This past week’s headlines have been plagued once again by tragedy with the devastation in Oklahoma (click here for ways to help). On the lighter side, however, we have stories about GPS helping farmers in Africa, surveillance cameras used to bust criminals, and much more.
GPS Gives African Farmers New Tool to Fight Loss, Theft, and Disease
Livestock farmers across Africa face a simple problem common to all herders: when their cattle wander off or get stolen, they struggle to track them down. But they’ll struggle no more, thanks to a program that’s modifying GPS trackers to make them affordable and easy to attach to animals primarily in Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa. In addition to helping locate livestock, because the GPS units will carry individual animal numbers, the devices also make tracking and containing disease easier. Because they can go through past location data, they can more easily identify potential carriers who came into contact with animals known to be infected.
Adelaide Provides Commuters with a New Way to Track Transportation
Commuters in Adelaide will soon have an extra tool at their disposal to make traveling more efficient once the Department of Transport fully activates GPS transmitters on every bus, train, and tram in the city. These vehicles are all currently fitted with technology, but GPS data so far has been used internally to track traffic patterns in order to identify bottlenecks and areas with chronic delays. By July, the GPS system will be rolled out to the public, allowing everyday citizens to keep track of their ride in real time.
Illegal Dumpers Busted By Surveillance Camera in Los Angeles
Dumping, while a hilarious classification of crime, is a major annoyance for many communities, especially the Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno. Two men caught on camera throwing waste and debris from the back of their pickup truck on three separate occasions now face misdemeanor charges. To curb the problematically frequent illegal dumping in their town, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has confirmed that multiple surveillance cameras have been activated at known dumping sites. Residents are also encouraged to call a tip line to bust the dumpers.
New York Nanny Cam Catches Thief in the Act
Nanny cams, usually relegated to a child’s room to keep kids safe, can sometimes prove even more useful than that. For one Brooklyn family, repurposing their nanny cam for home surveillance did just that as it caught a crook who broke into their home stealing cash, computer equipment, and jewelry. The cameras weren’t bought for security purposes, but when the family left town for Washington they turned them on anyway. While the robbery was unlucky, the coincidental surveillance may just end up catching the crook; anyone with information on the criminal is encouraged to report it to the NYPD.
Victoria Joins Host of States Using GPS to Track Sex Offenders and Protect the Public
Victoria will be the first Australian state to outfit its worst sex offenders with GPS bracelets, a practice that has already gained traction in the United States. The technology will additionally be used to track arsonists during brush fire season and alcohol-related offenders by monitoring blood alcohol content through examining sweat molecules. The law that made this practice possible will also allow courts to put special blood-alcohol monitors on those ordered by the court to abstain from consuming alcohol. Combined, the ability to monitor these types of offenders will allow law enforcement to find and intercept them if they enter banned areas, hopefully preventing repeat offenses.
Monitoring Software Catches Florida Pastor Watching Child Porn on Disney Work Computer
A Pastor and employee of Disney’s Port Orleans resort in Orlando was recently jailed and relieved of his church duties after being caught by computer monitoring software looking at child pornography on a work computer. The software, which captures screenshots every 3 seconds, observed the now-former pastor writing an Easter Sunday church sermon while simultaneously loading pornographic YouTube videos involving teenage girls. Seriously.