Sunday, August 16, 2015

Police Departments To Equip Patrol Cars With Guns That Shoot GPS Projectiles

from hakspek.com: A company by the name of StarChase has developed what is being claimed as a high-tech way to safely deal with high speed car chases. The Virginia Beach company describes itself as a “pursuit-management technology company” and says that over 55,000 injuries occur each year due to high-speed pursuits.

The technology will fire a tracking device that looks like a large shot-gun shell with adhesive on it, at a vehicle in pursuit. When attatched, the device will  send GPS location data to police in real time. 

The tech uses a double-barreled compressed-air unit installed in the grille of a police car and loaded with twin 4.5-inch GPS projectiles. When the officer needs to pursue a suspect, he or she activates the launcher using an in-car console or remote key fob. The system uses laser acquisition to target the suspect’s fleeing or stationary car and then shoots one of the GPS cartridges.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#NewHorizons Reveals Eerie Haze, Earth-Like Ice Flows On Pluto

Image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. from hngn.com: NASA's New Horizons mission has been revealing stunning details of Pluto, and the latest observations have shown it is an "icy world of wonders." The most recent New Horizons discoveries indicate the presence of flowing ice and haze on the mysterious dwarf planet, NASA reported. "We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now -- 10 days after closest approach -- we can say that our expectation has been more than surpassed," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. "With flowing ices, exotic surface chemistry, mountain ranges, and vast haze, Pluto is showing a diversity of planetary geology that is truly thrilling."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TPP Likely To Force Canada To Repeal Local Data Protection Laws

from techdirt.com: Techdirt has written a couple of times about European sensitivities regarding data protection, in particular when it comes to privacy rules requiring local storage of personal data. It turns out that Europe is not alone in its concern that agreements like TAFTA/TTIP and TISA could jeopardize this approach. An article in The Tyee points out that two of Canada's provinces -- British Columbia and Nova Scotia -- have requirements that sensitive personal data must be stored locally, and that they are likely to fall victim to TPP because the US insists the laws are "non-tariff barriers":
U.S. negotiators are pushing hard to eliminate national laws in TPP countries that require sensitive personal data to be stored on secure local servers, or within national borders. This goal collides with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Act and similar regulations in Nova Scotia, which are listed as "foreign trade barriers" in a 2015 United States Trade Representative (USTR) report.

According to that report, the B.C. privacy laws "prevent public bodies such as primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, government-owned utilities, and public agencies from using U.S. services when personal information could be accessed from or stored in the United States."
Irrespective of your views on whether such local storage requirements are reasonable or not, what's significant here is that TPP, ostensibly a trade agreement, may force Canada to repeal local privacy laws. That fact underlines why the secret nature of the negotiations is profoundly anti-democratic: matters are being decided behind closed doors that should rightly be debated openly. 

Data flows are just one example: TPP and other "trade" agreements like TAFTA/TTIP and TISA will have profound implications for many aspects of everyday life in signatory countries. And yet the public in those nations will be able to provide almost no input into the negotiating process, largely on the grounds that the discussions are "just" technical adjustments to trade rules. Indeed, most people aren't even aware of what is being done in their name: a recent poll suggests that three in four Canadians have never heard of TPP, so the chances that a massive wave of public outrage might yet save those local data privacy laws are pretty close to nil.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Activist group tells Google to offer ‘#RightToBeForgotten’ in USA

from 9to5google.com: It was ruled as part of the ‘right to be forgotten‘ case in Europe last year that individuals could request to have links removed from Google search results, and now another group is calling for that right to be expanded to the United States. An activist group on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that Google needs to expand the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling to the United States, arguing that users should have the right to have inaccurate links removed from search results (via The Hill).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Google's AI Bot Thinks The Purpose Of Life Is 'To Live Forever'

from businessinsider.com: This week, Google released a research paper chronicling one of its latest forays into artificial intelligence.

Researchers at the company programmed an advanced type of “chatbot” that learns how to respond in conversations based on examples from a training set of dialogue.

And the bot doesn’t just answer by spitting out canned answers in response to certain words; it can form new answers from new questions.

This means Google’s researchers could get a little creative with it, and they certainly did — they asked the bot everything from boring IT questions to the meaning of life.

The responses were alternately impressive, amusing, and unnerving.

Here are some of the most poetic interactions from the paper (sic):

Human: What is the purpose of life?
Machine: To serve the greater good.
Human: What is the purpose of living?
Machine: To live forever.
Human: Where are you now?
Machine: I’m in the middle of nowhere.
Human: What is the purpose of dying?
Machine: To have a life.
Human: What is the purpose of emotions?
Machine: I don’t know.
Human: What is moral?
Machine: What empowered humanity, what intellectual the essence is.
Human: What is immoral?


Saturday, June 13, 2015

#X37B Still Largely Unexplained

X-37B Still Largely Unexplained: "The fourth mission of the X-37B robot spaceplane is well underway. We know much of what is happening with the flight. There's a test of a Hall Effect thruster for the US Air Force and a set of materials samples provided by NASA. Beyond this, little else is known. On previous X-37B missions, there has been plenty of disclosure about the spacecraft itself, but little talk about the payloads concealed under its clamshell doors. This time, it's the reverse. We know a lot about the payloads carried on board, but not much about the X-37B itself!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

'Intruder Spray': Subway Restaurant Armed With Traceable Synthetic DNA Mist

from RT.com: A Subway restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee is now equipped with a product known as SelectaDNA, which aims to tag anyone who breaks in with an identifying spray containing a DNA code viewable only under ultraviolet light.

The "intruder spray," as it is nicknamed, contains “a unique DNA code which can be used to uniquely mark and trace both items of property and criminals," according to its manufacturer, SelectaDNA.

The spray's US distributor, Johan Larsen, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that the product is already in use in Australia and Europe.

The newspaper's report said the spray is "traceable for weeks," and can only be viewed “with a glow under ultraviolet light.”
 
If not identified by ultraviolet light, a suspect's clothing, for example, could be tested to see if the spray's owner-specific synthetic DNA is a match.