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Tech Team

Your amateur video of weather events could help scientists [Wired]

Incredible but true. Shaky amateur cam videos taken during the terrible Indian Ocean tsunami 15 years ago have provided an incredible scientific opportunity. Before the analysis of the footage, scientists couldn’t understand why so many people had taken photos posing with the wave behind them, out on the open ocean. For some victims, those pictures would be the last of their lives. But by analysing the videos, scientists found that while normal waves slow when they hit dry land, tsunamis accelerate, catching people by surprise. A fascinating discovery that helps better understand the killer waves and perhaps save more lives.

Does classroom tech make the grade? [Bloomberg]

Maybe not. A 2015 study of 38 countries that made large investments into educational technology showed “no appreciable improvements in student achievement” on international assessments of math, science and reading. And in the US, fourth graders who used tech in most of their classes did worse on reading tests than those who used them in less than half their classes. It could be that teachers aren’t properly trained to use the digital devices. Either way, schools should be making sure that money spent on expensive classroom tech is being used to benefit students as much as possible.

Facebook mindcontrol [CNET]

Facebook will be acquiring CTRL-labs, a neurotechnology startup, as part of its efforts to develop a wristband for controlling smartphones, computers and other digital devices without having to touch a screen or keyboard. No more use of the finger, the wristband decoding the electrical signals that neurons in the spinal cord send to hand muscles. Tech addicts, there is no indication as to when the wristband will be made available but computer-brain interfaces are only a step away.

Face masks to decoy t-shirts: The rise of anti-surveillance fashion [Reuters]

Concerned about your privacy related to security cameras? Fashion has the answer: a group of artists in London are making their own fashion statement through bold and… privacy-friendly make-up. By using bright colors and dark shades of make-up, the artists strolled through London in recent  days aiming at confusing security cameras and face recognition software. Trying to cheat cameras through make-up, sunglasses, and face masks is becoming increasingly popular across the globe; probably at the same pace as the growing use of facial recognition software in public space. The next question is: how successful can an analogue response be to a digital issue?

In case you haven’t had enough…

Girls vs. Boys: Brain Differences Might Explain Tech Behaviors [Wall Street Journal]

Health workers aim to save lives of mothers and babies with smartphone data [Reuters]

Remember The Dress? Here’s Why We All See Colors Differently [Wired]