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Weekend at the Mall

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Burke Street Mall, Melbourne

Fokke & Sukke

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Unlike Clearview AI, this Facial-Recognition Search Engine is Open to Everyone

This week CNN investigated PimEyes, a "mysterious" but powerful facial-recognition search engine:

If you upload a picture of your face to PimEyes' website, it will immediately show you any pictures of yourself that the company has found around the internet. You might recognize all of them, or be surprised (or, perhaps, even horrified) by some; these images may include anything from wedding or vacation snapshots to pornographic images. PimEyes is open to anyone with internet access. It's a stark contrast from Clearview AI, which became well-known for building its enormous stash of faces with images of people from social networks and limits its use to law enforcement (Clearview has said it has hundreds of such customers).

PimEyes' decision to make facial-recognition software available to the general public crosses a line that technology companies are typically unwilling to traverse, and opens up endless possibilities for how it can be used and abused. Imagine a potential employer digging into your past, an abusive ex tracking you, or a random stranger snapping a photo of you in public and then finding you online. This is all possible through PimEyes: Though the website instructs users to search for themselves, it doesn't stop them from uploading photos of anyone. At the same time, it doesn't explicitly identify anyone by name, but as CNN Business discovered by using the site, that information may be just clicks away from images PimEyes pulls up...

PimEyes lets users see a limited number of small, somewhat pixelated search results at no cost, or you can pay a monthly fee, which starts at $29.99, for more extensive search results and features (such as to click through to see full-size images on the websites where PimEyes found them and to set up alerts for when PimEyes finds new pictures of faces online that its software believes match an uploaded face)... Although PimEyes instructs visitors to only search for their own face, there's no mechanism on the site to ensure it's used this way... There's also no way to ensure this facial-recognition technology isn't used to misidentify people...

The website currently lists no information about who owns or runs the search engine, or how to reach them, and users must submit a form to get answers to questions or help with accounts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Electric Vehicles May Drive a Lithium Supply Crunch

A carbon-free future "will require many millions of batteries, both to drive electric vehicles and to store wind and solar power on the grid," reports IEEE Spectrum. Unfortunately, today's battery chemistries "mostly rely on lithium — a metal that could soon face a global supply crunch."

Recently, Rystad Energy projected a "serious lithium supply deficit" in 2027 as mining capacity lags behind the EV boom. The mismatch could effectively delay the production of around 3.3 million battery-powered passenger cars that year, according to the research firm. Without new mining projects, delays could swell to the equivalent of 20 million cars in 2030. Battery-powered buses, trucks, ships, and grid storage systems will also feel the squeeze... [T]he solution isn't as simple as mining more hard rock — called spodumene — or tapping more underground brine deposits to extract lithium. That's because most of the better, easier-to-exploit reserves are already spoken for in Australia (for hard rock) and in Chile and Argentina (for brine). To drastically scale capacity, producers will also need to exploit the world's "marginal" resources, which are costlier and more energy-intensive to develop than conventional counterparts...

Concerns about supply constraints are driving innovation in the lithium industry. A handful of projects in North America and Europe are piloting and testing "direct lithium extraction," an umbrella term for technologies that, generally speaking, use electricity and chemical processes to isolate and extract concentrated lithium... In southwestern Germany, Vulcan Energy is extracting lithium from geothermal springs that bubble thousands of meters below the Rhine river. The startup began operating its first pilot plant in mid-April. Vulcan said it could be extracting 15,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide — a compound used in battery cathodes — per year. In southern California, Controlled Thermal Resources is developing a geothermal power plant and lithium extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The company said a pilot facility will start producing 20,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, also by 2024.

Another way to boost lithium supplies is to recover the metal from spent batteries, of which there is already ample supply. Today, less than 5 percent of all spent lithium-ion batteries are recycled, in large part because the packs are difficult and expensive to dismantle. Many batteries now end up in landfills, leaching chemicals into the environment and wasting usable materials. But Sophie Lu, the head of metals and mining for BloombergNEF, said the industry is likely to ramp up recycling after 2028, when the supply deficit kicks in. Developers are already starting to build new facilities, including a $175 million plant in Rochester, N.Y. When completed, it will be North America's largest recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries.

The Economic Times also argues that electric cars and renewable energy "may not be as green as they appear. Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people.

"That environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter and TikTok are Losing the War Against COVID Disinformation

America's leading social media companies "pledged to put warning labels on COVID-19 and COVID vaccines posts to stop the spread of falsehoods, conspiracy theories and hoaxes that are fueling vaccine hesitancy in the USA," reports USA Today.

"With the exception of Facebook, nearly all of them are losing the war against COVID disinformation."

That's the conclusion of a new report shared exclusively with USA TODAY. As the pace of the nation's immunizations slows and public health agencies struggle to get shots in arms, Advance Democracy found that debunked claims sowing unfounded fears about the vaccines are circulating largely unfettered on Twitter and TikTok, including posts and videos that falsely allege the federal government is covering up deaths caused by the vaccines or that it is safer to get COVID-19 than to get the vaccine.

Twitter began labeling tweets that include misleading or false information about COVID-19 vaccines in March. It also started using a "strike system" to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules. Yet none of the top tweets on Twitter using popular anti-vaccine hashtags like #vaccineskill, #novaccine, #depopulation and #plandemic had labels as of May 3, according to Advance Democracy, a research organization that studies disinformation and extremism. What's more, when USA TODAY searched these hashtags on Twitter, unlabeled posts were served up along with advertisements for major consumer brands including Cheetos, Volvo, CVS, even Star Wars...

After coming under fire for its slow response to COVID-19 misinformation, Facebook has made significant progress in labeling COVID-19 posts, according to Daniel Jones, president of Advance Democracy... As of May 3, all of the top 10 posts discussing COVID-19 vaccines that used the #vaccineskill hashtag were labeled, compared to only two of the top 10 on March 28, Advance Democracy found... Facebook told USA TODAY it has removed more than 16 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram for violating its COVID and vaccine policies since the beginning of the pandemic....

As of May 3, TikTok failed to consistently apply labels to anti-vaccination hashtags used in videos with millions of views, the report said. Nine of the top 10 videos related to COVID-19 vaccines using the hashtag #NoVaccine did not have a label. Videos with the #NoVaccine label racked up 20.5 million views...

The Advance Democracy research did not look at vaccine-related content on Facebook-owned Instagram or Google's YouTube.

"Promises to address public health misinformation online are only consequential if there is action and follow through..." Jones told USA Today.

"This pandemic is not over, and with the rate of vaccinations on the decline, directing users to reliable information on vaccines is more important than ever," Jones said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Come Morning

Thomas Hawk posted a photo:

Come Morning

Hero Frog Kuri (Pegasus)


Hero Frog Kuri (2020) Pegasus Çocuk

There's no such thing as a tree

Why do trees keep happening?

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Laydock has added a photo to the pool:

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夜明け 筑後川 耳納連山|福岡県久留米市北野町石崎
Dawn, Chikugo river, Mino mountain range | Ishizaki, Kitano-machi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka-prefecture, Kyu-shu, Japan.

Nikon D850
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G