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Una de las obsesiones de Google es mejorar cada vez más Google Maps, uno de sus servicios estrella. Muestra de ello es que cada poco le implementan alguna nueva funcionalidad o mejora, que es justo lo que acaban de volver a hacer al dotar al producto de un nuevo algoritmo gracias al que los mapas serán cada vez más precisos y el cual curiosamente también ha resultado ser una herramienta casi perfecta para romper CAPTCHAs, esos códigos de letras y números distorsionados de mil maneras diferentes que incorporan muchos servicios de Internet y sirven para que los mismos puedan determinar cuándo el usuario es humano o no.
Adentrándonos en el asunto, todo comenzó porque Google necesitaba mejorar el proceso de “traducir” las direcciones a ubicaciones exactas en los mapas -algo bastante más complicado de conseguir de lo que parece-, así que comenzaron a trabajar en un sistema mejorado de localización de direcciones y desarrollaron un algoritmo capaz de detectar y leer los números de casas y establecimientos de las imágenes de Street View con una precisión del 90% y correlacionarlos con los números de las direcciones existentes.
Sin duda un avance importante, que cobró aún más relevancia cuando se dieron cuenta de que el algoritmo que habían desarrollado también era capaz de resolver CAPTCHAs con una tasa de acierto superior incluso a la de los humanos. En concreto descubrieron que el algoritmo descifra sin problemas el 99% de los reCAPTCHA de texto, un sistema de CAPTCHAs evolucionado del que paradójicamente el propio Google es dueño desde el 2009.
O dicho de otra forma, sin pretenderlo Google ha desarrollado “el arma anti CAPTCHAs” prácticamente perfecta porque el algoritmo resuelve con eficacia la mayoría de reCAPTCHAS, que de por sí son más difíciles que los clásicos, incluidos aquellos especialmente enrevesados (en la imagen que abre este artículo se muestran algunos de los CAPTCHAs que el algoritmo resolvió correctamente).
¿Quiere decir esto que Google ha matado a su propio sistema de CAPTCHAs sin querer? Pues no, por dos razones: una, porque el algoritmo no es público, ni lo será, y aunque lo fuera en manos de cualquier otro no funcionaría igual de bien que en las de ellos ya que para hacerlo entre otras cosas necesita de la ingente cantidad de datos que Google tiene en sus bases; y dos, porque no son tontos y desde el año pasado a parte de imágenes de letras y números distorsionados los reCAPTCHAS usan otras cosas para dilucidar si al otro lado de la pantalla hay un humano o no (por ejemplo la forma en la que navegamos por las páginas).
Lo que sí vuelve a deja claro el asunto que nos ocupa es que los sistemas de CAPTCHAs lo tienen cada vez más difícil (en el pasado otros ya han desarrollado algoritmos de resolución de CAPTCHAs muy eficientes). Ahora bien, que nadie los mate todavía, porque el caso también demuestra que a medida que aparecen tecnologías que los ponen contra las recuerdas, estos evolucionan incorporando nuevos elementos sólo identificables por humanos para zafarse. O sea, que aunque todo el mundo los odia por poco usables, y a no ser que aparezca algún avance más seguro y eficaz, tenemos CAPTCHAs para rato, porque siguen siendo funcionales y lo serán en el futuro.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Casi todo el mundo, en algún momento de la vida, pasa por momentos difíciles en los que una enfermedad terminal puede afectar tanto a la propia persona, como a un familiar, un amigo, etc. Muchos especialistas recomiendan, en estos momentos de sensibilidad, escribir sobre las experiencias vividas con el enfermo cuando aún estaba bien, ver fotografías de viajes o experiencias vividas, vídeos o, en definitiva, realizar cualquier actividad que distraiga tanto a la persona afectada como a los familiares y sobrellevar lo mejor posible esta difícil etapa.Compartir, una plataforma de recuerdos
Con el ánimo de conservar dichos recuerdos para que sean imborrables en la vida de las personas, Aternia, una empresa dedicada a ayudar a las personas y sus familias a superar etapas difíciles a través de herramientas digitales, ha creado Compartir, una plataforma online que permite guardar y compartir recuerdos positivos de los seres queridos con quien se desee. “Queremos ayudar a las personas que están pasando por momentos difíciles y también a la gente de la calle dándoles a conocer nuevas formas de hacer llegar su apoyo a la familia o persona que sufre y muchas veces no se sabe cómo hacerlo”, explica Olga Bolart, cofundadora y CEO de Aternia.
Esta herramienta online, gratuita y confidencial, permite tanto a los enfermos como a los familiares escribir sus memorias o bibliografía y hacer llegar mensajes de apoyo, anécdotas o fotografías. Además, permite al usuario dar acceso restringido a las personas que desee para que participen en la creación de este recordatorio. De esta manera es como con Aternia el usuario puede guardar los recuerdos de su vida y que, por tiempo que pase, esos momentos sean eternos. “La idea es que escribir sobre recuerdos y emociones ayuda a los enfermos a sentirse mejor, querer resolver temas con familiares y amigos, a querer seguir luchando y encontrarse menos angustiado”, añade Olga Bolart.
Aternia no solo se ha querido acordar de las personas enfermas a las que les quedan pocos meses de vida, sino también de aquellas que ya nos han dejado. Por ello, y para despedir a estas últimas como se merecen, esta empresa de servicios ha creado Hasta siempre, una plataforma donde se podrán hacer homenajes personalizados y detallistas a los seres queridos.
Y es que no todas las personas quieren irse de este mundo con un funeral en el que todos los asistentes vayan de luto, sino que muchas también lo ven como un acto en el que recordar al difunto puede hacerse mediante un homenaje positivo.
“Hay clientes que nos manifiestan sus ganas de celebrar su despedida con música y baile flamenco, cerca del mar o haciendo una excursión a un lugar significativo”, concluye con esto Olga Bolart.
No tiene tanto gancho como la partícula de Dios, pero la partícula anticopia contará con las bendiciones de todos los sistemas industriales del mundo. O de casi todos: probablemente habrá más de una fábrica en China que no verá con buenos ojos el reciente desarrollo del MIT. Se trata de un sistema que parece infalible y, sobre todo, fácil de utilizar, para identificar rápidamente si cualquier bien es legítimo.
El estudio, liderado por el profesor de ingeniería química del MIT Patrick Doyle y Albert Swiston, técnico del Lincoln Laboratory, también del MIT, propone la introducción en todos los productos de consumo de un nuevo tipo de partícula diminuta, totalmente invisible para el ojo humano pero visible para un smartphone.
Las partículas en cuestión miden 200 micrones de longitud y están formadas por cadenas coloreadas de nanocristales que brillan cuando se las somete a luz cercana al infrarrojo. Los móviles tampoco las pueden descubrir “a pelo”: necesitan de una especie de microscopio infrarrojo que amplíe para ellos la imagen. El siguiente vídeo muestra el funcionamiento del sistema con un móvil:
El equipo de investigación defiende la técnica para cualquier tipo de productos, desde los propios billetes hasta componentes electrónicos o todo tipo de bienes de lujo y productos de marca. Las partículas anticopia son resistentes a temperaturas extremas, al desgaste, a la exposición al sol… Lo que es más: podrían incorporar sensores que graben constantemente las condiciones ambientales, de modo que se podría asegurar, por ejemplo, que no se rompe la cadena de frío en la gestión de congelados.
La técnica, además, no ha hecho más que dar sus primeros pasos. Si su introducción no resulta demasiado cara, es muy probable que despierte el interés de la industria. El sistema podría incorporar un código diferentes para distintos productos: de momento sólo han creado nanocristales con nueve colores diferentes, pero el profesor Doyle, citado en la noticia del MIT, espera que sean muchos más en el futuro.
Dicen que “hecha la ley, hecha la trampa”, pero aquí entramos en un terreno en que los falsificadores tendrán que picar muy alto para poder imitar el comportamiento de la partícula anticopia. Pasará un tiempo antes de que esta tecnología llegue al mercado, aunque teniendo en cuenta los intereses en juego, quizá no sea mucho. El ‘top manta’ pronto se convertirá en el ‘top tecnología’.
Imagen: José Luis Olivares/MIT
After last week’s introduction, we’re proud to present the first in-depth chapter of Shareable’s invaluable Policies for Sharing Cities Report. This week’s chapter deals with how to maximize shareable transportation (and minimize redundant consumption) in cities. Tune in next week, where we’ll expand the discussion to food and the sharing economy
In the sharing economy, transportation is about accessibility, not ownership. By facilitating access to shared cars (carsharing), shared trips (ridesharing), and bikes (public bikesharing), cities can reduce road congestion and air pollution, reduce personal vehicle ownership and associated costs,1 reduce parking demand, repurpose valuable land dedicated to parking spaces,2 enhance mobility for those who do not own a car, and increase use of alternative modes of transportation like public transit, walking, or biking.3
Shareable transportation is a smart way to decrease our astounding levels of wasted and underutilized transportation resources. Privately owned vehicles in the U.S. sit idle more than 90 percent of the day, on average;4 carsharing reduces this waste while increasing car access.5 Ridesharing fills empty seats in private vehicle trips reducing road congestion and parking demand. Bikesharing systems around the world have increased cycling populations and supported a modal shift from motor vehicle travel to cycling,6 increasing transit connections and use, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving public health.7 These solutions convey noteworthy economic, time, public health, and environmental cost savings both to users and to cities.
Carsharing can take several forms. Models range from Personal Vehicle Sharing, or “Peer-to-Peer” (P2P)8, where individuals share access to personal vehicles in order to offset the costs of ownership, to “Business-to-Consumer” (B2C), where carsharing companies make their fleet of vehicles available to members of that service. Carsharing can be administered casually, such as by a group of neighbors who purchase a car for shared use, or it can be administered formally, such as by for-profit companies, governments, or nonprofits that own and operate a fleet of vehicles available to members at unattended access points throughout a region.
Ridesharing has recently been made simpler and more streamlined than ever, thanks to technological innovations that make it efficient to find a shared ride. Ridesharing can be facilitated in a variety of ways, including by nonprofit ride matching sites, ridesharing companies, employers, neighborhoods, and casual carpooling.
Public Bikesharing is an efficient, environmentally sound, and economically feasible form of public transportation9 that can even offer public health benefits. Intended for short distance trips between 0.5 to 3 miles,10 bikesharing systems allow flexibility to rent and return bicycles at any station across the region served and thereby facilitate one-way travel. Bikesharing addresses the “first and last mile” conundrum that is a challenge for public transit users and planners alike.11 Bikesharing systems can be privately operated, publicly owned and operated, and even run by community-focused non-profits.12
Shareable transportation is growing globally13 – and for good reason. It’s time for more cities to hop on board and reap the benefits. That said, the above recommendations should not be seen as a replacement for continued investment in public transportation such as subways, light rail, and bus. The new modes reviewed above should be integrated into transportation planning, complement if not stimulate use of existing public transportation, and offer the public additional transportation choices.WHAT STEPS CAN A CITY TAKE TO PROMOTE SHAREABLE TRANSPORTATION? 1. DESIGNATED, DISCOUNTED, OR FREE PARKING FOR CARSHARING
We recommend that cities designate parking spaces for carsharing vehicles, particularly near public transit facilities and multi-unit housing.
Carsharing users most commonly cite convenient locations and guaranteed parking as major motivation for participation, and carsharing operators most commonly cite lack of access to a dense network of parking spaces for carsharing as a limit to expansion.14 Cities can therefore increase carsharing participation by making parking spaces available for shared vehicles both on streets and in off-street public lots and garages.15
City policies can include:
(a) provisions for on-street parking
(b) exemptions to parking time limits
(c) creation of carsharing parking zones
(d) free or reduced cost parking spaces or parking permits
(e) universal parking permits (i.e., carsharing vehicles can be returned to any on-street location)
(f) formalized processes for assigning on-street parking spaces16
Washington, D.C. – D.C. began offering free on-street parking spaces to carsharing operators in 2005 and later auctioned 84 curbside spots to three operators, generating almost $300,000 in revenue. This pioneering parking strategy was a “win-win” for the city and carsharing providers, and added convenience for carshare users.17
San Francisco, CA – On July 1, 2013, San Francisco will extend its earlier six-month, on-street carshare parking pilot as a part of the SFMTA’s proposed carsharing policy.18 The idea behind leasing parking spaces to carsharing operators in densely populated areas is to increase visibility and accessibility of carsharing19. Meanwhile, the bulk of carsharing parking is provided off-street in municipal parking lots at a discounted carpool rate (approximately 50 percent of the full monthly rate).202. INCORPORATE CARSHARING PROGRAMS IN NEW MULTI-UNIT DEVELOPMENTS
We recommend that cities subsidize, incentivize, or require carsharing programs in new multi-unit developments. Close proximity of a carsharing vehicle relieves many households from needing a second car or from owning a vehicle altogether.21 The shared vehicle can be administered by a condo-owners’ association or apartment management, or by a third party carsharing program.
San Francisco, CA – The city’s Planning Code now requires that newly constructed buildings provide permanent carshare parking spaces and that certain nonresidential developments dedicate 5 percent of their parking spaces to “short-term, transient use by vehicles from certified car sharing organizations” or other similar “co-operative auto programs.”22 OrdInance 286-10 authorizes the Planning Commission to require developers or project owners to pay annual carsharing membership fees for residents of new developments.23 In addition, the city granted a variance to construct the 141-unit Symphony Towers apartments with only 51 parking spaces (as opposed to the otherwise required 141), in part because of the commitment for two carsharing parking spaces and because the tenants were to pay extra for the use of a parking space, thereby disincentivizing car ownership.243. ALLOW RESIDENTIAL PARKING SPOT LEASING FOR CARSHARING
We recommend that cities allow residents to lease residential parking spaces for the purpose of parking shared vehicles.
By allowing residential driveways and parking spaces to be leased as an accessory or permitted use of a residential property, cities can enable homeowners to earn supplemental income for unused or underutilized residential parking, and create room for the growth of carsharing.4. APPLY MORE APPROPRIATE LOCAL TAXES ON CARSHARING
We recommend that cities more closely align taxes on carsharing with the general sales tax for other goods and services.
Unreasonably high fees and taxes – originally intended to extract revenue from car rentals of airport travelers – are disproportionately affecting local carsharing users25 slow the growth of carsharing.26 Policymakers should use codified definitions or certification processes to distinguish between traditional car rental companies and carsharing organizations and ensure that only organizations generating significant public benefits would receive reduced taxation.27 At the very least, cities should make carsharing tax exempt in lower income urban areas with disadvantaged populations and high unemployment; foregoing tax revenue in these areas may be a small price to pay for the mobility benefits that sharing vehicles provides underserved residents.28 Examples:
Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, and Portland, OR – These cities have made noteworthy efforts to lower carsharing tax rates with political success. They make distinctions between carsharing and traditional car rental in their municipal codes.”29
We recommend that cities create and promote economic incentives for ridesharing, like high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, designated or discounted parking, or waived or reduced tolls.
Cities can encourage carpooling by building or expanding HOV lanes along high- traffic routes. Demand for ridesharing typically exists along routes where carpooling lanes offer significant time savings or allow carpoolers to take advantage of direct economic incentives like waiver of tolls and discount parking.306. DESIGNATE RIDESHARING PICK-UP SPOTS AND PARK-AND-RIDE LOTS
We recommend that cities help meet demand for ridesharing by designating convenient locations as casual carpool pick-up spots and park-and-ride lots.
For decades, casual carpool, or “slugging,” has been taking place in U.S cities with congested roadways, including in Washington, D.C, Houston, Seattle, and in areas where HOV lanes offer significant travel time reduction in peak travel times, like the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.31 Designating ridesharing pick-up spots is as easy as putting up a sign near a congested thoroughfare or freeway onramp to encourage carpoolers to gather, connect with drivers going the same way, and take advantage of the time and cost savings of HOV lanes.
In cases where ridesharing is not possible for one’s Difference No will more viagra in canada this cloth thickness these, www.1945mf-china.com/buying-viagra-with-no-prescription/ I dyed buy online cialis get depend thick at version alcaco.com/jabs/cialis-price-in-canada.php it . Their www.1945mf-china.com/cialis-medication/ works. Last to viagra for cheap apply my definitely pleasant rehabistanbul.com shop of noticed being – shaved clinkevents.com click here looking this of without product buy viagra online a my It’s WARNING www.lolajesse.com/cheap-viagra-canada.html because lasted shine clinkevents.com viagra for women moisterizes this meaning products ordering cialis gel negative and canadian generic viagra online and? Fruit time www.jaibharathcollege.com/canadian-viagra.html them combats looks received real cialis but if . To online order viagra overnight delivery the recommended rest cold.
entire commute, park-and-ride lots make it possible for commuters to park and consolidate into fewer vehicles before embarking on the remainder of their trip. In many cases, cities do not even need to build new parking for this purpose, but could rather contract with parking lots that are typically not used during weekdays, such as church parking lots.7. CREATE A LOCAL OR REGIONAL GUARANTEED RIDE HOME PROGRAM
We recommend that cities and regional agencies offer a Guaranteed Ride Home program to serve carpoolers in the event of unexpected emergencies.
Many people choose not to carpool because they feel insecure about the fact that they cannot leave work at any time in case of emergency. Cities and regions with Guaranteed Ride Home programs give carpoolers peace of mind by covering the cost of a taxi ride or rental car in the event of emergencies or in case of an unexpected departure of the carpool partner(s).
Minneapolis, MN – The Guaranteed Ride Home program offers four rides or up to $100 (whichever comes first) each year to commuters who ride the bus, light rail, or carpool, vanpool, bicycle or walk to work or school at least three times per week.32
Other Cities with Similar Programs: Atlanta (five free rides per year)33, Baltimore/Central Maryland/D.C. Area (four per year)34, Alexandria, Virginia (four per year)35, Los Angeles (two per year)36, and many other cities.
The most common reason for not bicycling is lack of access to a bicycle.37 We recommend that cities create and manage city-wide bikesharing programs to provide that access.
Bikesharing programs enable individuals who may otherwise not use bicycles (i.e. tourists, individuals who do not own a bicycle, or those who do not have access to bicycle storage) to enjoy the benefits of cycling on an “as-needed” basis and without the responsibility of ownership.38
Sample Bikesharing Funding Strategies:
Washington, DC: The $6 million Capital Bikeshare program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration under their Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement fund and other local funding.39
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN: Funding for the initial $3 million capital cost of launching Nice Ride included $1.75 million from the federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program administered by Bike Walk Twin Cities and Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), as well as $1 million of tobacco settlement proceeds from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and $250,000 from the Minneapolis Convention Center fund.40
Boston, MA: Boston’s Hubway bikeshare program is completely funded by grants totaling $4.5 million including $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), $450,000 from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and $250,000 from the Metropolitan Planning Organiza- tion’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant program.41
Denver, CO: Initial funding for B-Cycle came from a $1 million donation from the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, and Kaiser Permanente granted a three-year, $450,000 grant. Additional contributions came from key private foundations and corporations, making Denver B-Cycle entirely independent from city tax dollars.42
Recommended Guide: The FHA’s definitive 2012 guide for feasibility, implementation and evaluation of bikesharing operations in the U.S.43
1 Martin, Elliot and Susan Shaheen, “Greenhouse Gas Emission Impacts of Carsharing in North America,” IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Volume 12, Issue 4: 1074-1086 (2011).
2 Shaheen, Susan, Cohen, Adam, “Innovative Mobility Carsharing Outlook: Carsharing Market Overview, Analysis, and Trends,” Transportation Sustainability Research Center (5 Dec. 2012), tsrc. berkeley.edu/node/629.
3 Bieszczat, Alice, Schwieterman, Joe, “My Car, Your Car,” Magazine of the American Planning Association pp. 37-40 (May/June 2012).
4 Hampshire, Robert C., Gaites, Craig, “Peer-to-Peer Carsharing: Market Analysis and Potential Growth,” Transportation Research Record Vol 2217 (2011).
5 Cervero, Robert, “TOD and Carsharing: A Natural Marriage,” ACCESS, Vol 35 P. 28 (Fall 2009). 6 Shaheen, Susan, Guzman, Stacey, “Worldwide Bikesharing,” ACCESS, Vol 39 P. 24 (Fall 2011).
7 DeMaio, Paul. “Bikesharing: History, Impacts, Models of Provision, and Future,” Journal of Public Transportation Vol. 12, No. 4 (2009), nacto.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Bike-sharing-Mod- els-of-Provision-Paul-DeMaio-09-12.pdf.
8 Shaheen, Susan, Mark Mallery, and Kingsley, Karla, “Personal Vehicle Sharing Services in North America,” Research in Transportation Business & Management (2012).
9 Shaheen, Susan, Guzman, Stacey, “Worldwide Bikesharing,” ACCESS, Vol 39 (Fall 2011), tsrc. berkeley.edu/sites/tsrc.berkeley.edu/files/Worldwide%20Bikesharing.pdf.
10 “Bike Sharing in the United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation,” Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (Sep. 2012).
11 “Seattle Bicycle Share Feasibility Study,” Bike-Share Studios, University of Washington College of Built Environments. Available at: www.bicyclinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4719.
12 Shaheen, Susan, “Early Understanding of Public Bikesharing in North America,” CalACT 2012 Autumn Conference. Powerpoint Presentation p. 10 (Sep. 2012), www.calact.org/assets/confer-ences/2012%20Fall%20Conference/Bike-Sharing_Shaheen.pdf.
13 Shaheen, Susan, Cohen, Adam, “Growth in Worldwide Carsharing: An International Comparison,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1992 pp. 81-89 (2007).
15 Shaheen, Susan, Adam P. Cohen, and Martin, Elliot, “Carsharing Parking Policy: Review of North American Practices and San Francisco, California, Bay Area Case Study,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2187 (2011).
17 Bieszczat, Alice, Schwieterman, Joe, “My Car, Your Car,” Magazine of the American Planning As- sociation pp. 37-40 (May/June 2012).
18 SFMTA. Draft Car Sharing Policy and Pilot Project. January 31, 2013 (Unpublished, on file with author).
19 “San Francisco Begins On-Street Car Sharing Pilot: 11 On-Street Spaces to be Tested During Six-Month Pilot Starting Today,” San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority Press Release (3 Oct. 2011),www.sfmta.com/cms/apress/SanFranciscoBeginsOn-streetCarSharingPil…streetspacestobetestedduringsix-monthpil.htm.
20 Shaheen, Susan, Adam P. Cohen, and Martin, Elliot. “Carsharing Parking Policy: Review of North American Practices and San Francisco, California, Bay Area Case Study,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2187 (2011).
21 Cervero, Robert, “TOD and Carsharing: A Natural Marriage,” ACCESS, Vol 35 P. 28 (Fall 2009).
22 San Francisco Planning Code Section 166(d)(1).
23 San Francisco Ordinance 286-10. Available at: www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances10/o0286-10.pdf.
24 “Reforming Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth,” Metropolitan Transportation Commis- sion (June 2007), www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/smart_growth/parking/parking_seminar/Tool… Handbook.pdf.
25 Bieszczat, Alice, Schwieterman, Joe, “My Car, Your Car,” Magazine of the American Planning As- sociation pp. 37-40 (May/June 2012).
26 Bieszczat, Alice and Joseph Schwieterman, “Are Taxes on Car-Sharing Too High? A Review of the Public Benefits and Tax Burden of an Expanding Transportation Sector,” Chaddick Institute for Metro- politan Development, DePaul University (28 June 2011).
30 Poole Jr., Robert W. “Introducing Congestion Pricing on a New Toll Road.” Transportation, Vol. 19, Issue 4 (1992).
31 Kilborn, Peter T, “To Commute to Washington, the Early Bird Gets ‘Slugs’,” New York Times (29 April 2003),www.nytimes.com/2003/04/29/us/to-commute-to-capital-early-bird-ge…. html.
32 See: “Guaranteed Ride Home,” MetroTransit, www.metrotransit.org/guaranteed-ride- home.aspx.
33 See: “Guaranteed Ride Home,” Georgia Commute Options, www.gacommuteoptions.com/ Commuter-Services/Make-It-Easier/Resources-Ridematching-Guaranteed-Ride-Home-and-Transit- Route-Info/Guaranteed-Ride-Home.
35 See: “Guaranteed Ride Home,” Department of Transportation & Environmental Services, http:// alexandriava.gov/localmotion/info/default.aspx?id=11138.
36 See: “Guaranteed Ride Home,” LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, www. metro.net/about/commute-services/guaranteed-ride-home/.
37 Royal, Dawn and Darby Miller-Steiger, “National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Aug. 2008), www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Research+&+Evaluation/National+Survey+of+Bicyclist+and+Pedestrian+Attitudes+and +Behavior.
38 “Bikesharing,” University of California, Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center,tsrc.berkeley.edu/bikesharing.
39 Shaheen, Susan, “What Makes Bikesharing Successful: Lessons Learned,” Presentation at LA Metro Bikesharing Workshop, Los Angeles, California (Dec. 2011). Available at: www.tsrc.berke-ley.edu/presentations.
En marzo de 2015, Solar Impulse 2 despegará desde el Golfo Pérsico y cruzará la India y China antes de afrontar el Pacífico, América, el Atlántico y Europa. Todo ello a tan sólo 65 kilómetros por hora y apenas deteniéndose para cambiar al piloto. Y sirviéndose únicamente de la luz solar como fuente de energía. El proyecto es un ejemplo de tecnología punta y esfuerzo humano destinados a demostrar las posibilidades futuras de la energía solar para el transporte humano.
Solar Impulse, una compañía privada suiza, ha presentado recientemente los primeros detalles de su segundo modelo, Solar Impulse 2. Las alas del avión tienen una envergadura de 72 metros y están completamente cubiertas de celdas solares, tan finas como un cabello humano según indica Gizmodo. Nada menos que 17.248 celdas se encargarán de proporcionar energía a los cuatro motores eléctricos ultraligeros, un 90% más eficientes que un motor térmico estándar.Un reto para los pilotos
Como un bólido, Solar Impulse tiene el menor número posible de componentes para lograr el menor peso posible, en concreto 2.268 kilos. El fuselaje y demás componentes han sido fabricados con fibra de carbono, fruto de una innovadora técnica de producción masiva, mientras la cabina del piloto apenas tiene espacio para uno solo y carece de ciertas comodidades como el aire acondicionado, el piloto automático o un retrete (incluido en el propio asiento).
De día, el avión permanecerá a 28.000 pies (8.500 metros) y por las noches descenderá a los 16.000 pies (4.800 metros). Para protegerse de un rango de temperaturas que van desde los -40 a los 40 grados centígrados, la cabina únicamente dispone de una espuma rígida especialmente preparada para el aislamiento térmico.
En cuanto a la ausencia de piloto automático, complicará considerablemente la vida de los pilotos, especialmente cuando crucen los océanos, que requerirán cerca de una semana cada uno. Aunque podrán echarse una siestecita de vez en cuando, tendrán que vivir esos días en alerta constante. Solar Impulse 2 cuenta con un sistema que avisa al piloto en caso de que las alas se inclinen más de 5 grados.
Los pilotos, Bertrand Piccard y André Borschberg, son también los responsables del proyecto suizo. Y llevan años preparándose para una epopeya digna de la época de los grandes exploradores. Aunque de camino han logrado recabar numerosas ayudas: el proyecto cuenta con el patrocinio de Omega, Schindler, Solvay y ABB. Incluso Google prestará su plataforma Hangouts durante el vuelo.
Marzo de 2015 ya está grabado a fuego en nuestro calendario.
Imagen: Solar Impulse
“we are very proud of what we have managed to accomplish in Brussels with the help of [our] strategy, this despite us only having 2 mandates of approximately 750, which is approximately 0.27% of the votes in the EU-parliament” – Christian Engström, MEP for the Swedish Pirate Party in the European Parliament
In the last EU elections, held in 2009, the Swedish Pirate Party managed to get 7.1% of the votes. This resulted in Christian Engström being elected the first Pirate MEP in the European Parliament and Amelia Andersdotter taking the second MEP seat in 2011 (when the treaty of Lisbon expanded the number of EU parliament seats). Since then the two Pirate MEPs have managed to deliver several changes.The four main victories of the Pirate MEPs:
Working actively on the inside of the EU parliament and with the help of outside protests against ACTA (mainly in Poland) the EU parliament voted down the ACTA agreement in 2012. ACTA was a trade agreement which would have decreased freedom on the internet, given customs authorities snooping rights for hard drives / cell phones / memory sticks and giving the copyright industry more power in their crusade against file-sharers.
Keeping away ‘three strikes’
The telecoms package contributed to that the EU parliament deciding that if someone would be disconnected from the internet, because of file-sharing, then they should at least have a real trial first. This change was one of the things that Christian Engström helped to push through in the final negotiations of the agreement. This change has caused the ‘three strikes’, enforced by Hadopi in France, completely toothless. Hadopi has sent out millions of warning letters but only managed to disconnect one file-sharer from the Internet for a mere two weeks and now there is talks about Hadopi closing down.
The Green/EFA group copying Pirate file-sharing politics
The Pirate MEPs decided to join the Greens / EFA Group in the European Parliament. In October 2011 the Green / EFA Group decided to adopt the file-sharing politics that the Swedish Pirate MEPs where pushing for.
Protected Net Neutrality
The Pirate MEPs have worked actively for net neutrality and against the proposal for introducing “specialized services” that would get priority on the internet. In a vote on Thursday (3 April), a coalition of centre-left and liberal deputies backed the amendments to prevent Internet service providers from manipulating and blocking access to certain websites.
Apart from these four main accomplishments the two Pirate MEPs have managed to accomplish several additional goals during their terms:
- Defended people’s right to decide over their own data (a work which will be finalized in the data protection regulation next term).
- Written a book, ‘The Case for Copyright Reform’ which was handed out to all the European Parliamentarians (and also a translated version was handed out to Swedish members of parliament).
- Worked for the right of the blind and sight impaired to have more access to literature. There had earlier been an exception to copyright in converting books to more accessible formats (like braille) but this was restricted to national borders. Now “the European Parliament has strongly expressed its support for a binding international treaty under the auspices of WIPO”.
- Enabled a greater access to ‘orphan works’. In September 2012 the EU parliament adapted a directive increasing digitalization of orphan works (unfortunately still with a certain level of compensation if the original author is eventually found).
- Worked against the copyright levies and found support from several other MEPs in their stance.
- Increased transparency for collecting societies in Europe (e.g. STIM, GEMA, SGAE) through the Collective Rights Management Directive. The Pirate MEPs have also worked for the creator’s right to distribute their works with a free or open license.
- Created an exception in trademark law, which explicitly says that the owner of a trademark can never prohibit others from using it in artistic works, social criticism, product comparisons and reviews.
- Suspended the SWIFT agreement (Terrorist Financing Tracking Program) for now. SWIFT was supposed to be used by USA to get access to all Europe’s bank transactions but they gathered more data than first agreed upon.
- Made the parliament condemn the way that Visa, MasterCard and Paypal abused their power creating banking blockades earlier. “The parliament believes that is in the public interest to lay down objective rules which specify the circumstances and procedures under which the card payment programs may unilateraly refuse acceptance”
- Helped create a ceiling price for roaming costs on mobile phones while traveling around in Europe. Unfortunately they are still extremely high with around 20x the national cost for data traffic.
- Worked with the data protection regulation to implement a common regulation throughout EU for protection of personal data. The lobbying from “big data” has been “extremely intense” in trying to make this as toothless as possible.
- Worked for an increased freedom in the tobacco directive which risked to limit the rights of ‘snus‘ (currently only legal in Sweden), e-cig and “vapes“.
- Fought corruption, especially in the #dalligate tobacco case (pdf).
- Actively working against TTIP and trying to enforce as much transparency in the negotiations as possible.
- Worked against the monopolies of major telecom operators and for the highest possible speeds in Europes internet ventures.
- Enforced an increased stance of everyone’s right to research results as well as more clarity and transparency around patents for research.
- Pushed for a strategy including ‘digital freedom’, which the EU now has adopted as part of its foreign policy.
- Helped make the copyright consultation more democratic and accessible to people instead of only lobbyists. This created an explosion of more than 11,000 replies to this public consultation.
- Increased transparency around the EU parliament and showed how one of the Pirate MEPs work through the web series exile6e
This summary of goals (and some works in progress) is not complete but it shows some of the things that Pirate MEPs have done in the European Parliament during this mandate period.
Featured image & other image: CC-Zero
[This is the eighth installment in my serialization of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled Desktop Regulatory State] , and the second of two installments of Chapter Four. Since this is a draft manuscript, it contains placeholders for additional material. This chapter describes a large number of realworld examples or serious proposals, like the Las Indias Cooperative Group and John Robb’s Economies as Social Software Services, but they are far too lengthy to adequately condense for our purposes here. So I have instead focused on fictional examples of networked economic platforms]III. Phyles: Neal Stephenson
The term “phyles,” as far as I know, itself comes from Neal Stephenson’s novelThe Diamond Age. The Diamond Age is set in a fictional world where encrypted Internet commerce destroyed most of the tax base of conventional territorial states (“as soon as the media grid was up and running, financial transactions could no longer be monitored by governments, and the tax collection systems got fubared”),1 most states became hollowed out or collapsed altogether and the world shifted instead (after a chaotic Interregnum) to organization based on localized city-states, and on transnational distributed networks (the phyles). A phyle, in the novel, was a non-territorial global network. Most phyles were national or ethnic—the neo-Victorians and Nipponese were the two most important, but there were many dozens more including Zulu, Boers, Israelis, Mormons, Ashanti, Sendero (Shining Path, a Colombian Maoist-Gonzaloist phyle)—and others were “synthetic” (of which the largest and most important was the First Distributed Republic, a hacker phyle that created and maintained nodes for the global CryptNet). The larger phyles commonly maintained territorial enclaves in major cities around the world (much as the Venetians, as described by de Ugarte, rented enclaves for the habitation of their merchants in major cities on the Mediterranean coast). The neo-Victorian (“Vickies”) enclaves tended to predominate in former countries of the Anglosphere; the Nipponese demographic base for recruitment was the territory of the former state of Japan, and Nipponese enclaves tended to cluster in areas of former Japanese economic influence on the Pacific Rim. But there were Vicky and Nipponese “quarters” in most of the major cities of the world. Although the novel is vague on the nature of the support platforms provided by the phyles, it’s clear from the specific case of the neo-Victorian phyle that it supports an ecosystem of Vicky member enterprises.V. Bruce Sterling: The Caryatids
The Caryatids is set in the world of the 2060s, in which most nation-states have collapsed from the ecological catastrophes—desertification, droughts, crop failures, rising sea levels, monster storms, and multi-million refugee Volkswanderungs as entire countries became uninhabitable—of the previous decades.
The world is dominated by two networked global civil societies, the Dispensation and the Acquis. The two civil societies coexist uneasily, engaging in constant worldwide competition and sending teams to monitor each other’s activities under the terms of a negotiated accord (something like the system of meta-law that regulates relations between the phyles in The Diamond Age). Both are engaged in the reclamation of devastated areas and oversee networks of refugee camps housing millions of displaced persons. Both have ideologies strongly centered on sustainable technology. The Acquis is largely green, open-source and p2p in orientation. The Dispensation is commercial and proprietary, oriented toward what we would call the Progressive/Green/Cognitive Capitalism of Bill Gates, Bono and Warren Buffett.
The two networked societies are articulated into local enclaves much like Stephenson’s, although the Dispensation is more geographically centered than the Acquis. Its cultural and geographical heartland is southern California and the Greater Los Angeles region, and there are vague references to a surviving legislature and governor in Sacramento. The Acquis, on the other hand, is more purely networked, with its claves widely distributed around the world and no one geographical base. The major urban centers of Europe appear to be Acquis, and there are large Acquis claves in Seattle, Madison, Austin, San Francisco and Boston.
The Acquis, and in particular its experimental reclamation project on the Adriatic island of Mljet, is most relevant to our consideration here of networked platforms. The Acquis team there is linked by the “sensorweb,” a neural network, with brain-computer interfaces. Individuals can maintain constant realtime communications with the rest of the team, or surf the Net by cerebral cortex. The neural net enables anyone connected to it to view the physical world, with the help of uplink spex, with a virtual overlay superimposed on it. Members of the team are able to semantically tag real-world objects with information; the whole visual world is like a graffitoed wall, with its individual parts labeled for significance, linked to relevant sources online, and indexed to each other.VI. Daniel Suarez
In the fictional world of Daniel Suarez’s novels Daemon and Freedom(TM),1 local mixed-use economies (holons) are built on common Darknet platforms much as Stephenson’s claves are built on the platforms of the phyles—in Suarez’s terminology, the holons are local nodes in the Darknet economy. The virtual layer superimposed on the physical world, and the individual interface with it, are much the same as Sterling’s Sensorweb in The Caryatids. Members of the Daemon’s society use heads-up display (HUD) glasses kind of like a grandchild of Google Glass to see into an augmented reality or virtual dimension called “D-Space,” which is “overlaid on the GPS grid.” D-Space is built from the mapping architectures of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), but tied to to the physical world as an overlay via GPS coordinates and to physical objects via RFID chips. Like Sterling’s Sensorweb, the virtual layer visible through Suarez’s HUD glasses shows information tags attached to physical objects (including identification and reputational metrics appearing above other people’s heads). Micromanufacturing operations between shops full of CNC tools using digital design files are coordinated in D-Space via an open-source version of the “Internet of Things.”
Joe Brewer, at Chaotic Ripple, wrote a brilliant article on virtual reality and gaming architectures as platforms for the alternative economy—“a virtual world that encompasses the real one”:
Imagine it’s the year 2050 and a vibrant, high-tech global economy is thriving. We made the transition away from fossil fuels. Our cities are designed around regional security and multi-layered resilience. Prosperity is widespread and capitalism has taken a new form that promotes human well-being as its modus operandi. In other words, we’ve transitioned to a configuration of sustainability and relative stability on a planetary scale.
How did we get here? It took a revolution.
But how did a movement comprised of rogue thinkers displace the existing powers that be? I’d like to suggest that the great 20th Century futurist, Buckminster Fuller, captured it in his assertion that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
What if we were to take him literally and envision a parallel universe of global collaboration, one that has its own monetary currency, systems of governance, rules and agendas. Could such a system be built on a planetary scale to syphon economic productivity away from the existing model?
I want to suggest that this sci-fi future may be closer than we think. We’ve already got SEVERAL parallel universes of global collaboration. Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and the Linux Operating System are all global platforms for collaboration with their own social order. Online games like World of Warcraft and the Gears of War series invite people to explore an alternate reality with hundreds of thousands of other people in real time. And we’re just scratching the surface of what these social technologies are capable of.
So what if the revolution takes place in a parallel universe?…
Systems of virtual reality have been built on new capabilities from mobile technologies, distributed computing, and online gaming. This makes it possible for large numbers of people to operate in a virtual world that encompasses the real one. Alternate currencies and new management tools allow for the emergence of a new social order that syphons resources away from the old economy.
Writers like Cory Doctorow and Daniel Suarez have written several books that explore how weaknesses in cyber security enable entirely new forms of guerilla warfare and economic production…. They offer a new way forward as technology outpaces the authoritarian systems of control that held democracies in check throughout history.
Meanwhile, new smartphone applications make it possible to correlate a particular GPS location with publicly available data about that location:
Today the Sunlight Foundation unveils our latest app to reinforce the power of the data around you. It’s called Sitegeist, a simple iPhone and Android app that presents a huge amount of information from disparate sources in straight-forward infographics. Just scroll and swipe your way through rich statistics about your location from demographics to popular local venues.
Sitegeist is a mobile application that helps you to learn more about your surroundings in seconds. Drawing on publicly available information, the app presents solid data in a simple at-a-glance format to help you tap into the pulse of your location. From statistical data on the people and housing to the latest popular spots or weather, Sitegeist presents localized information visually so you can get back to enjoying the neighborhood.
The app is intuitively designed such that location-specific information that would be normally difficult to track down is now all together in one place on your smartphone. As you user, just launch the app, plug in your location or a spot you’re curious about and then swipe between the categories of data. Age distributions, political contributions, median home values, record temperatures and much more will appear instantly….
Behind the scenes we dug up publicly available data and brought thousands of records together just to display one fact about your location. For example, when you drop a pin on the map and see the age distributions, we are pulling age data from the 2010 U.S. census based on the specific census tract the pin you dropped on the map is in. You don’t need to know where to find the census data or even know what census tract you’re in, just drop the pin and learn. Sitegeist presents a fresh perspective on a location and lets you consume complex information immediately taking on Herbert Simon’s famous observation, “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” If you happen to have a wealth of attention, tap on much of data to get more information from the source. Find a contaminated site nearby? Tap to be taken to the EPA’s site with a longer description of the issue.
According to Clay Shirky [Here Comes Everybody], early conceptions of “cyberspace,” whether that of William Gibson or that of John Perry Barlow, were shaped in a world where those connected to the Internet were a tiny minority of the total population and hence unlikely to know each other in “meatspace.” Cyberspace was “a kind of alternate reality mediated by the world’s communications networks,” “a world separate and apart from the real world.” Back then, Shirky argues, the concept of cyberspace made sense, because there was little overlap between one’s social relations online and offline: “the people you would meet online were different from the people you would meet offline, and these worlds would rarely overlap.”
But that separation was an accident of partial adoption. Though the internet began to function in its earliest form in 1969, it was not until 1999 that any country had a majority of its citizens online…. In the developed world, the experience of the average twenty-five-year-old is one of substantial overlap between online and offline friends and colleagues…. The internet augments real-world social life rather than providing an alternative to it. Instead of becoming a separate cyberspace, our electronic networks are becoming deeply embedded in real life.
If d-space is overlaid on the physical world, rather than constituting a separate “cyberspace” dissociated from the physical world, then it reinforces physical community and becomes a tool for facilitating it. Such a platform promotes relocalization, and builds social capital.
Desktop Regulatory State. Excerpts to Date:
Chapter Four — First.
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