The sensorization of consumer tech

The big thing out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas?  Biometrics.  Eye-tracking devices to see what ads you pay attention to.  Mood-sensing ear buds.  Pupil dilation sensors to see how much you are “aroused.”  And, what I’m trying to get my mind around, bras that analyze brain waves.

After the jump, read all about it.  But then I have some serious questions I want to raise. [Read more…]

Outlawing light bulbs

The manufacture of traditional incandescent light bulbs will be illegal, as of January 1.   Compact flourescent bulbs (those with the corkscrew shape) and Light Emitting Diodes, which look something like the old bulbs invented by Thomas Edison, will have to replace them.  You can still buy the old bulbs and stores can still sell them until they run out of stock, but it will be against the law to manufacture or import them.  The new bulbs use less energy and last longer, but they are more expensive.

If the new lighting technology saves so much money in the long run, shouldn’t the free market take care of this?  As opposed to a legal prohibition?  Or is this a case in which the free market doesn’t meet a social good, in this case, saving energy? [Read more…]

Scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of the year?

Along the lines of the amplituhedron, above, what would you say was the top scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of 2013?

How the FBI uses hackers and malware

The FBI has some new crime-fighting technology in its collective utility belt.  FBI-employed hackers can now infect suspects’ computers with malware that will allow investigators to download whatever they might find.

This process, which still requires a court order, takes wiretapping to a new level. [Read more…]

NSA is monitoring online games

Apparently terrorists, military operatives, and spies in real life also like to pretend that they are terrorists, military operatives, and spies.  So the National Security Administration (NSA) and the British equivalent (GCHQ) have been monitoring online games and spying on gamers. [Read more…]

What the NSA can do with cell phone data

He knows when you’ve been sleeping.  He knows when you’re away.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good.  So be  good for goodness sake.  Apparently, Santa Clause works for the NSA.  He also knows who you associate with.  And where you are.

This story from the Washington Post (after the jump) tells how the National Security Administration uses massive data from cell phones to not only track suspected terrorists but to identify other suspected terrorists based on the numbers they frequently call.  They can also use cell phone data to determine where these people are at any given time!  (Combine that with drone technology. . . .)

The information about what the NSA is capable of doing with cell phone data is fascinating.  You can see how it is a potent anti-terrorism tool.  But imagine how a government could use this technology to trace, say, a dissident political network. [Read more…]


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