anonymous asked:

Where did you go for undergrad? I am currently a junior in hs and have been looking at so many different colleges it has left me so worried-- my end goal is surgery

Hi anon!

I’m not going to say where I went, out of privacy concerns. 

Originally posted by plumkat


There are SO MANY schools that will be able to prepare you for med school, and help you achieve your goals. 

Originally posted by abzzylove

For sure look at admission rates to med schools, but a reputable school should be able to get you there.  What I would focus on right now is finding one that is a good fit for YOU. Do you want to stay local, or go far away? What extracurriculars are you passionate about? Do you want a big school, or small school? Urban, suburban, rural? Are there any school values you really care about, like social justice or faith? What about class sizes, advising, etc? 

Originally posted by theweekmagazine

Here’s my advice:

-Look at schools that may seem to be out of your price range at face value. Research aid and scholarship opportunities at these schools. Private schools often have deep pockets, and can give you great scholarships. I was very lucky and was given scholarships that enabled me to attend a great school. Some state schools have issues with getting people into classes they need to graduate, and they can even be less affordable than private ones. Look for good 4 year graduation/student retention rates. Keep an open mind.

- Tour as many colleges as you can, and speak one-on-one with current students. They will give you the real scoop on what might not be included in the shiny brochure.

-Find somewhere that you’ll be able to easily explore classes and topics outside your major. Some of my favorite classes were in anthropology and art history, and I was able to get my BS in biology and minor in two humanities. 

- Find someplace where people seem happy, and are excited to learn. Being surrounded by people who are passionate can keep you going when you’re feeling tired. My sibling was between two schools, and chose the one that he said felt like he would be surrounded by people he wanted to be friends with.

-Find someplace that takes its students concerns and well-being seriously. Do your research on safety, mental health services, title IX, etcetera. 

You know yourself best, so look for somewhere that will keep you happy, motivated, and thriving.

Break a leg, you’ve got this!

Goodbye, anonymity: Latest surveillance tech can search up to 36 million faces per second

Welcome to the next generation in surveillance technology. A Japanese company, Hitachi Kokusai Electric, has unveiled a novel surveillance camera that is able to capture a face and search up to 36 million faces in one second for a similar match in its database.

While the same task would typically require manually sifting through hours upon hours of recordings, the company´s new technology searches algorithmically for a facial match. It enables any organization, from a retail outlet to the government, to monitor and identify pedestrians or customers from a database of faces.

Hitachi’s software is able to recognize a face with up to 30 degrees of deviation turned vertically and horizontally away from the camera, and requires faces to fill at least 40 pixels by 40 pixels for accurate recognition. Any image, whether captured on a mobile phone, handheld camera, or a video still, can be uploaded and  searched against its database for matches.

“This high speed is achieved by detecting faces through image recognition when the footage from the camera is recorded, and also by grouping similar faces,” Seiichi Hirai, Hitachi Kokusai Electric researcher told DigInfo TV.

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Your devices' latest feature? They can spy on your every move

by H V Jagadish

We now have dozens of smart devices in our houses and even on our bodies. They improve our lives in so many ways – from lowering energy consumption in our homes to egging us on to be active.

But these smart devices respond to whatever commands they are given: we’ve had security experts demonstrate how cars can be hijacked remotely and medical devices in your body can be hacked and turned into lethal weapons. These risks are now well-recognized by technology developers, and there is a great deal of excellent work going on toward how to avoid them.

But there are other dangers we should be more concerned about that are getting less attention. Your gadgets could be providing a window that any hacker could see right through to spy on you.

Keep reading

Google’s new privacy policy begins. Does it break the law?

Today is the big day. But not everyone is too excited about it.

Google has officially implemented its new, combined privacy policy. On the company’s Privacy Policy page, Google describes everything from how it collects information across its many sites to what it does with all that information.

“The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Alma Whitten, director of privacy, product and engineering, wrote in a blog post at the time. “In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

But not everyone is too pleased the search giant went forward with the change. In a letter dated February 27 and obtained today by CNET, France’s data protection authority, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), wrote to Google CEO Larry Page saying that the privacy policy might not be lawful under European Union rules.

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Bloomberg journalists piss off big-name banks with privacy breach
  • the company Bloomberg LP, the market data company started by current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg 32 years ago, built its success from its Bloomberg Terminal electronic trading platform, as well as its journalistic platform, including its wire service and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Companies pay as much as $20,000 per year for a single Bloomberg Terminal—and financial companies use many of them, as 310,000 exist worldwide.
  • the problem Apparently Bloomberg journalists have been using this data to monitor big-name subscribers to the Bloomberg Terminal service. Hundreds of the service’s 2,400 journalists worldwide reportedly tracked users of the service through this method, which financial institutions noticed after a journalist pointed out to Goldman Sachs that one of the company’s partners didn’t log into their terminal recently. The incident could prove dangerous to both of Bloomberg’s businesses, as it could damage the credibility of both the wire service and the market data platform. source

Health Insurer Aetna Sued for Alleged HIV Discrimination

Aetna’s new policy will require people with HIV to get their meds through a mail order pharmacy and will charge them more money for meds. Why’s that a problem?

Because: 1) Many people with HIV don’t want their meds delivered to their homes or places of employment in fear of other people seeing their prescriptions. 2) Some people don’t have a permanent mailing address or a reliable place to pick up mail. 3) Many HIV patients prefer seeing a local pharmacist who can help them navigate any side effects or concerns.

Got any more reasons? Let us know.

Dear staff,

Here’s the thing. Your current privacy protections are woefully unfortunate. They’re not enough. You need to come up with a way to block specific IP addresses from viewing certain blogs, to make certain posts “friends only,” or to make the whole blog private. Livejournal figured it out. Facebook figured it out (even if my settings mysteriously change every other month…). Ancient message board systems had a way for admins and moderators to block trolls. I have faith that you can figure it out.

Because people feel threatened on this site. Your current system of “blocking” individuals from following blogs fails to protect the blog itself - that individual can still view the page URL itself, making the block feature actually counter-productive. Because at least when an individual is following a blog, the blog will track what the hell that individual likes or reposts. If we block these individuals, we lose that sense of control. We have no way to protect ourselves.

Reporting these individuals does nothing, either. thiseternaloptimist and her followers have been reporting a handful of fat-fetishizing porn blogs for TWO MONTHS, now. And NOTHING has happened. thiseternaloptimist is uncomfortable with these blogs following her - they stigmatize a certain marginalized group of your users, for their own profit, and against those users wishes - and, I might add, against U.S. harassment laws AND YOUR OWN POLICY:

What Tumblr is not for:

  • Harassment. Don’t attempt to circumvent the Ignore feature or otherwise try to communicate with someone who has asked you to stop.
  • Privacy Violations. Don’t use Tumblr to deceptively obtain personal information. Don’t post content that violates anyone’s privacy, especially personally identifying or confidential information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, unlisted contact information, or private photos of your ex’s junk (no matter how remarkable).

thiseternaloptimist has been asking these blogs FOR TWO MONTHS to stop following her. They have completely ignored her wishes. Again, thiseternaloptimist cannot use the block/ignore function without removing the ONLY SENSE OF CONTROL she has. She does not feel safe with these blogs following her - she feels, at best, objectified, and at worst, is afraid to posts certain items (re: items that would be used by a fat-fetishizer, such as personal photos, conversations about her weight, self-esteem posts) in case they might be used against her by these blogs. It is not thiseternaloptimist’s job to retroactively police these blogs for her photos. It is not her job to simply “not post things” that might be used against her. That reaction is on par with “she was asking to be raped.”

So if she cannot use the block or ignore function without losing all sense of control, and she cannot personally send a request to these blogs because they have the questions feature turned off, and she cannot use the @ - blog tagging feature to draw their specific attention, and she has TRIED REPEATEDLY to publicly ask  them to stop following her, and she and her followers have tried reporting these blogs USING THE REPORTING FUNCTION - at what point do you step in to protect her?

These blogs - appletitelove @bbwcurvygirls @bbwchubbygirls @thickwomenall - are breaking your harassment guidelines by repeatedly ignoring her requests. They’re breaking your privacy guidelines by taking her personal photos for a completely unintended reason, against her wishes. Please step in and step up your privacy controls. Please ANSWER thiseternaloptimist’s requests for help.

Basically, I will now reblog this EVERY DAY, pinging staff every time, until she gets a response. I don’t care if that response is to get me banned - because if that is your response to this situation, I no longer want to be affiliated with this site.

How to hide from face-detection technology

If you take Adam Harvey’s advice, here’s what you might wanna wear to a party this weekend: A funny hat, asymmetrical glasses, a tuft of hair that dangles off your nose bridge and, most likely, a black-and-white triangle taped to your cheekbone. Optional: Cubic makeup patterns all around your eyes.

All of these otherworldly fashion accessories – which could leave a person looking kind of like an opulent villain from “The Hunger Games” - have a singular goal: to stop your face from being detected by cameras and computers. Called CV Dazzle (short for “computer vision dazzle;” more on the name later), Harvey’s project is a provocative and largely theoretical response to the rise of surveillance cameras on street corners and face-detecting technology that’s been incorporated into social networking sites like Facebook and Flickr.

The face appendages aim to trick face detection software by obscuring computer-readable parts of your face. According to Harvey, the key part of the face that computers can read is the “nose bridge,” or the area between the eyes. If you can obscure that, you have a good chance of tricking computers into thinking you don’t have a face, he said. Another technique is to create an “anit-face,” which is less terrifying than it sounds since it just means inverting your face’s color scheme. So the black-and-white triangles on the cheeks aim to achieve this effect.

Harvey developed this concept as a grad-student project at New York University starting in 2010. He hopes to soon put out a fashion guide to avoiding face detection and wants to work with fashion designers to create accessories that trick peeping cameras. He’s also working on a computer program that would allow people to draw their own anti-detection fashion, then test it virtually to see if it actually works before they go wandering out of the house with bangs hanging over their noses.

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I just went to an orientation of the juvenile detention center where my new office is located. While we stood in the waiting area before touring secure detention, a TV was playing msnbc and someone, talking about Ferguson, said something about Michel Foucault and surveillance. And then we went into intake where a kid was getting finger printed. It was eerie and hypersignificant.

Twitter and Facebook - a note on asks.

Hello, friends!

Today I am setting up linked accounts on Twitter and on Facebook! On the theory that people using these platforms might also want bright sparkly binders.

However, I emphatically do not want to compromise anyone’s privacy. So this is just a note to say, if you have any concerns about your ask being published, please tell me, and I will answer it privately. No problem.

In general, I ask for explicit permission to publish an ask if it contains information on your size, or a picture of you in it. Any photos of people on this blog have been taken and published with their permission.

Enjoy the rest of your day!
Go Ahead! Post That Facebook Privacy Notice!!!

That privacy notice you’ve seen posted on your friends’ Facebook walls? It has no legal effect, but it may be a landmark for privacy online.

For the last couple of weeks, people on Facebook have been posting a jargon-laced “Privacy Notice” stating that their profiles were off-limits, for any use, and by anyone, without their permission. This Privacy Notice invokes irrelevant law, gets the facts wrong, and is powerless to modify the Facebook Terms and Conditions. It’s not even well-written, as far as legal clauses go. In short, it is legal nonsense.

But you should post it — or something like it — on your Timeline anyway.

Before I explain why, let’s look at the Privacy Notice.

For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly …allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning - any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee, agent, student or any personnel under your direction or control.
The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

It’s bunk. First, the fact that Facebook is now publicly traded does not change the company’s rights and obligations to its user’s information. What about UCC 1-103 1-308? That’s a provision of the Uniform Commercial Code, a uniform act that most states have adopted in its entirety or used as a template for their own laws governing commercial transactions. It’s also useless here. While 1-308 discusses the reservation of rights, you would not be able to invoke it here to undo the standard Facebook legal relationship.

Finally, the Facebook Terms and Conditions, which you all surely read before signing up and using Facebook, expressly establishes when, how, and by whom it can be amended. Unsurprisingly, it does not include “amendment by status update.” (Status Update: Give me one billion dollars, Zuckerberg.) Here is Section 13 of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, the amendment clause:

13. Amendments

We can change this Statement if we provide you notice (by posting the change on the Facebook Site Governance Page) and an opportunity to comment. To get notice of any future changes to this Statement, visit our Facebook Site Governance Page and become a fan.

For changes to sections 7, 8, 9, and 11 (sections relating to payments, application developers, website operators, and advertisers), we will give you a minimum of three days notice. For all other changes we will give you a minimum of seven days notice. All such comments must be made on the Facebook Site Governance Page.

If more than 7,000 users comment on the proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.

We can make changes for legal or administrative reasons, or to correct an inaccurate statement, upon notice without opportunity to comment.

You want to change your relationship with Facebook? In the short term, you can participate in the amendment process as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. Facebook recently proposed changes to its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and its Data Use Policy, and is currently holding a vote until June 8 on the changes. If more than 30 percent of all active registered users vote — by some counts, that’s nearly 300 million people, or the entire population of the United States — it will be binding on Facebook. And, since Americans are so great at democracy, I have every faith in our ability to amend the Facebook Terms and Conditions through this process.

But in the long term, periodic privacy outbursts from the Facebook-using public — like the ill-conceived, viral Privacy Notice — may contribute to judges or lawmakers identifying a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in our lives online. Once recognized, a reasonable “expectation of privacy” would curtail the government’s ability to investigate our Facebook activities. And that expectation of privacy would likely spill over into many civil and commercial contexts as well.

Do you want a Facebook that does not mine your private life for profit and a government that cannot track your every move online? Then you should participate in the Facebook vote. Share your bizarro Privacy Notices. And keep demanding a right to privacy.

An advocate for the Digital Age, Michael Phillips is an associate at a Wall Street litigation boutique (though he is not your attorney and this piece does constitute legal advice for you!). He has been called a “thick-haired man” by the New York Times.

…Somehow this is helping me so much just to really take back the story and know it for sure because everything has felt like it’s gone on behind my back. Thank you so much. I must tell you that I am so sorry but I did read the poems that you wrote…But reading those poems helped me realize the extent of your relationship and gave me a clue as to what I might not know…I am very sorry that I read those poems though. That was your personal private thing…I really feel like with every moment knowing the true timeline now I am moving on and feeling much more empowered. Thank you.
—  H.’s exgf asked me to give her our timeline bc he’s been lying to her about it for two years. I was like “lucky for you I extensively record my life via per-blog & journal” and gave her dates of events. This is what she wrote back. It’s shitty but at least I could help somehow. I also told her not to worry about the poems, they were hardly private.
Government, Privacy, and me in a boiling pot...

Do you ever hear a story so outrageous that you immediately think that it’s false, or a conspiracy theory? That’s how I feel about the news now. It amazes me how many things people sluff off as conspiracy, or the ravings of a mad man. Sometimes it is just a mad man, but sometimes you’ve got to admit you’re being slowly boiled to death.

There’s a popular anecdote… A frog won’t stay in boiling water, but put him in a pot of tepid water and slowly turn up the heat and he will be boiled alive. The key is the speed at which the temperature is raised.

We are in a slowly boiling pot. The longer we stay in, the more we adapt and feel like it’s normal.

It’s not normal. It’s ok to question things. It’s ok to realize that not everything that the government, or private corporations, do is for your benefit.

Jump out of the pot.

1.5 million card numbers at risk from hack

A data breach at a payments processing firm has potentially compromised up to 1.5 million credit and debit card numbers from all of the major card brands.

Global Payments, a company that processes card transactions, confirmed late Friday that “card data may have been accessed.” The company said it discovered the intrusion in early March and “promptly” notified others in the industry.

Global Payments released a statement late Sunday with more details, saying that while more than 1 million card numbers may have been compromised, cardholder names, addresses and Social Security numbers were not affected.

That’s a sizable breach, but it’s far less than the worst-case-scenario numbers flying around on Friday – and it affects just a small fraction of the estimated 1 billion debit and credit cards in circulation in the U.S.

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