technology

ballin’ out of control

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[T]hough air travel is safer than it has ever been, the intervening time has not provided an enormous upgrade of our ability to track aircraft far from land-based radar. […]

[O]ver international waters, air traffic controllers have no real-time knowledge of where planes are—they rely on flight plans, radio contact with pilots, and a system called ACARS that provides what is effectively text-message communication between planes and ground stations. […]

In 2010, the FAA mandated that all US aircraft would need to use a system called ADS-B, which means “Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast.” Essentially, by 2020, aircraft are required to broadcast their location, derived from GPS, each second. […]

However, ground receivers need to be within about 172 miles (277 km) of the aircraft to collect ADS-B signals. Out over the ocean, there’s still a knowledge gap between the planes and the air traffic controllers they can’t reach. […]

The solution: more satellites.

Specifically, Aireon has installed payloads on 75 Iridium satellites that have been launched over the past two years, with the final installment reaching orbit in a SpaceX rocket on Jan. 11. These payloads are designed to detect ADS-B signals wherever they are broadcast, whether over the open ocean or a mountain range, finally providing continuous tracking of aircraft anywhere on Earth. The satellites are already processing more than 13 billion ADS-B messages each month. […]

For airlines themselves, the benefits will include using that real-time traffic management to fly faster, in part because they will be able to fly more closely to other planes, which will cut fuel costs (and emissions).

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

etching { Damien Hirst, Cinchonidine, 2004 }

‘In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.’ –Heidegger

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AI-generated videos that show a person’s face on another’s body are called “deepfakes.” […]

Airbrushing and Photoshop long ago opened photos to easy manipulation. Now, videos are becoming just as vulnerable to fakes that look deceptively real. Supercharged by powerful and widely available artificial-intelligence software developed by Google, these lifelike “deepfake” videos have quickly multiplied across the Internet, blurring the line between truth and lie. […] A growing number of deepfakes target women far from the public eye, with anonymous users on deepfakes discussion boards and private chats calling them co-workers, classmates and friends. Several users who make videos by request said there’s even a going rate: about $20 per fake. […]

Deepfake creators often compile vast bundles of facial images, called “facesets,” and sex-scene videos of women they call “donor bodies.” Some creators use software to automatically extract a woman’s face from her videos and social-media posts. Others have experimented with voice-cloning software to generate potentially convincing audio. […]

The requester of the video with the woman’s face atop the body with the pink off-the-shoulder top had included 491 photos of her face, many taken from her Facebook account. […] One creator on the discussion board 8chan made an explicit four-minute deepfake featuring the face of a young German blogger who posts videos about makeup; thousands of images of her face had been extracted from a hair tutorial she had recorded in 2014. […]

The victims of deepfakes have few tools to fight back. Legal experts say deepfakes are often too untraceable to investigate and exist in a legal gray area: Built on public photos, they are effectively new creations, meaning they could be protected as free speech. […]

Many of the deepfake tools, built on Google’s artificial-intelligence library, are publicly available and free to use. […] Google representatives said the company takes its ethical responsibility seriously, but that restrictions on its AI tools could end up limiting developers pushing the technology in a positive way. […]

“If a biologist said, ‘Here’s a really cool virus; let’s see what happens when the public gets their hands on it,’ that would not be acceptable. And yet it’s what Silicon Valley does all the time,” he said.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Technical experts and online trackers say they are developing tools that could automatically spot these “deepfakes” by using the software’s skills against it, deploying image-recognition algorithms that could help detect the ways their imagery bends belief.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s high-tech research arm known as DARPA, is funding researchers with hopes of designing an automated system that could identify the kinds of fakes that could be used in propaganda campaigns or political blackmail. Military officials have advertised the contracts — code-named “MediFor,” for “media forensics” — by saying they want “to level the digital imagery playing field, which currently favors the manipulator.”

The photo-verification start-up Truepic checks for manipulations in videos and saves the originals into a digital vault so other viewers — insurance agencies, online shoppers, anti-fraud investigators — can confirm for themselves. […]

However, the rise of fake-spotting has spurred a technical blitz of detection, pursuit and escape, in which digital con artists work to refine and craft evermore deceptive fakes. In some recent pornographic deepfakes, the altered faces appear to blink naturally — a sign that creators have already conquered one of the telltale indicators of early fakes, in which the actors never closed their eyes. […] “The counterattacks have just gotten worse over time, and deepfakes are the accumulation of that,” McGregor said. “It will probably forever be a cat-and-mouse game.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door so you can see in

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An electronic synapse that fires millions of times faster than the ones in your brain could be used to build artificial neural networks.

[…]

A clinical trial of drugs called mTOR inhibitors found that they boosted elderly people’s immune systems, potentially extending their life spans. Another trial in progress is testing senolytics, drugs that eliminate the senescent cells that make aging bodies break down.
[…]

A team that built a brain-to-brain communication device in 2015 has now expanded it to three people, paving the way for larger groups to transmit thoughts directly to one another.

[…]

An ordinary smartphone can be used to track people on the other side of a solid wall by detecting how their movements distort the signals from any Wi-Fi transmitters in the area.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

image { Google hires camel for desert Street View, 2014 }

P.P., don’t carry that weight

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Active, polymorphic material (“Utility Fog”) can be designed as a conglomeration of 100-micron robotic cells (‘foglets’). Such robots could be built with the techniques of molecular nanotechnology […] The Fog acts as a continuous bridge between actual physical reality and virtual reality.

{ NASA | Continue reading }

photo { Joel Meyerowitz, Times Square, New York City, 1963 }

Said I wouldn’t mention Sisqo, fuck he’s a bum

After 4 hours of training, AlphaZero became the strongest chess entity of the planet with an estimated ELO of around 3,400.

{ AlphaZero vs Stockfish 8 | ELO ratings of chess players }

more { How AlphaZero quickly learns each game [chess, shogi, and Go] to become the strongest player in history for each }

related { The ability to distort reality has taken an exponential leap forward with “deep fake” technology. We survey a broad array of responses. | Previously: Researchers can now detect AI-generated fake videos with a 95% success rate }

‘The love of stinking.’ –Nietzsche

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{ aversion | panic | Thanks Tim }

related { Dick Stain Donald Trump got zero comments for the Stock Market Drop }

Rain on your college-ass disco dorm

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“Amazon is not too big to fail,” Bezos said, in a recording of the meeting that CNBC has heard. “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”

{ CNBC | Continue reading }

‘This is the curse of our age, even the strangest aberrations are no cure for boredom.’ –Stendhal

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Because more and more young people are constantly presented with the opportunity to access information and connect to others via their smartphones, they report to be in a state of permanent alertness. In the current study, we define such a state as smartphone vigilance, an awareness that one can always get connected to others in combination with a permanent readiness to respond to incoming smartphone notifications. We hypothesized that constantly resisting the urge to interact with their phones draws on response inhibition, and hence interferes with students’ ability to inhibit prepotent responses in a concurrent task. […]

Results show that the mere visibility of a smartphone is sufficient to experience vigilance and distraction, and that this is enhanced when students receive notifications. Curiously enough, these strong experiences were unrelated to stop-signal task performance. These findings raise new questions about when and how smartphones can impact performance.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

Mr. Ingberg described the vodka, made with melted snow from the French Alps, as “very tasty” and “smooth and round,” but added, “It’s difficult to attribute a taste to wheat-based vodka.”

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Machine-vision systems can match humans at recognizing faces and can even create realistic synthetic faces. But researchers have discovered that the same systems cannot recognize optical illusions, which means they also can’t create new ones.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

‘A fun thing to do at parties is stay home and masturbate.’ –Eden Dranger

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In April 2018, the servers of the popular video game “Fortnite” crashed for 24 hr. During this period, Pornhub (a popular pornographic website) analyzed trends in pornography access, finding that: (a) the percentage of gamers accessing Pornhub increased by 10% and (b) the searches of pornographic videos using the key term “Fortnite” increased by 60%.

{ Journal of Behavioral Addictions | Continue reading }

related { How Fortnite became the most important video game on the planet }

update { Online divorce service says ‘Fortnite addiction’ cited in 200 divorces }

pochoir, brush and india ink { Roy Lichtenstein, Hand Loading Gun, 1961 }

‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’ —Henry Miller

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We investigated the association between sexy-selfie prevalence and income inequality. […] Among 5,567 US cities and 1,622 US counties, areas with relatively more sexy selfies were more economically unequal. […] We investigated and confirmed that economically unequal (but not gender-oppressive) areas in the United States also had greater aggregate sales in goods and services related to female physical appearance enhancement (beauty salons and women’s clothing).

{ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | Continue reading }

“Selfies” (self-taken photos) are a common self-presentation strategy on social media. This study experimentally tested whether taking and posting selfies, with and without photo-retouching, elicits changes to mood and body image among young women. […] Women who took and posted selfies to social media reported feeling more anxious, less confident, and less physically attractive afterwards compared to those in the control group. Harmful effects of selfies were found even when participants could retake and retouch their selfies.

{ Body Image | Continue reading }

When young children during their early development for the first time get their head around the fact that the reflection in the mirror is them, they are struck with a terrifying realization: All at once it dawns on them that this is how they present themselves to the world – and that the world might be repulsed by the sight. Animals, it seems, are not able to make that discovery. […] Hearing a recording of one’s own voice for the first time produces a similarly uncanny sensation.

{ Rolf Degen | Continue reading }

there shall be no more Kates and Nells

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Coding theorists are concerned with two things. Firstly and most importantly they are concerned with the private lives of two people called Alice and Bob. In theory papers, whenever a coding theorist wants to describe a transaction between two parties he doesn’t call then A and B. No. For some longstanding traditional reason he calls them Alice and Bob.

Now there are hundreds of papers written about Alice and Bob. Over the years Alice and Bob have tried to defraud insurance companies, they’ve played poker for high stakes by mail, and they’ve exchanged secret messages over tapped telephones.

If we put together all the little details from here and there, snippets from lots of papers, we get a fascinating picture of their lives. This may be the first time a definitive biography of Alice and Bob has been give

In papers written by American authors Bob is frequently selling stock to speculators. From the number of stock market deals Bob is involved in we infer that he is probably a stockbroker. However from his concern about eavesdropping he is probably active in some subversive enterprise as well. And from the number of times Alice tries to buy stock from him we infer she is probably a speculator. Alice is also concerned that her financial dealings with Bob are not brought to the attention of her husband. So Bob is a subversive stockbroker and Alice is a two-timing speculator.

But Alice has a number of serious problems. She and Bob only get to talk by telephone or by electronic mail. In the country where they live the telephone service is very expensive. And Alice and Bob are cheapskates. So the first thing Alice must do is MINIMIZE THE COST OF THE PHONE CALL.

{ John Gordon, The Alice and Bob After Dinner Speech, 1984 | Continue reading }

acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, and roll-a-tex on canvas { Peter Halley, Laws of Rock, 2008 }