June 11th, 1963 will for always be remembered as the day that truly changed history forever. This was the day monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death as a protest against the Vietnamese corrupt government which was implying very demanding and unfair laws on monks. Throughout history, many people have self-immolated for various causes, but until that moment no one was known to suicide in such a gruesome and painful way in order to protest against something or for the right of a community such as the sacred monks.
The story behind this act
Most if not all events that had taken place throughout history were influenced by a previous event, the same case is in this story too. The influential event took place on May 8th, 1963 when the Buddhist community was celebrating a special day in the city of Hue. This special day is called Phat Dan or better described as the birthday of Buddha. The streets were crowded with people from all over Vietnam who came to celebrate this special day among monks. An imperative aspect that I have to mention is that most people were waving Buddhist flags.
This aspect is very important as at the time, it was illegal in Vietnam to display a religious flag. This law was implemented by President Ngo Dinh Diem which was a Catholic. The law was implemented as he wanted to make Vietnam more prosperous by “westernizing” it. This law was never welcomed by the population of Vietnam as 90% of the nation was in fact Buddhist. As in most countries and nations, religion was a big part of the Vietnamese culture, and trying to change the culture of a nation would not make anyone happy.
On the day of the Buddhist celebration, Diem had sent armed policemen reinforced by the Vietnamese army. This turned the celebration into a full-blown protest and quick enough things got out of hand. Once the Army lost their patience they opened fire into the crowd and even vehicles were driven into the crowd. At the end of the day, over 100 people were injured and 9 had died. From the 9, two of them were children that were run over by police cars and army trucks.
The Buddhist community responding to the massacre
Since the massacre, things have heated up in Vietnam, with many different protests happening around the country. 2 months after the massacre, the news reached Thich Quang Duc. The news reached very late as Duc was living in a totally isolated temple in the mountains of Vietnam, in fact, he spent the last 3 years of his life at this very temple. Once he got word of the massacre he knew that something had to be done in order to keep the Buddhist community safe.
On the 10th of June, 1963 the Saigon bureau chief for the Associated Press by the name of Malcolm Browne got a piece of anonymous information that something important would happen the very next day (11th of June) outside of the Cambodian Embassy. Due to the high tensions around Vietnam, Browne believed this piece of information.
The very next day, Malcolm Browne reached the Cambodian Embassy where he was welcomed by Thich Quang Duc himself as well as all the other 350 monks and nuns who took part in the protest that was about to happen. By this point, Browne was still unaware of what was about to happen.
Thich Quang Duc took a cushion which he placed in the middle of the street and sat on it with his legs crossed as if he was just about to go into a deep meditation. Another monk took out of Duc’s car a five-gallon petroleum canister and poured it all over Duc, making sure he was covered by gasoline. What followed was Duc bending his neck and chanting his last prayer to Buddha.
At that point, Browne realized what was just about to happen, so he prepared his camera to make sure that he would capture every moment of it and that everyone around the world will be hearing about this act.
Once Duc finished his prayer, he struck the match and the whole crowd exploded with panic. As the screams of all the monks at the crowd could be heard for miles, a monk was yelling into a microphone:
“A Buddhist priest burns himself to death! A Buddhist priest becomes a martyr!”
In all of this chaos, the only person which was surprisingly calm was Thich Quang Duc himself. Those who witnessed mentioned that whilst Duc was burning, he never flinched nor moved a muscle. For 10 minutes he sat in a meditating posture burning until he collapsed, conforming to the authorities, and most of the people present that he had passed away.
After the fire went out, the monks took Duc’s corpse to the pagoda to cremate his body. Just minutes after the cremation, the pagoda was swarmed with police which wanted to make sure that word of this incident would not make it out of the city, not of the country. However, it was already too late as Browne had already sent the pictures of the event with a letter explaining the event to the United State via what he called a secret carrier pigeon. By the next day, the image of Thich Quang Duc’s burning body had appeared on the front cover of newspapers all over the world.
This had changed the course of history as Thich Quang Duc’s sacrifice made other nations pressure the Vietnamese government into changing the laws in accordance with the Buddhist community. This ultimate type of protest had proven that the world cannot be changed without dire sacrifices.
Even if the picture does still marks many people around the world, it will never compare to the experience faced by those who were present at the event. The same idea was exclaimed by Malcolm Browne.
his was not a good week for U.S.-China relations. On Tuesday, the White House ordered China to close its consulate in Houston. By Friday, China had retaliated by ordering the closure of the American consulate in Chengdu. The U.S. Justice Department also recently accused Chinese hackers of trying to steal data on a coronavirus vaccine, the latest in a long line of allegations of Chinese espionage.
Meanwhile, the number of cases in the United States passed a grim milestone: 4 million. A bright spot on the horizon is that four of the 165 vaccines currently in development are in Phase 3 trials, according to New York Times data. Two of them are made by Chinese companies, state-owned Sinopharm and the private company Sinovac Biotech. There’s only one vaccine already approved for limited use, and it’s been developed by China’s CanSino Biologics. The Chinese military approved it on June 25 as a “specially needed drug.”
But the deteriorating relationship between the two superpowers doesn’t bode well for the potential of the U.S. to do so. And it generally doesn’t look good for vaccine development, or for either country’s response to Covid-19. “People’s health on both sides could become collateral damage,” Yanzhong Huang, PhD, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells the Medium Coronavirus Blog. Trump says he will work with China, he notes, “but there’s no plan, or I don’t think there’s any conversation happening with the Chinese.”
Acknowledging that relations between the two superpowers were already straining in recent months, Huang says that “Covid-19 only accelerated that process” on multiple fronts. Including, he notes, “this issue of vaccine development and distribution.” China not only has vaccines in development but plays a critical role in the global pharmaceutical industry.
“It’s not just the way vaccines become available,” he says. “You need to consider the parallel support, including bottles, not to mention those ingredients used to make those vaccines. China traditionally has played an important role in supplying those things.”
Between China and the U.S., he says, “there’s no state-level cooperation, information sharing — there is no talking between the two.”
This isn’t, of course, the first time this relationship has soured. What happened in the past can inform what to expect as the current situation plays out, says Zuoyue Wang, PhD, professor of history at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Historically, he says, “bilateral scientific exchanges would often be negatively affected, especially in terms of the movements of scientists and technological transfers.” This happened, for example, during the Korean War. Chinese scientists working or studying in the U.S. weren’t allowed to return home, and the U.S. led a broad Western technological embargo against China. Exchanges started up again during the Cold War for a number of reasons; the U.S. wanted to counter the Soviet Union and capitalize on the huge Chinese market, for example, and China wanted to catch up to “American-led world standards in science and technology.” Now, as the prioritization and urgency of those motivations has faded away, the U.S. has tightened the scope of bilateral scientific exchange and collaboration: Chinese scientists are being denied visas; Huawei phones won’t run Google apps.
The present-day tension has already shaped public health exchanges during the pandemic. In March and April, the U.S. struggled to get personal protective equipment from China. Wang says this demonstrates how a “usually mundane technology,” like mask-making, “could suddenly become essential in certain circumstances and play a prominent part in geopolitical dynamics.”
Though there doesn’t seem to be much conversation at the state level between President Trump and President Xi at the moment, there’s still hope for cooperation at the industry or individual level, says Huang. He points to the moment, in the 1990s, when the American pharmaceutical company Merck supplied China with the technology for making a hepatitis B vaccine shortly after the Tiananmen crackdown. This, he says, is an example of how public health collaboration between the two countries can “sustain its own dynamic.”
“I think this actually highlights the importance of nonstate level collaboration and cooperation,” he says. This could happen between firms, like U.S. and Chinese pharmaceutical companies or the researchers themselves, or between U.S. NGOs and Chinese individuals. Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, he notes, sent a million masks to the U.S., and Bill Gates donated millions to the international effort against Covid-19.
None of the vaccines being produced around the world are likely to be a “magic bullet” that single-handedly solves Covid-19, says Wang. That’s why it’s important not to forget that “global problems such as pandemics and climate change require international collaboration.” When political tensions limit that collaboration, “the U.S. along with the rest of the world suffers from the consequences.”
“No one is truly safe until the world community can work together in dealing with these threats,” says Wang.
What the American Idiot has done to America is to make it an impoverished country. Not just any kind of poverty — what you might call deep poverty. Let me explain.
New Zealand has zero new cases of Corona. In America, they’re spinning out of control. One way to think about it is to say that your chances of dying of this lethal pandemic are now…infinitely higher in America than in New Zealand. Compared to Europe and Canada, they’re about a hundred times higher.
That’s a kind of poverty, too. A poverty of public health. Americans have spent decades being impoverished of public health by the American Idiot — the kind of person who votes against better healthcare for everyone, including themselves, their kids, their parents. What the? What kind of idiot does that? A very, very large number of Americans.
The result of that attitude was a society poor in a gruesome and strange way — poor in public health itself. What I mean by that is that American life expectancy is the lowest in the rich world, and plummeting, that Americans have the highest rates of all kinds of preventable chronic diseases, from diabetes to obesity to heart disease. You can see it on American faces, in fact: a society poor in health is a society of unhealthy people.
We expect much, much poorer societies to be impoverished in public health. It’s a strange concept to have to think about precisely because we don’t expect it of a rich country. Perhaps one of a poor one, that’s never really developed at all. This is a syndrome unique to America — a form of poverty that Europeans and Canadians struggle to understand, because, well, they’ve mostly eliminated it. But in America, health poverty is endemic.
So endemic that you can see America’s gotten shockingly poorer and poorer in health — right down to the resurgence of old, conquered diseases, from measles to mumps. Again, that’s the work of the American Idiot — the kind of person who won’t vaccinate their kids, which is an idea that in the end takes society right back to the medieval days of endemic smallpox and polio.
So what was going to happen when a society impoverished in terms of health met a pandemic? Utter catastrophe. America’s mortality rate and infection rate are so high precisely because America was a time bomb of failing public health waiting to go off.
What then are the results of creating a society impoverished in public health? Well, Americans face a gruesome choice that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the rich world, even in much of the poor one: your money or your life. “Medical bankruptcy” is the result — I put in quotes because it’s a notion that scarcely exists elsewhere.
How did all that happen?
Americans are culturally impoverished, too. The American Idiot has turned American culture into the one of the world’s regressive, short-sighted, narrow-minded, and, well…idiotic. Literally the tiniest shreds of decency and sanity come under a murderous, withering barrage of denial and false “debate” — from things as simple as wearing masks to ones as large as educating Americans about how the rest of the rich world and even the poor one now has vastly better functioning societies.
Huge chunks of American culture are so hateful, foolish, or bizarre that they’d be either illegal, laughable, or bewildering in much of the rest of the world, from Canada, Europe, or Asia. “Debating” whether the answer to school shootings — which happen nowhere else — is to arm teachers? The idea that billionaires are somehow good for society, or that things like healthcare, retirement, pensions, income, and safety aren’t human rights? That money is all that should matter? Nearly everyone else in the world finds such notions jaw-droppingly foolish by now, which is how the American Idiot made his country a laughingstock the world over.
The point of a Culture of Idiocy, of course, is to create idiots, and American Culture is the cradle and mothers’ milk of the American Idiot. From Tucker Carlson to Bill O’Reilly to Ancient Aliens, an impoverished culture keeps Americans ignorant, pliable, submissive, and frightened.
Tucker will fill your head with misinformation, and the reality TV will make it seem normal to be an idiot. The result of cultural impoverishment, though, is that Americans they stay poor in more visible, visceral ways — like poor in healthcare, in equality, in power, in money.
But also poor in time. That’s my next dimension of poverty. Americans can’t do much to change their society — not nearly enough — because they’re time poor.They work harder than anyone else in the rich world, by a very, very long way. Taking a vacation in America is something that mostly, you’ll get fired for. Commuting three hours a day? That’s your problem. Americans have no time — and they don’t quite understand yet that that’s a deep form of poverty. Because when you’re always running out of time, when do you save, invest, educate, reflect, or just have a decent life? You don’t. You’re always weary, tired, panicked, on a hair trigger, and eventually, you go numb.
That brings me to the next kind of poverty — emotional poverty. Americans live severely impoverished emotional lives. America consistently ranks as a much, much unhappier country than Scandinavia, and falling. It’s among the angriest place and most stressed out place in the world.
Backing all that up, rates of depression have soared way, way past global norms, suicides are skyrocketing, and hopelessness and despair are endemic, too.
Imagine that you live a life of financial poverty, time poverty, and public health poverty, like most Americans do. What kind of life is that, emotionally? A poor one. It’s full of nights where you can’t sleep, wondering how to pay the bills. It’s riddled with anxiety and panic. Uncontrollable thoughts race through the mind. Pretty soon, you’re like, well, most Americans: angry, stressed out, depressed. No matter how hard you work, you never seem to able to make ends meet. You never have enough time to spend with your loved ones — or just relaxing, or learning something new. But those are the greatest sources of happiness of all. Is it any wonder Americans are miserable and furious, mostly, then?
The American Idiot made all that happen, too. Who votes, again and again, for no real mental healthcare? In America, you can get medicated— the lowest cost answer, or you can get “therapy.” But getting proper mental healthcare, the way you can in Europe or Canada — careful, long-term psychotherapy? That doesn’t exist at all in America, outside maybe a handful of major cities.
The American Idiot responded, instead, to life becoming a nightmare of dystopian stress, misery, and anger, with something else. With rage. With hate. With the cruelty and brutality that have made America a laughingstock the world over. Why does the American Idiot deny everyone — including themselves — better incomes, healthcare, retirement, pension, more time to have a decent life? Because they’ve internalized the notion that nobody has any intrinsic worth. And therefore, everybody must be a vicious competitor, fighting everyone else off, for a morsel of basics, whether jobs, healthcare, pensions, and so on.
But these are things that when people cooperate — as they do in Canada and Europe — they can simply give each other.
Never mind. The American Idiot — led off a cliff by greater fools, like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump — believes that the only way out of an abusive society is to be a bigger, hungrier, more vicious predator.
But all that happens that way is that society implodes into a spectacular orgy of self-destruction, and becomes an unlivable place, because unbelievable cruelty to the rest of the world becomes the norm — like letting kids be shot at school, in indifference to life which culminates, ultimately, in the mass death of a virus.
All that brings me to another kind of poverty: one we don’t yet have a good name for. A poverty of trust, of goodness, of decency. Americans are impoverished in this deep way, which I can put most simply and accurately by saying that they seem to genuinely hate each other. It’s not nice living in a society of people who hate each other. A society of hateful people can’t ever cooperate to accomplish anything, whether beating a deadly pandemic, or creating a better future by investing together in schools, hospitals, ideas, research, accomplishments.
Now, I don’t mean that you hate anyone. I mean it in a more technical way, one that’s almost invisible in America, because like air, it’s just the atmosphere that surrounds everyone. What else, though, can it really be called, when some large number of Americans deny, over and over, everyone else the right to have healthcare? An education? A job with decent standards? Free time? A rising income? A democracy?
You only do those things if you hate people. Yes, really hate them. I would never deny you healthcare, goes the sentiment in Europe and Canada, where even the hard right wing isn’t against basic public goods. American Idiots will deny their own kids and parents decent lives, though.
The only accurate word to describe such a sentiment is hate — because when you deny someone the basics, like medicine or retirement, you are also hurting them badly, and in very real ways. They are going to suffer much, much worse lives — whether measured in longevity, happiness, income, or relationships — as a result of that denial.
The American Idiot is an abuser. He abuses everyone he can, right down to his own loved ones — and think that’s sanity, compassion, goodness. It’s not: it’s only a recipe for self-destruction. Because a society of people — enough of them — hell-bent on abusing everyone else, right down to their loved ones — can only implode into ruin, bitterness, hardship, and suffering.
That brings me to my final form of poverty. If I deny you the basics — healthcare, education, and so on — what am I really doing? I am destroying your human potential. And that is America’s truest and deepest form of poverty.
Americans now live lives of sharply limited and circumscribed possibilities. Go-nowhere, dead-end lives. You can see that, too, in basic statistics, like the death of upwards mobility, the loss of hope in the future, the fact that young people can’t afford to move out and start families, that half of all jobs are now “low-wage service work.”
In America, your life is going to be much, much poorer than in any other rich country. Elsewhere? You can probably get an education — a much better one — and not be crippled by debt for life. There are more better jobs, with better standards. There’s more free time, to have a family, to form bonds, to love. There are better social protections, which mean you spend less time anxious and stressed out. All of that doesn’t just add up to less depression and suicide and more happiness — happiness is facet of an even greater thing, human potential.
There you are, a young person in America. What are your options? Most industries have now imploded, from news to media to education. That’s why half of jobs are now “low-wage service work,” which is polite pundit’s way of saying: being a servant.
You end up driving an Uber, delivering an Instacart. Doing gig work. Pursuing your side hustle when and where you can. What the hell? You’re educated. You have a long collection of degrees and diplomas.
And yet you never become the thing you could have. The one that would have benefited everyone. That scientist, researcher, novelist, journalist, professor, musician. Who can? Nobody can make ends meet. Nobody has time for anything but to be exploited and abused, in the name of trying to make ends meet. So what is there left over in time or money to invest in one’s self?
One dimension of human potential is what you make of yourself professionally — and you realize, one day, terrified, that you will never amount to what you wanted to, but be a glorified neo-servant for much of your life. But another is relational — what you make of yourself socially. And as an American, now, you can’t even afford to start a family, have a home, develop a lifelong relationship.
That’s how badly your human potential has been destroyed. That’s how poor you are in human possibility. You won’t not just be that scientist, researcher, journalist, novelist — you also won’t be that dad, mom, grandparent, husband, wife, loved one.
You will work, for a pittance, and then die. You’ll make billionaires trillionaires — and demagogue dictators — along the way. But you?
You’re expandable, disposable, nobody.
That’s thanks to the American Idiot. He’s a person so breathtakingly foolish to the rest of the world he’s made America a laughingstock. Precisely because he believes nobody’s life has any intrinsic value — beginning with his own, extending to his loved ones…all the way to you, to everyone. If he’s happy to abuse himself — having internalized the lesson he’s been taught all his life, that only brutality matters and cruelty counts — why wouldn’t he abuse everyone else, too?
America’s become unlivable. Sure, you can live there, and you’ll be OK. But you’ll be poor. Poor in ways that are strange and hard to comprehend because they’re both old and new. You’ll be poor financially, of course, like someone living in a collapsing society — but that’s just the beginning.
You’ll be poor in terms of public health, like someone from medieval times. You’ll be poor in terms of time and power, like a peasant from pre-war times. You’ll be poor emotionally, like someone living in a country with no hope. And you’ll be poor socially, politically, and culturally, like in a country turning fascist-authoritarian. All that adds up to the coup de grace — you’ll be poor in terms of human potential. You’ll never become what you’re capable of being — not to the same degree as elsewhere.
Don’t get me wrong. Humanity has lived through a lot. Plagues, wars, collapses, implosions. Life doesn’t come to an end. It goes on. But you know what the point of all those things was? Not to repeat them.
That is the most minimal definition of what progress is. And so far, America has yet to meet even that. Maybe, then, that’s what the truest kind of poverty is, too.
The story of the seven fiddler dwarfs from the Maramures village of Rozalvea, who survived the Auschwitz camp, continues to fascinate decades after the heinous experiments they were subjected to by the well-known Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. The band “Liliput”, composed of seven brothers, all dwarfs, began to become known in the 1930s. The “Ovicers”, as their neighbors called the members of the Ovitz Jewish family, became famous throughout Europe with their variety shows, even singing for King Charles II.
After the occupation of Transylvania by horticulturists, the members of the “Liliput” band knew what to expect, given their Jewish descent, so they hid all their belongings in a pit which they dug under their car.
Upon reaching Auschwitz
The Ovitz brothers, five girls and two boys, were taken to Auschwitz along with several hundred other Hungarian Hungarians. As they entered the camp gate, all elegantly dressed and well-dressed, an officer demanded that Dr. Mengele be awakened urgently.
Dr. Josef Mengele was known for his passion for strange people, from hermaphrodites to giants, so the incorporation of seven dwarfs into the Auschwitz extermination camp could only be a source of joy for him. Hearing of the arrival of the seven members of the “Liliput” band, Mengele jumped out of bed and wanted to see them immediately.
While waiting for the doctor, Perla Ovitz, who was 23 at the time, remembers seeing people, including her relatives, taken to a two-chimney building from which smoke constantly came out. The pearl, naive, thought it was a bakery, but was soon awakened to reality by a prisoner of the camp: “There is no bakery. This is Auschwitz, and you will soon be in those ovens. ”
But Mengele’s passion for strange people saved them from death, but the seven dwarfs from Rozalvea had a perhaps more cruel fate.
Meeting with the diabolical Dr. Mengele
“I have been working for 20 years now!” Exclaimed Mengele when he saw the seven dwarfs. The doctor, who had gassed five hundred women a few months ago to escape a typhus epidemic, was simply charmed by the Ovitz family.
In just three hours since they arrived at the extermination camp, much of the Jews they had brought on the train were already dead. Both the seven members of the “Liliput” band and their relatives were spared. In total, 22 people.
The “ovicers” told the doctor at Auschwitz that their father, also a dwarf, had been twice married to tall women, who gave birth to seven dwarfs and three children of normal size.
Like the other prisoners, members of the Ovitz family were put in a barracks and fed the same strained soup. In the room where they were kept, there was also an aluminum bowl in which they washed every day because Mengele was obsessed with hygiene. However, the dwarves were not shaved and were allowed to keep the clothes they had brought with them.
At first, Mengele just wanted to take their blood, but this became a weekly routine, weakening the malnourished “ovaries.”
“He was stabbing us carefully, and the blood was jumping. I was often dizzy and vomiting. We were returning to the barracks, but until we returned, we were called again “, said Perla Ovitz.
Mengele didn’t know exactly what he wanted from them either, although he took their blood weekly and did x-rays. According to the documents, the doctor was doing routine tests for kidney and liver problems, but he did not make any discoveries about dwarfism. Then he began to test them for syphilis and torture them, pouring cold and hot water into their ears. Pearl said that water torture was very painful and led them to the brink of madness. The doctors also extracted their teeth and took their genes for testing.
Strange friendship with Mengele
“We were used to the idea that we would never leave the camp,” Perla Ovitz said in an interview more than 10 years ago. But Mengele saved them once again from a painful death because they were to be gassed. The “Lilliputians” had even heard of two dwarfs who had been killed at Mengele’s behest just to show their skeletons in Berlin.
Although subjected to painful experiments, Perla said there was a strange friendship between the dwarves and the sadistic doctor Mengele. “Dr. Mengele was like a star, he looked better and better. Anyone could have fallen in love with him, “Perla recalled. “When he was nervous, he calmed down as he entered our barracks. When he was in a good mood, people said, “Most likely he visited the dwarves.”
Frieda, one of the sisters, often flirted with Mengele, and he responded to the flirtation, calling her “Meine Liebe” (“my love”). All the Ovitz brothers treated him with respect and addressed him with “Your Excellency.
One day, Mengele announced that they were going on a trip and provided them with makeup kits, asking them to look their best, because he was going to give a show in front of important people. After squabbling, the dwarves took to the stage in front of hundreds of SS officers. Dr. Mengele was waiting for them on stage, who suddenly returned to them and shouted: “Undressing!”.
Trembling and trying to hide their private parts, the dwarves stood naked in front of the whole room. In fact, the Ovitz brothers had been brought on stage to make a strong impact on the speech given by the sadistic doctor Mengele about how the Jewish race degenerates into disabled and dwarfs. At the end, the audience stood up and applauded, and the SS officers went on stage to see the dwarves more closely.
In 1945, the “ovicers” were removed from Auschwitz and, after a few months in Moscow, returned to the country. Once in Rozavlea, the dwarves found, under the car, their jewelry and gold objects.
In 1949, the family emigrated to Israel, where they continued to perform variety shows. Perla Ovitz, the last member of the dwarf family, died on September 9, 2001 of natural causes.
Hooters is a popular chain restaurant that was founded in Tampa Bay, Florida.
They have 400+ locations and have inspired several copycat brands such as Twin Peaks.
The business model is pretty basic: hot girls, scanty clothes, bar food.
It’s tacky, but they own it. And they apparently have amazing wings.
Most managers are men and a majority of the employees are scantily clad women. So it probably won’t surprise you that they have “employee relations” issues from time to time.
Hooters managers have a lot of leeway in how they run their operations. They are empowered to build a profitable enterprise. Tangent to this, they can run promos and deals with both customers and employees.
Back in 2002, in Panama City, Florida, a local store manager did an internal promotion. He announced that the waitress who sold the most beer by the end of April would win a free Toyota. It was your basic sales contest, a generous one at that.
One employee, Jodee Berry, needed the money badly and worked her tail off that month. She worked long hours and lots of tables. In the end, she won the competition by a large margin.
Her day came to win her new Toyota. While she was in the restaurant, the manager blindfolded her. All of the employees gathered around to watch the unveiling.
The manager then escorted her outside and into the parking lot. He then took her blindfold off, and presented her with:
A “Toy Yoda.”
She was then surrounded by laughing employees and had to face the reality that she’d been duped.
Jodee wasn’t amused. Nor was she about to roll over.
She hired a lawyer and went on to sue Gulf Coast Wings (the holding company), claiming a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.
They went to court where the manager claimed it had all been an April Fools’ joke. The defense was weak, at best.
The prank might have seemed cutsie-funny to some people. But the executives at Hooters HQ weren’t amused with their manager. It was terrible public relations. This court case drew substantial attention from local and national news media.
Jodee succeeded in winning her lawsuit. It was settled out of court where, per her attorney, she was given the right to choose a Toyota of her choice.
Humor and marketing are actually quite compatible — when used correctly.
However, any decent sales promotion needs to be aligned with the best interests of both parties. Even if your promo is absolutely hilarious, lying about the reward will rarely end well.
The Hooters manager in question no longer works for the company.
Inrecent months there’s been a number of alarming reports of Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras in their properties but not disclosing them to the guests staying there. Back in January Fast Company reported on a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who discovered two hidden cameras recording him and his family in an Airbnb. And just last month The Atlantic reported on a New Zealand family who was renting an Airbnb in Ireland and found they were being live-streamed from a hidden security camera.
Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents and in response to increasing reports of guests finding hidden cameras in their Airbnb rentals, Airbnb says they are cracking down on hosts who don’t disclose hidden cameras in their property listings.
Yet just because Airbnb has a policy forbidding hosts from hiding cameras in their property without informing their guests, that’s no guarantee all hosts are complying. So if you don’t like the idea that you could possibly be being spied on in the comfort of your Airbnb — or wherever else you’re staying — is there anything you can do besides taking the host at his word that there are no cameras on the property? Thankfully, yes.
Keep an eye out for any odd-looking gadgets
Let’s start with the most basic deterrent: keep your eyes open for any odd-looking gadgets in your Airbnb. Gadgets that look bulky or out of place in their surroundings may contain a hidden camera.
Admittedly, it’s not the easiest thing to spot a gadget containing a hidden camera that looks out of place, because cameras have become so small, they can be hidden in virtually any device — and ones anyone can buy on Amazon. Here’s just a small sample of the types of devices you can buy on Amazon with cameras hidden in them: alarm clocks, wall clocks, smoke detectors, plants, mirrors, light bulbs, speakers, and even USB wall plugs.
Still, if you see an alarm clock in a bathroom or some other place you wouldn’t expect one to be, that could be a tip-off that something is amiss. Similarly, if you see any devices, such as a USB wall plug pointed directly at a bed or shower, something could be up.
When trying to visually spot gadgets with hidden cameras, keep an eye out for devices that have a clean, unobstructed line of sight.
Use a flashlight to check for camera lenses
Another trick to use to visually spot hidden cameras is the flashlight trick. A hidden camera necessitates that its lens is embedded in a regular object. Usually, that lens is made of glass and the object it’s hidden in is made of plastic or other non-glass materials.
Glass is generally more reflective than other materials, so the lenses of hidden cameras can be rather easy to spot if you shine a light around a room. The small camera lens should be more reflective than the surface of the surrounding object.
So it’s worth giving your Airbnb a once over with your smartphone’s flashlight. Turn out all the lights in the Airbnb and activate your flashlight. Slowly do a few sweeps of every room looking for any small, bright flashes of light relative to the surrounding area. If you spot any coming from an object, examine it more closely. You may have just found a hidden camera.
Use Wi-Fi-sniffing apps to check for smart devices
Unfortunately, the above visual checks of an Airbnb aren’t always enough to spot hidden cameras, even for the keen-eyed person. The good news is there’s an even better way to identify hidden cameras.
Virtually all modern hidden cameras, especially the types like the ones listed above, use wireless technology to connect to the router in the Airbnb so they can stream the footage over the internet where the host can view it remotely. But the very fact that these devices are covertly using a wireless signal to stream footage online makes them vulnerable to detection.
Smartphone users can use apps like Fing (available for both iOS and Android) that can display all the wireless devices connected to a Wi-Fi network. So after arriving at your Airbnb and connecting to the host’s wireless network, whip out Fing and give that network a scan. It’ll show your device and any other connected to that same network.
While Fing and similar apps can’t always identify what types of devices are connected (is it a hidden camera or just a wireless printer?) the app can display the MAC address of the connected device, which can give you a hint as to what the connected device is. Simply enter the MAC address of any identified gadget at MacVendorLookup.com to see who the manufacturer is and white type of device the MAC belongs to.
Use an RF detector
Of course, Fing and apps like it will only reveal connected hidden cameras if they are on the same wireless network as your smartphone. However, if the host has a second private wireless network that you don’t have access too, apps like Fing aren’t going to help you spot hidden cameras.
In that case, your only solution is to use a dedicated piece of hardware known as an RF detector. All wireless devices give off a radio frequency (RF) — it’s what allows Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to exist. An RF detector can hone in on devices emitting these RF signals, showing you where they are located in an Airbnb.
RF detectors are small handheld devices that can also be purchased on Amazon. They’ll usually set you back about $30 to $50 depending on the model you buy. But they’re worth the cash if you’re worried about shady Airbnb hosts watching you traipse around their property half undressed after taking a shower.
Using an RF detector is simple: just sweep it around the room. If it starts beeping repeatedly, it’s found a wireless signal coming from some device. Move the RF detector in the direction that makes the beeps increase until you spot the likely culprit. If the RF detector is going crazy by a potted plant or smoke detector, chances are good there’s a hidden camera inside.
What to do if you find a hidden camera
The first thing you should do if you find an undisclosed hidden camera in your Airbnb is contact both the host and Airbnb directly and report the camera. It’s up to you if you also want to file a police report. Hidden camera laws vary by state and country.
If you can’t immediately get a hold of the host and feel comfortable staying in the Airbnb for the time being, consider unplugging the hidden camera if it has a power cord, which should be enough to stop the camera from working (provided it doesn’t have an internal battery). If you don’t see any kind of plug, you can also simply place an object in front of or over the camera.
Finally, it’s not just cameras you should keep an eye out for. As smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home become ubiquitous, you should keep an eye out for these too. While the host might be including the smart speaker in the rental for non-nefarious purposes, remember that all smart speakers have microphones, so it’s conceivable that someone with enough know-how could use these devices to listen in on your conversations remotely.
As with hidden cameras, if you find a smart speaker and that bugs you, it’s best to unplug it. Just if you do unplug any smart connected devices (speakers, cameras, hidden or otherwise) in the Airbnb, be sure to let the host know so they don’t think you’re the one trying to do something amiss.
It’s no surprise that celebrities have been committing crimes and (mostly) getting away with it since the dawn of Hollywood. Whether it be from murder, hate crime hoaxes or college admissions scandals, it can sometimes be hard to remember that they, like us regular folk, can also suffer from a tragedy and be left with unanswered questions.
Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Marie Rose (née Hébert), a hairdresser and stylist and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, who worked as a construction painter, who also had two daughters and another son, Mark’s sisters, Tania and Nicole, and his brother Scott. Growing up, Ruffalo attended both Catholic and progressive schools through his education and had described himself as a “happy kid” during those years, despite struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia and ADD both as a child and a young adult. Having spent his teen years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where his father worked; Mark competed in wrestling in junior high and high school in both Wisconsin and Virginia. Ruffalo first got into acting when he acted for the Patriot Playhouse taught by Nancy P. Curtis, from where he graduated from First Colonial High School. His family later moved to San Diego, California, and then to Los Angeles with his brother, Scott, where Ruffalo took classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory and co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company. Through the theatre company, he wrote, directed and starred in many plays and worked as a bartender for close to a decade.
While in their late teens, Mark and his brother Scott, moved to Los Angeles, where they scraped by in a $600-a-month apartment by MacArthur Park, sharing a full-size bed.
At one point, Mark recalled how he and his brother got by during those times while he auditioned for roles and Scott just getting started as a hairdresser.
“He’d make a f–king giant bowl of tuna pasta, and we’d eat off that all week long,” he said. “The best of times, the worst of times.” — Mark on how he and his brother got by early on into their careers.
No matter the situation, Mark and his brother always knew had to make the best of every situation, no matter how bad and, like with the rest of their family, still had each other’s back
The investigation into his death led police to two “persons of interest,” both of whom were with Ruffalo at the time of the shooting, Shaha Adham, 26, a wealthy Saudi businesswoman, and her boyfriend, Brian B. Scofield, 29. The detectives knew Adham had been at Ruffalo’s because his home surveillance caught her at his condominium.
Both she and Scofield were taken in for questioning. Afterward, they were released but later booked on suspicion of attempted murder before ultimately being released again. As stated by one law enforcement source, “I know there was more than one set of prints on the gun. One was Ruffalo’s.” According to Adham, a descendant of the Saudi royal family and the granddaughter of Sheikh Kamal Adham, Ruffalo was shot during a game of Russian Roulette, gone wrong.
As to what her version of events leading up to the shooting was, according to Adham’s lawyer, Ronald Richard, his client was there to pick up some keys when he (Ruffalo) decided to play a game of Russian Roulette. He further added that the gun used in the shooting belonged to Ruffalo and that he was a known cocaine user with a history of using and playing with firearms in front of witnesses. Indeed, Ruffalo did have one brush with the law in April of 2002 where he was convicted of a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance for sale. A second charge, possession of a controlled narcotic substance, was dismissed.
That said, the Beverly Hills Police Department eventually proclaimed Ruffalo’s death a result of suicide by Russian Roulette, but then later backtracked after the coroner’s report came out showing that the angle of the entry of the bullet proved he could not possibly have shot himself (specifically, it was to the back of his head). Consequently, they relabeled the death as a homicide.
With no other leads in the case, and the only two known witnesses to his death now “off the hook,” his death remains unsolved to this day, and since been closed by the Beverly Hills Police Department. Years later, Adham died of an apparent drug overdose in January of 2012, which did not get reported until the following month.
Ruffalo might have had his flaws and vices, as we all do, he, described as a well-known and well-liked guy, was a successful hairdresser, who held a license in cosmetology since 1991, set up his corporation in 2001 — Ruff Inc. — and who worked at salons in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and the Giuseppe Franco Salon in the latter location.
While it is sad to think that it appears that Ruffalo’s death may never get fully resolved, Mark and his family decided to carry on by keeping in mind the best memories of Scott. At the time of his brother’s passing, Mark was set to star in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, a 2010 comedy-drama, but dropped out to deal with his grief (the film ultimately bombed at the box office). After taking a hiatus, Mark returned to acting and went on to star as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the widely-successful film Marvel film, The Avengers and its sequels in the MCU.
Scott Ruffalo may be gone, but his memory lives on through those who loved him most.
If things continue as is, by November 1, Covid-19 will have killed more than 224,000 Americans. The adjusted forecast, released last week by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), is largely attributable to the surge in infections and hospitalizations in states like Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida. No place on Earth is immune from the pain and suffering this global medical crisis has wrought, but the United States of America has behaved as if it’s determined to lead in deaths.
The latest IHME projections went up by 16,000 — a nearly 8% rise — but there’s a simple way to prevent more than 40,000 deaths from that dire total. All Americans have to do is stop trolling science and wear a mask.
“If 95% of Americans wore masks each time they left their homes,” the IHME said in a statement, “infection rates would drop, hospitalizations would drop, and forecast deaths would drop.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees. “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner. “I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.”
But things rot from the head down. I remain my angriest at the person influencing these fools. As I’ve said it for months to anyone who will listen: We were collectively doomed when Donald Trump couldn’t be bothered to put on a mask.
On Monday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams took to Fox & Friends to literally beg viewers to do just that. And he used a curious new position to make his case: According to him, “This whole administration is now supportive of masks.” I usually have a soft spot for people named Jerome thanks to kinfolk and old episodes of Martin, but this Negro (I’m not Roger Stone) used the word “now.”
It’s been months since the coronavirus pandemic began, so “now” sounds about 140,000 deaths too late. But the only thing more loathsome than what Adams said was the fact that his claim remains meaningless — and will be for as long as the administration refuses to act.
As we learned the day prior in President Trump’s interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, while Trump professed to be a “believer in masks,” he continued to display a flippant attitude toward the science. When Wallace mentioned that the CDC stresses that widespread mask-wearing in America can reduce its infection rates, Trump barked back, “I don’t agree with the statement that if everyone wore a mask, everything disappears.”
A simpleton loves nothing more than to tell you that they “don’t agree” with a fact. In this case, the facts (based on new reviews of a range of studies) are that wearing a mask can reduce your own risk by up to 65% and that if all people wore a mask transmission from asymptomatic people would be cut by nearly a third. I don’t know who took Donald Trump’s SATs, but I do know that the American education system ought to focus less on multiple-choice tests and more on critical thinking in order to minimize the odds of another dummy like this having sway over our fates.
Between that and his claim that “masks cause problems too” — a conspiracy theory aimed straight at the people who have become convinced that Covid is a hoax and masks are a tool of social control — it’s no wonder that Trump, “very stable genius,” is so impressed that he “aced” a test requiring him to identify the star of Dumbo. But nothing sounded more inane than his rationale for refusing to issue a nationwide mask mandate: “I want people to have a certain freedom and I don’t believe in that, no.” The person currently sending secret police to cities like Portland to escalate peaceful protests is a champion of freedom?
Meanwhile, Trump’s surgeon general is trying to convince Fox News viewers that science has nothing to do with the Constitution. If anything, Adams sees it in more moralistic terms. “Please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering,” he said. “We’re not trying to take away your ability to go out when we say keep restaurant capacity under 50%. We’re saying if we do these things, we can actually open and stay open. We can get back to school, to worship, to jobs. We can do this. And I’m a hopeless optimist. But I really do believe Americans will do the right thing.”
Adams must be an optimist if he went on a Fox News program and tried to use reason with an audience craving anything but. Either way, this is the sort of statement that presidents are supposed to make when faced with a national crisis, not their appointees. Too bad I don’t share his optimism about what can be expected to happen under this president.
While his pleas seem earnest, this American nightmare can’t be solved solely by the actions of Americans. Yes, I resent people confronted with the fact that masks can prevent the spread of the coronavirus — and elect not to do so anyway. That includes Trump loyalists, people who liken masks to the Holocaust, and folks insisting on partying inside or at packed gatherings. All of you motherfuckers are a) goofy and b) on my last damn nerve.
And those of you (usually boomers, almost always White) who are posting photos wearing lace and mesh masks like you’re cute, why is this a game to you? It’s like you’re actively trying to court and spread “the shit,” as my countriest folks back in Houston are calling it. How many more Zoom funerals, how many more stories of mask doubters dying, do you need to hear about to take the hint?
But things rot from the head down. I remain my angriest at the person influencing these fools. As I’ve said it for months to anyone who will listen: We were collectively doomed when Donald Trump couldn’t be bothered to put on a mask.
In May, the president reportedly was worried that wearing a mask would “send the wrong message” and make him look “ridiculous.” He focused on reopening the country’s economy while minimizing its medical crisis, not grasping how intertwined the two were. People died — people are still dying — because a stupid, insecure, shallow man was worried that we wouldn’t think he looked like the Lone Ranger in a mask and couldn’t understand that the economy won’t work if a sizable portion of the workforce is sick and/or dead.
Even a fool should be able to tell people to put on a mask. Even a man of little intellect and curiosity should be able to grasp that doctors should be in charge of medical crises. No adult should believe you can simply ignore a medical crisis and have it go away. But here we were again, with Trump doubling down using the logic of a broken clock: “I’ll be right eventually.”
Republican governors like Greg Abbott of Texas and Brian Kemp of Georgia followed Trump’s poor examples to predictably disastrous results for their citizens — the Black and Brown of whom are being infected at triple the rate of their White counterparts. And for local government officials who did buck the president, they were reminded of how little influence they yield by comparison. “When we were trying to get people to wear masks, they would point to the president and say, well, not something that we need to do,” Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, told the New York Timesas part of a lengthy exposé on the Trump administration’s failings on the pandemic.“People follow leaders. People follow the people who are supposed to be leaders.”
Adams is likely to see similar results from Trump’s core audience on Fox News. Worse, Adams is trying to rally people’s better consciences on behalf of the Trump administration, even as the Trump administration is trying to cut funds for more testing, contact tracing, and money to the CDC. Between that and the administration trying to take control of Covid-19 data reported to the CDC, it’s clear what the Trump administration’s collective message to people during the pandemic: Go ahead and die — just be quiet about it.
By comparison, in France, face coverings became required in all public enclosed spaces as of Monday. On Friday, England will begin enforcing new rules that make masks mandatory inside supermarkets and other shops. The differences in those countries and ours can not be tied to personal responsibility.
We didn’t have to repeat the same (ultimately lethal) mask debates that we had with the Spanish flu pandemic a century ago. We could have been better. He could have been better, and in the process, cemented his reelection that he’s so obviously obsessed with over public health. But by Monday, when he finally tried to reverse his poll slide by wearing a mask, the damage was long done — not that using racism is really a helpful way of encouraging people to do the right thing.
The people protesting masks aren’t the cause of these issues, but a symptom. The entire country saw what happened in New York in the spring; medical authorities advising the government knew exactly what was needed to prevent other states from sharing that fate. The fault here lies solely with Donald Trump, the person with more control over what happens in America than any other American. His personal negligence has let untold thousands of Americans die. His putting on a mask on Monday does not change that — and certainly not when he’s actively spreading more misinformation about the pandemic, as he doubtless will when daily White House coronavirus briefings resume this week.
If Americans do the right thing and mask up en masse, if they finally do the one thing that will help us put this nightmare to rest for good, it won’t be because of the president. It’ll be because science means more than ideology. That’s something we’ve been always been able to count on — I just hope we still can.
Whether you like it or not, Apple is gearing up to release its first-ever AR smart glasses. Apple Glass, Apple’s elusive AR lenses project is all set to debut soon. The AR and VR industry has matured over the past few years. With Apple stepping in with a pair of Apple Glasses could be a gamechanger.
Apple has been exploring VR and AR technologies for more than 10 years now. The company has established a secret research division comprising of hundreds of employees in designing Apple’s next big thing. It was even rumoured that organizations like NASA and Microsoft are involved in developing these smart glasses.
Based on rumours, Apple has chosen to call its AR smart glasses as Apple Glass. That name would be an unusual choice given the similarity to the name of Google Glass.
Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Glass.
The glasses are said to look similar to regular glasses, with both lenses to feature displays that can be interacted with using gestures. Recent leaks based on the prototypes suggest that the material used would be plastic. But in the release variant, Apple might use metal. The glasses might also come with a plastic stand with wireless chargers.
Apple glass at least the first edition of it could more or less work like Apple Watch Series 0. Apple Glass could be marketed as an iPhone accessory similar to what Apple did with Watch Series 0. Apple Glass will primarily take a display role offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone. This will allow Apple to reduce the weight and size of the glasses.
There is a rumour that Apple is working on a limited-edition “Steve Jobs Heritage” version of the smart glasses that are designed to look like the round, frameless glasses that Steve Jobs used to wear, but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has called this rumour “complete fiction.”
As of now, there have been little to no leaks about the specs and hardware of the smartglasses. According to a few rumours, Apple glass will feature 8K display for each eye.
A patent granted to Apple has further fuelled the rumour that Apple Glass won’t need any prescription lenses, Apple glass will automatically adjust for people with poor eyesight.
Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple analyst predicts that Apple Glass won’t have any kind of processor. He states that the first-gen Apple glasses will be heavily dependent on the iPhone, with the AR glasses essentially only providing the display.
It could feature a LiDAR scanner similar to iPad Pro 2020 variant. It is used to determine distance by measuring how long it takes light to reach an object and reflect. It’s an efficient way to get a much more accurate 3D representation of the scene in front of the camera, which is useful in computational photography and especially in augmented reality. Which eliminates the need for cameras in the smart glasses.
According to Bloomberg, Apple glasses will run on some version of OS based on iOS. Probably they will name it the glass OS to maintain similarity among their operating systems.
Apple Glass will bring information from your phone to your face. With Apple’s integration, the glasses will be able to synchronize with a wearer’s iPhone to display things such as texts, emails and maps over the user’s field of vision.
The iPhone has Springboard, the set of icons that act as your home screen. Apple’s glasses have “Starboard.” No interface elements have leaked or even been described, but it is assumed that Apple will adapt its iconography and UI for an AR interface.
ARKit 4 helps in creating a new way to access the detailed depth information gathered by the LiDAR Scanner. Location Anchoring leverages the higher resolution data in Apple Maps to place AR experiences at a specific point in the world in Apple Glass. This feature will allow more immersive AR experiences and give the application a better understanding of the environment for object placement and occlusion.
Release date & Pricing
Though there were rumours that Apple could debut it’s AR glasses alongside iPhone 12 as “One More Thing.” As the 2020 lineup is completely stacked Apple might reconsider releasing it. Rumours predict that Apple might unveil Apple glass in 2021 and then release it for the masses in 2022.
According to Jon Prosser, a tech analyst Apple glass are priced at $499 without prescription lenses. The price of the Apple glass is quite low in comparison to Microsoft’s AR headsets priced at $3500. Apple Glass price is low because most of the computing, networking, and positioning are offloaded to the iPhone.
From Google Glass and Snapchat spectacles to Microsoft Holo lens and Facebook’s upcoming AR glasses, many have tried and are trying to make this technology work. But so far there hasn’t been any mainstream success. With Apple Glass, Apple may very well change that.
Apple has always been great at making complex innovation more user-friendly and simpler. Apple Glass could very well be the Next Big Thing for Apple. What do you guys think about all this? Are you excited? Let me know in the comments section.
October 2016, a Shenzen-based video surveillance company called Sunell set up an experiment: It installed thermal cameras and facial recognition in the entrances of six schools in northern Beijing.
Students who entered would have their faces recorded for facial recognition, and their temperatures taken by thermal imaging. While initial accuracy wasn’t up to par, the company refined its technology over the next year. And then it started to expand its services.
Sunell added more schools (and prisons) to its roster of clients, eventually snagging a contract for all schools in the Anning District of Lanzhou City in 2018. To date, the company claims it has detected the temperatures of 6.86 million students.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a huge opportunity for Sunell. The company has publicized 20 new installations of its fever detection technology in Chinese schools since March. And Sunell has now started to resell its technology to at least 19 other companies, according to a list compiled by video surveillance trade outlet IPVM.
To date, the company claims it has detected the temperatures of 6.86 million students.
As much of the world adapts to a new normal after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the United States still struggles to rein in rampant cases, the thermal imaging industry is pitching itself as a crucial part of reopening efforts.
There are now 170 companies selling fever detection technology meant to detect people potentially suffering from the coronavirus, up from fewer than 30 companies selling similar technology before the pandemic, according to the IPVM list.
Many of these companies are reselling thermal cameras from larger firms and adding their own fever-detecting software or algorithms, or simply packaging cameras and computers as a ready-to-operate screening station. The biggest manufacturers are Sunell, FLIR, Dahua, Hikvision, TVT, and YCX — all Chinese except for FLIR, an a U.S.-based company. In addition to their own direct sales, these six companies resell through 47 other companies that have newly started selling fever cameras with core technology.
Signs point to the long-term adoption of the technology, as companies invest in fever-detecting infrastructure: FLIR CEO James Cannon told investors in May that the company had booked $100 million in coronavirus-related sales in the first quarter alone, and the company was set to install fever cameras in GM factories. It’s also set to beat analyst expectations for its second financial quarter, according to preliminary figures FLIR released this week.
However, Chinese surveillance giants Hikvision and Dahua will rely on growth outside of the U.S., as they have both been put on federal blacklists for human rights abuses.
FLIR CEO James Cannon told investors in May that the company had booked $100 million in coronavirus-related sales in the first quarter alone.
Cameras aren’t just being installed for stationary checkpoints. Robotics company Cobalt has outfitted its roving office robots with FLIR temperature sensors, and is pitching its tech as a complete “return to work” solution. Rather than having a person with a thermal scanner, a Cobalt robot autonomously does the test, according to a video on Cobalt’s website. The robots can allegedly tell if employees are wearing masks, and will remind workers to wear PPE if masks are not detected.
Another company, Invixium, makes a facial recognition kiosk that has been upgraded to determine a person’s temperature. It shows off a web platform that allows a company to monitor their entire staff’s temperatures, as well as breaking out statistics by date and age of employees.
Fever cameras all typically work in a similar way. A thermal camera captures an image of a person’s face, and then software analyzes the perceived temperature of that person’s skin. Based on how warm a person’s skin is, the software tries to guess their internal temperature. Skin temperature is typically closest to a person’s true body temperature in the area around their eyes and tear ducts, FLIR told OneZero in a previous interview.
In tests performed by IPVM, in optimal conditions, these fever cameras can be accurate to 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Real-world conditions are not always ideal. In one test, a temperature sensor kiosk made by ZKTeco was accurate when the sensor was 18 inches from a person’s face, but was inaccurate by nearly two degrees when the person stood a little farther away at 32 inches from the sensor.
Some manufacturers like Hikvision and Sunell scan a person’s forehead instead, claiming that tests are similarly accurate and people who wear glasses don’t have to take them off. However, hair covering a person’s forehead was found to obscure these temperature scans, and higher temperatures elsewhere on the face were ignored by Hikvision and Sunell’s cameras, according to IPVM testing. Hair, hats, helmets, or applying a cold or warm compress to the head can all alter the effectiveness of the tests.
These nuances are now being passed along to the dozens of companies that rely on Hikvision and Sunell’s technology, and the final clients that they sell to, creating a global game of telephone for the crucial caveats that make each system actually effective.
The biggest caveat to fever detection is that people with the coronavirus don’t always exhibit a fever. Studies suggest that 20% to 40% of cases can be asymptomatic, meaning those capable of spreading the disease wouldn’t have elevated body temperatures to detect.
Companies like Sunell are undeterred.
“We believe that we will definitely win this battle and return to more normal times in the nearest future,” the company wrote.