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.
American writer Alvin Toffler poses during portrait session held on July 3, 1980 in Paris, France.
Those good people at Disinfo point us towards Future Shock, the film based on Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book. Released in 1972, Orson Welles narrates.
Alvin Toffler notes:
“We may define future shock as the distress, both physical and psychological, that arises from an overload of the human organism’s physical adaptive systems and its decision-making processes… Put more simply, future shock is the human response to over-stimulation…”
“I played six soongs at certain times. My right hand was a bit weaker because that was the side that they were operating on. So I stopped and rested. I was interspersing songs and talking with them… The doctors asked me to repeat one of the country songs, so I even had an encore.”
The German Democratic Republic is very advanced in the use of scientific training methods for its athletes. Now the East Germans have beaten the world to the punch in the sport of boxing. Meet Der Boxroboter, a GDR-designed-and-built computerized robot that can hang in there with the best of fighters for hours on end. ”It’s tough to find good sparring partners, especially for heavyweights,” says Dieter Seala of the GDR trade mission, which plans to market DBs internationally for a little more than $33,000 apiece. ”Human sparring partners get tired after a few rounds. They get punched too many times and lose their consistency.”
DB is not just a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot. It can be programmed to assume any fighting style — attack the upper body, go for the belly, back an opponent into a corner — and is allegedly quicker across the ring than any human boxer. DB is equally adept at throwing rights and lefts and has great wheels (literally).
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.