Daily Archives: January 9, 2017

A.I. expert David Levy says a human will marry a robot by 2050 

Human-robot relationships are a running theme in pop culture, from the cylons of Battlestar Galactica to Spike Jonze’s film Her and last year’s hit show Westworld.But that kind of scenario might not be science fiction much longer.Romance between humans and machines is already nearing the realm of the possible. This year, the California company Abyss Creations plans to start selling a new generation of high-tech sex robots — dolls that can actually speak and respond to touch.And according to artificial intelligence expert Dr. David Levy, in a few generations, we won’t just be having sex with robots, we’ll be marrying them.

Source: A.I. expert David Levy says a human will marry a robot by 2050 – Home | Day 6 | CBC Radio

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Radioactive contamination spreading within Hanford plant

Radioactive contamination is spreading within one of Hanford’s huge processing plants, and the problem could escalate as the plant, unused since the 1960s, continues to deteriorate.A new report on the Reduction-Oxidation Complex, more commonly called REDOX, recommends that $181 million be spent on interim cleanup and maintenance of the plant. REDOX is not scheduled to be demolished until about 2032, or possibly later because the nearby 222-S Laboratory in central Hanford will be needed to support the Hanford vitrification plant for another 30 to 40 years.

Doing some work on the building soon could reduce the threat of contamination spreading outside the building, including by animals, a break in a utility pipe or a fire, according to the report. Recommended work also would help protect Hanford workers.

Source: Radioactive contamination spreading within Hanford plant | Tri-City Herald

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Need Better Morale in the Workplace? Simulate a Plane Crash – The New York Times

Montana Woods, 19, a pre-med student at the University of Connecticut, had been told what to do, yet, as the water rose above her head, she was seized by fear and panic. Upside down, water filling her sinuses, it was difficult to remember how to escape.Ms. Woods and seven others — two university students, four trainers from a personal training company and the owner of a paving company — spent the Saturday before Thanksgiving surviving mock plane crashes at an indoor pool in Groton, Conn. Unlike the 120,000 students who had gone before them, this group had no overt need for aquatic-survival training. They all worked safely on land. What they wanted to learn was how to be leaders and to work as a team.

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A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other 

Late in the afternoon of 22 May 2006, Rohnell Robinson and his partner got a call from one of their associates. Investigators believe that a rival gunman, who had shot at them before, had been spotted at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond, California. As a leader of the group at the centre of the worst gun violence the city had ever seen, Robinson was known for his readiness to go after his enemies. In the words of one officer, he was a “serial killer”.The target, Brian Jones, pulled out of the mall parking lot in his car, according to court records. Moments later, Robinson’s car rolled up alongside him.

A volley of shots missed Jones, but LaQuisha Turner, his 17-year-old girlfriend, was hit in the face and neck. The injury left her paralysed from the neck down and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Over the next three months, a retaliatory cycle played out that resulted in as many as a dozen murders. The following year, the feud between two warring groups, Deep C, based in Central Richmond, and Project Trojans, from North Richmond, led to more than 20 killings.

Sign up to the long read email Read moreCity officials were desperate to stem the violence, and the groundwork was laid for an experimental programme that would focus on mentoring the young men most likely to kill or be killed. Set up in 2007 and primarily staffed by ex-convicts, the Office of Neighbourhood Safety (ONS) pioneered an unusual approach: it would provide men who had gun crime convictions with incentives to stop shooting. At first, ONS gave them social services referrals and life-skills training to find jobs and earn degrees. Three years later, and more controversially, it offered them a monthly cash stipend and supervised trips outside Richmond.

Source: A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other | Jason Motlagh | US news | The Guardian

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One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die – The New York Times

First, the back story, because, B.J. Miller has found, the back story is unavoidable when you are missing three limbs.Miller was a sophomore at Princeton when, one Monday night in November 1990, he and two friends went out for drinks and, at around 4 a.m., found themselves ambling toward a convenience store for sandwiches. They decided to climb a commuter train parked at the adjacent rail station, for fun. Miller scaled it first. When he got to the top, electrical current arced out of a piece of equipment into the watch on his wrist. Eleven-thousand volts shot through his left arm and down his legs. When his friends reached him on the roof of the train, smoke was rising from his feet.Miller remembers none of this. His memories don’t kick in until several days later, when he woke up in the burn unit of St. Barnabas Medical Center, in Livingston, N.J. Thinking he’d resurfaced from a terrible dream, he tried to shamble across his hospital room on the charred crusts of his legs until he used up the slack of his catheter tube and the device tore out of his body. Then, all the pain hit him at once.

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Beef and Cabbage Casserole

Cabbage Casserole is a very simple dish to prepare. Just do a little prep work, stick it in the rice cooker and let it cook. When the rice cooker is done, so is the casserole, Simple as that!Ingredients: 1 head of cabbage cut in wedges * 1 pound of ground beef 1 pound of breakfast sausage 1 cup of rice 1 can of Rotel 10 ounce 1 cup of water 1.5 to 2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning (Nunu’s) 1 Large onion chopped 1/2 bell pepper chopped 2 stalks of celery chopped

Source: Beef and Cabbage Casserole

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True stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger , those are the troubling ones’

The New York Police Department and City Hall have apologised for an “insensitive” comment by a precinct captain that only rapes committed by strangers are “the troubling ones”.

Captain Peter Rose said he was “not too worried” about a 62 per cent uptick in rape cases in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in 2016 as only two of the rapes were by strangers.

“Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more,” he said, as reported by DNAinfo. “It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of them were actually coworkers. It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes.

Source: NYPD captain says he is ‘not too worried’ about rape increase as only rapes by strangers are ‘the troubling ones’ | The Independent

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Why privacy matters

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Climbers Are Scaling The World’s Tallest Trees In An Effort To Save Them 

A group of dedicated tree-climbers are scaling towering trees in an effort to help heal the planet.Protected with little more than a harness and some rope,arborist Jake Milarch has scaled redwoods topping 300 feet — that’s as tall as the Statue of Liberty.“It’s a humbling experience being next to something so big and so old,” said Milarch from his home in Copemish, Michigan, last month. “Some of these trees have survived for 4,000 years.

It’s pretty cool.”ARCHANGEL ANCIENT TREE ARCHIVEArborists from the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive climb trees to collect genetic material from their branches as part of a major conservation effort.Climbing these enormous trees is electrifying, but Milarch’s ascents aren’t for mere thrill-seeking. His family runs the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, which has attempted to preserve some of America’s biggest and most ancient old-growth trees since its founding seven years ago. The arborists climb these trees to collect genetic material from their branches.

The goal: to clone this material for safekeeping and reforestation elsewhere.“Old-growth trees are some of the largest, oldest things on Earth,” said David Milarch, Jake Milarch’s father and founder of Archangel. “Yet no one has studied them to find out how they’ve managed to live for all these hundreds or even thousands of years; and now, they’re all being destroyed.”

Source: Climbers Are Scaling The World’s Tallest Trees In An Effort To Save Them | The Huffington Post

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Some Hate Crimes Are More Equal Than Others 

Not all hate crimes are created equal.This pertains even to those hate crimes created out of whole cloth, which receive a privileged status when furthering the perceived aims of the underprivileged. The ideological commitment to the idea of systemic inequality nudges popular media to popularize hate crimes, no matter how specious, that propel this narrative while downplaying ones that undermine it.In Obama’s hometown, cops this week arrested four African-Americans accused of torturing a special needs, white student for a period up to 48 hours.

On an antisocial video posted to social media, the assailants shout “F— white people!” and “F— Donald Trump!” as they cut the bound and gagged victim’s hair with a knife. They forced him to drink from a toilet and to denounce Trump and whites.If only this occurred at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay and not Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, then the victim might enjoy more full-throated support. As it stands, many journalists who normally salivate over torture or hate-crime stories claim their right to remain silent here.

CNN’s main article on matter on their site early Thursday afternoon focused on rebutting the notion that Black Lives Matter played a role in the event. The network’s Don Lemon, perhaps still not thinking clearly since his on-air New Year’s Eve adventure, acknowledged the inhumanity of the prolonged attack but rejected a characterization of it as evil. “I don’t think it’s evil,” he said. “I think these are young people and I think they have bad home training.”

Source: Some Hate Crimes Are More Equal Than Others | The American Spectator

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A camouflage pattern that hides you from facial-recognition technology 

Cameras are everywhere. In London, one of the world’s most heavily monitored cities, nearly half a million of them comprise part of the “ring of steel” system that surveils much of the city.Privacy advocates worry scenarios like this and advancing face-recognition technology could soon allow a modern surveillance state to identify and track anyone. But Adam Harvey, a Berlin-based artist, has developed a camouflage-like pattern he believes will help keep its wearer unrecognizable—or less recognizable, at least—to computer vision.Called HyperFace, it exploits the way face-recognition algorithms work in order to fool them. The shapes in the pattern read to a computer as “false faces,” hundreds or even thousands of them, distracting from the wearer’s real face and reducing the computer’s confidence that it has an accurate match.

Source: A camouflage pattern that hides you from facial-recognition technology — Quartz

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Meryl Streep denounces Donald Trump, defends persecuted Hollywood actors at Golden Globes

Meryl Streep used almost all of her acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globes to denounce Donald Trump and sports fans, and to place Hollywood actors among the world’s most persecuted people.Miss Streep was garlanded with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) lifetime achievement award and said that in addition to losing her voice, she had “lost my mind sometime earlier this year” because of the “real life performance” of Mr. Trump, though she didn’t use his name.She claimed that “all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood. Foreigners. And the press.”After noting that such nominees on the night as Ruth Negga, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman and Dev Patel were foreign-born, she said “Hollywood is crawling with foreigners” and implied that there’d be no art left under Mr. Trump’s border-wall plan.

Source: Meryl Streep denounces Donald Trump, defends persecuted Hollywood actors at Golden Globes – Washington Times

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Who’s attacking the Drudge Report? – Business Insider

The Drudge Report, the highly trafficked conservative news website, has been knocked offline for extended periods of time over the course of the last two weeks, succumbing to large distributed denial of service attacks, according to its founder, Matt Drudge.And it’s a mystery who’s behind it all.

Drudge wrote on Twitter that a December 30 attack was the “biggest DDoS since [the] site’s inception.”A DDoS attack is executed by using hijacked computers or electronic devices to flood a website with redundant requests, aiming to overload the website’s hosting server and render it unavailable.But, according to cybersecurity experts who spoke to Business Insider, using such a method to take down the Drudge Report would not be easy.

The website is already equipped to handle a high volume of visitors and scale out to accommodate spikes in traffic. Moreover, a website that generates so many page views would likely employ strong defense measures, the cybersecurity experts said.”The Drudge Report has a massive readership,” said Ajay Arora, CEO and co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Vera. “Generally someone that has that kind of viewership is going to have sophisticated hosting and counter defenses against DDoS attacks.

“Since its inception in 1996, the Drudge Report has been a home to conservatives who feel disenfranchised by traditional media. Drudge has marketed his website as a news destination not controlled by corporate interests or politicians. And he’s had great success.SimilarWeb, an analytics firm, continually ranks the Drudge Report in the top-five most trafficked media publishers in the US . According to analytics posted to the website, the Drudge Report has amassed approximately 775 million page views in the past 31 days — all with hardly any traffic coming from social-media channels. a high-prized target, and one that now sees itself under attack by an unknown culprit.

For his part, Drudge has pointed the finger at the US government, tweeting that the traffic which downed his website had “VERY suspicious routing [and timing].”

Source: Who’s attacking the Drudge Report? – Business Insider

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Health-Law Taxes Complicate GOP’s Repeal Strategy

Republicans eager to scrap the 2010 health-care law are wrestling with whether to immediately cut off the tax revenue it brings in.

Source: Health-Law Taxes Complicate GOP’s Repeal Strategy – WSJ

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After Fort Lauderdale Shooting, Rumor of Second Gunman Created Chaos

MIAMI — By the time Donald Robertson, a retired architect, arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1 on Friday afternoon, the mass shooting in Terminal 2, which left five people dead, had been over for at least an hour. The accused gunman, Esteban Santiago, was in police custody and the airport had largely returned to its normal rhythm — passengers were noshing, charging their phones, watching television. Things were so sedate that Mr. Robertson did not even realize there had been a shooting.But as he made his way past the gate, Mr. Robertson looked up and saw a “stampede” of people, including what looked like law enforcement agents, racing toward him. “It was tremendous,” he said. “It was like a herd reacting. Everyone around me was diving under chairs.”A rumor about a possible second gunman had spread across the airport, via social media, news sites and word of mouth. People panicked and the airport was shut down, a turn of events that upended what had seemed like an orderly finale to a tragic afternoon. What followed that single rumor was a rush of terror for travelers and airport workers as they fled to the tarmac, were separated from loved ones, injured themselves in the tumult, hid in kitchens and storage rooms and hunkered down behind luggage trucks.

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Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at CES this year

Call it a virtual disappointment. Or virtually unsurprising. I’ll just say I was virtually underwhelmed.

Whatever pun you choose, the virtual reality industry has some explaining to do after this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, during which the biggest product announcements can largely be categorized as “more of the same.”

Consider computer maker Lenovo, which showed off a VR headset whose primary selling point is that it’s cheaper than competitors like the $599 Oculus Rift from Facebook or the $799 HTC Vive — though Lenovo isn’t discussing prices yet and the prototype on display doesn’t actually work.

There’s also Osterhout Design Group, which showed a new pair of smart glasses, powered by Google’s Android phone software and using the newest chips from Qualcomm. The glasses were supposed to be the latest entrant in the world of AR, or augmented reality, layering computer images on the real world you’re looking at. (Think Pokemon Go.) But you’d be forgiven if you confused them with last year’s model, though they promise better performance and visuals. It’ll launch by midyear, costing as much as $1,500.

Source: Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at CES this year

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Digital love: Virtual reality porn on global rise, still lagging in US 

No country in the world loves pornography more than the US, according to Pornhub’s 2016 insights. Representing 40 percent of the visits to the website, Americans are consuming cheesecake content like no one else, but prefer their porn to be two-dimensional. Virtual reality porn searches increased by 440 percent in 2016, but the US did not to did not figure high up.

The top ten nations searching for VR porn are a scattering of countries in the Eastern hemisphere, with China being the reigning champ of virtual porn followed by Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Norway, Finland, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt and Chile. Some speculate that it has to do with the fact that the technology is relatively new and still becoming more normalized.

Even Canada has gotten into the trend before the US. “VR” was said to be among their top gaining searches, along with “virtual reality.”TechCrunch predicts that WebVR will bring VR porn to the masses. The JavaScript API will allow for a more immersive experience while browsing the web in general. Given that Pornhub is the 50th most popular site on the internet, it may translate to increasing traffic and demand for more realistic skin sites.

Source: Digital love: Virtual reality porn on global rise, still lagging in US — RT America

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The Government didn’t install the cameras in our homes. We did.

It begins: Amazon’s constantly-listening robotic home assistant was near a domestic murder case, and now the Police wants access to anything it might have heard. There have been similar cases in the past, but this is where it starts getting discussed: There are now dozens of sensors in our house. Do we still have an expectation of privacy in our home?

A recurring theme in the dystopic fiction of the 1950s was an everpresent government watching everything you did, as witnessed in the infamous Nineteen Eighty-Four and many others. Adding to the dystopia, starting in the 1970s with movies such as Colossus, computers are typically added to the mix of watching everything all the time.

However, these fictional dystopias all got one critical thing wrong in predicting the future: the government never installed cameras and microphones in everybody’s home. We did. We did it ourselves. And we paid good money for them, too. A smart television set — with infrared cameras built in, watching the people watching the television set as well as listening to them — costs good money that we happily paid.

“The television set received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the government plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live–did live, from habit that became instinct–in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” — 1984

Source: The Government didn’t install the cameras in our homes. We did.

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