Survival of the fittest; networking & sci-fi

IBM has filed a patent (US 7484451) for Bionic Body Armor, that could essentially allow us to dodge bullets like Neo in The Matrix. Not to be confused with knight armor from medieval ages.

Your science fiction fantasy may be coming a reality, if IBM has anything to say about it. The company was recently granted a patent for bionic body armor, originally filed last March, that’s intended to bestow the wearer the power to dodge bullets. The device works by constantly emitting electromagnetic waves that bounce off any fast-moving projectiles, and it uses the data to calculate risky trajectories. If the object in question is determined to be a threat, muscle stimulators activate and cause the wearer’s body to contort in such way to avoid being hit. It works under the idea that a sniper typically fires from a distance, given the armor time to detect the oncoming bullet and react accordingly.

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As layoffs continued to pound the economy in January, one beneficiary was job networking site LinkedIn. According to the latest January data from comScore, the LinkedIn’s U.S. unique visitors shot up 22 percent to 7.7 million, up from 6.3 million in December. Total minutes spent on the site doubled in January to 96.8 million, from 47.6 million in December.

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Is Apple being sued?

You’ve probably never heard of Picsel Technologies, but the Scottish company claims that its technologies are in over 250m handsets worldwide from manufacturers like Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson — and, if a lawsuit it filed today is to be believed, Apple. Picsel says the iPhone infringes on a patented method of accelerated screen updating, and as usual, the answer is probably going to be for Uncle Steve to open his $25 billion piggy bank and dole out some cash.

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The latest version of the ever-evolving $789-billion economic stimulus bill contains some good news on the energy front. According to the Washington Post, it “includes more than $40 billion for energy-efficiency programs and new energy technologies, including $11 billion to upgrade the national electricity grid.”

But there could be a problem with the agency that’s supposed to hand out all that cash, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The Energy Department has had limited experience pulling off big, transformative energy projects,” the Journal notes. “Most of the department’s $25 billion budget goes toward maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile, cleaning up former weapons plants, and doing basic scientific research…

Hmm, I hope someone closer to the heart of energy efficiency oversees this spending.

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New York Fashion Week and Silicon Valley may not appear to have much in common, but a growing number of tech companies have been collaborating with clothing designers and the garment industry over the past few seasons.

Hewlett-Packard, Google and Microsoft are among the companies that have been sponsoring or partnering with various designers, and other sponsors, giving tech a decidedly stylish presence during the twice-a-year event, which started Friday in Manhattan and continues through next Friday.

San Jose-based eBay, whose own style director, Constance White, is among the front-row seat regulars at the shows, announced Thursday that it is expanding its role by sponsoring designer Yigal AzrouĆ«l for his runway show. The online auction site also will host a charity sale featuring the designer’s spring collection beginning June 4. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council.