Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for February 6, 2020

in rsslog •  2 months ago  (edited)

A new device helps retailers to identify counterfeit Nike and Adidas sneakers; A Hong Kong policy-maker argues for Blockchain and AI to address crises like the Wuhan coronavirus; MIT Tech Review Links on Russian spy-games, jigsaw puzzles on Instagram, and efforts to repair Voyager 2; An argument for advocates to tighten up their rhetoric on climate change; and a Steem post arguing that the intelligence cycle represents a useful learning model, and that the most important modes of collection are human intelligence and geo-spatial intelligence


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First posted on my Steem blog: SteemIt, SteemPeak*, StemGeeks.

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  1. A new device uses AI to identify fake pairs of Nike and Adidas sneakers in seconds. Here's how the authentication technology works. - On Wednesday, February 5, Entrupy announced a new product that uses AI to identify counterfeit Nike or Adidas sneakers in a matter of minutes. According to the article, a single counterfeit operation put $470 million in fake Nike sneakers on the market during the course of a multi-year investigation, and web sites like eBay are often impacted by counterfeit sneaker sales. The company's CEO, Vidyuth Srinivasan, claims that they have tested hundreds of fakes at varying levels of quality, and nothing has slipped through the system. The authentication device makes use of 8 iPod cameras inside a box to take photos of each shoe - one at a time - from a variety of angles, then it uses AI algorithms to determine in about 60 seconds if the shoe is authentic or not. No word in the article about how difficult or expensive it is to stay current when the companies release new sneakers. The company already has an established business performing similar validation for high-cost luxury handbags.

  2. Blockhain, AI and the Wuhan Coronavirus - From the Hong Kong Department of Law, Syren Johnstone argues that the Wuhan coronavirus should be seen as a call to action for tech experts to apply blockchain and AI solutions to disaster relief and other charity initiatives. This is because, Johnstone argues, the tech industry has the tools and the know-how to "radically change the landscape of crisis response and the management of donations through the implementation and use of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)". This contrasts with the current situation because China has ordered all donations to be funneled into one of five charities that are approved for dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus crisis. The present situation also contrasts with lessons learned in previous crises, where mismanagement of funds led many to conclude that donations and emergency response should be developed and deployed at the local level. Johnstone argues that a better way to provision aid would be through the deployment of a private blockchain with public visibility in order to track supply chains, delivery of goods, and also to transfer funds without the need for an intermediary. Beyond calling for blockchain and AI solutions, Johnstone also cites a 2013 principle from the Chinese government, saying that, "the market should be allowed to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources." -h/t CoinTelegraph.com

  3. Three links from MIT Technology review - I couldn't pick one from today's articles, so here are three: A Russian satellite is probably stalking a US spy satellite in orbit - tells us about a Russian satellite, Kosmos 2542, which has maneuvered into position close to a US spy satellite, and seems to be shadowing it. Russia says that their satellite is deployed as part of an effort to inspect their own orbital assets, but the article suggests that the satellite's movements make this seem unlikely; How Instagram is making jigsaw puzzles cool again - describes a rising genre of online videos where people solve jigsaw puzzles and post their accomplishments on sites like Instagram and Tiktok; and NASA is trying to save Voyager 2 after a power glitch shut down its instruments - describes efforts to return Voyager 2's computer systems to service 38 years after the originally planned end of the 1977 Voyager 2 mission. Voyager 2 is outside of the solar system, and it malfunctioned during a planned 360 degree rotation. Round-trip communication takes 34 hours. As a result, trouble-shooting and repair efforts will take several days. Even if the repair is successful, the Plutonium-238 that's powering the craft is only expected to continue providing power for about 5 more years.

  4. Emissions – the ‘business as usual’ story is misleading - In Nature, Zeke Hausfather and Glen P. Peters argue that experts, policy-makers, and media members should stop citing worst-case scenario projections as the most likely. According to the authors, the 2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) included a range of four possible futures ranging from best-case to worst-case. The worst-case scenario, RCP8.5, paints an unlikely but dystopian future with as much as 5°C of warming. The authors argue that policy-makers and advocates have seized this highly unlikely scenario and presented it to the public as if it should be understood to represent a business-as-usual outcome. The commentary also goes on to argue that every passing year makes this worst-case scenario seem even more unlikely, because it would require an "an unprecedented fivefold increase in coal use by the end of the century, an amount larger than some estimates of recoverable coal reserves". In contrast, the authors say that current estimates imply that coal use peaked in 2013 and is now on the decline. The authors suggest that this misleading rhetoric matters because the most likely current projections anticipate a world that warms by 3°C or less before the end of the century, and hyper-aggressive policies that might be appropriate for a dystopian future with 5°C degree of warming may have unintended consequences that would be unjustifiable against a backdrop of just 3°C of warming, or less. -h/t Daniel Lemire

  5. STEEM Intelligence Collection: Which disciplines are the most effecient? - In this post, @stevescoins discusses the nature of the intelligence cycle as a model, which is useful for teaching a basic understanding of the nature of intelligence activities. The author notes that there are many different proposals for the aspects that should be included in a model of the intelligence cycle, but that collection is nearly always included as one component. One such model is illustrated in the post, and it includes five phases in circular iteration: (i) Planning and direction; (ii) Collection; (iii) Processing; (iv) Analysis and production; (v) Dissemination and feedback. Finally, the author argues that the two most important aspects of collection are HUMINT (human intelligence) and GEOINT (geo-spatial intelligence). While the author argues that HUMINT is most important, the post also reports that it is the most difficult to collect. On the other hand, the post suggests that technologies, like GPS and geo-tagging, are making it progressively easier to collect GEOINT. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been assigned to this post for @stevescoins.)


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