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China’s Invasive Facial Recognition System is the Stuff of Human Rights Nightmares

China is on the way to becoming the first country on Earth to realize the terrifying future reality depicted in the disturbing 2002 Hollywood movie “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Beijing, China (4E) – China is on the way to becoming the first country on Earth to realize the terrifying future reality depicted in the disturbing 2002 Hollywood movie “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise.

China is now building the world’s most powerful facial recognition network that might eventually identify any one of its more than 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. The communist country’s goal for this program launched in 2015 is equally frightening: match a person’s face to his photo with 90 percent accuracy in a campaign to erase dissent and discontent among its oppressed citizens.

The system operates on a smaller scale at present, and depends on local police databases and city or provincial ID pools. It remains under development and its transformation to a national system is being spearheaded by Isvision, a security company based in Shanghai. This company won the government contract to develop the system in 2017 but has been working on this technology for the government since the early 2000s.

“The progress of development is confidential,” said a company representative. “At present we have no information for public disclosure.”

Security cameras with Isvision facial recognition capabilities are connected to the police database of suspects, and are capable of recognizing and tracking targets in a large crowd. The Isvision system is connected to surveillance camera networks and uses the Cloud to connect to data storage and processing centres across China. It also relies on a national database of police suspects and persons of interest to the communist government.

Isvision also deployed similar systems for the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force in violence wracked Xinjiang and Tibet where independence movements thrive.

Some scientists, however, say it’s unclear when the system will be completed. They also noted that the system’s development keeps running into difficulties caused by the technical limits of current facial recognition technology and the extremely large population of China. The core data set for the national system, which includes the portrait information of each Chinese citizen, amounts to 13 terabytes.

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New GPS Block IIIA Satellites Provide 3X Better Location Accuracy

The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

Costing some $577 million, this satellite was launched two weeks ago. The 10 new Block IIIA satellites will provide three times better accuracy compared to current GPS satellites, said Lockheed Martin, the satellite’s developer.

The tenth and final GPS Block IIIA satellite launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, if all goes well

“Launch is always a monumental event, and especially so since this is the first GPS satellite of its generation launched on SpaceX’s first national security space mission,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space.

He said that as more GPS III satellites join the constellation, it will bring better service at a lower cost to a technology now fully woven into the fabric of any modern civilization.

Gen. Thompson said GPS Block IIIA satellites keep GPS the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing information. He said the launch of the first GPS Block IIIA satellite was a capstone, but it doesn’t mean the Air Force is done. He said the Air Force is going to run a series of procedures for checkout and test “to ensure everything on Vespucci functions as it was designed.”

GPS III’s L1C civil signal will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a signal compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems such as Europe’s Galileo, thereby improving connectivity for civilian users.

For the U.S. military, the new birds have up to eight times better anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resistant to electronic warfare (EW) attacks by either the Russians or Chinese.

The anti-jamming capabilities of the GPS IIIA satellites spring from its use of the new “M-code” (or Military code) first used on the operational Block IIF series launched from 2012 to 2016. The new M-Code signal is also designed for more secure access to military GPS signals. M-code is transmitted on the L1 and L2 frequencies already used by the previous military code, which is the P(Y) code.

GPS satellites use the NAVSTAR radionavigation system owned by the U.S. government and operated by the Air Force.

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Time Existed Before the Big Bang, says New Study

A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

London, United Kingdom (4E) – A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

The study by University of Oxford physicists David Sloan, Tim A. Koslowski and Flavio Mercati suggests a completely new model of the Universe. Their published study re-interprets how time might have existed before the Big Bang itself by circumventing the limits imposed by the existence of the “Initial Singularity,” or that infinitesimally small blip that exploded to give birth to the Universe.

The model proposed by the three scientists starts with a new interpretation of the Initial Singularity.

The conventional wisdom is that physics as we know broke down inside the initial singularity. This breakdown arose from a contradiction in properties at a particular point in time as defined by the Theory of General Relativity.

Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati disagree with the assumption of an inevitable break down in physical laws inside the singularity. Instead, they adhere to the assumption that physics at the Big Bang remained intact but the stage it acted upon “reorientated.”

And instead of a singularity, the team said there is this thing called a “Janus Point.” In this Janus Point, the relative positions and scales of the stuff that comprise the Universe flatten into a two-dimensional (2D) pancake as we rewind time.

Passing through the Janus Point, that pancake turned 3D again, only back-to-front, so that time now moved forward. Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati believe their Janus Point could have profound implications on symmetry in particle physics, and might even produce a Universe based primarily on antimatter.

While the idea of a flipped Universe is nothing new, the model proposed by Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati of working around the singularity problem is novel.

“All the terms that are problematic turn out to be irrelevant when working out the behavior of quantities that determine how the Universe appears from the inside,” said Sloan.

“We introduce no new principles, and make no modifications to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity — only of the interpretation that is put upon objects.”

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Luddite Arizonans are Sabotaging Waymo Self-Driving Cars

It seems Luddites have found a home in Arizona, and are manifesting their hatred of technology by sabotaging Google’s self-driving cars.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E) – It seems Luddites have found a home in Arizona, and are manifesting their hatred of technology by sabotaging Google’s self-driving cars.

The autonomous vehicles are operated by Waymo LLC, the subsidiary of Alphabet Inc responsible for self-driving technology development. On Dec. 5, 2018, Waymo launched its first commercial self-driving car service called “Waymo One” in Phoenix. Waymo One allowed users in the Phoenix metropolitan area to use an app to request the use of a self-driving car.

Media reports reveal at least 21 attacks since 2017 on Google self-driving cars in Arizona. These attacks range in severity from pure mischief to more serious acts such as trying to force an autonomous car off course.

The most brazen incident took place in August when a man armed with a handgun tried to scare the safety driver of an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. This man claimed he was taking vengeance for the Uber incident that killed a pedestrian in Phoenix earlier this year.

Another safety driver was threatened by a man wielding a PVC pipe. Other incidents involved people throwing rocks, blocking routes or slashing the tires of Waymo vehicles. There was also an also attempt to derail a self-driving car driving itself. One particularly troubling incident saw a man trying to run a Chrysler Pacifica off the road six times.

Waymo hasn’t pressed charges in any of these incidents, however. Instead, it’s directed its drivers to first contact an internal dispatch system when these incidents occur.

Oddly, Waymo has been unwilling to provide footage of the attacks on its robot cars. This refusal defeats the benefit of self-driving vehicles always maintaining video of everything happening around the car.

Waymo claim these Luddite incidents only represent a small fraction of its self-driving cars.

“Over the past two years, we’ve found Arizonans to be welcoming and excited by the potential of this technology to make our roads safer,” said Waymo.

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