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Archive for August 12, 2011

Biometric recognition and privacy concerns

August 12, 2011 1 comment

sciencecodex

Face recognition software of the kind incorporated into biometric identification tools, photo-gallery applications and social media websites can be very useful but the technology raises privacy concerns, given the seeming ease with which faces in photos can now be tied to an individual. Researchers in Russia and Poland hope to take face recognition technology an important step forward with the even more powerful software they have developed.

Writing in the International Journal of Biometrics, Georgy Kukharev of Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University in Russia, and colleagues Paweł Forczmański and Andrzej Tujaka of the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland, explain how Read more…

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Darkest Planet Found: Coal-Black, It Reflects Almost No Light

August 12, 2011 Comments off
Newfound world is off-the-charts dark—and the cause is a mystery, experts say.
The newfound gas-giant planet TrES-2b is black with a slight red glow, experts estimate.

An illustration shows a newfound exoplanet. Illustration courtesy David A. Aguilar, CFA

Andrew Fazekas

It may be hard to imagine a planet blacker than coal, but that’s what astronomers say they’ve discovered in our home galaxy with NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Orbiting only about three million miles out from its star, the Jupiter-size gas giant planet, dubbed TrES-2b, is heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degrees Celsius). Yet the apparently inky world appears to reflect almost none of the starlight that shines on it, according to a new study.

“Being less reflective than coal or even the blackest acrylic paint—this makes it by far the darkest planet ever discovered,” lead study author David Kipping said.

“If we could see it up close it would look like a near-black ball of gas, with a slight glowing red tinge to it—a true Read more…

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The U.S. Military’s Plan for London-Like Riots

August 12, 2011 Comments off

theatlanticwire

With British Prime Minister David Cameron authorizing the use of rubber bullets and water canons in wake of the turbulent London riots spreading through Britain, questions have been raised about how authorities in the U.S. would respond to a similar domestic disturbance threatening the nation’s stability. According to National Journal‘s White House correspondent Marc Ambinder the U.S. already has a game plan in place. “If what happened in London ever happened in the US, the military has plans — CONPLAN 3501 and 3502 — to suppress the ‘insurrection,’ he tweeted. The mysterious reference to a numbered military plan generated a flurry of interest on Twitter as NPR host Michele Norris shot back:”I want to know more about the military’s plan to suppress any potential ‘insurrection.’– CONPLAN 3501 and 3502????”

Interestingly, the CONPLAN (which stands for Read more…

Pakistan successfully launches communication satellite

August 12, 2011 Comments off

paktribune

XICHANG: Pakistan successfully launched into space its state-of-the-art PakSat-1R communication satellite here from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China`s Sichuan Province, late Thursday night.

A select group of senior Pakistani officials witnessed the Long March-3B rocket successfully carrying the communication satellite from the launch pad here with rounds of applause and jubilations visible on their faces.

Prominent among those present included Director General SPD Lt. General (Retd.) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Pakistan`s Ambassador to China Masood Khan, Secretary Defence Lt. General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali and Chairman Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Major General Ahmed Bilal, besides senior officials from the Chinese government.

PakSat-1R, a geostationary and advanced communication satellite, has been Read more…

Unusual Fault Pattern Surfaces in Earthquake Study

August 12, 2011 Comments off

spacedaily


This 3-D view of the surface rupture of the April 4, 2010, El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake (red line) reveals a new fault line connecting the Gulf of California with the Elsinore fault, which could become a major part of the boundary between the Pacific and the North America Plates. Image credit: Caltech Tectonics Observatory

Like scars that remain on the skin long after a wound has healed, earthquake fault lines can be traced on Earth’s surface long after their initial rupture. Typically, this line of intersection between the area where the fault slips and the ground is more complicated at the surface than at depth.

But a new study of the April 4, 2010, El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake in Mexico reveals a reversal of this trend. While the fault involved in the event appeared to be superficially straight, the fault zone is warped and complicated at depth.

The study-led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and documenting findings from the magnitude 7.2 event, which was centered in the Baja California state of Mexico-is available online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake happened along a system of Read more…

Facial recognition in use after riots

August 12, 2011 Comments off

AP

AP PhotoLONDON (AP) — Facial recognition technology being considered for London’s 2012 Games is getting a workout in the wake of Britain’s riots, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday, with officers feeding photographs of suspects through Scotland Yard’s newly updated face-matching program.

The official said that the Metropolitan Police’s sophisticated software was being used to help find those suspected of being involved in the worst unrest the force has faced in a generation, although he cautioned that police had a host of other strategies at their disposal.

“A lot of tools are being used to hunt down these criminals, and that’s just one of them,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation. “The issue is that you have to have a good picture of a suspect and it is only useful if you have something to match it against. In other words, the Read more…

Electronic skin tattoo has medical, gaming, spy uses-Mark of the Beast?

August 12, 2011 Comments off

A hair-thin electronic patch that adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo could transform medical sensing, computer gamingand even spy operations, according to a US study published Thursday.

The micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system (EES), was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore, and is described in the journal Science.

“It’s a technology that blurs the distinction between Read more…