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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

To build the future of technology, we need people from every community to join in, which is why we have programs like Women Techmakers. To help get more girls interested in technology careers, Women Techmakers and the Computer Science on Air programs have started a series of hangouts with women engineers at Google.

We think it’s cool and incredibly powerful for kids who are interested in a career in tech to get to look at a video of professionals and say "Hey, that looks like me!".

Once you start working in science and technology, you never know where it will lead you, from the far reaches of the galaxy to the bare ground. For example, a new study demonstrates, incredibly, that some insects use the stars for navigation. As a part of this study, scientists placed dung beetles in a darkened planetarium, and found the creatures were no longer able to move in a steady, straight line. But when the researchers turned on the Milky Way display in the planetarium, the beetles could crawl along in direct paths. Cosmic.

As you ponder the meaning of insects using astral navigation this weekend, hook the laptop up to your TV and tune in to Google Developers Live on Sunday evening. Lay back on the sofa and check out live demos from the LA Video Hackathon to see what other developers are doing with YouTube and Google TV, and join in by posting comments tagged with #ythackla. (Of course, if you already have Google TV, you won’t need to get up from the sofa to turn off a screensaver.)

We publish a Fridaygram each week with all sorts of cool, fun, and downright nerdy stuff. We like our Fridaygrams to range wide, like all the way from Women Techmakers to starry-eyed beetles.

Fridaygrammy hat tips to Ashleigh Rentz and Phoebe Peronto for their contributions to today’s post.

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By Ryan Boyd, Developer Advocate, Google Cloud Platform

The Google Cloud Platform team has joined up with the folks at Twilio, Splunk, ESPN, Cloudant, and others to host a Sports Hack Day at the HUB in Seattle during Super Bowl weekend. Even better, we’ve extended the length of a "day" to 48 hours! That’s 48 hours for hacking on fun sports data and using APIs and technologies like Google App Engine, Google BigQuery, and Google Compute Engine for sports-themed projects.

sports hack day logo

Join us February 1st through 3rd for great hacking, food, prizes, fun, and a group viewing of the game. We’ll be hosting a workshop on the Google Cloud Platform and will also have people around the event to help out as you build your awesome apps!

You can find more info on

Ryan Boyd is a Developer Advocate, focused on making developers successful building on the Google Cloud Platform. He previously worked on the Google Apps ISV ecosystem, and recently published his first book "Getting Started with OAuth 2.0" with O'Reilly.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Author Photo By Julia Ferraioli, Developer Advocate, Google Compute Engine

Cross-posted from the Google Open Source Blog

Today, we’re announcing that you can now find Google Cloud Platform on GitHub! The GitHub organization for the Google Cloud Platform is your destination for samples and tools relating to App Engine, BigQuery, Compute Engine, Cloud SQL, and Cloud Storage. Most Google Cloud Platform existing open source tools will be migrated to the organization over time. You can quickly get your app running by forking any of our repositories and diving into the code.

Currently, the GitHub organization for the Google Cloud Platform has 36 public repositories, some of which are currently undergoing their initial code reviews, which you can follow on the repo. The Google Cloud Platform Developer Relations Team will be using GitHub to maintain our starter projects, which show how to get started with our APIs using different stacks. We will continue to add repositories that illustrate solutions, such as the classic guest book app on Google App Engine. For good measure, you will also see some tools that will make your life easier, such as an OAuth 2.0 helper.

From getting started with Python on Google Cloud Storage to monitoring your Google Compute Engine instances with App Engine, our GitHub organization is home to it all.

Trick of the trade: to find samples relating to a specific platform, try filtering on the name in the “Find a Repository” text field.

We set up this organization not only to give you an easy way to find and follow our samples, but also to give you a way to get involved and start hacking alongside us. We’ll be monitoring our repositories for any reported issues as well as for pull requests. If you’re interested in seeing what a code review looks like for Google’s open source code, you can follow along with the discussion happening right on the commits.

Let us know about your suggestions for samples. We look forward to seeing what you create!

Julia Ferraioli is a Developer Advocate for Google Compute Engine, based in Seattle. She helps developers harness the power of Google's infrastructure to tackle their computationally intensive processes and jobs. She comes from an industrial background in software engineering, and an academic background in machine learning and assistive technology.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Author PhotoBy Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

Each year the Doodle 4 Google competition gives K - 12 students in the U.S. a chance to win a place for their work on the Google homepage, along with some nice prizes. Submissions are open from now until March 22, and you can see all the rules and other information on the competition site.

This is the sixth year for Doodle 4 Google. If you’re a grade school student in the U.S., or you know someone who is, be sure to let them know about this cool program.

You can submit your Doodle 4 Google entry on paper, because lots of people like to do their drawing old school, with their hands. And speaking of hands, scientists have long wondered why fingers on those hands get wrinkled after long exposure to water, such as in a swimming pool or bathtub. A recent study suggests that this wrinkle effect might be an evolutionary advantage to help us gain a better grip on wet objects. Long ago, this might have helped with food gathering; now, it’s mostly just weird.

Finally, please take 25 minutes of your weekend and watch this wonderful video tour of the International Space Station conducted by departing commander Sunita Williams. Unless you’ve been to space, you’ll probably see things you’ve never seen before. And even if you have been to space, or you are from space, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Each week we take a break from developer topics and publish Fridaygram, featuring interesting stuff from Google and the rest of the universe that you might not have noticed before. Last year we didn’t mention Doodle 4 Google until it was over; we thought it would be better to talk about it sooner this time.

By Parisa Tabriz, Security Team

Cross-posted from the Google Online Security Blog

Protecting user security and privacy is a huge responsibility, and software security is a big part of it. Learning about new ways to “break” applications is important, but learning preventative skills to use when “building” software, like secure design and coding practices, is just as critical. To help promote secure development habits, Google is once again partnering with the organizers of SyScan to host Hardcode, a secure coding contest on the Google App Engine platform.

Participation will be open to teams of up to 5 full-time students (undergraduate or high school, additional restrictions may apply). Contestants will be asked to develop open source applications that meet a set of functional and security requirements. The contest will consist of two rounds: a qualifying round over the Internet, with broad participation from any team of students, and a final round, to be held during SyScan on April 23-25 in Singapore.

During the qualifying round, teams will be tasked with building an application and describing its security design. A panel of judges will assess all submitted applications and select the top five to compete in the final round.

At SyScan, the five finalist teams will be asked to develop a set of additional features and fix any security flaws identified in their qualifying submission. After two more days of hacking, a panel of judges will rank the projects and select a grand prize winning team that will receive $20,000 Singapore dollars. The 2nd-5th place finalist teams will receive $15,000, $10,000, $5,000, and $5,000 Singapore dollars, respectively.

Hardcode begins on Friday, January 18th. Full contest details will be be announced via our mailing list, so subscribe there for more information.

Written by Parisa Tabriz, Security Team.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

Running Google takes power, so we’ve long been interested in efficient and responsible power creation. This goes not just for energy we use, but also energy used by others. By investing in renewable energy, we hope to have positive effects on the environment as well as help further good business opportunities. This week we announced our investment in the Spinning Spur Wind Farm, a Texas wind farm. We’ve now invested in 11 renewable energy projects – and because we all like pictures and numbers, here are some statistics (click to enlarge):

Meanwhile, in space, NASA and the Keck Institute for Space Studies have proposed robotically capturing a small near-earth asteroid and bringing it to a lunar orbit by 2025. This relocated rock would give astronauts a chance to perform all sorts of tasks, including landings and scientific experiments, all without leaving the relatively close location of the moon’s orbit (read the full proposal here). The captive asteroid wouldn’t be much of a tourist destination, but could greatly advance space travel and science research.

Finally, when you have a few spare minutes this weekend, take a look at this video that shows what might happen as the world gets used to self-driving cars.

Happy 2013!

Each week on Fridaygram, we take time out from developer topics to present cool things from Google and elsewhere that you might have missed during the week. See, we like to have fun too.