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The Quiet Growth of Race-Detection Software Sparks Concerns Over Bias

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

In the last few years, companies have started using such race-detection software to understand how certain customers use their products, who looks at their ads, or what people of different racial groups like. Others use the tool to seek different racial features in stock photography collections, typically for ads, or in security, to help narrow down the search for someone in a database. In China, where face tracking is widespread, surveillance cameras have been equipped with race-scanning software to track ethnic minorities. The field is still developing, and it is an open question how companies, governments and individuals will take advantage of such technology in the future. Use of the software is fraught, as researchers and companies have begun to recognize its potential to drive discrimination, posing challenges to widespread adoption.


These online courses teach you how to win at online poker

Mashable

TL;DR: The Ultimate Poker Pro Blueprint Mastery Bundle is on sale for £16.08 as of August 14, saving you 99% on list price. Playing poker online is a totally different game than playing in real life. You aren't playing other people so much as you are just playing the algorithm. Therefore, it requires a touch less skill and a touch more pattern recognition and smarts. In the Ultimate Poker Pro Blueprint Mastery Bundle, you'll learn exactly what it takes to win money playing poker online.


Michigan developing driverless car corridor

The Japan Times

San Francisco – Michigan announced an initiative to explore the development of a more than 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of road dedicated to connected and autonomous vehicles between the cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit. The project will be led by Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, and will be supported by an advisory committee that includes General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., as well as autonomous driving startups Argo AI and Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo. "We are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future," Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. Michigan said the dedicated autonomous vehicle (AV) corridor is the first of its kind and eventually will improve safety and transit access for communities along the road. The first two years of the project will focus on testing technology and exploring the viability of a highway dedicated to vehicles that drive themselves.


Robots go their own way deep in the ocean

BBC News

"It's very common," says Jess Hanham casually, when asked how often he finds suspected unexploded bombs. Mr Hanham is a co-founder of Spectrum Offshore, a marine survey firm that does a lot of work in the Thames Estuary. His firm undertakes all sorts of marine surveying, but working on sites for new offshore wind farms has become a big business for him. Work in the Thames Estuary, and other areas that were the targets of bombing in World War 2, are likely to involve picking up signals of unexploded munitions. "You can find a significant amount of contacts that need further investigation and for a wind farm that will be established in the initial pre-engineering survey," he says.


Fortnite Uses Apple's Own '1984' Ad Against It In Dispute Over Payments

NPR Technology

Epic Games, the video game developer behind the mega popular online game Fortnite, just posted a video criticizing Apple for removing the game from its App Store. Using imagery directly referencing Apple's own iconic "1984" ad, Epic Games's video (titled "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite") positions Apple as a soulless corporate entity, shouting from a screen and demanding obedience from a black and white crowd. That is, until a woman in color shows up, and throws a Fortnite axe at the screen and shatters it. The following copy reads, "Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming '1984.'"


Fortnite maker sues Apple over removal of popular video game from App Store

The Guardian

Apple on Thursday removed the enormously popular video game Fortnite from its App Store for violating its in-app payment guidelines, in a move likely to escalate debate over the tech giant's grip over the industry. Its removal from the App Store came after Fortnite circumvented Apple's in-app payment system and 30% fee, encouraging users to pay the gaming company directly. Epic Games responded to the removal by announcing legal action against the iPhone maker, and calling on supporters to "join the fight" against Apple in a video spoof of the tech giant's famous "1984" commercial. Fortnite's dramatic move represents one of the most public challenges yet of Apple's allegedly monopolistic practices. "Apple's removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market," Epic said in a statement.


Man held up by stun gun on online date gone horribly wrong

FOX News

Strict laws, lack of shops and pandemic-related delays are making it harder for Americans to purchase guns in crime-ridden cities; attorney and gun rights activist Colion Noir weighs in. Authorities said a man from Boston had a stun gun pulled on him Tuesday morning, as he was being robbed by a woman he met through an online dating app. The unidentified man rendezvoused with the young woman at a local hotel, the Associated Press reported. He told police the two talked for about 30 minutes before she pointed a Taser stun gun at him and began rifling through his pockets. She allegedly stole $100 in cash before law enforcement was called in.


DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques

Science

The development of a vaccine to protect against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an urgent biomedical need. Yu et al. designed a series of prototype DNA vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is used by the virus to bind and invade human cells. Analysis of the vaccine candidates in rhesus macaques showed that animals developed protective humoral and cellular immune responses when challenged with the virus. Neutralizing antibody titers were also observed at levels similar to those seen in humans who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Science , this issue p. [806][1] The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has made the development of a vaccine a top biomedical priority. In this study, we developed a series of DNA vaccine candidates expressing different forms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and evaluated them in 35 rhesus macaques. Vaccinated animals developed humoral and cellular immune responses, including neutralizing antibody titers at levels comparable to those found in convalescent humans and macaques infected with SARS-CoV-2. After vaccination, all animals were challenged with SARS-CoV-2, and the vaccine encoding the full-length S protein resulted in >3.1 and >3.7 log10 reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, as compared with viral loads in sham controls. Vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protective efficacy, suggesting an immune correlate of protection. These data demonstrate vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in nonhuman primates. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abc6284


Building social cohesion between Christians and Muslims through soccer in post-ISIS Iraq

Science

It has been theorized that positive intergroup relations can reduce prejudice and facilitate peace. However, supporting empirical evidence is weak, particularly in the context of real-world conflict. Mousa randomized Christian Iraqi refugees to soccer teams that were composed of either all Christian players or a mixture of Christian and Muslim players (see the Perspective by Paluck and Clark). Playing on the same team as Muslims had positive effects on Christian players' attitudes and behaviors toward Muslims within the context of soccer, but these effects did not generalize to non-soccer contexts. These findings have implications for the potential benefits and limits of positive intergroup contact for achieving peace between groups. Science , this issue p. [866][1]; see also p. [769][2] Can intergroup contact build social cohesion after war? I randomly assigned Iraqi Christians displaced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to an all-Christian soccer team or to a team mixed with Muslims. The intervention improved behaviors toward Muslim peers: Christians with Muslim teammates were more likely to vote for a Muslim (not on their team) to receive a sportsmanship award, register for a mixed team next season, and train with Muslims 6 months after the intervention. The intervention did not substantially affect behaviors in other social contexts, such as patronizing a restaurant in Muslim-dominated Mosul or attending a mixed social event, nor did it yield consistent effects on intergroup attitudes. Although contact can build tolerant behaviors toward peers within an intervention, building broader social cohesion outside of it is more challenging. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abb3153 [2]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abb9990


A mathematical model reveals the influence of population heterogeneity on herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2

Science

In response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), some politicians have been keen to exploit the idea of achieving herd immunity. Countering this possibility are estimates derived from work on historical vaccination studies, which suggest that herd immunity may only be achieved at an unacceptable cost of lives. Because human populations are far from homogeneous, Britton et al. show that by introducing age and activity heterogeneities into population models for SARS-CoV-2, herd immunity can be achieved at a population-wide infection rate of ∼40%, considerably lower than previous estimates. This shift is because transmission and immunity are concentrated among the most active members of a population, who are often younger and less vulnerable. If nonpharmaceutical interventions are very strict, no herd immunity is achieved, and infections will then resurge if they are eased too quickly. Science , this issue p. [846][1] Despite various levels of preventive measures, in 2020, many countries have suffered severely from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. Using a model, we show that population heterogeneity can affect disease-induced immunity considerably because the proportion of infected individuals in groups with the highest contact rates is greater than that in groups with low contact rates. We estimate that if R = 2.5 in an age-structured community with mixing rates fitted to social activity, then the disease-induced herd immunity level can be ~43%, which is substantially less than the classical herd immunity level of 60% obtained through homogeneous immunization of the population. Our estimates should be interpreted as an illustration of how population heterogeneity affects herd immunity rather than as an exact value or even a best estimate. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abc6810