Find out if you can meet all your needs within a 15-minute walk from your house.

source:  fastcompany.com

In a “15-minute city,” it’s possible to meet your basic needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Instead of sitting in traffic during a rush-hour commute, you can work at home or walk to an office nearby. You can walk to get groceries, go to the doctor, take your kids to school, or run any other everyday errand. Housing is affordable, so a barista could live in a walkable neighborhood as easily as a lawyer. It’s a concept championed by the mayor of Paris and, more recently, pitched by a global network of cities as a tool for helping urban areas recover from the pandemic—and improve sustainability and health as people start to get more exercise while conducting their day-to-day activities.

In the U.S., car-dependent sprawl is more common. But a new tool lets you map out local services to see how close your neighborhood comes to the ideal.

 

Click here to try out the tool:

https://app.developer.here.com/15-min-city-map/

“The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of location and proximity,” says Jordan Stark, a spokesperson for Here Technologies, the location data platform that created the map. The company typically creates maps for businesses, such as delivery companies that need to route vehicles, and built the new tool to demonstrate how developers could work with its data. While the current version maps out amenities like grocery stores, transit stops, and medical care—along the lines of Walkscore, another tool—the company says it might later create an iteration that considers how far residents might have to travel to get to an office.

The map also shows how many services can be accessed by car from an address. “We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,” Stark says. “And as you can imagine, there are a number of communities where you have all of your essential items within a 15-minute drive, but potentially less than one essential location in a walk. So it was a way to show that contrast in spatial makeup.”

While pockets of American cities are walkable now—the map tells me that my own neighborhood in Oakland qualifies as a “15-minute city”—it’s possible that more neighborhoods will move in this direction as cities begin to use it as a framework for urban planning. Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development is one of the latest to say that it is exploring the concept of 15-minute neighborhoods.

“We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,”

Deepfakes

source: homelandsecuritynewswire.com

 

Image editing software is so ubiquitous and easy to use, and deadline-driven journalists lack the tools to tell the difference, especially when the images come through from social media.

A peace sign from Martin Luther King, Jr, becomes a rude gesture; President Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd scenes inflated; dolphins in Venice’s Grand Canal; and crocodiles on the streets of flooded Townsville – all manipulated images posted as truth.

Image editing software is so ubiquitous and easy to use,  according to researchers from QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre, it has the power to re-imagine history. And, they say, deadline-driven journalists lack the tools to tell the difference, especially when the images come through from social media.

In addition, certain elements will be centered on mobile devices and tablets and aligned to the left or right on a desktop display. You can adjust the layout for each Block at three different device widths – desktop, tablet, and mobile.

Their study, Visual  Mis/Disinformation in Journalism and Public Communications, has been published in Journalism Practice. It was driven by the increased prevalence of fake news and how social media platforms and news organizations are struggling to identify and combat visual mis/disinformation presented to their audiences.

“When Donald Trump’s staff posted an image to his official Facebook page in 2019, journalists were able to spot the photoshopped edits to the president’s skin and physique because an unedited version exists on the White House’s official Flickr feed,” said lead author Dr T.J. Thomson.

“But what about when unedited versions aren’t available online and journalists can’t rely on simple reverse-image searches to verify whether an image is real or has been manipulated?

“When it is possible to alter past and present images, by methods like cloning, splicing, cropping, re-touching or re-sampling, we face the danger of a re-written history – a very Orwellian scenario.”

Examples highlighted in the report include photos shared by news outlets last year of crocodiles on Townsville streets during a flood which were later shown to be images of alligators in Florida from 2014. It also quotes a Reuters employee on their discovery that a harrowing video shared during Cyclone Idai, which devastated parts of Africa in 2019, had been shot in Libya five years earlier.

An image of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s reaction to the US Senate’s passing of the civil rights bill in 1964, was manipulated to make it appear that he was flipping the bird to the camera. This edited version was shared widely on Twitter, Reddit, and white supremacist website The Daily Stormer.

Dr Thomson, Associate Professor Daniel Angus, Dr. Paula Dootson, Dr. Edward Hurcombe, and Adam Smith have mapped journalists’ current social media verification techniques and suggest which tools are most effective for which circumstances.

“Detection of false images is made harder by the number of visuals created daily – in excess of 3.2 billion photos and 720,000 hours of video – along with the speed at which they are produced, published, and shared,” said Dr. Thomson.

“Other considerations include the digital and visual literacy of those who see them. Yet being able to detect fraudulent edits masquerading as reality is critically important.

“While journalists who create visual media are not immune to ethical breaches, the practice of incorporating more user-generated and crowd-sourced visual content into news reports is growing.  Verification on social media will have to increase commensurately if we wish to improve trust in institutions and strengthen our democracy.”

Dr. Thomson said a recent quantitative study performed by the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) found a very low usage of social media verification tools in newsrooms.

“The ICFJ surveyed over 2,700 journalists and newsroom managers in more than 130 countries and found only 11% of those surveyed used social media verification tools,” he said.

“The lack of user-friendly forensic tools available and low levels of digital media literacy, combined, are chief barriers to those seeking to stem the tide of visual mis/disinformation online.”

Associate Professor Angus said the study demonstrated an urgent need for better tools, developed with journalists, to provide greater clarity around the provenance and authenticity of images and other media.

“Despite knowing little about the provenance and veracity of the visual content they encounter, journalists have to quickly determine whether to re-publish or amplify this content,” he said.

“The many examples of misattributed, doctored, and faked imagery attest to the importance of accuracy, transparency, and trust in the arena of public discourse. People generally vote and make decisions based on information they receive via friends and family, politicians, organizations, and journalists.”

The researchers cite current manual detection strategies – using a reverse image search, examining image metadata, examining light and shadows; and using image editing software – but say more tools need to be developed, including more advanced machine learning methods, to verify visuals on social media.

 

“When it is possible to alter past and present images, by methods like cloning, splicing, cropping, re-touching or re-sampling, we face the danger of a re-written history – a very Orwellian scenario.” highlights important information, which may or may not be an actual quote. It uses distinct styling to set it apart from other content on the page.”

 

IT Predictions from the Past: How Accurate Were They?

predictions

source: eweek.com

eWEEK looks back at three years ago on the conversation around automation: As the internet gets increasingly more fragile, automation–as it is in most other IT categories–becomes a big factor in making it run more efficiently. How accurate were the predictions from thought leaders?

[Editor’s note: Each December, eWEEK asks IT professionals to look ahead to the next year and let us know what important trends they see coming. We’ll be publishing these predictions again this year, so get them ready to send us! Meanwhile, periodically we look back at previous years’ predictions to see how how accurate–or inaccurate–they were. In this case, the thoughts around automation were particularly on target. Enjoy!]

Networking in 2017 encompassed far, far more technology than simply the pipes used to hold data as it moves from one location to another. It always has. In 2018, networking will evolve even more into software-controlled, artificial intelligence-fortified systems that will be thinking far ahead of humans as data moves through its veins.

 

Continue reading “IT Predictions From The Past: How Accurate Were They?”

too much tech

‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’:  How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains


source: fastcompany.com

 

If you’re worried that our brains are being permanently and irrevocably altered by the constant use of technology during the coronavirus pandemic, Jaron Lanier has bad news and worse news.

“I’m not sure we’ll survive it,” the VR pioneer and noted technology skeptic said this week during a virtual panel discussion at the 2020 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

 

Granted, he followed that up with a more optimistic afterthought: “I do think the capacity of people to become more self-directed [with their use of technology] during the pandemic is actually a good sign—and it gives me some hope,” he added.

Continue reading “‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’: How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains”

source:  Fastcompany.com

As 2020’s experiment with working from home turns into something more permanent, gitlab—the world’s largest all-remote company—offers a glimpse of what’s ahead, for better or worse.

A group of employees at the tech firm is debating the merits of an inflatable kayak over Zoom.
“It’s definitely [for] calm waters,” says engineer Lien Van Den Steen, 
as Thursday afternoon sun streams through a window in her Ghent, Belgium, home. 
 

From his home in Minnesota, Timm Ideker, a regional sales director, drops a link into the chat for  a kayak that breaks into pieces for easy transportation. “I have some concerns that this just means it’s going to leak in seven places,” says Simon Mansfield, a member of GitLab’s sales team, in Cardiff, Wales..

For most employees, this sort of conversation would be a brief sidebar from work, but discussing  kayaks—and weekend plans and favorite board games—is the entire point of this call. Employees from any GitLab team (or time zone) log on to these recurring 30-minute Company Calls to replicate the casual conversations that happen naturally when coworkers share the same office.

Artemus Note:  If you REALLY want to see a GREAT media-rich article about what GitLab’s doing on this front, click here!  You won’t be sorry!!

Continue reading “Extremely Transparent & Incredibly Remote: GitLab and Remote Working”

source:  cnet.com

photo by Josh Sorensen for Pexels.com

Palmer Luckey rose to tech fame for inventing the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that helped generate interest in the technology. Now he’s got a different type of tech product to show off: the Ghost 4 military drone.

Built by Luckey’s new company, called Anduril Industries, the two-meter aircraft can be carried in a backpack and is designed to withstand the sand, mud and seawater of military operations. Anduril, which announced the drone Thursday, said the Ghost 4 has a 100-minute flight time and can be autonomously or remotely piloted. It can carry cameras, radio-jamming systems or lasers to spotlight targets. And it can drop packages weighing as much as 35 pounds.

Onboard artificial intelligence algorithms have been tuned to identify and track people, missiles and battlefield equipment. One Ghost 4 drone can join with other Ghost 4 drones to form a data-sharing swarm to relay information back to Lattice, Anduril’s situation monitoring system.

Continue reading “Oculus Founder’s Ghost 4 Military Drones Use AI for Surveillance and Attack”

source: kottke.org (contributed by FAN Steve Jones)

 

Researchers have demonstrated that they can make a working 3D-printed copy of a key just by listening to how the key sounds when inserted into a lock. And you don’t need a fancy mic — a smartphone or smart doorbell will do nicely if you can get it close enough to the lock.

The next time you unlock your front door, it might be worth trying to insert your key as quietly as possible; researchers have discovered that the sound of your key being inserted into the lock gives attackers all they need to make a working copy of your front door key.It sounds unlikely, but security researchers say they have proven that the series of audible, metallic clicks made as a key penetrates a lock can now be deciphered by signal processing software to reveal the precise shape of the sequence of ridges on the key’s shaft. Knowing this (the actual cut of your key), a working copy of it can then be three-dimensionally (3D) printed.  The next time you unlock your front door, it might be worth trying to insert your key as quietly as possible; researchers have discovered that the sound of your key being inserted into the lock gives attackers all they need to make a working copy of your front door key.

It sounds unlikely, but security researchers say they have proven that the series of audible, metallic clicks made as a key penetrates a lock can now be deciphered by signal processing software to reveal the precise shape of the sequence of ridges on the key’s shaft. Knowing this (the actual cut of your key), a working copy of it can then be three-dimensionally (3D) printed.

How Soundarya Ramesh and her team accomplished this is a fascinating read.

 

Continue reading “Researchers Can Duplicate Keys from the Sounds They Make in Locks”

source: wired.com

The so-called lamphone technique allows for real-time listening in on a room that’s hundreds of feet away. 

THE LIST OF sophisticated eavesdropping techniques has grown steadily over years: wiretaps, hacked phones, bugs in the wall—even bouncing lasers off of a building’s glass to pick up conversations inside. Now add another tool for audio spies: Any light bulb in a room that might be visible from a window.

Researchers from Israeli’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science today revealed a new technique for long-distance eavesdropping they call “lamphone.” They say it allows anyone with a laptop and less than a thousand dollars of equipment—just a telescope and a $400 electro-optical sensor—to listen in on any sounds in a room that’s hundreds of feet away in real-time, simply by observing the minuscule vibrations those sounds create on the glass surface of a light bulb inside. By measuring the tiny changes in light output from the bulb that those vibrations cause, the researchers show that a spy can pick up sound clearly enough to discern the contents of conversations or even recognize a piece of music.

“Any sound in the room can be recovered from the room with no requirement to hack anything and no device in the room,” says Ben Nassi, a security researcher at Ben-Gurion who developed the technique with fellow researchers Yaron Pirutin and Boris Zadov, and who plans to present their findings at the Black Hat security conference in August. “You just need line of sight to a hanging bulb, and this is it.”

In their experiments, the researchers placed a series of telescopes around 80 feet away from a target office’s light bulb, and put each telescope’s eyepiece in front of a Thorlabs PDA100A2 electro-optical sensor. They then used an analog-to-digital converter to convert the electrical signals from that sensor to digital information. While they played music and speech recordings in the faraway room, they fed the information picked up by their set-up to a laptop, which analyzed the readings.

side by side images of telescope pointing to window and aerial of bridge

The researchers’ experimental setup, with an electro-optical sensor behind the eyepiece of a telescope, pointing at a lightbulb inside an office building more than 80 feet away.COURTESY OF BEN NASSI

The researchers found that the tiny vibrations of the light bulb in response to sound—movements that they measured at as little as a few hundred microns—registered as a measurable changes in the light their sensor picked up through each telescope. After processing the signal through software to filter out noise, they were able to reconstruct recordings of the sounds inside the room with remarkable fidelity: They showed, for instance, that they could reproduce an audible snippet of a speech from President Donald Trump well enough for it to be transcribed by Google’s Cloud Speech API. They also generated a recording of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” clear enough that the name-that-tune app Shazam could instantly recognize it.

Continue reading “SPIES EAVESDROP BY WATCHING LIGHT BULB VIBRATE”

source:  defenseone.com

The crypto agency has a list of questions for federal employees and contractors to ask as they choose a collaboration tool.

Video conferencing platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams are both FedRamp approved, but while Zoom offers end-to-end encryption, Microsoft Teams does not, according to the National Security Agency. 

These are just two of nine factors the NSA cites in creating a guide to help federal workers choose commercial telework tools for “safely using collaboration services,” as necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The guide, which NSA released Friday, applies only to commercial applications, and one strong recommendation from the agency is that, when possible, workers use U.S. government services such as Defense Collaboration Services, Intelink Services and others, which were designed specifically for secure government communications. But government workers still need to interact with external entities which might be sending them invitations via commercial applications, and the NSA has detailed a number of factors for them to weigh in deciding which ones to facilitate:

  • Does the service implement end-to-end encryption?
  • Are strong, well-known, testable encryption standards used?
  • Is multi-factor authentication (MFA) used to validate users’ identities?
  • Can users see and control who connects to collaboration sessions?
  • Does the service privacy policy allow the vendor to share data with third parties or affiliates?
  • Do users have the ability to securely delete data from the service and its repositories as needed?
  • Has the collaboration service’s source code been shared publicly (e.g. open source)? 
  • Has the service and/or app been reviewed or certified for use by a security-focused nationally recognized or government body? 
  • Is the service developed and/or hosted under the jurisdiction of a government with laws that could jeopardize USG official use?

Continue reading “ZOOM OR NOT? NSA OFFERS GUIDANCE”

source: sciencedaily.com

MIT engineers have designed a “brain-on-a-chip,” smaller than a piece of confetti, that is made from tens of thousands of artificial brain synapses known as memristors — silicon-based components that mimic the information-transmitting synapses in the human brain.

The researchers borrowed from principles of metallurgy to fabricate each memristor from alloys of silver and copper, along with silicon. When they ran the chip through several visual tasks, the chip was able to “remember” stored images and reproduce them many times over, in versions that were crisper and cleaner compared with existing memristor designs made with unalloyed elements.

Their results, published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, demonstrate a promising new memristor design for neuromorphic devices — electronics that are based on a new type of circuit that processes information in a way that mimics the brain’s neural architecture. Such brain-inspired circuits could be built into small, portable devices, and would carry out complex computational tasks that only today’s supercomputers can handle.

Continue reading “ARTIFICIAL BRAIN SYNAPSES ON A SINGLE CHIP”