Politics & Technology: China’s Surveillance State

China is building a huge digital surveillance system. The state collects massive amounts of data from willing citizens: the benefits are practical, and people who play by the rules are rewarded. Critics call it “the most ambitious Orwellian project in human history.”

China’s digital surveillance system involves massive amounts of data being gathered by the state. In the so-called “brain” of Shanghai, for example, authorities have an eye on everything. On huge screens, they can switch to any of the approximately one million cameras, to find out who’s falling asleep behind the wheel, or littering, or not following Coronavirus regulations. “We want people to feel good here, to feel that the city is very safe,” says Sheng Dandan, who helped design the “brain.” Surveys suggest that most Chinese are inclined to see benefits as opposed to risks: if algorithms can identify every citizen by their face, speech and even the way they walk, those breaking the law or behaving badly will have no chance. It’s incredibly convenient: a smartphone can be used to accomplish just about any task, and playing by the rules leads to online discounts thanks to a social rating system. That’s what makes Big Data so attractive, and not just in China. But where does the required data come from? Who owns it, and who is allowed to use it? The choice facing the Western world is whether to engage with such technology at the expense of social values, or ignore it, allowing others around the world to set the rules.

Archaeology: Lost Cities Of The Nabateans, Jordan (National Geographic)

Dr. Albert Lin is exploring the ancient architecture of the Nabateans, and recreates one of their lost cities using lidar.

The Nabataeans, also Nabateans, were an ancient Arab people who inhabited northern Arabia and the southern Levant. Their settlements—most prominently the assumed capital city of Raqmu —gave the name Nabatene to the Arabian borderland that stretched from the Euphrates to the Red Sea.

Views: Mediterranean Coast Of Turkey (4K)

For my first visit in Turkey, I travelled across the regions of Muğla and Antalya, along the Mediterranean Sea. I discovered beautiful landscapes, colourful lakes, crystal water beaches, sand dunes, and more… Locations: Patara beach, Salda lake, Kaputas beach, Ölüdeniz, Butterfly valley, Kabak beach, Karatas, etc.

Van Gogh Views: ‘Terrace of a Café at Night’ (1888)

Paris Walking Tours: The 1st Arrondissement (4K)

The Louvre museum, home to the “Mona Lisa,” is the heart of this lively district that features Hausmann-era boulevards and parks such as the Tuileries and the 17th-century Palais Royal. Fashionistas troop to the designer boutiques and luxury jewelers along chic Rue Saint Honoré and Place Vendôme. Les Halles shopping district has international fashion chains along Rue de Rivoli and in a vast underground mall.

Views: Autumn Colors At Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls is a city on the Niagara River, in New York State. It’s known for the vast Niagara Falls, which straddle the Canadian border. In Niagara Falls State Park, the Observation Tower, at Prospect Point, juts out over Niagara Gorge for a view of all 3 waterfalls. Trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center lead to other viewpoints. The Aquarium of Niagara is home to Humboldt penguins, seals and sea lions.