‘The way in which the other presents himself, exceeding the idea of the other in me, we here name face.’ –Emmanuel Levinas

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His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants. […]

Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial recognition technology.

But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. The computer code underlying its app, analyzed by The New York Times, includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses; users would potentially be able to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

And it’s not just law enforcement: Clearview has also licensed the app to at least a handful of companies for security purposes. […]

In addition to Mr. Ton-That, Clearview was founded by Richard Schwartz — who was an aide to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was mayor of New York — and backed financially by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist behind Facebook and Palantir.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

5.jpg Sheep facial recognition: Funding helps bring software one step closer

3D-printed living skin with blood vessels created by scientists

Of the 69 rulers of the unified Roman Empire, from Augustus (d. 14 CE) to Theodosius (d. 395 CE), 62% suffered violent death

Police platform patrols create ‘phantom effect’ that cuts crime in London Underground

We study the effects that two of the largest gangs in Latin America, MS-13 and 18th Street, have on economic development in El Salvador.

MRI scanners built for two push limits of neuroimaging

women who reported to have sex weekly during the study period were 28% less likely to experience menopause than women who had sex less than monthly.

Prosociality and a Sociosexual Hypothesis for the Evolution of Same-Sex Attraction in Humans

We aim to determine whether shoes are a systematic form of self-expression [PDF]

Humans recall the past by replaying fragments of events temporally. Here, we demonstrate a similar effect in macaques.

We conclude that researchers’ optimism about the benefits of music training is empirically unjustified

Insecurities are a result of market forces that prioritize costs over security and of governments, including the United States, that want to preserve the option of surveillance in 5G networks. To be sure, there are significant security improvements in 5G over 4G­in encryption, authentication, integrity protection, privacy, and network availability. But the enhancements aren’t enough.

The Case Against Huawei

Valuations of the major labels are currently at an all-time high — they generated $14 billion in 2019 alone. Now private equity firms, institutional investors, and high-profile managers want in on it, too. In recent years, billions of dollars have flooded the music business to invest in the catalogs of songwriters.

Through its partnerships with health care providers, Google can view tens of millions of patient records in at least three-quarters of states

Google researchers used neural networks to make weather forecasts

How the Navy SEALs wound up buying 450 counterfeit radio antennas

the Kola Superdeep Borehole, the deepest manmade hole on Earth and deepest artificial point on Earth

A guitar made out of 106 iPhones and one iPod Touch

Air was collected from 8 different locations associated with death in Texas. A balloon artist was then hired to make 35 balloon hats using the air saved in the compressor.

how paisibly eirenical, all dimmering dunes and gloamering glades

Army researchers have developed an artificial intelligence and machine learning technique that produces a visible face image from a thermal image of a person’s face captured in low-light or nighttime conditions. This development could lead to enhanced real-time biometrics and post-mission forensic analysis for covert nighttime operations.

{ DSIAC | Continue reading }

‘Earworm remover App idea: type in song. It beatmatches into another song. Removes earworm. But of course replaces it. But with the “sponsored” song.’ –Tim Geoghegan

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Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

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The prospect of data-driven ads, linked to expressed preferences by identifiable people, proved in this past decade to be irresistible. From 2010 through 2019, revenue for Facebook has gone from just under $2 billion to $66.5 billion per year, almost all from advertising. Google’s revenue rose from just under $25 billion in 2010 to just over $155 billion in 2019. Neither company’s growth seems in danger of abating.

The damage to a healthy public sphere has been devastating. All that ad money now going to Facebook and Google once found its way to, say, Conde Nast, News Corporation, the Sydney Morning Herald, NBC, the Washington Post, El País, or the Buffalo Evening News. In 2019, more ad revenue flowed to targeted digital ads in the U.S. than radio, television, cable, magazine, and newspaper ads combined for the first time. It won’t be the last time. Not coincidentally, journalists are losing their jobs at a rate not seen since the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern that this sort of precise ad targeting might not work as well as advertisers have assumed. Right now my Facebook page has ads for some products I would not possibly ever desire.

{ Slate | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

related { Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company is developing a set of laws to regulate facial recognition technology that it plans to share with federal lawmakers. }

‘so many ankles out on this freakishly warm day, so few of them lotioned’ –Doreen St. Félix

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He had diabetes, and he had signed up for a study to see if taking a “statin” – a kind of cholesterol-lowering drug – might help. So far, so normal.

But soon after he began the treatment, his wife began to notice a sinister transformation. A previously reasonable man, he became explosively angry and – out of nowhere – developed a tendency for road rage. During one memorable episode, he warned his family to keep away, lest he put them in hospital. […]

In 2018, a study uncovered the same effect in fish. Giving statins to Nile tilapia made them more confrontational and – crucially – altered the levels of serotonin in their brains. This suggests that the mechanism that links cholesterol and violence may have been around for millions of years.

Golomb remains convinced that lower cholesterol, and, by extension, statins, can cause behavioural changes in both men and women, though the strength of the effect varies drastically from person to person. […]

The world is in the midst of a crisis of over-medication, with the US alone buying up 49,000 tonnes of paracetamol every year – equivalent to about 298 paracetamol tablets per person. [..]

Mischkowski’s own research has uncovered a sinister side-effect of paracetamol. For a long time, scientists have known that the drug blunts physical pain by reducing activity in certain brain areas, such as the insular cortex, which plays an important role in our emotions. These areas are involved in our experience of social pain, too – and intriguingly, paracetamol can make us feel better after a rejection.

And recent research has revealed that this patch of cerebral real-estate is more crowded than anyone previously thought, because it turns out the brain’s pain centres also share their home with empathy. […] results revealed that paracetamol significantly reduces our ability to feel positive empathy – a result with implications for how the drug is shaping the social relationships of millions of people every day. […] Technically, paracetamol isn’t changing our personalities, because the effects only last a few hours and few of us take it continuously.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Logan White }

I’m in that black on black Porsche Panamera, in the back like “ooh wee”

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Using Music as Medicine – finding the optimum music listening ‘dosage’

There was a general agreement of dosage time across 3 of the 4 domains with 11 minutes being the most common amount of time it took for people to receive the therapeutic benefit from their self- selected music preferences. The only exception was the domain of happiness where the most common length of time for people to become happier after listening to their chosen music was reduced to 5 minutes, suggesting that happy music takes less time to take effect than other music. 


{ British Academy of Sound Therapy.com | PDF | More

photo { Sarah Illenberger }

If I wrote you a love letter would you write back?

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I’m 62 years old as I write this. Like many of my friends, I forget names that I used to be able to conjure up effortlessly. When packing my suitcase for a trip, I walk to the hall closet and by the time I get there, I don’t remember what I came for.

And yet my long-term memories are fully intact. I remember the names of my third-grade classmates, the first record album I bought, my wedding day.

This is widely understood to be a classic problem of aging. But as a neuroscientist, I know that the problem is not necessarily age-related.

Short-term memory contains the contents of your thoughts right now, including what you intend to do in the next few seconds. It’s doing some mental arithmetic, thinking about what you’ll say next in a conversation or walking to the hall closet with the intention of getting a pair of gloves.

Short-term memory is easily disturbed or disrupted. It depends on your actively paying attention to the items that are in the “next thing to do” file in your mind. You do this by thinking about them, perhaps repeating them over and over again (“I’m going to the closet to get gloves”). But any distraction — a new thought, someone asking you a question, the telephone ringing — can disrupt short-term memory. Our ability to automatically restore the contents of the short-term memory declines slightly with every decade after 30. […]

Some aspects of memory actually get better as we age. For instance, our ability to extract patterns, regularities and to make accurate predictions improves over time because we’ve had more experience. (This is why computers need to be shown tens of thousands of pictures of traffic lights or cats in order to be able to recognize them). If you’re going to get an X-ray, you want a 70-year-old radiologist reading it, not a 30-year-old one. […]

Older adults have to search through more memories than do younger adults to find the fact or piece of information they’re looking for. Your brain becomes crowded with memories and information. It’s not that you can’t remember — you can — it’s just that there is so much more information to sort through. 

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

2.jpgSan Diego strip club hands out branded tents to homeless

The effect of wearing different types of textiles on sexual activity was studied in 75 rats

Enhanced eyelashes increase perceived health and attractiveness

Does the presence of a mannequin head change shopping behavior?

Apple’s AirPods business, the fastest-growing segment of the world’s most valuable company

Within the past year, 2 out of every 5 Americans made a purchase directly from the brand or manufacturer, bypassing middlemen like Walmart or Amazon in the process.

today’s cloud and mobile companies — Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google — may very well be the GM, Ford, and Chrysler of the 21st century

Geoengineering Wouldn’t Be Enough to Stop Greenland From Melting

The missing 99%: why can’t we find the vast majority of ocean plastic?

Why Knots Work and Why Some Don’t

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is an American franchise, founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims

Draw a ridgeline map showing elevation, for anywhere on Earth

2020 Battle for the Whitehouse Chess Set

‘I love the sun but don’t have the time to get a good tan and keep it year-round, so I am a huge fan of tanning products.’ –Kim Kardashian

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In the US, the normal, oral temperature of adults is, on average, lower than the canonical 37°C established in the 19th century. We postulated that body temperature has decreased over time.

We analyzed 677,423 human body temperature measurements from three different cohort populations spanning 157 years of measurement and 197 birth years.

We found that men born in the early 19th century had temperatures 0.59°C higher than men today, with a monotonic decrease of −0.03°C per birth decade.

Temperature has also decreased in women by −0.32°C since the 1890s with a similar rate of decline (−0.029°C per birth decade).

{ eLife | Continue reading }

acrylic on vinyl tarpaulin { Keith Haring, Untitled, 1983 }

how many oysters does it take to get horny

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Every day, the same, again

22.jpg This wearable vest grows a self-sustaining garden watered by your own urine

Arizona man registers swarm of bees as emotional support animals

Returned online purchases often sent to landfill

Uniqlo’s Tokyo Warehouse is 90% Robotic

Psychopathic individuals have the ability to empathize

monkeys are able to discriminate appearance from reality, study

Punishment as communication

Chinese Scientist Who Edited Babies’ Genes Sentenced To Prison

Researchers fooled Chinese facial recognition terminals with just a mask

Bitcoin lost billions of dollars worth of valuation within a 30-minutes timeframe as a Chinese cryptocurrency scammer allegedly liquidated its steal via over-the-counter markets. The initial sell-off by PlusToken caused a domino effect.

An eight-year-old boy who reviews toys on YouTube has been named by Forbes as YouTube’s highest earner in 2019 He has 22.9 million subscribers and earned $26 million in 2019.

From SaaS idea validation in 1 day to 150+ Beta signups

Science-based dog training with feeling

As germs grow more resistant to antibiotics, many companies developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business. Experts say the grim financial outlook is threatening to strangle the development of new lifesaving drugs.[NY Times]

Does tapping the bottom of a beer can really stop it fizzing over?

J’adore starring Mr Bean [DeepFake] [Thanks Tim]

The story of the “Amen Break”

Tag temen kalian [Thanks Tim]