Today in Tech
  • A picture is worth 1,000 words. Or, you know, at least a couple dozen

    With image-tweaking services like Instagram turning our everyday photos into vintage snapshots, it seems like photography itself is taking a step back in time. A new camera prototype turns that idea completely on its head by producing a text description of each photo you shoot, rather than capturing an actual image. It's called the Descriptive Camera, and it just might be the next big thing in photography.

    The concept is simple: The user takes photo with a web-enabled camera, which is instantly sent to a real, live human being who then writes a short text description of what they see. The information is then returned and printed on a small slip of paper.

    The prototype uses Amazon Mechanical Turk — a system whereby users can sign up to process various types of data for a small fee. For a little over a dollar, each photo is returned in just a matter of minutes. A reputation metric is in place to ensure that the person processing the photo does a quality job.

    The implications of the

    Read More »from New camera prototype produces a description of the photo, rather than an image
  • Hasbro requested the blogger's address to send free samples, but sent lawyers instead

    Australian website Urban Taggers considers itself to be pretty influential toy gun blog, and in many ways it is. So influential, in fact, that the site was contacted by a representative from toy-maker Hasbro, requesting an address to send some free samples of a hard-to-find Nerf gun accessory. It seems that Hasbro was quick to use the address it was given, but it didn't use it the information to send any freebies — it had their lawyers send a legal notice instead.

    It seems that in a blog posting dated February 5, 2012, Urban Taggers had used a publicity photo that Hasbro did not make available to the public. The legal notice requested the blog cease using it, and further explain where the image came from. The blogger replied to the letters explaining they got the images from Google image search, but the legal firm continued to press the website for more information about the pictures and models used in other posts about guns that weren't released yet.

    Those tactics are perhaps

    Read More »from Did Hasbro send real-life goons to harass a toy gun blogger?
  • When the ground shakes, this new system will help emergency responders reach the epicenter faster

    Satellites in orbit will soon help scientists and first responders on the ground more accurately pinpoint the location and severity of earthquakes in the Western United States. NASA's Real-Time Earthquake Analysis for Disaster (READI) system, set to begin real-world testing this year, uses GPS to measure movement along fault lines in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    More than 500 locations spanning the three states are networked to capture and share GPS data in the event of a quake. NASA says that the data will help quickly gauge the magnitude and location of tremors, aiding police, fire departments, paramedics, and other emergency services to reach affected areas in less time, and target the most severely shaken spots first. Traditional seismic sensors tend to lose accuracy as the magnitude of quakes increases.

    The system will also be able to more accurately predict the severity of tsunamis and the areas they're likely to hit. NASA first tested the effectiveness of GPS tracking

    Read More »from NASA’s new earthquake monitoring network uses GPS for improved accuracy

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  • Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia
    Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Boxing great Muhammad Ali was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia that was caught early and should result in a short hospital stay, an Ali spokesman said Saturday night.

  • Hostile reception for Rangers chief at AGM
    Hostile reception for Rangers chief at AGM

    Glasgow (AFP) - Rangers chairman David Somers on Monday lashed out at an "anti-Rangers" feeling he claims is prevalent in Scottish football as the troubled Glasgow side held a ill-tempered annual general meeting at Ibrox.

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