Daily Archives: June 23, 2015

Facebook can spot you even if your face is covered


New York:You cannot hide from Facebook, no matter what you do. An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when their faces are not fully visible.

Instead it looks for other unique characteristics like hairdo, clothing, body shape and pose, reported New Scientist.

“We humans can already recognise people with these cues quite well. People have characteristic aspects, even if you look at them from the back,” Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, was quoted as saying.

The research team pulled almost 40,000 public photos from Flickr – some of people with their full face clearly visible and others where they were turned away – and ran them through a sophisticated neural network.

The final algorithm was able to recognise people’s identities with 83 percent accuracy.

However, the ability to identify someone even when they are not looking at the camera raises some serious privacy implications.

The fact that you can still be identified even if you hide your face, would be a cause of concern for many people.

The results were presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Boston, Massachusetts recently.


PM Modi ‘Insulted’ National Flag on Yoga Day ?


PUDUCHERRY: The lodging of a police complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly ‘insulting’ the national flag during the International Day of Yoga celebrations created ripples in the Union Territory on Monday. The ‘news’ made rounds on WhatsApp even as the nation was buoyant with the successful celebration of Yoga Day.

V Sundar, a resident of Nellithope, approached the Orleanpet Police with a complaint against Modi stating that he had insulted the national flag. But police refused to hear him initially. On persisting, they issued him an acknowledgement receipt.

Asked what prompted the complaint, Sundar, general secretary of Dalit Sena and administrator of WhatsApp group Puducherry Poraligal Kuzhu, said he received a message on Monday showing “Prime Minister wiping his face with the national flag” during the Yoga Day celebrations in New Delhi.

Following this, he approached Orleanpet police at 3 pm and lodged a complaint as he felt Modi had insulted the national flag. Sundar said he gave the complaint to inspector Viravallabane. At 3.50 pm, an acknowledgment receipt was issued by the in-charge of the police station, he added.

When contacted, Senior Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) V J Chandran, told Express that he would enquire and confirm the veracity of the complaint.


Is Airplane Cabin Air Toxic?


I hate airplane travel but at the same time I’ve never been worried that the air inside the cabin was slowly poisoning me. Others, however, have wondered whether air in plane cabins might be toxic, especially crews that are exposed to this particular type of air more consistently than travelers.

An article in The Conversation explains how air is generated at high altitudes, and how, on occasion, it might be toxic for anyone inside an aircraft cabin, although there’s no definitive proof on the matter because air quality isn’t properly monitored.

Symptoms — including irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, light-headedness and dizziness, fatigue, weakness, generally feeling unwell, confusion and difficulties in concentration — may be reported by people who have been exposed to contaminated air, especially pilots and crew.

The symptoms may be the result of exposure to the organophosphate known as tricresyl phosphate (TCP) which is a flame retardant additive in jet engine oil and hydraulic fluids that can cause certain medical issues – in fact, organophosphates have been used as nerve gas agents in World War II so it’s already known what they can do to the nervous system in very concentrated doses.

The Conversation also explains how exposure would occur. Every airplane needs to provide breathable air to travelers and crew. That happens by taking air from outside, and heating it up to breathable levels – that means at around 15°C at a pressure of 14.7psi. But at 35,000 feet the air is very cold (-50°C) and only has a pressure of 3.46psi. To heat it up, the air goes through the engines.

“As part of the propulsion process, aeroplane engines heat and compress air before fuel is added and combusted,” the publication explains. “On most aircraft this air is then ‘bled off’ and pumped into the aircraft, unfiltered. Ordinarily this process is relatively safe. But occasionally faulty seals can result in contamination by allowing heated and broken down engine oil fumes to escape into the airflow.

The full article further details some of the various cases of suspected air contamination instances, what has been done about it, and what studies say (see source link below). While the conclusion seems to be that it’s not perfectly clear whether there are definitive issues with airplane cabin air, especially for flight attendants and pilots, the European Aviation Safety Agency is looking at adding on-board instruments that would measure air quality in real time in the future, so better answers might be provided soon.


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