ELBC Workers Union Draws Attention to Dilapidated Building

first_imgThe President of the Liberia Broadcasting System’s Workers Union has called on government and the general public to contribute towards the renovation of houses on the ELBC compound.In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, Mr. Moses G. Dorbor said the dilapidated conditions of the buildings have reduced space for various functions at the station, leading to workers being restricted to one building.“I am moved as a leader and a citizen with an intelligent mind to say that ELBC needs to experience better postwar benefits. For a little over 10 years now we have had peace and continue using this state broadcaster to inform, educate and entertain people of all walks of life, but we still see these buildings continue to lie in ruin since the civil war ended,” he said.“Holding all factors constant that this is our ‘Nation’s Pride,’ the government needs to see reason to prioritize the renovation of these buildings,” said Dorbor.LBS sources estimate that about US$1.5 million is needed to address the infrastructural problems of the state run broadcast entity.“Veteran media practitioners who served ELBC and every Liberian are encouraged to contribute towards the rebuilding of the offices and staff quarters at LBS that are important to the running of the station,” he continued.According to him, the daily intake for services at the station cannot amount to the sum that can possibly mitigate the pressing challenges.The LBS Workers Union president said though donors sympathize with ELBC, they are not responsible to do it all.“The international media institutions that come to help us,” he said, “have business oriented motives and are not prepared to do everything.”He said International media like BBC, CCTV and RFI collaborate with foreign media entities in order to get their frequencies active worldwide, but are not responsible to do everything for the station.Meanwhile, Mr. Dorbor appealed to the government to increase the budget of LBS from US$800,000 to an amount that will meet the present economic realities, because the current allotment cannot meet the needs of the station. He said maintenance of the generator, salary payments and stationery, among others, are basic pressing needs of the station that the above amount cannot totally address.He praised all his LBS colleagues for their level of cooperation in realizing successes thought to be impossible in times past.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Is time moving forward or backward? Computers learn to spot the difference

first_imgPlay the video above, and it won’t take you long to notice there’s something off about it. Rather than drifting down toward the forest below, the snow is falling …up? Then it hits you: The video is running backward. Now, a computer watching the movie could arrive at that same realization. For the first time, scientists have taught computers to figure out the direction of time in videos, a result that could help researchers better understand our own perception of time.Computer vision—a field focused on how computers could learn to detect objects, motion, or even human emotions and intentions in photographs and video—has long fascinated computer scientists, with applications ranging from more realistic-looking video games to video surveillance and intelligence. At the same time, computer vision has attracted the interest of psychologists, who hope to use it to study how people turn raw visual data into an understanding of the world around them.The latter question led Lyndsey Pickup, now a human and computer vision researcher at Mirada Medical in Oxford, U.K., to wonder how we tell the difference between time running forward and backward in movies. After all, we only ever observe time running forward in the real world—a concept called time’s arrow. How do we pick up on it when a movie has put time arrow’s in reverse? 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Combining standard techniques for discovering objects in still photographs with motion detection algorithms, the researchers identified 4000 typical patterns of motion, or “flow words,” across a grid’s 16 cells. The gentle downward drifting of snowflakes, for example, would be one flow word. From those patterns, the team created flow word descriptions of each video along with three other versions—a time-reversed version, a mirror-image version, and a mirror-image and time-reversed version. Then, they made a computer program watch 120 of these clips, training it to identify which flow words best revealed whether a video ran forward or backward.When they tested their program on the remaining 60 videos, the trained computers could correctly determine whether a video ran forward or backward 80% of the time, the team reported this week at the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Columbus, Ohio. A closer analysis found that flow words associated with divergence (water splashing outward as someone dives into a pool) or dissipation (a steam train’s exhaust spreading out in air) were especially good indicators of the direction in which time was moving.In principle, the work could provide clues about how humans, as well as computers, perceive time passing, Pickup says, and reverse-time videos could play a role akin to the optical illusions and reverse-color photographs psychologists have used to study visual perception in the past. Seeing time running backward is “really captivating,” and continuing the research might help her team figure out why, she says.Shai Avidan, an associate professor of engineering at Tel Aviv University in Israel who wasn’t involved with the work, says that the team is the first to ask, “Can we analyze and understand” what attributes distinguish backward from forward video? It’s an intriguing if largely academic question. Still, practical applications may be possible. Avidan compares the flow words approach to earlier work on identifying different kinds of texture in still images. Though studying image textures was considered “superficial” 15 years ago, he says, the tools developed to do so have since proved essential for engineers working on how to reduce noise in low-light digital photographs and other images. By identifying the subtle features that indicate time’s arrow and separating those from noise, flow words could play a similar role for improving otherwise fuzzy low-light video, Avidan ventures.Regardless of any possible applications, “we just thought it was a great problem,” says Pickup’s co-author and computer scientist William Freeman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Pickup agrees: Teaching computers to see the arrow of time combines computer science, physics, and human perception to get at the heart of the question, “How do we understand the visual world?”last_img read more