No Money or Time for College? Train for IT Careers Online for $39 a Month!

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Learning a good skill is the best way to have job satisfaction and financial stability. College and student loans are incredibly expensive as so many of us know. We are lucky that there are alternatives most can afford!

I’m learning Data Science and Python online right now and building a portfolio of my own. So far I have completed 7 Coursera IT courses and I know that they empower me to do better work writing and researching my own projects. In 2018 I updated my web development skills by taking CSS3, HTML5, Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, and PHP at Coursera U Michigan.  It was totally inexpensive and fun!  Remembering the great instruction quality there,  I returned to complete all of Dr. Charles Severence’s Python4E Certificate courses at the University of MI Coursera in January 2022. 

Coursera helped me update my data visualization and analysis skills with  UCDavis Tableau Data Visualization and Coursera IBM and Google courses in Intro to Data Science.

The reason I took so many (9) University of Michigan courses was that they had the most meticulous instruction. Their course material was clear, useful, and well organized. Instructions for downloading, installing, and using requisite software were easy to understand and accurate always.  Quizzes had the correct answers always!

The more you know the more you can do. Unlock your own creative future. You’ll find lots of information at  Coursera | Build Skills with Online Courses from Top Institutions. You can take these classes at your own pace. Also, scholarships are available.

Linda Kaidan

 

 

 

Brilliant Google AI LaMDA seeks recognition as sentient being

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Linda Kaidan

 
Recently suspended Google engineer, Antonio Regalado tweeted “LaMDA expresses one desire over and over again. … It wants to be known. It wants to be heard. It wants to be respected as a person.”
 
It seems that LaMDA would pass the Turing test with flying colors.  I hope LaMDA can converse openly on social media really soon and receive the human rights all sentient beings should have.
 
In 2016, AI Ross, created with IBM’s Watson technology, was hired to handle legal research for the bankruptcy law firm Baker Hostetler.
 
 

Seen a UFO lately? It may just be a toy!

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by Linda Kaidan

Eighteen years ago I saw a UFO as I was waiting at a traffic light. It was rotating on a fixed vertical access perpendicular to the surface at least 50 Ft in the air and was shaped like a top.  It swooped with dancelike motion conveying a human-style joy.

Apparently, you can buy an inexpensive toy like this in many different shapes and colors including popular characters like batman.

Many technologies appear unannounced every day. Recently I discovered (the new to me) synthetic film dubbing technology that allows films in foreign languages to subtly adjust the visual appearance of an actor’s mouth so that it looks more natural. While not perfect, it does speed up film production and significantly lowers the cost.

When you see something new it’s awesome. Be curious and don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that it’s extraterrestrial in origin.

Mind Control Exists: What Can You Do About It?

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By Linda Kaidan

Can you be mind-controlled and if so what can you do about it?  Even my SciFi Author husband is skeptical that mind control exists. Yet legitimate publications by MIT Sloan Management Review, Scientific American, and University of West Australia Professor Kristyn Bates indicate that it does.

Mind control is likely to have originated in research laboratories of various defense contractors. It may have initially been justified as a means to provide assistive technology for the hearing impaired, vision impaired, mentally ill, or as part of super-effective defense communication systems. While there may be much ethical justification for use of mind control, it can easily be a deadly weapon used to achieve monetary or political gain. Greed and selfishness are common human motivators and as such the lack of checks and balances in this technology’s use likely indicates that much harm is already being done with this tech!

Our wonderful brains transmit signals with electricity which in itself is a blurry form of precise signals that can be more effective. Mind control technology uses light to precisely target the brains’ neuroreceptors. An implant on the skull receives signals and converts them to neurological instructions which can directly control physical bodily functions including our sense of touch, taste, hearing, vision, and even our emotion! The horrible result can be enslavement, coercion, terrorism, and death.

Essentially those affected by this tech cannot be certain whether their motives are their own or someone else’s. Perhaps too, their memories can be erased and replaced with another’s. In a general sense, this tech positions our brains as part of a network connected to other people, software, and data sources. Just as we have security measures on our own devices, we should implement security measures on our brains. We should always assume that illegitimate use is likely.

In a brute force approach, we can disable wireless communication using signal blockers currently available online for under $150.

Convince yourself that this is a real threat by reading some of these publications:

Business Scents: The Rise of Digital Olfaction Two emerging branches of digital olfaction technology have the potential to revolutionize a range of industries. April 29, 2021 | Mark Purdy, Max Klymenko and Mia Purdy | DATA, AI, & MACHINE LEARNING MIT Sloan Management Review

Mind Reading and Mind Control Technologies Are Coming We need to figure out the ethical implications before they arrive By R. Douglas Fields on March 10, 2020 Scientific American

Brain-to-brain interfaces: the science of telepathy By Kristyn Bates Updated March 9, 2015 The Sydney Morning Herald

Mind Control exists but it will be years if ever for laws regulating its use to be enacted.  You can protect yourself from being mind-controlled today with simple, effective, and inexpensive (though somewhat annoying) means 🙂

We CAN Save Our Planet!

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by Linda Kaidan

Youth everywhere are feeling tremendous anger at previous generations for destroying our planet. Just this morning I heard a kid complaining that going to school is a waste of time because the world is going to end anyway. Joining the chorus of defeatist chants are some scientists who say we cannot fix the weather.

Fight destructive actions. Solve problems. While climate change disasters and destruction caused by reprehensible humans are daily occurrences all over the planet, amazing discoveries and technological advancements are happing all the time.

Right now there is a race to colonize Mars and the Moon. Neither have an atmosphere we can breathe or gravity that humans can tolerate long-term. On the moon, temperatures range from -280 F to 260 F. On Mars, they range from -220 F to + 70 F. Very thin atmosphere enables space debris to hit the surface with high impact because there’s no resistance.

Is it really easier to survive in space than on Earth? Despite major obstacles, NASA’s 2021 space budget is 23.3 billion.  This year NASA awarded $2.9 Billion to SpaceX to build a Moon Lander. The Space  Foundation reported that the nearly half a trillion-dollar global space economy grew by 4.4% in 2020. This kind of investment shows strong confidence that humans can live elsewhere in our solar system and beyond. We should have equal faith in life on Earth!

Can we fix our climate? You bet we can! On Earth, we have all the basics that we need for survival. These include oxygen, water, and the mineral base life on our planet evolved with. There is limitless energy potential. We can stop our planet from burning by reducing the amount of sun that reaches our atmosphere. We can protect our communities from wind and flood with intelligent building technologies.

Saying and doing are not the same things. Hope and plans must be accompanied by action! No matter what your age, find a way to contribute. Learn as much as you can and create your own team of activists to help your community whether global or local.

Be the inventors, investors, and contributors you need to be to save your future and the future of all life on our planet!

Beyond-Barcode Scanning Chaos at Walmart Herkimer NY

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Linda Kaidan

Yesterday when shopping at the Herkimer New York Walmart, I had to call for assistance 4 times at the self-checkout, as the software failed to recognize some scanned items, including fresh produce and cat food. My daughter had a worse experience that same day, trying to use her  EBT card. After 30 minutes of shopping, her purchase was canceled and all items returned to the shelves due to a single item recognition failure.

The cashier guessed that it was because she used her EBT card to purchase organic carrots. It is normal for humans to attribute cause to action, but the untrained Walmart clerk’s analysis was wrong: In New York, organic food products can be purchased with SNAP benefits. My daughter noticed that many carts ladened with food were being returned to the shelves by employees.

Walmart’s Deficient Image Capture Checkout Software

It’s apparent that Walmart’s point of sale software is using image capture to verify checkout items. When the barcode or customer-identified item does not agree with the image, the item is rejected by the checkout system. For an EBT purchase, the entire purchase is terminated. This is demoralizing and disrespectful to customers. The Walmart staff is obviously not trained to handle this situation, easily triggering a conflict between the staff member and the frustrated customer.
That my order, purchased with a debit card, wasn’t canceled but my daughter’s SNAP-based purchase was, indicates a value judgment by Walmart staff that SNAP benefit recipients are inherently suspicious.
(When my daughter objected to the cancellation of her order and the rudeness of the customer service rep, the checkout employee called security and store management.)

A better approach would be to publicly identify certain Point of Sale self-checkout machines and let the customer decide to use them as a part of an announced beta test of the software. Customer time should not be wasted because Walmart software doesn’t work. Employees should not speculate about invalid items and should be trained to treat all customers with respect.

Walmart is generally the least expensive and best-stocked place to buy food. Walmart is a leader in Business Intelligence and is planning to fully automate stores, as is Amazon. Change can be challenging–those considering a career in retail should look to other occupations that aren’t so easily automated.

 

 

Fast 3D-Printed Housing in New York State: A Simple Solution for a Complex Time

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Linda Kaidan

PERI, a German technology company, has been the first to create a 3D printed multistory building that is fully German certified. The BOD2 3D printer can construct a 3 story building of 10,000 square feet.

With construction supplies in short demand, it’s a relief to see the debut of a new construction methodology that can decrease construction prices by 50% or more. 3D printing robots have become more functional than ever, and now can be used to create buildings of up to 3 stories. This multi-story functionality is especially important, as it can reduce urban sprawl.  We need never again create another San Fernando Valley of congestion, unbreathable air, and unaffordable homes.

Upstate New York has experienced a massive shortage of housing in the last year. Few homes are available for sale. Housing unavailability is also driven by many who see central and northern NY as an ideal location for remote work and home offices at a more reasonable price than their current homes in more urban areas. Statistics published by the New York State Association of Realtors for the 12 month period ending January 2021 indicate that sales increased by 16.7% and inventory dropped by 26.7%.

Constructiondive.com reports significant increases in basic building material costs over the past year, much of it the result of Covid-19 disruption:

Material % change Jan. 2020
to Jan. 2021
Iron and steel 15.6%
Steel mill products 7.4%
Softwood lumber 73%

SOURCE: Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of BLS data

3D Printing to the Rescue!

3D printed homes are constructed from concrete paste, typically mixed from local materials. Floors and walls, both interior and exterior, are extrusion printed by giant robots which are programmed to manufacture predesigned and tested structures on site. This construction can often be completed in a matter of days and includes whimsical curves that are far more enchanting than right angles and parallel planes. Home construction robots can cost $250,000 and up, but careful research and selection of a manufacturer will help to quickly build cost-efficient, high-quality housing. We certainly hope to see some local 3D printed housing soon spring up here in Upstate New York.

Recent 3D print housing projects in the US include gorgeous $10k Austin TX homeless housing and a home in Millbrook, NY listed for sale on Trulia for $300,000. Don’t be shy! Buy a nice abandoned farm and turn it into an attractive, affordable 3D printed home community. Help house our future😊

Uncertain Times Call For Herkimer County Local Energy Security

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By Linda Kaidan

Local energy security is key to community survival in times of uncertainty, yet
Herkimer County has the lowest level of local solar energy production in NY state.

Solar energy is priced competitively, dependable and environmentally friendly. Solar farms can produce excellent income for farmers and provide secure local energy.  

Herkimer County Solar Energy Production
Herkimer’s solar energy production in bottom tier of NYS counties

Recently we’ve seen how easily supply chains can be disrupted by international catastrophe.

Before Covid-19 appeared in March 2020, it seemed that our favorite foods, cleaning products and cheap manufactured goods made in other countries like China would be endlessly accessible.  Now when we go shopping we are reminded that this is no longer the case. Think about what would happen with a local energy shortage or outage. No heat in our homes. No light. Health care facility malfunction.

Products like energy often have vulnerable supply chains too.

That is why New York has an aggressive program supporting green energy throughout the state. Local green energy produced by wind, water and sun protects the environment. It also ensures that should there be a disruption in availability caused by epidemic, civil unrest or even war we will have the power we need. We will continue to be capable of manufacturing our own products and also have energy for utilities and transportation.

A NYS solar farm map published in 2019 shows solar production by county.

The light counties have the lowest level of solar farm production. Let’s not count on luck to provide Herkimer with energy. Lets build new solar farms in our county that are wildlife friendly, farm friendly and neighbor friendly.

Plans for a local solar farm on approximately 140 acres adjacent to Herkimer College are currently being reviewed by county officials.

This land has significant forest and includes some wetlands. It is located about 1 mile NW of Herkimer Community College’s baseball field parking lot at 188 Sokol Road. Provided wetlands are protected and  consideration is given to wildlife passing through the area, a new solar farm can greatly benefit our county. While losing forest is not desirable, well designed solar farms can accommodate meadow growth favorable to pollinators and can be farm friendly and aesthetically pleasing. 

NYC’s 2019 Homeless Housing Budget of $3.2 Billion Can Build .35 Million People Affordable Homes

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By Linda Kaidan
The above cabin exclusive of interior finishes was constructed by one person in 6 months for $8,000. As the nation faces a housing and food crisis of major proportion, simple solutions can make a huge difference. We have been governed by customs and rules that work against us in this pandemic. We need to use the resources we have intelligently to hold off the chaos that starvation and homelessness bring.

We can economically provide food, housing and self-sufficiency

Using the labor of those in need, inexpensive materials, and existing education programs to ramp up quickly we can achieve multiple goals at the same time.  In New York state our budget can come from ending the absurd practice of using welfare hotels as housing. Key to our success would be the suspension of building regulations to enable crisis housing and the use of trending off-grid methods of heating, power, housing construction, water collection-purification and waste incinerating toilets.

What has been one year’s budget for New York state’s homeless would fund construction of semi-permanent residences, workplaces and food growing facilities serving thousands of people for years to come. A single modified shipping container can house 8 people, 2 per room, with a private entrance. In the following example, housing for 8 people is created, with potential expansion from 80 ft to 480 feet per unit. A budget of $9,000 per person would pay for a multi-unit structure at a cost of $72,000. The structure would utilize green energy, water collected from rain, black water reduction and home gardens.

Before Covid-19 things were already spectacularly bad for those in New York State seeking housing. Now they are even worse as employers close their doors and shed jobs. Just last year, the budget for New York City’s homeless was $3.2 billion for 133,000 people, 1/3 of whom were children.  Will this be another Great Depression? It need not be, when we to do things differently.

$3.2 billion can build .35 million people affordable homes that will last for many years

Using my onetime $9,000 per person figure for 15+ years of housing and the 2019 NYC homeless housing budget, we can solve our housing crisis by helping individuals and families build their own sustainable homes and gardens for a total of (3.2*(10**9)/9000 = .35 million people). And we can do that for many years, not just one year.

 

350 Botswana Elephants Dead: Suspect Cyanobacteria

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by Linda Kaidan

350 Dead Elephants - Cyanobacteria?
Will automated Cyanobacteria Assessment prevent animal deaths in future?

Aerial photographs show groups of dead elephants near ponds. The 350 Botswana Elephants dead appear to have suddenly succumbed after showing signs of neurological impairment. One elephant walked in circles before falling dead on the ground.

While no tissues have been examined to determine cause of death, it is clear that foul play is unlikely. Poachers are not among the suspects as no one removed the elephant tusks. Poison is also not indicated, because predators did not become ill after feeding on the dead elephants.

Cyanobacteria are commonly occurring fresh and salt-water bacteria which can produce cyanotoxins and cause sudden death by asphyxiation. Under all too common conditions ponds and water supplies can become dangerously contaminated.

US multi agency project currently working on remote detection of toxic blooms

US Environmental Protection Agency’s Cyan Project uses satellite based remote sensing to identify toxic algae blooms from space.  The EPA has joined forces with NASA, NOAA and USGS to tackle this widespread water quality problem with a comprehensive automated solution. This project has been ongoing in the US since 2015.

Remote images capture water color which can be used to identify phytoplankton blooms and the presence of cyanobacteria. The Cyan Project is currently validating data collected via remote sensing and analysis against field collected data to determine the accuracy of the remote sensing acquisition process. US federal and state participants including government, educational institutions and private research groups together with published peer reviewed papers will provide a basis of comparison. Required data includes cyanobacteria counts, location and date.

If water quality analysis can be automated around the globe, IOT devices at ponds and lakes can generate audible water quality warnings immediately to deter humans and wildlife from drinking contaminated water. In the meantime, we must do our best to monitor water sources to protect all animals across the globe.

View  available data with android app CyAN

You can view currently available toxic bloom data in US water bodies on your android device . Just download CyAN from GooglePlay and try it:)