gurps_npc writes: Gizmodo has a summary of two separate scientific studies about what your genes do after you die. You think your body stops after death, but up to 2 days later certain genes may turn ON and start doing stuff for another 2 days before they give up the ghost. We are all zombies for upto 4 days after death.
gurps_npc writes: Algorithms are slowly invading the criminal justice system, as per a Propublica.org report. Basically, in a well intentioned attempt to eliminate variation, they try to predict who is a real danger to society and who is likely to commit more crimes, then use that information to affect bonds and criminal sentences.
But the algorithms are a black box and Probulica's report says they are ineffective at real predictions, and discriminate racially, being far more likely to mistakenly 'predict' that a black person would commit further crimes than a white person.
From the article: White Labeled Higher Risk, But Didn’t Re-Offend 23.5% Black Labeled Higher Risk, But Didn’t Re-Offend 44.9%
White Labeled Lower Risk, Yet Did Re-Offend 47.7% Black Labeled Lower Risk, Yet Did Re-Offend 28.0%
Even after accounting for differential treatment by criminal history (i.e. blacks — and men- tend to get arrested for things that whites — and women — then to get warnings for, giving them a 'worse' criminal history even if they are less criminally inclined), there is STILL bias.
Because it's a black box, Propublica could not identify the actual cause of the bias, but it used a lot of questionable inputs, not just education, work, but also questions about your upbringing.
gurps_npc writes: MIT has developed a small ingestible robot to remove watch batteries that kids swallow. It starts out folded up tight and surrounded by an ice sheath. You swallow it, the ice melts, and it unfolds. Then a doctor uses magnets to direct it to the battery, it wraps itself around the battery, preventing it from leaking acid until you pass it — perhaps a bit faster with the doctor using the magnets to guide it down through your system.
gurps_npc writes: As per this article, many prisons are trying to replace in person visitation rights with video visitation. The reason is money — in person costs a lot to administer, while you can charge people to 'visit' via video conferencing (charge as in overcharge — just like they charge up to $14 a minute for normal, audio only telephone calls).
This is new, and the few studies that have been done show that doing this INCREASES violence in the prison — and it is believed to also increase recidivism. But the companies making a ton on it like that — repeat customers and all.
Of course, the service is horrible, often being full of static and dropped calls — and the company doesn't help you fix the problem.
gurps_npc writes: Per this story, Apple has caved on Error 53. They have an update that replaces "bricking" the entire phone with just disabling the touchpad. Notably, it also "un-bricks" all phones previously bricked due to the detection of an un-authorized touchpad repair.
gurps_npc writes: This trailer is not for a real movie. It is a fake put together from multiple movies — mostly Christopher Loyd with a few spy movies. It purports to show an intense spy drama detailing how Dr. Emmett Brown stole the plutonium for use in Back to the Future.
That said, it looks like a better movie than 99% of the stuff Hollywood actually puts out there. Frankly, I would almost rather watch the trailer 10 times than watch Ride Along 2.
gurps_npc writes: io9 has a great little quiz asking if you can tell the difference between Super Bowl 50 and a fictional Dystopia. I failed miserably, as I am the typical nerd more interested in the advertisements than the game. Or maybe the world has become a dystopian nightmare?
gurps_npc writes: The Atlantic has an article about how existing apps on smart phones and computers listen for ultrasonic noises that a company called SilverPush puts on existing TV adds. It uses them to cross connect your advertising profile on the phone/computer/TV with each other. These apps do not tell you what they do. They just ask for permission to use your microphone. So the phone app not only knows where you go, who you call and what websites you visit on your smart phone, it also knows what TV you watch and what websites you visit on your laptop or desktop.
Anyone know where I can buy a solid lead cellphone case?
gurps_npc writes: I love the idea of a Smart Home, but hate the huge privacy invasion it represents. Not only do you need to worry about the company that makes the products (NEST loves to spy on you and report back to Google) but also from hackers. A company called Dojo-labs now sells a Firewall to block this privacy leak. You still have to trust Dojo, but they are a small startup whose business is focused on providing this kind of security.
gurps_npc writes: You may remember the story of a drone being shot down by a concerned parent in Kentucky. The peeping drone owner contacted the police who arrested the shooter. The judge has ruled in favor of the shooter, saying what he did was legal, and that the drone flight was an invasion of privacy.
gurps_npc writes: Note, as always, the answer to a headline question is usually "no". But Phil Plait just wrote a very interesting article about a star that is extremely variable. We generally look for cyclical minute (1%) variations in star light to detect planets. But we found one that has a variable variation in starlight of over 20%. We don't have a very good explanation for this and some people are proposing it is caused by a civilization building a Dyson Sphere around the star.
gurps_npc writes: About 6 years ago, some bright sociopath over at Volkswagon wrote software code that turned on the Emissions Control only when the car was being tested. The rest of the time it polluted freely. But the EPA was smart enough to notice and ordered all such cars (482,000) to be recalled. While a fine was mentioned, no mention of criminal charges is made in the article.
gurps_npc writes: Apparently, in Egypt, wealthy people pay school officials to "swap" their students's final papers. So smart student get someone's fail and the rich kid gets the A+. Sometimes the rich kid doesn't even write anything, so the smart student gets a 0. But someone went a little overboard and swapped all 7 of one of the top students in seven different exams for someone that left the test blank. There have been a lot of rumors of this happening before, but they did it to a semi-famous student that had some TV experience. So when she complained, it went all the way to the President of Egypt.
gurps_npc writes: Ashley Madison claimed to have about 31 million men and 5.5 million woman enrolled. Those odds are not good for the men, 6:1. But unfortunately, most of those 'women' were fake. This researcher analyzed the data and found only 12,000 actual, real women using Ashley Madison. That means for every 7750 men, there were 3 women. There are reports that Ashley Madison paid people to create fake female profiles. Their website admits that 'some of the users may be their for "entertainment purposes"' The article itself is well written, including a description of the analysis.
A charitable person would say that Ashley Madison was selling a fantasy, not reality. But a realist would say Ashley Madison is just a thief stealing money from lonely, unhappy men.
gurps_npc writes: Here is a press release with very little information from Thoth Technology (1 year old company — sells cameras, sensors, rovers, and computers for space applications), about how a space elevator design has been 'green lighted'. No information about who green lighted it, where the funding will come, where in Canada they want to build it, etc. May be vaporware, but still it's a plan for a 12.4 mile tall building — bigger than Mt. Everest.