Version 1.0 of Yahoo's new platform due later this year

During a post-keynote luncheon with a few reporters, Yahoo CTO Ari Balogh and Yahoo Open Strategy (Y!OS) chief architect Neal Sample shared more details about the inside-out rewiring of the Web giant.

Balogh said that co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang is taking a personal interest in the project, which began in earnest as part of Yang's 100-day plan, which he created when he took the helm of the company from Terry Semel in September of last year. He noted that Y!OS was started before Microsoft came knocking on Yahoo's door. Balogh joined Yahoo from VeriSign just prior to Microsoft's February 1, 2008 takeover bid.

Y!OS is expected to have a material impact on Yahoo's page growth and time spent on the site, as well as revenue. It was baked into the calculations projecting a doubling of its operating cash flow from $1.9 billion to $3.7 in the

Version 1.0 of what is being called Y!Open will be released at some unspecified time later this year, and will include a development environment for several properties, a social "activator" and graph engine, an events engine, and a single profile for users, Balogh said.

The activator engine handles the combining of different relationship groupings, such as the Yahoo Mail e-mail address book, Yahoo Messenger contacts, Flickr friends, Yahoo 360, and Yahoo Mash, Sample said. Yahoo will be careful to protect user privacy and won't apply the information without user consent, he added.

"We have to replumb Yahoo to use a single profile and create feeds, a way to consume feeds and Web services APIs and to layer those mechanisms into the platform," Balogh said.

Yahoo is part of the OpenSocial Foundation, along with Google and MySpace, and will be using the specification as part of the Yahoo application framework (see the slide below). OpenSocial allows applications to work across the major social networks, except Facebook at this point, without modification.

Yahoo's new architecture, called Yahoo Open Strategy proves that the Internet is made of tubes.

(Credit: Yahoo)
Users will have single control panel for assigning where they want the applications to live. Developers will be incented to carry the unified Yahoo user experience with them across other services, although it's not required by the OpenSocial specification, Sample said.

Initially, Yahoo will be vetting applications that touch Yahoo Mail. "We don't want to risk exposing user data," Sample said. "Once they prove themselves we can open up more. We are starting with a toe in the water."

SearchMonkey is the first fruit of Yahoo's new open initiative. It allows developers to alter the presentation of search results, is currently in limited beta and will be in general release within the next several weeks, Balogh said.

Compared to creating a social graph and scaling the back end for 500 million users and 10 billion latent relationships among the Yahoo clan, SearchMonkey is relatively simple feat of openness.

Yahoo has an ambitious and complex task ahead to deliver version 1.0 within this year amidst other distractions, such as Microsoft's courtship of the company. Balogh talks a good game: "The goal is nothing short of creating the best developer environment for creating Internet applications across the Web." Now Yahoo has to show that it can execute.


NASA Releases Largest Collection of Hubble Images

In celebration of the 18th anniversary of Hubble’s launch, NASA released a series of 59 new images of colliding galaxies. Astronomy textbooks typically present galaxies as staid, solitary, and majestic island worlds of glittering stars.

But galaxies have a wild side. They have flirtatious close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing “maternity wards” of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes.

As this astonishing Hubble atlas of interacting galaxies illustrates, galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures.

Interactions are slow stately affairs, despite the typically high relative speeds of the interacting galaxies, taking hundreds of millions of years to complete. The interactions usually follow the same progression, and are driven by the tidal pull of gravity. Actual collisions between stars are rare as so much of a galaxy is simply empty space, but as the gravitational webs linking the stars in each galaxy begin to mesh, strong tidal effects disrupt and distort the old patterns leading to new structures, and finally to a new stable configuration.

Most of the 59 new Hubble images are part of a large investigation of luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies called the GOALS project (Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey). This survey combines observations from Hubble, the NASA Spitzer Space Observatory, the NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory and NASA Galaxy Explorer. The Hubble observations are led by Professor Aaron S. Evans from the University of Virginia and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (USA). The images released today can be seen here.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will be repaired and overhauled in August. Seven astronauts who will fly the Atlantis space shuttle to rendezvous with Hubble will carry out the revamping mission. Their mission has already been labeled STS-125. The goal of the mission is to repair the orbiting telescope until a replacement will be manufactured in 2013.

The U.S. astronauts selected for the next servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope had begun already their training in February last year.

NASA had intended to mothball the Hubble before the new telescope was in place, a decision that was met with protests among astronomers who have been able to look into space 2.2 billion light years and more because they don't have to peer through Earth's atmosphere.

Missions to the space station are easier because ISS crew is on hand to help inspect the shuttle. The ISS also offers up to three months refuge for visiting crew in case of an emergency. The Hubble, which orbits 580 kilometers above Earth, offers neither. That means the shuttle would have to survive on its own for up to 25 days, with the second shuttle on stand-by at a separate launch pad for a rescue mission.

A year ago, the Hubble telescope's most far-seeing camera shut down due to a possible power failure and other problems, prompting NASA engineers to put the entire telescope on temporary standby. The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) was installed in 2002 in a special shuttle mission to replace the old space camera - in orbit since 1990 - and was hailed as the gateway to some of humankind's most spectacular views of the universe.

The August STS-125 mission aims to install a cosmic origins spectrograph and to replace a wide field camera in operation since 1993 with a Wide Field Camera 3. This latest camera will be the first on the Hubble that can cover everything from the ultraviolet to the infrared spectrum.

Theoretically, the James Webb observatory will replace Hubble in 2013 the earliest. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was first conceived in 1946 by astronomer Lyman Spitzer, constructed since 1979 and launched in 1990.

© 2007 - 2008 - eFluxMedia

Google Introduces Brand-Image Ads For Phones

A hostess holds a prototype of the Google Android mobile by British chip designer ARM during the Mobile World Congress (formerly 3GSM World Congress) in Barcelona, February 11, 2008. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc (GOOG.O) said on Wednesday it has introduced brand-image ads for mobile phones, in a bid to extend beyond the computer-based Web market

In a statement on the Silicon Valley company's Web site, the company said it had designed mobile images to look like standard graphical display ads for desktop computer Web pages, but made them smaller to fit on mobile phone screens.

The company said all mobile image ads are targeted according to the keywords users type into phones to search for information. The ads are priced on a cost-per-click basis, and must link to Web pages optimized to work on mobile phones.

Only one image ad is displayed on each mobile page, a move to that appears designed to limit clutter on small screens.

"For advertisers, mobile image ads serve as a branding tool and have shown to have good click-through rates," Alexandra Kenin, a product marketing manager, for Google Mobile Ads said in a blog post on the company's site.

Mobile image ads are available in 13 national markets: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the United States, Google said.

Flies get 'mind-control sex swap'

Scientists have been able to take control of flies' brains to make females behave just like males.

Researchers genetically modified the insects so that a group of brain cells that control sexual behaviour could be "switched on" by a pulse of light.

The team was able to get female fruit flies to produce a courtship song - behaviour usually only seen in males.

The study, published in the journal Cell, suggests that the wiring in male and female flies' brains is similar.

Scanning electron micrograph of the fruit fly (SPL)
What would happen if we turned the neurons on in females
Gero Miesenboeck

Gero Miesenboeck, from Oxford University, UK, who carried out the research with J. Dylan Clyne from Yale University, US, said: "It is often the case that males have to work very hard to convince females to mate with them.

"In many animal species, males have to put on elaborate courtship displays to impress females - even the tiny fruit fly."

Male fruit flies will vibrate one of their wings to produce a barely audible song, explained Professor Miesenboeck.

"And if the female likes that sound, she'll surrender to his advances."

Previous research has revealed that a group of 2,000 brain cells are necessary for this courtship behaviour in the insects; however, both male and female fruit flies appear to possess most of these neurons.

Professor Miesenboeck said: "It looks like males and females have very similar neuronal equipment, yet they behave so differently - only the male sings, and only the female responds to the song by allowing a male to copulate with her.

"The big question is: why - what is the difference?"

To investigate, the team placed some flies in a "mini sound studio".

The insects had been genetically modified so that a pulse of light would activate this group of courtship neurons.

First of all, the researchers looked at male flies and found that the light would indeed spark a song.

"The second, more exciting question we wanted to ask, was what would happen if we turned the neurons on in females.

"Females don't normally show this kind of behaviour, but we wanted to find out if they had a hidden capacity to do it," explained Professor Miesenboeck.

As the light pulsed through the chamber, video footage shows the female fruit fly lifting and vibrating one of her wings to produce a song.

The next stage was to find out how effective the artificially induced songs were as mating calls.

For this, the "Cyrano de Bergerac" test was applied.

VIew Full Articles Now!!!!

Dr Leonid Ponomarenko, associate researcher
Dr Leonid Ponomarenko shows off a device with the transistor embedded

Researchers have built the world's smallest transistor - one atom thick and 10 atoms wide - out of a material that could one day replace silicon.

The transistor, essentially an on/off switch, has been made using graphene, a two-dimensional material first discovered only four years ago.

Graphene is a single layer of graphite, which is found in the humble pencil.

The transistor is the key building block of microchips and the basis for almost all electronics.

Dr Kostya Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester have been leading research into the potential application of graphene in electronics and were the first to separate a sheet of the material from graphite

Super material

Graphene has been hailed as a super material because it has many potential applications. It is a flat molecule, with only the thickness of an atom, and both very stable and robust.

The researchers are also looking at its use in display technology - because it is transparent.

The Manchester-based scientists have shown that graphene can be carved into tiny electronic circuits with individual transistors not much larger than a molecule.

Dr Novoselov told BBC News that graphene had many advantages over silicon because it could conduct electricity faster and further.

"These transistors will work and work at ambient, room temperature conditions - just what is required for modern electronics," he said.

Dr Novoselov said graphene was a "wonderful conductor", making it a perfect material for chip applications.

"It is already superior to silicon by an order of magnitude and comparable to the best samples of other materials.

"We believe we can increase this mobility of electron flow 10-fold."

Graphene is a hot topic among semiconductor researchers at the moment because it is an excellent conductor of electricity. Unlike silicon graphene transistors perform better the smaller they become.

Leak electricity

The global semiconductor business is currently built on sand; stamping out microchips from large silicon wafers.

Companies like Intel have a roadmap to reduce the size of circuits on the silicon wafer, down to about 10 nanometres - 10,000 times smaller than the width of a single human hair.

Many researchers believe that producing circuits smaller than 10 nanometres in silicon will be too difficult because they start to leak electricity at that size.

That current silicon roadmap is expected to end in 2020, making the race to find alternative materials potentially very lucrative.

Producing graphene sheets big enough to be used as wafers for chip production remained the biggest hurdle, said Dr Novoselov.

"We can control the cut down to 20 nanometres. And then when we have to scale down to one nanometre we use a bit of luck.

"The yield of the working devices is about 50%."

Many researchers around the world are working on creating large wafers of graphene.

In order to produce microchips wafers would need to be several inches across. The biggest wafer produced so far is 100 microns across, just a tenth of a millimetre.

Electron microscope view of the graphene transistor
Short and narrow constrictions in graphene can act as high-quality transistors

"I do believe we will find the technology to do this. And when we do silicon will be replaced by graphene," said Dr Novoselov.

Professor Bob Westervelt, in an assessment of the material and its future application in the journal Science, wrote: "Graphene is an exciting new material with unusual properties that are promising for nanoelectronics.

"The future should be very interesting."

Dr Novoselov added: "Given the material was first obtained by us four years ago, we are making good progress."

He said the process of using graphene to build circuits was very compatible with silicon technology.

"At the moment we use all the same steps to make a transistor as is done by the silicon industry. So once we have large wafers of graphene it should be straightforward to use the same process."

But it might be another 10 years before the first integrated circuits on graphene chips appear, he said.

Shorter term

In the shorter term graphene could be used in LCD displays to replace materials used to create transparent conductive coatings.

"The computer screen relies on good transparent conductors. But current materials are expensive and hard to produce.

"Graphene is only one atom thin so is absolutely transparent - it's a really wonderful conductor.

"We propose to use it as a transparent conductor, using small interconnecting graphene sheets all together."

The material is also being touted for use in solar panels, transparent window coatings and also for sensing technologies.

Dr Kostya Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester presented their findings in the 17 April issue of Science.


New Anti-Terror Weapon: Hand-Held Lie Detector

U.S. troops in Afghanistan this month will receive a new tool that the Pentagon says will help them root out potential terrorists — a hand-held lie detector.
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - The Pentagon will issue hand-held lie detectors this month to U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan, pushing to the battlefront a century-old debate over the accuracy of the polygraph.

The Defense Department says the portable device isn't perfect, but is accurate enough to save American lives by screening local police officers, interpreters and allied forces for access to U.S. military bases, and by helping narrow the list of suspects after a roadside bombing. The device has already been tried in Iraq and is expected to be deployed there as well. “We're not promising perfection — we've been very careful in that,” said Donald Krapohl, special assistant to the director at the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment, the midwife for the new device. “What we are promising is that, if it's properly used, it will improve over what they are currently doing.”

But the lead author of a national study of the polygraph says that American military men and women will be put at risk by an untested technology. "I don't understand how anybody could think that this is ready for deployment," said statistics professor Stephen E. Fienberg, who headed a 2003 study by the National Academy of Sciences that found insufficient scientific evidence to support using polygraphs for national security. "Sending these instruments into the field in Iraq and Afghanistan without serious scientific assessment, and for use by untrained personnel, is a mockery of what we advocated in our report."

The PCASS cannot be used on U.S. personnel, according to a memo authorizing its use, signed in October by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.

Image: Hand splayed out, with fingertip clamp and sensors on palms

The Army has bought 94 of the $7,500 PCASS machines, which are sold by Lafayette Instrument Co. of Lafayette, Ind. The algorithm, or computer program that makes the decisions, was written by the Advanced Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University. Besides the Army, other branches of the U.S. military have seen the device and may order their own. The total cost of the project so far is about $2.5 million.

Google and Yahoo to share web ads

Yahoo sign

Yahoo and Google, the world's two biggest search engines, have announced a two-week experiment that will see them share advertising space.

During the pilot, Google will be able to place ads alongside 3% of search results on Yahoo's website.

Analysts say the move is designed to frustrate Microsoft, which has offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6bn (£22.6bn), or extract a higher offer.

The news came as both sides were reported to be forging other alliances.

The idea would be to combine three of the world's most visited websites: MySpace, Yahoo and

News Corp had previously discussed working with Yahoo to see off Microsoft's offer.

At the same time, Yahoo is looking to Time Warner's AOL to keep out of Microsoft's hands, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It reported that the deal would involve Time Warner making a cash investment for 20% of the merged firm, which Yahoo could then use to buy back shares.

'Less competitive'

Microsoft criticised Yahoo's advertising trial with Google, saying any lasting deal would not be in the consumers' interests.

"Any definitive agreement between Yahoo and Google would consolidate over 90% of the search advertising market in Google's hands. This would make the market far less competitive," Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel said.

But Yahoo said the testing did not necessarily mean that "any further commercial relationship with Google will result".

Investors reacted positively to the announcement, with Yahoo shares rising 7%.

"Yahoo has made a really clever move here," Cowen and Co analyst Jim Friedland said.

"It looked like Microsoft had all the cards, Yahoo is at least now able to use this for leverage to get Microsoft to pay more," he said.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer on Saturday gave Yahoo three weeks to agree to the company's offer or risk having the offer lowered.

Joint offer

Microsoft and News Corp are discussing making a joint bid for Yahoo, according to the New York Times.

Designed by Posicionamiento Web | Bloggerized by GosuBlogger