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Which Mobile App Is The Most Addictive?

This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.

By Ashley Black, St. Charles East high school, and Mikhaela Padilla, Whitney Young high school

The time of simple communication is dwindling toward extinction. Think about it: When’s the last time you called a friend from a landline phone and talked for hours? Year after year, study after study, it’s shown that teens favor communicating through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

But now, there’s a new crop of social networking applications that are readily available to teens (aka free)—and there’s something for everyone. Want to show off a vacation photo? Instagram is your best bet. Interested in documenting your life, one check-in at a time? Path can help you with that. Or maybe you just want to send a silly selfie to your best friends? Check out Snapchat.

We rounded up some of the most popular communication apps, tried them out for ourselves and gave them report cards.

Instagram

Instagram allows its users to play professional photographer with filters, a cropping tool and focus options. Plus, you can see what your friends (and celebs) are up to through live updates.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is a photo-only app that banks on creativity. “People love it because it shows a little bit of your personality and your life,” said Brianna Booth, a freshman at Barrington.

Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, heaps of knockoff apps have debuted. Still, most lack the massive following that Instagram has built.

Instagram did come under fire late last year after changing its terms of service. Users worried that the app could sell their works of art. Instagram cleared that up: You own your photos, but Instagram can share your user data with its parent company, Facebook.

Grade: A
Top marks for: user-friendly tools, creativity and cult-like following
Could improve: confusing service terms

GifBoom

In a nutshell, GifBoom is a moving Instagram. The app makes it easy to create and share your very own gifs (aka animated photographs, like the ones on whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com). Unlike Tumblr, GifBoom only allows its users to share gifs—no still photos allowed.

One major complaint? It’s not super user-friendly at first. “It was hard to navigate for the first week,” said Gina Paletta, a freshman at St. Charles East. “I had no idea what I was doing and it took time to figure out.”

Once you get the hang of it, GifBoom is a unique app to have. If you’ve ever wished your Instagram photos could move, this app is for you.

Grade: B+
Top marks for: growing user base and clean design
Could improve: ease of use and tools

Pheed

If Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube had a baby (don’t ask us how), it would be Pheed. The easy-to-use, clutter-free app is quickly gaining popularity and followers. You can use Pheed to share texts, photos, videos, audio and live broadcasts.

Some would say the concept is new, but others find it repetitive. “Facebook is all I need because other apps are basically all just the same,” said Jose Garcia, a junior at Carl Schurz.

But there is something that sets Pheed apart: Users can subscribe to premium channels for a fee (anywhere from $1.99 to $34.99 per month). For example, a singer might broadcast their performance or concert on Pheed and users would have to subscribe—and possibly pay a fee—to view it.

Grade: A-
Top marks for: clutter-free design and ease of use
Could improve: originality and premium fees

Path

If you love the idea of Facebook’s timeline, Path might just be your new favorite app. The new-ish concept allows you to share almost anything: your current location, what you’re listening to, future plans, cute stickers and more. The app also allows you to have conversations with friends (as shown above).

“Facebook and Instagram are easier to use and understand, but Path is a more minute-by-minute timeline of someone’s day,” said Brooke Rinker, a senior at St. Charles East.

One major difference between Facebook and Path is that you can have only 150 friends on Path. It creates a more close-knit feeling for many users, but some find it too restrictive.

Grade: B
Top marks for: live updating and variety
Could improve: sharing restrictions and ease of use

Snapchat

Snapchat is like nothing else on the app market. You take a photo or short video, add text or a doodle and send it to your friends to view for a set amount of time (one to 10 seconds, your choice). Once your friends open the pic, they have to press down on their phone screen to view your photo. After the timer is up, the photo or video disappears forever … or so we’re told.

“Snapchat allows people to easily share information about their lives on a whole (different) level using photos,” said Willie Stevan, a sophomore at Whitney Young. “I send about 15 snaps a day and receive, like, 50!”

One downfall? The privacy settings are questionable. A University of Michigan student and hacker, Raj Vir, reported that users secretly can save incoming images. Note to all: Don’t send anything via Snapchat that you wouldn’t want to resurface.

Grade: B+
Top marks for: originality and easy-to-use tools
Could improve: privacy settings

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John Pavley: Miner Mike, the Bitcoin Minter

A couple of days ago I met a mysterious hacker in a coffee shop near Google’s Manhattan office and entered into the dark underworld of bitcoin trading. Well, actually it was a sunny day and buying bitcoin was a totally above-the-board process. And the “mysterious hacker” was my buddy Mike who has worked with me in a couple of startups and fellow MMO player (He is an excellent tank).

In 2009, Mike was getting into bitcoin and I remember him explaining the whole concept to me: A virtual currency managed by a peer-to-peer network open to anyone with a computer and uncontrolled by any bank or government. The ultimate self-regulating economy, based on a pure form of money that resists manipulation by both well-meaning and evil-doing centralized authorities alike. That’s the theory and some anonymous hackers had written bitcoin as open source code to put that theory to a real-world test.

2013-04-27-bitcoin.gif

Back then Mike and I met virtually on Sunday nights to raid in the World of Warcraft. To me it was the nerds version of playing pickup basketball. To Mike it was also a chance to play with virtual economics. In additional to battling monsters Mike was great an earning WoW gold, the in-game currency that the game’s developers use to keep players playing the game. While I was perpetually poor in-game, Mike amassed a fortune of WoW gold, good for buying virtual armor and weapons, by finding raw resources, like simulated ores and artificial fish, and selling them on WoW’s auction house. Like a real economy the WoW economy ran on principles: Buy low, sell high, corner the market on a commodity, and place bets on what is going to be hot. If you want to learn how to work the stock market I can think of no better place than Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.

There are a couple of drawbacks to WoW’s auction house that bitcoin fixes: It takes a tremendous amount personal time to mine raw resources in WoW; you can’t buy real world items with WoW gold; you can’t convert WoW gold into dollars (not legally and not without exploiting other players); every once in awhile Blizzard updates the game and changes the rules of the economy and you have to start over. I have a friend who used to work at Blizzard in their equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It was a serious job that involved tracking hacked accounts, detecting fraudulent transactions, and fighting gold farming (selling in-game gold for legal tender).

Bitcoin doesn’t need a SEC, it doesn’t need a centralized authority to control it, and it lets guys like Mike mine without having to spend hours pressing keys inside a virtual 3D world. Bitcoin is self-regulating based on the rules designed into it’s software. The bitcoin code is available on Github and anyone can revise it but bad bitcoin code is automatically detected and rejected by other bitcoin peers (a server running the bitcoin software in a peer-to-peer network).

It’s very temping to jump into bitcoin now because the coins are worth about $130 each. But like shares of stock on the NASDAQ the value of bitcoin is going to fluctuate. There is no guarantee that bitcoins will increase in value. At a high level, I don’t know if bitcoin is really worth anything because as soon as you try to figure out if any currency is worth anything you start questioning the basic assumptions of life as we know it. I’d much rather let philosophers and economists crack those nuts. To Mike bitcoin is a game, like World of Warcaft without dragons or trolls, but with the potential to change the world of humans.

You and I can’t do what Mike did with bitcoin because he started early and the game was different back then. Mike is a system administrator and always has several servers running at home and in the cloud managing his applications, websites, and whatnot. In the early days of bitcoin Mike downloaded bitcoin software from Github and started mining bitcoins. Once the software was up and running he just let it calculate in the background in the same way that Seti@home looks for alien civilizations. Mike doesn’t buy bitcoins, he mints them. In the beginning he was getting as many as 50 bitcoins a month for only $15 a month in server costs. Back then bitcoins weren’t worth much and Mike was losing money mining them. Why didn’t Mike put his money into a 401K or into shares of Apple computer? (Apple was trading at $139 a share back then!)

Because Mike was mining bitcoin for fun and as a means to contribute to a grand experience in “free as in freedom” currency. Mike knows how economic systems work. He saw bitcoin not as an investment but as a chance to “draw his own Monopoly money.” Mike sees our current monetary system, with all its good and bad points, as a “distribution problem.” Mike explained it to me this way: Currently we put money into our economy starting at the top: Governments print money which goes to banks, which wealthy people borrow or buy and distribute down the economic latter as payments for services and credit. Mike sees this as an inefficient distribution algorithm based on the tradition of minting gold coins for royalty. This algorithm needs an upgrade as it concentrates power, guarantees inflation, and puts governments under the heel of the rich. I have to admit Mike is on to something. We can learn a lot from looking at an old problem in a new way and it’s unlikely that if you or I go to the Whitehouse and demand a bailout that we would be deemed “too big to fail.”

But we can’t cash in with the bitcoin bandwagon because, as Mike noted, over time the engineers of the bitcoin have made them harder and harder to compute. The goldrush days are over. While Mike still mines bitcoins, he’s generating fractions in the same amount of time it used take to calculate dozens. But I wanted to get in the game anyway, just to taste it. I downloaded a bitcoin wallet for my Android phone and traded a cup of coffee and a twenty dollar bill for 0.16BTC worth of virtual money. The android app was free and uses a QR code for identification. Mike used his Android phone’s camera to get my bitcoin wallet’s virtual address and execute the transfer. A tiny fraction of BTC went to the wallet’s developer to pay for “transaction fees.” The transfer took 15 minutes as it was verified by other random anonymous peers on the bitcoin p2p network. The Federal Trade Commission and the IRS were not consulted.

The big problem I see with bitcoins isn’t how to value them or regulate them. It’s how bitcoin wallets are tied to physical devices. If I lose my phone I lose my bitcoin wallet. Mike backs up his bitcoin wallets because you never know when a computer or phone is going to crash or walk away. This weekend Mike found an old laptop with 50BTC on it that he forgot about — that’s about $7,000 at current exchange rates. Over time bitcoins will start to disappear no matter now conscientious we are with with our backups. Because of the way the bitcoin software is currently designed that lost value is lost forever. If we were to all jump on the bitcoin bandwagon we could run out of available money with which to represent the value we create.

Ultimately Mike is having fun with his bitcoin mines and sees the whole thing as a proof of concept. He bought a fancy camera from a bitcoin store and is investing some of his windfall in real financial instruments as bitcoin will raise and fall on the irrational exuberance of just about anyone. He thinks the value of bitcoins skyrocketed because of the Cyprus bailout and will continue to be unstable.

It’s the next version of bitcoin that will be potentially very beneficial or devastating to those of us who are not miners like Mike. A government could decide to create a bitcoin 2.0 where women are paid as well as men, risky financial instruments are not possible, and where wealth can not be accumulated in obscene amounts. But that might not be your version of utopia. So you can create your own bitcoin 2.0 that creates an economy that makes you more comfortable. One thing is certain: Those nerdy folks playing online games? They are living in our economic future.

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Ilana Wiles: The Latest Instagram Craze: Baby Mugging

Last week, I took a photo of my 5 month old baby inside a mug. Well, not inside a mug exactly. I just put Harlow on the floor, held a mug in front of the camera so that it completely blocked the lower half of her body and snapped a shot.

The result was what looked like a miniaturized baby actually hanging out in my morning cup of coffee.

Then I posted it on my blog Mommy Shorts, my facebook fanpage and on Instagram with simple “Baby Mugging” instructions:

1. Put your baby on the floor (or a flat surface).
2. Hold a mug in front of your baby.
3. Snap a photo and share it on the Mommy Shorts fanpage or use #babeinamug and tag @mommyshorts on Instagram.

The idea caught on quickly — it’s super easy and works for kids of all size — and pretty soon my feed was full of hundreds of people posting #babeinamug pics. There are purists and variations. Successes and failures. Babies, toddlers, dogs and even a few full grown adults in the mix.

I’ve been posting the best versions here and have been making collages of my favorites as well. It seems like #babeinthemug shots just make people smile.

Do you want to take a picture of your baby in a mug? Please do! Tag @mommyshorts so I can share. Below are a few shots for inspiration.

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A Hilarious Conversation Between Siri And Google Voice

What happens when two of the most popular digital voices speak to each other? A whole lot of confusion, that’s what. Artist Michael Silber wanted to put both Siri and Google Voice to the test, so he had the two applications talk to each other and saw what happened. Here is the way he described his process:

PROCESS
1. I recorded the audio of Siri reading a selection of text.
2. I placed a call to myself and played the Siri audio
recording into my Google Voice voicemail.
3. I instructed Siri to read the new Google Voice transcription,
including any errors and recorded a new audio clip.
4. I placed a call to myself and played the new Siri audio
recording back into my Google Voice voicemail.

Silber repeated the process 10 times for this video, and 50 times for another one. Spoiler alert: By the time Silber gets into the 40s, Siri and Google Voice are no longer forming coherent sentences. The project was part of Silber’s Pratt Institute Graduate Communications Design thesis, entitled “Digital Humor Theory.”

We all know that Siri isn’t the best, and we know that Google Voice certainly isn’t perfect either. When they’re combined, though, it just becomes ridiculous. With all of these mix-ups and the apparent obsession with castration, maybe computers won’t be taking our jobs as quickly as we once thought.

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This Week’s Top YouTube Videos

If you’re looking to see the most popular YouTube videos of the week, look no further.

We’ve sifted through the top most most trending YouTube postings, according to video service’s “Charts” tool, and culled the seven that we think give the best slice of the viral web last week, April 21-27.

So what did the Web go wild over? We saw a terrifying wingsuit flight, the evolution of music as we know it, and a guy eating one of the world’s hottest hot sauces.

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Zuckerberg Group Spends Big On Pro-Keystone XL Campaign

Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, has spent considerable resources on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes — including driling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

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Zuckerberg Group Spends Big On Pro-Keystone XL Campaign

Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, has spent considerable resources on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes — including driling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

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NYC Selects Uber Tech App To E-Hail Cabs

Uncategorized

NEW YORK — People don’t have to use their hands to hail New York City cabs anymore – now there’s an app for that.

Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said Friday that Uber Technologies Inc. has been selected to make e-hailing services available to people looking for cabs. He says Uber will facilitate the e-hails in a one-year pilot program.

Yassky says several other companies are seeking city approval to provide e-hailing services.

A judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed mainly by livery cab owners, allowing a city plan to experiment with the e-hailing system to see whether it leads to a dearth of cabs or other problems.

Car service owners say e-hailing unfairly blurs a legal line between yellow and livery cabs, which are barred from picking up passengers on streets and depend on prearranged rides.

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NYC Selects Uber Tech App To E-Hail Cabs

Uncategorized

NEW YORK — People don’t have to use their hands to hail New York City cabs anymore – now there’s an app for that.

Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said Friday that Uber Technologies Inc. has been selected to make e-hailing services available to people looking for cabs. He says Uber will facilitate the e-hails in a one-year pilot program.

Yassky says several other companies are seeking city approval to provide e-hailing services.

A judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed mainly by livery cab owners, allowing a city plan to experiment with the e-hailing system to see whether it leads to a dearth of cabs or other problems.

Car service owners say e-hailing unfairly blurs a legal line between yellow and livery cabs, which are barred from picking up passengers on streets and depend on prearranged rides.

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Boston Police Chief Wants Drones For Next Year’s Marathon

Next year’s Boston Marathon could be watched over by drones.

The city’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, told the Boston Herald that using the aerial surveillance technology during next year’s race is “a great idea.”

“I don’t know that would be the first place I’d invest money, but certainly to cover an event like this, and have an eye in the sky that would be much cheaper to run than a helicopter is a really good idea,” Davis said.

Davis’ interest in drones comes after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 on April 15.

Davis also told WBZ NewsRadio that, “there are certainly serious privacy concerns that we have to consider before we do something like that.”

The Herald praised the idea in an editorial on Friday, arguing that “there may be no more useful tool” to help law enforcement prevent another attack:

.Surveillance drones can be a useful tool for law enforcement, and like it or not they’re coming to a city near you. It is important that their use be restrained, with proper oversight to prevent abuse. But in an emergency situation, there may be no more useful tool.

Privacy advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the growing use of domestic drones. The group argues that, because the technology is relatively inexpensive, drones are likely to be used more and more frequently across the country.

The ACLU also warns that, unlike police helicopters, drones pose unique and potentially dangerous privacy concerns if they aren’t tightly regulated.

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has expressed similar concerns:

The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that’s true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we’ve seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters.

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Boston Police Chief Wants Drones For Next Year’s Marathon

Next year’s Boston Marathon could be watched over by drones.

The city’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, told the Boston Herald that using the aerial surveillance technology during next year’s race is “a great idea.”

“I don’t know that would be the first place I’d invest money, but certainly to cover an event like this, and have an eye in the sky that would be much cheaper to run than a helicopter is a really good idea,” Davis said.

Davis’ interest in drones comes after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 on April 15.

Davis also told WBZ NewsRadio that, “there are certainly serious privacy concerns that we have to consider before we do something like that.”

The Herald praised the idea in an editorial on Friday, arguing that “there may be no more useful tool” to help law enforcement prevent another attack:

.Surveillance drones can be a useful tool for law enforcement, and like it or not they’re coming to a city near you. It is important that their use be restrained, with proper oversight to prevent abuse. But in an emergency situation, there may be no more useful tool.

Privacy advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the growing use of domestic drones. The group argues that, because the technology is relatively inexpensive, drones are likely to be used more and more frequently across the country.

The ACLU also warns that, unlike police helicopters, drones pose unique and potentially dangerous privacy concerns if they aren’t tightly regulated.

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has expressed similar concerns:

The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that’s true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we’ve seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters.

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Bold Balloon Mission Targets ‘Comet Of Century’

By: Leonard David
Published: 04/26/2013 04:12 PM EDT on SPACE.com

Scientists are working to loft science gear by balloon to observe the fast-approaching Comet ISON, which could be one of the brightest comets ever seen when it blazes through the inner solar system this fall.

The project, called Balloon Rapid Response for ISON (BRRISON), aims to get high-quality views of Comet ISON, which experts say could shine as brightly as the full moon when it makes its closest pass by the sun in late November.

The sky-high BRRISON project also hopes to demonstrate that important planetary science questions can be addressed with a balloon platform, researchers say. It will be the first planetary-science balloon mission since 1963, when a Stratoscope II balloon lifted off to observe planets, stars and galaxies. [Photos of Comet ISON in Night Sky]

A large helium-filled balloon will tote a gondola packed with a telescope and other equipment to near space, soaring up to 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) altitude — almost 23 miles (37 kilometers) above the Earth. The BRRISON balloon’s gondola will carry infrared and near ultraviolet/visible imaging gear, along with fine steering mirror technology to obtain high pointing stability.

BRRISON is to be launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Flight Facility at Fort Sumner, N.M., in the September-October timeframe on a one-day observing trek.

comet ison missionProject BRRISON would use a balloon to take instruments above much of the Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to study Comet ISON.

Super pressure

The BRRISON project, which is being sponsored by NASA, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute, is moving fast, because time is of the essence.

Comet ISON — officially designated C/2012 S1 (ISON) — was just discovered in September 2012, by Russian amateur astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok.

“We will be going from discovery of Comet ISON to start of the launch window for the balloon within one year,” said Andrew Cheng, BRRISON principal investigator and chief scientist in the Space Department at APL in Laurel, Md.

Work on BRRISON has been underway since early February, Cheng told SPACE.com. “It’s the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, he said. “From confirmation to start of the launch window, we will have six months. That’s mighty fast, even for us, but the comet won’t wait.”[Amazing Comet Photos by Skywatchers]

comet ison missionThe Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO) is prepared for launch from the Long Duration Balloon facility on Antarctica’s McMurdo Ice Shelf in January 2012. The BRRISON project is leveraging existing STO hardware, particularly re-use of the STO telescope.

Thin atmosphere

Instrument-carrying high-altitude balloons can deliver cost-effective science, a high priority in this era of tighter budgets, said BRRISON team member Eliot Young, a principal scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Earth’s atmosphere is thin up at BRRISON’s observing atmosphere, Young said.

“You can compete with the Hubble Space Telescope for getting sharp images, but at a tiny fraction of the cost,” Young told SPACE.com.Young told SPACE.com.he Hubble Space Telescope for getting sharp images, but at a tiny fraction of the cost,”to 140,000 feet al The science equipment is divided up into two benches, “stacked like a wedding cake,” he added.

Along with Comet ISON observations — depending on expected duration of the balloon flight — other celestial targets may come into focus, such as Asteroid Elektra, Comet Encke and two bright double stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, Young said.

Challenges

With the clock ticking, and Comet ISON clicking off mileage, the BRRISON team faces some challenges, Young said, such as matters of thermal control and the pointing accuracy of science-gathering instruments in the gondola.

“It’s very similar to hanging an SUV from a 300-yard cable,” Young said. “The good news is that wind disturbances in the stratosphere are, by and large, pretty benign.”

With launch day only a few months away, the anticipation is building. “Balloon liftoffs are magical moments,” Young said. The race to get BRRISON off the ground and get Comet ISON in view “is stressful … but fun,” he said.

“BRRISON is absolutely unique in terms of what we’re going to measure at the comet. There’s nothing else that can do it right now,” Cheng said. “There are space telescopes, but none of them happen to be in the right place at the right time … and there isn’t enough time to build something new. With a balloon, it’s doable.”

Sungrazing comet

An Oort Cloud comet believed to be making its first trip to the inner solar system, Comet ISON’s perihelion — or closest approach to the sun — occurs Nov. 28, when it’s projected to skim about 730,000 miles (1.2 million km) above the solar surface. There’s no guarantee ISON will survive this perilous passage intact, but BRRISON will observe the comet before perihelion.

BRRISON is geared to measure carbon dioxide and water, primary cometary volatiles. Found as ices in a comet’s nucleus, they drive cometary activity. Scientists want to know whether the abundances of these volatiles are related to where comets formed, what they formed from and how they evolved.

Cheng said that most of the data gleaned by BRRISON will be recorded onboard and analyzed after landing.

“We’ll also have immediate downlink data so we’ll know on the spot how things are working,” he said.

Target of opportunity

Comet ISON is an important target of opportunity, Cheng said, to study volatile-rich material from the epoch of planet formation; to learn how comets work; and to find clues to the origins of the solar system.

Furthermore, BRRISON will develop and demonstrate gondola and payload systems for a balloon-borne platform designed to achieve a range of planetary science objectives, Cheng added. BRRISON’s gondola is designed to protect the payload during nominal recovery back on the ground, he said, enabling re-use.

“We’re making new observations of an object that has never been observed before in the wavelengths we’ll have. We’ve got to learn something new and exciting,” Cheng said.

Editor’s note: If you capture an amazing photo of Comet ISON or any other night sky sight that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s new book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration” out in May from National Geographic. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on SPACE.com.

Amazing Comet Photos of 2013 by Stargazers Comet of the Century? Sun-Grazing Comet ISON Explained (Infographic) Comet ISON’s Path Through The Inner Solar System | Video Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bold Balloon Mission Targets ‘Comet Of Century’

By: Leonard David
Published: 04/26/2013 04:12 PM EDT on SPACE.com

Scientists are working to loft science gear by balloon to observe the fast-approaching Comet ISON, which could be one of the brightest comets ever seen when it blazes through the inner solar system this fall.

The project, called Balloon Rapid Response for ISON (BRRISON), aims to get high-quality views of Comet ISON, which experts say could shine as brightly as the full moon when it makes its closest pass by the sun in late November.

The sky-high BRRISON project also hopes to demonstrate that important planetary science questions can be addressed with a balloon platform, researchers say. It will be the first planetary-science balloon mission since 1963, when a Stratoscope II balloon lifted off to observe planets, stars and galaxies. [Photos of Comet ISON in Night Sky]

A large helium-filled balloon will tote a gondola packed with a telescope and other equipment to near space, soaring up to 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) altitude — almost 23 miles (37 kilometers) above the Earth. The BRRISON balloon’s gondola will carry infrared and near ultraviolet/visible imaging gear, along with fine steering mirror technology to obtain high pointing stability.

BRRISON is to be launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Flight Facility at Fort Sumner, N.M., in the September-October timeframe on a one-day observing trek.

comet ison missionProject BRRISON would use a balloon to take instruments above much of the Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to study Comet ISON.

Super pressure

The BRRISON project, which is being sponsored by NASA, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute, is moving fast, because time is of the essence.

Comet ISON — officially designated C/2012 S1 (ISON) — was just discovered in September 2012, by Russian amateur astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok.

“We will be going from discovery of Comet ISON to start of the launch window for the balloon within one year,” said Andrew Cheng, BRRISON principal investigator and chief scientist in the Space Department at APL in Laurel, Md.

Work on BRRISON has been underway since early February, Cheng told SPACE.com. “It’s the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, he said. “From confirmation to start of the launch window, we will have six months. That’s mighty fast, even for us, but the comet won’t wait.”[Amazing Comet Photos by Skywatchers]

comet ison missionThe Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO) is prepared for launch from the Long Duration Balloon facility on Antarctica’s McMurdo Ice Shelf in January 2012. The BRRISON project is leveraging existing STO hardware, particularly re-use of the STO telescope.

Thin atmosphere

Instrument-carrying high-altitude balloons can deliver cost-effective science, a high priority in this era of tighter budgets, said BRRISON team member Eliot Young, a principal scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Earth’s atmosphere is thin up at BRRISON’s observing atmosphere, Young said.

“You can compete with the Hubble Space Telescope for getting sharp images, but at a tiny fraction of the cost,” Young told SPACE.com.Young told SPACE.com.he Hubble Space Telescope for getting sharp images, but at a tiny fraction of the cost,”to 140,000 feet al The science equipment is divided up into two benches, “stacked like a wedding cake,” he added.

Along with Comet ISON observations — depending on expected duration of the balloon flight — other celestial targets may come into focus, such as Asteroid Elektra, Comet Encke and two bright double stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, Young said.

Challenges

With the clock ticking, and Comet ISON clicking off mileage, the BRRISON team faces some challenges, Young said, such as matters of thermal control and the pointing accuracy of science-gathering instruments in the gondola.

“It’s very similar to hanging an SUV from a 300-yard cable,” Young said. “The good news is that wind disturbances in the stratosphere are, by and large, pretty benign.”

With launch day only a few months away, the anticipation is building. “Balloon liftoffs are magical moments,” Young said. The race to get BRRISON off the ground and get Comet ISON in view “is stressful … but fun,” he said.

“BRRISON is absolutely unique in terms of what we’re going to measure at the comet. There’s nothing else that can do it right now,” Cheng said. “There are space telescopes, but none of them happen to be in the right place at the right time … and there isn’t enough time to build something new. With a balloon, it’s doable.”

Sungrazing comet

An Oort Cloud comet believed to be making its first trip to the inner solar system, Comet ISON’s perihelion — or closest approach to the sun — occurs Nov. 28, when it’s projected to skim about 730,000 miles (1.2 million km) above the solar surface. There’s no guarantee ISON will survive this perilous passage intact, but BRRISON will observe the comet before perihelion.

BRRISON is geared to measure carbon dioxide and water, primary cometary volatiles. Found as ices in a comet’s nucleus, they drive cometary activity. Scientists want to know whether the abundances of these volatiles are related to where comets formed, what they formed from and how they evolved.

Cheng said that most of the data gleaned by BRRISON will be recorded onboard and analyzed after landing.

“We’ll also have immediate downlink data so we’ll know on the spot how things are working,” he said.

Target of opportunity

Comet ISON is an important target of opportunity, Cheng said, to study volatile-rich material from the epoch of planet formation; to learn how comets work; and to find clues to the origins of the solar system.

Furthermore, BRRISON will develop and demonstrate gondola and payload systems for a balloon-borne platform designed to achieve a range of planetary science objectives, Cheng added. BRRISON’s gondola is designed to protect the payload during nominal recovery back on the ground, he said, enabling re-use.

“We’re making new observations of an object that has never been observed before in the wavelengths we’ll have. We’ve got to learn something new and exciting,” Cheng said.

Editor’s note: If you capture an amazing photo of Comet ISON or any other night sky sight that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s new book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration” out in May from National Geographic. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on SPACE.com.

Amazing Comet Photos of 2013 by Stargazers Comet of the Century? Sun-Grazing Comet ISON Explained (Infographic) Comet ISON’s Path Through The Inner Solar System | Video Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Author Explains What The Future Of The Internet Holds

Jared Cohen has been traveling to the Middle East and Africa since he was a child, first to satisfy his “addiction” to travel, and later, as adviser to former Secretaries of State Condelezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, to study how technology impacts those areas. In 2010, he joined Google and is now the director of Google Ideas, a think tank dedicated to confronting global problems with technology.

Cohen was recently named to Time magazine’s annual list of “100 Most Influential People In The World,” just in time for the release of his new book, which he co-authored with Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, which hits shelves on Tuesday, discusses how billions of people connecting to the Internet will affect global politics, society and the economy.

The Huffington Post spoke with Cohen at Google Ideas’ headquarters in New York, where he discussed online privacy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and the future of the Internet.

The New Digital Age starts out pretty optimistic about this new wave of digital technology, but later in the book, things get pretty dark, especially in your chapter on terrorism.

What we tried to do in the book is not engage in the debate about whether technology is good or bad, because it’s not a relevant debate when technology is coming and coming fast. You can sit and debate if it’s good or bad, but it doesn’t change the fact that 5 billion people are connecting to the Internet. What we tried to do was capture what that’s going to look like in the next decade, for good and for ill.

Where do you and Eric Schmidt stand on the future of online privacy?

We actually state pretty boldly that in the future there will be this absence of a delete button that’s going to present a challenge to citizens around the world.

Even for kids?

We’ve talked to parents in New York, Saudi Arabia, Africa, and it becomes very clear that their children are using technology at a pace that’s faster than their physical maturity process, so kids are using technology earlier and faster. Our conclusion in the book is that parents need to talk to their kids and start early about the importance of online privacy and security, years before they even talk about the birds and the bees.

I remember in health class in elementary school where, you know, they scare you away from using drugs, they scare you away from having unsafe sexual activity, they scare you away from using alcohol and tobacco. This is part of that conversation.

What’s Google’s role in the future of online privacy?

I mean there’s obviously shared responsibility over privacy and communication in a company. I think companies need to put up tools that put privacy and security in the hands of their users and make it easy to understand those tools. In Google’s case, two step verification is a perfect example of this.

Part of the responsibility of the technology industry is to anticipate the challenges of the vast majority of its future users and proactively start thinking about them now, and proactively build products that address those challenges.

Speaking of privacy, in your book, you didn’t hide your disapproval of Julian Assange.

Our fundamental critique of Assange is that — who is he to play the role of God in determining what should be known publicly and what should not be known publicly? There are laws in place that provide a process with which people can get documents from classified to unclassified. And who is he to decide that process doesn’t work and that he’s going to indiscriminately leak information that could get people killed?

According to the introduction of the book, the Internet is the world’s “largest experiment in anarchy.” But you come across as incredibly optimistic about that. Hooray for anarchy?

Here’s my view: cyberspace is the world’s largest ungoverned space. I fundamentally believe there’s no country in the world that’s worse with the arrival of the Internet. There’s some countries that’ve gone downhill, but it’s not because of the Internet. You connect 5 billion people in the next decade to cyberspace, that becomes even more true.

What becomes complicated is how [autocratic] regimes deal with this. The 57 percent of the world’s population that’s living under autocracy will go from offline to online. That’s going to be very confusing for the regimes because they’re going to find that a population of 20 million people in the physical world really looks like a population of 500 million people online. What dictators will try to do is replicate the laws of the physical world in cyberspace, and they’re going to find that very difficult to do.

But can’t autocracies keep the Internet out?

Less than 1 percent of the population of Myanmar has access to the Internet, but everyone you talk to has heard of the Internet and has some idea of the concept and the value system. Why? Because of advertising. There’s one country in the world that has an absence of advertising, and that’s North Korea. There’s one ad in the entire country, and it’s a billboard inside of the airport for cars. Everything else is creepy pictures of the dictator and landscapes.

So what that means is the vast majority of the world’s population, the 5 billion people we talk about in the book, they will come to know the Internet as an idea and as a concept years before they come to experience it as a user. What that means is in the spirit of autocrats trying to control the Internet, one could argue that the Internet is the best exporter of democratic values in the entire world, and it’s already permeated societies.

So does technology enable revolution?

I’ll say that technology will make revolutions start happening faster, but it’ll make them harder to finish. Technology can’t create leaders and cause institutions to appear.

Alright. But what do kids in Iran know about their phones that kids in America don’t?

[When I was in Iran] I saw all these young people using devices that I used, but in different ways. What I realized is they were actually reading the instruction manuals. A phone means something different to them than what it means to me. They have their civil liberties restricted, and every functionality of that device matters.

They used Bluetooth in Iran to call and text complete strangers in busy bazaars, just to have a good time. We think of Bluetooth as that device that lets you talk and drive at the same time, but Iranians used it to basically call and text complete strangers that were standing 30 feet from them, and they didn’t even know where the call was coming from. You wouldn’t do that in the U.S. because it’d be bizarre and out of the norm. But when inter-gender interaction is frowned upon, that’s what people do, they innovate.

Fast-forward to 2009, when the government shut down the phones and Internet, you had clusters of people with Bluetooth-capable devices. Not surprisingly, they started sharing content with people who were within range.

I imagine these would-be revolutionaries are surveilled by their governments. How are they going to find privacy in this world without a delete button?

One of the things you can sort of imagine [in the future] is people selling black market identities. Either to criminals or witnesses or whistleblowers — you literally create a whole fake identity for someone that they can use in all their interactions. Pictures, everything. The challenge is it works as long as you don’t get photographed.

What problems can digital technology not fix?

It’s not a panacea, there are problems in the world that technology can’t fix. You can’t fix water shortages, you can’t storm a Ministry of the Interior with a cell phone, you can’t magically create leaders and institutions overnight, you can’t eat it, you can’t shield a bullet. But the power of information, which is itself produced by these devices, ultimately gives people options and choices.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Author Explains What The Future Of The Internet Holds

Jared Cohen has been traveling to the Middle East and Africa since he was a child, first to satisfy his “addiction” to travel, and later, as adviser to former Secretaries of State Condelezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, to study how technology impacts those areas. In 2010, he joined Google and is now the director of Google Ideas, a think tank dedicated to confronting global problems with technology.

Cohen was recently named to Time magazine’s annual list of “100 Most Influential People In The World,” just in time for the release of his new book, which he co-authored with Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, which hits shelves on Tuesday, discusses how billions of people connecting to the Internet will affect global politics, society and the economy.

The Huffington Post spoke with Cohen at Google Ideas’ headquarters in New York, where he discussed online privacy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and the future of the Internet.

The New Digital Age starts out pretty optimistic about this new wave of digital technology, but later in the book, things get pretty dark, especially in your chapter on terrorism.

What we tried to do in the book is not engage in the debate about whether technology is good or bad, because it’s not a relevant debate when technology is coming and coming fast. You can sit and debate if it’s good or bad, but it doesn’t change the fact that 5 billion people are connecting to the Internet. What we tried to do was capture what that’s going to look like in the next decade, for good and for ill.

Where do you and Eric Schmidt stand on the future of online privacy?

We actually state pretty boldly that in the future there will be this absence of a delete button that’s going to present a challenge to citizens around the world.

Even for kids?

We’ve talked to parents in New York, Saudi Arabia, Africa, and it becomes very clear that their children are using technology at a pace that’s faster than their physical maturity process, so kids are using technology earlier and faster. Our conclusion in the book is that parents need to talk to their kids and start early about the importance of online privacy and security, years before they even talk about the birds and the bees.

I remember in health class in elementary school where, you know, they scare you away from using drugs, they scare you away from having unsafe sexual activity, they scare you away from using alcohol and tobacco. This is part of that conversation.

What’s Google’s role in the future of online privacy?

I mean there’s obviously shared responsibility over privacy and communication in a company. I think companies need to put up tools that put privacy and security in the hands of their users and make it easy to understand those tools. In Google’s case, two step verification is a perfect example of this.

Part of the responsibility of the technology industry is to anticipate the challenges of the vast majority of its future users and proactively start thinking about them now, and proactively build products that address those challenges.

Speaking of privacy, in your book, you didn’t hide your disapproval of Julian Assange.

Our fundamental critique of Assange is that — who is he to play the role of God in determining what should be known publicly and what should not be known publicly? There are laws in place that provide a process with which people can get documents from classified to unclassified. And who is he to decide that process doesn’t work and that he’s going to indiscriminately leak information that could get people killed?

According to the introduction of the book, the Internet is the world’s “largest experiment in anarchy.” But you come across as incredibly optimistic about that. Hooray for anarchy?

Here’s my view: cyberspace is the world’s largest ungoverned space. I fundamentally believe there’s no country in the world that’s worse with the arrival of the Internet. There’s some countries that’ve gone downhill, but it’s not because of the Internet. You connect 5 billion people in the next decade to cyberspace, that becomes even more true.

What becomes complicated is how [autocratic] regimes deal with this. The 57 percent of the world’s population that’s living under autocracy will go from offline to online. That’s going to be very confusing for the regimes because they’re going to find that a population of 20 million people in the physical world really looks like a population of 500 million people online. What dictators will try to do is replicate the laws of the physical world in cyberspace, and they’re going to find that very difficult to do.

But can’t autocracies keep the Internet out?

Less than 1 percent of the population of Myanmar has access to the Internet, but everyone you talk to has heard of the Internet and has some idea of the concept and the value system. Why? Because of advertising. There’s one country in the world that has an absence of advertising, and that’s North Korea. There’s one ad in the entire country, and it’s a billboard inside of the airport for cars. Everything else is creepy pictures of the dictator and landscapes.

So what that means is the vast majority of the world’s population, the 5 billion people we talk about in the book, they will come to know the Internet as an idea and as a concept years before they come to experience it as a user. What that means is in the spirit of autocrats trying to control the Internet, one could argue that the Internet is the best exporter of democratic values in the entire world, and it’s already permeated societies.

So does technology enable revolution?

I’ll say that technology will make revolutions start happening faster, but it’ll make them harder to finish. Technology can’t create leaders and cause institutions to appear.

Alright. But what do kids in Iran know about their phones that kids in America don’t?

[When I was in Iran] I saw all these young people using devices that I used, but in different ways. What I realized is they were actually reading the instruction manuals. A phone means something different to them than what it means to me. They have their civil liberties restricted, and every functionality of that device matters.

They used Bluetooth in Iran to call and text complete strangers in busy bazaars, just to have a good time. We think of Bluetooth as that device that lets you talk and drive at the same time, but Iranians used it to basically call and text complete strangers that were standing 30 feet from them, and they didn’t even know where the call was coming from. You wouldn’t do that in the U.S. because it’d be bizarre and out of the norm. But when inter-gender interaction is frowned upon, that’s what people do, they innovate.

Fast-forward to 2009, when the government shut down the phones and Internet, you had clusters of people with Bluetooth-capable devices. Not surprisingly, they started sharing content with people who were within range.

I imagine these would-be revolutionaries are surveilled by their governments. How are they going to find privacy in this world without a delete button?

One of the things you can sort of imagine [in the future] is people selling black market identities. Either to criminals or witnesses or whistleblowers — you literally create a whole fake identity for someone that they can use in all their interactions. Pictures, everything. The challenge is it works as long as you don’t get photographed.

What problems can digital technology not fix?

It’s not a panacea, there are problems in the world that technology can’t fix. You can’t fix water shortages, you can’t storm a Ministry of the Interior with a cell phone, you can’t magically create leaders and institutions overnight, you can’t eat it, you can’t shield a bullet. But the power of information, which is itself produced by these devices, ultimately gives people options and choices.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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A Giant Musical Instrument Made Of Lasers!

It’s hard not to like the works of Marshmallow Laser Feast, an art collective with a unique vision for far-fetched, futuristic projects. From flying robots to luxury cars etched in light, the team’s zany ideas are matched only by their artfully delicious name.

Their recent endeavor, a room-sized forest made from colored lasers, certainly lives up to our expectations. Constructed from over 150 laser-baring rods, the installation is reminiscent of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room,” but with a twist. The entire artwork is a giant musical instrument — viewers only have to tap or strum the stalagmite-like rods to hear a symphony of their own making, accompanied by an interactive laser show.

“Everyone has those memories of walking through a forest as a young kid and it feels so magical,” Marshmallow Laser Feast member Memo Akten explained to The Creator’s Project. “We tried to recreate the sensation of a magical experience, for adults.”

Akten and artist-mates Robin McNicholas and Barney Steel created the work for the STRP Biennale in Eindhoven, but you can check out the adult playground for yourself in the video above. Let us know your thoughts on the installation in the comments.

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A Giant Musical Instrument Made Of Lasers!

It’s hard not to like the works of Marshmallow Laser Feast, an art collective with a unique vision for far-fetched, futuristic projects. From flying robots to luxury cars etched in light, the team’s zany ideas are matched only by their artfully delicious name.

Their recent endeavor, a room-sized forest made from colored lasers, certainly lives up to our expectations. Constructed from over 150 laser-baring rods, the installation is reminiscent of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room,” but with a twist. The entire artwork is a giant musical instrument — viewers only have to tap or strum the stalagmite-like rods to hear a symphony of their own making, accompanied by an interactive laser show.

“Everyone has those memories of walking through a forest as a young kid and it feels so magical,” Marshmallow Laser Feast member Memo Akten explained to The Creator’s Project. “We tried to recreate the sensation of a magical experience, for adults.”

Akten and artist-mates Robin McNicholas and Barney Steel created the work for the STRP Biennale in Eindhoven, but you can check out the adult playground for yourself in the video above. Let us know your thoughts on the installation in the comments.

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Shawn Amos: The Content Brief: Are Brands Ready for 3D Printing? [WATCH]

3D printing is just about ready for its close-up. But will brands see it as a marketing opportunity, or a copyright nightmare?

3D printing marketplace Shapeways got a nifty $30 million dollar boost this week, which it’ll use to help drive mainstream adoption. Meanwhile, brands and businesses will have to decide how they’ll tackle a 3D printed world.

Aside from the near-limitless promotional opportunities, imagine brands and consumers collaborating on customized products that speak to the brand’s voice and message and also integrate into consumers’ daily lives. One simple example: earlier this year, Nokia released specs for two of its smartphones so designers could create their own customized cases to be printed. That’s a real forward-thinking move that can help build long-term brand loyalty.

But there will be bumps on the road to the 3D printing future. For instance, no one really knows how copyright issues will play out. HBO sent a cease-and-desist notice to a designer who’d crafted an iPhone dock based on the Iron Throne from the network’s hit, “Game of Thrones.” An HBO rep reportedly called it “pretty straightforward intellectual property infringement,” but are they missing an opportunity to engage with fans?

Find out more about 3D printing in the latest episode of The Content Brief from Freshwire below. Did you miss last week’s episode on the branding of Coachella? Check it out here.

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Facebook CEO Sold Stock Options For $2.3 Billion

Uncategorized

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a gain of nearly $2.3 billion last year when he exercised 60 million stock options just before the online social networking leader’s initial public offering.

The windfall detailed in regulatory documents filed Friday saddled Zuckerberg, 28, with a massive tax bill. He raised the money to pay it by selling 30.2 million Facebook Inc. shares for $38 apiece, or $1.1 billion, in the IPO.

Facebook’s stock hasn’t closed above $38 since the IPO was completed last May. The shares gained 71 cents Friday to close at $26.85.

The 29 percent decline from Facebook’s IPO price has cost Zuckerberg nearly $7 billion on paper, based on the 609.5 million shares of company stock that he owned as of March 31, according to the regulatory filing. His current stake is still worth $16.4 billion.

Zuckerberg, who started Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004, has indicated he has no immediate plans to sell more stock.

The exercise of Zuckerberg’s stock options and his subsequent sale of shares in the IPO had been previously disclosed. The proxy statement filed to announce Facebook’s June 11 shareholder meeting is the first time that the magnitude of Zuckerberg’s stock option gain had been quantified.

The proxy also revealed that Zuckerberg’s pay package last year rose 16 percent because of increased personal usage of jets chartered by the company as part of his security program.

Zuckerberg’s compensation last year totaled nearly $2 million, up from $1.7 million last year. Of those amounts, $1.2 million covered the costs of Zuckerberg’s personal air travel last year, up from $692,679 in 2011.

If not for the spike in travel costs, Zuckerberg’s pay would have declined by 17 percent. His salary and bonus totaled $769,306 last year versus $928,833 in 2011.

Zuckerberg will take a big pay cut this year. His annual salary has been reduced to $1 and he will no longer receive a bonus, according to Facebook’s filing. That puts Zuckerberg’s current cash compensation on the same level as Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page, whose stake in his company is worth about $20 billion.

The Associated Press formula for determining an executive’s total compensation calculates salary, bonuses, perquisites, above-market interest that the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits or stock option gains such as those recognized by Zuckerberg did last year.

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All The News That Fits On Glass

The New York Times on Thursday released a news app for Google Glass, the highly-anticipated computer eyeglasses that can record video, take pictures and connect to the Internet.

The app will provide summaries of top news articles and push breaking news with audio alerts, according to The Times. Glass users can have the summaries read aloud by swiping the side of their augmented reality spectacles.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, director of communications for the Times, wrote in an email that the company is “an early tester of the Mirror API,” the interface that allows developers to build apps that interact with Glass. She called the app “a lightweight service for Google Glass.”

According to TechCrunch, the Times app is the “first installable third party app” for Glass.

Google last month announced the winners of its #ifihadglass contest — 8,000 people selected to buy $1,500 versions of Glass before they are available the general public next year. The small number of people who have Glass will be able to connect their New York Times accounts to Glass though The New York Times website.

“Stay informed while you’re on the go, wherever you go,” the Times writes on the introductory page.

Timothy Jordan, a developer advocate at Google, demonstrated a version of the New York Times app during a presentation at the South by Southwest conference last month. Headlines and the author byline appear over images on the Glass display.

Jordan described the experience of reading Times content on Glass as something he would do “walking in between meetings” or if he’s “going for a short walk to take a break.”

“I can kind of look at the world around me, and I’m also hearing something about what’s going in in the greater world beyond me,” Jordan told the audience. He emphasized that people “wouldn’t want to read an entire news story on Glass.

“When we think about Glass we don’t think about staring at the screen all day,” Jordan said. “We think about these quick interactions, so what is a good experience is reading a headline, or seeing a picture coming out there from the world and getting these headlines throughout my day.”

Earlier this month, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — three prominent venture capital firms — announced Glass Collective, a joint investment group that will fund projects for Glass.

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