Monday, September 30, 2013

Homeland Security. Since there are no checks for guns leaving the terminal, you have to assume this was to be used inside the terminal.
Machine gun found in terminal at JFK Airport
The discovery of a machine gun at one of JFK's largest terminals is raising a lot of questions at this hour. Of chief concern is whose gun is it and how did it get past security?
Earlier Thursday, a Mac-11, subcompact machine pistol was found inside a closet during renovation work at Terminal One, an international terminal used by Air France, Turkish Airlines, Korean Air and others.

At a mere 524 pages, I'm sure I'll memorize it. (Something for my Homeland Security students)
Newly Declassified Documents Show How the Surveillance State was Born
Almost no one noticed when the book was quietly released this summer. It has perhaps the most benumbing title in publishing history. Yet inside this volume of previously confidential legal opinions is the story of how the surveillance state grew into a monster.
… They are found in a volume of 66 previously confidential legal opinions, issued between 1934 and 1976, that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) released over the summer. Bearing a title that is wonky even by Washington standards,1 the book nevertheless is riveting reading, amounting to a secret history of the rise of the national security leviathan. But just as the book shows how that apparatus has been built up, it also tells a second story: of how public outrage, loud and sustained, can tear it back down.
[Book title: Supplemental Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice Consisting of Selected Memorandum Opinions Advising the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and Other Executive Officers of the Federal Government in Relation to Their Official Duties.

Uh oh, he looks angry. Ready the tasers! Would this work on those so divorced from reality that they are merely doing what the voices tell them to?
Surveillance AI Is Learning To Interpret Human Behavior
As a concept, autonomous behavior analysis makes facial and body recognition seem quaint. Think about it: in the latter situation, the machine merely identifies you as you or at least some database version of you, however accurate. In a situation where the computer is analyzing your actions/movements, it’s making a deeper and arguably more dangerous determination. In ascribing behavior to you, the program is doing more than recalling information, but creating information. The software is adding to the profile. This is the difference between profiling and profile-creating, the opening of an entire new world of fiction.

I suppose this could be an indication that science education is failing everywhere, or proof that a jury of one's “peers” is rather poorly defined. Mostly I think, how did this ever get to trial?
Convicted earthquake scientist says he can't be blamed for 309 deaths
On April 6, 2009, a 6.3 earthquake struck the Italian city of L’Aquila. The quake damaged thousands of medieval-era buildings and killed 309 people.
Those deaths prompted Italian prosecutors to charge six seismologists and a government official with manslaughter on the grounds that they gave "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about the mortal risks a quake in the area would pose.

I can see the Class Action Lawyers lining up now...
Digital motion sickness will be the occupational disease of the 21st century
The better technology gets, the more likely it is to give you a headache or make you throw up. The trend is inescapable: Whether it’s videogames, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, 3D movies and television, or Google Glass, a portion of the population—basically, anyone predisposed to motion sickness—is going to spend their sunset years, when this kind of technology is ubiquitous, in serious discomfort.

Helping me explain US Copyright Law to my students... Not!
Free Sherlock Holmes: the Copyright Battle of Baker Street
Who owns Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest detective? Is it the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Or the mysterious socialite Andrea Plunket? Or does Sherlock Holmes belong to the public?
… “The characters of Holmes, Watson, and others are fully established in those 50 "public-domain” stories. Under US law, this should mean that anyone is free to create new stories about Holmes and Watson."
Klinger noted that the ten remaining stories still in copyright will be in the public domain after 2022, 95 years after the last one was published.
In other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the copyright in the works of Sherlock Holmes had expired, and the stories had fallen into the public domain.

Interesting from an open source intelligence, news gathering perspective. Needs lots of work.
– Trends are a pretty useful feature of Twitter that offer a glimpse of what people are talking about around the world. Twitter offers trending topics for 415 places and the list on Trending Topics includes all the major cities and countries, on an easy-to-view map, along with the currently popular subjects.
Humor from Trending Topics:
I'm gonna be a Democrat for Halloween. When kids knock, I'll take half their candy to give to kids too lazy to go trick-or-treating

Perspective. Soon, if not already, any device will work with any media.
– Play your music on every computer, phone, tablet and TV – online or offline. Simply sync your music to any of your devices – your phone, tablet, computer, and connected TV – whenever you’d like. In one click, import all your music to MyMusicCloud from your iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries, Dropbox, Google Drive or any folder on your computer. Storage is free.

For my Android toting students.
Contactive - Free Caller ID
Identify millions of unknown callers before you even answer the call with Contactive's Universal Caller ID! It collects information from your social media networks, publicly available sources, and Contactive’s Global Directory to show who’s calling before you even answer the call.
Our growing list of sources include: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, Google +, WhatsApp, Tango, Skype, Yelp, Google Places, and Contactive’s Global Directory

(Related) Similar(?) Apps
Caller ID Apps For iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia Devices

Compare and contrast? It takes more than just finding the word online...
Quickly Compare Two or More Things in Wolfram Alpha
In their 15th anniversary blog post last week, Google mentioned that you can now compare things by simply typing "compare" between the things that you want to compare. Google used the example of comparing butter with olive oil. I tried the new function and it wasn't terribly effective beyond the basic examples that Google provided.
Wolfram Alpha has had a comparison function for years and it works very well. To compare biographical information about two or more people, just type their names into the Wolfram Alpha search field (use commas between names). To compare other things just type them into the search field (again, use commas to separate them) and Wolfram Alpha will provide data for comparison. You can even compare apples, oranges, and bananas (Wolfram Alpha will provide nutritional information for the fruits).
One of the aspects of Wolfram Alpha's comparison function that can be of use to students researching the lives of famous people is the timeline comparison. The timeline will show students where the lives of two or more people overlap. In social studies classes the comparison function is useful for creating a quick guide to the party affiliations of a set of politicians. In a health class the comparison function is great for helping students quickly see the differences in the nutritional qualities of various foods.

Since I work at a “Technical University,” it should be no surprise that we've solved this problem ages ago. (You could add a line in your syllabus requiring students to check their email, but they don't read that either...)
Technology and the College Generation
As a professor who favors pop quizzes, Cedrick May is used to grimaces from students caught unprepared. But a couple of years ago, in his class on early American literature at the University of Texas at Arlington, he said he noticed “horrible, pained looks” from the whole class when they saw the questions.
He soon learned that the students did not know he had changed the reading assignment because they did not check their e-mail regularly, if at all.
… “Some of them didn’t even seem to know they had a college e-mail account,” Dr. May said.
[Try using this:

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