Thursday, December 5, 2019

A woman pretended to be sick to get a better seat on a flight, but instead the plane had to turn around

A  recent American Eagle flight bound for Miami, Florida, was forced to  return to Pensacola, Florida, after a passenger faked a medical  emergency to get a better seat. When a woman claimed to have trouble  breathing, the pilot declared an emergency and returned to the origin  airport. American Eagle flight 3508 landed back in Pensacola around 6:30  a.m. on November 29 and was grounded for over an hour due to the  incident.  “Once they got on the ground, she made it clear that she was faking the medical condition to get a bigger seat,”  Mike Wood, Pensacola Police Department public information officer. On  the ground, the passenger refused to get off the plane, which forced an  evacuation of the entire cabin. The passenger was held by police under  the Baker Act, which allows officials to detain those suffering from  mental illness who may pose a danger to themselves or others. She was  then transported to a mental health facility. (NBC Miami)

China is rolling out facial recognition for all new mobile phone numbers

Earlier  this week, a regulation went into effect requiring citizens to scan  their faces when registering for a new cell phone number. The Chinese  government says this is about tackling fraud, but it also marks yet  another form of facial recognition tech in China. And is raising  concerns over how the government might use this data to track its  citizens. The country already enforces “real-name registration” policies  which require people to link online accounts with their official  government ID. But the latest move, which was formally adopted Sunday,  further removes any sense of anonymity in using the Chinese internet.  More than 850 million people across China (about 65% of the population)  use their mobile devices to access the internet, according to the  government, far more than those who use desktop services. The new rules  only apply to mobile phone numbers registered from December 1, and not  to those already registered. Facial recognition, meanwhile, is  everywhere in China, from airports and office buildings to trash sorting  facilities. Last week, Beijing’s subway system even began trialing new  facial recognition gates at security checkpoints. (CNN Business)

Women increasingly spending money on tech, not clothes

In  the latest depressing trend for department stores, early holiday  surveys show that women are increasingly spending their money on gadgets  in lieu of clothes. Women now account for 50 percent of all shoppers at  tech-centered retail outlets BestBuy and Apple — up from 35 percent in  2014, according to consulting and research firm Customer Growth  Partners, which gathers its data by dispatching teams of checkers to  major shopping venues. As women’s tech purchases soar, sales of apparel  (particularly clothing sold at department stores) are shaping up to be  flat to negative this holiday season, CGP data shows. The increase comes  as tech giants seek to lure women with products designed for them, like  smart speakers and smart watches that track their health and fitness,  including their menstrual cycles. (New York Post)

Wisconsin high school resource officer shoots armed student in classroom

A  resource officer at a high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin reportedly  shot an armed 17-year-old student who refused orders to drop his gun and  pointed it at responding cops this past Monday (12/2). The chaotic  scene unfolded at about 10 a.m. when cops were called to Waukesha South  High School for a report that a student took a gun to school. Cops  located the suspect in a classroom and tried to “deescalate the situation,”  Waukesha Police Chief said at a later press conference. But the student  disobeyed their orders, he said. The suspect removed his handgun from  his waistband and pointed it at the officers. An officer was forced to  discharge his firearm, striking the suspect. The unidentified suspect  sustained “relatively minor wounds,” according to a fire  commander at the scene. The school was placed on lockdown before the  standoff between cops and the student. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

T-Mobile fires up 5G wars

The  race to 5G is heating up, with T-Mobile activating the first nationwide  5G network. Subscribers can start using the service tomorrow when the  carrier launches its first two 5G-compatible phones. While T-Mobile  low-band network isn’t expected to be as fast as competitors, the  carrier said its service covers 200,000 more people than Verizon and  AT&T. The nationwide network will reach 60% of the population across  one million square miles, largely in rural America. (Tech Crunch)

Australia’s New South Wales rolls out mobile phone detection cameras

The  Australian state of New South Wales, home to the country’s largest city  Sydney, rolled out mobile phone detection cameras this week in hopes to  cut the number of fatalities on its roads by a third over two years,  transport authorities said. The mobile phone detection program, one of  the first in the world, involves cameras operating day and night in all  weather conditions to determine if a driver is handling a mobile phone.  Making or receiving voice calls while driving in NSW is legal, but only  when using a hands-free device. All other functions, such as video  calling, using social media and photography, are illegal while behind  the wheel. So far this year 329 people have died on NSW roads, compared  with 354 people for all of 2018, according to official statistics. The  state wants to cut the number of road fatalities by 30% by 2021. The  mobile phone detection cameras use artificial intelligence to review  images and detect illegal use of the devices, Transport for NSW said in a  statement. Images that the automated system identifies as likely to  contain a driver illegally using a mobile phone are verified by  authorized personnel. For the first three  months after the detection systems are in operation, offending drivers  will be issued warning letters. After that, the penalty will be a $233  standard fine and a $457 fine in a school zone. In both cases, drivers  will also receive penalty points. The Netherlands launched a similar  system in October, fining drivers $265 for illegal use of mobile phones.  (Reuters)

Dubai Police Is Adding Tesla’s Cybertruck To Its Already Impressive Fleet

The  Dubai police force is known for having a flashy fleet of chase cars,  and now the force has announced on Twitter that the newly unveiled Tesla  Cybertruck will be its latest addition. Its tweet showed what such a  cop car might look like. Dubai Police Major General said that the  all-electric pickup will be used as a patrol car in locations popular  with tourists. Among the features that may have caught the force’s eye:  The Cybertruck is claimed to have “bulletproof” windows, and  all Cybertrucks come equipped with an adjustable air suspension that can  be raised or lowered on the go, providing up to 16 inches of ground  clearance. The Dubai Police’s budget must be hefty considering they will  be opting for that top model, the tri-motor version, which Tesla claims  will essentially teleport from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and offer  as much as 500 miles of range. Although Dubai Police tweeted that the  force will be getting the Cybertruck in 2020, Tesla hasn’t promised a  start to the truck’s production until late 2021. Tesla has been  accepting $100 deposits to reserve a Cybertruck. Pricing for the  single-motor truck starts at $39,900, the dual-motor costs $49,900, and  the range-topping tri-motor starts at $69,900. The Cybertruck isn’t the  only fast car the Dubai cops added, the force announced that it will  also acquire a Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S, which will join an Aston Martin  One-77, Bentley Continental GT, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari FF, Lamborghini  Aventador, among others already in the fleet. (Popular Mechanics)

California Utility Creates New Tech to Stop Wildfires

California  utilities are experimenting with a new technology that proponents say  could help prevent both electricity shutoffs and equipment  failure-related wildfires. The technology comes as the Pacific Gas &  Electric faces intense criticism over its Public Safety Power Shutoff  program, which has led to hundreds of thousands of Californians being  left without power, often for days at a time, in an effort to prevent  failing equipment from starting wildfires. Distribution Fault  Anticipation, as the technology is called, uses a predictive algorithm  to assess electric systems and identify potential equipment failures,  not unlike how a modern vehicle’s onboard computer works by “telling you everything there is to know of what’s wrong with the car,”  said a professor for Texas A&M University, who helped develop the  technology as part of the Power System Automation Laboratory. Though  it’s been in development for the better part of the last two decades, Distribution Fault Anticipation is brand new technology. Prior to going  on the market, the tech underwent 20 years of testing by 15 Texas utilities. The original purpose of the technology was to prevent  costly power outages. PG&E began testing the technology earlier this  year, as part of a larger project. Southern California Edison also is  testing the technology. ( US News )

IPAWS Emergency Alert Test Sent Out by Accident in Florida

Many  Manatee County, Florida residents received a call or text earlier this  week that mentioned the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System  (a.k.a. IPAWS). The system is operated by the Federal Emergency  Management Agency and used by federal, state and local authorities to  communicate with the public in times of emergency. However, IPAWS alerts  appear on cell phones as a pop-up box accompanied by a loud alert tone,  not as a text message or phone call. Manatee County residents took to  social media to post about getting unexpected calls and texts about  IPAWS soon after receiving it. An automated message left on some  people’s voice machine said “The IPAWS System,” before hanging  up. The call originated from 850-413-9969, a Florida Division of  Emergency Management number based in Tallahassee. Another person posted a  screenshot of a text message on Facebook that read: “This is a test of the IPAWS system. Reply YES to confirm receipt.” Google searches for the term “IPAWS”  spiked in Bradenton and Manatee County, and some who received the call  were concerned it was a scam, according to the social media posts. The  messages received by residents were legitimate, though. They were sent  during a local test of a new statewide alert system, according to  Manatee County Emergency Management Division Chief. The new system ties  into IPAWS, but is for local and state use. However, it was determined  that while training was being conducted on new software, the messages  were inadvertently sent out. The training and testing provided valuable  information about the new system, including the accidental public alert.  The calls that were received originated from a Tallahassee-based  Florida Division of Emergency Management number due to a default mode in  the software. (GovTech)

U.S. students fare poorly against global peers

The  performance of American teenagers in reading and math has been stagnant  since 2000, according to the latest results of a rigorous international  exam, despite a decades-long effort to raise standards and help  students compete with peers across the globe. And the achievement gap in  reading between high and low performers is widening. Although the top  quarter of American students have improved their performance on the exam  since 2012, the bottom 10th percentile lost ground, according to an  analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal  agency. The disappointing results  from the exam, the Program for International Student Assessment, were  announced earlier this week and follow those from the National  Assessment of Educational Progress, an American test that recently  showed that two-thirds of children were not proficient readers. Over  all, American 15-year-olds who took the PISA test scored slightly above  students from peer nations in reading but below the middle of the pack  in math. There is no consensus on why the performance of struggling  students is declining. Education experts argue vociferously about a  range of potential causes, including school segregation, limited school  choice, funding inequities, family poverty, too much focus on test prep  and a dearth of instruction in basic skills like phonics. (The New York Times)

Thursday kicks in as:

  • AFL-CIO Day
  • Bathtub Party Day
  • Columbian International Day of The Reef
  • International Ninja Day
  • International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development
  • National Package Protection Day
  • Sachertorte Day
  • World Soil Day

Add a Comment