Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.
Patrick serves a dual purpose: personal and professional. Personally, he comes equipped with software that enables him to interact emotionally with the student and voice any concerns he has about the procedure. Dr. Benjamin Lok, one of the program’s designers, says the interpersonal relationship Patrick helps foster is invaluable from a practicing perspective. “This virtual human patient can talk to the learner, expresses fears and concerns about the prostate exam, and presents a realistic patient encounter,” Lok told Geekosystem.
The other purpose he serves is functional. Patrick is endowed with force sensors, which can alert the student when he or she is being too aggressive, and can report how thorough the student was in his or her examination.
“Consider this,” Lok said, “how would a medical student know if they are doing a good prostate exam? Currently it is impossible for the educator to gauge performance. This simulation provides performance, feedback, and an opportunity to learn and lower anxiety.”
This is the unmanned Blue Origin suborbital spacecraft, New Shepard, which has soared 307,000 feet into the skies. Blue Origin is part-owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who, to the best of our knowledge, never has been pictured naked.
David Buchanan, 34, of Royal Wootton Bassett, England, was watching porn at home. His mind wondered: what would it be like to have sex with a dog? So. He tried it out with the nearest dog he could get, a 10-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. And he recorded it. He then accidentally sent the footage to his girlfriend because the device he was on was linked to her cloud account.
She called the police.
In court, Buchanan pleased guilty to sexual assault. He is now on the sex offenders’ register for seven years and embarking on 50 days of rehabilitation.
Robots are just great. The can help defuse bombs, find people trapped under rubble and provide defence when hazard chamicals have been spilled. They can also watch you and control you.
In the Congo, solar-powered aluminium robots are huge loom over the roads in Kinshasa. Equipped with red and green lights these robots regulate the flow of people and traffic and film the scenes, relaying pictures back to police HQ.
But not as creepy as the Knightscope K5 is a five-foot-tall autonomous robot “that roams around your neighborhood, observing and gathering data and trying to predict where and when criminal activity will occur.”
Paul Detrick points us towards other creepy robots in this film:
In the US of A, universities are clamping down on uncensorsed chatter.
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is considering banning a smartphone app that some say encourages hate speech, but other schools say free speech among students needs to be promoted. Yik Yak allows users post anonymously to a local bulletin board, and those posts can be seen only by people in a certain geographic area.
“People have been saying some very racist, very hurtful things,” said Ashley Winkfield, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill who has kept a running tab of “yaks” that she finds troubling.
I find Winfield troubling. She’s a censor. If the law is broken, then Yik Yak can let the authorities know. But she’s a bansturbator.
During the height of the “Black Lives Matter” protests on campus last fall, for example, one person posted, “I really hate blacks, I’m going home where there aren’t any.”
Another poster said, “the way blacks are acting right now kind of justify a slavery.”
Synack independently confirmed the privacy threat, Grindr officials have allowed it to remain for users in all but a handful of countries where being gay is illegal. As a result, geographic locations of Grindr users in the US and most other places can be tracked down to the very park bench where they happen to be having lunch or bar where they’re drinking and monitored almost continuously, according to research scheduled to be presented Saturday at the Shmoocon security conference in Washington, DC.
…Grindr developers modified the app to disable location tracking in Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and any other place with anti-gay laws. Grindr also locked down the app so that location information is available only to people who have set up an account. The changes did nothing to prevent the Synack researchers from setting up a free account and tracking the detailed movements of several fellow users who volunteered to participate in the experiment.
The proof-of-concept attack works by abusing a location-sharing function that Grindr officials say is a core offering of the app. The feature allows a user to know when other users are close by. The programming interface that makes the information available can be hacked by sending Grinder rapid queries that falsely supply different locations of the requesting user. By using three separate fictitious locations, an attacker can map the other users’ precise location using the mathematical process known as trilateration.
Synack researcher Colby Moore said his firm alerted Grindr developers of the threat last March. Aside from turning off location sharing in countries that host anti-gay laws and making location data available only to authenticated Grindr users, the weakness remains a threat to any user that leaves location sharing on. Grindr introduced those limited changes following a report that Egyptian police used Grindr to track down and prosecute gay people.
If you want to get your pets breeding, get them some fetching outfits:
Just as lingerie turns on human males, tiny jackets do the same for male rats, a new study finds. In an unusual study, researchers allowed virgin male rats to have sex with females wearing special rodent “jackets.” Later, when scientists gave the males a chance to mate again, the animals preferred to mate with jacket-wearing female rats rather than with unclad ones.
The Marriott hotel chain will block your personal wifi hotspots. And other hotels chains agree:
Marriott is fighting for its right to block personal or mobile Wi-Fi hotspots—and claims that it’s for our own good.
The hotel chain and some others have a petition before the FCC to amend or clarify the rules that cover interference for unlicensed spectrum bands. They hope to gain the right to use network-management tools to quash Wi-Fi networks on their premises that they don’t approve of. In its view, this is necessary to ensure customer security and to protect children.
The Marriott is your moralist and child educator. Sure, you are ok with your children using their own Wifi hotspots, but the Marriott knows best.
The petition, filed in August and strewn with technical mistakes, has received a number of formally filed comments from large organizations in recent weeks. If Marriott’s petition were to succeed, we’d likely see hotels that charge guests and convention centers that charge exhibitors flipping switches to shut down any Wi-Fi not operated by the venue. The American hotel industry’s trade group is a co-filer of the petition, and Hilton submitted a comment in support: this isn’t just Marriott talking. . . .
Earlier in 2014, the FCC fined Marriott for jamming guests, exhibitors, and others’ Wi-Fi networks at the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville. The hotel chain agreed to pay the FCC $600,000 in fines and create a compliance plan, with regularly filed updates, for all its properties.
Who in their right m ind wants the Marriott to shut off their personal hotspot and then pay for the Marriott’s system?
What better way to kickstart 2015 then by investing $1.75 million in the white Ferrari seen often in TV’s Miami Vice?
On eBay, the 1986 Ferrari Testarossa that was used on the classic TV action series.
The blurb runs:
The short story about this car, when the MIAMI VICE show first aired a Daytona Ferrari replica was used, when Mr. Enzo Ferrari watched the show and witnessed the Fake Daytona he was outraged that a replica car was carrying his Ferrari name, automatically a law suit against Universal Studios was started.
A couple of shows later a deal was struck… the agreement was for Universal Studios Hollywood to BLOW UP the original Daytona replica on the actual M.V. show and for two new 1986 TESTAROSSA’S to take over as the Special A.T.F. Vice cars.
Both cars were born Carbon black but the camera equipment 30 years ago wasn’t good enough to keep up with the night scenes and the speed of the cars. So, director Michael Mann decided that both cars were to be painted White and the Iconic Miami Vice Ferrari was Born.
The perfect car to showoff your white linen and silk suit…
So. We all know about the brain, the bits that do what? Tom Stafford says we don’t. Take the instance of the woman born without a cerebellum who lived a full life:
This case points to a sad fact about brain science. We don’t often shout about it, but there are large gaps in even our basic understanding of the brain. We can’t agree on the function of even some of the most important brain regions, such as the cerebellum. Rare cases such as this show up that ignorance. Every so often someone walks into a hospital and their brain scan reveals the startling differences we can have inside our heads. Startling differences which may have only small observable effects on our behaviour.
Part of the problem may be our way of thinking. It is natural to see the brain as a piece of naturally selected technology, and in human technology there is often a one-to-one mapping between structure and function. If I have a toaster, the heat is provided by the heating element, the time is controlled by the timer and the popping up is driven by a spring. The case of the missing cerebellum reveals there is no such simple scheme for the brain. Although we love to talk about the brain region for vision, for hunger or for love, there are no such brain regions, because the brain isn’t technology where any function is governed by just one part.
Image: Come funziona l’occhio, “Il secolo illustrato”, 1936
Each year, scientists publish roughly 17,000 detailed descriptions of newly discovered animals. Recently, in the journal Breviora, researchers described yet another, a new species of lizard called Aspidoscelis neavesi.
At first glance, this seems to be a run-of-the mill lizard: a small, slender creature with spots along its back and a bluish tail. In fact, Aspidoscelis neavesi is quite exceptional. The lizard was produced in the laboratory by mating two other species, and its creation defies conventional ideas about how new species evolve.
The BitTorrent system was supposed to be mortally wounded on December 9, when police in Sweden raided a server farm in Stockholm on December 9th. The Pirate Bay, EZTV, Istole, Zoink and Torrage are took a big hit.
The so-called dark web (that slice of freedom not controlled by big US corporations) was on its knees. But hope arrived. Dutch researchers at Delft University of Technology discovered that BitTorrent didn;’t need to use central servers. Hail “Tribler“. Dr. Johan Pouwelse tells Torrent Freak:
“Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down…
“Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.”
Sometimes you’re asked to sort African American faces and “good” words to one side of the screen. Other times, black faces are to be sorted with “bad” words. As words and faces keep flashing by, you struggle not to make too many sorting mistakes.
And then suddenly, you have a horrible realization. When black faces and “bad” words are paired together, you feel yourself becoming faster in your categorizing—an indication that the two are more easily linked in your mind. “It’s like you’re on a bike going downhill,” Amodio says, “and you feel yourself going faster. So you can say, ‘I know this is not how I want to come off,’ but there’s no other response option.”
You think of yourself as a person who strives to be unprejudiced, but you can’t control these split-second reactions. As the milliseconds are being tallied up, you know the tale they’ll tell: When negative words and black faces are paired together, you’re a better, faster categorizer. Which suggests that racially biased messages from the culture around you have shaped the very wiring of your brain.
Should police wear body cameras? And if they should, what punishment if they ‘forget’ to turn them on?
After the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, confidence in police is low.
Over the last two years, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) has disciplined police officers on 24 occasions for disabling or failing to activate body-worn cameras, newly released public records show. The City of Oakland did not provide any records prior to 2013… The records show that on November 8, 2013 one officer was terminated after failing to activate his camera. Less than two weeks later, another resigned for improperly removing the camera from his or her uniform. However, most officers received minor discipline in comparison.
Next question: who watches the footage and how often?
No camera. No job.
In the UK:
As non-evidential footage is deleted after 31 days, members of the public should be aware that any complaint that references the use of BWV needs to be made in a timely fashion to ensure that any evidential footage can be retained in line with force policy in the event that an investigation needs to take place.
After the initial 31-day period, deleted BWV footage that has been deemed as non-evidential cannot be recovered.
In Airspace Magyou can learn How to Survive A Helicopter Crash. The simplest way, of course, is never to get inside a helicopter. I once took a trip to an oil rig. After a spot of training, in which you slide down a chute into a deep swimming pool, get tipped upside down and around before punching the release clip on your safety belt and wriggling free, you get to fly.
Yep, exactly, the old hands press the releases clip as soon as trouble looms. And once aboard the helicopter you soon learn that the old hands invite you sit in the middle of the seats rows – furthest from the doors. You then spend an hour or longer with a hand on your own clip, like they do. You know, in case.
James R. Chiles:
At least a quarter-million people have passed through helicopter escape schools worldwide, mostly as part of offshore-oil employment. The degree of realism (and stress level) varies from school to school, as does the equipment. Why the focus on rotorcraft? Helicopters fly lower and slower than airliners, so when they hit the water, their cabins are usually intact enough to trap people inside. And because the heavy machinery (engines, transmission, and main rotor) is up high, helicopters tend to roll over quickly.
Over five decades, dozens of military and oil field transports have crashed in the water with passengers, and of the deaths that resulted, drowning has been a common cause. In one eight-year span, two big transport helicopters crashed into English waters, killing 74.
“The cost to Gawker Media of its ridicule and viciousness toward video gamers was ‘seven figures’ in lost advertising revenue, according to the company’s head of advertising, Andrew Gorenstein. In addition, founder Nick Denton has stepped down as president and editorial director Joel Johnson has been removed from his post and will probably leave the company, reportsCapital New York. . . . Gawker, together with Vox Media, represent the ‘worst offenders’ in the media, according to GamerGate forums: they have both, through properties such as Kotaku and Polygon, respectively, repeatedly mocked video gamers and uncritically reported claims of threats and harassment from feminist campaigners which are falling apart under closer scrutiny.”
Journalism is being crushed beneath the feminists’ truck of truth for whom evidence is a peculiarity…