Amazon's got a tried-and-true way to deal with the negative consequences of high-speed ecommerce logistics: use subcontractors who can absorb the blame for the human toll wrought by the machine-like pace it demands of its workers. Read the rest
Today, the EU held a routine vote on regulations for self-driving cars, when something decidedly out of the ordinary happened... Read the rest
An "elite FBI forensic unit" admitted that for two decades, nearly every examiner "gave flawed testimony" (aka lied) about hair sample evidence in criminal trials. And geepers, they sure feel bad about all those people who were executed in prison because of it.
Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.
The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.
University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett said the results reveal a “mass disaster” inside the criminal justice system.
Remember this the next time the FBI asks for an encryption backdoor and promises not to abuse it.
New Orleans' city analytics team wanted a computer model that predicts the likelihood any given city block will lack alarm coverage. Enter New York city data experts Enigma, who used public data sets to generate simple predictive maps for cities across the U.S.
25,000 U.S. residents are killed or injured each year in 1 million fires, reports Enigma, which has appealed for more local governments to upload their data.
Flowing Data summarizes the methodology:
To develop the model, they used data from the American Housing Survey and American Community Survey, both conducted by the Census Bureau, as the seed of their solution. The former asks residents if they have a working smoke alarm, which makes it seem straightforward to build a model, but it's only at the city level. Not useful for on-the-ground workers. The task required block-level information.
As you can see above, Pittsburgh is basically one inaccurately-flicked cigarette away from going completely up in flames. Read the rest