Sunday, October 14, 2007

1 organism : No sex for 80 mn yrs

The mystery of how an animal has survived for 80 million years without sex has been solved by UK scientists. A Cambridge team says the creature owes its existence to a genetic quirk that offers some recompense for its prolonged celibacy. Many asexual organisms have died out because they cannot adapt to changes in the natural world.

But an evolutionary trick allows this pond-dweller to survive when conditions change, researchers report in Science . Some have billed it as the longest “headache” ever.

The animal is a tiny invertebrate known as a bdelloid rotifer. It lives in freshwater pools. If deprived of water, it survives in a desiccated state until water becomes available again. They then revive, having suffered no ill effect, once water becomes available again. And without even a scintilla of sex the egg laying microscopic creatures - widely distributed in mosses, creeks and ponds - have managed to diverge into nearly 400 species.

The secret to this novel survival mechanism lies in a twist of asexual reproduction, whereby the animal is able to make two separate proteins from two different copies of a key gene.

Dr Alan Tunnacliffe, from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, who led the research, said his team had been able to show for the first time that gene copies in asexual animals can have different functions.

“It’s particularly exciting that we’ve found different, but complementary, functions in genes which help bdelloid rotifers survive desiccation,” he explained.

“Evolution of gene function in this way can’t happen in sexual organisms, which means there could be some benefit to millions of years without sex after all.”

The researchers discovered that two copies of a particular gene, known as LEA, in the asexual pond-dweller are different - giving rise to proteins with separate functions that protect the animal during dehydration. One copy stops other essential protein molecules from clumping together as the animal dries out, while the second copy helps to maintain the fragile membranes that surround the creature’s cells.

Humans and most other types of organism reproduce sexually. The union of sperm and eggs results in two copies (or a pair) of genetic instructions within a cell, one copy inherited from each parent.

This produces two nearly identical copies of each gene in each cell, and therefore two nearly identical proteins.

The “re-shuffling” of genetic material over many generations allows sexual animals to adapt to changes in their natural environment. In contrast, many asexual organisms have died out because their rigid genetic make-up means they are unable to adapt in this way. The latest discovery explains why the bdelloids have likely escaped this fate with their mechanism for generating genetic diversity in the absence of sexual reproduction.

This is the first time that this evolutionary trick - given the technical name of the Meselson effect - has been shown in any asexual animal, and shows that lack of sex can be positively life enhancing.

The study reported in Science magazine was conducted on a species of bdelloid rotifer known as Adineta ricciae.

Sex is crucial because it scrambles genes much more quickly than random DNA mutations and helps new species to evolve and emerge as the environment changes. Even bacteria have a primitive form of sex, where they exchange genes to add variety to their entire genetic complement, or genome.

But this pond life has been the one ugly fact undermining the beauty of sex: the translucent organisms abandoned sex such a long time ago that they were once denounced as an ‘evolutionary scandal’ by the late biologist John Maynard Smith.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Is this real ?

Question - Is this real ? If yes how is this possible ?

Hint : This is no photography trick - It is real .... Now you just need to answer the second part :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Awesome technology - Chori Ka Maal - Samsung Mobile tracker

From Privatelauncher

Today, I received a mail from (Chori Ka Maal means stolen goods in Hindi) mentioning that this site offers stolen gadgets at rock bottom prices - they promised the latest Cybershots from Sony starting at as low as $10!.

Naturally, intrigued (and I must admit, a li'l greedy :) ), I visited this site only to find the following notice:

Dear Visitor,

Sorry to inform you but this site has been shut down. Our business was busted recently and our stocks confiscated when one of our regular suppliers stole a Samsung Mobile Phone. Apparently Mobile Tracker Technology on the Samsung Phone immediately alerted its true owner, who then contacted the police and had our supplier tracked down. Our operations were raided the very next day and our team has been detained for questioning.

This is when I realized that this was a promo and a very good one at that by Samsung. Moving on to the links provided on the page, I viewed some cool n funny flash animation depicting the working of this new technology.

While this sure is an interesting technology with the potential to bring down mobile phone thefts (at least for Samsung phone owners!) that have become a common phenomenon in places in India, it remains to be seen when this kind of a technology would become common in almost all gadgets.

However, since I'm some kinda Sony Ericsson fan, I don't think I'm gonna buy a Samsung anytime soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Damn cool mail service

MailNForget seeks to break new ground with the kind of mail service it is providing.

MailNForget is just a one page mail service provider where one does not have to log in or register to send a mail !! All one does is go there compose the mail and send it off with the email addresses of the recipient and the sender entered - that simple!

The UI could certainly have been a lot better and MailNForget could have done well by adding some formatting features to the mail. We sure hope that they will do that soon ...

The link.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cat Music !!

A cat listening to House Music.

A cat listening to Hip Hop Music.

A cat listening to Metal music.

A cat listening to Stevie Wonder.

A cat listening to Alternative Rock.

A cat listening to Techno Music + Extasy.

digg story

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wal-Mart checks out India, faces heat

Executives from US retail giant Wal-Mart toured Indian stores on Thursday as they work on a deal that could change the face of the country's $300 billion retail sector and has sparked fears of mass job losses.
In New Delhi, over 100 demonstrators waving banners and shouting slogans marched on government buildings to protest against the entry of the world's largest retailer into India.
Some broke through police barricades and burnt an effigy of a dummy with "Wal-Mart Down" scrawled on it.
"Go back Wal-Mart," protesters shouted, waving placards saying: "Save Small Retailers".
But there were no protests as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Vice Chairman Michael Duke, accompanied by venture partner Rajan Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, visited a mall and a hypermarket in a Mumbai suburb and checked out products on display.
Wal-Mart and Bharti plan a joint venture for cash-and-carry in a retail sector that is dominated by small family-run stores. The sector is forecast to more than double by 2015, and has attracted the interest of other top global retailers such as Tesco Plc. and Carrefour.
Small shopkeepers fear Wal-Mart could put many of an estimated 40 million Indians who depend on retail out of work.
"The earnings for our small store keep me, my younger brother and sister and my parents alive," said Amrit Prakash, 26, one of the protesters, who owns a small grocery store in Delhi.
"If Wal-Mart comes, they will sell goods at wholesale prices which will be cheaper and I will have no customers. I simply can't compete with these big supermarkets ... what will happen to me and my family? I'm worried we'll end up on the streets."
His fears have strong political resonance.
Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress Party that leads the coalition government, raised her concerns about the "Wal-Mart effect" on retailers in a letter to the prime minister that was leaked by the media.
Duke was expected to hold talks with government and Bharti officials in New Delhi, but no specific business announcement would be made, Wal-Mart said in a statement.
Duke was in India "to learn more about the market first-hand and to further explore the wholesale cash-and-carry business," Wal-Mart said, adding it was a routine trip.
"We look forward to partnering (Bharti) to build backward linkages with farmers and suppliers through a robust and efficient supply chain," the U.S. group added.
Wal-Mart, which is also discussing how to provide Bharti with technology support, said it hoped to increase the amount of goods it sources for its international operations from India from $600 million last year.
Analysts say investments in the supply chain, which is hamstrung by poor infrastructure, from refrigerated trucks to warehouses, would cut the number of middlemen and help reduce spoilage, estimated at nearly 40 percent of total output.
Bharti Retail Ltd., wholly owned by Bharti Enterprises, said earlier this week it would spend up to $2.5 billion by 2015 to build hypermarkets, supermarkets and other stores.
"Maybe a few years down the line, when they have a bigger presence, we can see the impact, but right now no single firm has the clout to make or break this market," said one analyst.
Reliance Retail, part of Reliance Industries Ltd., is investing $5.6 billion in some 700 stores, while ITC Ltd., the Birla group and Pantaloon Retail Ltd. - India's top retailer -- are all ramping up.
But small shop owners are concerned at what they call Wal-Mart's "backdoor entry" into the sector.
Foreign multi-brand retailers' access to India is restricted to cash-and-carry and franchise operations, the route chosen by Metro AG, Shoprite Holdings and Marks & Spencer Plc.
"We believe Wal-Mart is going to ruin this country and millions of people will lose their jobs," said Dharmendra Kumar, campaign organiser in New Delhi for India FDI Watch, a coalition of trade unions, traders, students and communist parties.

digg story

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Professor in reply to student drawing on test sheet

Great quotes by comedians

"If you ever see me getting beaten by the police, put down the
video camera and come help me."
--Bobcat Goldthwait

"I've been doing the Fonda workout: the Peter Fonda workout. That's
where I wake up, take a hit of acid, smoke a joint, and run to my
sister's house and ask her for money."
--Kevin Meaney

"My mom said she learned how to swim. Someone took her out in the lake
and threw her off the boat. That's how she learned how to swim. I said,
'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim.' "
--Paula Poundstone

"In elementary school, in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a
single file line from smallest to tallest. What is the logic? Do tall
people burn slower?"
--Warren Hutcherson

"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every
other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the
locks, they are always locking three."
--Elayne Boosler

"Ever wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?"
--John Mendoza

"Today I met with a subliminal advertising executive for just a second."
--Steven Wright

"Relationships are hard. It's like a full-time job, and we should treat
it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they
should give you two weeks' notice. There should beseverance pay, and
before they leave you, they should have to find you a temp."
--Bob Ettinger

"A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills
than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: Duh."
--Conan O'Brien

"I haven't taken my Christmas lights down. They look so nice on the
--Winston Spear

"Did you ever walk in a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's
how dogs spend their lives."
--Sue Murphy

"My grandfather's a little forgetful, but he likes to give me advice. One
day, he took me aside and left me there."
--Ron Richards

"I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up
something else."
--Lily Tomlin

"USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently three out of four
people make up 75 percent of the population."
--David Letterman

"Chihuahua. There's a waste of dog food. Looks like a dog that is still
far away."
--Billiam Coronell

"I was a vegetarian until I started leaning towards sunlight."
--Rita Rudner

"I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific."
--Lily Tomlin

"The Swiss have an interesting army. Five hundred years without a war.
Pretty impressive. Also pretty lucky for them. Ever see that little
Swiss Army knife they have to fight with? Not much of a weapon there.
Corkscrews. Bottle openers. 'Come on, buddy, let's go. You get past me,
the guy in back of me, he's got a spoon. Back off. I've got the toe
clippers right here.'"
--Jerry Seinfeld

"I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed
--Steven Wright

"I don't kill flies but I like to mess with their minds. I hold them
above globes. They freak out and yell, 'Whoa, I'm way too high!' "
--Bruce Baum

"I met a new girl at a barbecue, very pretty, a blond I think. I don't
know, her hair was on fire, and all she talked about was herself. You
know these kind of girls: 'I'm hot. I'm on fire. Me, me, me.' You know.
'Help me, put me out.' Come on, could we talk about me just a little
--Garry Shandling

"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York
said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't
cold enough. Let's go west.'"
--Richard Jeni

"Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography."
--Paul Rodriguez

"Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my
fishburger and I realize, Oh my God....I could be eating a slow learner."
--Lynda Montgomery Great quotes by comedians

digg story

Funny and creative bags






digg story

Thinking of an MBA? Try IIM-A India - Salary touches a whopping $300,000

When salaries scale new heights at IIMs, records tumble like ninepins. The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad has broken all records posted by Indian B-schools. An international firm has offered $300,000 a year (Rs 1.35 crore) to a ‘post-graduate programme in management for executives’ (PGPX) student at the premier institute in Ahmedabad.

This betters the previous best posted by ISB-Hyderabad — Rs 1 crore a year. It is also around 62% higher than the highest offer made to PGP candidate at IIM-A last year. What’s more, offers made by domestic companies to PGPX candidates has touched the Rs 50-lakh-a-year mark. This is claimed to be the highest domestic offer on an Indian campus.

The positions offered are those of senior management in merger and acquisition as well as strategy formulation division. So far, over 30 students in the batch of 60 have been placed. Seven have already accepted the offers. “For the first time, an international company other than an investment bank or a consulting firm has made an offer of $300,000,” a placement official said. The average domestic salary offered so far at the institute is Rs 23 lakh a year.

Around 50 companies have visited the campus — the total number of offers is expected to reach 200 in coming month. This year, the companies visiting the campus for PGPX placements include Mckinsey & Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, Arcelor Mittal, Olam international, Deutsche Bank, Bain Consulting, BCG, Bharat Matrimony, Reliance Industries, ADAG, Unilever, Infosys, Microsoft, RPG, Thermax and ING.

The average work experience of the first PGPX batch at IIM-A is over nine years and the average international work experience is over three years.

digg story

Monday, February 19, 2007

Screw the spammers their way

Spam is probably one of those very few things that puts a large chunk of the otherwise so divided Internet community on the same side of the table. It's safe to make a categorical statement that MOST PEOPLE HATE SPAM.
But there hasn't been any foolproof solution for this very real problem. Here are my thoughts on how this problem can be tackled (in an unconventional manner though.)
We can have a service where a website allows people to post the email ids from which they have received spam mail. Then on a hourly/daily/weekly basis, this website can in turn make sure that there is a lot of spam that is sent to these spammers. Yeah, SPAM THE F*****G SPAMMERS.
I can understand that not doing this in a streamlined manner will put additional burden on the bandwidth available and will lead to choking of the network. So maybe this can be done not as a single lot but in a more distributed manner so as to minimize the choking of the network.

I invite comments/criticism/suggestions from the entire online community on this.

digg story

Brilliant Rejection Letter

Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109

Dear Professor Millington,

Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I
regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me
an assistant professor position in your department.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually
large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field
of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in
rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at
this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor
in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Chris L. Jensen

digg story

Friday, February 16, 2007

Google tiptoes into venture capital

googlevc.bmpGoogle has committed money to two Indian venture capital firms, saying fledgling companies in India with good ideas have too few avenues for financial support.

Google invested undisclosed amounts into small venture firms Seedfund and Erasmic. The amounts were likely in the single digit millions.

This continues Google’s experiment with different forms of corporate development. The move is significant because the rap on corporate investors is that they’re unreliable — enthusiastically supporting companies when times are good, but then withdrawing when their stock price is down and shareholders demand renewed focus on core business. Last year, Google began investing directly into start-ups, including WiFI router company FON, and another WiFi router company Meraki. Overall, these investments have been very small, relative to the hundreds of millions invested by other large companies, such as Intel.

Red Herring first wrote about the Google VC move a couple of weeks ago, and Samir Sood, Google’s head of corporate development in South Asia has since sent out a statement, explaining the move: “While the rush of large amounts of venture capital into India is well-documented, very little of this trickles down to the really small firms, the early-stage start-ups.”

Silicon Valley firms Sierra Ventures and Mayfield reported investments into India’s Seedfund (see here and here). Mayfield said Seedfund’s fund will be $15 million in total. Other Seedfund backers are Motorola Ventures, Reliance ADA Group, SVB Financial Group, an affiliate of Silicon Valley Bank, reports VentureWire.

digg story

Social Networks for Disaster Relief

Social networks like Friendster and MySpace are great when you want to share gossip or rate tunes. Millions of teens say these sites dominate their lives. What if one day, a social network could save lives?

A computer scientist, and a veteran of coordinated disaster response, think their proposed can do the job. They've written their findings in Science, and MIT's Technology Review is covering the story:

"The emergence of the Internet as a social environment led us to come up with a service where people could first report the scope of a tsunami or a wildfire or even an E. coli attack," says Ben Schneiderman, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the report. Schneiderman got the idea when he typed 911 into Google and was unable to find any useful information. "There was no service that would provide information or assistance during Katrina-like events." The system is not strictly an online analog of 911 or other emergency-reporting services, says Schneiderman. "We think it may be helpful in advance of emergencies, during emergencies, and during rebuilding and restoration afterwards."

Murray Turoff, of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, says that "what most people don't seem to understand is that the real first responders in disasters are the people in the community." Turoff, who developed the first emergency computer network for the U.S. Office of Emergency Preparedness in 1971, says that the government still has not taken steps to ensure that relief efforts are properly coordinated. "All these organizations need to be able to talk laterally," he says.

Jennifer Preece, an expert in human-computer interactions at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the study, says that for to be successful, it will have to draw in volunteers from other communities and be integrated with existing social-networking sites. If the government backs the site, she says, it, too, could have the clout to draw in users. She points out that during Katrina, many people found their information by heading to local libraries. "Why did they go there? These are established and trusted communities that they know about."

It's only natural that computer users and disaster response experts would advocate a model that has proven wildly successful at coordinating events and disseminating community information. Sadly, we don't think there are many people at FEMA that have tried Myspace... Or are there?

More from Science...

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brain reader triggers call for neuroethics

News of a brain scanner that can read a person's intentions has led to calls that neuroscientists should debate the ethics of their work before it can be misused by governments, lawyers or advertisers.

The fledgling field of "neuroethics" has emerged in the wake of rapid progress in research aimed at unlocking the brain's secrets.

Some neuroethicists say the same discoveries that could help the paralysed use brain signals to steer a wheelchair or write on a computer might also be used to detect possible criminal intent, religious beliefs or other hidden thoughts.

"The potential for misuse of this technology is profound," said Dr Judy Illes, director of the Stanford University's neuroethics program in California. "This is a truly urgent situation."

A research paper published last week showed neuroscientists can now not only locate the brain area where a certain thought occurs but probe into that area to read out some kinds of thought occurring there.

Its author, Dr John-Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, compared this to learning how to read books after simply being able to find them before. "That is a huge step," he says.

Haynes hastened to add that neuroscience is still far from developing a scanner that could easily read random thoughts.

"But what we can do is read out some simple things that are quite useful for applications, such as simple intentions, attitudes or emotional states," he says. "We're finding we can read out yes-or-no situations."

"This could be really big"

Haynes and his research team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to detect a volunteer's unspoken decision to add or subtract two numbers flashed on a screen. They got it right 70% of the time.

Read more

Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.


The Earth was built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily.

So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do not think this will be easy.

Mission statement

By any means necessary, to render the Earth into a form in which it may no longer be considered a planet. Such forms include, but are most definitely not limited to: two or more planets; any number of smaller asteroids; a quantum singularity; a dust cloud.

To make the list, a method must actually work. That is, according to current scientific understanding, it must be possible for the Earth to actually be destroyed by this method, however improbable or impractical it may be.

Methods are ranked in order of feasibility, with the least likely listed first and the most likely being No. 10.

Current Earth-destruction Status

* Number of times the Earth has been destroyed: 0
* Number of plans currently in progress with the final aim of bringing about the Earth's destruction: 0
* Number of scientific experiments currently underway with the potential to bring about the Earth's destruction: 0
* Minimum amount of time until the Earth is destroyed by natural means (discounting total existence failure): 25 years
* Minimum amount of time until the Earth is destroyed by artificial means: 50 years

What this guide is not

This is not a guide for those whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. I can in no way guarantee the complete extinction of the human race via any of these methods, real or imaginary. Humanity is wily and resourceful, and many of the methods outlined inside will take many years to even become available, let alone implement, by which time mankind may well have spread to other planets; indeed, other star systems.

If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible right now. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.

This is a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore.

Read More | digg story

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Linux Rocks !!!

I was one of those guys who was simply stuck onto Windows for a long long time ! Ever since I can remember, I had been more comfortable working on the Windows platform - be it for general work or development purposes. The number of applications available, games and the ease of development on windows made it very hard for me to even remotely consider switching to another platform. But this was until I was working for clients who were willing to spend extra cash on the softwares from Microsoft.

Recently, I quit my job to start off independently and was evaluating a lot of stuff related to the IT systems that I would need in my setup for development, deployment and maintenance purposes. A colleague suggested I give Linux a shot and suggested the Kubuntu distro. So thats how it got started. I have been using this for the last 4 months and surprisingly, I have not really felt the need to go back to Windows at all (except to use the Wall Street Analyzer which doesn't work well with Wine) !!

Linux definitely has come a long way in terms of user experience and value for money. I agree that it might be too early in the game for me to form an opinion on this, but I am willing to stick my neck out and say that the tipping point for Linux may not be too far ..

Green revolution rocks on, Khosla already making money

Vinod Khosla is rocking after barely two years — Khosla, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who hit it big during the telecom boom in the 1990s, turned two years to embrace green technology. We thought his outlandish bets on untested technologies such as celulosic ethanol - which most experts caution will be only be commercially viable in two years, at the earliest — would take some time to show results.

Yet his investment in Cambridge, Mass.-based Celunol last year (we believe it was May; we’re checking) as part of a $60 million venture capital round, has already yielded fruit. San Diego’s Diversa just bought the company for about $182.45 million. Cellulosic ethanol is a process that uses non-food plants and other waste to make ethanol, and it is much more efficient, and thus better for the environment, than regular corn-based ethanol.

read more | digg story

What’s Going On Tonight

"I’d love the ability to call up a phone number and be told about various things going on — it’d all be automated (using VXML technology). It would tell me about some concerts going on, tell me where they are, and let me listen to 30-second clips of the artists’ songs." - Digg this and read further if you find it interesting

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Linux vs. Vista: How Does Security Stack Up?

For consumers looking to boost their computers' security, is Vista the way to go? Or can Linux provide greater protection from hacker attacks? In the face of viruses, worms or other breaches, the answer is obvious. "We don't need a survey or study to determine the answer. The answer is universal with those that actually manage these systems.

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My first Linux experience: Overwhelmingly positive.

"I am a first-year high school English teacher, and I was looking to get computers in my room so I could have a writing lab. I was temporarily elated when our tech coordinator informed me via email that a dozen iMacs had been donated to the school and I was welcome to take a few for my room." - read further ..

read more | digg story

What You Didn't Know About Diamonds

It’s just marketing. The whole “A Diamond is Forever” and the idea of a diamond engagement ring is not an ancient tradition to be revered and followed. It is Sprite’s “Obey Your Thirst.” It is Nike’s “Just Do It.” It is Gary Dahl’s “Pet Rock.” Not only did De Beers understand it had to control supply (buying up and closing down any diamond mine discovered), they had to control demand. They had to make it sentimental. And Americans were the perfect suckers.

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How Does The Hacker Economy Work?

When retailer TJX disclosed Jan. 17 that the computer systems that store data related to credit card, debit card, check, and merchandise return transactions had been broken into, it said it had discovered the hack in December. But security officials at Visa had been seeing an increase in fraudulent activity on credit and debit cards related to TJX properties, such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores, since mid-November. That means it's possible the purloined consumer data has been floating around the Internet, available for purchase on black market Web sites and chat rooms, for at least two months, maybe longer.

Hacking isn't a kid's game anymore. It's big business. Online black markets are flush with stolen credit card data, driver's license numbers, and malware, the programs that let hackers exploit the security weaknesses of commercial software. Cybercriminals have become an organized bunch; they use peer-to-peer payment systems just like they're buying and selling on eBay, and they're not afraid to work together.

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Tutorials Round-Up: Ajax, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL and Much More

200 hand-picked references to Ajax, CSS, Flash, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, RSS, XML, ASP, C++, Perl, Python and Java tutorials. Handy and useful.

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10 things you should know before submitting your website to Google

"The same way you clean up your house before your guests arrive, the same way you should get your website ready for Google's crawler, as this is one of the most important guests you will ever have. According to that, here are 10 things you should double check before submitting your website to the index."

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Cool Domain Name Search Engine

DomainsBot was built to solve a couple of the most annoying problems facing anyone who wants to start a website on the Internet - finding decent domain names; figuring out who to register them with; and keeping track of them once you do.

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Top 14 Ways To Hinder Your Business Online

Guy Kawasaki puts together a great list of ways to lose users and business through their web experience with your product/service.

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Nexo, the social network for families, or small groups

What? Not another social network! Well, the thinking of co-founder Craig Jorasch is that there’s still need for one more. There’s no site on the Web, he argues, where you can slap together a private network for a few trusted contacts - family members or others — and do it EASILY.

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With Bling, translate your Web site to mobile AJAX

Bling Software, a start-up that launches today at DEMO, helps translate your Web site into a visually rich mobile version.

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7 top tips for great web graphic designers

Great web graphic designers are a rare breed. Whilst many can produce a great images, few have the technical understanding to apply that design flair to the web. Here are 7 tips that will help.

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"I Was a Cybercrook for the FBI"

Wired News has started a new three-part investigative series on David Thomas, a fraud artist who worked for the FBI for 18 months running a credit-card-trading site that the FBI used to track crooks.

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Web 2.0 Startup

This is the perfect guide to become the next Web 2.0 thing in this internet. This little guide has endless possibilities, and soon you'll be the next Kevin Rose.

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8 Simple Steps to Build Traffic For Your Internet Startup

"There's a rather unfortunate truth in nearly every startup’s business plan…there is no audience building strategy. So, here’s 8 simple thoughts to help you, the faceless member of the average Silicon Valley startup’s management team, create a lasting audience to leverage off of."

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The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Web 2.0: Top 25 Apps to Grow your Business

Are you doing a good job meeting the needs of your small business? Keeping a good handle on finances? Networking? Do you have a system for organizing your marketing strategy? Do you even have a marketing strategy?If you are running a small business, you know that to be successful you need to be a jack-of-all-trades. The smart way to manage everything from company finances, to client relations, to marketing, is to use the right tools – tools that are simple enough that they won’t require you to spend a lot of time and money you don’t have setting them up.In this guide we cover the 25 best web2.0 applications for entrepreneurs who are looking for simple, cheap, and effective solutions to solving some of the tasks facing their small business or startup. The 25 applications selected were chosen both on the basis of their usefulness for the individual small business manager as well as their effectiveness in providing community support and networking opportunities for users.

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