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first_imgParents of students attending the Christianburg/Wismar Secondary School (CWSS) in Linden on Monday protested the relocation of their children in light of allegations of an asbestos scare at the school.According to the protesting parents, a decision was taken to relocate the students to the Wisburg Secondary School following an “emergency” meeting between parents and officials attached to the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Department of Education last Friday.The parents, who stood outside the school along with their children, are holding out that they would not comply with the decision since they have not seen any evidence of the suspected asbestos inside the school.They noted, too, that they are against a decision for their children to attend school from 12:00h to 17:00h. Over 30 parents stood outside the school’s compound toSome of the parents protesting line on Mondayvent their frustration over the issue.At the scene, some parents were observed trying to prevent a vehicle from transporting school furniture to the Wisburg Secondary as a means of protest.“Nobody ain’t coming to show us no evidence of the asbestos…The timing, from 1 to 5 in the afternoon, 5 o’clock does done dark already… What will happen to these lil girl children? Even the boy children? They claiming the school got asbestos, but nobody ain’t coming to show us the evidence”, Dinah Skeete, a parent, noted.The parents are calling for the issue to receive urgent attention from the Education Ministry, as they alleged that even though there was some arrangement for buses to take the students to school, the specifics are unclear and they are uncertain of the arrangement.According to one of the parents, a lot of parents did not turn up to last Friday’s meeting since school sports were being kept, and officials should have called another meeting at the school on Monday to further update parents.Parents further noted that they were told by officials that the arrangement would be in place until January, 2019.Municipal Councillor Fern McKoy, who later arrived at the picket line, confirmed there was on Friday a meeting wherein it was noted that asbestos was in the school. However, she said the asbestos had been removed since 2001.“It cost millions of dollars to remove the asbestos from the school. I am so disappointed with the children (having to wait) out here, because they are being deprived of their education…they need to get an analyst to pinpoint the asbestos, because I’m a hundred percent sure that there is no asbestos in that school”, she noted.Efforts to contact the Regional Education Officer in relation to the issue on Monday proved futile. Other officials, when contacted, noted that they were not authorised to speak to the media.Shortly after, the Region 10 Administration declared that asbestos was discovered in the ceiling of the school prior to its reopening in August, but the Education Ministry had refuted the claims.Regional Chairman Renis Morian related that officials are aware that, in 2001 and 2002, a contract was handed out for the removal of asbestos from inside the school.However, he noted that it appeared as though some had been hidden, given the way asbestos had been placed.Nevertheless, the Education Ministry said an inquiry into the matter had revealed that the information was brought to the attention of the Regional Executive Officer of Region 10 on August 15, 2018.last_img read more

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first_imgWorld Record to be Attempted at the 2009 Fort St. John International Air ShowThe Fort St. John International Air Show Society in partnership with the City of Fort St. John will be hosting the Fort St. John International Air Show this summer on Sunday, July 19, 2009.  – Advertisement -The Committee is excited to announce a set of new performers to this year’s already full line-up of performers, Jurassic Attack and Maniac.  These monster trucks are huge 4×4’s that destroy everything in their way. The machines weigh about 10,000 pounds, are 12 feet high, 12 feet wide and have motors that close in on 2,000 horse power.  Maniac is coming to the 2009 Fort St. John International Air Show to attempt a new World Record, for the world’s longest wheelie.  “This is an exciting new set of performers for the Air Show this year” Said Darlene Hamre, Show Producer, “Not only are two monster trucks coming to perform, but they will attempt a World Record which is very exciting, especially if they accomplish what they came here to do.”Jurassic Attack and Maniac are no strangers to Air Shows.  During their previous tours of Canada and the U.S., they have stopped at many air shows including the Lethbridge International Air Show where they say the pilots had just as much fun in the monster truck cockpits as they did in the planes. Tickets are on sale at Petron Communications, Quality Inn Northern Grand, Fort St. John’s Visitor Centre and online at www.fsjairshow.com.  You can also see the show for free if you volunteer to help with the show.  To apply as a volunteer, please visit www.fsjairshow.com to sign up online or call (250) 787-7100.  Free shuttle busses will help move people from the North Peace Arena to the Airport starting at 11am on Sunday July 19th.  Parking will cost $15 at the airport with proceeds going to North Peace Search and Rescue.Advertisement With 2009 marking the 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight in Canada, we are expecting the F-86 Sabre “Hawk One” which has been restored and painted to mark this great achievement plus great acts like the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the Skyhawks and much more!  The last Air Show in Fort St. John was held in July of 2007 and over 8,000 people attended the evening show and thousands of dollars was donated to local charities and non-profit societies in the North Peace.  Keep track of the 2009 Fort St. John Air Show by visiting fsjairshow.comlast_img read more

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first_imgRobbie GonzalezI Spent the Night With Yelp’s Robot Security Guard, Cobalt If you think the ethics of security robots are murky now, just you wait. Knightscope wants to keep humans in the loop with its robots, but it’s not hard to imagine a day when someone else gets the bright idea to give other security machines a lot more autonomy. Meaning, have AI-powered robots recognize faces and look for patterns in crimes. Patrol this area preferentially at this time of day, for instance, because this suspicious group of people tends to come around.Algorithms are already forming biases. In 2016, an investigation by ProPublica revealed that software used to determine criminal risk was biased against black defendants. Now imagine a security robot loaded with algorithms that profile people. It’s especially troubling considering the engineers developing artificial intelligences don’t necessarily know how the algorithms are learning. “There should be not only a human at the end of the loop, but a human at the beginning, when you’re learning the data,” says computer scientist Michael Anderson of the Machine Ethics program.Really, what robot makers will need are ethicists working alongside engineers as they develop these kinds of systems. “Engineers aren’t necessarily able to see the ramifications of what they’re doing,” says ethicist Susan Anderson, also of Machine Ethics. “They’re so focused on how it can do this, it can do that.”Could a robot at some point help an organization like SPCA? Yeah, maybe. These are early days of human-robot interaction, after all, and humans have as much to learn from the robots as the robots have to learn from us. Maybe there are ways to go about it without rolling over somebody’s toes. More on Security Bots In November, the San Francisco SPCA deployed a 5-foot-tall, 400-pound robot to patrol its campus. Not for muscle, mind you, but for surveillance. The SPCA, a large complex nestled in the northeast corner of the city’s Mission neighborhood, has long dealt with vandalism, break-ins, and discarded needles in its surrounding parking lots. Fearing for the safety of its staff, the SPCA figured the robot could work as a deterrent, a sort of deputy for its human security team.The robot came from a Silicon Valley startup called Knightscope, whose growing family of security machines work as slower, more disciplinarian versions of self-driving cars. SPCA used their K5 robot, which is good for outdoor use. Its scaled-down cousin K3 is meant for the indoors, while the K1 is a stationary pillar that will soon monitor things like building entrances. And the K7, a four-wheeled robot meant for patrolling perimeters of airports and such, is going beta next year. The company is on a mission to take a bite out of crime by augmenting human security guards with machines. The path there, though, is fraught with ethical pitfalls.The K5, along with almost 50 other Knightscope robots across 13 states, sees its world by coating it with lasers, autonomously patrolling its domain while taking 360-degree video. In an on-site control room, a human security guard monitors this feed for anomalies. Knightscope says K5 can read 1,200 license plates a minute to, say, pick out cars that have been parked for an inordinate amount of time. If you get in the robot’s way, it says excuse me. In the event of an emergency, the security guard can speak through the robot to alert nearby humans. The SPCA’s robot patrolled both its campus and the surrounding sidewalks while emitting a futuristic whine, working as a mobile camera to theoretically deter crime.None of these machines are equipped with tasers or flamethrowers or anything like that. “This is not for enforcement,” says William Santana Li, chairman and CEO of Knightscope. “It’s for monitoring and giving an understanding of the situation for those humans to do their jobs much more effectively.” Again, the SPCA’s robot wasn’t meant to replace humans, but supplement them.“Very simply,” Li adds, “if I put a marked law enforcement vehicle in front of your home or your office, criminal behavior changes.”So does other behavior, it turns out. After the SPCA’s Knightscope was set out on its route, homeless residents took it to task. A group of people setting up camp allegedly threw a tarp over the robot and knocked it over and smeared BBQ sauce on its sensors.Now, by this point you probably don’t recoil when you see a security camera and throw rocks at it—for better or worse, we’re all under surveillance in public. But the K5 just feels different—and it elicits different reactions. In a shopping mall, the robot seems unassuming, even vaguely endearing. Kids run up and hug it. But in the outdoors, it’s a roaming embodiment of surveillance, recording video of everything around it. Which is particularly unsettling to people who make the outdoors their home.“Keep in mind, this concept of privacy in a public area is a little bit odd,” says Li. “You have no expectation of privacy in a public area where all these machines are operating.”Still, a camera on a wall is one thing. A giant camera that roams the streets of San Francisco is another. “When you’re living outdoors, the lack of privacy is really dehumanizing after awhile, where the public’s eyes are always on you,” says Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of San Francisco’s Coalition on Homelessness. “It’s really kind of a relief when nighttime comes, when you can just be without a lot of people around. And then there’s this robot cruising around recording you.”After the San Francisco Business Times published a piece on the SPCA’s foray into security robotics, public outcry grew that the organization was using the robot to roam the sidewalks around its facility to discourage homeless people from settling. The SF SPCA denies its intent was anti-homeless. “The SF SPCA was exploring the use of a robot to prevent additional burglaries at our facility and to deter other crimes that frequently occur on our campus—like car break-ins, harassment, vandalism, and graffiti—not to disrupt homeless people,” said the group’s president, Jennifer Scarlett, in a statement.Nevertheless, the group discontinued its pilot program with Knightscope last week. Deploying robots in a mall is fairly innocuous, but clearly in a more sensitive use case like this, the ethical conundrums of human-robot interaction got out of hand quick.center_img Kim ZetterWhy a Killer Robot Was Likely the Only Option For Dallas Police Cade MetzSecurity Bots Will Battle in Vegas for Darpa’s Hacking Crownlast_img read more

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