Internet game about hummingbirds


This video is called Full Documentary – Incredible Nature: Hummingbirds – Magic in the Air.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

New Citizen Science Blog Takes Flight

The citizen science program at the Cornell Lab invites you to be the first to preview a new kind of blog. Our new Citizen Science Blog is a blog inspired by the contributions and passions of citizen scientists—like you!

In its inaugural month, Citizen Science Blog will start with a look at everyone’s favorite winged jewels, hummingbirds! Can you match the speed of a hummingbird’s wings with your fingers? Find out in the interactive game, Beat the Beats. Plus, see how much liquid you’d have to consume to eat like a hummingbird. Check in often as new posts are added weekly.

Is blogging ‘terrorism’ in Cameron’s Britain?


This video says about itself:

UK Terrorism Law: Detention of David Miranda

25 August 2013

This video by Chaninat & Leeds law firm discusses the detainment of David Miranda at Heathrow airport under the UK Terrorism Act. It is inferred the reason for his detainment was due to his partner, Glenn Greenwald‘s reporting of the Edward Snowden situation.

The speaker is Anna Power, an experienced UK solicitor, and a journalist for Chaninat & Leeds, a Thailand law firm specializing in litigation in Thailand.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

UK definition of terrorism ‘could catch political journalists and bloggers

Terror law watchdog says police and prosecutors have exceptional powers that must be confined to ‘their proper purpose’

Alan Travis, home affairs editor

Tuesday 22 July 2014 08.39 BST

The current British definition of terrorism is so broadly drawn that it could even catch political journalists and bloggers who publish material that the authorities consider dangerous to public safety, said the official counter-terrorism watchdog.

David Anderson QC, the official reviewer of counter-terrorism laws, said Britain had some of the most extensive anti-terrorism laws in the western world, which gave police and prosecutors the powers they needed to tackle al-Qaida-inspired terrorists, rightwing extremists and dissident Northern Irish groups.

“But if these exceptional powers are to command public consent, it is important they need to be confined to their proper purpose, and recent years have seen a degree of ‘creep’ in parliament that could be reversed without diminishing their impact”

In his annual report to be published on Tuesday, Anderson is expected to give three examples of how the terror laws were too widely drawn.

They included “actions aimed at influencing governments”, hate crime and what he called the “penumbra of terrorism”.

On the first, Anderson said Britain’s laws treated politically motivated publication of material thought to endanger life or to create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public as a terrorist act if it was done for the purpose of influencing the government.

He said in other European and Commonwealth countries the bar was set much higher and there must also be an “intention to coerce or intimidate”.

The watchdog said: “This means political journalists and bloggers are subject to the full range of anti-terrorism powers if they threaten to publish, prepare to publish something that the authorities think may be dangerous to life, public health or public safety.”

He warned that they could be branded as terrorists even if they had no intention to spread fear or intimidate, and those who employed or supported them would also qualify as terrorists.

The definition was so broad it would even catch a campaigner who voiced religious objections to a vaccination campaign on the grounds that they were a danger to public health.

The laws were so widely drawn that they now included preparatory and ancillary offences including “terrorism-related activity”, which were only used when a crime had been committed and so were unnecessary.

These definitions were so “overbroad” that they could catch a family member “who supports someone who encourages someone else to prepare an act of terrorism and could easily be limited by the home secretary”, the watchdog said.

Anderson said Britain quite rightly had very tough counter-terror laws that the public accepted so long as they were used only when necessary.

“But they can currently be applied to journalists and bloggers, to criminals who have no concern other than their immediate victim, and to those who are connected with terrorism only at several removes,” he said.

“This is not a criticism of ministers, prosecutors or police – who as a rule exercise either their remarkably broad discretions with care and restraint. But it is time parliament reviewed the definition of terrorism to avoid the potential for abuse and to cement public support for special powers that are unfortunately likely to be needed for the foreseeable future.”

Blacklist: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist: here.

Edward Snowden on anti-spying techologies


This 2013 video from the USA is called NSA whistleblower William Binney at Hackers On Planet Earth 9 Part1.

And this video is the sequel.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Edward Snowden: easy-to-use technologies can subvert surveillance

Former US spy agency contractor encourages hacking conference to back new technologies to thwart spying

Reuters in New York

Sunday 20 July 2014 01.23 BST

Edward Snowden, a former US spy agency contractor who leaked details of major US surveillance programs, called on supporters at a hacking conference to spur development of easy-to-use technologies to subvert government surveillance programs around the globe.

Snowden, who addressed conference attendees on Saturday via video link from Moscow, said he intends to devote much of his time to promoting such technologies, including ones that allow people to communicate anonymously and encrypt their messages.

“You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programs and protocols by which we rely every day,” he told the New York City conference, known as Hackers On Planet Earth (Hope).

“That is what a lot of my future work is going to be involved in,” he told hundreds of hackers who crowded into an auditorium and overflow rooms to hear him speak from Moscow, where he fled to last year.

He escaped the United States after leaking documents that detailed massive US surveillance programs at home and abroad – revelations that outraged some Americans and sparked protests from countries around the globe.

At the Hope hacking conference, several talks detailed approaches for thwarting government surveillance, including a system known as SecureDrop that is designed to allow people to anonymously leak documents to journalists.

Attorneys with the Electronic Frontier Foundation answered questions about pending litigation with the NSA, including efforts to stop collection of phone records that were disclosed through Snowden‘s leaks.

Snowden is seen as a hero by a large segment of the community of hackers attending the Hope conference, which includes computer experts, anti-surveillance activists, artists and other types of hackers.

The conference featured about 100 presentations on topics ranging from surveillance to hacking elevators and home routers.

See also here.

Edward Snowden has released new NSA documents revealing that British intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has skilled itself to intercept Skype messages and voice application: here.

Apple has been accused of intentionally installing security backdoors in some 600 million iOS devices that offer surveillance-level access to data including photos, browsing history and GPS locations: here.

In the latest revelation of unconstitutional spying on US citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA), former State Department employee John Napier Tye published his account of ongoing violations of privacy under cover of a legal fig leaf known as Executive Order 12333: here.

Soon, app for recognizing wild birds’ songs?


This video is called Some Brazilian birds and sounds.

From Queen Mary University in London, England:

Birdsongs automatically decoded by computer scientists

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found a successful way of identifying bird sounds from large audio collections, which could be useful for expert and amateur bird-watchers alike.

Thursday 17 July 2014

 

The analysis used recordings of individual birds and of dawn choruses to identify characteristics of bird sounds. It took advantage of large datasets of sound recordings provided by the British Library Sound Archive, and online sources such as the Dutch archive called Xeno Canto.

Publishing in the journal PeerJ, the authors describe an approach that combines feature-learning – an automatic analysis technique – and a classification algorithm, to create a system that can distinguish between which birds are present in a large dataset.

“Automatic classification of bird sounds is useful when trying to understand how many and what type of birds you might have in one location,” commented lead author Dr Dan Stowell from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and Centre for Digital Music.

Dr Stowell was recently awarded a prestigious five-year fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop computerised processes to detect multiple bird sounds in large sets of audio recordings.

Birdsong has a lot in common with human language, even though it evolved separately. For example, many songbirds go through similar stages of vocal learning as we do, as they grow up, which makes them interesting to study. From them we can understand more about how human language evolved and social organisation in animal groups,” said Dr Stowell.

He added: “The attraction of fully automatic analysis is that we can create a really large evidence base to address these big questions.”

The classification system created by the authors performed well in a public contest using a set of thousands of recordings with over 500 bird species from Brazil. The system was regarded as the best-performing audio only classifier, and placed second overall out of entries from 10 research groups in the competition.

The researchers hope to drill down into more detail for their next project.

Dr Stowell says: “I’m working on techniques that can transcribe all the bird sounds in an audio scene: not just who is talking, but when, in response to whom, and what relationships are reflected in the sound, for example who is dominating the conversation.”

Want to know more? Read the paper.

NSA spying on people’s sex lives


This video says about itself:

Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow, “A Conversation Across Cyberspace”

11 June 2014

“A Conversation Accross Cyberspace”

Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow in conversation at Personal Democracy Forum 2014.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Nude photos of strangers are a ‘fringe benefit’ for NSA employees, says Snowden

The former NSA contractor said that images of people in “sexually compromising situations” were regularly passed around by young employees

James Vincent

Friday 18 July 2014

Nude photos intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) are regularly passed around by young employees as a “fringe benefit”, Edward Snowden has revealed.

The whistle-blower and former NSA employee was speaking from Moscow in an interview with The Guardian in which he also dismissed claims that he was a Russian agent and called for professionals such as doctors, lawyers and journalists to take more care to safeguard their clients’ information.

Snowden made the allegations when responding to a question about which specific examples of American surveillance had troubled him.

“You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” said Snowden. “They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. Now, in the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense, for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation – But they’re extremely attractive.

“So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and show their co-worker and their co-worker says: ‘Oh hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by other people. It’s never reported. Nobody knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.

“The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communications stream from the intended recipient and given to the government without any specific authorization without any specific need is itself a violation of your rights. Why is that in a government database?”

Snowden added that he had personally witnessed numerous instances of this happening and that it was “routine enough, depending on the company that you keep.”

“These are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”

Snowden’s claims chime with official reports from NSA administration in which employees have abused their access to surveillance streams for personal gratification. A letter published in late 2013 by the NSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) detailed 12 comparable instances, including one in which an NSA employee used his first day at work to read the private communications of a former girlfriend.

Analysts working for the NSA refer to this behaviour as LOVEINT – a play on existing surveillance parlance such as HUMINT (‘human intelligence’) and SIGINT (‘signals intelligence’).

In the 17-minute interview, Snowden also denied passing any information to the Russians, noting that if he’d done so it would have been picked up on immediately by American intelligence services. “They would see sources go dark that were previously productive, they would see new sources of disinformation appearing within these channels – and that hasn’t happened.”

He also said he would be happy to return to America if he could be granted a fair trial in which he was able to “present a public interest defence to a jury of my peers”. He also recognised that this was unlikely to happen, adding: “If I end up in chains in Guantanamo I can live with that.”

Former NSA Chief: Why I’m Worth $1 Million a Month to Wall Street. Critics say Keith Alexander’s rapid move to the private sector is cause for concern: here.

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans: here.

GCHQ‘s spy toolkit: Leaked documents reveal how UK manipulates information online: here.

Data law: Government slammed by human rights groups for refusing to confirm or deny existence of British ‘Tempora’ surveillance programme: here.

Snowy owl nest in Alaska on the Internet


This video says about itself:

Arctic Snowy Owl Prey Delivery by Male

9 July 2014

A pile of four owlets await their mother’s arrival on the tundra outside Barrow, Alaska. Soon after she alights, the male owl flies in to deliver a lemming, exchanges it with the female, and departs while she begins to provision the owlets.

Learn about the Owl Research Institute’s work with Snowy Owls here.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Watch Snowy Owlets in Alaska

In the tundra around Barrow, Alaska, Snowy Owls nest in the 24-hour sunlight. Now you can watch one of these nests, featuring seven growing owlets, live on our Bird Cams. The camera is located a respectful distance from the nest, so be aware that the owlets are not always visible (they tend to hunker behind a low rise). But their parents visit regularly with meals of lemming and duck—as you can see in this video highlight. What are the owlets up to now? Check in on the Snowy Owl cam.

Got Snowy Questions? We’re holding live-chat Q&A sessions every day through Friday this week, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Charles Darwin’s complete Galapagos library posted online


This video says about itself:

11 November 2011

A classic example of evolution on Daphne Major Island in the Galapagos. Natural selection works on beak size variation of Darwin’s Finches.

From ars technica:

Darwin’s complete Galapagos library posted online

404 volumes kept on board the Beagle join the giant Darwin Online repository.

by Sam Machkovech – July 16 2014, 10:40pm +0200

Charles Darwin‘s massive ship library, including astounding drawings of species from far-off lands, meant he rarely had to come above-board while sailing on the Beagle in the 1830s.

Charles Darwin’s five-year journey to and from the Galapagos Islands ended in 1836. While that was over two decades before the publication of On the Origin of Species, he credited his time on board the Beagle as a formative experience for his theory of evolution. That extended trip wasn’t only spent studying local wildlife, especially during lengthy voyages at sea to and from home—Darwin also devoured a library of more than 400 volumes of text.

While many of those books were referenced in his later research, they were not preserved as a collection once the Beagle returned to England, leaving a gap in our understanding about the books and studies that kept Darwin’s mind occupied during such an historic era. Now, thanks to the painstaking efforts of a two-year Beagle project funded by the government of Singapore, that complete on-ship library has been transcribed and posted at Darwin Online, the world’s largest repository of Darwin-related texts and writings.

The library, which was stored in the same cabin as Darwin’s bed and desk during his journey, totaled out at 195,000 pages by the time researchers at the National University of Singapore assembled the full collection (and these weren’t exactly picture books, with only 5,000 corresponding illustrations). The complete list is quite astounding, made up of atlases, history books, geology studies, and even a giant supply of literature. Darwin also enjoyed a few books in French, Spanish, and German, along with a book in Latin about species and a Greek edition of the New Testament.

Historians and fans can read and perform text searches of the fully transcribed library. But if you’re pressed for time, we strongly encourage you to at least skim through the collection of gorgeous illustrations.