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Boneh Publications: Gyrophone: Recognizing Speech From Gyroscope Signals

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 23:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smart phones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (<200Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone.


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Comments:

  1. Angela Merkel’s phone just got dropped down an elevator shaft, again.

  2. Bit iOS apps don’t get to do much in the background, so is this feasible on iOS?

  3. Correct. That’s why all those fitness apps use the gps+accelerometer instead.

Fungus Deadly to AIDS Patients Found to Grow on Trees

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 23:39 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees.

The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii (CRIP-to-cock-us GAT-ee-eye).

Cryptococcus, which encompasses a number of species including C. gattii, causes life-threatening infections of the lungs and brain and is responsible for one third of all AIDS-related deaths.

If a 13-year old can make basic discoveries like this…. we have plenty of things we still need to learn..


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Ferguson: officer relieved of duty after video of racist remarks surfaces

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 12:25 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

A police officer involved in the protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video surfaced of him making racist and derogatory remarks.

Dan Page was recorded in April giving a speech in which he described President Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant, and railed against Muslims and gay people. “I’m into diversity – I kill everybody,” he said.


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Comments:

  1. Please correct the inaccurate information; he said “black-robed perverts”, meaning those who twist the constitution, like some judges and some Supreme Court justices. He did not describe Black people as “little perverts”.

  2. Changed the quote to accurately reflect the changed source article. At the bottom there is now this remark: Correction: an earlier version of this article misquoted Page’s reference to “black-robed perverts”.

Comcast donations help company secure support of Time Warner Cable merger

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 12:03 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Comcast’s proposed $45.2-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable has been criticized by angry customers, consumer advocacy groups, and even some members of Congress.

But Comcast has plenty of support, too, much of it from politicians and organizations that benefit from its political and charitable donations.

“donations”….


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Comments:

  1. Ya know, Comcast and TWC both already suck and hardly compete with each other. Does the world actually get worse if they merge? We don’t need them to compete with each other, we need new competitors.

  2. Agreed. The problem is they can make it very difficult for new entrants into the market.

DOJ Allows Bank of America to Deduct $12 Billion of $17 Billion Settlement

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 10:55 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote]:

BOA Logo (2014)Bank of America will pay roughly $4 billion less to the government after-tax than the $16.65 billion it agreed to in a settlement over soured mortgage securities, because parts of the settlement will be tax deductible, the bank said Thursday.

The bank has already taken some of the savings from the settlement’s tax deductions in previous quarters, so the savings won’t all come in the current third quarter. But tallying the total tax savings to roughly $4 billion “would be fair,” a bank spokesman said.

Federal law allows companies to deduct large portions of the costs of settling with federal agencies on their tax returns. But that effectively shifts part of the settlement’s burden to taxpayers, and some lawmakers and consumer advocates have expressed concerns that the public can be misled when regulators tout giant settlement amounts that companies aren’t fully paying. …

Fines and penalties imposed as part of a settlement can’t be deducted, so that knocks out the $5.02 billion in fines Bank of America agreed to pay. But other amounts paid can be deducted as ordinary business expenses—including the $4.63 billion in compensatory payments that Bank of America agreed to pay, and the costs it incurs in providing $7 billion in mortgage modifications for struggling homeowners and other consumer relief.

So there you go – fines are just a business expense.


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Comments:

  1. Sharing the proceeds of organized crime…

Ferguson Feeds Off the Poor: Three Warrants a Year Per Household

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 9:46 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

A report issued just last week by the nonprofit lawyer’s group ArchCity Defenders notes that in the court’s 36 three-hour sessions in 2013, it handled 12,108 cases and 24,532 warrants. That is an average of 1.5 cases and three warrants per Ferguson household. Fines and court fees for the year in this city of just 21,000 people totaled $2,635,400.

The sum made the municipal court the city’s second-biggest source of revenue. It also almost certainly was a major factor in the antagonism between the police and the citizenry preceding the tragedy that resulted when Wilson had another encounter with a subject six months after he got his commendation.


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Comments:

  1. It seems clear that there were big issues in Ferguson. No argument on that.

    However, these statistics don’t make any sense. A court can’t handle 12000 cases in 108 hours. It’s nonsensical. When I see the mention of docket queue in the article, I’m starting to think they’re double-counting cases that are in the queue at multiple sessions or some-such.

  2. Relevant quote: “The report cites a court employee as saying the docket for a typical three-hour court session has up to 1,500 cases.”

    So in 180 minutes they’ll handle somewhere between 30 and 100 cases, and the rest stay on the docket and reappear in the next session.

  3. Everyone wants to put a microscope on Fergusun’s police and government, but does that really answer the question of what is happening there? I find the reporting to be very piecemeal. There is a lot of anger, but why? Did the death of Brown define everything?

  4. Read The Body In The Street posted below. Beautifully written as well as illuminating.

  5. Does it mean that people were afraid to pick up the body?

  6. There were plenty of articles about the unequal treatment of African Americans in the U.S. before the Ferguson incident. “Driving While Black” has been a thing for a long time which lots of white people know of as well.

    Now there’s a new wave of articles explaining the accumulated frustration that fueled the protest. No lack of them if you look beyond the newspaper front-page reporting to good blogs like (say) Andrew Sullivan’s and weekly magazines like The Atlantic.

    Thing is, nothing will change until the African American community rallies to start voting in droves. And even then…

  7. “good blogs like Andrew Sullivan’s” ? That explains a lot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sullivan

  8. @porpentine: And do tell, what does it explain? The link to wikipedia is not a big help.

  9. @Desiato: Voting in droves? There are significant obstacles to this and some other minorities even registering to vote. Not least of which prisoners and ex-cons are disenfranchised in many US states.

    Perhaps they could go on a bus boycott.

Iraq Crisis: Effort to Aid Kurdish Forces Puts Iran, U.S. on Same Side

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 0:10 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The struggles of the embattled Kurdish Peshmerga to repel Islamist insurgents have put the U.S. and Iran on the same side, with both rushing to reinforce a revered fighting force to defeat a common enemy.

U.S. airstrikes this week helped the Peshmerga retake two towns on the outskirts of Erbil that they had lost days earlier in a stunning defeat that put the radical Sunni group Islamic State 20 miles from the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region.

On Monday, as Peshmerga fighters basked in relief in one of those towns, Makhmour, a reporter witnessed senior Kurdish commanders meeting with Iranian advisers in the operations command center there.

[Quote]:

On Aug. 21, Kurdish social media activists published pictures that appear to depict of elements of the Iranian 81st Armored Division entering southern Kurdistan via Khaneghein, north of Jalawla.

The 81st is a battle-hardened division that fought hard during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. And before that, it had fought Kurdish insurgents in Iran’s restive southern provinces. Today the 81st Division is fighting alongside the Kurds.

After the Iran-Iraq War, the division reorganized and re-armed. As other units gained Russian T-72 tanks, the 81st gathered up all the leftover, American-made M-60s and M-48s. More recently, the 81st broke into three largely independent brigades—the 181st and 281st Armored Brigades and the 72nd Mechanized Brigade.

The units the activists spotted in Kurdistan most likely are elements of the 181st, as it’s responsible for defending the Sar-e-Pole Zahab border town near Khaneghein. Previously, there had been a build-up of armored units on the Iranian side of the border.


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