YouTube has such a massive variety of content it astonishes me. I had no idea you could find things like entire surgeries being conducted until a doctor friend of mine showed me. Other awesome YouTube channels are the NASA ones, specifically the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, who are currently in the process of uploading all their archival footage.
There are some truly bizarre experimental aircraft in the NASA archive with videos dating back all the way to 1946. Some of my favorite videos are the ones featuring the SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest and highest flying production aircraft and its predecessors. Another personal favorite of mine is the Helios Prototype a gigantic solar powered electric wing of sorts. It’s the type of thing that looks as though it shouldn’t be able to fly, but achieved an unofficial world-record altitude of 96,863 feet. If you have any interest in aeronautics or just want to burn some time looking at awesomeness do yourself a favor and watch their channel.
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center YouTube channel
When purchasing an internet enabled device or downloading an app do you blindly click through the ToS? Maybe you don’t feel like reading pages of pages of legal this time, but this is where companies could bury a “consent” to geolocate you. It’s all about big data, you could try to be a ghost by having no social media accounts or not posting online, but the truth is data like geolocation is valuable and if a device or app can, it will track you. Sometimes this data collected isn’t as secure as it should be and could be easily stolen. Which brings the question, how do to prevent tracking without consent? It’s all about raising awareness, knowing about your privacy rights and having places like Illinois pass laws to protect privacy.
After the WannaCry attack last month a new challenger approaches.
It is referred to by many names including Petya, Petrwrap, NotPetya and exPetr. This malware pretends to be ransomware by locking your files up and demanding money to give access back, but even if payment is made it can’t decrypt your files. This makes the malware a wiper and not ransomware, where the main goal of the virus is to be destructive rather than to make money. Anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab reports there are over 2000 attacks. It’s scary to think among those 2000 impacted Chernobyl’s Windows-based radiation sensors were shut down. The radiation levels had to be monitored manually as a result.
Remember to practice safe computing and have an anti-virus installed!
The site makes the comparison that like oil leads to global warming, data leads to social cooling. Everything you do online is turned into a digital reputation and databrokers use this data in often inaccurate biased algorithms to fill in the blanks of your digital persona. They then sell your valuable data even if it may not be entirely true.
The scary thing is your digital reputation could limit opportunities, so people are changing their behavior to improve their reputation.
Free speech suffers and society cools to the point we become bland culture limited by reputation.
People take less risks. Creativity suffers. Conformity is king.
The best thing we can do is raise awareness on the subjects of data and privacy.
I highly suggest watching Black Mirror S3:E1 "Nosedive" on Netflix. The show is not episodic, so you don’t have to worry about watching 2 seasons to get to it.
Did you know when you brush your teeth or wash your hair you are potentially sending plastic down the drain? Microbeads are tiny spheres of plastic that act as abrasives and are added to many products you could be using daily. The problem is that when we do things like shower these plastic particles go down the drain, through sewage filtration systems that can’t catch them due to their small size and finally into the ocean as pollution.
This is where the cellulose microbeads developed by the University’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) come in. Cellulose is a natural renewable plant material able to be broken down by the environment. These new biodegradable beads are stable enough for things like body wash and can even be tweaked for their specific application. The UK Government has pledged to ban microbeads in 2017, hopefully the US will follow suite and jump on the biodegradable bandwagon.
Pix2pix uses a neural net and tries to learn the connection between a normal image and a line art of the image you draw. This can create some disturbingly creepy images. It originally started with cats, but just the other day the human drawing version became a thing. To use this wondrous tool, click the clear button and begin drawing, after you finish hit process and let your idea come to life! Make sure to post your creations on our Facebook so we can all see.
Below are some of my creations
Google is starting to resemble SkyNet by hooking up 14 robot arms together so they can help each other learn. The robots have no programming on how to pick objects up and only have a failure rate of 18%. The objects vary greatly from staplers and pens to more difficult items like Floam. I for one welcome our new autonomous claw machine overlords.If you'd like to see what else Google is up to
Begun, the clone wars has... Well, kinda
I’ve wanted to take one of these DNA tests for a while now, but I never thought about what the company who performs the test can do with my DNA after the test. To paraphrase what Joel Winston wrote on Think Progress, when you agree to Ancestry’s TOS you are giving them ownership of your DNA for forever even after you have long passed. They could do whatever they want with your genetic material forever.
One issue of companies like Ancestry owning rights to your genetic material brought up on multiple occasions is if they choose to sell your DNA data to 3rd parties like insurance companies. When the insurance company learns that you're genetically predisposed to a certain disease or condition, they could potentially raise your rates or outright drop you because of it.
Ancestry’s rebuttal on the Think Progress post
Ancestry says in the post they have never sold genetic data and they won’t share it without your consent. They also cover all the Think Progress article’s other questions and worries as well. They make it sound safe and the fact they have over 20 years of experience doing genetic testing without selling genetic data yet makes me confident in using them in the future.
I’ll leave you with a third article from independent well respected member of the genealogy community.
The Legal Genealogist -Judy G. Russel
In her words if you are worried about DNA testing – don’t test.
Net Neutrality Drama
The battle for net neutrality is getting heated, in fact it’s dominating most tech news.
Please watch the video by John Oliver to help get you up to date. Basically, what is happening is in the week leading up to the vote they don’t consider any comments so they shut them off for now. The response of comments was in fact overwhelming, but it wasn’t only humans voting. Per reports well over 100,000 comments against net neutrality were spam bots often attached to real people’s info. When some of the people were asked about if they posted the comments or not that often had no clue about it.
'That doesn’t even sound like verbiage I would use,' says Nancy Colombo of Connecticut, whose name and address appeared alongside the comment.
'I have no idea where that came from,' says Lynn Vesely, whose Indiana address also appeared, and who was surprised to hear about the comment."
Go FCC yourself.
Read the article
NASA Has Unveiled Their Mars Mission.
NASA and Kennedy Space Center have been a huge part of my life while growing up. I’ll never forget the times with family and friends going on roofs or to the beach to watch the seemingly impossible feat of a rocket launch.
It fills me with joy to know one day we might land a man on the red planet and that I might even get to witness it like my parents had witnessed the moon landing before me. The mission consists of five phases taking place over 16 years. For a more detailed look at the phases click here.
Watch this short video explaining net neutrality here
Canada Ruled to Uphold Net Neutrality article here
As the US battles for net neutrality, Canada ruled to uphold net neutrality. Good for Canada, let's see if the U.S. can follow suit.
Q:What is net neutrality you might ask?
In short, net neutrality creates an equal playing field among content providers to the web. This is the way it currently works and is great for consumers because they can access everything they want online for no extra charge and at the same speed.
Q:Who would want to get rid of net neutrality?
Large internet service providers who want to dictate what content you can access on their service. Without net neutrality, an ISP can discriminate against rival companies by throttling speeds or even blocking other company’s services all together.
Tell the FCC to reclassify broadband internet as a title II common carrier telecommunications service here
Read the article here!
We can all agree college textbooks are expensive, right? They also have almost no resale value and change every year to boot. When I first started college, I remember dumping over a grand into books, some of which went unused. I learned from that mistake and later bought used, rented or borrowed textbooks after I knew they were necessary to the course. Open source textbooks are a step in the right direction.
"Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life." -Janine di Giovanni
Happy St. Paddy's day from Beelieve Tech!
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