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Where, When, And How To Perfectly Watch This Week’s Meteor shower

One of the last meteor showers of the year is happening this Friday. So, if you haven’t caught a meteor shower yet this year, this week is your chance.

Don’t miss out on this year’s Leonid meteor shower, which is expected to have ideal conditions for many parts of the US. Following is a transcript of the video.

The Leonid meteor shower is happening this week. The most meteors will happen on the evening of Nov. 17. Expect to see between 10-20 meteors an hour. Viewing conditions will be excellent this year.

The Moon will be a paper-thin crescent. So, the night sky will be especially dark to enjoy the show.

But watch out for the weather. Cloudy skies will cover some parts of the US. Here are the best and worst places to watch on Nov. 17.

Some of the first records of the Leonids date back to the 10th century. They’re famous for some of the most spectacular meteor showers.

In the past, the Leonids have produced 50,000 meteors per hour. For the best show, find a safe, dark place away from city lights.

Many meteors will appear to come from the constellation Leo. But experts advise looking away from Leo.

That way, you’ll spot the meteors with the longest tails. Happy meteor hunting!

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Amazon Shopping Link

Hey Guys,

Well, the redirect didn’t work after all. Sorry about that (maybe they don’t allow associate links or something).

Anyway, you can still get there by clicking on this link:

Happy shopping! And thanks!

Facial Recognition Software Can Now Identify People Even If Their Face Is Covered!

A facial recognition system can identify someone even if their face is covered up.

The Disguised Face Identification (DFI) system uses an AI network to map facial points and reveal the identity of people.

It could eventually help to pick out criminals, protesters, or anyone who hides their identity by covering themselves with masks, scarves or sunglasses.

The software could also see the end of public anonymity, sparking privacy concerns from one academic, who has labelled it ‘authoritarian‘.

This is very interesting for law enforcement and other organisations that want to capture criminals,” Amarjot Singh, a researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on DIF.

The potential applications are beyond imagination.

Led by Mr Singh, the international team of scientists published their research on the pre-print server arXiv.

DFI uses a deep-learning AI neural network that the team trained by feeding it images of people using a variety of disguises to cover their faces.

The images had a mixture of complex and simple backgrounds to challenge the AI in a variety of scenarios.

The AI identifies people by measuring the distances and angles between 14 facial points – ten for the eyes, three for the lips, and one for the nose.

It uses these readings to estimate the hidden facial structure, and then compares this with learned images to unveil the person’s true identity.

In early tests, the algorithm correctly identified people whose faces were covered by hats or scarves 56 per cent of the time.

This accuracy dropped to 43 per cent when the faces were also wearing glasses. The work is still in its early stages, and the algorithm needs to be fed more data before it can be brought into the field.

Despite these hurdles, Mr Singh told Inverse: “We’re close to implementing it practically.”

The DFI team have called on other researchers to help develop the technology using their datasets of covered and uncovered faces.

The research, which has not yet been peer reviewed and is still awaiting publication, has sparked controversy after some raised concerns over privacy rights.

Dr. Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, posted the research to Twitter, claiming that the AI is ‘authoritarian’.

He tweeted: ‘The authors claim the system works about half the time even when people wear glasses. And this is just the beginning; first paper.

And this is maybe the third or fourth most worrying ML paper I’ve seen recently re: AI and emergent authoritarianism. Historical crossroads.”

Yes, we can & should nitpick this and all papers but the trend is clear. Ever-increasing new capability that will serve authoritarians well.

The DFI team will present their research at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision Workshop in Venice, Italy, next month.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Rare Fossils Reveal New Species of Ancient Gliding Mammals

This week, paleontologists unveiled two remarkable new species of dainty gliding mammals that lived alongside dinosaurs nearly 160 million years ago.

While they are not the first mammalian gliders known from this time period, these specimens are unique because they have thin, furry membranes of skin attached to their front and back limbs that are clearly preserved in the rock.

It is pretty obvious from looking at these fossils that they are gliders, due to the carbonized skin,” says study coauthor David Grossnickle, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago.

Named Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomyos, the two new species are offering clues to the ways various mammals have taken to the skies over evolutionary time scales.

Gliding is one of the cutest and one of the most striking locomotor adaptations,” says study coauthor Zhe-Xi Luo, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.

Both of the new gliders were found in the Liaoning region of China, which is famous for its stunning power of preservation.

The Jurassic-era lake sediments have yielded some of the finest fossils in the world, including scads of feathered dinosaurs and a myriad of early mammals with carbonized fur and soft tissue.

Even without the conspicuously preserved skin, the newfound animals’ well-preserved skeletal structures give away their gliding ability, the team reports in a pair of papers published this week in the journal Nature.

Grossnickle notes that the limb proportions of gliding mammals are quite different from those that simply climb trees or walk on the ground, and the two new specimens have limb proportions that are similar to modern gliding mammals.


Both fossils also have notable hands and feet, says Jin Meng, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History who was not involved in either study.

Our toes are very short because we have to walk on the ground,” he says. “These animals have much longer fingers, showing they have adaptations for grabbing on trees in the forest.

Grossnickle adds that in both fossils, the hands and feet are very similar to those on modern bats.

These things could be using all four limbs to roost like bats,” he says, and it’s even possible they spent time hanging upside-down from tree branches like modern flying lemurs.

The two new gliding mammals are among 10 similar species known to have lived in this area during the Jurassic, and that diversity means there were plenty of ecological niches for them to occupy.

Taken together, the traits of these fossil gliders seem to back up the hypothesis that different groups of mammals followed a similar evolutionary pattern of being land-based, then moving to tree-climbing, then to gliding.

Modern rodents and flying squirrels followed this pattern, along with Australian marsupials like sugar gliders.

In the Jurassic forests, this group independently evolved this kind of locomotion like other living mammals that also glide,” says Meng. “Mammals started experimenting with different locomotion types very early on.

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Pass it on: Popular Science