Later On

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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Police believe public has no right to see videos that might reveal police misconduct

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I can understand why the police would not want the public to view videos that reveal misconduct and fight to keep such evidence secret, I don’t see why the police should be allowed to get away with that.

German Lopez has an interesting article at Vox.com:

There were two high-profile police shootings in the past week — and police’s responses to them could not have been more different.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a police officer shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old black man. Shortly after the shooting, police released all available video that they had — promising to get to the bottom of what happened in an investigation.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man police claim was armed and brandishing a gun. There is video — police have said that the officer who fired the fatal shot didn’t have a body camera, but other officers on the scene did, and there may be dashboard camera footage. But police said they won’t release the video, as it’s currently under review and part of an ongoing investigation.

It’s a startling difference in transparency and accountability: Police in Tulsa quickly released all the video they had, while police in Charlotte may not ever (willingly) put out video.

One reason for the difference: North Carolina law. Earlier in July, Republican Gov. Pat McCrorysigned a controversial measure that prevents law enforcement agencies from releasing video footage without a court order. The law doesn’t take effect until October, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney cited the law in his defense for not releasing the video.

The law, McCrory previously argued, is needed to preserve public safety and the integrity of investigations. One major concern for law enforcement is that released video footage could let witnesses verify and change their testimonies to match what’s on video, making it more difficult to discern who’s a trustworthy eyewitness and who isn’t.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel put this argument best after the police shooting of Sylville Smith in Milwaukee: Releasing video prior to an investigation’s completion “would compromise the integrity of the investigation,” he said. “It is sometimes necessary to confront witnesses with information they didn’t know or they didn’t know we know. I cannot have witness statements colored or tainted by what they are seeing from other sources.”

But the North Carolina law also shows the limits of body cameras for holding police accountable: As promising as the devices may seem, how much of an impact they have largely depends on who controls the footage. . .

Continue reading. Video at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 6:12 pm

Cuban inventos: Hacks and ingenuity to keep things working.

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Very interesting article in Craftsmanship magazine by Rob Waters. Worth the click.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Quitting social media make you happier, at least among the young

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Sarah Marsh reports in The Guardian:

r love of social media seems to have grown and grown in the past decade, but recent studies show the tide may be turning for some platforms, with young people in particular ditching Facebook. One study claims that more than 11 million teenagers left Facebook between 2011 and 2014. It’s been argued that they are swapping public platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for more private messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.

We asked the Guardian’s younger readers whether they have quit social media and why, as well as what apps they are ditching. Almost all reported a greater sense of happiness after going offline. Here, we share some of their experiences.

Daisy, 23, Manchester: ‘I feel less anxious and less like a failure’

After a romance ended with a guy I really liked, I kept trying to avoid Facebook so I wouldn’t have to see him. It was after this that I gradually switched off from it, but before that I’d been wanting to quit for a while.

Facebook made me feel anxious, depressed and like a failure. When I went online it seemed like everyone was in Australia or Thailand, and if they weren’t travelling they were getting engaged or landing great jobs. I felt like everyone was living the dream and I was still at home with my parents, with debt from my student loan hanging over me.

I also felt that if I wasn’t tagging myself at restaurants or uploading photos from nights out, people would assume I wasn’t living. I remember a friend from uni said to me once, “Yeah, but you’re still going out having fun, I’ve seen on Facebook.” I tried to present myself as always having a great time. If my status didn’t get more than five likes, I’d delete it.

My life has changed for the better since deleting social media. I now enjoy catching up with my friends, and when they tell me new plans my response isn’t just, “Yeah, I saw on Facebook.” It makes you realise who your real friends are and how social media takes the joy out of sharing news with people. I also feel less anxious and less of a failure.

I’m planning to visit a friend in Australia next month, and she and my mum and a couple of other friends want me to go back on Facebook to share my pictures. I’d really prefer not to, though. I’m on Instagram, but I mostly follow sarcastic quote pages. I’ve never had a Twitter account.

George Lincoln, 17, Hampshire: ‘A lot of young people aren’t interested in Facebook any more’ . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

If It Needs a Sign, It’s Probably Bad Design

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From Lena Groeger’s on-going series in ProPublica:

The EpiPen, the potentially life-saving device that delivers a dose of medicine to people having a severe allergic reaction, has been all over the news for its outrageous price spike. Going up 500 percent in just under a decade is upsetting. But even as the company and regulators are dealing with its price, going unaddressed is the product’s significant design flaw.

Despite having pen in its name, the EpiPen isn’t really designed like a pen at all. A pen usually has a cap that covers the pen tip. But the cap of the EpiPen is on the opposite end as the needle tip. Joyce Lee, a pediatrician and University of Michigan professor who also studies patient-centered design, points out that this broken metaphor causes confusion over which end is which – and has led to people accidentally pushing their fingers into the needle. Between 1994 and 2007 there were over 15,000 unintentional injections from EpiPens, including many cases of trained healthcare professionals who accidentally gave themselves a dose of epinephrine in the thumb or finger while trying to deliver the life-saving medicine to someone else.

The owner of the EpiPen, Mylan, told ProPublica that “Since acquiring the EpiPen Auto-Injector, Mylan has made significant improvements to the design of the medical device portion of the product” and that the design changes were “aimed at making EpiPen Auto-Injectors easier to safely carry, hold, and administer and reduce the risk to users from the device’s needle, which is extremely important to our patients.” The company “encourage[s] all patients and caregivers to receive training on proper administration.”See Mylan’s full response here.

But while in 2009 Mylan redesigned the device, they didn’t change the orientation of the cap and needle. Instead, they colored one end bright orange and gave it the label “Needle End.” No doubt the design tweak helped a little: according to one study, the new EpiPen has a success rate of 67 percent (the old pen had a success rate of 43 percent). But that same study compared the EpiPen to another epinephrine auto-injector, the Auvi-Q, which was recently taken off the market after being recalled for dosage problems. The Auvi-Q is designed with the cap and needle on the same end – and had a success rate of over 90 percent. . .

Continue reading.

More at the link, including photos. Do read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 September 2016 at 4:06 pm

Modern Technology Unlocks Secrets of a Damaged Biblical Scroll

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Fascinating discovery in our (human) cultural history. A NY Times Report by Nicholas Wade is worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 September 2016 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Memes, Religion, Science, Technology

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A Shocking Amount of E-Waste Recycling Is a Complete Sham

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Jason Koebler reports in Motherboard:

Until recently, I had never really thought about what happens to my old electronics. I took them to a community e-waste recycling drive, or dropped my old phone in a box somewhere, and I assumed my stuff was recycled.

An alarming portion of the time this is not actually the case, according to the results of a project that used GPS trackers to follow e-waste over the course of two years. Forty percent of all US electronics recyclers testers included in the study proved to be complete shams, with our e-waste getting shipped wholesale to landfills in Hong Kong, China, and developing nations in Africa and Asia.

The most important thing to know about the e-waste recycling industry is that it is not free to recycle an old computer or an old CRT television. The value of the raw materials in the vast majority of old electronics is worth less than it costs to actually recycle them. While consumers rarely have to pay e-waste recycling companies to take their old electronics (costs are offset by local tax money or manufacturers fronting the bill as part of a legally mandated obligated recycling quota), companies, governments, and organizations do.

Or at least, in a rational market, your office would have to pay an e-waste recycler to take their old stuff. But an astounding amount of US electronics recyclers will take old machines at no cost or for pennies per pound, then sell them wholesale to scrapyards in developing nations that often employ low-salary laborers to dig out the several components that are worth anything.

Based on the results of a new study from industry watchdog Basel Action Network and MIT, industry documents obtained by Motherboard, and interviews with industry insiders, it’s clear that the e-waste recycling industry is filled with sham operations profiting off of shipping toxic waste to developing nations. Here are the major findings of the study and of my interviews and reporting: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 September 2016 at 2:39 pm

Is this the coolest thing ever, or what?

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Turn off the sounds. The sound track is techno-grating “music.”

Here’s the explanation.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 September 2016 at 1:26 pm

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