Google’s Knowledge Graph is pretty good at telling you who was the 37th president of the US, or what the square root of 342345 is. Ask it more complex questions, like “why does the sun set at night?” and it’ll still send you off to find the answer…
A parasite queen (left) and the queen of the ants it preys on. Note the two scale bars both represent one millimeter, indicating the parasites’ relatively small size.
We tend to think of parasites as creatures that attach themselves to their hosts or worm their way inside, consuming the hosts’ resources directly from their bodies. But there are other parasites that steal from their hosts simply by freeloading off them. The classic example is the cuckoo, which lays eggs in the nests of other birds, who then happily feed the cuckoo’s offspring as if they were their own.
A successful strategy like that is hard for evolution to pass up. So it really wasn’t a surprise to find out that there are also parasitic species of ants, ones that breed within the nests of other ants and raise their offspring using the resources provided by the hosts. Now, researchers have developed evidence that at least one of those species evolved within the nests that they now occupy.
The parasitic ant in question has the evocative name Mycocepurus castrator. It lives off the hard work of a related leaf-cutter ant named Mycocepurus goeldii. Although the host species is distributed widely within South America, M. castrator has a much narrower range—a single stand of eucalyptus trees conveniently located on the campus of Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.
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Via:: Ars Technica
Just days ago at Gamescom, Microsoft announced that game pre-loading was coming to the Xbox One in September alongside for nabbing Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 in advance of their arrival. It seems that the new feature has gone live a bit early…
If you’re anxious to try out Apple’s new OS X Yosemite, you might be in luck. The company recently rolled out a second version of their desktop OS, which did what any good beta iteration does in tidying up the loose ends and squashing bugs. If you’ve yet to give it a shot, now might be the time; there are …
Product Hunt, the YC-backed social network for sharing links to interesting new startups and apps via a Reddit-like interface, has been banned from Reddit. We first got wind that links to Product Hunt could no longer be submitted to Reddit from a comment on a video published to YouTube by Google Ventures announcing that the search giant’s investment wing invested in Product… Read More
Add two inline skate wheels with 360-degree rotatable casters to the base of a skateboard and you’ve got a Fast and Furious-style drifting device known as a freeboard. Developed in the ’90s, these boards are an off-season way to enjoy the smooth…
There’s mounting evidence that HP, once the leading PC maker, does not know what it’s doing. After announcing plans to cut up to 5 percent of its work force, the company is basically throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Recent…
The ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon tends to lack one key component: context. A wearable might be able to tell you how many steps you took, but what does it mean? The best smart devices are those which make sense of it all. Enter the Vessyl Smart Cup, which just finished a wild seed funding round to help bring it to …
Back when FX purchased the rights to the entire Simpsons back-catalog, it was instantly clear what they’d planned to do with it. Show every single episode of The Simpsons in order. The one true Simpsons Marathon begins (or began, depending on when you’re reading this) today at 10:00 AM Eastern Time and runs non-stop through the first of September. If …
An IP address used by staff at the US House of Representatives has been banned from editing Wikipedia for 30 days. It’s the second such punishment for would-be anonymous House Internet users in less than a month.
The first ban was imposed for 10 days after a series of “disruptive” edits, including a change to the entry about the website Mediaite to describe it as a “sexist transphobic news and opinion blog.”
Now the same IP address has been condemned by editors for making several controversial edits on articles related to transgender issues. Last night, a Wikipedia administrator imposed a month-long ban, with some editors asking for harsher measures.
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Via:: Ars Technica
Today, Facebook is rolling out analytics for App Links, its initiative to make it easier for developers to link to specific content in partnership with Parse (which it purchased last year) and Mixpanel. The data available is still rather simple, but it’s a first step to convincing developers that they should use it to send traffic between apps. Read More
Left: Google’s prototype car. Right: the eventual final design.
Traditionally, Google’s self-driving car prototypes have taken existing cars from manufacturers like Toyota and Lexus and bolted on the self-driving car components. This is less than ideal, since it limits the design possibilities of the car’s “vision” system and includes (eventually) unnecessary components, like a steering wheel and pedals.
However, Google recently built a self-driving car of its own design, which had no human control system other than a “go” button. The California DMV has now thrown a speed bump in Google’s car design, though, in the form of new rules that require that all self-driving cars allow a driver to take “immediate physical control” if needed.
The new law means Google’s self-designed car will need to have a steering wheel and gas and brake pedals any time it hits the public road. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google will comply with the law by building a “small, temporary steering wheel and pedal system that drivers can use during testing” into the prototype cars. The report says California officials are working on rules for cars without a steering wheel and pedals, but for now, a human control system is mandatory.
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Via:: Ars Technica
Zomato, the restaurant search and discovery service that’s raised a whopping $55 million in VC, is adding a presence in Central and Eastern Europe by means of two local acquisitions. Read More
If you’ve owned a handful of portable gadgets in recent years, you’ve probably managed to build up a healthy supply of micro-USB cables. Spending 40 bucks to acquire another might sound absurd — unless this is the cable you’re looking to buy. While…
Behold, the ultimate Star Wars home theater. This beast was designed by The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones lead designer Doug Chiang, and resembles several different bits of the Star Wars Universe. To make this theater come to live, the owners commissioned Doug Chiang to design and Dillon Works to fabricate. Mike Dillon was first commissioned to do …
Beta users will also get a new build of iTunes 12.
Apple has just released the first update to the OS X Yosemite Public Beta, about a month after the first beta shipped. If you skipped the first beta but would like to give this one a try, Apple’s sign-up page still appears to be accepting new testers (the company said that it would close the program down after the first million sign-ups, a number that apparently hasn’t been hit yet).
The build number of the new beta indicates that it’s roughly the same as Yosemite Developer Beta 6, which was released earlier this week to registered iOS and OS X developers. The first public beta was more or less identical to Developer Beta 4.
In the space of those two developer betas, Apple has been working to squash out bugs and has further Yosemite-ized more traditional OS X components. The volume and brightness overlays have been changed to match the frosted translucent look used elsewhere in the OS, and Apple added a new batch of Yosemite-themed wallpapers. Additional application and System Preferences icons have also been redesigned to match Yosemite’s simpler, “flatter” look.
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Via:: Ars Technica
United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal’s selfie went viral.
The US Copyright Office, in a 1,222-page report discussing federal copyright law, said that a “photograph taken by a monkey” is unprotected intellectual property.”The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit,” said the draft report, “Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.” [PDF]
The report comes two weeks after Wikimedia, the US-based operation that runs Wikipedia, announced that the public, not British photojournalist David Slater, maintains the rights to the selfie and the other pictures the black macaca nigra monkey snapped. The monkey hijacked the camera from Slater during a 2011 shoot in Indonesia and took tons of pictures, including the selfie.
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Via:: Ars Technica
The world of iBeacon technology is intriguing, but there are drawbacks. Do you really want to migrate through a vast area and have push notifications, or download a store’s app? Maybe not, but timely notifications about important topics is still something to be considered. Enter ‘Nearables’, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sticker that tells you what you need to know, …
Some things are best kept secret. But when it comes to your online activities, can you ever truly conceal your identity? A variety of tools and best practices can help you achieve some level of privacy when surfing the web, but it is nearly impossible to ensure that your online activities remain completely anonymous. Read More
Indiegogo reported 33 percent of its tech employees are female, a relatively higher percentage than other companies that have recently released diversity reports. In comparison, Twitter’s tech employees are 10 percent female, and those numbers are only slightly better at Snapchat (about 15 percent), Facebook (15 percent) and Google (17 percent). Both Pinterest and eBay both reported… Read More