One of the primary obstacles to human colonization of Mars is the funding -- creating a habitable environment and sending humans across the gulf of space is a costly process, well beyond the exploration budgets of most nations. But Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft and Big Brother co-creator Paul Romer have a brilliant solution that will put colonists on Mars by 2023.
The key: Fund the whole shebang by turning the mission into reality TV.
West Virginia has launched a smartphone app that’s one part clever crowdsourcing and community engagement and one part sinister report-on-your-neighbor Big Brotherism. The Suspicious Activity Reporting Application is exactly what it sounds like. See something that looks like a violation of the law, no matter how insignificant? Snap a pic, tag it with GPS, and anonymously report it to the state.
Last time we looked at the UK’s teeming video surveillance technology sector we were writing about facial recognition software that Scotland Yard was trialling during the recent London riots. But facial recognition is both fraught with privacy concerns and difficult to make reliable.
When the multinational corporation began tempting us to purchase a network-connected camera to place in our living rooms, the Orwellian parts of us should have predicted this: Microsoft is hinting that it would like to use the Kinect to better target its content to users. That means gathering data from the camera – everything from basic demographics to what shirt you’re wearing – and use it to tailor its media offerings.
For a few years, certain theaters have had cameras watching for the infrared signature of bootleggers' cameras. But why waste all the untapped market research potential of these cameras? Aralia Systems, a British security firm, has just received a $350,000 grant to use the system to gather data from audiences.
Big Brother was watching before, but soon he'll bewatching with a whole new set of high-tech eyes. The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is creating a wide-eyed new camera system that captures video in 360 degrees, stitching together video in real time to provide a sweeping view of a secured area, which technicians can zoom into while still keeping one eye on the big picture.
Lazy college students are Arizona's latest target of identity-tracking. Students at Northern Arizona University are protesting a plan to monitor their attendance using radio-frequency ID chips embedded in their student IDs.
Chalk up another technological victory for Big Brother. Japanese phone maker KDDI has developed a mobile phone that analyzes users' movements, beaming that information back to the corporate office/Party headquarters/the Ministry of Love for review. Specialized software can identify several distinct movements, including walking, stair-climbing, and even cleaning. On-the-job slackers, the jig is up.
Bringing the "wanted poster in the post office" concept into the 21st century, the FBI has begun using facial recognition software to identify fugitives on North Carolina highways. The software measures the biometric features of thousands of motorists' DMV photos, matching them against mugshots. When the face matches that of a known criminal, the authorities jump into action.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.