Google Glue


Google readily accepts driverless vehicles pose credible concerns for pedestrian safety. The fact “no shit Sherlock” comes to mind shouldn’t detract from Google’s acceptance of initial perils. Undeterred by mistrust or skepticism, Google countered with a highly unusual safety measure.

Never let it be said that pragmatic logic spreads evenly across a population. Google decided to mitigate pedestrian injury rather than market unrealistic jibber-jabber. Unable to make sweeping assurances of safety, Google settled on an idea responsible for a patent issued on May 17, 2016.

What happens when pedestrians are struck by a car – they might be thrown, hit by a second vehicle, fall and find themselves dragged under a moving car, or bounced against hard surfaces. Accidents are inevitable, but what if victims “stuck” to the offending vehicle. Google patented adhesive strong enough to instantly hold a person at the moment of impact. A thin layer of protective “eggshell” cracks, releasing the life saving bond.

Allow me to raise a few concerns. How many pedestrians are hit head on? What happens to a pedestrian clipped on the leg? Are they glue snatched and pulled down the street? What happens when victims need immediate life saving medical intervention? Do paramedics pry them off? Is there an instant release solvent? If wide eyes glued an eyeball to the hood, would eyesight become a hood ornament? Would fender benders glue vehicles together?

A patent doesn’t necessarily mean Google intends to glue hapless pedestrians to robotic cars. That said, the effort suggests considerable time and resources spent on addressing pedestrian safety. Imagine being one of those tasked with finding a solution – brain storming sessions, ideas bandied from lip to trash can, fruitless days, weeks, months of stalemate. Perhaps it was late afternoon when one of them muttered “we could glue them to the hood”, prompted a unanimous chorus of ‘that’s it”.

I wouldn’t presume to know more than the great minds at Google. Common sense screams of a middle aged ponderer could be symptoms of age related technological ignorance. Yikes, what am I saying! Super-gluing accidental encounters (animate or otherwise) to the exterior of driverless vehicles elevates asinine to a whole new level.

Google Patents ‘Pedestrian Glue’ for Self-Driving Cars

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NameTag


How would you feel about total strangers using facial recognition technology to access your facebook page, perform a criminal record check and learn where you worked or lived? Facial Network.com developed an app, currently being tested by Google Glass that does just that. Heralded as the most advanced facial recognition technology outside national security’s bag of tricks – NameTag asks “Why leave meeting amazing people up to chance?” urging us to “simply snap a pic of someone you want to connect and see their entire online presence in one place”. Forget informed consent and privacy settings – if you’ve put it online, all bets are off.

http://www.nametag.ws/

Why mess around with pedestrian snooping – quaintly innocent Google name searches are for sissies. Who needs a name when soon we’ll be able to creep into lives of unsuspecting strangers. Imagine the fun marginally stable stalkers can have – second thoughts and hesitation be damned. Think of facial “tagging” – data bases of hits bought and sold for marketing.

Consider other facial recognition applications – 115 Japanese stores use facial recognition technology to alert shopkeepers when a shoplifter, or my favorite “complainer” enters the premise. Complainers have no say in the matter.

https://www.privacyassociation.org/publications/facial_recognition_data_shared_among_115_stores

Want a date? Match.com and Plenty of Fish can eliminate awkward first encounters – run your crush through the sexual offender and criminal data bases – false positives and mismatches needn’t concern you, mistakes happen all the time.  No skin off your back – tell all your friends, spread the name around, after all you have proof – your CreepSheild app told you so. CreepSheild takes the position all queries must give results; call it the “closest approximation syndrome”. Up pops a face and name – skittish users dismiss 45% probability as a minor detail.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/creepshield-claims-to-out-the-creeps-in-online-dating/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2

As for NameTag – Google Glass says the program is only available for beta testers – Google announced this is where it stays (making it clear they felt it contravened privacy rules) That said, a little digging around produced numerous invitations to download NameTag.

http://www.downloadnametag.com/

A little ray of sunshine promises an option to “opt out” – so far all I can find are vague references to “soon” being able to scream no thanks by creating a NameTag opt out profile. Far from thrilling is the idea we have to give up personal information to supposedly dodge uninvited peepers.

Before long, no one alive will know privacy. Problem solving, mystery, discovery, patience, solitude – all lost to gimmicks touted as revolutionary. We don’t need to “connect” with strangers after peering in their dusty corners. Technology aimed at dysfunctional social media junkies doesn’t make the world a better place, all it does is eradicate foundations of human interaction.

Until recently, “big brother” was a concept with definable parameters. Disturbing, hard to digest, yet able to reside in well lit corners of my mind.  I recognized where it came from, how it was able to infiltrate, and why we shouldn’t take our eyes off it. Suddenly a rogue upstart arrives – disguising itself as salvation. The government at least tries to pass itself off as a necessary evil – NameTag only wants to make money. Pondering unregulated, profit driven privacy violations raises absurdity to a whole new level.

 

 

Are Fairies Vegetarian?


Nostalgia begged I figure something out the old fashioned way. Forget the internet, reference books or Google answers – a random thought came knocking, it required untainted pondering. I sent my daughter a message – “Help me out, are fairies vegetarian?”

She saw nothing unusual about my query. It was a good question, now both of us needed to know if fairies were vegetarian and weren’t inclined to “search” for an answer

Her gut reaction was the same as mine – fairies don’t eat meat and most certainly are vegetarian. Ponders begged the obvious question – then what does Oberon serve at his banquets? My son came home, I posed the same question – he replied “fairies don’t eat food” Hmm? Well what about the banquets, and why is it we all know, those who eat from a fairy table stay there forever? We wondered if fairies where presented with gifts of food, or if food simply appeared at their tables. We dismissed the idea of fairies hunting, more comfortable with the thought of gathering seeds and honey. It was late, we agreed to sleep on it, fairy diets could wait until tomorrow.

Relatively sure fairies are vegetarian, my mind drifted to ponders of faith.It’s much too late now,  but tomorrow I will ask my daughter if she thinks vegetarian fairy debates are any different from resurrection of Christ banter. Regardless, I refuse to “Google” any of it – tempted as I might be to search ” vegetarian fairy Jesus”.

The Power of One Chance “Like”


I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and not to discount anything that crosses my path. This isn’t based on so much as a whisper in God, religion, divine intervention, or the will of any sentient almighty. To be honest; if any of those things clouded or narrowed my open mind, I’m fairly certain these “chances” would evaporate behind a cloud of blind faith. I spend my life pondering wonders, gazing into the night sky, listening to the wind, sharing ideas, learning from others, and every so often stumbling upon a moment that changes the direction of my life. Since starting this blog, wordpress has introduced me to remarkably intelligent people; people who may hold different views than mine, people I look forward to reading, discussing, and sharing thoughts with. I approach it as I approach my life – with an open mind and heart.

A few days ago, a chance “like” on one of my posts by wordpresser – http://buffalotompeabodyblog.wordpress.com/ changed lives. As soon as I read “buffalotompeabody” something told me my path had just been crossed. Obviously anyone called buffalotompeabody plastered an instant smile on my face; there was more – my “lucky feeling” as it has come to be known in my household, had goosebumps erupting on my arms, and every hair on the back of my neck standing at attention.

I couldn’t get to his “About” page fast enough. I read eagerly, and suddenly – there it was – this man is blind. Hardly able to contain myself while hoping this person would understand; I asked for his help. My mother is blind; it’s been at least 10 years since she could read any print.The CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) sends her spoken DVD’s of books and magazines, has given her a white cane, free bus pass, sold her a $700 computer program, and she was considering dropping $3000 on some sort of screen magnifier device. We knew in our hearts it would be about as much help as the “Zoom text” program – in other words, beyond something she could practically use the way she wanted. As buffalotompeabody put it “having first to wrestle an elephant to the floor takes the fun out of it”. I’m getting ahead of myself.

buffalotompeabody responded within a few hours, answering my burning question – how was he able to do something that’s eluded my mother for years? Still unable to grasp how he could reply at length; a task that my mother couldn’t do if her life depended on it,I read on. His answer blew me away; enter the Android phone. It seems Google has a soft spot for low vision and blind people. Most of their Android phones come with TTS (talk to speech) programs pre installed, and simply need to be enabled. He explained about low vision apps, the feature Androids have of allowing text to be made huge, and youtube videos showing how to use different apps. He told me he hadn’t opened his lap top in a year and a half.

I was like a kid on Christmas morning as I called my mother with the news. The excitement and hope I heard in her voice reminded me of who she was before blindness crippled her with depression. She believed, actually believed she might once again use her voice, and mind to connect with the world. She didn’t say so but I knew she dared to embrace the possibility of writing again. I copied and emailed buffalotompeabody’s comments to my sister who lives in the same city as my mother. That was yesterday. By this afternoon they had gone to a cell phone store; with copied emails in hand the clerk had her a phone meeting all the requirements, enabled the TTS, and set the everything to “huge”. Tomorrow they will download apps, and I expect by the weekend I’ll be getting emails from her.

In all our visits to the CNIB, eye specialists, and computer geeks; not once has this simple solution been suggested. We’ve watched helplessly as she slipped further into despair; then a single chance “like” turns all our lives around. Better still it’s poised to change even more lives. While telling this story to a friend today I learned she knew of someone in a similar situation. Again I forwarded buffalotompeabody’s comments, setting another life changing moment in motion.

Thank you buffalotompeabody for crossing my path – your fortitude and patience inspire me beyond words. In 24 short hours you’ve managed to accomplish something we’d nearly given up on. You set something so powerful in motion, our world will forever be changed.

For anyone who knows someone this might help – go to buffalotompeabody’s “About” page and read the comments he sent me.

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Perception of Privacy


We were out for dinner with our daughter last night and the conversation landed on Google Glass. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Google Glass, this is a concept known as ubiquitous computing; the idea of fitting computers to every day objects rather than people having to go to computers. Android and smart phones already fill this bill, in many ways eliminating the need for bulky desktops.Google Glass aims to take this a step further by allowing the user to interface with a pair of sunglasses. Google is in talks with manufacturers like Ray Ban, but adds that their goal is for this modular device to attach itself to prescription glasses as well.

Our daughter enthused about the concept for a few minutes, until my husband asked her if she realized the problem with them. A moment of silence followed, we could see her impatience grow – just short of rolling her eyes she relented and asked what the problem might be.

He explained how Google Glass put the GPS in our phones to shame. This device would allow not only our position but every word we spoke, person we met, or conversation we had to be on record. Google Glass is “big brothers” dream come true. A birds eye view of everything we did in a day.

I’ve had a day to ponder her reaction and conclude there was nothing exceptional about it. As alarming as it seemed to my husband and myself, I’ve realized we hail from an era where privacy was truly private. Not that there was the slightest hint of privacy around the single land line in the kitchen, at least when leaving the house I was untraceable. My children have never lived in a world where they didn’t “ping” off a cell phone tower or instant message their friends. Every purchase we make is tracked by store point cards, we “like” on facebook to receive coupons or join discount clubs, we customize the news received – all carefully monitored and digested by big business.

I have nothing against progress – simply hoping we realize the price we pay. My perception of privacy is based on impossibly outdated concepts; I can’t expect my children to understand the freedom of complete privacy. nor could I resist the opportunity to point out the perils of yet another privacy robbing device.