This Tool Could Protect Your Photos From Facial Recognition

Census Cut Short a Month ; People Live Longer in Blue States Than Red ; and More Picks

AI, photos, cloaking, privacy
The author writes, “In recent years, companies have been prowling the web for public photos associated with people’s names that they can use to build enormous databases of faces and improve their facial recognition systems. ... A team of computer engineers at the University of Chicago has developed a tool that disguises photos with pixel-level changes that confuse facial recognition systems. Named Fawkes in honor of the Guy Fawkes mask favored by protesters worldwide, the software was made available to developers on the researchers’ website last month.” Photo credit: David Geitgey Sierralupe / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Census Cut Short a Month (Dana)

The author writes, “The Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month shorter than previously announced, the bureau’s director confirmed Monday in a statement. That includes critical door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone and by mail. … These last-minute changes to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the U.S. threaten the accuracy of population numbers used to determine the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade. With roughly 4 out of 10 households nationwide yet to be counted and already delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, the bureau now has less than two months left to try to reach people of color, immigrants, renters, rural residents and other members of historically undercounted groups who are not likely to fill out a census form on their own.”

Many Americans Are Convinced Crime Is Rising in the US. They’re Wrong. (DonkeyHotey)

From FiveThirtyEight: “In 2019, according to a survey conducted by Gallup, about 64 percent of Americans believed that there was more crime in the U.S. than there was a year ago. It’s a belief we’ve consistently held for decades now, but as you can see in the chart below, we’ve been, just as consistently, very wrong. … The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the rate of violent crimes per 1,000 Americans age 12 and older plummeted from 80 in 1993 to just 23 in 2018. The country has gotten much, much safer, but, somehow, Americans don’t seem to feel that on a knee-jerk, emotional level.”

People Live Longer in Blue States Than Red (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Weak environmental protections, safety rules and labor and civil rights protections may be cutting lives short in conservative states and deepening the divide between red and blue states, according to a new study on links between life expectancy and state policy. The report, published Tuesday in the health policy journal Milbank Quarterly, finds that states where residents live longest, including California, tend to have much more stringent environmental laws, tougher tobacco and firearms regulations and more protections for workers, minorities and LGBTQ residents.”

The St. Patrick Bay Ice Caps in Canada Have Completely Disappeared (Mili)

From the National Snow and Ice Data Center: “NSIDC scientists and colleagues predicted via a 2017 paper in The Cryosphere that the ice caps would melt out completely within the next five years, and recent images from NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction was accurate.”

Oh No, Someone Planted the Mystery Seeds (Dana)

The author writes, “In recent weeks, reports surfaced of mysterious, unsolicited seed packets creating chaos in the postal system as they crept into random mailboxes across the country. It seemed almost inevitable that someone, whether out of boredom or curiosity or a simple mix-up, would eventually plant the spooky seeds, despite stringent warnings from our agricultural authorities not to free them from their plastic baggies. Unfortunately, those warnings came too late for an Arkansas man who received his seedy surprise months ago. Now, he has an enormous alien plant on his property.”

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