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r_adams

Moving from physical servers to the "cloud" involves a paradigm shift in thinking. Generally in a physical environment you care about each invididual host; they each have their own static IP, you probably monitor them individually, and if one goes down you have to get it back up ASAP. You might think you can just move this infrastructure to AWS and start getting the benefits of the "cloud" straight away. Unfortunately, it's not quite that easy (believe me, I tried). You need think differently when it comes to AWS, and it's not always obvious what needs to be done.

So, inspired by Sehrope Sarkuni's recent post, here's a collection of AWS tips I wish someone had told me when I was starting out. These are based on things I've learned deploying various applications on AWS both personally and for my day job. Some are just "gotcha"'s to watch out for (and that I fell victim to), some are things I've heard from other people that I ended up implementing and finding useful, but mostly they're just things I've learned the hard way.

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A Canadian duo and their Kickstarter-funded, pedal-powered helicopter have won one of the longest-standing challenges in the history of aviation — keeping a human-powered aircraft hovering up in the air at height of at least 9.8 feet, within a 32.8 by 32.8-foot square, for 60 seconds minimum. The challenge, known as the Sikorsky prize, has withstood at numerous failed attempts since it was established in 1980, 33 years ago, even with a $250,000 bounty. But it was finally bested earlier in June by the Atlas, a gigantic human-powered helicopter designed by Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, aeronautical engineers from the University of Toronto, who cofounded a company AeroVelo.

The pair funded the construction of their winning aircraft through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and just barely managed to beat a rival team from the University of Maryland, whose craft Gamera failed to stay within the square-foot range required by the prize, as Popular Mechanics reports.

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“All I want to do is take pictures. I don’t care about anything else,” says celebrated photojournalist Bruce Davidson. The quote is from Cheryl Dunn’s new documentary Everybody Street, which chronicles the masters of New York street photography — from the confrontational Bruce Gilden to hip hop documentarian Ricky Powell. The project has been in the works for a while, and according to the official site, distribution still hasn’t been nailed down, but hopefully the slightly NSFW trailer below can tide you over until its broader release.

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Have you ever misremembered an event, while being totally certain it actually happened? Most people have experienced the unreliability of human memory. As it turns out, false memories are very easy to generate. Scientists at the Riken–MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics have created false memories in mice using a procedure they say would also work for humans.

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Jason Scott, the well-known digital archivist with archive.org who has previously produced a documentary on bulletin board systems, has turned his attention to Def Con — the Vegas convention that now attracts thousands of hackers (and would-be hackers) each year. Def Con: The Documentary sits down with a number of individuals who've been involved with the event from the start, including "The Dark Tangent" himself, Def Con founder Jeff Moss.

Def Con is familiar territory for Scott, who is a longtime attendee and frequent speaker at the conference — and naturally, assembling the narrative of how the world's largest hacker convention got its start fits in well with his day job of preserving internet history.

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punk2176 writes "Hacker and security researcher Alejandro Caceres (developer of the PunkSPIDER project) and 3D UI developer Teal Rogers unveiled a new free and open source tool at DEF CON 21 that could change the way that users view the web and its vulnerabilities. The project is a visualization system that combines the principles of offensive security, 3D data visualization, and 'big data' to allow users to understand the complex interconnections between websites. Using a highly distributed HBase back-end and a Hadoop-based vulnerability scanner and web crawler the project is meant to improve the average user's understanding of the unseen and potentially vulnerable underbelly of web applications that they own or use. The makers are calling this new method of visualization web 3.0. A free demo can be found here, where users can play with and navigate an early version of the tool via a web interface. More details can be found here and interested users can opt-in to the mailing list and eventually the closed beta here."

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President Obama may not consider Edward Snowden a patriot, and he's likely not alone in that assessment. But to some, the NSA leaker is nothing short of a hero. Among Snowden's many supporters is a game development studio out of Germany called Binji. After two weeks of working "night and day," the company has produced Eddy's Run — The Prism Prison, a side-scroller browser game it describes as a "deep thank you" and "a bow" to Snowden, You're placed in the shoes of Eddy and tasked with avoiding secret agents, deadly drones, surveillance cameras, and other threats in your quest to evade a pursuing government.

Unsurprisingly, reporters serve as your allies along the way. Talking to them gets you four exploding laptops which serve as the game's weapons, with EMP blasts and other tactical tools also at your disposal as Eddy's Run progresses, And unlike a Temple Run knockoff that surfaced on iOS and Android earlier this week, it's clear Binji actually put some legitimate effort into this title. It won't take home any gameplay awards, but the studio is more concerned about raising player awareness regarding the ongoing government surveillance that prompted Snowden's saga to begin with.

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sciencehabit writes "A new study suggests that all the reviews you read on Yelp and Amazon are easily manipulated. It's not that companies are stacking the deck, necessarily, it's that a few positive comments early on can influence future commenters. In fact, when researchers gamed the system on a real news aggregation site, the items received fake positive votes from the researchers were 32% more likely to receive more positive votes compared with a control (abstract). And those comments were no more likely than the control to be down-voted by the next viewer to see them. By the end of the study, positively manipulated comments got an overall boost of about 25%. However, the same did not hold true for negative manipulation. The ratings of comments that got a fake down vote were usually negated by an up vote by the next user to see them."

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Pei-Shen Qian was a quiet, unassuming neighbor — but according to a recent New York Times article, he was responsible for dozens of modernist forgeries that, together, netted more than $80 million. In his youth, Qian had been part of an experimental art movement in China, but friends say he had become frustrated with the American art market in recent years, selling art on the street and working briefly at a construction site. According to a recent indictment, he responded by turning to fraud, painting forgeries of "undiscovered masterpieces" by famous painters like Jackson Pollock and Barrett Newman and selling them to art dealers beginning in 1994. The scheme caught the FBI's attention in 2009, when questions were raised about the authenticity of some of Qian's work, and one art dealer has already been indicted for peddling Qian's fakes. But while the FBI has caught up with many of Qian's art-world accomplices, the forger himself is still at large.

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Dave Eggers, the acclaimed author behind A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and A Hologram for the King, will release his latest novel, The Circle, this fall. The book will revolve around a fictional, but eerily familiar entity, "the Circle," which is described as "the world's most powerful internet company."

The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

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