhanced-colour Cassini view of Enceladus features the bluish "tiger stripe" fractures on the small moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA plans to announce new findings Thursday based on its research into ocean worlds in our solar system.

Though Earth is known for having the most abundant water in our neighbourhood, recent research has found that some moons could contain their own oceans, hidden beneath their icy crusts.

Enceladus is one such moon. The small, icy world in orbit around Saturn is believed to have an ocean of water beneath its icy crust.

Images from Cassini, the NASA spacecraft that's been in orbit around Saturn since 2004, have captured plumes of water vapour spewing into space. When the spacecraft flew through the plumes, it detected organic material, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Enceladus's water vapour jets
Enceladus's water vapour jets, emitted from the southern polar region. (Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech and Space Science Institute)

Another world with an ocean is one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. In September, NASA spotted plumes of water vapour erupting from the surface. It's believed that a warm, salty ocean exists beneath its icy surface.

NASA has planned a mission to the moon, called the Europa Clipper. It had proposed a landing mission, but it was cancelled in President Donald Trump's proposed budget. 

Europa moon
Jupiter's moon Europa has warm, salt water oceans that could sustain life. (NASA )

While both moons are too far away to receive any direct warming from the sun, it's believed they are heated by the squeezing as they orbit their massive planets.

Both of these moons are two of the best candidates for life in our solar system.


A media briefing will be held at 2 p.m. ET Thursday in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Source : cbc.ca

In this weekly series, LiveScience examines the psychology and sociology of opposite human behavior and personality types.

Lying — like it or not — is a part of everyday life. Most of us will bend the truth every now and then, with even the most honest person telling the occasional "white lie" to avoid hurting someone else's feelings.  

Yet some people, called pathological liars, utter untruths constantly and for no clear reason. Their behavior confounds scientists and oftentimes themselves. 

"Pathological liars have a pattern of frequent, repeated and excessive lies or lying behavior for which there is no apparent benefit or gain for the liar," said Charles Dike, clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University and medical director of the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those rare individuals who might be described as "pathological truth-tellers." These people forego socially convenient and appropriate fibs to speak the unvarnished, upsetting truth.

Intriguingly, this "lying handicap" is a common feature of the developmental disorder high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

"People with Asperger's have a tendency to be very blunt and direct — they can be honest to a fault," said Tony Attwood, professor of psychology at Minds & Hearts, an Asperger's and autism clinic in Brisbane, Australia

Psychology and neuroscience have provided clues as to why some people lie up a storm while others have difficulty dissembling or detecting it in others. These contrasting extremes can help us learn about the default human mode of lying on a daily basis to avoid insult, get out of trouble or exploit others.

"If you define lying as 'statements intended to deceive,' then yes we all do lie, every day," said Dike.

Liar, liar

In psychiatric circles, pathological lying goes by the fancy name pseudologia fantastica, though it is not yet recognized as a distinct disorder.

What puzzles most about a pathological liar's behavior, Dike said, is that it is counterproductive. Dropping flagrant whoppers can cause trouble in jobs, relationships and even with the law through self-incriminations.

Stranger still, the lies can be blatantly see-through in their bogusness. "Not only is there no benefit to the lies, but the lies most of the time are easily disprovable," said Dike.

Dike offers an example of a coworker declaring he has a flight later that day. The co-worker is not trying to shirk a meeting, however. As the day goes on and the coworker remains in the office, he adds to the lie by announcing that the flight was cancelled. The pattern of falsities then continues. "The next day, there is some new story," said Dike.

Anecdotally, many of us will recognize this sort of behavior, though at present there are no good statistics for the prevalence of pathological lying. "What's clear," Dike said, "is that it's not uncommon."

A mind for facts

While acting in this manner makes no sense to most of us, it is essentially impossible for people with Asperger's. Patients have expressed to Attwood puzzlement at why ordinary people lie with such frequency.

To boot, people with Asperger's have trouble detecting falsity in words and actions. "They often think other people are as honest as they are, which leaves them vulnerable and gullible," said Attwoord.

Asperger's is characterized by impairment in social interactions and restricted interests. (A well-known television character who manifests much of the behavioral profile of someone with Asperger's is Dr. Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory.") Attwood noted that these individuals have an "allegiance to the truth, rather than people's feelings."

Key to proper socialization and its subtleties is "theory of mind," the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. "Theory of mind is determining what others are thinking, feeling or believe," said Attwood.

Asperger's patients tend to have a poorly developed theory of mind, which presents them with great difficulty in empathizing with others. More positively, this trait makes it tough to construct deceitful ruses, and those with Asperger's who do learn how to lie often do so badly, said Attwood.

Brain scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have revealed a basis for this deficit. In Asperger's patients and autistics, there is less activity in parts of the "social brain," such as the prefrontal cortex. "In Asperger's,that area is dysfunctional," said Attwood. "Areas of the prefrontal cortex that should light up don’t in fMRI."

Natural born liars

To an extent, it would seem then that humans are wired to trick their fellows. In our closest primate relatives, who also have sophisticated social structures in which they live, deception is rife. Chimpanzees for example will purposefully mislead troop members away from a tasty food source and then return later to gobble it solo.

Researchers have discovered that the more conniving a primate species, the bigger its brain. (It therefore makes sense that with our giant brains, humans are veritable founts of hogwash.) The faculties of memory and abstraction needed to mince language and appearance so as to deceive require a lot of brainpower, researchers have learned.

Interestingly, brain scans have revealed that the prefrontal cortexes in frequent liars are built differently from those in a typical brain. A 2005 study showed that liars had 22 percent more "white matter" than average, as well as about 14 percent less "gray matter." The former acts like wiring in the brain, while gray matter cells in this region play a role in impulse control.

"If you have more white matter, you are more able to manipulate information and words," said Dike. "You can weave thoughts in ways others probably can't."

Dike, who was not involved in the 2005 study, pointed out that it was conducted on criminals and people with antisocial behaviors who lie with purpose, unlike pathological liars. Indeed, the motivation behind pathological liars' duplicity remains another big mystery.

Researchers speculate that pathological liars experience some sort of psychological excitement from fooling others. "There has to be some sort of internal satisfaction that makes them go on with this behavior, but no one knows for sure," said Dike.

Author: Adam Hadhazy
Source: http://www.livescience.com/17407-pathological-liars-honest-psychology.html

Saturday, 07 January 2017 22:44

10 Research Tips from an Expert at Google

Here are some great tips and commonly overlooked tricks from Dan Russell, a research scientist at Google. He researches search behavior and often gives educators workshops on effective search. I spoke with him to find out some common tricks people often ignore and ways teachers and students can become fantastic Google searchers.

1 Think of the Essential Words for the Concepts

He gave an example of a student that wanted to find information on Costa Rican jungles and searched for "sweaty clothes." It's doubtful that student will find anything useful. Instead, you should focus on using the essential word or words that describe the concept (Costa Rica, jungle).

You should also use the terms you think the perfect article will use, not the slang and idioms you'd ordinarily use. As an example, he said someone might refer to a broken arm as "busted," but if they want to find medical info, they should use the word "fractured."

2 Use Control F

If you're trying to find a word or phrase in a long Word document, you'd use control f (or command f for Mac users). The same thing works from your Web browser. The next time you land on a long article and need to find a word, use control f.

This was also a new trick for me. I normally use the highlighter tool in Google Toolbar. It turns out I wasn't alone. According to Dr Russell's research, 90% of us don't know about control f.

3 The Minus Command

Are you trying to find out information about Java the island, but not Java the programming language? Are you looking for websites about jaguars - the animal, not the car? Use the minus symbol to exclude sites from your search. For instance, you'd search for:

jaguar -car

Java -"programming language"

Do not include any spaces between the minus and the term you're excluding, or else you've just done the opposite of what you'd intended and searched for all the terms you wanted to exclude.

4 Unit Conversions

This is one of my favorite hidden search tricks. You can use Google like a calculator and even convert units of measure and currency, such as "5 cups in ounces" or "5 Euros in US dollars."

Dr Russell suggested instructors and students could really take advantage of this in the classroom to bring literature to life. How far is 20,000 leagues? Why not Google "20,000 leagues in miles" and then Google "diameter of the Earth in miles." Is it possible to be 20,000 leagues under the sea? How big is 20 cubits in feet?

5 Google's Hidden Dictionary

If you're looking for a simple word definition, you can use the Google syntax of define: term. While using it without the colon will usually get results, you'll have to click the "Web definitions for" link. Using define: (no space) goes straight to the Web definitions page.

Using Google instead of a dictionary site is particularly effective for new computer-related terms, such as Dr Russell's example "zero day attack." I also use it when I run into industry specific jargon, like "amortize" or "arbitrage."

6 The Power of Google Maps

Sometimes what you want to find can't easily be defined in words, but you'll know it when you see it. If you use Google Maps, you can find a campground slightly left of that one mountain and catty corner to the river by clicking and dragging on Google Maps, and your search query is updated behind the scenes for you.

You can also use geographical data in the classroom in a way that previous generations never could. For example, you might find a KML file of Huck Finn's river journey or use NASA information to interactively study the moon.

7 Similar Images

If you're looking for pictures of jaguars, German shephards, famous figures, or pink tulips, you can use Google's similar images to help you. When in Google Image Search, rather than clicking on an image, hover your cursor over it. The image will get slightly larger and offer the "Similar" link. Click on it, and Google will attempt to find images similar to that one. Sometimes the results are eerily accurate. A bunch of pink tulips, for instance, will yield entirely different fields of pink tulips.

8 Google Book Search

Google Book Search is pretty amazing as a too. Students no longer have to make appointments to see original copies of rare books or wear white gloves to turn the pages. Now you can see an image of the book and search through the virtual pages.

This works well for older books, but some newer books have agreements with their publisher that restricts some or all of the content from appearing.

9 The Advanced Menu

If you're using Google's search engine, there's an Advanced Search in the search settings (looks like a gear) that allows you to do things like set the safe search level or language options. If you're using Google Image Search, you can use the Advanced Image Search to find reusable, copyright free, and public domain images.

As it turns out, there's an Advanced Search option for just about every type of Google search. Take a look at your options to see what you can do in Google Patent Search or Google Scholar.

10 More: Even More

Google has a lot of specialized search engines and tools. They've got far too many to list on the Google home page. So if you want to use Google Patent Search or find a Google Labs product, what do you do? You can either use the more: dropdown and then navigate to "even more" and then scan the screen for the tool you need, or you can just cut to the chase and Google it.

Author: Marziah Karch
Source: https://www.lifewire.com/research-tips-from-google-expert-1616167

PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Dec. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ fishbat is a leading digital marketing agency which combines proven digital marketing strategies that include search engine optimization (SEO), digital ads, and social media optimization (SMO) to help businesses increase profits and expand brand awareness.

Many common SEO mistakes and oversights can hold a website back from growth, higher search engine rankings, and overall online presence. Things such as a lack of keywords, analytic tool utilization, or original value-added content, as well as ignoring social engagement, can keep a website from gaining momentum. There are other things, however, that downright damage SEO rankings, causing serious search engine downgrades. Digital marketing agency, fishbat, lists three SEO blunders that downgrade search engine rankings.

1.Irrelevant keyword stuffing Irrelevant keyword stuffing is viewed by web crawlers as a shady practice, designed to trick search engines. Randomly repeating keywords when they are not relevant or are clearly being repeated for keyword recognition, is a red-flag for web crawlers, often resulting in a drastic drop in search engine rankings. Keywords should be strategically chosen and placed in titles, URL's, content, and more, but should be done so in an authentic manner. This will boost your credibility in the industry and protect you from search engine penalization.

2.Bad links Broken links, paid-for spammy links, and links from non-credible sources, can all cause major downgrades in SEO ranking. It's vital to do regular housekeeping on your site to ensure that all links are quality links that lead to value-added and relevant sites and posts. The same goes with back-links. Do not allow just anyone to link to your page. Bad links are penalized by search engines, resulting in downgraded ranking. Web crawlers see these links as not just a nuisance, but also as a reflection of how you care for your business and your customers.

3.Plagiarism Too often, content is plagiarized or copied without permission onto the websites of others. When you do this, not only does it impact your reputation negatively, it also results in search engine penalization. In some cases, an entire site can even be de-indexed. Make sure you produce original and valuable content. If using someone else's work, be sure to obtain official permission.

fishbat Long Island Advertising Agency is a full-service online marketing company and social media agency dedicated to connecting all types of businesses with their target audiences in the most effective and efficient way. Through innovative strategies in social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), branding, web design, reputation management, and public relations, fishbat promotes a consistent and professional online voice for all of its clients.

Author: Greek New Desk
Source: http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwgeeks/article/Digital-Marketing-Agency-fishbat-Lists-3-SEO-Blunders-that-Downgrade-Search-Engine-Rankings-20161229

In the startup world, there is no place like Silicon Valley. But while Google engineers are living in the parking lot at work, the rest of the world is stepping up its startup game.

Check out five of the best cities in the world to run your startup:

1. Warsaw, Poland

Poland is right in the middle of the European Union, and it brings the love that Europe has for small business along with the cost and standard of living that entrepreneurs love to the table.

Warsaw is home to funding opportunities, but what makes it unique is the opportunities for those intending to bootstrap their business. In fact, 60 percent of the digital startups in Poland reported bootstrapping their startup. But most of all, low costs in Poland kept them profitable from day one.

2. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a playground for the eco-friendly and the lovers of endurance sports. It also represents one of the brightest beacons of the American entrepreneurial spirit. Back in 2010, Boulder boasted over six times the typical tech startups per capita than the national average.

The result of this entrepreneurial spirit is an economy that depends on itself and not on a single employer. As a result, it is home to venture capitalists and incubators like the famous Techstars.

The best reason to run a startup in Boulder is that, while it is only now becoming well-known for its startup scene, the city has been running in this capacity for years. Since 1960, Boulder has provided a quiet, leafy home to startups that would go on to be huge companies. Ball Aerospace, which was one of the first contractors sought by NASA, and StorageTek, which was purchased by Sun Microsystems for a cool $4.1 billion, were all nurtured here.

3. London, UK

London is the premier place to start up and run a business. As the technology and financial capital of Europe, it offers a vast amount of resources for fledgling businesses in all industries. The cosmopolitan lifestyle and breadth of culture make it an inspiring city to both live and work in.

London startups may have access to some of the greatest resources in the world including finance and talent. However, they certainly pay for the luxury. London was recently ranked as the most expensive city in the world to run a tech startup.

Fortunately, because it has plenty of resources, startups are not forced to head down the conventional, expensive route. Collaborative offices abound in London, and the UK government has been actively working to lower barriers for startups, which includes funding and relief for entrepreneurs.

As an old saying goes: you get what you pay for. Those who can afford London get access to the global finance system, over a dozen incubators, and the opportunity to set up shop near one of London’s 12 billion dollar unicorns.

4. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv is commonly recognized has having a big influence on the global startup scene, but few go far enough to mention what the Mediterranean city really brings to the table.

Israel is a small country both in land and population, but not regarding startups. According to recent reports, for every one thousand people living in Tel Aviv, at least one person owns a startup.

The city credits this success to a national ethos that rids its residents of the fear of success and encourages them to move on from failures quickly. Plus, with a city full of people all in the same boat, an entrepreneur can run into exactly the inspiration they need by just living their daily life.

5. Singapore

Until recently, Singapore lingered on the periphery of startup scenes. Despite being recognized as a global business hub, it was not experiencing the exponential growth of other cities both in Asia and across the world. But in 2012, the state began working hard to change that. Since then, Singapore has joined the global list of the top 10 startup ecosystems in the world.

Entrepreneurs looking to head to Asia find Singapore an easy place to set up a business. They also find plenty of access to financial and technical resources required for success.

The downside of Singapore is often cited as its high cost of living, which does not approach London costs but is about equal to the costs of living in a multicultural and cosmopolitan European city. There is also a current lack of tech talent in Singapore compared to other cities. However, considering the rapid growth and investment currently being made here combined with its position in the crossroads of Asia, this could change soon.

There is no place like California. But fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are plenty of places in the world that offer unique ecosystems primed to prepare them for success.

Author:  Michael Prywes

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/467200/5-of-the-best-cities-in-the-world-to-run-your-startup

Thursday, 22 December 2016 23:47

10 must-have apps for your new Android phone

Apple's devices might get more of the spotlight, but when it comes to market share, there's no denying Android's dominance.In the third quarter of this year, Android phones made up 84.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to IDC. They offer a variety of style choices and prices and a much greater ability for users to customize their experience.

They're also loaded with several software options that aren't available to iOS users. And if you're beginning the process of loading up your new Android phone with apps, here are a few that are definitely worth considering.

Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus

Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus — The first thing you're going to want to do with an Android device is get a good antivirus program. Avast is one of the top ones on the market, and it's free. Beyond basic protection, it also keeps track of what your apps are doing and includes a web shield to help you avoid malware. There's also an antitheft component, allowing you to locate, lock or wipe your phone clear if it's lost or stolen.

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer — File management programs are always helpful, especially if you load up your phone's hard drive. Solid Explorer not only helps you organize your files, but protect them with an additional layer of security, adding fingerprint scanning if your phone supports that. You can also transfer files between cloud storage accounts. And the app's interface is simple and intuitive.


Greenify — Sometimes, the more apps you have open, the slower a phone will run. Greenify puts an end to that, identifying apps that are running in the background and either slowing down your phone or sucking up battery power. There are even aggressive modes that further extend battery life for those times when you're on the road or need to stretch a little bit longer before you can find a plug for your charger. 


Helium — Backup is always a good idea on phones, given how fragile they can be. Helium protects and restores lost apps and data. And for a $4.99 premium version, you can sync apps between several Android devices and restore them from cloud storage. As an added bonus, it's all done without having to root your phone (which can open you up to viruses). 


AirDroid — Contrary to what it may seem sometimes, most of us don't use our phones as our sole means of computer interaction. AirDroid, though, will let you bypass jumping from one device to another, giving you remote access to everything on your phone via a web browser — even text messages. That could be especially handy if you're at work and it's frowned upon for you to text with a friend. It's a feature that's so useful, you wonder why it's not a standard feature in Android. 


Pander — Don't feel like cooking? Pander not only lets you order delivery food, it does the heavy lifting of helping you decide what you're in the mood for with a series of questions about your tastes. With its restaurant locator service, it's especially useful if you're away from home. And if you're feeling extra lazy, you can order a mystery meal — as the app will choose your food for you, based on its knowledge of your preferences. 


LastPass — Despite the urgings of security experts, too many people don't use different passwords for different sites — or input very basic ones. LastPass is a password manager that boosts your security but saves you the bother of having to remember complicated strings of letters, numbers and symbols. It works across devices and adds a layer of security to sensitive information you might input, such as bank account numbers or insurance information. 

SwiftKey Keyboard

SwiftKey Keyboard — This is one of the most popular Android keyboard apps and it's easy to see why. It has a highly accurate predictive technology for both words and apps and learns your typing habits fairly quickly. A strong privacy policy safeguards things like your credit card or log-in information. And you can switch between 100 languages as you type.

DashClock Widget

DashClock Widget — Another old favorite, this app boosts the amount of at-a-glance information available to your phone's home screen. Whether you want to stay updated on the forecast or see how many emails you have waiting (or many other tasks), you'll easily be able to do so. 



SwipePad — If the process of clicking to the home screen, then locating an app icon and tapping it seems to take an eternity in your mind, SwipePad can be your best friend. With a single swipe, you can launch an app from within another app. Other options include heading directly to a bookmarked website or reaching someone on your contact list. Best of all, it doesn't have much of an impact on your phone's battery.

Author:  Chris Morris

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/21/10-must-have-apps-for-your-new-android-phone.html

Life is unpredictable, and unpredictable moments can create stress in our lives. Although stress is normal, excessive stress can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining. At its worst, stress can paralyze you and keep you from doing your goals, pinning you down to a spot where you may feel trapped and burdened.

Easier said than done, stress can be hard to overcome, especially if you don’t know you are suffering from it. Awareness of your stress is the first step to helping you manage it. When you know you’ve reached your limit, it’s time to take a break and listen to what your body tells you. The following are tips to help you manage work stress and how you can overcome it to become more productive at work

Determine the primary cause of stress at work 

Any problem can be easily solved by going back to its root cause. People fail at overcoming their stressors because they either choose to ignore it or live with it. There are many things that can cause stress at work. Sometimes it could be the people. It could be a micromanaging boss, an annoying coworker, or a problematic family member who’s hindering from giving your best at the job. When you frequently deal with such people, you become stressed and lose focus on your current task. Stress can be the greatest distraction in your life, if you let it rule over you. Once you determine the primary cause of stress, you can now think of ways to handle the situation.

Got a report that’s making your feel anxious and stressed? Do it. Have a coworker who’s downright annoying and hard to get along with? Talk to him. The first step to managing your stress is to deal with the person or the object that’s causing it. Once you’ve overcome the problem, you’ll have more confidence to deal with things. Ignoring or taking these stressors for granted can lead to bigger problems that will interfere with your job. By taking the time to solve the root cause of your stress you can accomplish a lot more.

Take Time to Relax 

Everybody needs some downtime to relax. According to Richard Colgan, author of Advice to the Healer  “When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term, but if you’re stressed out constantly, these hormones aren’t as helpful and can become depleted over time.” Taking time to relax can help you recover from constant stress.

It doesn’t matter what type of activity you’ll be doing. If you feel relaxed going to a party or curling up with a good book at home, then so be it.  Don’t overwork and make sure that you spend some of your time for things you love doing. By paying attention to your emotions and relaxing once a while you can reduce stress from work activities that drain your mind and body.  Try yoga, meditation, walking or even simple relaxing activities like listening to music or taking a hot bath. You’ll be surprised how these activities can reduce your work stress.

Get Enough Rest

Not taking proper rest can leave your mind and body drained.  Insomnia, lack of appetite and anxiety can all lead to stress and even more serious diseases. Well-rested people have better emotional balance; they can handle stress on the job and the workplace much better than people who are always lethargic and tired.

Get Organized

Prioritizing and organizing are known ways to handle stressful situations, especially if you don’t know what work to start with. It will give you a much clearer head if you sit down and take a moment to prioritize your options. An organized life can always free up your mind to deal with important work matters. Regain your control and increase your productivity by using apps that help you reach your maximum potential. There are apps like Wunderlist and Trello that will help sort out your appointments and files. Apps like Toggl and Time Tune will help you get the most out of your time.

Talk to a Friend

Sometimes all we need to feel less stressed is to have someone to talk to. The person doesn’t have to fix all your problems, he just has to be there to listen. Listening is a means of connecting. When you listen, you connect with other people who you give ability to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Other emotion-based coping techniques like talking aloud to yourself or writing down your thoughts are also good options. The important thing here is that you have to let your feelings out. Sharing has positive emotional rewards contrary to keeping all your emotions bottled up forever. Someone with a supportive network of friends and family would be able to handle stress better than people who are lonely and isolated in life.

Author:  Armela Escalona

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/

A search engine first developed in the HPC world to identify anomalies in biomedical images and then used by the military to track terrorists from UAV imagery is now being applied to the world’s vast supply of unstructured data, garnering the nickname “Facebook for Everything.”

Search was the original big data challenge (see: origins of Hadoop) and remains an instrumental part of the data analytics stack, with products like Solr and ElasticSearch continuing to attract a lot of attention and usage. And yet most search engines, like the ones powering Google and Microsoft‘s Web services, are primarily focused on enabling search and retrieval from structured content, i.e. indexing documents and Web pages.

But the volume of unstructured content, such as images, video, and audio, far exceeds the volume of structured data in the world. IDC estimates that unstructured content accounts for a 90% of all data, leaving organized words and numbers trailing far behind cat videos. With the amount of data in the world projected to grow to 40 zettabytes by 2020, that leaves a lot of data basically invisible to the traditional forms of search.

One company hoping to tap into the morass of unstructured data is DataFission. The San Jose, California firm was founded in 2013 with the goal of productizing a scale-out search engine , called the Digital Universe Search Engine, or DUSE, that it claims can index just about any piece of data, and make it searchable from any Web-enabled device.

“It’s like image search, but it’s a much more general pattern-search than that, because we can search any sort of digital data, whether it’s audio or video or image,” says DataFission’s Chief Scientist Dr. Harold Trease. “The code doesn’t care. It’s just searching for a pattern.”

High-Dimensional Feature Vectors

The DataFission product works, at a high level, just like other search engines.

First, it indexes the raw data that the client wants to search, and then places the index tables, which are 100x to 1000x smaller than the original source data, onto the DataFission server. Users can then execute searches against the tables , which is stored in NoSQL stores or HDFS, in the form of text strings or even by dragging and source images, videos, or audio files into DUSE’s search bar (or programmatically via REST APIs).

DataFission 2

The secret sauce lies in how the company indexes the data. A combination of machine learning techniques, such as principal component analysis (PCA), clustering, and classification algorithms, as well as graph link analysis and “nearest neighbord” approach  help to find associations in the data.

While the company isn’t sharing all the details about how its algorithm was built, Dr. Trease provided some general info on how it works.

“We generate a high-dimensional signature, a high-dimensional feature vector, that quantifies the information content of the data that we read through,” he says. “We’re not looking for features like dogs or cats or buildings or cars. We’re quantifying the information content related to the data that we read. That’s what we index and put in a database. Then if you pull out a cell phone and take a picture of the dog, we convert that to one of these high-dimensional signatures, and then we compare that to what’s in the database and we find the best matches.”

The software doesn’t have a notion of what is a “dog,” Dr. Trease continues, nor does it look to extract features that are associated with a dog. It’s only through the feature vector that that essential “dogness” is expressed and made available for searching and retrieving. This process works the same whether or not the source data is a cat video on YouTube, a picture of Timmy hugging Lassie, underwater audio of supertankers arriving at Long Beach Harbor, or C++ source code from a piece of malware.

DataFission 1-300x160

DUSE enables any and all pieces of unstructured data to be stored in the same   repository, enabling patterns to be detected across different data types. “It’s really good at connecting the dots,” Dr. Trease tells Datanami. “You can     discover a certain number of relationships with textual data. But if you combine   that with text, audio, and video sensor data into one big search space, then you can cross-connect across all these and it will tell you an awful lot more about connections.”

DataFission calls the information generated by DUSE’s indexing algorithm “Galaxy Plots” because, when visualized, they appear like the nighttime sky (see the image at the top of this story for an example).

“If we index a billion images, we’d end up with a billion points in this search space, and we can look at that search space it has structure to it, and the structure is fantastic,” says Dr. Trease, who’s wife, Lyn Trease, owns DataFission. “There’s all kinds these points and clusters and strands that connect things. It makes little less sense to humans, because we don’t see things like that. But to the code, it makes perfect sense.”

HPC Gov’t Roots

The patented technological underpinnings in the DataFission product trace their roots back to the 1990s, when the company’s founders focused on developing a system to automatically identify tumors and other anomalies hidden across large numbers of MRIs and other biomedical imagery.

“Then we ran into intel analysts who were watching walls of video screens,” Dr. Trease says. “They’d watch 16 screens at once for hours and we said ‘Why are you doing this? Let’s just build a tool to help you.'”

surveillance video Andrey

After getting some funding from a high performance computing (HPC) group at the Department of Energy, the technology was adopted by the intelligence community to chew through hours of video footage collected by Predator drones and other UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) tracking the movement of suspected     terrorists in the Middle East.

The technology helps America’s military and spy agencies solve the “needle in a haystack” types of problems. “They needed ways to be able to say that they had seen a car meet another car at a building, and they needed a way to know how many times that has happened over the last two years,” he says. “To a certain extent, people can remember a little bit. But to get it to that fidelity they needed a tool.”

The Wider Web of Things

DataFission is now seeking to broaden its reach outside of the military and intelligence communities. The timing is good, considering the rising need to analyze real-time flows of unstructured data emanating from the Internet of Things (IoT).

Indexing video is one use case. A potential client is analyzing the viability of using DataFission to index decade’s worth of film to identify product placement opportunities. Another wants to use the technology to count the number of solar panel installations in the United States.

There are many potential uses for the technology. While the military and intelligence community is able to get eyes on 5% of the data, only 1% of publicly available data is ever put in front of human, Dr. Trease says. DataFission says 88% of this so-called “Digital Universe” is video and still photos, while 10% is audio. The remaining 2% is text, but only a small fraction (about 5%) of that is indexed by Google

shutterstock_streaming data abstract_ Anteromite

“I don’t want to ding Google. I use it every day. I’m happy they’re out there,” he says. “But they are making a very small part of the Digital Universe searchable.”

The product could also be used to help cull the large amount of unstructured data flowing into an organization. DUSE could be useful for indexing large flows of unstructured data arriving via Apache Kafka queues. Because it only needs to read the source data once, the source data can be safely discarded, while its core features are safely indexed in an archive, and made available for analysis at a later time.

Cloud and On-Prem

Indexing unstructured data is a big job, to be sure, and it takes a lot of horsepower for DataFission to do run. It would take two full racks of servers a weekend to index 1PB worth of video, Dr. Trease says. And once the data is indexed, you’d want to hold onto that computing horsepower to ensure searches come back quickly. “It’s pointless to collect this data and not make it searchable,” he says.

DataFission used to rely on exotic HPC setups to provide that computing power, but today it’s relying on modern scale-out architectures consisting of 64-bit Linux clusters. The software itself, which today exists as a Python-based Apache Spark application, can be obtained as software product or fully configured on a hardware appliance called DataHunter.

D-Wave 1-300x300

The company makes use of GPU and FPGA accelerators whenever it can. “The thing can never be fast enough,” Dr. Trease says. “NVidiakeeps producing faster GPUs and Intel is adding Phi accelerators to their X86. They look pretty good. Intel just announced a hybrid X86 FPGA server.  That looks like a good way to go.” It’s also investigating DUSE running on a adiabatic quantum computer from D-Wave Systems.

These days the company is working on getting its cloud offering off the ground. There’s still some work to do, particularly around ensuring high levels of fault tolerance and resilience, Dr. Trease says. It could become available as soon as next spring.

Source:  datanami.com

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 21:46

Top 12 Desktop app launchers for Windows 10

Windows 10 offers more features than any version of the system before. For  Desktop management and customization alone, it has the ability to use multiple desktops, and some more interesting features.

However, some people aren’t satisfied with the way Windows 10 is designed; Some people just have too many icons on the Desktop, and they struggle to organize it. Either way, something needs to be done to make their environment more productive.

If you have such problems, probably the best solution is to use an app launcher. By using this type of software, you’ll be able to free some Desktop space, and bring a dose of freshness on the way.

We’ve looked for the best Desktop app launchers for Windows 10, and created a list of the best ones available right now. So, if you’re planning to use an app launcher, but can’t make up your mind about which one is the best, make sure to check out our mini-reviews.

Best App Launchers for Windows 10


rocketdock windows 10 app launchers

RocketDock is probably the most famous name on this list. You’ve probably heard of, or maybe even used it back in Windows XP days, and guess what, it’s compatible with Windows 10, as well. In case you’re not familiar with RocketDock, it’s a program launcher/dock that sits on top of your screen.

The dock is designed after Mac OS X launch bar, and its simple purpose is to keep your favorite shortcuts in one place, so you can access always access them. When you install RocketDock, it will feature some default shortcuts, but you can easily modify it, and add whatever program or app you want. The best thing about RocketDock is that it can save a lot of space on Desktop, so if you have many icons, this can be a life-saver.

RocketDock is available for free, and you can grab it from this link.


objectdock windows 10

Just like RocketDock, ObjectDock is also a well-known program launcher for Windows, that has been around for quite some time. It allows you to add your favorite programs and apps to the dock, for the quick access. It even allowed Windows 7 users to add Gadgets back in the day, but as you probably know, that feature has been discontinued. However, there’s still a way to add Gadgets to Windows 10, so you combine them with ObjectDock.

ObjectDock sports a simple design, as you have an impression that your apps are ‘sitting’ on a table. The dock is placed on the top of your screen, so it doesn’t interrupt your work. You can even add quick launch icons from the taskbar, for even quicker integration.

ObjectDock is available for free, and you can download it from this link. There’s also a paid version, which brings some additional features.

RK Launcher

rk launcher windows 10

RK Launcher is another free dock for Windows 10, used for storing your favorite apps and programs. You can add absolutely any app you want, but also files and folders. RK Launcher is placed on the edge of your screen, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the top edge, as you can move it to any side of the screen you want.

RK Launcher also sports a simple, and neat design, and it should perfectly blend with your working environment. The ability to change themes, and add custom icons and docklets allows you to completely customize the looks of RK Launcher.

Since RK Launcher can be placed on any side of the screen, and supports various apps, programs, and file types, it can be a perfect replacement for the taskbar. Although it was built for the previous versions of Windows, RK Launcher still functions well in Windows 10.

RK Launcher is available for free, and you can grab it from this link.


executor windows 10

Executor is a very simple program/app launcher for Windows 10, that allows you to access any installed program on app on your computer, simply by entering its name. Executor is placed in the taskbar, so all you need to do is to click on it, type the name of the app you want to open, and it will be opened immediately.

As soon as you install this program, it indexes all installed programs and apps, as well menu entries, the list of recently accessed items, and more. This is a really tiny program, with less than 1MB of size, so it basically won’t occupy any resources while running in the background.

It also allows you to assign a specific keyword to a program, so you don’t have to type the full name. Besides programs and apps, Executor also works well with URLs, so if you need to access a certain website quickly, just enter its address in Executor.

If you have problems interacting with Windows 10’s default search engine, Cortana, or you simply want to try something else, Executor can be a perfect alternative.

Executor is available for free, and you can download it from this link.


Launchy windows 10

Launchy is another terribly simple launcher for Windows, that also work smoothly on Windows 10. The biggest advantage of Launchy is that it’s ready to use as soon as you install it, as you don’t have to set up a single thing. When you open the program, it shows just a search bar, along with a small Control Panel icon.

So, just type in the name of the program you want to open, and suggestions will appear in no time. Launchy doesn’t only open regular programs or apps, it also can search for old files stored in multiple folders, which can be more than useful.

Although Launchy doesn’t offer as many functionality features as Executor, you can still customize it with skins and plugins. This program can also serve as a solid replacement for Windows 10’s built-in Search.

Launchy is available for free, and you can download it from this link. The program comes in both portable and .exe versions.

XWindows Dock

XWindows Dock windows 10

Although its name might make you think this program works only in Windows XP, it’s actually perfectly compatible with Windows 10. XWindows Dock imitates MacOS’ launcher toolbars, and gives you some options that are also available in Apple’s tool.

The best thing about this dock is that it allows you the complete customization. You can change its appearance by adding graphics effects like reflections, transparency, shadow, blur, and more. But besides its fancy looks, XWindows Dock also gives you exceptional functionality features. You can add your favorite apps and programs, as well as some other Windows features.

You can also use the plugin manager to add some custom plugins to the interface, like a stack container, similar to the Stacks docklet seen in RocketDock. However, according to some online reviews, using XWindows Dock can be complicated at first, so you may need some time to get used to it.

XWindows Dock is available for free, and you can download it from this link.


InerziaSmartLaunch windows 10

Okay, we’ve talked about simple app launchers for Windows, but it can’t get simpler than InerziaSmartLaunch. The whole interface of this launcher is just a search bar! When you enter the name of the app you want to open, suggestions show in the context menu, just like in browsers, of on Google.

But despite its extremely simple looks, InerziaSmartLaunch can actually do a lot for you. Of course, you can search for regular apps and programs, but it also allows you to look for any recent document, folder (system or any other), or anything else. So, just type in what you’re looking for, and InerziaSmartLaunch will find it for you.

This program actually has some additional features, that can be more than useful. For example, it allows you to associate a certain keyword with an app or program, and open it simply by entering that keyword. You can use any combination of keywords, including a single letter.

InerziaSmartLaunch is available for free, and you can download it from this link.

Circle Dock

circledock windows

CircleDock is an interesting program launcher for Windows, mainly because of its unique looks. Well, it’s exactly what its name says, a circular dock for launching apps. But this launcher also works differently than regular launchers, because it’s not on the screen all the time.

To open CircleDock, you need to initiate it first, and it will immediately appear next to your mouse cursor, wherever it is. As soon as the dock opens, you’ll see all your pinned apps and programs sorted in a circular order, and you’ll be able to access them with a single click.

Besides regular programs and apps, you can also add other files and folders to CircleDock. This program also offers some basic customization options, and supports multiple monitors and virtual desktops.

Circle Dock is free, and it comes as a portable program, so you don’t have to bother installing it. You can download it from this link.


WinLaunch windows 10

WinLaunch is another free imitation of app launchers from Apple’s operating systems. This program is based on the launcher from Mac OS X Lion. Similarly to Circle Dock, it starts minimized, in the background, and you activate it by pressing the Shift + Tab keyboard shortcut.

When activated, the launcher bar pops up, and shows you the list of all pinned programs and apps. As soon as WinLaunch opens, desktop icons are hidden, and the background gets blurred, which is a nice touch in design.

You can group shortcuts by groups, similarly to how it’s done in iOS; simply drag and drop one icon into the another one to create a group. You can create as many groups as you want, and make further customizations, like adding the name of the group.

There’s also the ‘Jiggle mode’, which allows you to move icons from one group to another. To add icons to WinLaunch, press F on your keyboard, the launcher will then be reduced to a smaller, movable window, where you can add icons by drag and drop.

WinLaunch is available for free, and you can get it from this link.


Appetizer windows 10

Appetizer is an open source application launcher for Windows 10. It’s very simple in design (well, like the majority of launchers), but also offers some useful features for accessing your favorite apps and programs.

The first thing you’re going to notice about this program is its unusual look. It reminded us of Microsoft’s vintage Maths tool (let us know if you agree), with these buttons and calculator-like interface. But enough with nostalgic comparations, let’s see what this program can do for you.

Unlike the majority of launchers, that scan your system for installed apps and programs automatically, Appetizer actually requires you to enter programs you want to access with it.

You can download Appetizer from this link for free.

Winstep Nexus Dock

winnexus windows 10

Even though functionality is probably the most important thing, Winstep Nexus Dock actually wants to charm you with its stunning looks. This application launcher is one of the best designed in the business, and it even comes with a handful of customization options. One of the customization options is the ability to set custom icons to your dock items.

When  it comes to usability, Nexus Dock is actually a quite simple tool to use. It works on the drag and drop principle, so all you need to do to pin your favorite program or app is to simply move it on the dock with your mouse cursor. Besides regular programs, Nexus Dock also supports files, folders, and other features. Everything has its own icon in the dock, so you won’t have the problem recognizing what’s what.

Nexus Dock can also serve as a replacement for the taskbar, because of its ability to show minimized, running programs and the system tray on the dock.

Winstep Nexus Dock is available for free, and you can download it from this link. If you want even more features, you can purchase the pro version for $24.95.


7Stacks windows 10

7Stacks, as its name says, is a free program launcher for Windows that imitates the stacks functionality from Mac OS X. It allows you to store mainly folders, but also files and programs in special ‘stacks’ on your Windows taskbar.

Once you create a new stack, you can pin up to 10 folders to it, and access them by simply pressing a button on your taskbar. You can basically stick any folder to stacks with 7Stacks, from special folders like My Computer, to regular folders on your hard drive.

Also, if you don’t want to place the Stacks folder on your taskbar, you can use the manual menu mode, and leave them on the Desktop. This software is useful if you need to access a lot of folders during your work day, but don’t want to keep on the Desktop, and make confusion.

7Stacks is available for free, and you can grab it from this link.

That’s about it for our list of 12 best app and program launchers for Windows 10. All these launchers have something unique to offer, and each one of them can replace a certain Windows 10 feature. So, if you’re not satisfied with how Microsoft did its job with some of the features, or you simply want to try some new solutions, programs from this article are just a perfect fit for that.

Source:  windowsreport.com

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Some say internet privacy has become a contradiction in terms and claim once you go online, you automatically reveal information about yourself that can’t remain hidden.

There is a national debate happening right now to determine how exposed you should be online, and it’s a debate that could change the internet significantly.

"We're giving away that information by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, even if it's in the description field you may type it not realizing we're giving away valuable information,” said internet security specialist Mark Pugh.

A website called Spokeo has become popular as a so-called "People search engine." It launched in 2006, and its founders designed it to keep up with social media posts from friends and family. Since then, it's grown into an information-gathering website that allows users to find out personal information about almost anyone.

Spokeo lists things like income, religion, the number of people in a user’s family and even how much your house is worth.

"There have been people who have been stalked and crimes committed from information gathered off Spokeo and from other people-search websites," said Pugh.

Spokeo is part of an ongoing lawsuit that ended up in the Supreme Court recently. A man sued the site, saying the information on Spokeo made him appear overqualified when he applied for jobs. The justices sent the suit back to the appeals court where it is still pending.

"So these sites are gathering this information off the public record from every Attorney General's office and from what the government has made available," said Pugh.

Spokeo may not always be accurate, but it is a prime example of the marketplace that’s growing for personal information online.

Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon collect their customers' personal information and sell it for targeted advertising to specific demographics, but concerns over internet privacy led the FCC to make a landmark ruling just last month. It says internet providers are now required to obtain explicit permission from customers before selling their browsing data.

That data includes internet history, mobile location, content of emails and financial data. It also requires providers to tell consumers what data they collect and why.

"I think there's a very large segment of the population that either doesn't care or is oblivious to it," said Pugh.

Some security experts say all the new rules won’t really matter as long as users are willing to give up so much information so willingly.

"We have control over information we provide, we just have to discuss what information we're willing to provide and at what point do we say we don't want to be part of this service anymore,” said Pugh.

Source cbs4indy.com

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