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Maryland Gov. Hogan pushes to reopen schools for hybrid learning

FOX News

A panel of parents give there take on the president's move to reopen schools on'Fox & amp; Friends.' Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is going all in on a push to reopen schools in the state for hybrid learning by the beginning of March. Hogan said during a news conference at St. John's College in Annapolis on Thursday that there is a growing consensus in the state and in the country that there is "no public health reason for county school boards to keep students out of schools" due to COVID-19. He argued that continuing down a path of virtual learning could lead to significant setbacks for students, especially among students of color and those from low-income families. "I understand that in earlier stages of the pandemic, that this was a very difficult decision for county school boards to make," Hogan added.



Australia to monitor illegal activities in marine parks in drone trial

ZDNet

The Australian Director of National Parks is looking to run a trial to use drones to monitor, detect, and collect information about prohibited activities, such as illegal fishing operations, in marine parks. In an approach to market, the Director of National Parks, which is responsible for managing Australia's marine parks (AMPs), said it is looking at the possibility of using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology as a cost-effective alternative to traditional surveillance methods that involve using manned surveillance flights, as well as a way to ensure any prohibited activities are not missed. "Parks Australia currently has an information gap regarding the activities conducted by small craft vessels which are not equipped with vessel monitoring systems and are not required to have automated identification systems. Unauthorised tourism and recreational fishing activities may be going undetected, creating a significant gap in AMP domain awareness for managers," the agency wrote. "Traditional surveillance approaches for detecting small craft, such as vessel patrols and manned aerial surveillance flights, can be extremely costly. This trial seeks to inform the compliance program through the investigation of new, cost-effective technologies to monitor vessel activity within AMPs."


Space satellites equipped with machine learning count elephants on Earth

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Vulnerable elephant populations are now being tracked from space using Earth-observation satellites and a type of artificial intelligence (AI) called machine learning. As part of an international project, researchers are using satellite images processed with computer algorithms, which are trained with more than 1,000 images of elephants to help spot the creatures. With machine learning, the algorithms can count elephants even on'complex geographical landscapes', such as those dotted with trees and shrubs. Researchers say this method is a promising new tool for surveying endangered wildlife and can detect animals with the same accuracy as humans. Elephants in woodland as seen from space.


This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs

WIRED

In a low-rise building overlooking a busy intersection in Beijing, Ji Rong Wen, a middle-aged scientist with thin-rimmed glasses and a mop of black hair, excitedly describes a project that could advance one of the hottest areas of artificial intelligence. Wen leads a team at the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), a government-sponsored research lab that's testing a powerful new language algorithm--something similar to GPT-3, a program revealed in June by researchers at OpenAI that digests large amounts of text and can generate remarkably coherent, free-flowing language. "This is a big project," Wen says with a big grin. "It takes a lot of computing infrastructure and money." Wen, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing recruited to work part-time at BAAI, hopes to create an algorithm that is even cleverer than GPT-3. He plans to combine machine learning with databases of facts, and to feed the algorithm images and video as well as text, in hope of creating a richer understanding of the physical world--that the words cat and fur don't just often appear in the same sentence, but are associated with one another visually.


Trump made a mess of tech policy. Here's what Biden is inheriting.

Mashable

It's hard to focus on the nitty gritty of tech policy when the world is on fire. Take, for example, his fight against Big Tech in the name of "anti-conservative bias" (no, it doesn't exist), which resulted in an assault on Section 230. Experts say the true aim of those efforts was to undermine content moderation, and normalize the white supremacist attitudes that helped put people like Trump in power. Unfortunately, those allegations will have life for years to come as a form of "zombie Trumpism," as Berin Szoka, a senior fellow at the technology policy organization TechFreedom, put it. Trump may be gone from office and Twitter.


WA to spend AU$1 million to divert 1,000 tonnes of e-waste per year

ZDNet

Western Australia has announced it will invest AU$1 million into nine initiatives that are aimed at reducing e-waste. The AU$1 million investment will come out of the state's AU$16.7 million New Industries Fund, and is expected to divert approximately 1,000 tonnes of e-waste annually from landfill. "The selected projects will support the recovery of high value material, while diverting materials which may have presented risks to human health and the environment if not disposed of appropriately," Environment Minister Stephen Dawson added. Among the grant recipients are Curtin University, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Epichem, which are all set to receive AU$200,000 apiece for their respective projects. Curtin University will use the funds to create a mini plant for recycling and metal recovery from printed circuit boards and integrated circuits; CSIRO will develop "innovative biotechnology" for extracting precious and base metals from e-waste; and Epichem has agreed to test whether oxidative hydrothermal dissolution can break down e-waste to produce a range of useful chemicals.


Marketing and sports data apps join fight against pandemic

The Japan Times

Devices designed for improving customer marketing and sports performance are now being used in the fight against COVID-19 as companies deploy their technologies to meet new needs during the pandemic. Hitachi-LG Data Storage originally developed its 3D LiDAR People Counter sensor for retail stores to track shoppers' movements and analyse data in order to improve sales and customer satisfaction. The company, a joint venture between Japan's Hitachi and South Korea's LG Electronics, has now paired the application with a heat detection and camera app that takes customers' temperatures and checks if they are wearing a mask with a facial detection system. The technology monitors the number of people and their movements to reduce congestion and it estimates wait times at cash registers, to help reduce infection risks. It can also determine whether or not a customer has stopped by a specific area such as a required hand sanitizer station.


Pizza Hut to test drone delivery to 'landing zones'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Pizza Hut is reaching new heights with its latest delivery experiment. Tech company Dragontail Systems Limited announced this week that it has deployed drones for restaurants to carry meals to delivery drivers in remote landing zones. Those drones will be flying pizzas from a Pizza Hut location in northern Israel starting in June, The Wall Street Journal reported.


A Site Published Every Face from Parler's Capitol Riot Videos

WIRED

When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform's contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site's users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now one website has done the work of cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup. Late last week, a website called Faces of the Riot appeared online, showing nothing but a vast grid of more than 6,000 images of faces, each one tagged only with a string of characters associated with the Parler video in which it appeared. The site's creator tells WIRED that he used simple open source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face from the 827 videos that were posted to Parler from inside and outside the Capitol building on January 6, the day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that resulted in five people's deaths.