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In , Evans was part of a team that traveled to the Bonneville Salt Flats to set the lawnmower land-speed record of 96mph. As the league continues to expand—"mowing and growing," as some members describe it—Evans is quick to credit much of the success to the association's founder and former president, Bruce Kaufman, whose passion for racing and lawnmower puns knows no bounds. From the Lake George ice races to lawnmower battles, grassroots racing has been trending toward being more affordable and more accessible.

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Even conventional racing organizations, like the Sports Car Club of America SCCA , have taken note, expanding programs in recent years so that just about anyone can get involved. Stuff like that. Further Reading The agony and ecstasy of grassroots racing Over the years, the SCCA grew into a sprawling amateur racing organization, reaching a crescendo in the '80s when actor Paul Newman took up the hobby. It remained a fairly exclusive pastime, however, reserved only for those with the means and unbridled passion to make racing their lifestyle.

But that's a shrinking mentality in American culture. In all, SCCA's suite of programs attracts approximately 75, participants each year, and "Track Night in America," which began in , is poised to break 11, racers this year.


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And grassroots racing shows no signs of slowing down. While winning and losing are certainly a part of these competitions, Wagner points out that new drivers, especially millennials, are less concerned about trophies and more interested in the overall experience.

And with racing, people want to just break away from Excel and Outlook for a couple of hours and feel something visceral, something you can't feel in any other environment. They want to just clear their heads and enjoy the drive. You must login or create an account to comment. Skip to main content. David Burnham, president of the Adirondack Motor Enthusiast Club, competes in a home-built yellow racer fitted with a vintage Maserati engine.

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Gregory Leporati. Most New Yorkers groan when Lake George freezes over, but local racers view the ice as the perfect race track. He spent hours personally adding the studs to his tires to enhance his grip on the ice. A very different morning commute: cost-conscious competitors find ice racing ideal because they can enter their daily drivers.

One of the most difficult parts of ice racing is visibility, as cars typically kick up a thick mist while turning. Customized ice racers have a distinct look and can sometimes resemble moon buggies more than race cars. The "cutting" edge: Lawnmower racing started out as a publicity stunt in but has since grown into a nationwide league with more than competitors.

Lawn Mower Racing Association. The winning "mow"ment: as with most grassroots racing, there are no cash prizes in lawnmower racing—just a plastic trophy and bragging rights.


  • 96mph lawnmowers and vintage Maserati engines in ice buggies? Why not.?
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  • Bruce "Mr. But data researchers and scientists know how to account for this. As with hashtags that go viral, you can generally place more trust in the validity of data earlier on in the trend or campaign—before people begin to participate ironically or attempt to hijack the hashtag for irrelevant purposes.

    As for bogus pictures, image recognition algorithms are plenty sophisticated enough to pick out a human face. If you uploaded an image of a cat 10 years ago and now—as one of my friends did, adorably—that particular sample would be easy to throw out. For its part, Facebook denies having any hand in the 10YearChallenge. Facebook gains nothing from this meme besides reminding us of the questionable fashion trends of As a reminder, Facebook users can choose to turn facial recognition on or off at any time.

    But even if this particular meme isn't a case of social engineering, the past few years have been rife with examples of social games and memes designed to extract and collect data. Just think of the mass data extraction of more than 70 million US Facebook users performed by Cambridge Analytica.

    Is it bad that someone could use your Facebook photos to train a facial recognition algorithm? Still, the broader takeaway here is that we need to approach our interactions with technology mindful of the data we generate and how it can be used at scale. The benign scenario: Facial recognition technology, specifically age progression capability, could help with finding missing kids.

    Last year police in New Delhi reported tracking down nearly 3, missing kids in just four days using facial recognition technology.

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    If the kids had been missing a while, they would likely look a little different from the last known photo of them, so a reliable age progression algorithm could be genuinely helpful here. Facial recognition's potential is mostly mundane: Age recognition is probably most useful for targeted advertising. Ad displays that incorporate cameras or sensors and can adapt their messaging for age-group demographics as well as other visually recognizable characteristics and discernible contexts will likely be commonplace before very long.

    But as that data flows downstream and becomes enmeshed with our location tracking, response and purchase behavior, and other signals, it could bring about some genuinely creepy interactions.

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    Like most emerging technology, there's a chance of fraught consequences. Age progression could someday factor into insurance assessment and health care. You may pay more or be denied coverage. After Amazon introduced real-time facial recognition services in late , they began selling those services to law enforcement and government agencies, such as the police departments in Orlando and Washington County, Oregon.

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    But the technology raises major privacy concerns; the police could use the technology not only to track people who are suspected of having committed crimes, but also people who are not committing crimes, such as protesters and others whom the police deem a nuisance. It's tough to overstate the fullness of how technology stands to impact humanity.

    The opportunity exists for us to make it better, but to do that we also must recognize some of the ways in which it can get worse. So is this such a big deal?

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    Are bad things going to happen because you posted some already-public profile pictures to your wall? Is it dangerous to train facial recognition algorithms for age progression and age recognition? Not exactly. Regardless of the origin or intent behind this meme, we must all become savvier about the data we create and share, the access we grant to it, and the implications for its use.

    If the context was a game that explicitly stated that it was collecting pairs of then-and-now photos for age progression research, you could choose to participate with an awareness of who was supposed to have access to the photos and for what purpose. The broader message, removed from the specifics of any one meme or even any one social platform, is that humans are the richest data sources for most of the technology emerging in the world.

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    We should know this, and proceed with due diligence and sophistication. Humans are the connective link between the physical and digital worlds. Human interactions are the majority of what makes the Internet of Things interesting. Our data is the fuel that makes businesses smarter and more profitable.

    We should demand that businesses treat our data with due respect, by all means.