Facebook admits to using people’s microphones to listen to what they say, but they claim this is somehow a good thing.
Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida claims to have tested a bunch of devices running the Facebook mobile app, and found that all of them are listening to everything you say, providing customized ads based on what you are saying.
“I’m really interested in going on an African safari. I think it’d be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps,” she said out loud with her phone in hand. According to the NBC report, less than a minute later, the first story in her Facebook feed was about a safari. And a car ad soon appeared on her page – go figure.
Of course, this is not scientific evidence at this point, but Burns is not one to shun. Before becoming an academic, she spent seven years in corporate marketing and is a well-known figure in social media circles.
Facebook didn’t deny the claims. Instead, it admitted that it picks up sounds from users, but said that it only does this to recommend they post things on Facebook.
Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama said in an interview published that Europe has accepted “too many” refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.
“A human being who is a bit more fortunate has the duty to help them. On the other hand, there are too many now,” he said, according to the German translation of the interview in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
A professional is only as good as their tools, and that goes double for those who work in Internet- or tech-based jobs. With a host of online apps at your literal fingertips, you have a number of options for any given task.
But the tool which can help some professionals the most, and which can have the broadest application to both the business and personal aspects of your life, is the file-sharing site Dropbox.
Dropbox has become one of the most essential and popular sharing apps in the modern world, if not the most universal. This means that, no matter what you do, and even if neither you nor your clients work in the fields specified below, you are likely to be working with someone who has a Dropbox account.
Also, Dropbox has very few limitations. You can have just about anything in your Dropbox, from music, to videos, to html web pages, and more. This versatility also makes Dropbox suitable for a number of complex tasks, from being a photo gallery to hosting a simple website.
A Texas pet-sitting business is seeking up to $1 million in damages from a couple who gave a one-star review on Yelp and criticized the company’s treatment of their tiny blue tropical Betta fish “Gordy” while the family was away on vacation. The company, Prestigious Pets of Dallas, claims the review is a breach of a non-disparagement clause and defamation.
Paul Alan Levy, a Public Citizen lawyer who is defending the couple, summarized the company’s revised suit (PDF) targeting the couple.
The new lawsuit, however, specifies one statement from the review in particular: that the company’s assigned pet-sitter had potentially caused serious harm to the couple’s fish by putting too much food in a fish-bowl while the couple were away on vacation for a few days. The complaint alleges that a charge of overfeeding a fish is libel per se because it amounts to the criminal offense of animal cruelty under Texas law (if giving too much food to a pet fish were really a crime, I expect there would be thousands of Texas second-graders facing jail time every year!)
“As our filing in the case indicates, though, there are photos showing that the fish water became cloudy and that food accumulated at the bottom of the tank, which must have been caused by overfeeding, and apparently overfeeding is a serious issue for this kind of tropical fish,” Levy said.
Michelle and Robert Duchouquette, of Plano, said they discovered Prestigious Pets in Dallas on Yelp and that the company’s page was full of five-star ratings. The couple hired the service last year before heading on a five-day trip to Napa Valley in California. The firm walked and fed the couple’s two dogs, too. On Yelp, Michelle also complained about the company’s billing practices. The review, however, also said that the “care of our dogs was fine.”
That was distinctly not the case with Gordy, according to the Duchouquettes’ review.
Obamaendorsed an expansion of Social Security for the first time on Wednesday.
“We can’t afford to weaken Social Security,” he said during a speech on economic policy in Elkhart, Indiana. “We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.”
The increased benefits, he said, could be paid for “by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more. They can afford it. I can afford it.”
This was a far cry from Obama’s position on the program in late 2012, when his administration argued for reducing Social Security benefits by recalculating the way cost of living adjustments are made.
“President Obama’s evolution on Social Security, from at one time being open to cuts to calling for an expansion of benefits … is certainly welcome news, but not at all surprising,” said Alex Lawson, the executive director of Social Security Works, a nonprofit group that advocates for protecting and expanding the program.
Lawson’s organization has worked with lawmakers and other nonprofit organizations to oppose Obama’s proposed Social Security cuts and shift the conversation towards expansion. By the summer of 2014, a small group of Democratic caucus senators, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, started advocating for lifting Social Security’s payroll tax cap so wealthier people paid more into the system, and then increasing benefits to seniors. Polling by advocacy groups found broad support for expansion.
Neuroscientists are on their way to turn a person’s thoughts into speech producible by a device, to help victims of stroke and others with speech paralysis to communicate with their loved ones.
Professor Robert T. Knight, M.D., and his team at UC Berkeley are working on finding a way to decode speech imagined in the human brain. “We learned that hearing words, speaking out loud or imagining words involves mechanisms and brain areas that overlap. Now, the challenge is to reproduce comprehensible speech from direct brain recordings done while a person imagines a word they would like to say,” said Knight, who is also the Founding Editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Knight says the goal of the device is to help people affected by motor disease, such as paralysis and Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “There are many neurological disorders that limit speech despite patients being fully aware of what they want to say,” Knight said. “We want to develop an implantable device that decodes the signals that occur in the brain when we think about a word, then turn these signals into a sound file that can be reproduced by a speech device.”
Such a novel device would communicate people’s intended thoughts via an electronic speaker or writing device, but the team still has a lot more research to conduct. They have been able to reproduce a word a person has just heard on a machine, by monitoring temporal lobe activity in a neurosurgical setting. Using high density electrodes positioned on the surface of the language areas of the brain of awake patients, they monitored the pattern of electrical responses of brain cells during perceived speech. The scientists then created a computational model that could match spoken sounds to these signals.
The Tor Project hopes to boost the security of the Tor onion router and network through the introduction of a distributed random number generator.
In a blog post on Wednesday, the non-profit revealed that Tor researchers and developers met as part of a hackfest in Montreal, Canada, to share ideas on how to bring Tor to a new level of personal security.
The Tor network, otherwise known as The Onion Router, relies on nodes and relays to disguise traffic flowing in and out, concealing original IP addresses and making surveillance more difficult to accomplish. However, no system is 100 percent secure, and as a recent case where the FBI used an exploit to compromise the network highlights, Tor must stay ahead of the game and boost privacy as and when it can — albeit by relying on donations and sponsors.
The purpose of the Montreal trip was to push forward the development of next-generation security features. The Tor network team said:
“Our main goal with this meeting was to accelerate the development of the Next Generation Onion Services project (aka proposal 224). We have been working on this project for the past several months and have made great progress.
However, it’s a huge project! Because of its volume and complexity, it has been extremely helpful to meet and work together in the same physical space as we hammer out open issues, review each other’s code, and quickly make development decisions that would take days to coordinate through mailing lists.”
Carbon dioxide emissions from industrial society have driven a huge growth in trees and other plants.
A new study says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover twice the continental USA.
Climate sceptics argue the findings show that the extra CO2 is actually benefiting the planet.
But the researchers say the fertilisation effect diminishes over time.
They warn the positives of CO2 are likely to be outweighed by the negatives.
The lead author, Prof Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.
It is called Greening of the Earth and its Drivers, and it is based on data from the Modis and AVHRR instruments which have been carried on American satellites over the past 33 years.The sensors show significant greening of something between 25% and 50% of the Earth’s vegetated land, which in turn is slowing the pace of climate change as the plants are drawing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Just 4% of vegetated land has suffered from plant loss.
Over 100 Freedom of Records Act (FOIA) requests have finally forced the euphemist US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to admit a widely used vaccine preservative is the equivalent of a neurological armageddon.
With help from PhD Scientist and Biochemist, Brian Hooker, the agency has finally had to reveal that they have known for years that thimerosal, which was banned in 1999, but still used in over 60 vaccines, causes autism. Robert F. Kennedy has been trying to alert the public of the same troublesome findings that Hooker has unveiled, but he is often dismissed, or worse, made into a media fool by the pharmaceutical industry.
“When the results of the Verstraeten study were first reported outside the CDC in 2005, there was no evidence that anyone but Dr. Verstraeten within the CDC had known of the very high 7.6-fold elevated relative risk of autism from exposure to Thimerosal during infancy. But now, clear evidence exists. A newly-acquired abstract from 1999 titled, “Increased risk of developmental neurologic impairment after high exposure to Thimerosal containing vaccine in first month of life” required the approval of top CDC officials prior to its presentation at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference. Thimerosal, which is 50% mercury by weight, was used in most childhood vaccines and in the RhoGAM shot for pregnant women prior to the early 2000s.The CDC maintains there is “no relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism rates in children,” even though the data from the CDC’s own Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database shows a very high risk. There are a number of public records to back this up, including this Congressional Record from May 1, 2003. The CDC’s refusal to acknowledge thimerosal’s risks is exemplified by a leaked statement from Dr. Marie McCormick, chair of the CDC/NIH-sponsored Immunization Safety Review at IOM. Regarding vaccination, she said in 2001, “…we are not ever going to come down that it [autism] is a true side effect…” Also of note, the former director of the CDC, which purchases $4 billion worth of vaccines annually, is now president of Merck’s vaccine division.” [Source]
What is Thimerosal and Why Should I Care?
Thimerosal is a mercury-based vaccine adjuvant (preservative) that causes a number of brain-injuring problems, with autism among them. Thimerosal is also a human carcinogen, mutagen, and teratogen that also interrupts the immune system and interrupts proper fetal development.
The Detox Project, using laboratories at the University of California San Francisco, has found the presence of glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the world, in the urine of 93% of the American public during a unique testing project that started in 2015.
From the project’s public statement on their website:
Glyphosate, labeled a ‘Probable human carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC in 2015, has now been revealed to be ubiquitous in the first ever comprehensive and validated LC/MS/MS testing project to be carried out across America. Glyphosate-containing herbicides are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup.’
In a unique public testing project carried out by a laboratory at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), glyphosate was discovered in 93% of urine samples during the early phase of the testing in 2015.
Glyphosate was found in 93% of the 131 urine samples tested at an average level of 3.096 parts per billion (PPB). Children had the highest levels with an average of 3.586 PPB.
The regions with the highest levels were the West and the Midwest with an average of 3.053 PPB and 3.050 PPB respectively.
Glyphosate has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization, and lawsuits against companies using the herbicide, which is prevalent in most conventional foods, have begun.
One day, the Uber that comes to fetch you might not have anyone in the driver’s seat. On Thursday, Uber announced that it will begin testing an autonomous Ford Fusion hybrid on the streets of Pittsburgh, home to Uber’s Advanced Technology Center.
Drivers in Pittsburgh should have no problem spotting the research vehicle—it’s carrying an array of sensors on its roof that includes a radar, lidar, and cameras. The Uber test car will actually be mapping its surroundings in addition to testing out autonomous driving—although there will be a human operator in the driver’s seat at all times to take over at a moment’s notice.
We’ve known for some time that Uber has had an interest in autonomous vehicles. In the past, the company had been working with Google, but that relationship apparently deteriorated last year. It’s not the only ride-sharing service looking to ditch the human aspect, either. In January, we reported that General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft with the goal of developing a network of self-driving taxis.
A Lorenz teleprinter. — The National Museum Of Computing
A teleprinter the Nazis used to send and receive secret messages during World War II was sitting in someone’s shed until museum volunteers discovered it was for sale and bought it for about $14—thanks to eBay.
Volunteers from The National Museum of Computing, in England, found the teleprinter as they were scrolling through the auction website, the BBC reported. They then followed up and discovered it was being stored in a shed in Essex, near London, “with rubbish all over it,” volunteer John Wetter told the British broadcaster. The device was only selling for £9.50, according to the BBC, but museum volunteers gave the seller £10—the equivalent of $14.62.
It wasn’t until the device was being refurbished, however, that volunteers realized it was actually used by the German military—giving the discovery great significance, a spokesman for The National Museum of Computing told Vocativ on Sunday.
The last few years have not only seen the emergence of various social networking sites but also the increase in people’s addiction to these sites. Also, more and more people are using streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix these days. However, the most important factor to use these social networking sites or streaming apps on the smartphone is the internet connectivity. Your smartphone will be rendered useless if it has no internet connection.
With unlimited data plans apparently declining, users have to live with limited usage data plan options provided by their mobile/cellular carrier. While you can try and control usage of the mobile data, there is still always a risk of over using and being slapped with hefty data usage charges.
Unlimited data plans have seemingly disappeared, and users are stuck with limited usage data plan options. Depending on what kind of mobile phone contract you are on, you can exercise some control on your usage of the mobile data. However, there is still always a risk of over using data and you may find yourself being slapped with a hefty bill. This may be very annoying and could take the fun out of using your Android smartphone. So, it becomes important that the mobile/cellular data be used diligently to avoid hefty charges for the same.
However, despite all this, you can still limit your data usage with proper configuration of your device.