If the dazzle camouflage works, I’m sure it will be made illegal

Liverpool LighNight 2014

Antisurveillance face camouflage
[Via Boing Boing]

Adam Harvey’s “Computer Vision Dazzle” is designed to keep facial-recognition computer algorithms from seeing the real face. But how to wear the dazzle for days while going about everyday life?

[More]

See, even the person above begins to disappear from casual view. The use of dazzle camouflage started in WWI on navy ships. It made it very hard to determine speed or distance.

That is because it worked against the way rangefinders worked at the time. Today we have something similar based on how facial recognition algorithms work.

The authorities will not allow their surveillance to be flouted. They would never allow the distributed masses to use this on a regular basis.

If they are allowed to maintain that level of control. This could be one of the battle grounds.

Making a better world = Separating Sheep from Goats

Ellis Island

The parable of the sheep and goats – to me, one of the defining Biblical passages describing the underlying principles of Christ’s teachings. (with the Sermon on the Mount being the other major one).

As I have written before:

Whether it is the New Commandment to love one another, the Second Great Commandment to love our neighbors, turning the other cheek in response to evil, or how to love one’s enemies, His teachings show a path that breaks cycles of violence that often reverberate during times of change and strife.

This parable catalogs some of the actions that can be taken by those following his teachings – the sheep. It details how they separate themselves by how they treat others.

Seeing a person in difficulty, having compassion and acting to remedy that difficulty is one of the defining teachings that Christ provided.

They are about how to treat other humans, how compassion is required. Empathy and sympathy are what constantly drive successful societies and simply slow down cultures doomed to failure.

Time for us all to be separated – so many goats and so few sheep. From Matthew 25:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Could iBeacons be coming for hoime use?

Recone-Electro-Voice-Speakers-_22890-480x360

Apple could make a killing with this little-known device
[Via MacDailyNews]

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“Unless consumers start carrying around two iPhones, investors are still waiting for Apple to come up with the next profit-driving monster,” Dan Newman writes for The Motley Fool.

“Many think this might be a role for the rumored iWatch. However, at an estimated selling price at half of an iPhone, around $300, and a consumer interest yet to be confirmed,” Newman writes. “But, one device that links up with iThings anywhere just might give Apple an iPhone-sized financial boost: an iBeacon transmitter for every home and business.”

“Imagine walking past the grocery store and receiving a notification of a sale on your favorite brand of cereal. Or, after sitting at a bar for an hour, receiving a coupon for your next round of drinks. Or, leaving a clothing store and automatically being charged for the items that you ordered to fit. iBeacon can do these things with low-energy Bluetooth technology, or BLE,” Newman writes. “Apple introduced iBeacon in 2013, and recently came out with standards needed to earn consent for use of the trademark. There are many variations of iBeacons that third-party manufacturers have designed, like Estimote’s rock-shaped transmitter, or the more utilitarian AIRcable USB dongle. However, a more Apple-esque design might come from the company. According to FCC filings, Apple has tested an iBeacon transmitter that it would manufacture itself.”

[More]

We keep hearing about all these business uses for iBeacons -“Have coupons sent to your iPhone as you walk around.”

People will only use this if it is useful FOR THEM, not if it makes life easier for businesses. I’ve already written about how this technology could be useful for people – like making paying for meals at restaurants so much easier.

What happens at home when you have iBeacons from Apple available? First, combine them with Apple’s HomeKit. So your computer/iOS device knows where you are.

HomeKit will be designed to connect apps and home devices. Add some iBeacons and these devices will turn on or off depending on where you are.

So, as you walk around the house, it can do things, like turn on the light or open the garage door when you need it.

Or a home speaker system that not only plays music you want to hear as you move through the house but plays different music on different speakers depending on where people are in the house.

I’ll bet there are more.

The “outsourcing” of Chinese jobs to robots begins in earnest

Tesla Autobots 

10,000 robots to help assemble Apple’s iPhone 6; robots expected to impact low-skilled workers worldwide
[Via MacDailyNews]

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“Foxconn parent company Hon Hai is set to deploy an army of 10,000 assembly-line robots to help meet the demands of producing the highly anticipated iPhone 6,” Reilly Dowd reports for The Fiscal Times. “Hon Hai CEO Terry Gou revealed in a recent shareholder meeting that Apple would be the very first customer of Foxconn’s latest robots.”

“‘Robots are going to enhance and speed up the manufacturing process,’ said Tim Bajarin, CEO of market research firm Creative Strategies. ‘The really big issue here is that the demand for the iPhone continues to grow. It’s grown every quarter since it came out,’” Dowd reports. “From a business standpoint, it makes sense. ‘When you are dealing with creating millions of smart phones per month, efficiency is critical,’ said Bajarin in an interview. ‘Robotics gives you that level of efficiency, which in the end, is very important for the bottom line.’”

[More]

This is only 10,000. But they work 27/7 with no need to eat or take breaks. As the use of these expands, expect to see many of Foxconn’s 1.3 million employees be put out of work. No more relatively high-paying jobs  for people with limited technological skills (ie not programmers).

Many manufacturing jobs in the US were moved to China because human labor was cheaper. What happens when robotic labor destroys those jobs?

The average person willnot have many options for living a middle class life.

Genome editing in the silkworm- I’ve seen this movie

Insectosaurus Invades The World!

Heritable Genome Editing with CRISPR/Cas9 in the Silkworm, Bombyx mori
[Via PLoS ONE Alerts: New Articles]

by Wei Wei, Huhu Xin, Bhaskar Roy, Junbiao Dai, Yungen Miao, Guanjun Gao

We report the establishment of an efficient and heritable gene mutagenesis method in the silkworm Bombyx mori using modified type II clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) with an associated protein (Cas9) system. Using four loci Bm-ok, BmKMO, BmTH, and Bmtan as candidates, we proved that genome alterations at specific sites could be induced by direct microinjection of specific guide RNA and Cas9-mRNA into silkworm embryos. Mutation frequencies of 16.7–35.0% were observed in the injected generation, and DNA fragments deletions were also noted. Bm-ok mosaic mutants were used to test for mutant heritability due to the easily determined translucent epidermal phenotype of Bm-ok-disrupted cells. Two crossing strategies were used. In the first, injected Bm-ok moths were crossed with wild-type moths, and a 28.6% frequency of germline mutation transmission was observed. In the second strategy, two Bm-ok mosaic mutant moths were crossed with each other, and 93.6% of the offsprings appeared mutations in both alleles of Bm-ok gene (compound heterozygous). In summary, the CRISPR/Cas9 system can act as a highly specific and heritable gene-editing tool in Bombyx mori.

[More]

Truthfully, it is pretty amazing that they can make changes in the genome that are carried through the germline  and are inherited.

GMO insects may not be far away.

Foxconn preparing robots to replace people

FANUC Robot Assembly Demo

 

Foxconn prepares to replace workers with robots in iPhone 6 assembly process
[Via 9to5Mac]

Foxconn is preparing to enhance its assembly process with a new line of robots, the CEO of the iPhone manufacturer’s parent company said during a shareholder meeting. According to the executive, Apple will be the first company to reap the benefits of the new process, likely indicating that the iPhone 6 will be the first phone to be produced by the new machines.

Each of the planned 10,000 robots will cost the company between $20,000 and $25,000, and will be capable of churning out 300,000 smartphones on average. The machines, which are said to be in the final testing stages now, won’t be available for sale to other companies, according to CEO Terry Gou, as Foxconn will likely not have enough to meet its own needs.

Foxconn recently went on a hiring spree in preparation for the upcoming Apple smartphone, reportedly hiring as many as 100,000 new workers. There’s no word yet on how (or if) the decision to implement a mechanical solution on the assembly line will affect those jobs.

[More]

This has been coming on for some time. I expect in a few years, Foxconn will have far fewer human employees. Then what will all those people do?

It could happen: “Next on Fox – Start-up Battlefield”

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument II

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The whole idea of a battlefield for startups is ridiculous. Have a love-in for startups. A be-in.

[More]

Gack! It’s like making starting up a company into a reality show.

I agree with Dave Winer.

Make it a win-win proposition not a zero sum. That is the 21st century approach.

The company has to destroy itself, in order to save itself

Mac Keyboard 

Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction. Richard Gutjahr’s blog
[Via asymco]

My thanks to Richard Gutjahr for taking time to talk about self-disruption. I met Richard as the Master of Ceremonies at the Censhare FutureDays event in Munich. He interviewed me for his blog and posted the results as a video and sound file. Richard is a journalist (Berliner Tagesspiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and TV personality (news presenter for Rundschau night).

Horace and I have met at a conference in Germany a few weeks ago. During a break, we were talking about the future of Apple. Horace made a statement, which I found quite intriguing: In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.

Hour-long conversation including audio and video: Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction.

[More]

“In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.”

That is what a 21st century company has to do. Google keeps re-inventing itself. Apple tries to destroy itself. The Mac destroyed the Apple II. The iPod destroyed the Mac. The iPhone destroyed the iPod.

What will destroy the iPhone?

(And by destroy, I don’t mean make vanish. Just toppled as the company’s lead money maker.)

High altitude tolerance, Tibet, Sherpas and Denisovan DNA – questions about the Himalayas and Mars

Kathmandu , Nepal,Himalayas,Everest 

Tibetans’ altitude tolerance may have come from our extinct relatives
[Via Ars Technica]

The Denisovans, relatives of the Neanderthals who inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived, are known only from a scattering of small bones and a wealth of DNA data. So far, all of that originates from a single Siberian cave (called Denisova, naturally). Like the Neanderthals, the Denisovans interbred with those modern humans once they arrived. But the modern populations who have the most Denisovan DNA are far from Siberia, occupying southern Asia and some Pacific islands.

Now, a tiny fragment of Denisovan DNA has also been found in a group that’s much closer to Siberia: the Tibetans. And all indications are that it helps them adapt to the extreme elevations of the Tibetan plateau.

Large parts of that plateau are 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) above sea level. The populations native to the area have lower infant mortality and higher birth weights than people who have relocated to the area. In addition, the Tibetans have acclimated to the altitude without relying on increased red blood cell counts, which is how most other people respond after spending time at altitude. Higher red blood cell counts mean a more viscous blood, which creates its own health hazard, so this difference is also likely to be very advantageous.

[More]

This explains some really interesting aspects of what has been called a great example of natural selection in human beings. The Tibetans gained this trait in less than 3000 years.The ability to survive at high altitude shows just how dramatically the environment has shaped human genomes.

And now we know that those genes came from non-human sources.

Kind of cool what DNA sequencing is now showing us about our human heritage. Just small amounts of ancient DNA from species we crossbred with still have an impact today.

The Tibetans are healthy at an air pressure that is 60% of what it is at sea level. I wonder just how low the air pressure could go for them to live? The Nepalese sherpas also have the relevant Denisovan genes and are able to survive altitudes on Mt. Everest that others require oxygen to survive. But people in the Andes have a different set of genes.

So I wonder what would happen if someone from Tibet has children with someone from the Andes? Would the children have the abilities to survive at even higher altitudes? And Ethiopians have a completely different set of genetic mutations from Andean or Tibetan sources..

The Armstrong limit is about 19,000 meters or about 12 miles, the point at which water boils at human body temperature. Even the most dense portion of the Martian atmosphere is 6 times less than this. So we would need to do extensive terraforming to raise the air pressure. But would these Tibetans be a likely group to make the first Martian settlers to live unencumbered by pressure suits?


Your iPhone will make a better, more secure wallet than your wallet

 iPhone 5S

Mobile money services on the rise worldwide as Apple eyes Touch ID payment system
[Via AppleInsider]

If Apple is able to drive adoption of its rumored iTunes-backed mobile payment system among wealthy consumers at the same pace as similar systems in the developing world, it could be one of the company’s most important — and profitable — strategic moves.

[More]

I’ve written about the effect the iPhone will have on credit cards before. I think this will be a key aspect of the new iPhone coming out (Apple will have had over a year to work out all the needed aspects of TouchId).

You iPhone will be more secure than the wallet you have. Only Apple will have the secure enclave that protects your data. Even losing your iPhone will not allow anyone access to the credit card numbers, like losing your wallet.

Combine this with iBeacons and Apple will control it all. I would not be surprised to see Google and the DOJ  go after Apple in a few years for their emerging monopoly in this area ;-)

Conservatives acknowledge climate change even as they refuse to believe it

 Smoke art - Cubes to smoke

Conservatives Don’t Deny Climate Science Because They’re Ignorant. They Deny It Because of Who They Are. | 
[Via Mother Jones]

For many years, the US National Science Foundation, more recently with the help of the General Social Survey, has asked the public the same true or false question about evolution: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.” And for many years, the responses to this question have been dismal. In 2006, 2008, and 2010, for instance, less than half of the public correctly answered “true.”

In 2012, however, the NSF and GSS conducted an experiment to try to better understand why people fare so badly on this evolution question. For half of survey respondents, the words “according to the theory of evolution” were added to the beginning of the statement above. And while only 48 percent gave the correct answer to the unaltered question, an impressive 72 percent correctly answered the new, prefaced version.

[More]

This work points up the ability of people to ignore facts if it conflicts with their world views. This is seen when we use the word ‘believe’ when discussing science questions: “Do you believe in evolution?”, etc.

I try to never use the word believe when discussing the facts of science, such as evolution or climate change.

Science is not about belief. It is about acknowledging facts. As this study shows, both conservatives and liberals acknowledge the same facts, even as they assert different beliefs. Liberals got the science wrong also when their beliefs got in the way.

If someone refuses to acknowledge that the world is getting warmer, then they are scientifically illiterate and not really worth having as part of a science discussion.

If they do acknowledge facts, then we can begin to discuss why and what might be done.

The discussion on climate change cannot happen if it starts from what people believe. It will only happen when more conservative leaders acknowledge the world is getting warmer.

How to get money in the app economy

IMGP3962 

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The Inside Story Of Yo: There Isn’t Actually $1 Million In The Bank.

[More]

An example of the app economy.Two guys, less than 4 hours of work, over $1 million in investment.

And perhaps a future.

“Nice online store you got here. Be a shame for it to disappear from search rankings.”

DSCF0012 

Before Google penalized eBay’s search standing, eBay authored a study claiming Google Search ads are useless
[Via PandoDaily]

Before Google penalized eBay’s search standing, eBay authored a study claiming Google Search ads are useless

[More]

Two things: it appears that Google Ads provide little of value; and, it you point that out, Google appears to do the equivalent of ‘burning down the house’ in order require the use of ads, even if they provide no value. It changes its ranking algorithm to remove your links from the top searches.

Looks like buying Google Ads is more a form of tribute than a benefit. Google gets paid in order to keep an online company’s search rankings high. A zero-sum approach rather than a win-win.

So besides grabbing all our data to sell without recompense, Google requires tribute from online companies. More and more they are degrading the usefulness of their main purpose to exist – search. I routinely now get highly ranked pages that do not have my search terms anywhere on the page. Totally useless.

Perhaps time to check out Duck, Duck, Go.

Would an iPhone have prevented PF Chang’s problem?

 Wallet and some money on a wooden table

 

P.F. Chang’s Security Update
[Via PF Changs]

STATEMENT FROM RICK FEDERICO CEO OF P.F. CHANG’S JUNE 12, 2014

Scottsdale, Ariz. (June 12, 2014) — On Tuesday, June 10, P.F. Chang’s learned of a security compromise that involves credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from some of our restaurants. Immediately, we initiated an investigation with the United States Secret Service and a team of third-party forensics experts to understand the nature and scope of the incident, and while the investigation is still ongoing, we have concluded that data has been compromised.

At P.F. Chang’s, the safety and security of our guests’ payment information is a top priority. Therefore, we have moved to a manual credit card imprinting system for all P.F. Chang’s China Bistro branded restaurants located in the continental United States. This ensures our guests can still use their credit and debit cards safely in our restaurants as our investigation continues.

[More]

Maybe something I wrote about  last year will provide a path to a solution that we can use on our own. It involves an iPhone, Touch ID, and iBeacons.

The attack on PF Chang’s looks very similar to what happened at Michael’s and Target – a store employee at some point put specific malware on a store’s computerized computer terminal, hidden from view.

This software collected unencrypted card information and sent it to the hackers. It is a simple variety of a sort of man-in-the-middle hack. They sit in the middle of all the communications between the store’s computer terminal and the credit card companies.

It can be hard to prevent this with thousands of people having access to the terminals. It is really little different from our viewpoint than the old days when a dishonest clerk would run the card twice in order to get  a copy of the relevant information.

Just safer today for the dishonest employee. Let the computer do all the work.

One easy around this is to use encrypted smart cards. The credit card companies have been slow to do this in the US on their own. 

But here is what I said Apple may be able to do, using the security of the newest iPhones to create a digital wallet:

Imagine you are at a restaurant and read to leave. You take your iPhone and hit the home button. The restaurant uses an iBeacon to send the bill to your iPhone. You hit pay and the credit card transaction is completed – assuming proper security can be created here.

No need to wait for the waiter.

All the pieces are in place for this. Apple has spent a year making sure of this, especially the security issues.

In particular, I would bet there will be an additional need to provide a fingerprint to pay the bill. Much better than any other sort of validation currently used for credit card transactions.

All transactions will be encrypted end-to-end and totally in our control. Much, much harder for hackers to get anything.

Can you imagine the selling point for any restaurant on this? Secure transactions. They never see the actual transactions, just confirmation it happened. 

And Apple’s digital wallet will be much safer than carrying credit cards in our pockets, where they can easily be stolen. We only find out someone has the cards when mysterious transactions appear.

We all now pretty fast when an iPhone is gone. With TouchID, there is little chance anyone will be able to even get into the iPhone at all, much less the credit card numbers, which are encrypted in a secure enclave on the iPhone.

Even if somehow in the future they figure out a way, it will take time. We can easily inactivate the phone in the meantime,

It is coming. Just not soon enough for PF Chang’s

A distributed democratic win in a football trademark case, using an authoritarian tool

 Lone Pine in a tree Farm

[Crossposted at SpreadingScience]

Washington Redskins trademark canceled by U.S. Patent Office - 
[Via chicagotribune.com]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, an extremely rare move the office said it made because the name is offensive to Native Americans.

Trademarks that disparage or belittle other groups are not permited under federal law. The ruling Wednesday pertains to six different trademarks containing the word “Redskin.”

Native American groups have been fighting the football team, its owners and sponsors for decades to change the name.

[More]

The ability of a distributed  democratic approach to route around the damage of hierarchical authoritarians is one of its strength. Authoritarians can be very strong and focussed – their strength – which gives them early success against winds of change.

Like a a mighty tree, if the winds change rapidly, buffeting them hard from different directions, along with massive amounts of rain and a lightening bolt or two,, the oak tree will fall. 

One distributed way to shift the wind and deal with the Washington team is for people simply not go to the games.

But today, not only was there a shift in the wind but a lightening  bolt as well. And it did not use a tool of distributed democracy against the authoritarians.

It used one of hierarchical authoritarian’s own tools against itself – government bureaucracy. Not a mob with pitchforks and torches but a nice long legal document.

In America, our government is usually a direct reflection of how the people balance distributed democracy and hierarchical authority.

We as a society have made the decision that derogatory names cannot gain trademark protection. It has been incorporated into the authoritative power of the government.

That government – which can provide trademark protection – has now removed that protection from the Washington team, and the NFL. The ability of that trademark to generate large amounts of money for them is now pretty damaged. 

This is a very big lightening bolt. This will hit the relevant parties in the pocket book but does not take away their First Amendment rights. They can name themselves what ever they want.

But we, as a society  have determined that we will not protect that name with the authority of the government.

Sweet. 

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