“Something far more concerning than marching bands, balloons, cheerleaders and clowns was at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Confidential personal information is what some paradegoers found among confetti tossed during the world’s most famous parade. That information included social security numbers and banking information for police employees, some of whom are undercover officers.”—Confidential Police Docs Found in Macy’s Parade Confetti Spark Investigation [Exclusive] - WPIX
“Last winter, Dan Harmon, who was then the executive producer of the television sitcom Community, shared that he tried, “many times a season” to put star Alison Brie “in a situation, wardrobe-wise, that I know is going to end up as an animated GIF file!””—Rhizome | GIFABILITY
Two porn companies are courting web surfers to upload photos they find online to the companies’ free facial-recognition, face-matching database services.
With SexFaceFinder.com and Naughty America’s “Face” anyone can upload an image and have the services match it with images and faces in image databases.
SexFaceFinder positions its service as a way for users to find a performer that looks like s specific person.
Or to find performers that look like the user’s favorite type of model, in an effort to engage the user with a service that closes the marketing gap between a user and their fantasy.
Another company, Naughty America, openly solicits users to upload images of girls found on Instagram and other internet destinations in an effort to find the photo’s subjects in porn - or find celebrity look-alikes, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend look-alikes, or similar/specific porn performers.
Naughty America’s facial recognition matching openly asks users to try photos of girls they find on Instagram and other social media websites.
“Walking home tonight from dinner with a friend in the East Village, NY, I was passing south along Pitt Street, one block north of Delancey, when I heard the throaty rumble of a low-flying plane getting louder overhead. I didn’t pay it much attention but it was loud enough for me to clock it. Up ahead, I saw three guys emerge from one of the projects on the east side of Pitt St. As I got closer to them, they paused. The plane was passing right above us, heading north along the east river Manhattan shoreline, and I suddenly saw what could only be described as a wide, flat green laser beam start sweeping the street from the plane. It passed over the three guys up ahead, and then me. It was like a giant laser bar-code scanner passing across every contour of the street - for a brief second like suddenly being in a bad light show at a 1990s rave. The three guys ahead of me stopped in their tracks, dumbfounded. I caught up with them and we all looked at each other, then back up to the sky, and then saw this fat triangle of green light beaming down from the plane as it headed north. I talked to them, and none of us could work out what it was, but we had all seen the same thing. I continued walking south towards Grand Street, where I live, and just as I was entering my building I heard the plane come back, this time flying south. I stopped and watched it’s green beam cover ground just a little further west of where I’d been walking. As I write this I can still hear the plane making passes overhead - it’s engines have quite a distinct sound.”—As related by a friend, November 19th, 2012. This appears to be LIDAR scanning of New York in operation. This was first proposed in 2010, and reported by Fast Company and the New York Times. Green LIDAR in particular is used for marine environments - it seems likely that the current scan is in response to recent flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. The technical term for this process is EEARL, but I haven’t yet been able to establish who is doing the scanning.
“Impermium provides social content cleaning for web sites and social networks, defending them against social spam, fake registrations, racist and inappropriate language, and other forms of abuse. Our system combines advanced technology and broad, Internet scale threat information to provide cost-effective, real-time protection for more than a 300,000 sites across the globe.”—About Impermium | Impermium
Information Age Prayer is a site that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you. A typical charge is $4.95 per month to say three prayers specified by you each day.
"We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying," the company states. "Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen."
“Through a history of colonialism and proselytisation through Christian missionaries. Most Igbos became Christian. Some of them in the 1970s, 1980s, were proselytized – from the United States, actually – by what in the American setting would be often called Jews for Jesus, what in Nigeria they still call Messianic. Now, having practiced Messianic Judaism for many years, which is all of the customs and the practices of Judaism – Sabbath, prayer on Saturdays, wearing of the tallit, the prayer shawl – but they also believed in Jesus, which for normative Judaism, regular Judaism, just doesn’t fit. And after some years of questioning – because Nigerians are really religious people, they take religion seriously, they go to bed thinking about it – some of them started to say, ‘this doesn’t compute. If we’re supposed to believe in one God, then this theology of a son of God in addition to God doesn’t make sense.’ And then the Internet arose and they were exposed for the first time to world global Judaism.”
The world’s first “Internet Jews”
“They had exposure to Hebrew language, to how Jewish ritual is practiced throughout the world. The Internet arrived in Nigeria at the same time that many of these Igbos were breaking away from Messianic Judaism, as they thought of it, and were able to learn and had this great access to whatever is out on the Internet. And everything is out on the Internet! Including Rabbinic Judaism.”
Liveblogging. It’s one of those tortured-English phrases that conjures up images of awards shows, Apple launch events, and Justin Bieber. Whenever something like this is added to the dictionary (kind of how “sexting” was, a couple months back) it’s a little amusing — seeing a slice of our somewhat-frivolous, hyper-connected world given some legitimacy by the “old guard,” as it were.
What is not amusing, however, is watching the Israel Defense Forces liveblog its current operation in Gaza. (And we’re not just saying that because the IDF doesn’t seem to own a decent liveblogging platform.) In addition to updates on the IDF blog, interested parties can follow the action on Twitter, thus ensuring that the news will come straight from the government’s mouth, without the pesky interference of the fourth estate.
“We started drive farming in November 2011. The reason was simple, the supply of the 3TB hard drives used in our Storage Pods had dried up – or more correctly was under water. The tragic flooding in Thailand began in August 2011 and by early-October had submerged houses, schools and factories. Over 800 people died and many more were homeless and hungry, with over 1 million people thrown out of work. As the water receded, the human cost of the flooding was obvious and the economic impact was slowly coming into focus. In late-October, it was estimated that up to 50% of the worldwide hard drive manufacturing capacity was lost or damaged. The impact of the lost capacity was immediate as hard drive prices nearly tripled overnight.”—Backblaze Blog » Farming hard drives: how Backblaze weathered the Thailand drive crisis
A council is to replace all 14,000 of its street lights with smart alternatives, with bulbs that are able to be controlled using an iPad and will alert engineers when they are broken or are coming to the end of their life.
Engineers will be able to pull out an iPad and change the brightness of a street light, operating much in the same way as the Hue consumer lighting system from Philips.
“Heskey Cam gives you it all: one camera, one hero; every pass, every run, everything Heskey does on the pitch, you’ll see it first with the Heskey Cam, the dedicated broadcast providing a rare insight into what makes Heskey so good.”—Get ready for Heskey Cam | A-League | Fox Sports
The facial detection technology the company uses now detects whether a person is male or female and his or her approximate age. It also keeps a running tally of the number of people in the bar, providing this info to the bar owner and to anyone with the app on their phone. The patent application, however, describes much more detailed data collection, including bar goers’ race, height, weight, attractiveness, hair color, clothing type, and the presence of facial hair or glasses. I’m imagining what such an app could tell you: “This bar is 68% full. It is 28% blond, 64% brunette, 2% redhead, 4% bottle-blond, and 3% other. The men on average are 5’11” and 65% are dressed biz casual. The ladies on average weigh 132 pounds; 13% are dressed ‘slutty.’ 3 women are wearing Onionskin jeans. 14 of the men are scruffy, 2 have full beards, and the rest are clean shaven. This bar has an attractiveness rating of 6 stars, out of 10.”
The patent application, available below, includes other possibilities usually left to the realm of dystopic fiction, including putting microphones in the cameras that could detect what customers are saying, and using facial recognition technology to identify customers and then get information about them from social networking websites and databases to determine “relationship status, intelligence, education and income for the entire venue.”
Again imagining the app version of this: “This bar is 72% full. The average income for the 43 males at the bar is $85,000/year. The average income for the 28 females is $92,000/year. 14% of this crowd is ‘In a relationship,’ and for 4%, ‘It’s complicated.’ One woman here has a history of cheating.” Fingers crossed, there will one day be a database of STDs that can be mixed in here as well.
The application also mentions looking up customers’ criminal histories. “If a percentage of patrons having criminal records reaches a certain level, the venue operators can be notified (e.g., directly to smart phone(s) of the venue security) and/or a local police force could be alerted,” says the application.