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IoT is now often referred to any small, internet-connected device that can record specific data and transmit the recorded data to a central location or device for further interpretation. The sensors used are capable of recording audio, video, temperature data, location data, etc. In today’s time, the predominant applications of IoT include driverless cars and home appliances. In the domain of fire safety, the most notable application of IoT could include the use of sensors installed in the buildings. The collection of atmospheric data could be the foundation of altering the human approach for preventing fires, firefighting, and ultimately saving the lives of one and all.Benefits IoT Offer 1. Smarter and Faster Solutions on Robust Networks
Fire prevention and fire safety equipment have undergone a revolution with due credits to IoT. With connections to low power wide area (LPWA) or even cellular networks, fire safety IoT is present for enhancing fire preventions, speeding up response times, and also keeping the first responders safe when they encounter fires. The enhanced data capabilities of IoT has provided the firefighting team with more information for planning evacuations, rescues and most importantly fire suppression.2. Tracking Team Members
The fire engines can act as a wireless hotspot for every IoT linked device present in the inventory of the fire department and the head of the firefighting team can monitor team as well as the movement of every member when they ‘enter’ the fire and direct them accordingly. IoT can be integrated with devices such as alarms, personal safety devices, and fire suit technology. The tracking technology has ensured to keep the firefighters safe by reporting the exact location of each member directly to the commander-in-charge. Lightweight RFID-based trackers reveal the team member’s location at any time-instance and this can be embedded in the fire suit of the member. With the monitoring of each team member’s location, the commanders can map out the response location and offer a precise evacuation for the team movement.3. Preventing and Suppressing Fires
IoT powered fire safety plays an active role to keep everyone safe. A smart home system needs to be capable enough for linking the fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector with home appliances. If there is a detection of fire or carbon monoxide, then it needs to automatically cut off the ignition sources. Today, most of the buildings are equipped with sprinkler systems and the underlying functionality is that the office equipment is usually cheaper than replacing the entire building structure. IoT offers a more targeted firefighting capability, thereby cutting off small fires. A smart IoT-enabled fire system could be used for deploying different measures for specific rooms in order to minimize the damage.4. Robotic Scouts
In the coming time, IoT may even have robotic scouts for clearing the way, marking out the difference between the safe and dangerous rooms. The robotic scouts can also be used to identify the fire victims that are in need of rescue. Robotic scouts could also be used for arriving on the place of fire before humans, thereby reducing the response times. These robots could also be combined for mapping technologies and heat sensors and maybe even deployed to carry oxygen supply for victims and firefighters that are trapped inside a burning infrastructure.5. Sensors for Detecting Early Fires
Fires caused due to electrical and heating equipment are the top-reasons for any residential fire. If the equipment is not properly monitored and maintained, they can undergo electric malfunctions and overheat, resulting in fires. In order to reduce the risk of fires, sensors can be used for performing preventative maintenance on all the household types of equipment like- electrical and fire heating systems. Sensors can be placed on equipment for monitoring the heat signatures and establish a baseline performance to indicate when the equipment has exceeded the prescribed safety norms. The use of sensors could be used for monitoring equipment so that individuals are informed about the unexpected temperature spikes or even equipment misfires.IoT Architecture for Fire Prevention
On the edge of the system, there are pieces of hardware that detect the fire. The hardware includes- Fire Panel systems or sensors for smokes or gas leakages. The next level in the architecture comprises of hardware that is responsible for communicating with the prior layer by the means of either wired means or wireless RF signals. Prior layer consists of hardware like Nodes, Hubs or Gateways and these hardware devices have Internet access by wired or wireless means. This layer is responsible for communicating with the Cloud application server by using the IP protocol and communicates all kind of events that are sensed by the ‘edge’ devices like fire panels and sensors. The health monitoring of the system is very critical as the usefulness of the entire architecture is dependent on the healthy state of the system. The Cloud server serves as the central repository for all the event and health information. It even can have information pertaining to the actual real estate which has the information on the placement of sensors and panels. All the critical information has to be linked to a specific information sensor so that in case of a fire, the firefighting team, as well as the house occupants, are made aware of fire. Accompanying relevant and actionable information will definitely result in causing no damage to life and property.IoT-Based Architecture for Fire Prevention
IoT is now often referred to any small, internet-connected device that can record specific data and transmit the recorded data to a central location or device for further interpretation. The sensors used are capable of recording audio, video, temperature data, location data, etc. In today’s time, the predominant applications of IoT include driverless cars and home appliances. In the domain of fire safety, the most notable application of IoT could include the use of sensors installed in the buildings. The collection of atmospheric data could be the foundation of altering the human approach for preventing fires, firefighting, and ultimately saving the lives of one and chúng tôi prevention and fire safety equipment have undergone a revolution with due credits to IoT. With connections to low power wide area (LPWA) or even cellular networks, fire safety IoT is present for enhancing fire preventions, speeding up response times, and also keeping the first responders safe when they encounter fires. The enhanced data capabilities of IoT has provided the firefighting team with more information for planning evacuations, rescues and most importantly fire chúng tôi fire engines can act as a wireless hotspot for every IoT linked device present in the inventory of the fire department and the head of the firefighting team can monitor team as well as the movement of every member when they ‘enter’ the fire and direct them accordingly. IoT can be integrated with devices such as alarms, personal safety devices, and fire suit technology. The tracking technology has ensured to keep the firefighters safe by reporting the exact location of each member directly to the commander-in-charge. Lightweight RFID-based trackers reveal the team member’s location at any time-instance and this can be embedded in the fire suit of the member. With the monitoring of each team member’s location, the commanders can map out the response location and offer a precise evacuation for the team chúng tôi powered fire safety plays an active role to keep everyone safe. A smart home system needs to be capable enough for linking the fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector with home appliances. If there is a detection of fire or carbon monoxide, then it needs to automatically cut off the ignition sources. Today, most of the buildings are equipped with sprinkler systems and the underlying functionality is that the office equipment is usually cheaper than replacing the entire building structure. IoT offers a more targeted firefighting capability, thereby cutting off small fires. A smart IoT-enabled fire system could be used for deploying different measures for specific rooms in order to minimize the chúng tôi the coming time, IoT may even have robotic scouts for clearing the way, marking out the difference between the safe and dangerous rooms. The robotic scouts can also be used to identify the fire victims that are in need of rescue. Robotic scouts could also be used for arriving on the place of fire before humans, thereby reducing the response times. These robots could also be combined for mapping technologies and heat sensors and maybe even deployed to carry oxygen supply for victims and firefighters that are trapped inside a burning infrastructure.Fires caused due to electrical and heating equipment are the top-reasons for any residential fire. If the equipment is not properly monitored and maintained, they can undergo electric malfunctions and overheat, resulting in fires. In order to reduce the risk of fires, sensors can be used for performing preventative maintenance on all the household types of equipment like- electrical and fire heating systems. Sensors can be placed on equipment for monitoring the heat signatures and establish a baseline performance to indicate when the equipment has exceeded the prescribed safety norms. The use of sensors could be used for monitoring equipment so that individuals are informed about the unexpected temperature spikes or even equipment chúng tôi the edge of the system, there are pieces of hardware that detect the fire. The hardware includes- Fire Panel systems or sensors for smokes or gas leakages. The next level in the architecture comprises of hardware that is responsible for communicating with the prior layer by the means of either wired means or wireless RF signals. Prior layer consists of hardware like Nodes, Hubs or Gateways and these hardware devices have Internet access by wired or wireless means. This layer is responsible for communicating with the Cloud application server by using the IP protocol and communicates all kind of events that are sensed by the ‘edge’ devices like fire panels and sensors. The health monitoring of the system is very critical as the usefulness of the entire architecture is dependent on the healthy state of the system. The Cloud server serves as the central repository for all the event and health information. It even can have information pertaining to the actual real estate which has the information on the placement of sensors and panels. All the critical information has to be linked to a specific information sensor so that in case of a fire, the firefighting team, as well as the house occupants, are made aware of fire. Accompanying relevant and actionable information will definitely result in causing no damage to life and property. Source The Cloud server application is responsible for supporting notification management and has the ability to communicate with the connected occupants regarding the fire-affected property areas to guide them in case of fire events. This communication can take place through either- emails, SMS or even PA systems. The communication tools are engaged by the application administrators based on the emergency situation.
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Do the company’s customers love you?
It’s not a question of whether they like you or think you’re doing an OK
job. It’s not a question of checking the ‘generally satisfied’ box on the
customer questionnaire. It’s a question of whether they love you — can’t
do without you, would-rather-not-buy-it-than-buy-it-from-someone-else
really love you.
And for many, if not most, IT organizations, keeping the trains running
on time is probably of far greater concern than whether or not anyone
loves you. But Jeanne Bliss, the author of the new book Chief Customer
Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action, says IT
professionals need to think about how to make customers thrilled to do
business with the company.
And in a one-on-one interview with Datamation, Bliss says IT
administrators are in a unique position to help various departments work
better together to serve the customer — and create that loving, and
Bliss, herself, is no stranger to working on customer satisfaction.
For 25 years she worked with company presidents and CEOs building
customer loyalty. Back in the 1980s, she worked on ‘the customer
experience’ for Lands’ End, establishing a customer-focused culture,
training phone operators and creating the gift boxing service. From
there, she moved on to Mazda, where she was senior manager of customer
satisfaction and retention. She also worked for Coldwell Banker Corp.,
Allstate Corp. and Microsoft Corp. — all in customer satisfaction
Bliss’ new work hit book shelves on March 31, and she’s focused on
helping other companies find their own customer success stories.
In a discussion with Datamation she talks about what’s going wrong
with customer satisfaction, what IT can do about it, and the roll IT
needs to in the corporate hierarchy.
Q: In general, how are companies doing when it comes to creating
The problem is that each silo [or department] does its own thing and what
happens to customers is an unplanned amalgamation of what comes together.
The CEO says to focus on the customer and then everyone goes and does
their own thing… There’s some pretty sad statistics out there that says
the delivery of a good experience to customers is actually worse than
ever before. There’s a Gallop poll that says only 20 percent of customers
are completely loyal. Zenith did research that says 92 percent of all
retailers have a customer service rating of 70 percent or worse.
What’s happening is as boards and CEOs look at financial requirements and
external metrics, the customer is falling between the cracks. There’s no
prevalent hoopla out there right now about customer work. People are
always looking for a silver bullet. If I just do this one thing, I’ll fix
all our customer problems. There’s no big silver bullet out there. What
we’ve done is automate mediocrity.
Q: How realistic is it to think that you can make customers actually
When I was at Lands End, Fortune magazine did an article on us
called, ”Getting Customers to Love You”. The big revelation about why
we were loved was that we could be counted on. We established peace-of-
mind with our guarantee. We trained our telephone reps to not only know
the products backwards and forwards, but to care why customers were
buying them. Our graveyard shift operators were some of the busiest in
the business because of the calls they’d receive in the middle of the
night from insomniacs who, sure, would buy a turtleneck, but were also on
the line to hear the friendly voice on the other end… Customers loved
us because we respected them and their time. And we made sure that we
translated that respect to actions they could see and feel.
Q: But we’re talking about IT here. How can an IT manager have an
IT is an enabler. They are writing processes and code and automating
customer contacts based on what business tells them to do. But IT has
corporate budget is related to IT and IT spending. And marketing,
operations, sales — each goes, on its own, to IT to establish its own
project. Let’s say in an automotive company the parts and service people
go to IT and say, ‘Let’s track our parts and customer satisfaction.’ IT
will start that project. But then the call center people will start their
own project. Both are good but they’re not connected. Your external
customer will expect that all of that data is interconnected but it’s
not. If you own a Honda and you call in, you expect they know not only
when you last had service, but about your warrantee and when you bought
the car. You don’t know that these silos may not communicate with each
other. IT has been put in this position of power because they’re sorting
projects that are being delivered to them by the silos.
Q: Is it IT’s responsibility to say ‘Whoa. Hold on. We should make
sure that these projects are connected to better serve the customer.’?
It will take someone with a lot of hootspa and power to back up and make
sure they all mean something. That would be ideal [for it to be IT]. It
would at least get the attention of the CEO. Someone from IT needs to
say, ‘We just got five different projects on the same thing.’ IT needs to
different projects are coming in. That gives them a lot of potential for
how will these seven projects impact the customer?’, they can have a more
powerful impact on the customer than they realize. That’s a great angle
Q: In the corporate hierarchy, is IT really in a position to put the
brakes on and tell executives that they need to figure out how to make
Many times IT is brought in at the end as an implementer instead of at
the beginning as an implementer. They need to be brought in as a partner
At Lands’ End, IT was sitting at the table with us and they became these
super creative people who said, ‘If we do this first and this second and
this third, we can do all of this for the customer.’ That is rare but it
certainly should be something that is changing. When IT sits at the
table, they are not just the implementers but also the architects of the
customer experience. I have had the most wonderful relationships with IT
when they’re allowed to sit at the table from the beginning. They have
better ideas about how to automate customer experience. They are inspired
and become active participants. They’re ombudsman role naturally evolves
as they see what they can do for the customer and to the customer. You
want to help them build that customer muscle.
Large-scale farming has a well-earned rep as America’s top eco-villain. But what if the industry could change to be more sustainable? Unthinkable? Turns out, shifting to accommodate our planet is the entire history of agriculture in the United States. Below, how industrial agriculture transformed in the face of environmental disaster in the 1930s—and how it can change to accommodate Earth’s uncertain future.Look to agriculture’s past…
An essay by Ted Genoways
Amid the faded photographs and yellowed clippings in the attic box that holds the sum record of my ancestors, one item stands out. It’s a short article from The Wichita Weekly Eagle, boldly headlined: “Sam Genoway’s Farm Tractor.” Sam, a distant cousin of mine, was apparently so happy to see his name in the paper that he didn’t bother to make sure the writer got the spelling correct. But the story wasn’t really about him anyway. As the title would suggest, the focus was Sam’s tractor. “People have found out how many different kinds of work he can do,” his wife, Carrie Mae, told the reporter, “and they come from miles around.”
It was May 1917. America had declared war on Germany, and President Woodrow Wilson classified wheat, what Sam grew, as a “material of war.” The Department of Agriculture made the grain’s production a national priority, and Henry Ford announced he would mass-produce tractors in time for harvest. That season, Sam and his Caterpillar 45 plowed hundreds of acres. “I don’t expect this to last such a great while,” Carrie Mae said, “as the people who hire him soon decide they need a tractor of their own.”
But when European grain producers reentered the global market, U.S. agriculture found itself perilously overproductive. Crop prices fell to record lows, and people who had bought tractors and equipment struggled to keep up with the interest on their debts. Farmers abandoned or fallowed 33 million acres of newly opened ground just as the drought of the 1930s arrived. Unprotected and unplanted, topsoil dried up and blew away, forming “black blizzards.” From the Texas Panhandle to southern Nebraska, from the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to the rolling prairie near Garden Plain, Kansas, where Sam lived, tens of thousands of families lost their farms in what came to be known as the Dust Bowl.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the White House in 1933, he appointed Henry A. Wallace as Secretary of Agriculture to tackle the problem. Historians often argue that Wallace, founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company, pulled farms out of the Dust Bowl with corn that resists drought. But FDR went much further. To reduce dust storms and soil loss, he paid foresters to plant more than 200 million trees around fields. He signed the Soil Conservation Act, establishing subsidies for landowners to restore native plant life. What really rescued agriculture was policy that protected resources and rewarded those who revised wasteful practices.
That clipping about Sam’s tractor reminds us that American ingenuity has solved countless crises, but it has created many as well. Our history, like how the Dust Bowl formed in part thanks to technology outpacing stewardship, should guide our decision-making. Large-scale conventional agriculture, or what we often call “Big Ag,” can make massive investments in research to improve yields and reduce its impact on Earth’s resources. Present-day farmers have access to more data, more research, and more support than any previous generation. But without considering the unintended consequences of getting bigger and growing more, we risk creating the next generation’s problems.
Examples of this go well beyond the Dust Bowl. New irrigation systems helped farmers survive the next drought in the 1950s, but it also depleted aquifers. Genetically modified seeds made it possible to plant more crops on fewer acres, but it also led to declining soil health and food with lower nutrient value. Feedlots and enormous hog and chicken barns, often referred to as “concentrated animal-feeding operations,” expedited meat production and freed up farmland, but they’ve also driven the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and contaminated communities’ drinking water. Now, as engineers move toward self-triggered irrigation, self-driving combine harvesters, and animal confinements with self-feeding systems, there’s a great opportunity to improve profits—but also the risk that production will once again pose unforeseen threats to precious natural resources.
Sam, bolstered by federal policy, weathered a decade of hardship and privation. Stories like his are a reminder that Americans can chart a better course through trying times ahead, but only if we learn from past mistakes. Big Ag is a powerful force. We must ensure it is a positive one, for farmers and for the uncertain future of our planet.…to fix its future.
Practical solutions to industrial agriculture’s biggest problems, by Nick Stockton.Water
Overconsumption, pollution, climate change, and the increasing demands of a swelling population are drying out key agricultural regions like California, the Mediterranean, and Central America.
Mind the overspray.Problem: Regular droughts
Solution: Early-rising plantsproblem: H₂O overuse
Solution: Probes to test the waters
You can’t ask vegetables or grains when they’re thirsty, but you might be able to decipher how many drinks your soil’s serving up. Beginning in 2013, a group of Kansas farmers took on a five-year challenge to reduce their groundwater consumption by 20 percent. By stabbing electronic probes into their combined 170 fields, the experimental growers were able to check on the moisture content of their soils and turn on the sprinklers only when the terra firma was truly too dry to sustain their crops. In the end, the thirst-by-proxy method paid dividends: Water-watchers grew 98 percent of the corn yield their neighbors did, but used 23 percent less liquid. That’s good news for both our water stores and our farmers: Easing up on the pumps helped probe-users end the season with 4 percent more cash.Soil
The U.N. estimates intensive agriculture has seriously degraded one-third of Earth’s productive land—and continues to ruin about 24 billion tons of dirt each year. With innovative soil supplements, our food system can tread more lightly.
Big agriculture. The VoorhesProblem: Fertilizer fallout
Solution: Basalt of the earth
Industrial fertilizers help us grow lots of food for humans and livestock. A 2023 study from the University of California at Berkeley showed that conventional yields were, on average, 20 percent higher than those of organic farming. On the flip side, relying on these chemical boosters degrades soil quality and food’s nutrient content. Organic field dressing is better but works slowly. Maybe there’s a third way: rocks. Basalt’s got what plants crave, like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Adding broken bits of the volcanic stone to the soil also sucks up carbon and helps with moisture retention. Sound like snake oil? California’s Strategic Growth Council, a committee that directs grant dollars toward sustainability projects, doesn’t think so. In 2023, it spent $4.7 million to test basalt fertilization on acreage across the state. One of the biggest challenges is pulverizing the material to just the right size: Big chunks don’t break down quickly enough, and small grains cost too much to make.Problem: CO₂ emissions
Solution: Coral reefs on land
Agriculture expels roughly 15 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gases; even tilling soil releases troublesome amounts of CO₂. “Cutting down on emissions is fine, but it’s too late to rely on simply reducing fossil fuel use,” says Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State. Rasmussen’s proposal is coral-like carbon capture, which means essentially growing “reefs” underground. At sea, these ecosystems consist of the exoskeletons of tiny marine creatures, which harvest carbon dioxide from the ocean to build their shells. Rasmussen’s team wants to leverage soil’s naturally occurring microbes, which can process carbon dioxide in the same way. Researchers would seed these microbes in the soil, where they’d turn emissions into calcium. The faux reefs could even sit under nonarable land, sucking up atmospheric CO₂ without the risk of denting any farm equipment.Problem: toxic runoff
Solution: Helpful germs
The Gulf of Mexico has a corn problem: Growers across middle America fertilize crops with gobs of synthetic nitrogen. The runoff drains into the Mississippi River, which eventually flushes into the Gulf, hundreds of miles away. Here, nitrogen-hungry algae bloom into massive “dead zones” that suffocate other marine life. Mexico might have a corn solution: Plant biologists from the University of California at Davis and the University of Wisconsin at Madison found several wild strains of Mexican corn that produce their own nitrogen. The plants form above-ground roots that secrete a gel containing symbiotic bacteria. These microbes convert atmospheric nitrogen into necessary nutrients. The scientists have cultivated the self-nourishing varietal in both Wisconsin and California, observing similar results. They are currently investigating whether we can engineer high-yield commercial corn with similar talents, thereby reducing America’s need to fertilize its No. 1 agricultural product.Animals
Americans get nearly two-thirds of their protein from meat, milk, and eggs, but raising billions of beings creates a feast of unsavory problems. Algebra and algae are here to help.
A menu tweak could quell cows’ methane burps.Problem: Poop lagoons
Solution: The other brown energy
It’s common for livestock farmers to dump animal feces into open-air “lagoons,” a practice that’s especially dangerous when heavy rains overfill these pools, adding dung to the flood waters. During 2023’s Hurricane Florence, for example, manure from dozens of North Carolina hog operations spilled out of such basins. Even without the help of natural disasters, lagoons can leak or overflow into local water supplies. Good thing poop ponds aren’t our only option. Large bacteria-filled tanks known as anaerobic digesters can transform waste into methane gas. Agriculturalists can then convert the fumes into electricity they can either sell back to the grid or use to power their operations. In 2023, the EPA’s AgStar Financial Services cut more than 4 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions by offering cheaper microdigesters to smaller farms. That reduction was the work of just 248 digester projects, a tiny fragment of the country’s more than 2 million farms.Problem: Destroyed soil
Solution: Moo math
Many cattle ranchers pack their land with as many cows as it can hold. This is a losing strategy. Crowds graze so quickly that pastures can’t regrow their best grasses. This exposes bare soil to the elements, causing it to lose nutrients and volume. Overstocked areas also worsen the landscape’s overall ecology by leaving little room for other plants and animals. The answer might be as simple as determining exactly how many cows can graze on a piece of land without doing damage. Texas A&M University researcher Monte Rouquette raises cattle on experimental plots, calculating how rainfall, soil composition, and other factors impact a landscape’s ability to support a number of livestock. He also catalogs biodiversity and how herd numbers impact the quality and quantity of the meat. While his models are specific to East Texas (his home, and home to millions of cows), his algebraic approach could work elsewhere, and he shares his models with the USDA.Problem: Cows’ greenhouse gases
Solution: Kelp help
When cows eat, they burp. A lot. In fact, for all the talk of farts, bovine belching is responsible for around 70 percent of cattle methane issuance. What’s more, the combined burps of Earth’s billion-head herd constitute roughly 14.5 percent of the planet’s total greenhouse-gas emissions in a given year. University of California at Davis animal scientist Ermias Kebreab and his team found that mixing red macroalgae into their dairy cows’ feed resulted in a 60 percent drop in methane-loaded…emissions. The desiccated seaweed addition seems to inhibit enzymes produced by gut microbes in the mammals’ first of four stomachs, and at least one of these enzymes appears to be instrumental in the formation of methane. At first the ruminants ate slightly less of the fishy feed compared with their usual supper, but a smidge of molasses to cover up the unfamiliar smell helped ease them into their new better-burp diets.Problem: Invincible bugs
Solution: Keep the uber-sects apart
Farmers of decades past could lose entire seasons of crops to insects like rootworms, whiteflies, and aphids, but early solutions brought their own problems, like the pesticide-driven decimation of our bee populace. Researchers have explored other options, including modifying crops so they can help kill pests, but that backfired too. These engineered plants never slay all their targets because some invaders carry inborn resistance to the bug-harming proteins. Once the modified crop culls the rest of the swarm, those unpoisonable leftovers have only each other to make babies with. Presto: a new generation of better, badder creepy-crawlers. Researchers at the University of Arizona have gotten around this by planting unmodified seeds in genetically altered fields, which lets some nonresistant bugs survive and mix their susceptible DNA with their tougher buddies’. This method is labor intensive, though, so the Arizona group teamed up with some scientists in China to try crossbreeding. They bred altered cotton with an unmodified version, resulting in a variety that spawns a 75-25 mix of resistant to nonresistant plants.Problem: chemical fertilizers
Solution: In living clover
Soil already contains lots of nitrogen, but it’s missing the few molecules that let plants turn it into nutrients. Many cattle ranchers spray pastures with waterway-polluting chemical fertilizers to ensure their herd has plenty of tall, lush grass to eat throughout the season. That’s good for the cows but damaging for our soil and marine life. Clover could provide a spray alternative. The roots of this cover crop house symbiotic bacteria that convert nitrogen into the chemically “fixed” variety plants can use. Researchers at Texas A&M University figured out a way to put clover to work for their grasses: They seeded fields with the legume in late fall, before the grass sprouted. The cattle then noshed on the trefoil and pooped fixed nitrogen, helping the following season’s grass flourish. Not only did this method reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers, it also extended the grazing season as animals munched on the yummy new greenery.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2023 Make It Last issue of Popular Science.
The internet of things and its interconnected web of usefulness is the sort of thing that, as annoying as it can sometimes be, quickly becomes integral to one’s life. In other words, IoT isn’t going away anytime soon, and as 2023 looms, that means that experts everywhere have plenty of predictions about what we can expect to see in the industry’s near future.
John Grimm, senior director of security strategy at Thales eSecurity, had three IoT predictions to share with TechCo in particular. The industry will consolidate, for starters, but will still have more vulnerabilities than ever.Acceleration of Consolidation
Perhaps the largest prediction Grimm makes is about the speed at which the IoT will restructure itself to introduce more comprehensive standards.
“We will start to see an acceleration of consolidation. The number of IoT products and platforms is growing, as well as the number of security bodies, initiatives and standards that are coming out. It is inevitable that we’ll begin to see consolidation of standard activities, particularly around IoT platforms, with over 300-400 platform products available now. As the market matures, there won’t be nearly as many products available as there are now,” Grimm states.
That consolidation extends to how companies integrate IoT needs into their business, too:
“We will see continued merging of traditional safety (e.g. safety of employees) and IT security. And the more connected devices we see, the more prevalent this integration will become,” Grimm explains.
That consolidation of IoT resources can’t come soon enough, given the next prediction.The Changing Face of Vulnerabilities
Breaches, hacks, and internet outages are all a potential problem for IoT devices or hubs, which means that cyber security — an industry with its own 2023 predictions — remains a growing concern.
“Recent vulnerabilities have been discovered that are bigger and more impactful than ever before, i.e. CAN bus, which is found in all cars. Rather than being based on specific products or specific vendors, these vulnerabilities are something bigger, and more wide-ranging. Some products that have been around for years are now facing vulnerabilities, which is causing us to question trust in existing and new products,” Grimm says.
In short, hardware is a concern, no matter how long it has been around, given constant software developments. Staying updated might not be enough to keep your IoT devices totally safe. And, as we’ve mentioned before, the IoT’s networking capabilities mean it can be used for large DDoS attacks.Analytics Tools
As IoT continues to become more common, businesses will realize that they now have a valuable source of data, and that data will need to analyzed, bringing analytics tools into a stronger focus than they are now.
“The exciting tools in IoT right now are the analytics tools that try to make sense of all the data and the visualisation tools that try to bring the analysis to life. Vendors of these solutions are seeing their prospects and customers ask harder questions about data protection. We can definitely predict that questions will be asked to providers of these tools, as people begin to explore the next layer down and not just focus on how the product appears. It gets particularly ‘sticky’ in the healthcare industry when we think about IoT devices and personal data,” Grimm says.
Perhaps by 2023, we’ll have a few more answers to the questions that 2023 will stir up in the IoT sector.
Read more about the Internet of Things on TechCo
Around the same time, another image popped up on the forums of the conservative Web site chúng tôi Now the sign read “Lcpl Boudreaux saved my dad, then he rescued my sister,” and a debate raged. Other versions of the sign appeared-one was completely blank, apparently to show how easily a photo can be doctored, and another said “My dad blew himself up on a suicide bombing and all I got was this lousy sign.” By this point, Boudreaux, 25, was back in his hometown of Houma, Louisiana, after his Iraq tour, and he found out about the tempest only when a fledgling Marine brought a printout of the “killed my dad” picture to the local recruiters´ office where Boudreaux was serving. Soon after, he learned he was being investigated by the Pentagon. He feared court-martial. It would be months before he would learn his fate.
Falling victim to a digital prank and having it propagate over the Internet may seem about as likely as getting struck by lightning, but in the digital age, anyone can use inexpensive software to touch up photos, and their handiwork is becoming increasingly difficult to detect. Most of these fakes tend to be harmless-90-pound housecats, sharks attacking helicopters, that sort of thing. But hoaxes, when convincing, can do harm. During the 2004 presidential election campaign, a potentially damning image proliferated on the Internet of a young John Kerry sharing a speaker´s platform with Jane Fonda during her “Hanoi Jane” period. The photo was eventually revealed to be a deft composite of two images, but who knows how many minds had turned against Kerry by then. Meanwhile, politicians have begun to engage in photo tampering for their own ends: This July it emerged that a New York City mayoral candidate, C. Virginia Fields, had added two Asian faces to a promotional photograph to make a group of her supporters seem more diverse.
“Everyone is buying low-cost, high-quality digital cameras, everyone has a Web site, everyone has e-mail, Photoshop is easier to use; 2004 was the first year sales of digital cameras outpaced traditional film cameras,” says Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College computer scientist and a leading researcher in the nascent realm of digital forensics. “Consequently, there are more and more cases of high-profile digital tampering. Seeing is no longer believing. Actually, what you see is largely irrelevant.”
That´s a problem when you consider that driver´s licenses, security cameras, employee IDs and other digital images are a linchpin of communication and a foundation of proof. The fact that they can be easily altered is a big deal-but even more troubling, perhaps, is the fact that few people are aware of the problem and fewer still are addressing it.
It won´t be long-if it hasn´t happened already-before every image becomes potentially suspect. False images have the potential to linger in the public´s consciousness, even if they are ultimately discredited. And just as disturbingly, as fakes proliferate, real evidence, such as the photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, could be discounted as unreliable.
And then there´s the judicial system, in which altered photos could harm the innocent, free the guilty, or simply cause havoc. People arrested for possession of child pornography now sometimes claim that the images are not of real children but of computer-generated ones-and thus that no kids were harmed in the making of the pornography (reality check: authorities say CG child porn does not exist). In a recent civil case in Pennsylvania, plaintiff Mike Soncini tussled with his insurance company over a wrecked vehicle, claiming that the company had altered digital photos to imply that the car was damaged before the accident so as to avoid paying the full amount due. In Connecticut, a convicted murderer appealed to the state supreme court that computer-enhanced images of bite marks on the victim that were used to match his teeth were inadmissible (his appeal was rejected). And in a Massachusetts case, a police officer has been accused of stealing drugs and money from his department´s evidence room and stashing them at home. His wife, who has accused him of spousal abuse, photographed the evidence and then confronted the cop, who allegedly destroyed the stolen goods. Now the only evidence that exists are digital pictures shot by someone who might have a motive for revenge. “This is an issue that´s waiting to explode,” says Richard Sherwin, a professor at New York Law School, “and it hasn´t gotten the visibility in the legal community that it deserves.”
But Farid and other experts are concerned that they´ll never win. The technologies that enable photo manipulation will grow as fast as the attempts to foil them-as will forgers´ skills. The only realistic goal, Farid believes, is to keep prevention and detection techniques sophisticated enough to stop all but the most determined and skillful. “We´re going to make it so the average schmo can´t do it,” he says.
Such programs abound. Five million copies of Adobe Photoshop have been licensed, iPhoto is bundled with all new Apple computers, and Picasa 2 is available free from Google. This software not only interprets the original data; it´s capable of altering it-to remove unwanted background elements, zoom in on the desired part of an image, adjust color, and more. And the capabilities are increasing. The latest version of Photoshop, CS2, includes a “vanishing point” tool, for example, that drastically simplifies the specialized art of correcting perspective when combining images, to make composites look more realistic. Nor are these programs difficult to master. Just as word-processing programs like Microsoft Word have made the production of professional-looking documents a cakewalk, photo-editing tools make us all accomplished photo manipulators fairly quickly. Who hasn´t removed red-eye from family pictures?
Before the digital age, photo-verification experts sought to examine the negative-the single source of all existing prints. Today´s equivalent of a negative is the RAW file. RAWs are output from a camera before any automatic adjustments have corrected hue and tone. They fix the image in its purest, unaltered state. But RAW files are unwieldy-they don´t look very good and are memory hogs-hence only professional photographers tend to use them. Nor are they utterly trustworthy: Hackers have shown themselves capable of making a fake RAW file based on an existing photo, creating an apparent original.
But digital technology does provide clues that experts can exploit to identify the fakery. In most cameras, each cell registers just one color-red, green or blue-so the camera´s microprocessor has to estimate the proper color based on the colors of neighboring cells, filling in the blanks through a process called interpolation. Interpolation creates a predictable pattern, a correlation among data points that is potentially recognizable, not by the naked eye but by pattern-recognition software programs.
Farid has developed algorithms that are remarkably adept at recognizing the telltale signs of forgeries. His software scans patterns in a data file´s binary code, looking for the disruptions that indicate that an image has been altered. Farid, who has become the go-to guy in digital forensics, spends a great deal of time using Photoshop to create forgeries and composites and then studying their underlying data. What he´s found is that most manipulations leave a statistical trail.
Consider what happens when you double the size of an image in Photoshop. You start with a 100-by-100-pixel image and enlarge it to 200 by 200. Photoshop must create new pixels to make the image bigger; it does this through interpolation (this is the second interpolation, after the one done by the camera´s processor when the photo was originally shot). Photoshop will “look” at a white pixel and an adjoining black pixel and decide that the best option for the new pixel that´s being inserted between them is gray.
Each type of alteration done in Photoshop or iPhoto creates a specific statistical relic in the file that will show up again and again. Resizing an image, as described above, creates one kind of data pattern. Cutting parts of one picture and placing them into another picture creates another. Rotating a photo leaves a unique footprint, as does “cloning” one part of a picture and reproducing it elsewhere in the image. And computer-generated images, which can look strikingly realistic, have their own statistical patterns that are entirely different from those of images created by a camera. None of these patterns is visible to the naked eye or even easily described, but after studying thousands of manipulated images, Farid and his students have made a Rosetta stone for their recognition, a single software package consisting of algorithms that search for seven types of photo alteration, each with its own data pattern.
If you employed just one of these algorithms, a fake would be relatively easy to miss, says digital-forensic scientist Jessica Fridrich of the State University of New York at Binghamton. But the combination is powerful. “It would be very difficult to have a forgery that gets through all those tests,” she says.
provide information about the compressed and lower-quality photos typically found on the Internet.
Given those rather large blind spots, some scientists are taking a completely different tack. Rather than try to discern after the fact whether a picture has been altered, they want to invisibly mark photos in the moment of their creation so that any subsequent tampering will be obvious.
Jessica Fridrich of SUNY Binghamton works on making digital watermarks. Watermarked data are patterns of zeros and ones that are created when an image is shot and embedded in its pixels, invisible unless you look for them with special software. Watermarks are the modern equivalent of dripping sealing wax on a letter-if an image is altered, the watermark will be “broken” digitally, and your software will tell you.
The Canon kit won´t prevent self-made controversies, such as National Geographic´s digitally relocating an Egyptian pyramid to fit better on its February 1982 cover, or Newsweek´s grafting Martha Stewart´s head onto a model´s body on its March 7, 2005, cover, but it would have caught, and thus averted, another journalism scandal: In 2003 photographer Brian Walski was fired from the Los Angeles Times for melding two photographs to create what he felt was a more powerful composition of a British soldier directing Iraqis to take cover. Still, many media outlets remain dismissive of verification technology, putting their faith in the integrity of trusted contributors and their own ability to sniff out fraud. “If we tried to verify every picture, we´d never get anything done,” says Stokes Young, managing editor at Corbis, which licenses stock photos. As damaging mistakes pile up, though, wire services and newspapers may change their attitude.
Meanwhile, work is progressing at Fridrich´s lab to endow photos with an additional level of security. Fridrich, whose accomplishments include winning the 1982 Czechoslovakian Rubik´s Cube speed-solving championship, is developing a camera that not only watermarks a photograph but adds key identifying information about the photographer as well. Her team has modified a commercially available Canon camera, converting the infrared focusing sensor built into its viewfinder to a biometric sensor that captures an image of the photographer´s iris at the instant a photo is shot. This image is converted to digital data that is stored invisibly in the image file, along with the time and date and other watermark data.
Lawyers are just beginning to grasp the technology and its ramifications, but the bench is especially ignorant. “Trial judges have not been adequately apprised of the risks and technology,” says New York Law School´s Sherwin. “I can recount one example where in order to test an animation that was being offered in evidence, the judge asked the attorney to print it out. What we really have is a generation gap in the knowledge base. Courts are going to have to learn about these risks themselves and find ways to address them.”
One bright spot is that for now, at least, we only have to worry about still images. Fredericks says that to modify video convincingly remains an incredibly painstaking business. “When you´re dealing with videotape, you´re dealing with 30 frames per second, and a frame is two individual pictures. The forger would have to make 60 image corrections for each second. It´s an almost impossible task.” There´s no Photoshop for movies, and even video altered with high-end equipment, such as commercials employing reanimated dead actors, isn´t especially believable.
Digital-forensics experts say they´re in an evolutionary race not unlike the battle between spammers and anti-spammers -you can create all the filters you want, but determined spammers will figure out how to get through. Then it´s time to create new filters. Farid expects the same of forgers. With enough resources and determination, a forger will break a watermark, reverse-engineer a RAW file, and create a seamless fake that eludes the software. The trick, Farid says, is continuing to raise the bar high enough that most forgers are daunted.
The near future of detection technology is more of the same, only (knock wood) better: more-secure photographer-verification systems, more tightly calibrated algorithms, more-robust watermarks. The future, though, promises something more innovative: digital ballistics. Just as bullets can be traced to the gun that fired them, digital photos might reveal the camera that made them. No light sensor is flawless; all have tiny imperfections that can be read in the image data. Study those glitches enough, and you recognize patterns-patterns that can be detected with software.
Still, no matter what technologies are in place, it´s likely that top-quality fakes will always elude the system. Poor-quality ones, too. The big fish learn how to avoid the net; the smallest ones slip through it. Low-resolution fakes are more detectable by Farid´s latest algorithm, which analyzes the direction of light falling on the scene, but if a photo is compressed enough, forget about it. It becomes a mighty small fish.
Which brings us back to Joey Boudreaux, the Marine who found himself denounced by his local paper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, as having embarrassed “himself, the Marine Corps and, unfortunately, his home state.” The Marines conducted two investigations last year, both of which were inconclusive. Even experts with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services couldn´t find evidence to support or refute claims of manipulation.
Boudreaux has taken the incident in stride. “My first reaction, I thought it was funny,” he said in a telephone interview. “I didn´t have a second reaction until they called and said, â€You´re getting investigated.´ ” He insists that he never gave the Iraqi boy a sign with any words but “Welcome Marines,” but he has no way to prove it. Neither he nor anyone he knows still possesses a version of the image the way he says he created it, and no amount of Internet searching has turned it up. All that exists are the low-quality clones on the Web. Farid´s software can´t assess Boudreaux´s claim because the existing images are too compressed for his algorithms. And even Farid´s trained eye can´t tell if either of the two existing images-the “good” sign or the “bad” one-are real or if, as Boudreaux claims, both are fakes.
An unsatisfactory conclusion, but a fitting one. Today´s authentication technology is such that even after scrutiny by software and expert eyes, all you may have on your side is your word. You´d better hope it´s good enough.
Steve Casimiro is a writer and photographer in Monarch Beach, California.
by Courtesy of chúng tôi
How well did you spot the phonies? REAL Plane landing at the St. Maarten airport, located about 40 feet from the beach
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE China lands on moon! Not really. But making it look authentic is easy, for a forger.
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE chúng tôi
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE A skyscraperâ€Jenga game merger, from chúng tôi
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE chúng tôi
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE From chúng tôi which hosts Photoshop contests
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How well did you spot the phonies? REAL An F/A-18´s sonic boom. Experts are unsure what creates the cloud; it may be caused by water-droplet condensation
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How well did you spot the phonies? FAKE A composite that hit the Internet as a purported National Geographic photo
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How well did you spot the phonies? REAL Nine-foot, 646-pound catfish recently caught in Thailand
Beyond her technological achievements, the United States, which carried 1,928 passengers and 900 crew on Atlantic crossings between 1952 and 1969, is a marvel of mid-century design. In our 1952 article, we touted her elegance: “There is a lightness and easiness about her lines. The bow springs forward not sharply, but cleanly and in harmony with the bulk behind it. The white superstructure and the great stacks lie easily on the sleek black hull.”. Eric Adams
She’s the most famous ship that never sank, and a technological triumph of her era. At her launch, she boasted the most extensive use of lightweight aluminum in any structure, full air-conditioning, and the most rigorous fireproofing ever seen in a commercial vessel. She was fast, too—the speed record she set on her maiden transatlantic voyage in 1952 still stands.
Today, in this age of bloated, outrageously overendowed cruise ships, our elegant national treasure, the SS United States, languishes at a pier in Philadelphia. There, within sight of the diners downing Swedish meatballs at Ikea, she awaits either a successful preservation bid, or the scrapyard. With luck–and a committed backer–it will be the former, says Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy and granddaughter of the ship’s designer, renowned naval architect William Francis Gibbs. “The SS United States is an American original, an iconic symbol of the nation’s post-war pride, national purpose, and industrial might,” Gibbs notes. “Not only is she still afloat, but even in her dotage, she symbolizes something important about ambition, innovation, and this nation’s can-do spirit. She tells us that anything is possible.”
A May 1952 feature in Popular Science noted the vehicle’s ambitious goal of raising the bar in nautical performance, safety, and luxury—and stealing supremacy from the Britain’s RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.
I wanted to see for myself what the experience of her three-day crossings might have been like, so I went aboard recently with several of the Conservancy’s leaders. Though all the furnishings and most of the vessel’s hardware have been removed and sold or auctioned off, the ship remains in remarkably good condition. Critically, it’s also still got its mojo. Even in its embattled state, the United States commands authority and respect.
Beyond her technological achievements, the United States, which carried 1,928 passengers and 900 crew on Atlantic crossings between 1952 and 1969, is a marvel of mid-century design. In our 1952 article, we touted her elegance: “There is a lightness and easiness about her lines. The bow springs forward not sharply, but cleanly and in harmony with the bulk behind it. The white superstructure and the great stacks lie easily on the sleek black hull.” Eric Adams
The ship’s knife-like prow helped her cut through the water at up to 38 knots, or 44 mph. Her four Westinghouse steam turbines generated 240,000 shaft-horsepower. The SS United States is 990 feet long and 101 feet across, with 12 decks and a 47,000-ton water displacement. By comparison, the RMS Titanic was similarly sized—882 feet long and 92 feet wide, with 9 decks and a 52,000-ton displacement. (SS United States has a lower displacement than Titanic thanks to the former’s lightweight construction. Her contemporaries, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, each displaced about 80,000 tons despite being similarly sized.) By the way, the current world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s MS Allure of the Seas, is a relative beast: 1,187 feet long, 198 feet across, with 16 passenger decks. It displaces a mammoth 100,000 tons. Eric Adams
This door on the port side shows the deteriorating paint. The ship was assembled with 1,500,000 aluminum and steel rivets and more than 1,500 miles of welding. Many of the ship’s capabilities and specifications were kept secret, since the U.S. government—which helped finance construction—held the right to convert the ship to a troop transport in times of war. The converted vessel could carry up to 15,000 troops—though it’s unclear if they would all be permitted to use the ship’s pool. Eric Adams
The starboard-side promenade on the Promenade Deck was fully enclosed, but with operable windows. SS United States was the first fully air-conditioned passenger ship. That posed a particular challenge to engineers, since air-conditioning at sea is more challenging than on land—there’s greater moisture and greater disparities between interior and exterior temperatures. Designers installed traps to collect moisture, and thermostatic controls in each cabin to warm the air—circulated at a steady 50 degrees—to the occupant’s preference. Eric Adams
This is the Man Deck passageway, with the remains of first-class cabins on the right. All cabin furnishings were made of aluminum or plastic instead of wood, lending the interior design a distinctly modern look. The color schemes ranged from soft tones to brighter hues. Think Mad Men at sea. Eric Adams
The tourist-class smoking room on the Main Deck, sitting just forward of the grand staircase. Allure of the Seas—Royal Caribbean’s monstrous flagship—has 25 restaurants and cafes, an ice-skating rink, and a two-deck dance hall, but I’d take this any day. (Well, minus the smoking…) Eric Adams
The port-side foyer on Promenade Deck. Through this door sits an small dining area that’s separate from the main dining room. The black paint here is the original color. Eric Adams
The grand staircase on the Main Deck level. The staircase was built of steel and linoleum. There are also elevators, just opposite the staircase. Eric Adams
The ballroom on the Promenade Deck. The ship contained a multitude of luxuries—sculpted glass decoration, a plaster relief map of the North Atlantic, anodized aluminum panels in soft colors, and many sculptures. The only wood on the ship was a butcher’s block and a grand piano, which was made of a rare fire-resistant wood. Eric Adams
One of the two movie theaters on SSUS, this one on the Promenade Deck, for first-class and cabin-class passengers. There’s also a swimming pool, barber shop, night club, library, and several lounges and beauty shops onboard. Eric Adams
This passageway from the port-side dining area on the Promenade Deck into the ballroom contains the only remaining original and untouched surface on the ship—the white ceiling in the curved passageway. This is one of the few jogs in the ship’s layout—most passageways are long straightaways in which you can distinctly see the curvature of the floor. Eric Adams
Looking aft from the port side of the Bridge area. The railings are all long sections of extruded aluminum, and the decks, per our original reporting in 1952, are “remarkably open, swept free of the all possible protrusions and fittings, with few ups and downs.” The stacks, shown here, are fitted with panels that wind-tunnel tests proved would keep exhaust fumes clear of all decks, regardless of the ship’s speed. Eric Adams
The ship’s port-side Sun Deck, looking aft through a porthole. The ship had appearances in many movies—including West Side Story—and hosted a long list of dignitaries and personalities on its voyages, including Bob Hope, Princess Grace of Monaco Harry Truman, and Rita Hayworth. (Former President Bill Clinton sailed on SSUS in 1968, and is a strong supporter of current efforts to preserve the ship.) The ship was taken permanently out of service in 1969, after a decade of financial struggles plagues the ship and her operator. It was a victim of labor disputes, skyrocketing oil prices, and the growing jet age, which spawned a fundamental shift in how people chose to travel. Eric Adams
The view from above the Bridge, looking forward. Despite her superficial rust and peeling paint, the SS United States is still structurally sound, and offers over half a million square feet of “prime waterfront real estate,” Gibbs says. She hopes the ship will become a mixed-use development and museum complex, and with retail, hospitality, and event space. Eric Adams
The restored vessel could also include the SS United States Center for Design and Discovery, a museum and educational center that Gibbs envisions would explore the ship’s history as well as “themes of 20th century industrial design and innovation, the transatlantic liner era, and American cultural identity and artistic expression.” The Conservancy estimates that it would cost $1 billion to return the ship to full maritime service, but a fraction of that to restore it and make it usable as a permanent installation. Eric Adams
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