First time accepted submitter hooktheory writes "We looked at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to a few basic questions about pop music. First we look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. To make quantitative statements about music you need to have data; lots of it. Guitar tab websites have tons of information about the chord progressions that songs use, but the quality is not very high. Just as important, the information is not in a format suitable for gathering statistics. So, over the past 2 years we've been slowly and painstakingly building up a database of songs taken mainly from the billboard 100 and analyzing them 1 at a time. At the moment the database of songs has over 1300 entries indexed. Knowing these patterns can give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works" This reminds me of the work done by two Rutgers grad students last year trying to find a formula for a hit song.
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holy_calamity writes "Technology Review has an in depth profile of the team at Facebook tasked with figuring out what can be learned from all our data. The Data Science Team mine that information trove both in the name of scientific research into the patterns of human behavior and to advance Facebook's understanding of its users. Facebook's ad business gets the most public attention, but the company's data mining technology may have a greater effect on its destiny — and users lives."
Gunkerty Jeb writes "In a recent survey of IT managers and executives, nearly half of respondents admitted that if they were fired tomorrow they would walk out with proprietary data such as privileged password lists, company databases, R&D plans and financial reports — even though they know they are not entitled to it. So, it's no surprise that 71 percent believe the insider threat is the priority security concern and poses the most significant business risk. Despite growing awareness of the need to better monitor privileged accounts, only 57 percent say they actively do so. The other 43 percent weren't sure or knew they didn't. And of those that monitored, more than half said they could get around the current controls."
Esther Schindler writes "Young whippersnappers might imagine that Computer Science degrees — and the term "computer science" — have been around forever. But they were invented, after all, and early programmers couldn't earn a college degree in something that hadn't been created yet. In The Evolution of the Computer Science Degree, Karen Heyman traces the history of the term and the degree, and challenges you on a geek trivia question: Which U.S. college offered the first CS degree? (It's not an obvious answer.)"
MrSeb writes "Neuroengineers at MIT have created an implantable fuel cell that generates electricity from the glucose present in the cerebrospinal fluid that flows around your brain and spinal cord. The glucose-powered fuel cell is crafted out of silicon and platinum, using standard semiconductor fabrication processes. The platinum acts as a catalyst, stripping electrons from glucose molecules, similar to how aerobic animal cells (such as our own) strip electrons from glucose with enzymes and oxygen. The glucose fuel cell produces hundreds of microwatts (i.e. tenths of a milliwatt), which is a surprisingly large amount — it comparable to the solar cell on a calculator, for example. This should be more than enough power to drive complex computers — or perhaps more interestingly, trigger clusters of neurons in the brain. In theory, this glucose fuel cell will actually deprive your brain of some energy, though in practice you probably won't notice (or you might find yourself growing hungry sooner)."
New submitter robkeeney writes "Legislators in several states are working on laws that would require certain gun manufacturers to implement 'microstamping' to help law enforcement solve gun crimes. 'Lasers engrave a unique microscopic numeric code on the tip of a gun’s firing pin and breech face. When the gun is fired, the pressure transfers markings to the shell casing and the primer. By reading the code imprinted on casings found at a crime scene, police officers can identify the gun and track it to the purchaser, even when the weapon is not recovered.' As with any gun-related legislation, many people oppose these new laws. In California, a law passed in 2007 requires that when microstamping (which is easily defeat-able) is no longer patent encumbered, all new guns in CA must use it. To fight it, an organization called the Calguns Foundation paid a fee to extend the patent in order to prevent the law from going into effect."
benfrog writes "Skype will be introducing a new 'feature' into calls for users don't have subscriptions or credit. Giant ads. They are actually calling them 'Conversation ads' because they hope the ads (as large as the picture of the person to whom you are speaking) will 'spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.' The ads, of course, are tailored to each individual user, though there is an opt-out for that."
CanHasDIY writes "Previously, it was reported that Verizon was considering eliminating their current data plan scheme, as well as the grandfathered unlimited plans, in favor of a new 'bucket' plan in which up to 10 devices would share a data allotment. Verizon has now officially acknowledged the new scheme, called the 'Share Everything' plan, which will go into effect as of June 28, 2012. According to USA Today, 'Under the new pricing plan, a smartphone customer opting for the cheapest data bucket, 1 gigabyte, will pay $90 before taxes and fees ($40 for phone access and $50 for 1 GB). Customers can add a basic phone, laptop and tablet to share data for $30, $20 and $10, respectively.' Those of us still grandfathered into the unlimited plan will be forced (when upgrading) to either sign up for Share Everything or one of the tiered pricing plans currently in effect."
New submitter nbacon writes with news that Comcast, apparently tired of the endless BitTorrent-related piracy lawsuits, has stopped complying with subpoena requests, much to the chagrin of rightsholders. From the article: "Initially Comcast complied with these subpoenas, but an ongoing battle in the Illinois District Court shows that the company changed its tune recently. Instead of handing over subscriber info, Comcast asked the court to quash the subpoenas. Among other things, the ISP argued that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over all defendants, because many don’t live in the district in which they are being sued. The company also argues that the copyright holders have no grounds to join this many defendants in one lawsuit. The real kicker, however, comes with the third argument. Here, Comcast accuses the copyright holders of a copyright shakedown, exploiting the court to coerce defendants into paying settlements."
solune writes "You can get a tablet these days for a few hundred dollars, and laptops for a few hundred more. Gaming consoles, TVs, and smartphones are all available for under a thousand bucks. Yet, a decent hearing aid for my mom will go upwards of $3000! With ever-shrinking electronic components, better capabilities, and technological advancements, not to mention the rapidly increasing potential user base, I would think quality hearing aids should be coming in a lot cheaper than what we can find. Adding fuel to my fire is that a hearing aid will greatly improve my mom's life — not to mention the lives of millions of others out there. Currently, she suffers from frustration and isolation with having to ask people to 'speak up', and nodding her head to things her kids and grandkids say. We've tried the cheapies, and they're fraught with problems. So, can someone tell me why a hearing aid should be so expensive?"
Vigile writes "Today AMD is making an announcement that is the first step in a drastic transition for the company by integrating an ARM Cortex A5 processor on the same die with upcoming Fusion APUs. Starting in late 2013, all AMD APUs (processors that are combinations of x86 cores and Radeon SIMD arrays) will also integrate an ARM Cortex A5 processor to handle security for online transactions, banking, identity protection and DRM integration. The A5 is the smallest Cortex processor available, and that would make sense to use it in a full APU so it will not take up more than 10-15 square mm of die space. This marks the first time AMD has licensed ARM technology and while many people were speculating a pure ARM+Radeon hybrid, this move today is being described as the 'first step' for AMD down a new road of dexterity as an IP-focused technology company with their GPU technology as 'the crown jewel.' So while today's announcement might focus on using ARM processors for security purposes, the future likely holds much more these two partners."
Nerval's Lobster writes "VMware's Serengeti is a new open-source project for deploying Apache Hadoop in virtual and cloud environments. Serengeti 0.5 is available as a free download under the Apache 2.0 license. It has been designed as distro-neutral, with support for Apache 1.0, CDH3, Hortonworks 1.0 and Greenplum HD 1.0. Of course, VMware isn't the only company seeking to leverage the increased interest in Hadoop. In June alone, midsize IT vendors such as Datameer, Karmasphere, and Hortonworks have all announced platforms that utilize the framework in some way. Research firm IDC recently predicted that worldwide revenues from Hadoop and MapReduce will hit $812.8 million in 2016, up from $77 million in 2011."
New submitter Sir Realist writes "A recent Slashdot scoop pointed us at a scientific study that claimed 42% of global sea-level rises could be due to groundwater use. It was a good story. But as is often the way with science, there are folks who interpret the data differently. Scott Johnson at Ars Technica has a good writeup which includes two recent studies that came to remarkably different conclusions from mostly the same data, and an explanation of the assumptions the authors were making that led to those differences. Essentially, there is some reason to think that the groundwater estimates used in the first study were too high. However, that's still under debate, so it's worth reading the whole argument. Scientific review in action!"
With the goal of bringing more experimental development to the OpenBSD code base, a few developers have announced a fork named Bitrig. According to their FAQ, Bitrig aims to build a small system targeting only modern hardware and "be a very commercially friendly code base by using non-viral licenses where possible." Their first step toward that goal was removing GCC in favor of LLVM/Clang. The project roadmap shows their future goals as adding FUSE support, improving multiprocessing, porting the system to ARM, and replacing the GNU C++ library with LLVM's.
Trailrunner7 writes, quoting Threatpost: "Researchers have identified an ongoing series of attacks, possibly emanating from China, that are targeting a number of high-profile organizations, including SCADA security companies, universities and defense contractors. The attacks are using highly customized malicious files to entice targeted users into opening them and starting the compromise. The attack campaign is using a series of hacked servers as command-and-control points and researchers say that the tactics and tools used by the attackers indicates that they may be located in China. The first evidence of the campaign was an attack on Digitalbond, a company that provides security services for ICS systems. ... In addition to the attack on Digitalbond, researchers have found that the campaign also has hit users at Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University and the University of Rhode Island."