Tag Archives | Technology

Is Technology Making The World Too Complex?

Pic: Theon (CC)

Pic: Theon (CC)

Can Moore’s law abet neutralization of Buckminster Fuller’s ephemeralization? Will Georges Anderla’s statistical model (coined the information explosion by Robert Anton Wilson) equalize the complexity?

via Aeon

Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits?

Despite the vastness of the sky, airplanes occasionally crash into each other. To avoid these catastrophes, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) was developed. TCAS alerts pilots to potential hazards, and tells them how to respond by using a series of complicated rules. In fact, this set of rules — developed over decades — is so complex, perhaps only a handful of individuals alive even understand it anymore. When a TCAS is developed, humans are pushed to the sidelines and, instead, simulation is used. If the system responds as expected after a number of test cases, it receives the engineer’s seal of approval and goes into use.

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Hi Def Cameras Can Now Capture The Reflection Of Your Face In Someone Else’s Eye

“Zoom in. Now enhance.” – Deckard, Bladerunner.

Via BoingBoing:

In Identifiable Images of Bystanders Extracted from Corneal Reflections, British psychology researchers Rob Jenkins and Christie Kerr show that recognizable images of the faces of unpictured bystanders can be captured from modern, high-resolution photography by zooming in on subjects’ eyes to see the reflections in their corneas. The researchers asked experimental subjects to identify faces captured from these zoomed-in images and found that they were able to do so with a high degree of reliability.

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Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Pitched Sound That You Can’t Hear

800px-Sine_waves_different_frequencies.svgGetting pissed off and screaming at your computer still shown to have no effect.

Via Scientific American:

Using the microphones and speakers that come standard in many of today’s laptop computers and mobile devices, hackers can secretly transmit and receive data using high-frequency audio signals that are mostly inaudible to human ears, a new study shows.

Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz, researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics, recently performed a proof-of-concept experiment that showed that “covert acoustical networking,” a technique which had been hypothesized but considered improbable by most experts, is indeed possible.

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Smart Phone, Dumb Person: Woman Checking Facebook Status Walks Off Pier

Pic: fineartamerica.com

Pic: fineartamerica.com

A Taiwanese tourist almost drowned after she walked off the edge of a pier while playing with her phone. Don’t worry: She didn’t lose the phone.

Via BBC:

Police were alerted to the incident by a witness and rescued her in a speedboat after about 20 minutes.

The woman, who apologised, was taken to hospital for observation but police said she was fine.

Senior Constable Dean Kelly of the water police said officers found her floating metres from the pier.

“She was still out in the water laying on her back in a floating position because she told us later that she couldn’t swim,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted him as saying.

“She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologised… she said ‘I was checking my Facebook page on the phone and I’ve fallen in’.”

Constable Kelly called on people to pay more attention when using social media around water.

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The Tech Industry’s Plans To Fix Food Production

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From Modern Meadow

One of the wonderful but irritating qualities of the technology culture prevalent in Silicon Valley and various other wannabe Silcon Somethings is the attitude that its engineers can fix everything wrong with the world. Joscelin Cooper, part of that very culture, describes how some of the Valley’s finest have turned to the world’s food crisis, writing at VentureBeat:

The technology industry can have an important impact on fixing the food system both by inventing new systems and infrastructure to reduce food waste, and ensuring that healthy, affordable food is widely available. Here are a few people and programs making a difference:

Invest in fake meat

Khosla Ventures has invested in numerous food-tech projects to create healthier foods that reduce the environmental impact of heavy meat consumption. As people in developing nations become more affluent, demand for meat products has gone up. However, the planet cannot sustain this growing market. Around 15 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gases are produced by livestock farming.

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Brave New Biohacking

GH LogoShadJessica Firger describes the cyberpunk underground science dungeon making history with a biosensor device, for Al Jazeera America:

PITTSBURGH — In the basement of a suburban two-story house on a quiet road just outside Pittsburgh, six mostly self-taught scientists tinker with an assortment of computer parts and electric equipment. They plan one day on becoming cyborgs — a future that may be closer than you think.

They are Grindhouse Wetware — three men and three women — and they describe themselves as a “ragtag group of programmers, engineers and enthusiasts” who build cybernetic devices. They find inspiration in both current technology and science fiction.

“I don’t want to go to space in a spaceship. I want to be a spaceship,” said Tim Cannon, Grindhouse’s 34-year-old co-founder whose basement serves as the group’s headquarters and scientific lab.

Today, at an international body-modification conference in Essen, Germany, Grindhouse will make history as the first in the DIY-science community — i.e., not affiliated with any academic institution or corporation — to develop and implant an interactive electronic device in a human being.

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How to Protect Ourselves on Social Networks and from Data Collection Systems of Governments and Corporations

via chycho
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I. What’s Going On

Online, we are both a product for corporations and a person of interest to governments (2, 3).

Corporations are taking advantage of these times by changing their privacy policies so that they can track us, use us, and sell us whatever their algorithms decide that we need or want based on data they have acquired about our movements, contacts, desires, fantasies, or kinks. Governments on the other hand are using our data to make sure that we will never acquire enough power to change any policies that we deem to be a threat to our happiness, livelihood, or survival. In essence, we are at war with these organizations and we should act as such:

“…this is truly unprecedented in history. And what we’re seeing is secrecy and surveillance are completely subverting security and liberty, not just in the United States, but for many, many citizens around the world.”

This corporate misconduct and government surveillance is threatening the internet (2, 3), the original purpose of which was to create an “open architecture networking” system where “a globally interconnected set of computers” would allow “everyone” to “quickly access data and programs from any site”.

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Surveillance State Hurts U.S. Economy: Lavabit Likely to Move Overseas

via chycho

CaptureIn a sign of things to come for the U.S. tech industry, Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, the secure private encrypted email provider that shut down after 10 years of operation (2, 3) because he decided not to abide by the demands made by the United States government to spy on their 400,000 plus users, explains that if he loses his case against the U.S. government he will most likely hand over his company to someone overseas and let them run it. It’s important to note that the U.S. government already new that this would be the end result, that revelations about NSA’s PRISM program would hurt American Technology companies, but they didn’t really care.

Levison clarifies his position in the following interview on Democracy Now!. The segment in which he makes these comments occurs at approximately the 11 minute mark, but the whole interview is well worth watching, especially the part just before these comments where he explains how the U.S.Read the rest

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Mind Controlled Flamethrowers!

Yes, really, you can control a flamethrower just by concentrating. Or at least Matt Oehrlein can, reports Jesse Hicks for The Verge:

“Wouldn’t it be really cool to have a mind-controlled flamethrower?” ponders Matt Oehrlein. He’s perched on a solid wooden desk, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, his sneakers crossed at the ankle and swinging in the air. He’s thin and tall, sporting thick-rimmed black glasses and a shock of bushy brown hair. Around him rises what to an outsider looks like functional chaos: a warehouse-like, fluorescent-lit workshop where a traffic light hangs from the ceiling, a forklift idles nearby, and the shrill grind of a table saw cuts through the air.

Naturally, he already does have a mind-controlled flamethrower. It’s a precarious-looking wooden frame about 3 feet tall, topped by a pair of propane tanks. After some required assembly, Oehrlein dons a Bluetooth-enabled headset, steps on a safety switch, and begins to concentrate.

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