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SPCA Hires Robots to Scare Away Homeless People, Call the Police

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The SPCA is an organization that is supposed to help animals. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has roots that date as far back as 1824, England, and as a front-and-center organization that serves a particular function in society, in this case operating shelters for animals, they are bound to not be of the best moral persuasion.

The San Francisco SPCA recently made headlines after hiring a “security robot” to scare away homeless people and prevent them from setting up tents near their building.

The robot is a snitch on wheels, using sensors and lasers to “monitor an area for criminal activity.” It alerts the police if it sees something.

Video of the robot in action recently went viral.

Is that noise being made by the machine? If so, it would seem as if they are trying to scare the mentally ill people who roam the street in particular.

In a densely populated area like San Francisco, it isn’t easy for the homeless to find a decent place to sleep. The mentally ill and severely drug addicted roam the streets, as is the scene in many American cities.

Worse, autonomous state protecting robots are being deployed in other places around San Francisco. According to Business Insider, they “are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people.”

Surprisingly the City of San Francisco didn’t take kindly to the robotic homeless scarecrows, as they demanded the SF SPCA to remove its robots from the streets or face a fine of up to $1,000 a day.

After that, they took the robots off the street.

A company called Knightscope actually rents out the robots for $7 an hour: less than the cost of hiring a security guard, of course. They serve over 19 clients across the US, including Microsoft, Uber, and Juniper Networks.

According to Business Insider:

Preventing crime is part of the pitch that Knightscope makes to prospective customers. (Increased police presence can reduce crime, though this is not always the case.)

The K9 robot circling the SF SPCA has drawn mixed responses. Within the first week of the robot’s deployment, some people who were setting up a homeless encampment nearby allegedly “put a tarp over it, knocked it over, and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors,” according to Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SF SPCA. A Twitter user reported seeing faeces smeared on the robot.”

So corporate paid RoboSnitches are already on the street, and they look like this.

Business Insider/Knightscope.

How long until robotic law enforcement that looks like this is on the loose?

It seems 2017 will be remembered with a theme of crossing the threshold when it comes to new technology becoming commonplace. From taxi drones, to people genetically modifying themselves, the skies being sprayed with colorful toxic metals to genetically engineered mosquitoes being released all over America, we’re starting to really cross a line in history.

For some perspective on how advanced robotics have become, take a look at these videos.

 


Featured image: Business Insider/Knightscope.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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