The Fake Image/Video Arms Race Continues

It is not always easy to tell the difference between real and fake photographs. But the pressure to get it right has never been more urgent as the amount of false political content online continues to rise. On Tuesday, Jigsaw, a company that develops cutting-edge tech and is owned by Google’s parent, unveiled a free tool that researchers said could help journalists spot doctored photographs — even ones created with the help of artificial intelligence.

Tool to Help Journalists Spot Doctored Images Is Unveiled by Jigsaw – The New York Times

This is a good arms race. Fake photos and videos exist and will get harder to detect. This is the side that will fight to identify those fakes. I hope there are others.

Neil Peart: Sadness and a profound Thank You

Some of you know that I am a long-time fan of the band Rush. Found them in college (thanks Jim!) and bought all their albums in several formats. They have been a large part of the soundtrack to my entire adult life; various times, various songs, various reasons. The drummer, Neil Peart, recently passed away from brain cancer. This very sad thing happened to a man who brought me enjoyment, understanding, and awareness of the wider world. I would like to tell you a bit about his impact on me.

Continue reading “Neil Peart: Sadness and a profound Thank You”

Phoenix Residence: My sister is now on the Board of Directors!

My younger sister lives in a group home operated by Phoenix Residences. The staff do an awesome job in a challenging financial situation. My older sister** was recently elected to the Phoenix Board of Directors. I think her analytic and communication skills, along with her compassion, will be a great addition. Congrats Sis!

** Special Note: she is indeed my older sister as she is the older of my two sisters. She is, however, definitely younger than me. And hates this joke.

Phoenix Residence, Inc. is committed to developing person-centered, quality living experiences for individuals with disabilities.

https://www.phoenixresidence.org/

The dark side of electronic waste recycling – The Verge

Electronics can be hazardous when disposed of improperly, and the Basel Action Network, or BAN, investigates the underground world of the e-waste trade. The nonprofit group secretly embeds trackers in discarded devices, then hands them to recyclers to see where they end up, exposing bad practices in the process. After dropping bugged LCD monitors in Oregon, they followed along as the trackers traced a circuitous route through the summer of 2015 and into the fall.

The dark side of electronic waste recycling – The Verge

The Christmas Model Train

The Christmas tree train went up today. Like every year.

I remember having a model train when I was a kid. The old 3-rail O scale. It had a diesel engine and some really cool cars. Ok, John, stop with the description and search the internet for it…bingo — found it on my first search FTW. Here it is. You can see each of the cars in the first 30 seconds. Note the starting image of the video isn’t the train I had.

I played with that train for hours. The submarine was driven by a submarine and could actually go in the bath tub. The helicopter could not fly. Firing the missiles was fun, but not reliable. And nothing, you know, exploded when the missiles hit so that was anticlimactic.

As I got older, I picked up some HO scale track and trains. The track was touchier as we didn’t build a permanent setup. I enjoyed changing things each time I put it up. The HO train never felt like a Christmas train — that needed to be something bigger.

The Christmas train started with my first father-in-law. He had been a model train guy since he was a child and always had a train under the tree. On their first birthday, each of my kids got a O scale Lionel set from Grandma and Grandpa. The sets are still on the garage, eventually to make it to their houses when the time is right.

Each Christmas, we would rotate through the kid’s train sets, trying to give them equal time. A few years ago, my son worked at the seasonal Lionel Train store at a local mall. He gifted us a new train set and that is what you see in the first photo.

A model train is a long way from the spiritual meaning of Christmas. Nevertheless, it is a part of my Christmas tree decorating.

Overlooked No More: Rose Mackenberg, Houdini’s Secret ‘Ghost-Buster’ – The New York Times

To expose fake psychics, Houdini employed a small army of undercover agents, calling them “my own secret service.” Rose Mackenberg, a private eye, was his foremost operative.

Overlooked No More: Rose Mackenberg, Houdini’s Secret ‘Ghost-Buster’ – The New York Times

You may need to register (free) to read this. A cool story about one of the people that help Harry Houdini uncovered frauds and fake psychics. She often went in disguise.