Bleats

Wholesome Live Streams That Are More Interesting To Watch Than Trump's Wall

Spend the day watching drunk people get married in Vegas instead.

One of the joys of the internet is webcams. I’ve spent way longer than I would like to admit watching live streams of zoo animals, random people’s sheds, and fuzzy orbs flying around in space. They can be used for all sorts of useful things, and complete and utter nonsense – and falling into the nonsense category is Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s idea to live stream the Mexican border wall.

Yup, Jared Kushner reckons the whole world will want to check in on the “big, beautiful wall”.

We really don’t.

A senior White House official has confirmed it’s a go, saying “there will be a wall cam, and it’ll launch early next year.”

So, in honour of the USA using taxpayers money to live stream a literal wall, here are some other cams you can waste your work day watching.

Abbey Road Cam
This is probably my favourite. There’s a live cam set up that streams the Abbey Road crossing so you can watch people cross the road like The Beatles did, hold up traffic while trying to take photos, and just generally make life hell for the locals. Watch here.

This is what most of them look like.

Ghost Cam
The Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana, is haunted af. Live cams have been set up throughout the library to capture footage of ghosts. Get your ghost hunting hat on, and watch here.

Vegas Wedding Cam
A live cam in a chapel in Vegas lets you watch people swig their beer while being married by an Elvis impersonator. Seriously, everyone I’ve watched go in so far has had a bottle in their hands. Watch here.

Kitten Cam
The Kitten Rescue Sanctuary in Los Angeles, California streams their furry babies 24/7, and if you tune in when their time zone is late evening, you can spot some of their special needs kittens. Watch here.

Grass Growing Cam.
Watch grass grow. That’s it. That’s the live stream. Watch here.

Even Steve Wozniak Is Calling Out Apple's Sexist Credit Card Algorithm

You know it's bad when Steve gets involved.

Here we are again, writing about a piece of technology that has wound up with a sexist algorithm. This time it’s a credit card designed by Apple giving men and women very different credit limits.

The Apple Card is a credit card that was designed by Apple, but it’s run by Goldman Sachs, a massive American bank based in New York. They’ve been contacted by New York’s Department of Financial Services to see if they can find out wtf has happened, but so far haven’t made much progress. 

Goldman Sachs has denied the allegation. This isn’t the first time the financial giant has made headlines – including what’s been called one of the biggest scandals in financial history. 

It all kicked off when software developer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that his wife had been offered a credit limit on the card 20 times less than his, despite them filing taxes together, her paying off pays off her limits in full, and eventually paying for a service to tell them that her credit score is higher than his. Basically, it was pure sexism.

The problem was quickly fixed for David’s wife, but others started coming forward with their own similar stories – including Steve Wozniak, the guy who co-founded Apple in the first place. Apparently the card had given Steve a credit limit that was 10 times higher than the one his wife was given.

On top of that, Wozniak has clearly tried to fix the problem before this, saying that it’s “hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.”

The Apple Card isn’t available in Australia.

But when will we learn that algorithms need some serious monitoring? We’ve had the AI that tags you with racist classifications, the sexist recruitment AI, and the chatbot that went off the deep end after less than a day on Twitter. The Apple card’s sexist antics are just the latest in a long line of bad algorithms, and almost certainly won’t be the last.

This is what happens when teams that monitor tech like this aren’t diverse enough to spot any problems. See you all in a couple of months when another algorithm threatens to throw someone off a roof or something equally as horrific. 

Self Driving Cars Need To Realise That People Won’t Stop Jaywalking

We just won't.

Self driving cars have only recently made their way out of the pages of science fiction books and into our lives. Nothing will ever be perfect unfortunately, and last year the death of a pedestrian made headlines after she was hit by a self driving car in Arizona. 

This is what we expected, but sadly it’s not always the case

Elaine Herzberg was pushing her bike across a section of road away from a pedestrian crossing when she was hit. The National Transportation Safety Board over in the States has investigated the crash, and found that there was no system in place for the self driving car to detect jaywalkers, only people who were crossing where there are marked crossings.

The report has not yet decided who is at fault for the accident, but the sector will be watching closely.

The vehicle that hit her was made by Uber, but with upwards of forty companies (including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, and Google) either working on or selling self driving cars, it’s an lesson that needs to be learned by the technology industry as a whole.

People jaywalk all the time. They just do. We’ve all done it, and we’ll all continue to do it until the end of time. It’s not something that should be punishable by death, and if it requires a bit of extra coding to make sure that an unmanned hunk of metal flying down the road can stop for people, then so be it.

People will never cross the road sensibly

In a response to the report, Uber has said that “We regret the March 2018 crash involving one of our self-driving vehicles that took Elaine Herzberg’s life… We deeply value the thoroughness of the NTSB’s investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations once issued after the National Transport Safety Board’s meeting later this month.”

It’s a lot of fun to dream about what technology could one day bring us, but not at the expense of people’s safety. If we have to wait a few more years for a self driving car while the bugs get worked out, then you know what? I’m ok with that.

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