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China Introduces ATMs With Face Recognition

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When it comes to protecting your money (and your identity), passwords and pin numbers are a relatively safe bet. But according to some developers, there's a better, even more secure way: face recognition technology. 

Experts at China's Tsinghua University and Tzekwan Technology have teamed up to bring the world's first face-recognizing ATM to the country. Using biometric authentication, the new machines will observe facial features and use iris recognition in order to compare you to a database of faces. Only if your ID checks out will you be able to access your money. “This technology will ensure the greater security of card owners," Tzekwan chairman and anti-graft expert Gu Zikun explained. 

Of course, this new technology raises some questions. What happens if your appearance becomes altered over time, either as a result of plastic surgery or natural aging? The developers claim the program can identify these changes, but it's unclear how accurately. 

Not everyone is on board with the developers' plan. "It's not very practical," sniffed one user on China's Weibo social network. "Using passwords to access an ATM is safe and convenient, why do we need facial recognition? What if we’re busy and need someone to get money for us with our card?”

China currently also uses fingerprint scanners on some of its cash machines, but generally speaking, biometric ATMs have not been introduced because of the high cost and privacy concerns.

[h/t: Telegraph.co.uk]

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Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
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Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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14 Things You Owned in the '70s That are Worth a Fortune Now
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From old toys and housewares to books and records, these pieces of '70s memorabilia have aged (and increased in value) like fine wine.

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