A guided tour by an engineer inside the Wind Turbine at Dundalk Institute of Technology

Date Published: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 15:56:27 +0200

Very interesting to see all the actual components and controls of a wind generator. There is a lot more to it than just blades. I'm just wondering what the "sway" must feel like at the top of that tower.

Watch at Wind Turbine Tour

#environment #wind

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Brief tour inside the Wind Turbine at Dundalk Institute of Technology

Open Source Software Country Intelligence to provide insights on all EU Member States in the domain of OSS policies and initiatives

Date Published: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 14:26:38 +0200

The country intelligence will be presented in two formats: a short report with an overview of policies and existing legal frameworks throughout the Member States as well as open source software initiatives, and a fact sheet visually complementing the report. Once the analysis of all 28 countries is completed, a comprehensive study will be performed to spot trends and strengths throughout the European Union and to share best practices.

The study on open source software policies will consist of the following chapters:
* General context of open source software policies in Public Administration
* Actors
* Policy and legal framework
* Open source software initiatives at all levels of Government

So far Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden have information published.

See Open Source Software Country Intelligence | Joinup

#opensource #government #EU

The open source software country intelligence aims to provide insights on all EU Member States in the domain of open source software policies and initiatives. The country intelligence reports and their respective factsheets are published as part of the Open Source Observatory (OSOR) project of the ISA² Programme.  The country intelligence will...

Electrical tape fooled a Tesla into speeding in test - Meaning AI could be weaponised if you know its shortcomings and deliberately exploit it

Date Published: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 09:46:56 +0200

The tests involved a 2016 Model S and Model X that used camera systems supplied by Mobileye, now a unit of Intel. Mobileye systems are used by several car makers though Tesla stopped using them in 2016. Tests on Mobileye’s latest camera system didn’t reveal the same vulnerability, and Tesla’s latest vehicles apparently don’t depend on traffic sign recognition, according to McAfee.

Which is correct as one needs to ask if the speed limit was always 35 and suddenly now shows 85 where such a road should not be 85, I need to double check this first before applying a change, and slower will be irritating but it is safer.

Yes this may also have fooled a few legacy motorists but the intuition and double checks need to be deeper developed. It's akin to developing a missile response system that just adds two events together and pulls the trigger without some further deliberations (it's also why we don't take just any human and put them in charge of missile defence).

So AI is already doing a very good job, and I'd venture to say better than most humans, but its not able to yet fully counter actions by malicious humans. If we can get this right we'd have cleaner social networks too!

My real concern is about humans that go out of their way to cause havoc, and fiddling with satellites and AI may just tickle their fancy...

See Electrical tape fooled a Tesla into speeding in test - TechCentral

#technology #AI

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Researchers were able to trick a Tesla vehicle into speeding by putting a strip of electrical tape over a speed limit sign, spotlighting the kinds of potential vulnerabilities facing automated driving systems.

The Simple Trick That Allows This Lens To Take Pictures Of A Mirror 'Invisibly' - And an excellent demonstration of how tilt shift lenses work

Date Published: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 19:38:22 +0200

The camera is often an obtrusive presence when you're trying to take a picture in front of a mirror. Here's how one particular lens manages to pull off the feat of taking the picture "invisibly." The video goes on to give a very good demonstration of how tilt shift lenses work and why you'd use them in different scenarios.

See The Simple Trick That Allows This Lens To Take Pictures Of A Mirror 'Invisibly' - Digg

#technology #photography

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The camera is often an obtrusive presence when you're trying to take a picture in front of a mirror. Here's how one particular lens manages to pull off the feat of taking the picture

How to Enable Dark Mode in Android's Google App for Most Android Phones Now

Date Published: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 18:54:42 +0200

Google’s latest tweak to its official Google app for Android should bring a dark mode to the app on all Android smartphones. But since this is Android we’re talking about, and yet another Google rollout, your results may vary.

You'll need the latest beta version of Google's search app and if all things are good you'll see a General/Themes option within the app's settings.

See how at How to Enable Dark Mode in Android's Google App

#technology #andoid

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Soon, every app will have a dark mode, because it looks cooler than a bright white background, period. Google’s latest tweak to its official Google app for Android should bring a dark mode to the app on all Android smartphones. But since this is Android we’re talking about, and yet another Google rollout, your results may vary.

An Indian politician used AI to translate his speech into other languages to reach more voters in a video

Date Published: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 18:41:52 +0200

As social media platforms move to crack down on deepfakes and misinformation in the US elections, an Indian politician has used artificial intelligence techniques to make it look like he said things he didn’t say, Vice reports. In one version of a campaign video, Manoj Tiwari speaks in English; in the fabricated version, he “speaks” in the Hindi dialect of Haryanvi.

To be honest my opinion is that as long as it translates into the same thing he is saying in the original language, it is not "things he did not say". It is an accurate translation just like captions are. Of course if he were to say he speaks Haryanvi that would be a lie... and no politician would want to be caught out lying.

But it does show there can be positive uses for AI, and of course that it is going to get very difficult to really know what is original or not. Knowing what we know about behaviour on the Internet (and within politics) I can only imagine where this is going... but the barn door is now opened and unfortunately there is no going back.

See An Indian politician used AI to translate his speech into other languages to reach more voters

#AI #technology #india

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How intentionally faked videos might affect US elections is unclear

Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet and these are probably the reasons why... Will it's new social network also be a success?

Date Published: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 16:37:26 +0200

Yet in an era when Silicon Valley's promises look less gilded than before, Wikipedia shines by comparison. It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good.

More than an encyclopaedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopaedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?

Sanger left Wikipedia in early 2003, telling the Financial Times he was fed up with the “trolls” and “anarchist types” who were “opposed to the idea that anyone should have any kind of authority that others do not.” (This sounds very familiar for most websites on the Internet!!). But alternative sites came up against a simple and apparently insoluble problem, the same one that Nupedia encountered and Wikipedia surmounted: Most experts do not want to contribute to a free online encyclopaedia.

Why do Wikipedians perform these millions of hours of labour, some expended on a giant straw goat, without pay? Because they don't experience them as labour. “It's a misconception people work for free,” Wales told the site Hacker Noon in 2018. “They have fun for free.” A 2011 survey of more than 5,000 Wikipedia contributors listed “It's fun” as one of the primary reasons they edited the site.

Wikipedia ought to serve as a model for many forms of social endeavour online, but its lessons do not translate readily into the commercial sphere. It is a non-commercial enterprise, with no investors or shareholders to appease, no financial imperative to grow or die, and no standing to maintain in the arms race to amass data and attain AI supremacy at all costs. At Jimmy Wales' wedding, one of the maids of honour toasted him as the sole internet mogul who wasn't a billionaire.

When you ask Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa a question, Wikipedia helps provide the answer. When you Google a famous person or place, Wikipedia often informs the “knowledge panel” that appears alongside your search results.

And now what is quite exciting is to see how their newly launched social network takes off... will it also be able to overcome the issues that other social networks have suffered from?

See Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

#technology

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People used to think the crowdsourced encyclopedia represented all that was wrong with the web. Now it's a beacon of so much that's right.

VW gearing up to launch e-Golf electric cars in South Africa - And only a year back they told me it would 'Never' happen in South Africa

Date Published: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 15:46:19 +0200

German car-making giant Volkswagen is preparing for the introduction of its electric vehicle line-up on South African roads through the local launch of the e-Golf pilot project.

The project will see six fully electric vehicles tested by motoring and lifestyle media, selected dealers and Volkswagen employees to “gain valuable consumer insights into the varying experiences of driving and living with an electric vehicle in South Africa”, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Through the involvement of selected Volkswagen dealers in Gauteng and the Western Cape, the e-Golf pilot project seeks to drive customer awareness and education regarding electric vehicles. The e-Golfs will be used as shuttles and courtesy cars for Volkswagen customers,” it said.

So no sales yet until about 2022 but I still smile at the irony of it. VW, Hyundai and Kia are probably the best bets for EVs fro South Africans but at a motor show at Grand West last year I still vividly recall asking the VW stand why no e-Golfs seeing the second iteration was launched ans the VW guy there emphatically said they would "never launch" in South Africa (not we are still looking at it, or yes it needs to actually arrive here). It sort of summed up the mindset for me of many dealers who fear EVs for lower maintenance and running costs.

See VW gearing up to launch electric cars in South Africa - TechCentral

#environment #EV #southafrica

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German car-making giant Volkswagen is preparing for the introduction of its electric vehicle line-up on South African roads through the local launch of the e-Golf pilot project.

Graphene amplifier unlocks hidden frequencies in the elusive terahertz wavelengths - Could mean safer X-Rays and other revolutionary possibilities

Date Published: Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:12:21 +0200

Terahertz waves (THz) sit between microwaves and infrared in the light frequency spectrum, but due to their low energy, scientists have been unable to harness their potential. The conundrum is known in scientific circles as the "terahertz gap."

Being able to detect and amplify THz waves (T-rays) would open up a new era of medical, communications, satellite, cosmological and other technologies. One major application would be as a safe, non-destructive alternative to X-rays. However, until now, the wavelengths, which range between 3mm and 30μm, have proved impossible to use due to relatively weak signals from all existing sources.

It has properties which would greatly improve vast areas of science such as imaging, spectroscopy, tomography, medical diagnosis, health monitoring, environmental control and chemical and biological identification.

The breakthrough has been published in Physical Review Letters.

See Graphene amplifier unlocks hidden frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum

#technology

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Researchers have created a unique device which will unlock the elusive terahertz wavelengths and make revolutionary new technologies possible.

OpenTaxSolver is an open source application for US taxpayers to calculate their state and federal income tax returns

Date Published: Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:58:17 +0200

The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) Use of federal tax information (FTI) in open source software webpage offers a large amount of information, and it's especially relevant to anyone who may want to start their own open source tax software project. To hit the finer points:

  • Federal tax information (FTI) can be used in any open source software
  • Software creators mush follow all security laws and compliance requirements
  • Any such software must be supported either by a vendor or a community
  • The software must be approved by the federal government

One other reason researching this topic was rather difficult (but ultimately rewarding) is that, by federal law, the major tax software companies are required to provide their services for free to any person earning under $69,000 per year. About 70% of Americans fit into this category, and if you are one of them, you can check the IRS's Free File webpage for links to free filing software from well-known companies.

OpenTaxSolver cuts down on tax calculations when you fill out your tax forms and simplifies the hardest part of doing your taxes: the math. You still have to fill in your data and turn the paperwork in, but using the software means you can do it in about half of the time.

This looks like a great service. Here is South Africa we have a similar (but paid service) called Tax Tim which I would be lost without - it also does the automated submission of our tax return though.

See how to get going with OpenTaxSolver at Getting started with OpenTaxSolver

#opensource #usa

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OpenTaxSolver is an open source application for US taxpayers to calculate their state and federal income tax returns. Before I get into the software, I want to share some of the information I learned when researching this article. I spent about five hours a day for a week looking into open source options for doing your taxes, and I learned about a lot more than just tax software.

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