Japan CCTV Cameras and App Reduces Shoplifting

27 Jun 2018

AI security cameras coming to stores in Japan, reduce shoplifting by 40 percent – SoraNews 24, 2018/05/31

A recent study by telecom giant NTT found that Japanese businesses lose around 400 billion yen (US$3.7B) annually through five-fingered discounts. No store is immune to this larceny, except perhaps anvil shops, and technology has yet to come up with a strong enough solution to effectively combat it, until now.

The way it works is simple. The camera watches the store interior and identifies all the humans inside as they walk about. AI Guardman is aware of the different techniques commonly used by shoplifters in different types of stores, such as looking for blindspots in supermarkets or constantly checking one’s surroundings in bookstores.

If one shopper exhibits motions and postures typical of a shoplifter in that type of store, an alert will be sent to the clerk’s smartphone telling them the location and a photo of the suspect.

A good use of technology.


Google Versus Environmentalists on Issue of Stray Cats

29 May 2018

As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul – NY Times, 2018/05/26

Google never set out to threaten biodiversity in its front yard, of course. Like so many stories these days about Big Tech, this is a tale about how attempts to do good often produce unexpected consequences, and how even smart people (especially, perhaps, smart people) can be reluctant to rethink their convictions.

At Google, it is not so much that workers do not like birds as it is that they really love cats. There is an employee group called GCat Rescue that traps the cats around the so-called Googleplex. Kittens and friendly adults are put up for adoption. Less-friendly adult cats are neutered and released.

This is about how Google loves and feeds stray cats. However, the cats have been feasting on owls in the area.

“We lose the owls, we lose something else next, and then something else,” Ms. McLaughlin said. “We need biodiversity.”

Janet Alexander, a spokeswoman for the animal control group, said, “Google understands the cats are not supposed to cross the line into the park.”

The cats seem to have a different understanding.

I love the last part… the cats did not get the memo.

21st Century Warfare

10 May 2018

Five key Isil leaders captured in sting after Iraqi agents lure them into trap using Telegram app – UK Telegraph, 2018/05/10

A security advisor to the Iraqi government told Reuters that Iraqi agents had used an app on the mobile phone of the senior aide to lure four commanders from the group into a trap.

Iraqi agents used the Telegram messaging app on Eithawi’s mobile phone to lure other Isil commanders to cross the border from Syria into Iraq, where they were captured, Hashimi said.

Bioplastics in Cars Attracting Rodents for Dinner

8 May 2018

Rats can’t resist the wiring in newer cars: Here’s whyUSA Today, 2018/05/07

In 2016 in California, a class-action lawsuit against Toyota claimed the company should cover — under warranty — damage from rodents chewing through insulation for wiring that is now soy-based rather than petroleum-based.

“While advances in car construction can be beneficial to the environment, there may also be unforeseen consequences such as making your car more appetizing to rodents,” Tracy Noble, spokeswoman of AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a 2016 press release.

The Los Angeles lawyer is involved in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Albert Heber of Delphi, Ind., whose 2012 Tundra had its soy-based insulated wiring chewed through by rodents three times, the first in 2013. The costs of repair totaled about $1,500 — damage that Kabateck said Toyota wouldn’t cover under warranty.

“Our contention, why soy is certainly — it’s laudable — they’re trying to be more green, at the same time, it’s becoming a potential food product for rats,” Kabateck said. He believes rats find it “delicious.”

So I had to look up why car manufacturers are using soy based wiring.


Are Bioplastics In Cars Leading To More Rodent Damage? How To Prevent Rats from Eating Your Car Wires, 2017/05/29

In recent years, the auto industry has become very focused on the initiative to “go green” with a major shift to try and reduce reliance on petroleum based products. This has led to a whole variety of car parts being made from different organic substances such as soy, corn, sugar cane, recycled wood, castor beans, etc.

A large part of our cars are made from food. No wonder rats are pigging out. So they are focused on being more green – great. Seems as though they didn’t think of the rats. But there’s also this…


How Car Manufacturers Benefit From Soy Based WiringHow To Prevent Rats from Eating Your Car Wires, 2017/11/16

I’ll just hit the bullet points.

  • Dealerships Get More Business
  • Expensive, Labor Intensive Work
  • Insurance Requires Factory Made Parts
  • Honda’s Rodent Tape


So if this is an issue for you, you may want to ask some questions when purchasing that shiny new car.

Maybe there is an actual benefit to petroleum based products.

Software Bug Blamed for Self-Driving Uber Car Crash

8 May 2018

Report: Software bug led to death in Uber’s self-driving crash Ars Technica, 2018/05/07

The fatal crash that killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, in March occurred because of a software bug in Uber’s self-driving car technology, The Information’s Amir Efrati reported on Monday. According to two anonymous sources who talked to Efrati, Uber’s sensors did, in fact, detect Herzberg as she crossed the street with her bicycle. Unfortunately, the software classified her as a “false positive” and decided it didn’t need to stop for her.


UK: Analog Clocks, Pencils are Too Difficult for Today’s Kids

4 May 2018

Schools are removing analogue clocks from exam halls as teenagers ‘cannot tell the time’ – UK Telegraph, 2018/04/24

Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.

Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.

He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.

It gets worse…

Earlier this year, a senior paediatric doctor warned that children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of an excessive use of technology. Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust, said that when children are given a pencil at school, they are increasingly unable to hold it.

“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills,” she said.

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

It is too difficult to grip a pencil. It is easier to give them an iPad. Just when you think you have seen it all…

Twitter Advises Users To Change Their Password

4 May 2018

Twitter Tells Users To Change Passwords After Discovering GlitchCBS Boston, 2018/05/03

Twitter is advising users to change their passwords after discovering a glitch that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. The company says it fixed the bug and there is no indication of a breach or misuse.

Still, it’s urging its 330 million users to change their passwords as a precaution.

Twitter said it stored encrypted passwords using a hashing algorithm called bcrypt. But the social network had stored the password in plain-text before it was encrypted. Twitter said this happened because of a bug. The company did not respond to a request for comment to clarify what the bug was.

Via Twitter:

How to change your Twitter passwordCNN, 2018/05/03