With hacks on the rise, is it time to revisit a national ID? | FCW

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A national identification system has been pitched as a potential alternative to a current identity system that experts say is broken and makes it too easy for criminals and other bad actors to trick financial institutions and engage in fraud, but the idea has traditionally run up against fierce resistance. However, it is becoming more popular over the past decade as countries like India, the Philippines, Estonia and others have developed their own national ID systems.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, said he believes a wave of high-profile data breaches over the years combined with an epidemic of identity-based fraud has provided an opening to revisit the idea.

Source: With hacks on the rise, is it time to revisit a national ID? — FCW

Ultimate Guide to Drought Safety | Angie’s List


Almost every region of the United States occasionally experiences drought conditions and the consequences that come along with them. In the short term, the lack of rain can damage crops, stir up dust storms, and dry up small streams. In the long term, reduced rainfall can cause food shortages, deter tourists, and lead to wildfires.

Like with any other weather-related disaster, it is important for individuals and families everywhere to protect themselves and the people they love from drought-related hardships. The water conservation measures put in place in a time of drought may seem like an inconvenience, and it may be tempting to ignore them because they are hard to enforce.

However, these rules are necessary to keep communities healthy and safe.

Source: Ultimate Guide to Drought Safety | Angie’s List

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New Comet May Be From a Different Solar System | Smithsonian


For only the second time, astronomers believe they have detected a space rock that formed in some distant system before making the interstellar journey to fly through our own solar system. The object, a comet named C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was recently verified by the Minor Planet Center.

According to available observations of the comet, C/2019 Q4 is moving too fast, some 30.7 kilometers per second (68,700 miles per hour), to have originated in our solar system.

The likely interstellar comet was first observed by Gennady Borisov, a Ukrainian amateur astronomer working at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, on August 30. The object is still inbound, and it will make its closest approach to the sun on December 7, and its closest approach to Earth—within 180 million miles—on December 29, as reported by Michael Greshko at National Geographic.

Source: New Comet May Be From a Different Solar System | Smart News | Smithsonian

Why meaning is more sunken into words than we realise | Aeon Essays


This mimetic faculty is not just active in the ‘name-giving’ that establishes connections between language and objects, but in the ways in which established language is extended. The philosopher Charles Taylor writes in The Language Animal (2016) about ‘the figuring dimension’ of language: the way we use language from one domain to articulate another.

Physical language of surface and depth, for example, permeates our emotional and intellectual language – ‘deep thoughts’, ‘shallow people’.

Words of physical motion and action permeate more complex and abstract operations. We ‘grasp’ ideas, ‘get out of’ social obligations, ‘bury’ emotions.

Source: Why meaning is more sunken into words than we realise | Aeon Essays

How the Many-Worlds theory of Hugh Everett split the Universe | Aeon Essays


One of the most radical and important ideas in the history of physics came from an unknown graduate student who wrote only one paper, got into arguments with physicists across the Atlantic as well as his own advisor, and left academia after graduating without even applying for a job as a professor. Hugh Everett’s story is one of many fascinating tales that add up to the astonishing history of quantum mechanics, the most fundamental physical theory we know of.

Everett’s work happened at Princeton in the 1950s, under the mentorship of John Archibald Wheeler, who in turn had been mentored by Niels Bohr, the godfather of quantum mechanics.

The seeds of his visionary idea, now known as the Many-Worlds formulation of quantum mechanics, can be traced to a late-night discussion in 1954 with fellow young physicists Charles Misner (also a student of Wheeler’s) and Aage Peterson (an assistant of Bohr’s, visiting from Copenhagen).

Source: How the Many-Worlds theory of Hugh Everett split the Universe | Aeon Essays

AI Is Coming for Your Favorite Menial Tasks | Nextgov


What’s less understood is that artificial intelligence will transform higher-skill positions, too—in ways that demand more human judgment rather than less. And that could be a problem. As AI gets better at performing the routine tasks traditionally done by humans, only the hardest ones will be left for us to do.

But wrestling with only difficult decisions all day long is stressful and unpleasant. Being able to make at least some easy calls, such as allowing Santorini onto Kickstarter, can be deeply satisfying.

“Decision making is very cognitively draining,” the author and former clinical psychologist Alice Boyes told me via email, “so it’s nice to have some tasks that provide a sense of accomplishment but just require getting it done and repeating what you know, rather than everything needing very taxing novel decision making.”

Source: AI Is Coming for Your Favorite Menial Tasks – Nextgov

Our illusory sense of agency has a deeply important social purpose | Aeon Ideas

We clearly see five convex knobs and three concave hollows, despite the fact we’re looking at a flat screen. Our brain creates the illusion because we expect light to come from above, and so we can infer the 3D shapes from the shading.

If the shadow is at the top, we see a hollow. If it is at the bottom, we see a knob.

Source: Our illusory sense of agency has a deeply important social purpose | Aeon Ideas

A Living Room on Wheels? A Look at the Future of Auto Interiors | Design News


Autonomous cars of the future seem poised to be the next, best entertainment option after your living room. Tesla, GM, Google, and other major companies are pouring billions of dollars in research and development for self-driving cars. These mega-corporations are vying to be the first to bring a fully autonomous vehicle to the public. AI-powered cars will bring a whole new level of safety and convenience.

Autonomous vehicles can schedule preventive maintenance and perform OTA software updates. All a passenger needs to do is tell the car where to go, sit back, and enjoy the scenery. Cars of the future will be so smart you can do a VIN search on another car even without going near it. Future vehicles talk to each other and can share information.

Source: A Living Room on Wheels? A Look at the Future of Auto Interiors | Design News

How do we save the planet? Solve these two problems first


Producing food already uses nearly half of the world’s vegetated land, and agriculture and related changes in land use are responsible for around a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the Amazon, farms in the supply chain of major food companies are one reason the rainforest is disappearing.

The food system uses more water than any other industry, and much of that water is wasted. As the global population grows, adding another 2 billion people by midcentury, the pressure on the planet will only increase.

In a recent massive report produced with the World Bank and UN, the nonprofit outlined 22 things that need to change to be able to feed the world sustainably.

Source: How do we save the planet? Solve these two problems first

When time became regular and universal, it changed history | Aeon Essays


In the chaos that followed the death of Alexander the Great in Babylon in 323 BCE, all this changed. One of Alexander’s Macedonian generals, who would go on to win an enormous kingdom stretching from Bulgaria to Afghanistan, introduced a new system for reckoning the passage of time. It is known, after him, as the Seleucid Era.

This was the world’s first continuous and irreversible tally of counted years.

It is the unheralded ancestor of every subsequent era system, including the Christian Anno Domini system, our own Common Era, the Jewish Era of Creation, the Islamic Hijrah, the French Revolutionary Era, and so on.

Source: When time became regular and universal, it changed history | Aeon Essays