Blank on Blank, a newly found treasure with wonderfully penned animation and interesting interviews with people such as Hunter Thompson, Meryl Streep and this gem, Francis Ford Coppola on Solitude, is eminently worthwhile to check out. Enjoy.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Seen above is a picture of an incredibly valuable resource, the EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions website that objectively monitors the output of CO2 and other GH gases produced by 9 different types of facilities (Power Plants, Petroleum & Natural Gas Systems, Refineries, Chemicals, Other, Minerals, Metals and Pulp & Paper) in scientific fashion, something that may go away under the aegis of the Trump administration.
AT 10 AM the Saturday before inauguration day, on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania, roughly 60 hackers, scientists, archivists, and librarians were hunched over laptops, drawing flow charts on whiteboards, and shouting opinions on computer scripts across the room. They had hundreds of government web pages and data sets to get through before the end of the day—all strategically chosen from the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—any of which, they felt, might be deleted, altered, or removed from the public domain by the incoming Trump administration.
Their undertaking, at the time, was purely speculative, based on travails of Canadian government scientists under the Stephen Harper administration, which muzzled them from speaking about climate change. Researchers watched as Harper officials threw thousands of books of aquatic data into dumpsters as federal environmental research libraries closed.
But three days later, speculation became reality as news broke that the incoming Trump administration’s EPA transition team does indeed intend to remove some climate data from the agency’s website. That will include references to President Barack Obama’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan and the strategies for 2014 and 2015 to cut methane, according to an unnamed source who spoke with Inside EPA. “It’s entirely unsurprising,” said Bethany Wiggin, director of the environmental humanities program at Penn and one of the organizers of the data-rescuing event.
Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.George Orwell - 1984
AI, automation and all things related to surveillance, video and search & rescue as tech has no morality, only the people who run it, do.
Very cool tech I must admit.
Goodbye jack-in-the-box, hello drone-in-the-box!
Although the picture below looks like an ordinary box, inside houses a complete drone management workshop. As the box opens up, it acts as a launch pad for the internal unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). After the drone completes its assigned task, it lands on the opened container, which then folds back into its original form. Inside, a mechanism swaps out the drone's depleted battery in order to recharge.
"And so it goes." - K. Vonnegut
Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed— would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper— the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
A presage of things to come? Could be now that the outgoing Obama administration deemed it necessary for the NSA to share our data with other intel agencies whether we like it or not.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.
The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.
It gets better.
The recent USA Freedom Act permits the NSA to ask the FISA court for a search warrant for any person — named or unnamed — based on the standard of “governmental need.” One FISA court-issued warrant I saw authorized the surveillance of all 115 million domestic customers of Verizon. The governmental need standard is no standard at all, as the government will always claim that what it wants, it needs.
Question, what actually constitutes government need? Interesting thought don't you think?
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The Anthropocene is alive and well but the primates who live in it, not so much ...
Our fellow primates are in trouble.
In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to judge how they are faring. The news for man’s closest animal relatives is not good.
Three-quarters of primate species are in decline, the researchers found, and about 60 percent are now threatened with extinction. From gorillas to gibbons, primates are in significantly worse shape now than in recent decades because of the devastation from agriculture, hunting and mining.
“I think we’re going to get quite a number of extinctions within next 50 years if things go on the way they are,” said Anthony B. Rylands, a senior research scientist at Conservation International and a co-author of the new study, which was published in Science Advances.
“It’s a landmark paper,” said Anne D. Yoder, the director of the Duke Lemur Center, who was not involved in the study. “It’s alarming without being alarmist.”
Something to consider without question.
Monday, January 16, 2017
This pink variant on slime is not referring to Ghostbusters II but rather is of Klebsiella pneumoniae (a) bacteria ... commonly found in the human gastrointestinal tract, and are often the cause of hospital acquired, or nosocomial infections involving the urinary and pulmonary systems. Photo by CDC that can become a superbug, resistant to all antibiotics, if given a chance, something that happened to a woman who died in Reno after visiting India where she was treated for a broken bone.
Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection.
Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off 26 different antibiotics.
“It was tested against everything that’s available in the United States … and was not effective,” said Dr. Alexander Kallen, a medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of health care quality promotion.
This is where it gets scary. Click - Evolution in Real Time to see BRT's take on superbugs.
Antibiotics are failing us on a catastrophic scale. Once a magic bullet against infectious diseases, they’ve grown increasingly impotent as bacteria have evolved resistance. An estimated 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and within a few decades, that toll may rise to several million.
We live in interesting times.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
47%, no, not Mitt's Romney's gaffe in 2012 but rather the percentage of people predicted to be out of work 25 years hence, thanks to robotics, AI and nanotech. To whit ...
The Trump campaign ran on bringing jobs back to American shores, although mechanization has been the biggest reason for manufacturing jobs’ disappearance. Similar losses have led to populist movements in several other countries. But instead of a pro-job growth future, economists across the board predict further losses as AI, robotics, and other technologies continue to be ushered in. What is up for debate is how quickly this is likely to occur.
Now, an expert at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is ringing the alarm bells. According to Art Bilger, venture capitalist and board member at the business school, all the developed nations on earth will see job loss rates of up to 47% within the next 25 years, according to a recent Oxford study. “No government is prepared,” The Economist reports. These include blue and white collar jobs. So far, the loss has been restricted to the blue collar variety, particularly in manufacturing.
It gets better ...
Accountants, doctors, lawyers, teachers, bureaucrats, and financial analysts beware: your jobs are not safe. According to The Economist, computers will be able to analyze and compare reams of data to make financial decisions or medical ones. There will be less of a chance of fraud or misdiagnosis, and the process will be more efficient. Not only are these folks in trouble, such a trend is likely to freeze salaries for those who remain employed, while income gaps only increase in size. You can imagine what this will do to politics and social stability.
BRT talk about this transition regarding medical back in 2013 ago in a piece titled Heathcare, Days of Future Past. Not a bad guesstimate I must say.
Talk to any successful person in business and they will tell you that developing a strong network is half of the battle. As far as schools go, Harvard is the perfect example of the “network effect” at work.
To date, a total of 35 of the richest 500 people in the world have emerged from the storied halls of Harvard. In fact, more billionaires have graduated from Harvard than all of those hailing from Saudi Arabia and Spain combined.
Interesting factoid for sure.
A very good friend of mine turned me onto this amazing Japanese, over the top commercial depicting how the Donald views himself. Outrageously outrageous.
Of all the apocalyptic visions of a Donald Trump presidency, this bizzaro propaganda, in the style of a Japanese commercial, is hands down the greatest (with regard to what it's making America... again). Today, self-described "MAKER OF VIDEOS/ MUSIC/ MEMES/ DREAMS," Mike Diva dropped this explosion of seapunk, ~new aesthetic~, and over-the-top kawaii devotion to the Donald, and, simply put, we're not sure how long all the other Trump memes, #drumpf included, will last.
Thanks Doug, I needed this. :)
Friday, January 13, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Combining LEDs with lasers to illuminate the road is a really good idea as the precision in terms of how light can be intelligently applied is pretty astounding given what Audi has done with headlights and how they can be transformed into something very cool while being safe, something the US Government seems not to understand in any way, shape or fashion.
AUDI FRESH OFF MAKING some bold promises about self-driving cars and setting a US sales record, Audi built on a very good 2017 this week by lighting things up at the Detroit auto show. As in, it showed off a new headlight technology.
Too bad the “Matrix Laser” system, which debuted as part of Audi’s Q8 concept SUV and does everything from highlighting pedestrians to auto-dimming for the sake on oncoming cars, isn’t welcome in the US.
This tech is Audi’s latest push the reinvent the way drivers see the world around them, and its future-heavy name is actually accurate. “Each headlight uses a single laser as the light source, but the beam is broken into a million distinct pixels by the diodes,” says Volker Kaese, Audi’s director of innovation. A small mirror continuously aims the beam to different sections of the matrix to adjust its projection—wide or narrow, high or low, and anywhere in between.
The Utopia of Rules strikes yet again.
Cars sold in the US must obey a rulebook that spans more than a thousand pages and gets very details. One rule: You need separate light sources for high and low beams. (Conventional laser headlights are permitted here, usually supplemented with LEDs for the alternate beam.)
“The United States has very low receptiveness to new lighting technology,” says IHS Markit analyst Christian Müller. “It will permit some things—daytime running lights, directional lighting in turns—but not make them mandatory. And if there isn’t a proven life-safety benefit for a new innovation it’s very hard to change the regulations to even permit things like matrix laser lights.”
Looks pretty cool without question.
Addendum: Mercedes Benz is doing some cool stuff with high beams as well.