BIOMETRICS AND FACIAL RECOGNITION SECURITY SYSTEMS
The USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security Act are the
legal reasons why the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) guide
private industry to develop biometric identification systems for use at U. S.
Border exit-entry locations. The
research, accomplishments, innovations, resulting databases, standards, and
recommendations in the area of facial recognitions, mug shots, and fingerprint
identification standards are topics covered in the long list of NIST Internal
Reports and Publications found on the NIST Image Group web page (http://www.itl.nist.gov/iad/894.03/face/face.html).
Historically, people have been identified by their fingerprints, but now
there is technology for facial recognition. Recently ten facial recognition
systems were tested on the State Department of State database of 121000 images
of 37,000 individuals. There were
tests conducted in 2000 and 2002 and the databases of information about both
tests are now available. Currently, the latest Face Recognition Vendor Test
2002 (FRVT) results are in three parts. The Overview and Summary is a
good introduction to the Evaluation Report and the Technical
Appendices (all of which) makeup the full report. Both the 2000 and the 2002
Reports will be found as pdf files on the NIST Image Group page. The FRVT
research group also has its own website (http://www.frvt.org/
) for direct access to these reports.
DISASTERS HISTORY 1900-1993
What countries have experienced mud slides? Volcanoes? What is the Disaster Mud
Ecuador? How does Japan
compare to India
in terms of economic losses and loss of life due
to floods and earthquakes? Disaster
History: significant data on major disasters worldwide, 1900- present was issued in August 1993 by the
Agency for International Development’s, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
(OFDA). The 231 paged text, which excludes the United States, is arranged alphabetically by country,
chronologically lists the disaster information entries. Each entry includes the
disaster date and type, the number of victims (killed, affected, and rendered
homeless), and the estimated cost of damage.
Civil strife disasters are included only if the U.S. Government provided
relief aid. Also included are all OFDA “declared disasters” which mandate a
U.S. Government and aid, and significant “non-declared” disasters.
Non-declared disasters include most earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, weather
disasters, drought disasters, and accidents if they meet the property damage,
life loss, and economic impact limits of the OFDA guidelines.
This report is found as a pdf file
http://www.dec.org/pdf_docs/PNABP986.pdf in the U. S. Agency for International
Development’s Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) webpage at http://www.dec.org/default.cfm.
Actually, a search for Natural
Disasters on the Search
USAID Rpts page http://www.dec.org/search/dexs/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.field.dexs
will identify three editions of this title all of which can be ordered in
a microfiche or paper format.
EXECUTION BY STONING
Did you hear the news? A woman was sentenced to death for having a child
out of wedlock? She was sentenced to be buried up to her neck in sand and stoned
to death. Does this sound extreme?
United States, the practice of being stoned to death for a
crime ended with
America’s colonial era. Currently in countries such as
, and Afghanistan
women have been sentenced to death by stoning
when accused of adultery, prostitution, or raped. It was in March,
2002 that Amina Lawal, a 31 year old Nigerian single mother was sentenced to
death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage.
Other than the newspapers and the Internet, which provide current
details, the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,
and Trafficking in Persons Reports (http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/
) will document these lethal stoning activities.
There is a 24 page July 25,
2002 Congressional House Committee on International Relations hearing, Expressing
the sense of Congress that the United States should condemn the practice of
execution by stoning as a gross violation of human rights, and for
other purposes, and calling for an end to the sexual exploitation of
refugees, Markup….H.Con.Res. 351 and H.Con. Res. 349.
Issued as Serial No. 107-103, it is available in some libraries (Y 4.IN
8/16:C76/7) and on the Committee’s website at http://wwwa.house.gov/international_relations/107/iohr107.htm
as html and pdf files.
DOG BITES Even though your
dog may not hurt “the proverbial flea,” hurting a flea would be a minor
event. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website version of its Injury
Fact Book 2001-2002 includes statistics about dog bites. It seems that
“every 40 seconds, in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite--related
injury.” Also, “during 1979-1998,
dog attacks killed more than 300 Americans, and of the nearly 800,000 people who
sought medical help for dog bites in 1994, half of them were children under
18.” “Pit bull-type dogs and
Rottweilers were involved in more than half the deaths for which the breed of
the dog was known.” The Dog Bite Injuries page of the CDC’s National
Center for Injury Prevention and Control presents the problem http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/fact_book/14_Dog_Bite_Injuries.htm
and then provides a nine item comprehensive bibliography NCIPI Bibliography on Articles on Dog Bites http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbites.htm
(in pdf files) providing extensive background information and
documentation on the research and statistics
of dog bite injuries. These web pages complement the NCIPC’s announcement of
Dog Bite Prevention Week and the related NCIPC Programs and Activities (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/biteprevention.htm
). Most informative, but lacking from the bibliography is John C. Wright’s
“Severe Attacks by Dogs, Characteristics
of the Dogs, Victims, and the Attack Settings,” Public Health Reports
v. 100, No. 1, January 1985, pages 55-61 (HE 20.30.20:100/1).
INJURY-RELATED MORTALITY STATISTICS Released to the public on April 14, 1997,
the Atlas of United States Mortality is the first to show all leading
causes of death by race and sex for small U.S. geographic areas referred to as
Health Service Areas (HSA's). The 18 causes of death included in this atlas
however do not reflect the mortality data at the county and State level. The
Atlas is available in paper, CD-ROM, and on the NCHS website (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/other/atlas/atlas.htm
). However the Health Service Area data of the Atlas is limited because it does
not reflect and does not coincide with counties or county geography.
Overcoming the limitations and updating the Atlas is the
for Injury Prevention and Control’s Injury
Maps interactive web site. “Injury Maps,
’s interactive mapping system, gives you access
to the geographic distribution of injury related mortality rates in the
United States. Injury
Maps allows you to create county-level and state-level maps of adjusted
mortality rates for the entire
and for individual States.
For the beginning mapmaker, Injury Maps has a Begin Tutorial link
which leads the user through the mapmaking process of
selecting the “Cause of
Death,” “State,” “Period of Interest (i.e. Dates),” and “Colors”
options to create a National or State map with State/County statistics. As of
June, 2003, there will be nine causes of (injury-related) mortality to use in
one’s creating a “State Injury Mortality Rate Map” which is printable per
the included Injury Maps’ instructions. The Injury Maps page also provides
links to four additional injury data sources of injury data
annual injury publications, injury databases,
interactive injury databases, and online data maps.
TO THE SHORES OF TRIPOLY,
U.S. MILITARY SENT ABROAD It is April and the
is about to liberate
. It is 2003 and the latest instance when the
United States is using its military might and armed
forces in a foreign land for other than peaceful purposes.
In 1789, in an undeclared war with
sent Marines were sent to the
to capture a French Privateer. In 1801, the
Marines were used to rescue the crew of the USS Philadelphia held in captivity
). From 1798 to 1993, there have been five
undeclared wars, the Barbary Coast Wars 1801-1805 and 1815, the Korean War
1950-1953, the Vietnam War 1964-1973, and the Persian Gulf War 1990-1991.
However, these are not among a new
“report which lists 234 instances in which the United States has used its
armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other
than normal peacetime purposes.” The
has put in its website a most interesting bit of
military history and chronology of how often and exactly when the
has flexed its military muscles in other
countries. Instances of Use of
Forces Abroad, 1798-1993
was compiled by Ellen C. Collier from a Congressional Committee source and from
a Congressional Record list. Collier’s
three footnotes at the end of the list reflect further sources used to compile
this list, other lists, the evolution of such lists, and the War Powers
Resolution issues. This lengthy (22 pages when printed) list is found at
OF LIFE: ELDERLY SHORT-CHANGED Safety regulations passed by the EPA and other
agencies are intended to save lives. In regard to all Regulations passed, the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is committed to the principle of
calculating how many years of life would be added to individuals by enacting a
regulation. What is the value of
life?, how is it calculated?, and are “all lives equal?
The OMB and its Federal Regulations calculates the dollar cost(s) on the
lives of the people they save. OMB
then compares the cost of the lives (i.e. the benefits) to the costs to be paid
by the industry (i.e. the costs) of implementing the regulation. The
Regulation’s benefits, to the people, should outweigh its costs to industry.
It was recently revealed that the
using what some critics called a “senior death discount.” The
considered the people under 70 to be more valuable than the people over 70 years
of age. The life of the aged was
valued at 37 percent less than a younger person; the life of the aged person was
worth $ 2.3 million instead of $ 3.7 million, which was the value of younger
May 30, 2003
, a Memorandum to the President’s Management Council, Benefit-Cost and
Lifesaving Rules, John D. Graham stated “In light of these developments, I
advised EPA to discontinue use of this factor as an adjustment to the economic
value of a statistical life (VSL). The VSL would thus be the same for all ages
of people. I am also advising analysts at other agencies that such a factor
should not be used in VSL analysis.” The Memorandum is as a pdf file at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/pmc_benefit_cost_memo.pdf
that is on the OMB Regulatory Matters web page http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/regpol.html.
AND BENEFITS 2003 As of February 3,
2003, the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has made the
latest report of the what the Regulations costs and benefits for the Regulations
issued between October 1, 2001 and September 31, 2002.
At the top of the list of reports found at OIRA Reports to Congress
is the Draft 2003 Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal
Regulations (February 3, 2003). This report which appeared as a Notice in
the Federal Register, V. 68, No. 22,
February 3, 2003
, pages 5491-5527 and
is found as a pdf file at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/2003draft_cost-benefit_rpt.pdf
. These 37 pages will provide cost
and benefits facts and figures which the public will read, review, and send
comments to OMB which will then issue a Final version of the Report at a later
DEFECTS/CONTAMINANTS: LEGAL/ILLEGAL LEVELS What
is worse than finding a worm in your apple?
Answer: Half of a worm. What
and where is the perfect food or foods? Those grown in one’s garden. You grow
perfect food commodities free of any internal or foreign food defect.
In agriculture, where there are poor food growing, processing, or
manufacturing processes, the results are food defects.
Regardless of the defect level, these food products are unlawful are
subject to FDA regulatory action. However, most of America’s food supply is a
result of mass agricultural production; where, even with the best methods and
goals, it is economically
impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw food products that are totally
free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects. Title
21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110 allows the Food and Drug
Administration to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in
foods for humans that present no health hazard.
These “Food Defect Action Levels” listed in The Food Defect Action
Levels, Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health
hazards for humans, (Revised May 1998) http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dalbook.html
are set on the premise--they pose no inherent hazard to health.” Food
products which contain defect levels above those set in this list are considered
adulterated foods, and are subject to enforcement actions under the current FDA
adulterated food law. This manual, which is about 32 pages, consists of 7 parts
which include a Glossary of all the terms which relate to the Defects found in
food commodities, and an alphabetical listing of all the food commodities, their
specific natural or unavoidable defect(s) identified, and the acceptable defect
action level for that commodity. Any time the FDA reviews and changes the defect
action levels on this list, or adds products and their defect action levels to
this list, these revisions are published as Notices in the Federal Register.
The natural or unavoidable defects found within sample quantities of each
of the food commodities listed include a variety of molds, insects, rots, insect
filths, rodent filths, shells, and bean grade defects.
to Philip’s Page
August 8, 2003