How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

The U.S. is not the only country that experienced an exceptionally hot 2012: The average global temperature for the year was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the ninth-hottest since records began in 1880, according to a new report from NASA released Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a separate annual "State of the Climate" report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released on Tuesday as well found that 2012 was the 10th warmest going back to 1880.

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President Obama's plan to reduce gun violence isn't winning many points with the video game industry, which responded Wednesday by stating in part that research indicates entertainment doesn't lead to violent behavior.

As the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. trade group that represents major video game and computer game companies, said in its statement: "Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world."

But the ESA said it "appreciates" the White House's leadership on the issue, and agreed that the industry needed to provide consumers information and options when it comes to gaming and entertainment.

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Google's computerized glasses are almost ready for the spotlight.

Google on Tuesday sent out an invitation to two developer "hackathons," one in San Francisco on January 28 and 29, and another in New York City on February 1 and 2, where software developers who forked over $1,500 per pair for the first limited edition of the glasses, called "Google Glass: Explorer Edition," will get a chance to play with the devices and create apps for them.

The events are part of a Google early-adopter program called Glass Foundry, according to the text of the invitation obtained by The Verge and posted online Tuesday evening. In the invitation, Google clarifies that the application programming interface (API) for Google Glass, the standard set of codes that developers can use to build apps for the service, is a new API called "Mirror."

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Facebook on Tuesday unveiled Graph Search, a powerful new search feature that automatically filters user searches by content type in real time, showing results for such complex queries as "Friends" in a particular location, or "Photos before 1999."

But for all of the lengthy demonstrations and information that Facebook revealed about how Graph Search -- now in limited beta for U.S. users, rolling out for everyone later -- some outstanding questions remained, namely, whether Facebook would immediately move to present new advertisements in Graph Search results, and when the new search engine would be available for users of Facebook's mobile apps and mobile website.

Facebook has now related some answers on those questions to TPM.

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Facebook unveiled an advanced new search engine for its website on Tuesday, Graph Search. But it didn't create the new feature on its own: Following the announcement, Facebook and Microsoft revealed that engineers from both companies collaborated to display Web results in Graph Search.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he considered working with Google on search, but any potential collaboration fell apart over Facebook's privacy concerns with the search giant, according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Facebook unveiled its newest feature during a much-anticipated event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California on Tuesday. Called "Graph Search," the new feature is an advanced social search engine for the website, allowing one to automatically filter a search by specific attributes such as a user's college Friends, Friends from a particular location, or photos from a particular time, based on the terms that a user enters in the search bar.

The new feature, which drastically improves Facebook's old search, was touted as a way to find everything from restaurants to prospective employees to dates. As such, it could prove to be an existential threat to rival websites LinkedIn, Foursquare, Yelp, even OK Cupid.

Looming large behind the proceedings Tuesday was of course Google; Facebook attempted to demonstrate why its constrained Graph Search is better at serving up the actual results users want, more than traditional "web search," which serves up a list of blue links.

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Updated 10:35 a.m. EST, Tuesday, January 15

The Archive Team, a group of online activists and progammers dedicated to preserving websites about to go offline, particularly those containing user-generated content, on Monday published a unique online memorial to late Web prodigy and pioneer Aaron Swartz, 26, who took his own life last week.

The Aaron Swartz Memorial JSTOR Liberator is a bookmarklet -- a button that users can drag to the top of their Web browsers -- allowing users to "liberate," articles from JSTOR, the subscription academic aritcle database that Swartz accessed without authorization in late 2010 and early 2011 from a computer at Masschusetts Institute of Technology. Swartz downloaded 4.8 million articles, for which he was later charged by federal authorities in Massachusetts on 13 counts including computer fraud and wire fraud. Swartz's family said in a statement that the federal government's aggressive prosecution of Swartz in the case was a contributing factor to his suicide.

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As Google gets closer to releasing its first batch of hi-tech glasses -- called "Google Glass: Explorer Edition," due out at some point in early 2013 -- the company is increasingly gauging user interest and even advice on the project.

Specifically, Google Glass community advocate Sarah Price took to her profile page on Google Plus over the weekend to post a photo of her wearing a pair of the Google Glass specs in a new color: a "neutral shade" somewhere between gray and brown. Price then asked her over 27,000 followers which of the colors Google has shown-off so far that they like best.

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OpenStreetMap is on a roll: Over eight years after it was founded by a single computer engineer in the UK, the free digital map assembled by volunteers around the globe crossed 1 million registered users as of early this week, the start of 2013.

However, as OpenStreetMap's power users were quick to note, only about one third of those registered accounts -- about 300,000 users worldwide, including a particularly active bunch on the country's home continent Europe -- end up contributing any edits to the map at all.

That's still an incredible growth, especially considering that nearly half a million new signups occurred in 2012 alone.

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