Machine learning going from merely unnerving to scary.

It seems like you can't go a day with any exposure to media without hearing about machine learning, or developing software which isn't designed to do anything in particular but is capable of teaching itself to carry out tasks tasks and make educated predictions based upon its training and data already available to it. If you've ever had to deal with a speech recognition system, bought something off of Amazon that you didn't know existed (but seemed really interesting at the time), or used a search engine you've interacted with a machine learning system of some kind. That said, here's …

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Notice: Katie Yeager has gone missing.

I'm boosting the signal for Eria Owens Yeager - this is important:

Quoting from her blog:

IMPORTANT.

Katie has run away; she left from school yesterday (Thursday). We believe that she has gone to Williamsburg VA or Richmond VA, to be with a young man named Donovan Bullock. (An earlier attempt to run to him was thwarted on Tuesday of this week.) Police in Silver Spring MD and in Williamsburg have been notified, and there is a national missing persons report for her.

If you can help, please contact the authorities. Katie sometimes goes by the name "Howell." She is around …

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Lower Merion quietly places two of their IT staff on leave.

I've been following the surreptitious webcam surveillance saga of Lower Merion School District since the story first broke in February, and some interesting news has come out of the Philadelphia area. It seems that two people on the school's IT staff have quietly been placed on paid leave as a result of the investigation. The school district is still clinging to their story that the webcams were remotely operated to aid in recovering stolen laptops, nevermind the fact that the camera can't actually see anything if the lid is closed. Plus, it's remotely possible at best to identify the location …

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Biodegradable surgical implants and surreptitious DNA archival.

After badly breaking a load-bearing part of your body it's not uncommon for an orthopedic surgeon to install a couple of after-market bits of hardware to hold the bones together while they knit. This usually takes the form of a couple of titanium alloy screws, though plates, rods, and tubes are not unknown. The downside of using something made out of metal to put things back together is that the screw holes left behind after the implants are removed require additional time to heal. Plus, the holes further compromise the structural integrity of the bone until they fill in. In …

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TSA at PHL raising eyebrows; travelers consider taking Amtrak.

I've only been to Philadelphia a couple of times, all of them by driving to and from there. After reading about some of the stuff going on there not only do I not particularly want to visit that city, but I'm not entirely certain that I really want to fly again.

This particular news story leaped out at me for its sheer WTF factor even though the incident seems to have taken place in March of 2009. Bob Thomas, a 53 year old Camden police officer, his wife Leona, and their four year old son Ryan were flying down to …

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Newborns tested for genetic diseases. Parents surprised.

In the United States, genetic testing of newborns for inherited diseases began quietly sometime in the 1960's; the technology of the time, understandably, was in its infancy so it didn't detect a whole lot. Jump forward a half-decade, and you will find that the practice is still going on, plus it's mandatory in every state, and you might not be aware it's been done. Anna Brown gave birth to a bouncing baby girl a while ago (the article doesn't say when), and was understandably shocked when her pediatrician sat her down to tell her that her daughter Isabel carried a …

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Anti-vaccination, part II.

Remember my rant about people who don't get their kids vaccinated because they're afraid for the health and safety of their children? Guess what? The health and safety of kids who attend the East bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante, California are at risk due to an outbreak of whooping cough. Students and a teacher were diagnosed with the disease, which lead to the school being closed until rounds of antibiotics can be administered to everyone who came down with the disease. School officials went on the record as saying that an unusually high number of students weren't vaccinated for …

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Triumph of the anti-vaccination movement: Measles outbreak.

In the past decade or so, a worrisome movement has cropped up that seems hell-bent on using bad science to try to protect their children: People who refuse to have their children vaccinated for various childhood diseases out of fear that their children will wind up brain damaged, or worse. It seems that they've triumphed: seven US states have reported an outbreak of measles to the Centers for Disease Control. Figures released by the CDC state that 64 cases of full-blown measles have been reported to doctors, with more expected to appear as the year continues. Slightly over one fifth …

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It's plain to see where this man's priorities lie.

George W. Bush has vetoed only four bills during his terms in office, which is unheard of for any President of the United States. The first three involved two bills that would have expanded stem cell research and withdrawing troops from Iraq. Unfortunately, the latest bill that he's shot down was SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which would have renewed and expanded mandates that would made it possible for families that aren't poor enough to get Medicaid but can't afford health insurance to get coverage for their children. The bill would have added an additional $35bus of funding …

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