Medical breakthrough: Cure for obesity or license to overeat?

I was interested to see different takes on the 'net concerning a bit of recent medical research.  The research involves inhibiting expression of a gene called RCAN1, which seems to regulate body fat.  Long story short, research suggests that inhibiting this gene in mice allows them to remain "thin" in spite of eating a diet in excess of their normal requirements.

The question naturally arises: What does this mean for humans?

Robo grocery delivery?

I was intrigued to read a piece by Joe Dysart in the Communications of the ACM concerning food delivery by self-driving vehicles.  According to the article, there are a number of start-ups working on delivering food parcels to people's doors or curbs using driverless delivery vans.

Fraud in absentee balloting and e-voting

An "anti-crime" community group called Wake Up Surrey in Surrey, B.C., has alleged that there is a "well-coordinated election fraud scheme underway within the South Asian community" there. 

Would AI gun dectectors protect US schools?

In a recent piece in FastCompany, Jeremy Hsu discusses the pros and cons of a system called Shielded Students, which relies on a high-tech gun detection system to prevent shooters from getting into schools.

Deportation and genetics: Fairness and probabilities

Vicky Mochama notes that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been using genetic testing to determine where to deport certain would-be migrants to Canada

Is almond milk fake milk?

Kate Yoder of Grist reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering the matter of plant milk.  More specifically, the US dairy industry is trying to get the agency to create regulation restricting the term "milk" to the product of lactation, e.g., cow's milk.  Such a rule would ban the application of "milk" to plant-based liquids, e.g., almond milk.

Is ShotSpotter good for Toronto?

The news came in quick succession this week.  First, Toronto was considering adoption of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system.  Then, Toronto had decided to adopt it.  As the latter article pointed out, after a spate

The conscience of Silicon Valley

There has been much uproar lately in Silicon Valley, April Glaser writes in an interesting piece in Slate.  Employees at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, and others, have expressed disapproval of their companies' involvement with police surveillance, military technology, or refugee policy.  Their efforts have apparently had an impact on corporate decisions.

The eyes have it: Facebook to introduce a blink removal tool for online pics

An interesting piece by Sophie Werthan in Slate reports that Facebook is developing a tool to change pictures so that closed eyes appear to be open.

In technical terms, the tool employs an Artificial Intelligence technique that learns to insert realistic, open eyes where closed ones are detected in photos.  The point is to help overcome disappointment when users blink in what would otherwise be a nice picture of them.

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