Suspected thieves, found in possession of school bus full of bikes, quickly released

"These are not the bikes you're looking for. He can go about his business. Move along."

In the course of carrying out that arrest, police additionally seized a small school bus that was filled with bicycles; they believe the bus to be a mobile "chop shop" where stolen bicycles are reconstructed for sale. [...]

One of the three men was booked for grand theft, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy. The other two were booked for possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

And yet, despite being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and the eye-catching yellow bus full of bikes, all of them were free within 48 hours and their charges were dismissed.

Banner police work there, SFPD. Really top notch.

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Dani Olivier



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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein even our pizza is a DJ.
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T-Rex In Flames

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Privacy Win! Facebook Is Adding A 'Protect My Data' Button That Does Nothing But Feels Good To Press

And for users who want to feel absolutely certain that their data is safe even though it still won't be, after 10 straight clicks, a message will pop up with a very deep voice announcing, 'LOCKDOWN. ULTRA SECURE.'

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A rare use of CV for Good instead of Evil

Alex Bell developed a computer program that used a traffic camera to identify how often bus and bicycle lanes were blocked:

Alex Bell hates it when the designated bike lane he is pedaling down is blocked. So, too, do many cycling New Yorkers. But Mr. Bell hates it so much that he has tried to do something about it: Three years ago he sued U.P.S., targeting the delivery company's trucks for blocking his bike path, a case he lost that is in its second round of appeals.

Now Mr. Bell is trying another tack -- the 30-year-old computer scientist who lives in Harlem has created a prototype of a machine-learning algorithm that studies footage from a traffic camera and tracks precisely how often bike lanes are obstructed by delivery trucks, parked cars and waiting cabs, among other scofflaws. It is a piece of data that transportation advocates said is missing in the largely anecdotal discussion of how well the city's bus and bike lanes do or do not work. [...]

Mr. Bell's project focused on one city block -- St. Nicholas Avenue between 145th and 146th Streets -- over the course of 10 days. His preliminary findings were stark: Using traffic-camera footage trained on one bus stop and two bike lanes (one for traveling north, the other for heading south), Mr. Bell found that the bus stop was blocked 57 percent of the time, while the bike lanes were blocked 40 percent of the time.

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Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Woman

Your life means nothing if it conflicts with maximal shareholder value.

A woman in Tempe, Ariz., has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber, in what appears to be the first known death of a pedestrian struck by an autonomous vehicle on a public road.

The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the Tempe police said in a statement. The episode happened on Sunday around 10 p.m. The woman was not publicly identified.

This notion that having a "safety driver" in the passenger seat will allow a distracted human to take over at the last minute is completely insane. You think driving-while-texting is dangerous? This is so much worse. When people aren't engaged in the task of driving, their minds wander. They cannot re-engage fast enough. This is obvious on its face, we don't need studies to prove it. Oh, but we have them anyway.

Uber said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident," an Uber spokeswoman, Sarah Abboud, said in a statement.

"Thoughts and prayers, but not one dime."

Autonomous cars are expected to ultimately be safer than human drivers, because they don't get distracted and always observe traffic laws.

Nice, weasely use of the passive voice there, New York Times. Expected by whom? Certainly not by anyone with any expertise in computer science. Or AI. Or anyone who has ever used a computer. Or a cell phone. Or a printer. Or driven a car.

However, researchers working on the technology have struggled with how to teach the autonomous systems to adjust for unpredictable human driving or behavior.

"No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error."

"It can only be attributable to human error."

Note that the article's headline referred to the woman killed by the robot as a "pedestrian" instead of a person. "Pedestrian" is a propaganda term invented by the auto industry to re-frame the debate: to get you to preemptively agree that roads, and by extension cities, are for cars, and any non-car-based use is "other", is some kind of special-case interloper. See The Invention of Jaywalking.

Semantics aside, I have one question that I think is pretty important here, and that is, who is getting charged with vehicular homicide? Even if they are ultimately ruled to be not at fault, what name goes on the court docket? Is it:

  • The Uber employee "non-employee independent contractor" in the passenger seat?
  • Their shift lead?
  • Travis Kalanick?
  • The author(s) of the (proprietary, un-auditable) software?
  • The "corporate person" known as Uber?

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The Handheld History Collection

Some Very Entertaining Plastic, Emulated at the Archive:

This collection of emulated handheld games, tabletop machines, and even board games stretch from the 1970s well into the 1990s. They are attempts to make portable, digital versions of the LCD, VFD and LED-based machines that sold, often cheaply, at toy stores and booths over the decades. [...]

This sort of Herculean effort to squeeze a major arcade machine into a handful of circuits and a beeping, booping shell of what it once was is an ongoing situation -- where once it was trying to make arcade machines work both on home consoles like the 2600 and Colecovision, so it was also the case of these plastic toy games. Work of this sort continues, as mobile games take charge and developers often work to bring huge immersive experiences to where a phone hits all the same notes.

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D.C. lawmaker says recent snowfall caused by 'Rothschilds controlling the climate'

D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr.:

"Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y'all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation," he says. "And D.C. keep talking about, 'We a resilient city.' And that's a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful." [...]

White did not return calls for comment. In a series of text messages, he confirmed the voice in the video is his but expressed surprise that his remarks might be construed as anti-Semitic. Asked to clarify what he meant, he wrote, "The video says what it says." [...]

Some conspiracy theorists also think the Rothschilds, acting in conjunction with the Rockefeller family, have technology to manipulate the weather -- for example, by causing freak storms that wreak havoc on people, farms and livestock.

In a video posted to YouTube this year titled "Kill Cities -- Designed by Rothschild and Rockefeller: Resilient Cities Are Human Death Zones," Internet commentator Deborah Tavares -- a Northern California resident who argues, among other things, that climate change and wireless electricity meters are tools in a plot of global domination -- calls the Resilient Cities program a "diabolical" effort to manipulate people. [...]

"We're being categorized as lunatics, but we know that the weather is massively and completely, artificially controlled."

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