US Government

Total Solar Eclipse Weather Forecast: Will Clouds Block Your View?

International Business Times

There's a chance clouds will obscure your view of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, according to this map of typical cloudiness on that date through history. If clouds obscure this total solar eclipse, there won't be another one visible in the lower 48 states until April 2024, according to NASA. There will also be an annular solar eclipse, when the moon passes in front of the sun but not at the right distance to completely block it out, viewable in the continental U.S. in 2023. The last time a total solar eclipse moved through the mainland United States was in February 1979.

VA seeks BPM bots -- GCN


The Department of Veterans Affairs' Financial Services Center is interested in adding robotic process automation to its business process management suite. By removing dull, repetitive tasks from human operators' responsibilities, it helps organizations increase the accuracy and speed of business processes. According to a request for information, the VA is looking for RPA software that automates tasks and workflows and integrates with its Pega 7 BPM applications. NSSC is working with Deloitte Consulting on proof-of-concept RPA software for financial management processing in the agency's Bots-as-a-Service pilot.

'Explainable Artificial Intelligence': Cracking open the black box of AI


At a demonstration of Amazon Web Services' new artificial intelligence image recognition tool last week, the deep learning analysis calculated with near certainty that a photo of speaker Glenn Gore depicted a potted plant. Artificial intelligence – in its application of deep learning neural networks, complex algorithms and probabilistic graphical models – has become a'black box' according to a growing number of researchers. While "humans are surprisingly good at explaining their decisions," said researchers at University of California, Berkeley and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany in a recent paper, deep learning models "frequently remain opaque". Their December paper Attentive Explanations: Justifying Decisions and Pointing to the Evidence, primarily focused on image recognition, makes a significant step towards AI that can provide natural language justifications of decisions and point to the evidence.

Ready for the eclipse? Your final checklist


Sadly, it's too late for Amazon, so try retailers like 7-Eleven and Circle K We found them at stock at both locations here in central Oregon, as well as Dutch Bros., a regional coffee chain, which offers a free pair with coffee purchases. Isaac Beale, 20, a student at Oregon State University, hands out free solar glasses at Dutch Bros. Coffee, a regional chain that's offering glasses with coffee purchases. Beyond seeing the total solar eclipse in key locations like Oregon and South Carolina, there is limited TV coverage on CNN, the Science Channel Weather Channel and NASA TV, and heavy online showcasing. The USA TODAY Network will begin live streaming Monday at 9 a.m. NASA suggests nabbing a solar filter gell to tape over the lens of a DSLR, to protect the image sensor, if you're looking to grab a close-up shot of the sun and the moon during the big moment.

Smart Cities and Image Recognition – SmartCityHub – Medium


Image recognition software can now process an incredible number of images at unprecedented speeds, all using completely serverless technology -- a staple of advanced image recognition APIs. A combination of image recognition and machine learning enables the system to detect traffic jams, weather patterns, parking violations and more, sending real-time alerts to city officials along the way. The intersection is rigged up with cameras that capture activity, process it, and stream back findings and actionable data in realtime (like sending traffic enforcement for illegally parked vehicles, or service for broken or malfunctioning equipment. And in the spirit of APIs working together in harmony, as video recognition events occur, the system instantly blends weather, demographic, and location-specific data with the original event data to provide highly embellished realtime feeds that are ready for analytical consumption in dashboards that support realtime analytics.

In new tactic, smugglers use drone to fly meth over Mexican border into San Diego, officials say

Los Angeles Times

A remote control-operated drone flew over the border fence from Mexico, heading for San Ysidro while a Border Patrol agent listened and watched. Ten minutes later, federal authorities had what they say is their first confirmed San Diego case of drug smuggling by drone. The complaint said Rivera told a Border Patrol agent and a Homeland Security Investigations agent that he normally would communicate with contacts in Mexico for instructions after retrieving the drone and drugs. While the drone smuggling arrest is a first in San Diego County, a 2015 case in Imperial County was the first in the Southwest region involving an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Rage against the machines: is AI-powered government worth it?


What machine learning and AI, in general, excel at (unlike human beings) is analysing millions of data points in real time to identify trends and, based on that, offering up "if this, then that" type conclusions. Virtually all major corporations, government institutions and agencies – including the US Department of Justice – have likely been breached at some point, largely because such organizations tend to lag far behind the hackers when it comes to securing data. Yet the companies who are benefiting most from this free data surge show double standards: they are fierce advocates of free and open data when governments are the source, but fight tooth and nail to ensure that their own programming and data remains proprietary. On a macro level, is it capable of deciding who should carry the greatest burden regarding climate change: developed countries, who caused the problem in the first place, or developing countries who say it's their time to modernize now, which will require them to continue to be energy inefficient?

Drone used to smuggle 13 pounds of meth from Mexico

FOX News

SAN DIEGO – A 25-year-old U.S. citizen has been charged with using a drone to smuggle more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico, an unusually large seizure for what is still a novel technique for bringing illegal drugs into the United States, authorities said Friday. Border Patrol agents in San Diego allegedly saw the drone in flight on Aug. 8 and tracked it to Rivera about 2,000 yards from the Mexico border. This undated photo provided by the U.S. Border Patrol shows 12 packages of methamphetamine that were confiscated from a U.S. citizen after a border patrol agent spotted a remote-controlled drone swooping over the border fence (U.S. Border Patrol via AP) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a recent annual report that drones are not often used to smuggle drugs from Mexico because they can only carry small loads, though it said they may become more common. In 2015, two people pleaded guilty to dropping 28 pounds of heroin from a drone in the border town of Calexico, Calif. That same year Border Patrol agents in San Luis, Ariz., spotted a drone dropping bundles with 30 pounds of marijuana.

"Change is Good" Book Excerpt: WIRED Cofounder Louis Rossetto's New Novel Parties Like It's 1998


Set in a fictional San Francisco, Change Is Good: A Story of the Heroic Era of the Internet, follows the intertwined adventures of a startup CEO, a WIRED reporter, a code-writing true believer, and many more instantly iconic characters ripped from the mists of the first dotcom boom. The grainy black-and-white image on the big screen behind the band is a progression of blindfolded heads kissing, some tentatively, some lustily. On the edge of the dance floor, Carl finds himself in one of two lines approaching a big plywood box from opposite directions. Both kissers withdraw, remove their blindfolds, and are surprised to discover that they saw each other that afternoon--the lips Carl kissed were those of Danny Katz, the WIRED reporter he'd run into earlier in the Gnuhere reception area.

NASA Applies IntelAI's Machine Learning Methods to Search for Space Resources – technerdbites


Working with Intel's team and their deep learning technologies, Intel Nervana, NASA is looking to accelerate the development of a software solution to take AI to the moon. The technologies are expected to shorten the time window to locate water and volatile resources on the moon, which can produce air supply for further exploration. FDL is an applied research accelerator that uses AI to solve problems related to space weather, space resources and planetary defense. NASA FDL's 9-week program involves teams of 4 to 5, comprising of post-doc, data scientists, software developers and graduate researchers in fields, ranging from planetary science to 3D modelling.