Thursday, March 9, 2017

Friday Thinking 10 March 2017

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


Turkey trot around dead cat strikes awe

we should not conflate massive surveillance with broad data collection used to investigate crimes that have already occurred. The Boston Marathon investigation photos and videos were made by private parties. The government did not collect, aggregate, or analyze them until after they knew that a crime had happened. This wasn’t a fishing expedition. The investigators knew what block of the city to focus on, what time frame, and what they were looking for. While the amount of information collected was large, the targeting was narrow. Officers were investigating a particular crime. They collected only videos and photos that would likely contain evidence of that crime.

Targeted surveillance of people known to be connected to terrorism is the best way to find terrorists. Indeed, almost every major terrorist attack on Western soil in the past fifteen years was committed by someone already on the government’s radar for one or another reason. In January of 2015, two gunmen shot twelve people dead in the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. One of the gunmen had already been sent to prison for recruiting jihadist fighters. The other had reportedly studied in Yemen with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was arrested by the FBI in 2009 after trying and failing while on an airplane to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear. The leader of the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombings had been observed by British intelligence meeting with a suspected terrorist. The men who planned the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008 were already under electronic surveillance by the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. One of the Mumbai plotters had been a DEA informant. Investigators received multiple tips from the informant’s family members, friends, and acquaintances, but the officials never effectively followed up on the information.

“[a]ll of these serious terrorism cases argue not for the gathering of ever vaster troves of information but simply for a better understanding of the information the government has already collected and that are derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence methods.”

Mass Spying Isn’t Just Intrusive—It’s Ineffective

In these days of shock populism - we must care for our institutions of conversation and our institutions of democracy - they may be more vulnerable than we imagine. We must not only strengthen national institutions but also make global institutions more legitimately accountable to citizens.
Norway leads the Index as the world’s strongest democracy, followed by Iceland and Sweden. New Zealand comes fourth, with Denmark in fifth and Canada and Ireland in joint sixth place. Switzerland, Finland and Australia round off the top ten of “full democracies.”

Which are the world's strongest democracies?

Democracy is in decline.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest Democracy Index 2016 shows 72 countries experienced a decline in democratic values last year. Countries with declining levels of democracy outnumbered those becoming more democratic by more than 2 to 1.

The EIU’s Democracy Index measures the state of democracy by rating electoral processes and pluralism, the state of civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture in more than 160 countries worldwide. The EIU’s ranking shows the average global democracy score in 2016 fell to 5.52, down from 5.55 in 2015 (on a scale of 0 to 10).

Well the human genome project began in 1990 and was complete in 2003 (sequencing one human genome) - the Domestication of DNA has a new goal in mind - one that was inevitable even 27 years ago.
the Human Genome Project, which began as an ambitious, controversial, and, at the time, technically impossible proposal more than 30 years ago. That earlier effort eventually led not only to the sequencing of the first human genome, but also to entirely new DNA technologies that are at the center of many medical frontiers and the basis for a $20 billion industry. “People have learned from the human genome experience that [sequencing] is a tremendous advance in biology,”

Biologists propose to sequence the DNA of all life on Earth

When it comes to genome sequencing, visionaries like to throw around big numbers: There’s the UK Biobank, for example, which promises to decipher the genomes of 500,000 individuals, or Iceland’s effort to study the genomes of its entire human population. Yesterday, at a meeting here organized by the Smithsonian Initiative on Biodiversity Genomics and the Shenzhen, China–based sequencing powerhouse BGI, a small group of researchers upped the ante even more, announcing their intent to, eventually, sequence “all life on Earth.”

Their plan, which does not yet have funding dedicated to it specifically but could cost at least several billions of dollars, has been dubbed the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP). Harris Lewin, an evolutionary genomicist at the University of California, Davis, who is part of the group that came up with this vision 2 years ago, says the EBP would take a first step toward its audacious goal by focusing on eukaryotes—the group of organisms that includes all plants, animals, and single-celled organisms such as amoebas.

That strategy, and the EBP’s overall concept, found a receptive audience at BioGenomics2017, a gathering this week of conservationists, evolutionary biologists, systematists, and other biologists interested in applying genomics to their work. “This is a grand idea,” says Oliver Ryder, a conservation biologist at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in California. “If we really want to understand how life evolved, genome biology is going to be part of that.”

Such optimism arises from ever-decreasing DNA sequencing costs—one meeting presenter from Complete Genomics, based in Mountain View, California, says his company plans to be able to roughly sequence whole eukaryotic genomes for about $100 within a year—and improvements in sequencing technology that make possible higher quality genomes, at reasonable prices. “It became apparent to me that at a certain point, it would be possible to sequence all life on Earth,” Lewin says.

Here is another breakthrough in the domestication of DNA.

Cambridge scientists create first self-developing embryo from stem cells

Artificial mouse cells grown from outside body in a blob of gel shown to morph into primitive embryos, roughly equivalent to one third of way through pregnancy
The transformation of a fertilised egg into a tiny living embryo ranks among nature’s most impressive feats. Now scientists have replicated this critical step towards a new life for the first time, growing an artificial mouse embryo from stem cells in the lab.

The cells, grown outside the body in a blob of gel, were shown to morph into primitive embryos that perfectly replicated the internal structures that emerge during normal development in the womb.

The scientists let the artificial embryos develop in culture for seven days – about one third of the way through the mouse pregnancy. By this point the cells had organised into two anatomical sections that would normally go on to form the placenta and the embryonic mouse.

Domesticating DNA has many affordances most of which will emerge in the future. This is amazing - a signal suggesting a future of bio-computing.
"DNA won't degrade over time like cassette tapes and CDs, and it won't become obsolete—if it does, we have bigger problems,"

Researchers store computer operating system and short movie on DNA

Their coding strategy packs 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA
Humanity may soon generate more data than hard drives or magnetic tape can handle, a problem that has scientists turning to nature's age-old solution for information-storage—DNA.

In a new study in Science, a pair of researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center (NYGC) show that an algorithm designed for streaming video on a cellphone can unlock DNA's nearly full storage potential by squeezing more information into its four base nucleotides. They demonstrate that this technology is also extremely reliable.

DNA is an ideal storage medium because it's ultra-compact and can last hundreds of thousands of years if kept in a cool, dry place, as demonstrated by the recent recovery of DNA from the bones of a 430,000-year-old human ancestor found in a cave in Spain.

Now that DNA is clearly shown to be both a viable and very long term memory storage - here’s new research about DNA as a new computational paradigm.
As DNA molecules are very small a desktop computer could potentially utilize more processors than all the electronic computers in the world combined – and therefore outperform the world’s current fastest supercomputer, while consuming a tiny fraction of its energy.

Scientists reveal new super-fast form of computer that ‘grows as it computes’

Researchers from The University of Manchester have shown that it is possible to build a new super-fast form of computer that “grows as it computes”.
Professor Ross D King and his team have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of engineering a nondeterministic universal Turing machine (NUTM), and their research is to be published in the prestigious Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The theoretical properties of such a computing machine, including its exponential boost in speed over electronic and quantum computers, have been well understood for many years – but the Manchester breakthrough demonstrates that it is actually possible to physically create a NUTM using DNA molecules.

“Imagine a computer is searching a maze and comes to a choice point, one path leading left, the other right,” explained Professor King, from Manchester’s School of Computer Science. “Electronic computers need to choose which path to follow first.
“But our new computer doesn’t need to choose, for it can replicate itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster.

“This ‘magical’ property is possible because the computer’s processors are made of DNA rather than silicon chips. All electronic computers have a fixed number of chips.

Here’s a Blockchain project that if it pans out could bring elections into the 21st century. Still needs significant testing - but it shows real promise.
“We are so pleased to have supported the Rock Hall in their online Fan Vote, and Board Vote, this year using our blockchain-based mobile voting platform,” explained Votem CEO Pete Martin via Skype. “The Rock Hall is a progressive organization and they wanted to ensure that this year’s online vote was secure, accurate and immune to hacking.  We’re pleased to have accomplished this for them.”

Votem CEO Pete Martin: Leveraging Blockchain to Secure Global Mobile Voting & Rocking the Vote

Focusing on solving the problem of securing public, private and proxy global election systems, Votem offers a blockchain-based solution which aims to give democracy back to the people by allowing them to conveniently, safely and securely participate in such electoral processes. Partnering with Votem, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame successfully completed its Fan Vote for the Hall of Fame’s 2017 Inductees.  Utilizing blockchain, Votem collected nearly 2 million global votes without software bots’ interference.

The 1,812,688 votes cast for the Rock Hall’s Fan Vote is reportedly the largest use of online voting using blockchain to date. People from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 100 countries worldwide accessed the Rock Hall’s site to cast their votes for their favorite rock artists; 60% of votes were made from smartphones. The Rock Hall opted for Votem after a prior year’s vote was compromised due to hacking. While many organizations run fan votes primarily for marketing and promotional purposes, the Rock Hall of Fame opted to link with Votem given its innovative use of blockchain architecture. Votem’s online voting platform leverages blockchain aiming to bring improved uptime, security and performance to the voting process.

The hype curve provides a shape that enables us to visualize the progress from big idea to actual implementability and impact. It doesn’t however, provide a definitive timeframe. Launched in 2015 Etherium has already had lots of drama and significant setbacks. Yet progress continues and serious players continue to commit to further developments. The idea of a distributed ledger is gain ground.

Corporate Titans Unite to Build an Enterprise Version of the Ethereum Blockchain

Over the last two years, Ethereum, a blockchain-based platform for self-executing contracts and other applications, has attracted many admirers in the corporate world. The platform—a peer-to-peer network similar to the one that runs Bitcoin—is already supporting decentralized prediction markets, autonomously-run lotteries, and a host of governance tools. And there is much speculation that the same building blocks could be used to replicate and streamline services offered by financial institutions, insurance agencies, and healthcare providers, to name but a few.

Most of the of the titans in these industries, however, have kept their distance—watching this radical new technology take shape while waiting to see whether it would embrace the needs of the companies that might want to build on it.

On Tuesday, some of the biggest names in the sectors of finance and software—including Intel, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, and Accenture—finally stepped into the fray, announcing their intention to work together on a private version of the Ethereum blockchain. Their efforts will be coordinated under the auspices of a new non-profit organization called the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which will guide the engineering of a standard blockchain technology based on the Ethereum blockchain and customized for the needs of all enterprise members.

By Tuesday, more than thirty companies had joined the alliance. Although the organization was formed in December, it was not formally launched until this week, during an event that also showcased the group’s plans for the future.

The world of intelligence and security is equally ripe for disruption - the idea of private security and intelligence organizations is not new - but the accelerating rise of AI, machine learning and big data can make most nations state intelligence agencies seem primitive.


Palantir has never masked its ambitions, in particular the desire to sell its services to the U.S. government — the CIA itself was an early investor in the startup through In-Q-Tel, the agency’s venture capital branch. But Palantir refuses to discuss or even name its government clientele, despite landing “at least $1.2 billion” in federal contracts since 2009, according to an August 2016 report in Politico. The company was last valued at $20 billion and is expected to pursue an IPO in the near future. In a 2012 interview with TechCrunch, while boasting of ties to the intelligence community, Karp said nondisclosure contracts prevent him from speaking about Palantir’s government work.

Its two main products are Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis, more geeky winks from a company whose Tolkien namesake is a type of magical sphere used by the evil lord Sauron to surveil, trick, and threaten his enemies across Middle Earth. While Palantir Metropolis is pegged to quantitative analysis for Wall Street banks and hedge funds, Gotham (formerly Palantir Government) is designed for the needs of intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security customers. Gotham works by importing large reams of “structured” data (like spreadsheets) and “unstructured” data (like images) into one centralized database, where all of the information can be visualized and analyzed in one workspace. For example, a 2010 demo showed how Palantir Government could be used to chart the flow of weapons throughout the Middle East by importing disparate data sources like equipment lot numbers, manufacturer data, and the locations of Hezbollah training camps. Palantir’s chief appeal is that it’s not designed to do any single thing in particular, but is flexible and powerful enough to accommodate the requirements of any organization that needs to process large amounts of both personal and abstract data.

Just to make a point about how feasible a massive private intelligence agency is. This is something we should all worry about.

The FCC Graciously Sets Internet Providers Free to Sell Your Data

COMCAST, VERIZON, AND other internet service providers got the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission today to sell your personal information without your permission. At least for now.

Last October the agency passed a set of rules that would have required internet providers to take steps to protect your private data from hackers, notify you if someone hacked your data, and require your explicit permission before selling your data. Today the FCC suspended those rules before they took effect.

“The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are committed to protecting the online privacy of American consumers,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a joint statement today. “We believe that the best way to do that is through a comprehensive and consistent framework.”

The move may head off a congressional review of the rules that could have hobbled the FCC’s ability to make new privacy regulations in the future. The agency will now likely pass a set of less stringent rules more in line with the way the FTC regulates websites like Facebook and Google. If the FTC does at some point require websites to seek explicit permission before selling your data, the FCC may then follow suit for internet providers. Neither agency responded to a request for comment, but Pai has said in the past that he believed having divergent rules for websites and ISPs would lead to confusion among consumers. We’re not sure you’re going to find the new status quo exactly crystal clear.

Here’s another signal that the Internet is a global nervous system.

Global Patterns of Synchronization in Human Communications

Human activity, whether commercial or social, contains patterns and moments of synchronicity. In recent years, social media like Twitter has provided an unprecedented volume of data on the daily activities of humans all over the world. Observing this activity on the scale of a city, a continent, or the globe reveals the patterns. In a paper published by the Journal of the Royal Society, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) have observed a new pattern of synchronized activity: a simultaneous peak of Twitter activity stretching across half the planet, from Europe and Africa to Asia and Oceania.

Everyone has their daily routine, which for many people now includes tweeting. NECSI researchers observed over 500 million tweets to obtain the aggregate synchronizations created by everyone’s routine.

When viewing the tweets of a single city, human activity resembles a heart beat: a strong peak of activity coinciding with movement contracting into the city center for the work day, followed by a secondary peak of activity representing afterwork social and commercial activity, and ending in a period of low activity and dispersal away from the city center as people return to homes to sleep. As NECSI watched this daily pattern over the course of the year, they found it had more to do with the demands of work schedules than the natural cycles of night and day, changing little in comparison to the shortening and lengthening days of the year.

Using tweets, NECSI took the pulse of 52 metropolitan areas all over the world. While the heart beat pattern was observed in each city, some locations had denser or more disperse work and home neighborhoods. The relevant size and timing of peaks of activity also varied. Perhaps not surprisingly, cities in the same longitude and timezone tend to have similar patterns. However, NECSI observed a new pattern of synchronized activity falling across longitudes 0 to 180: Europe’s morning peak of Twitter activity coincides with Asia’s large peak of afternoon activity.

For many of us that depend on Lawyers - this may be great news.

JPMorgan Software Does in Seconds What Took Lawyers 360,000 Hours

At JPMorgan Chase & Co., a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours.

The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation.

Now this is definitely a signal of the possibilities of new human capabilities based on Human-AI synergy. How AI becomes an external neural cortex enhancing our learning and performance.
the system can grasp small items of clothing about twice as fast as a person working on his own can, while a robot working independently would be too unreliable to deploy. One person can also operate several robots at once.

How a Human-Machine Mind-Meld Could Make Robots Smarter

Kindred AI is teaching robots new tasks using human virtual-reality “pilots.” The ultimate goal is to create a new kind of artificial intelligence.
A secretive Canadian startup called Kindred AI is teaching robots how to perform difficult dexterous tasks at superhuman speeds by pairing them with human “pilots” wearing virtual-reality headsets and holding motion-tracking controllers.

The technology offers a fascinating glimpse of how humans might work in synchronization with machines in the future, and it shows how tapping into human capabilities might amplify the capabilities of automated systems. For all the worry over robots and artificial intelligence eliminating jobs, there are plenty of things that machines still cannot do. The company demonstrated the hardware to MIT Technology Review last week, and says it plans to launch a product aimed at retailers in the coming months. The long-term ambitions are far grander. Kindred hopes that this human-assisted learning will foster a fundamentally new and more powerful kind of artificial intelligence.

Kindred was created by several people from D-Wave, a quantum computing company based in Burnaby, Canada. Kindred is currently testing conventional industrial robot arms capable of grasping and placing objects that can be awkward to handle, like small items of clothing, more quickly and reliably than would normally be possible. The arms do this by occasionally asking for help from a team of humans, who use virtual-reality hardware to view the challenge and temporarily take control of an arm.

“A pilot can see, hear, and feel what the robot is seeing, hearing, and feeling. When the pilot acts, those actions move the robot,” says Geordie Rose, who is a cofounder and the CEO of Kindred, and who previously cofounded D-Wave. “This allows us to show robots how to act like people. Humans aren't the fastest or best at all aspects of robot control, like putting things in specific locations, but humans are still best at making sense of tricky or unforeseen situations.”

This is very interesting - literally a new form of software. This is really approaching science fiction - especially for anyone who read Rudy Rucker. There is a short video demonstration as well.

Transparent, gel-based robots can catch and release live fish

Made from hydrogel, robots may one day assist in surgical operations, evade underwater detection.
Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish.

The robots are made entirely of hydrogel — a tough, rubbery, nearly transparent material that’s composed mostly of water. Each robot is an assemblage of hollow, precisely designed hydrogel structures, connected to rubbery tubes. When the researchers pump water into the hydrogel robots, the structures quickly inflate in orientations that enable the bots to curl up or stretch out.

The team fashioned several hydrogel robots, including a fin like structure that flaps back and forth, an articulated appendage that makes kicking motions, and a soft, hand-shaped robot that can squeeze and relax.

Because the robots are both powered by and made almost entirely of water, they have similar visual and acoustic properties to water. The researchers propose that these robots, if designed for underwater applications, may be virtually invisible.

A breakthrough in 3D printing has been achieved recently.

Breakthrough with 3D printed Gas Turbine Blades

Siemens has achieved a breakthrough in the 3D printing of gas turbine blades. For the first time, a team of experts has full-load tested gas turbine blades that were entirely produced using additive manufacturing.

The tests were conducted at the Siemens test center for industrial gas turbines in Lincoln, Great Britain. Over the course of several months, Siemens engineers from Lincoln, Berlin, and the Swedish municipality of Finspong worked with experts from Materials Solutions to optimize the gas turbine blades and their production. Within just 18 months, the international project team succeeded in developing the entire process chain, from the design of individual components, to the development of materials, all the way to new methods of quality control and the simulation of component service life. In addition, Siemens tested a new additively manufactured blade design with a fully revised and improved internal cooling geometry.

Until now, blades for gas turbines were either cast or forged. The casting of turbine blades requires complex mold construction before each blade can be individually cast – a complex, time-consuming, and costly procedure. Additive manufacturing changes all this. With AM, a laser beam is directed at fine layers of metal powder, which are heated and melted. When the laser is removed, the metal cools. The process is repeated layer by layer until the blade model from the 3D printer is finished. Thanks to additive manufacturing, the team was able to reduce the period of time from the design of a new gas turbine blade to its production from two years to two months.

This is a 7 min video demonstrating a virtual reality application creating a holographic interactable visual from CAT Scan data - This is well worth the view - as a glimpse into the near future of learning and work.

3D Visualizer on Vive

Using 3D Visualizer in the HTC Vive head-mounted VR system to analyze a 3D medical CAT scan.

Visualizing in real time has be a key in the improvement of weather forecasting. Here’s a development that is taking that to a new level. The next stage which is plausibly not to far away is real time visualization of the whole earth 24/7 - the question becoming what resolution will we have then.

The Startup That’s in Charge of the Biggest Private Satellite Fleet

Planet Labs is using its herd of orbiting cameras to take a new picture of the entire Earth each day.
When 88 of its tiny satellites were launched into orbit by India’s space agency earlier this month, startup Planet Labs helped set a world record for the largest one-time satellite deployment ever.

This new flock of satellites also gives the Earth-imaging startup a record of its own. With a total of 149 satellites in orbit, it now commands the largest private fleet in history.

Mike Safyan, Planet Labs’s director of launch and regulatory affairs, predicts that within three months this increased capacity will enable it to achieve its core mission of taking pictures of the entire surface of the Earth every day—something no other company has done thus far. Already, Planet Labs is imaging approximately 50 million square kilometers of the planet every day, which is double the entire surface area of North America.

By decreasing the cost and size of their satellites—each one is roughly the size of a backpack and weighs around four kilograms—Planet Labs and a handful of competitors have helped change the economics of launching and maintaining large fleets of satellites.

A new discovery in the study of the brain.

A Giant Neuron Has Been Found Wrapped Around the Entire Circumference of the Brain

This could be where consciousness forms.
For the first time, scientists have detected a giant neuron wrapped around the entire circumference of a mouse's brain, and it's so densely connected across both hemispheres, it could finally explain the origins of consciousness.

Using a new imaging technique, the team detected the giant neuron emanating from one of the best-connected regions in the brain, and say it could be coordinating signals from different areas to create conscious thought.

This recently discovered neuron is one of three that have been detected for the first time in a mammal's brain, and the new imaging technique could help us figure out if similar structures have gone undetected in our own brains for centuries.

At a recent meeting of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative in Maryland, a team from the Allen Institute for Brain Science described how all three neurons stretch across both hemispheres of the brain, but the largest one wraps around the organ's circumference like a "crown of thorns".

A new breakthrough in neuro studies and opening the way to new forms of brain-device interfaces and possibly new forms of neural networks for brains.
"It can deliver the virus [containing the opsins] straight to the cell, and then stimulate the response and record the activity -- and [the fiber] is sufficiently small and biocompatible so it can be kept in for a long time,"

Tiny fibers open new windows into the brain

Three-in-one design allows genetic, chemical, optical, and electrical inputs and outputs
For the first time ever, a single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain, putting into practice an idea first proposed two years ago. With some tweaking to further improve its biocompatibility, the new approach could provide a dramatically improved way to learn about the functions and interconnections of different brain regions.

The team aims to reduce the width of the fibers further, to make their properties even closer to those of the neural tissue. "The next engineering challenge is to use material that is even softer, to really match" the adjacent tissue, Park says. Already, though, dozens of research teams around the world have been requesting samples of the new fibers to test in their own research.

This may bring some humor and thought to all those digital curmudgeons out there - new mental disorders created by the digital environment.


Is tech creating new types of mental and emotional disorders?
An increasing number of stories about internet addiction and the effect of constant device use on our minds, lives and relationships. From a culture of distraction and boot-camps for addicted teens to the “electronic apocalypse”.

Recently, I finished a long, two-year stretch at a computer creating my book. Feeling the effect of such intense screen use, I took the time to observe and catalogue how it affected my mind, emotions and behaviours.
The result is this ‘charticle’. How many do you recognise?

There may be many people traveling across borders with worries of having devices searched. This is some good advice.

3 (free) things that journalists can do right now to protect their data and their sources at the border

This month, homeland security secretary John Kelly proposed requiring social media logins from foreign visa applicants in a move that organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation fear could eventually extend to American citizens as well. In fact, CPB agents demanded eight Muslim Americans’ social media account information and mobile phone passcodes at the border, according to recent complaints filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. And in January, U.S. citizen and NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden announced his intention this week to introduce legislation “that will guarantee that the Fourth Amendment is protected at the border by requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before searching devices, and prohibiting the practice of forcing travelers to reveal their online account passwords.”

“We are recommending that people think about their digital privacy at the border before, during, and after travel,” said Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. That is especially good advice for journalists who may have sensitive information on their devices and in their social media accounts, but who do not have as much legal protection as, for example, attorneys entrusted with client information.

For Fun
This may evoke the movie ‘The Birds’ or just simply weird. You have to see to understand. :)

Turkey trot around dead cat strikes awe

A turkey procession around the corpse of a cat has taken social media by storm.
Twitter user @TheRealJDavis captured a video of the odd occurence, posted Thursday, with the caption "These turkeys trying to give this cat its 10th life."
In the video, a flock of turkeys is seen walking around the cat's body in the middle of the road.
Media outlets such as NPR and Boston Magazine posted stories on what provoked the turkeys to circle the dead cat.

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