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Sen. Collins questions Garland on 'conflicting positions' on COVID mask mandates, southern border

FOX News

NSA Border Security Committee Chair Sheriff Mark Dannels on the border crisis and potential for Title 42 to be extended. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Tuesday pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland on "conflicting positions" the Biden administration has held on a number of issues, including COVID-19 mandates and border security. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Collins asked Garland how the administration could justify its conclusion that the pandemic had "subsided enough to warrant the termination of Title 42" while at the same time arguing that "the public health consequences are dire enough to warrant compelled mask usage by Americans on public transportation." Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, questions Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2023 budget of the Department of Justice at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 26, 2022. In his response to Collins, Garland insisted that the role of the Justice Department is "not to make judgments about the public health and really not to make judgments about policy," but to instead "make determinations of whether the programs and requests of the agencies that are responsible for those are lawful."

Synthetic Voices Want to Take Over Audiobooks


When voice actor Heath Miller sits down in his boatshed-turned-home studio in Maine to record a new audiobook narration, he has already read the text through carefully at least once. To deliver his best performance, he takes notes on each character and any hints of how they should sound. Over the past two years, audiobook roles, like narrating popular fantasy series He Who Fights With Monsters, have become Miller's main source of work. But in December he briefly turned online detective after he saw a tweet from UK sci-fi author Jon Richter disclosing that his latest audiobook had no need for the kind of artistry Miller offers: It was narrated by a synthetic voice. Richter's book listing on Amazon's Audible credited that voice as "Nicholas Smith" without disclosing that it wasn't human. To Miller's surprise, he found that "Smith" voiced a total of around half a dozen on the site from multiple publishers--breaching Audible rules that say audiobooks "must be narrated by a human."

Tech: Six-legged robot expertly SKIS down a slope in China in unbelievable footage

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The history of the modern day recreational snowmobile is fairly recent, however, travel over snow goes back many years, although man actually flew before he could master snow travel. While the Wright Brothers flew in 1903, the very first vehicle that was built to go in snow wasn't created until 1908. That was the Lombard log hauler designed and built in Waterville, Maine. It was a large cumbersome machine that resembled a steam locomotive, only it had a half track design and front skis. In 1909, a man named O.C. Johnson built an over the snow machine that went on top of the snow, when it worked.

Facebook promises to delete over 1 billion face scans, but law enforcement still has the data


Its permanent searchable database is accessed by more than 2,400 police agencies including US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Clearview AI uses an algorithm to extract unique features in the human face to create a trackable "faceprint." The EU has stringent personal privacy standards, including the GDPR and the Right to Be Forgotten, which are in conflict with Clearview AI's methods. Facial recognition technology has received substantial backlash for its racial bias and inaccuracy, which have resulted in numerous false arrests. At least 14 US cities have banned facial recognition use, and Maine and Massachusetts passed statewide laws banning the tech from law enforcement.

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Scientists want to use artificial intelligence to save Maine's coast


A new center at Bigelow Laboratory is using cutting-edge artificial intelligence algorithms to forecast ocean activity, from toxic algal blooms to right whale migration, with the hopes of benefitting both coastal industries and the environment. People are expecting forecasts of all different kinds now, from COVID forecasts to political forecasts," said Nick Record, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay. "We're trying to tap into this societal need and demand for forecasts and apply it to ocean systems that we live in and rely on." The ability to accurately forecast complex ocean dynamics alone, such as temperature and salinity, is useful for the industries that use the coastline and the scientists that study it. With artificial intelligence, though, these forecasts will be constantly improving in accuracy even as the climate changes -- and, with it, Maine's ability to adapt to the changing coastline will improve as well.

ILA Says Union Will Not Service Automated Ships Without Crews


The International Longshoremen's Association warns against the use of crewless automated ships at its ports. In its ongoing efforts to resist all forms of automation in the maritime world, the powerful U.S. International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) has announced that its members would not service automated vessels operating without crews. Citing issues of safety and security, ILA, the largest union of maritime workers in North America, has long fought automation and even before that, resisted the move to containerization. Responding to various recent media reports about advancements in shipping automation and, specifically, efforts by Yara, NYK, and others developing automated container ships, ILA president Harold Daggett said, "Don't sail them into ILA ports from Maine to Texas, Puerto Rico, and Eastern Canada – they won't be unloaded or loaded by ILA members." The ILA staged fierce opposition to all forms of automation.

Artificial Intelligence To Help New England Fishermen Be More Eco-friendly - AI Summary


To do that, the nonprofit is implementing new technology like better video review platforms, better cameras on boats, and increased artificial intelligence, which CEO Mark Hager said is the most exciting. New England Marine Monitoring, in partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Vesper, is developing artificial intelligence for fishermen. The goal is to make commercial fishing both economically and ecologically better. Typically, there are human observers on a boat to be sure the fishermen are following federal guidelines, but this technology could change that. "The idea is to ultimately shift from having at-sea human observers," Blaine Grimes of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute said.

Maine Now Has the Toughest Facial Recognition Restrictions in the U.S.


Maine has just passed the nation's toughest law restricting the use of facial recognition technology. LD 1585 was unanimously approved by the Maine House and Senate on June 16 and 17, respectively, and became law without the signature of Gov. Janet Mills. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Grayson Lookner, D-Portland, hopes that Maine's new law--which goes into effect Oct. 1--will "provide an example to other states that want to rein in the government's ability to use facial recognition and other invasive biometric technologies." The country's only other statewide law regulating facial recognition was passed in Washington in 2020, and it authorized state police to use facial recognition technology for "mass surveillance of people's public movements, habits, and associations." The Washington law--written by state Sen. and Microsoft employee Joe Nguyen-- was opposed by the ACLU.

Maine bans facial recognition technology from schools and most police work


Maine has passed the strongest statewide law regulating government use of facial recognition to date. The state's House and Senate voted unanimously in favor of rules that prohibit law enforcement from using the technology unless they have probable cause that an unidentified person in an image committed a serious crime. Once the law goes into effect later this year, it will also limit how police conduct facial ID searches. They won't have direct access to the tech. Instead, they'll need to go through the FBI and Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in the few instances where they're sanctioned to use it.