White House Releases Long-Awaited “AI Bill of Rights” Document

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a “Blueprint” for an “AI Bill of Rights.” OSTP had announced this effort in October 2021, saying “Our country should clarify the rights and freedoms we expect data-driven technologies to respect.”

“Designers, developers, and deployers of automated systems should take proactive and continuous measures to protect individuals and communities from algorithmic discrimination and to use and design systems in an equitable way,” the Blueprint states. “This protection should include proactive equity assessments as part of the system design, use of representative data and protection against proxies for demographic features, ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities in design and development, pre-deployment and ongoing disparity testing and mitigation, and clear organizational oversight.”

The five major principles are Safe and Effective Systems; Freedom from Algorithmic Discrimination; Data Privacy; Notice and Explanation; Human Alternatives, Consideration, and Fallback. The document lays out why these principles are critical, examples of where they are violated, and examples of how they’ve been addressed.

The Blueprint notes that individuals must be protected from abusive data practices and calls for data minimization rules, stating “[y]ou should be protected from violations of privacy through design choices that ensure such protections are included by default, including ensuring that data collection conforms to reasonable expectations and that only data strictly necessary for the specific context is collected.”

“The establishment of the core principles that must be met to ensure AI systems serve the public interest, as well as a recognition by the White House of the very real harms automated decision-making systems cause to individuals is a significant step,” EPIC Executive Director Alan Butler said. “The White House has drawn up the blueprint, now it must build the framework to ensure that these principles are put into practice. The Administration must also ensure that systems used by the federal government meet the goals set out in today’s Blueprint.”

EPIC regularly provides comments to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, including urging them to prioritize privacy and civil rights in the use of AI. EPIC works to get common sense protective AI regulation at the local, state, federal, and international level. EPIC has also advocated for data minimization rules.

Last November, EPIC co-hosted a panel event with the OSTP as part of the Bill of Rights for an Automated Society event series. Panelists discussed the role of technological innovation or technology regulation in ongoing debates regarding the criminal justice system and society, notions of public and community safety, and meaningful redress of harm.

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How to Choose the Right Water Storage Tank for Your Home

When it comes to water storage tanks, there are many different options available on the market. This can make choosing the right one for your home a bit of a challenge. However, by considering a few key factors, you can narrow down your choices and find the perfect tank for your needs. Also, by working with a reputable dealer, you can be sure that you are getting a high-quality tank that will last for many years. It’s important to consider the following when choosing a water storage tank.

1. Capacity

The first factor to consider is the capacity of the tank. This will be determined by the number of people in your household and your water usage. If you have a large family or high water usage, you’ll need a tank with a larger capacity. Conversely, if you have a smaller household or low water usage, you can opt for a tank with a smaller capacity. For example, an ibc tank can range in size from 275 to 550 gallons. It’s important to choose a size that will suit your needs. While a larger tank may cost more upfront, it will save you money in the long run by avoiding the need to purchase multiple tanks. This is especially important if you live in an area with high water prices.

2. Material

The next factor to consider is the material of the tank. Water storage tanks are typically made from plastic, steel, or concrete. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Plastic tanks are the most lightweight option and are therefore easy to install and transport. However, they are not as durable as other options and can be susceptible to leaks. Steel tanks are very strong and durable, but they are also the most expensive option. Concrete tanks are extremely durable, but they are also very heavy, making them difficult to transport and install. You’ll need to decide which material is right for your needs. If you’re looking for a durable tank that is easy to transport and install, plastic may be the best option. If you’re looking for a tank that is very strong and durable, but more expensive, steel may be the best option. 

3. Location

The next factor to consider is the location of the tank. Water storage tanks can be placed above ground or below ground. Above-ground tanks are easier to install and maintain, but they can be more susceptible to damage from flooding or other natural disasters. Below-ground tanks are more durable and less likely to be damaged, but they can be more difficult to install. Additionally, if your water table is high, you may need to have a pump to bring the water up to the surface. It’s important to consider your needs and the location of your property when choosing a tank.

4. Warranty

It’s important to consider the warranty when choosing a water storage tank. Most tanks come with a warranty of 10 to 20 years. This ensures that the tank will be free from defects and…

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Question: What Exactly Is Grey Water?

We often hear about water conservation and the importance of using less water in this day and age.

woman hands doing dishes

Especially for homesteaders or anyone living in a place where water is scarce and precious, the pressure is really on to get as much “mileage” from your water as possible.

A method that is commonly recommended to this end is the reuse of gray water. But what exactly is gray water? 

Gray water is simply household wastewater that is not contaminated by urine or fecal matter. This can include water from baths, showers, hand washing, laundry, and dishwashing.

Basically, any water that doesn’t come into contact with human waste can be considered gray water, and it is possible to reuse this water for other chores both in and out of the house for a variety of purposes.

With some smart engineering and an eye toward sustainability, you can separate and even store gray water in day-to-day use so you don’t have to waste your fresh, potable water on lesser tasks. If that sounds interesting, keep reading: we will tell you more in this article.

Gray Water is Wastewater, but Not the Worst Wastewater

The first thing to understand about gray water is that collected properly, it doesn’t contain human waste.

So long as the wastewater from your sinks, dishwasher, tubs, and other such drains is not allowed to reach the main sewer or septic pipe in your home, it won’t have any opportunity to come into contact with poop or pee.

Wastewater that is contaminated with either, in any quantity, is known as black water and is not something you want to be messing with for any other purpose without heavy treatment. That’s a topic beyond the confines of this article.

Gray water, on the other hand, is generally safe to handle (or at least much safer) and can be used for non-potable purposes so long as it isn’t for human consumption and won’t come into contact with food. More on those purposes in just a minute.

Gray Water Can Still Contain Lots of Germs and Bad Stuff

Don’t misunderstand: gray water is still contaminated with all kinds of stuff.

For instance, water from laundry will have soap or other cleaning agents in it, while water from the kitchen will certainly contain food particles, grease, mold, and the like. Anything that goes down these drains will be in the water!

As a result, gray water should not be used for drinking or cooking purposes, and you should be careful about contact with gray water if you have any open cuts or wounds.

In general, it is best to be cautious and assume that all gray water is contaminated with germs to some degree. Avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, or any open wounds.

6 Uses for Gray Water

While the idea of using gray water may sound a bit icky at first, it actually makes perfect sense.

After all, this water is not contaminated in any significant way and can be perfectly safe to use for all kinds of things.

It isn’t…

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7 Reasons The Power Grid Could Fail

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Estimated reading time: 24 minutes

7 Reasons The Power Grid Could Fail

Many of us have experienced a power outage at one time or another. Most of the time the duration of the outage is measured in hours, maybe a day, and in rare instances – a week or more.

The outages also tend to be localized and repairs happen quickly or power is “borrowed” from a nearby utility or network and rerouted to the affected area. The experience is usually a frustrating inconvenience and most hospitals and critical systems have backup power to get through the outage.

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But what if…?

What If The National Grid Fails?

It’s never happened in the United States, but some countries have had widespread power outages affecting most of their territory. Russia’s cyber attack on Ukraine’s grid in 2015 knocked about 60 substations offline, leaving 230,000 people in the dark. It was an ominous threat, but once again, the outage only lasted 1 to 6 hours.

It seems like most power outages, regardless of the extent, have a short duration and are only an inconvenience. But there’s a problem.

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North American Grid at Night

Crumbling Infrastructure

It may be an over-statement to refer to the U.S. power grid as crumbling, but in many parts of the country that’s exactly the case. The North American power grid is old.

The original design was engineered to only last 50 years with the assumption that future generations would upgrade and improve the system. That has rarely happened unless a system or station has a significant failure, and even then the fix falls in the category of repairs, not replacement.

As a result, there are parts of the North American grid that are about 100 years old. In a study done by the American Society of Engineers the power grid was graded D+ for reliability. It’s troubling to think that a system so critical to our survival is in the range of a failing grade. Worse, some estimates put a critical repair to the North American grid at $5 trillion dollars!

The Failure of Complex Systems

The North American Power grid may be one of the most complex systems on Earth. And it’s important to note that the power grid is just not about the U.S.

The grid stretches across the U.S. and up into Canada powering and ultimately affecting all of North America.

The Failure of Complex Systems

On a basic level, the grid is composed of 3 interconnections serving many states and provinces with the exception of a single interconnection in Texas. The fragility of any interconnection was demonstrated in the winter of 2021 when weather extremes induced by climate change almost brought down the…

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