The Daily Valet. - 3/28/24, Thursday

Thursday, March 28th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
It's a mildly celestial-focused newsletter today. Look up!

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Today’s Big Story

Facial Recognition on the Rise


Is your face truly your own, or is it a commodity to be sold, a weapon to be used against you?


Look up and you’re bound to see some cameras. Look around and you’ll likely not see a handful more that are currently watching. Like it or not but the future will be televised in one way or another, because facial recognition is on the rise. It’s being used at airports, at sports stadiums and as a way to keep the peace when crowds gather.

New York Times reporter Kashmir Hill has been writing about the intersection of privacy and technology for well over a decade. She just published a book about Clearview AI’s rise and practices (such as scaping the internet to gather—without consent—more than 30 billion images to support a tool that lets users identify people by picture alone. She spoke with the EFF podcast’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about how face recognition technology’s rapid evolution may have outpaced ethics and regulations, and where we might go from here.

Especially when it comes to protests, facial recognition technology has increased the risks around expressing dissent. Demonstrators can now easily be picked out of a crowd, arrested, or even preemptively detained. As the adoption of facial recognition at protests spreads, digital rights groups are mobilizing to try to force legislation to protect civil liberties from the technology.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department shared details of its interim facial recognition technology policy in testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which is looking into federal use of that capability. Activities protected under the First Amendment, such as peaceful protests and lawful assembly, “may not be the sole basis for the use of” facial recognition technology under the DOJ’s current policy governing its deployment of the technology, the agency told the panel. The interim policy could also lead to public disclosures of certain information about use of the technology at the department.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Israel has deployed a mass facial recognition program in the Gaza Strip, creating a database of Palestinians without their knowledge or consent. The program, which was created after the October 7th attacks, uses technology from Google Photos as well as a custom tool built by the Tel Aviv-based company Corsight to identify people affiliated with Hamas. But according to The Verge, several officers say it’s often inaccurate. And that could be a dangerous consequence of buggy technology.

The nonprofit publication Rest of World found that the majority of countries are using some form of facial recognition at the moment.

Polar Ice Is Melting and Changing Earth’s Rotation


And clocks might have to skip a second to keep up

Climate change, it sems, is messing with time itself now. The melting of polar ice—an accelerating trend driven primarily by human-caused climate change—is affecting Earth’s rotation and could have an impact on precision timekeeping, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The hours and minutes that dictate our days are determined by the planet’s rotation. But that rotation is not constant; it can change ever so slightly. These nearly imperceptible changes occasionally mean the world’s clocks need to be adjusted by a “leap second,” which may sound tiny but can have a big impact on computing systems. Plenty of seconds have been added over the years. But after a long trend of slowing, the Earth’s rotation is now speeding up because of changes in its core. For the first time ever, a second will need to be taken off.

“This is an unprecedented situation and a big deal,” Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist and the study’s lead author, told the Associated Press. “It’s not a huge change in the Earth’s rotation that’s going to lead to some catastrophe or anything, but it is something notable. It’s yet another indication that we’re in a very unusual time.” And gaurantees that one day in the next couple of years, everyone in the world will lose a second of their time.

Dig Deeper:
We're moving around the sun at 67,000 mph. Why don't we feel Earth spinning?

The Solar Eclipse Boom


It’s suddenly ‘bigger than the Super Bowl’

We are less than two weeks away from the April 8 total eclipse. And for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse in April, there’s no shortage of options. Six Flags Over Texas is hosting a “Solar Coaster” viewing party. Holland America has a 22-day solar eclipse cruise. And after filling up one path-of-totality flight, Delta Air Lines has added a second, promising unadulterated views from “extra-large” windows. Seriously.

According to the Washington Post, the eclipse, which will be visible from more than a dozen states, is fueling a small spending boom across the nation. Hotels are booked, campgrounds are full and rental cars are nowhere to be found around the solar event colloquially known as the “Great North American Eclipse.” States including Arkansas and Indiana are expecting record-breaking travel and spending.

It makes sense, of course. Totality, the stage of a solar eclipse in which the moon completely blocks the sun, happens once every year or two and is typically only visible from Earth’s poles or the middle of the ocean. So the fact that so many of us will be able to take this in is cause for celebration. That said, it might not make for an altogether smooth day of travel for those with plans to do so. In fact, the FAA has released a travel advisory stating as much. InsideHook reports that there will likely be a “higher traffic volume than normal anticipated at airports along the path of the eclipse, which may cause delays”—particularly during peak times—though fortunately, no better or worse than the delays we’ve come to associate with other high-travel days. So plan accordingly or you might miss out when the sun disappears.

How to photograph an eclipse (according to a master of the genre).

Have the Masters’ Pimento Cheese Sandwich Delivered


Order the world’s most famous cheese sandwich to pair with the 2024 tournament

There’s only one big cheese at the Masters—and it has nothing to do with who wins the green jacket. As much of the fabric of the annual golf tournament as Amen Corner, Magnolia Lane or skipping balls on 16, the $1.50 pimento cheese sandwich is a staple at Augusta National each April. And it’s easily the world’s most famous in professional sports.

What is it about the sandos? Perhaps it’s their simplicity: a creamy, tangy, red-speckled spread stuffed between two slices of Wonder Bread. Lined up like rows of library books wrapped in those signature hunter green to-go baggies, they’ve flown off the shelves at Masters tournaments since 1947. I once knew a sports reporter who flew home from the Masters with several in his carry-on and sold them to coworkers upon his return.

But now there’s an easier way to get your hands on them: Thanks to the tournament’s collaboration with Goldbelly, the sandwich is available to order online this year, along with other fan-favorite foods and classic concessions from golf’s biggest event. The Classic Kit, which serves four to six people, includes the world-famous Pimento Cheese, potato chips, and mini chocolate MoonPies, complete with 2024 Tournament souvenir cups (12), Masters-branded wax paper (a sleeve of 12 sheets), Masters Coasters (12), and other “hosting kit materials”. It costs $99.95, and is shipping for free. Just note that you’ll need to get your own loaf of Wonder Bread to make the sandwiches.

Make It Yourself:
Thanks to a cookbook written by the Junior League of Augusta, has an insider’s perspective on how to replicate the famous pimento cheese.


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What We’re Buying


A spring jacket


Is this the best suede jacket you can get for 500 bucks? Perhaps. It's cut from a really supple (and responsibly manufactured) suede and is available in three shades—a sandy beige, olive green and a rich caramel brown. The details give a slight retro swagger. There's a spread collar and generous pockets, all with secure snap closures. The silhouette is relaxed, yet tailored with a slightly cropped cut that looks great with both jeans or more formal trousers. In short, it's the kind of jacket that looks and feels like the kind that usually cost four times this much.

Get It:
Suede trucker jacket, $500 by Banana Republic

Morning Motto

It all comes down to action.


Don't wish, work. Don't say, show. Don't promise, prove.




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