Germany Interior Minister Pushing For Deployment Of Facial Recognition Software In Public Areas

Facial recognition software is the wave of the future present. The FBI — acting without a required Privacy Impact Assessment — rolled out its system in 2014, finding that a 20% false hit rate was good enough for government (surveillance) work.

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, governments slanting towards the authoritarian side (that’s you, Russia!) have deployed facial recognition software to help ensure its citizens are stripped of their anonymity.

Other governments not so seemingly bent on obedience to the state have done the same. UK law enforcement has quietly built a huge facial recognition database and Brazil experimented with police equipment that would turn officers into Robocops — providing real-time facial recognition to cops via some sort of Google Glass-ish headgear. If what we know about facial recognition software’s accuracy rates holds true, the goggles will, indeed, do nothing.


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Video: Keep Prying Eyes Off Your Laptop With Built-in Privacy Filter

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No Mans Sky: A Deist Simulated Universe

I don’t play No Man’s Sky (yet?), the pictures here were taken by my friend Extropia DaSilva who is busy exploring the simulated universe. Perhaps I will follow, but perhaps not: I am sure I would love No Man’s Sky and find it addictive, but I prefer to develop visions of hope for everyone to visit, one day, the big No Man’s Sky out there. However, No Man’s Sky is the richest simulation that we have developed so far, and an impressive technological feat.

No Man’s Sky is a simulated universe with more than 18 quintillion planets – players can explore 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 different planets, with unique geography, features, and strange life forms (see one in the picture below). Now, how could the game developers code that much detail? They didn’t: the simulated universe is procedurally generated, with the generation driven by overall design specifications and mathematical templates.

So No Man’s Sky is an example of a Deist universe: the creators set overall laws and parameters the would generate an interesting universe, and let the creation unfold.

God did something like that, too:

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures… Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” – Genesis


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Roomba vs Poop: Teaching Robots to Detect Pet Mess

Imagine this: you come home after a day at work. As you open the door, your nose is the first alert that something is very, very wrong. Instead of the usual house smell, your nose is assaulted with the distinctive aroma that means your dog had an accident. The smell is stronger though — as if Fido brought over a few friends and they all had a party. Flipping the lights on, the true horror is revealed to you. This was a team effort, but only one dog was involved.

At some point after the dog’s deed, Roomba, your robot vacuum, took off on its scheduled daily run around the house. The plucky little robot performed its assigned duties until it found the mess. The cleaning robot then became an agent of destruction, smearing a foul smelling mess throughout the space it was assigned to clean. Technology sometimes has unintended consequences. This time, your technology has turned against you.

This scene isn’t a work of fiction. For a select few families, it has become an all too odoriferous reality just begging for a clever fix.

r900iRobot’s Roomba has been around for 14 years now. Over the years Roomba has evolved into a complex robotic vacuum. Current models have the iconic front bump sensor, as well as cliff sensors for stairs. A forward IR sensor allows the robot to slow down before striking furniture. Dirt detectors determine if an area is clean, or needs more attention. The flagship 900 series even includes a camera and computer running the Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (vSLAM) algorithm.


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Dotcom Wants Extradition Hearing Live-Streamed, U.S. Does Not

Kim Dotcom is hoping to have his fight with the U.S. government pushed further into the public consciousness by having his extradition appeal streamed live on the Internet. U.S. authorities are already objecting to Dotcom’s application but they could be up against stiff opposition since New Zealand is proud of its courtroom transparency.

kimfugitiveEarlier this month, Kim Dotcom experienced a setback when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his efforts to regain control over millions of dollars in assets seized by the US Government.

Branding the Megaupload founder a fugitive, the Court effectively denied Dotcom the ability to properly defend himself, should he be extradited to the United States from New Zealand.

Together with his former Megaupload colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato, Dotcom was found eligible for extradition to the United States last December. His appeal will take place at the High Court in Auckland this month and Dotcom wants the whole world to see.


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Restricted U.S. Army Geospatial Intelligence Handbook

TC 2-22.7 Geospatial Intelligence Handbook

Page Count: 130 pages
Date: February 18, 2011
Restriction: Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies only because it requires protection in accordance with AR 380-5 or as specified by DCS G-3 Message DTG 091913Z Mar 04.
Originating Organization: Department of the Army
File Type: pdf
File Size: 32,687,748 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256): 901B2E4FF2EB798C51BBC38BCF5961BA1C9E1E42B32FBCD48E9813174EFFAF0B

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This training circular provides GEOINT guidance for commanders, staffs, trainers, engineers, and military intelligence personnel at all echelons. It forms the foundation for GEOINT doctrine development. It also serves as a reference for personnel who are developing doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures; materiel and force structure; and institutional and unit training for intelligence operations.


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Lobster Festival Forced to Eat Hotdogs Instead After Air Canada Loses Lobsters

An Alberta woman tried to share some Newfoundland lobster with her friends and family, but Air Canada got in the way.

Jackie Panuisiak hosts the annual Northern Alberta Lobster Festival in the community of Cotillion. She had ordered some 145 pounds of live lobster to be shipped from this province to Alberta. The problem is that the lobsters didn’t arrive.

When Panuisiak’s sister talked to Air Canada about what happened, she says they were rude and unhelpful. She says they were passed off to Air Canada’s Cargo Relations and were met with more unhelpful behaviour. She says they did not admit any fault in the matter.

It turns out the lobsters were in Toronto, but Air Canada’s tracking system said they had arrived. Panuisiak says it raises concerns about the reliability of Air Canada’s tracking system.


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The Science of Fear-Mongering: How to Protect Your Mind from Demagogues

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Researchers Create Algorithm That Diagnoses Depression From Your Instagram Feed

A psychology graduate student and a professor of mathematical, natural, and technical sciences may have just cracked clinical depression wide open. The answer, they found, may lie in your Instagram feed — if their groundbreaking machine learning algorithm gets a look at your photos.

Harvard University’s Andrew Reece and the University of Vermont’s Chris Danforth crafted an algorithm that can correctly diagnose depression, with up to 70 percent accuracy, based on a patient’s Instagram feed alone.

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Cutting Wood with a Paper Table Saw Blade

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