3-D printed robotic ants – the Future?

Ant 

Our future workforce: Hand-sized 3D-printed robotic ants
[Via Raw Story]

3D-printed robotic ants: The future workforce? Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck Drawing inspiration from the cooperative behavior displayed by ants at work, a German firm has developed 3D-printed versions of the highly organized insects that can collaborate on tasks. With their new line …

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The video it pretty amazing. They are still kind of large – about each size of a hand. But some awesome stuff can be done with lots of independent actors all printed out.

Three color sensors for iPhone would make an incredible camera

photo

Apple invents 3-sensor iPhone camera with light splitting cube for accurate colors, low-light performance
[Via AppleInsider]

An Apple patent published on Tuesday details a miniaturized iPhone camera system that employs a light-splitting cube to parse incoming rays into three color components, each of which are captured by separate sensors.

[More]

High end digital cameras have always had three detectors, one for each color after splitting the light beam into red, green and blue. This essentially tripples the information content and makes for much crisper  pictures with less noise.

This is actually an old approach. Color separation photography was used a lot when color films were very expensive but black and white were not. And BW film had much higher resolution than color. 

So, they would make 3 separate pictures on black and white negatives using 3 different colored filters. Getting very high resolution negatives quickly.

Then back in the lab, they would recreate the original by shining colored light through each negative in succession. The final result would be a full color picture.

At a much higher resolution than any color negative was capable of.

This is also used for archival purposes because color dyes will fade but not black and white. So you can take a set of color separation negatives that are decades old and recreate a photo that looks like new.

Something similar is done in Apple’s patent, although it happens digitally. By using 3 detectors, they can greatly enhance resolution. There are also all sorts of photo enhancements that can then be done.

This could be very cool.

Wikipedia’s response to Gamergate harrassment demonstrates an out of balance organization

bullying-739607 

How Wikipedia Got Sucked Into A Gamergate War
[Via ThinkProgress]

Late last summer, the internet was suddenly abuzz with the controversy known as Gamergate. The crux of the heated public debate was sexism in video game culture, but it quickly spiraled into dangerous territory. While the public was being inundated with news and Twitter wars and stories of women being harassed, a subsequent storm was brewing in plain sight on one of the world’s most popular websites.

Disturbing content was being plastered on the Wikipedia biography pages for female game developers, critics, and their spouses. Media and gaming culture critic Anita Sarkeesian was called a “lying whore,” and game developer Zoe Quinn was labeled a prostitute. Fellow developer Brianna Wu’s page claimed she gave her husband AIDS because she was raped by her father who first infected her. The bio page for her science fiction artist husband, Frank Wu, reflected the same thing.

Records of the libelous remarks have since been removed from the site, but they were seemingly added by anonymous Wikipedia accounts, many of which only showed up after Gamergate first made headlines. To get the situation under control, Wikipedia community members quickly asked for other editors to pitch in and help bring on the site’s notice board. Little did they know they would soon be sucked into their own controversy, one that revealed how the site’s commitment to neutrality would trump harassment concerns for Wikipedia editors being threatened on and off its pages.

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A great example of what an out of balance system can result in. People who are fearful of editing because of harassment. Editors who fight the harassment of women banned from editing themselves, while being harassed. Harassers seeing little real punishment. A more male-dominated structure with less diversity as one viewpoint just leaves the community.

Wikipedia handled this very poorly, demonstrating its inability to support the community it requires for survival. This is a problem when there is not a proper balance between distributed democracies and hierarchical authority.

If the normative behavior of Wikipedia is to treat those from the community fighting for its principles the same as bullying miscreants devoted to subverting its principles, then it will fail.

The actions of the miscreants hurt the entire community and Wikipedia needs to adapt its procedures. If Wikipedia editors do not feel like part of a community, one that ultimately cares about them, one that will protect them, then that community will die.

Its distributed democratic approach – one of its strengths – may also become its fatal flaw if it does not adapt to this and find a better way to take actions, actions that protect the community.

Apple nails their new ad campaign – using online photos taken with iPhone 6

 Traffic lights unfocused

Apple Found Its Newest Billboards on the Internet
[Via Daring Fireball]

Brendan Klinkenberg, writing for Buzzfeed:

Last December, when the Bay Area had one of its rare rainy days, Cielo de la Paz took her kids out to play. She’s an avid photographer, “willing to wake up at five in the morning and hike 10 miles to get that shot of the sunrise,” and when she saw the reflection of her red umbrella on the wet concrete, she knew she had a good one.

“It took a few shots,” she said, “this was the last one I took, I was finally happy with how the wind arranged the leaves for me.”

She edited the shot with Filterstorm Neue, uploaded the picture to Flickr (she was taking part in the photo365 challenge), where Apple found it.

Then, they put it on a billboard.

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What a great way to show how  imppressive pictures can look when using the iPhone. And some of these are from amateurs. Discovered on Flickr might now be a new route to fame.

The cell tower your phone uses may be run by the FBI, police, etc.

Southern Stingray 

Powerful “stingrays” used to go after 911 hangup, ATM burglary
[Via Ars Technica]

Newly released records show that Florida law enforcement agencies have been using stingrays thousands of times since at least 2007 to investigate crimes as small as a 911 hangup. They also seemingly obliquely refer to stingrays in police reports as “electronic surveillance measures,” or even as a “confidential informant.”

Stingrays, the common name for “cell-site simulators,” can be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones—not just the target phone. Earlier this month, Ars reported on how the FBI is actively trying to “prevent disclosure” of how these devices are used in local jurisdictions across America.

The trove of documents, which were published earlier this week by the American Civil Liberties Union, show that while police agencies often justify the purchase of such hardware in the name of counter-terrorism—none of the the hundreds of disclosed uses involve terrorism.

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Yes, this device mimics a cell tower, acting as a man-in-the-middle attack. While they may collect all the information  from the desired phone, including text and voice, they also recors all the data from every other phone in the area that thinks this is a legitimate cell tower.

That they can then do whatever they wish with. Like collect the phones calls of every single person neaar a protest. Including those from people in surrounding buildings.

And these can be worn by an individual. Walking around. The FBI has even stated that they do not need a warrant. Because you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you call someone outside the privacy of your home.

So think about that the next time a friend calls you while walking down the street.

No way is the WSJ correct on its sales numbers for the gold Apple Watch

 Bullion bar with Coins

Paging Auric Goldfinger
[Via Daring Fireball]

Josh Centers does some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate how much raw gold Apple might need for Apple Watch Edition production:

There are two conclusions we can draw from this scattering of data. The first is that Apple is about to take over the world. Not only will it be the most valuable company on the planet, but it will also be bidding for a third of the world’s annual gold supply, wreaking havoc on gold prices and doing who knows what to the global economy.

The alternative is that the esteemed Wall Street Journal is off on its Apple Watch Edition sales by an order of magnitude (or more). That would put the number at 100,000 per month, which seems more plausible.

I think the WSJ’s sources are deeply suspect on these production numbers. There’s no way Apple is planning on selling one million Edition models a month. That’s just nutty. Rolex sells only 600,000 watches a year.

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The numbers do not add up.

Always do the math. Amazing that the WSJ just acted as stenographers of the information rather than actually check their reality. I would not doubt that this was a leak from Apple used to determine who could not be trusted. I suspect someone mau have lost their job leaking this false information.


More instances of the high tech capitalist selling the rope to their own hanging

Death Noose 

SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps
[Via Ars Technica]

The list of software known to use the same HTTPS-breaking technology recently found preinstalled on Lenovo laptops has risen dramatically with the discovery of at least 12 new titles, including one that’s categorized as a malicious trojan by a major antivirus provider.

Trojan.Nurjax, a malicious program Symantec discovered in December, hijacks the Web browsers of compromised computers and may download additional threats. According to a blog post published Friday by a security researcher from Facebook, Nurjax is one such example of newly found software that incorporates HTTPS-defeating code from an Israeli company called Komodia. Combined with the Superfish ad-injecting software preinstalled on some Lenovo computers and three additional applications that came to light shortly after that revelation, there are now 14 known apps that use Komodia technology.

“What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure through their use of an easily obtained root CA [certificate authority], they provide little information about the risks of the technology, and in some cases they are difficult to remove,” Matt Richard, a threats researcher on the Facebook security team, wrote in Friday’s post. “Furthermore, it is likely that these intercepting SSL proxies won’t keep up with the HTTPS features in browsers (e.g., certificate pinning and forward secrecy), meaning they could potentially expose private data to network attackers. Some of these deficiencies can be detected by antivirus products as malware or adware, though from our research, detection successes are sporadic.”

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This software, originally used to inject ads into encrypted  (and supposedly secure) web pages, actually make things less secure and allows a man-in-the-middle to capture all your data, including passwords to things like your bank accounts.

They essentially hacked the security of their own system to allow them to sell ads. 

These approaches made the user less secure, and never told the user that this was happening. I expect money changed hands to pre-install the software.

Makes one wonder what other things might be used by these guys  to make money at the expense of the security of the user?

Maybe a few good lawsuits will change this. Perhaps the rest of the sociopaths will get the message.



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