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Facial Recognition Tech Straight Out of ‘Robocop’ Could Be a Real Threat to Civil Liberties (Reason.com)

Civil-liberties concerns have driven California lawmakers to consider Assembly Bill 1215, which would ban police agencies from using facial and biometric tracking devices as part of their body cameras.

“Having every patrol officer constantly scanning faces of everyone that walks into their field of view to identify people, run their records, and record their location and activities is positively Orwellian,” said ACLU attorney Peter Bibring.

This technology is creepy, especially when one considers the next step that’s under active development: Tying facial-recognition software into security cameras that are practically everywhere. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Phil Ting (D–San Francisco), points to an incident in China where the authorities used recognition software to grab someone from a crowd of 20,000 people during a concert.

Opponents of the ban naively insist that there’s no difference between using such software and looking at a mugshot—and that police are still required to follow the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment restraints on unreasonable searches. That’s nonsensical. Police admit that they want to use these cameras as part of wholesale dragnets, by scanning everyone at public events and not only those that they suspect of having committed a crime.

In its official opposition to the bill, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association argues that, “Huge events…and scores of popular tourist attractions should have access to the best available security—including the use of body cameras and facial-recognition technology.” There you have it. The goal of police is to scan our faces at every event.

According to the Assembly analysis, the ACLU used such software to compare photos of all federal legislators and “incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested. The test disproportionately misidentified African-American and Latino members of Congress as the people in mug shots.” The company that produced the software disputed the ACLU’s approach, but this is disturbing, especially in terms of racial bias.

Some of the presidential hopefuls in the Democratic Party sound like front runners for the Communist Party. At what point will they start advocating to bring back slavery and indentured servitude?

The world doesn’t owe you a dream college or a dream house or a dream job. You have no right to someone else’s labor and time. If you want to attend free college, ask professors to offer you their lectures gratis or ask school administrators who run massive endowments to open their doors to everyone.Bernie Sanders’ #CancelStudentDebt Is a Dangerous Scam

Are you a geek or a nerd? Both? It’s ok to be both but know which one you are at any given moment.

I had an LOL moment last night watching Jimmy Fallon [a late-night talk show, for y’all in different countries]. Ex-gangsta-rapper and “Law and Order” detective Ice-T was on TV (it was broadcast here, anyway—I don’t watch often enough to know whether it was a rerun or not) with his extravagant wife Coco, and he pointed out that there’s a big difference between a nerd and a geek. Given any little area of enthusiasm, a nerd is a guy who knows all about it—and likes to talk about it and argue about it—and a geek is a guy who likes to do it. Whatever “it” is.

So I’m a darkroom geek but a Miata nerd. (Makin’ me laugh again*.)

I remember back when I occasionally participated in the often contentious forums of a certain high profile British digital camera review site. I got into it once with a guy who was evangelical about a certain brand of high-end professional DSLR and outspokenly critical of the competing brand’s flagship model. (I forget whether he loved C and hated N, or loved N and hated C…not that it really matters.) When I dug into it, it turned out that the fellow was a teenager who didn’t own a nice DSLR at all.

A goal for him to aspire to: geekhood!Geeks vs. Nerds by Mike at The Online Photographer

5G networks may be faster but less ubiquitous and more costly to build out.

Thousands of engineers and planners like Mr. Hubbard, along with diggers of trenches and installers of antennas, must coordinate to link more fiber-optic cable, in more places in the U.S. than ever before. All so we can do more stuff on mobile devices.

This is the paradox of 5G, the collection of technologies behind next-generation wireless networks: They require a gargantuan quantity of wires. This is because 5G requires many more small towers, all of which must be wired to the internet. The consequences of this unavoidable reality are myriad. The 5G build-out, which could take more than a decade, could disrupt our commutes, festoon nearly every city block with antennas, limit what cities can charge for renting spots on their infrastructure to carriers on which to place their antennas, and result in an unequal distribution of access to high-speed wireless, at least at first.

The driving force behind this enormous build-out is that 5G networks don’t work like previous wireless cellular networks. Where 2G, 3G and even 4G rely on large towers with powerful antennas that can cover many square miles, the shorter-range, higher-frequency radio waves used by 5G networks—essential to their ability to deliver the 10- to 100-times faster speeds they promise—mean that 5G networks must have small cells placed much closer together.The Downside of 5G: Overwhelmed Cities, Torn-Up Streets, a Decade Until Completion by Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal

What exactly does it mean to be mentally tired? What’s actually happening in your brain? Proposing an answer to these riddles is the challenge that a new paper in Sports Medicine, from a team at the University of Canberra led by Kristy Martin, takes on.

The basic hypothesis that Martin and her colleagues present (drawing on a suggestion from 2014) is that mental fatigue results from the accumulation of a brain chemical called adenosine. In this picture, sustained cognitive activity burns up glucose, particularly in certain regions of the brain associated with “effortful mental processes,” such as the anterior cingulate cortex. This temporary and localized fuel shortage triggers a rise in adenosine levels, which in turn blocks the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. The result is a rise in perception of effort and a decrease in motivation—in other words, a feeling of mental fatigue.Here’s What We Know About Mental Fatigue by Alex Hutchinson

Microsoft discreetly wiped its massive facial recognition database (Engadget)

Microsoft has been vocal about its desire to properly regulate facial recognition technology. The company’s president, Brad Smith, appealed directly to Congress last year to take steps to manage the tech, which he says has “broad societal ramifications and potential for abuse.” Such are the company’s concerns that it even blocked the sales of the tech to California police forces. Now, Microsoft is continuing its crusade by quietly deleting its MS Celeb database, which contains more than 10 million images of some 100,000 people.

I am not surprised.

Juggalos figured out how to beat facial recognition (The Outline)

In a series of follow-up tweets, @tahkion explained that facial recognition works by pinpointing the areas of contrast on a human face—for instance, where a nose is located, or where the chin becomes the neck. As it happens, juggalo makeup often involves applying black paint below the mouth, but above the chin. That makes facial recognition vulnerable to misidentifying the placement of the jaw.

One would think that traditional scary clown makeup would also work.