NTNU unveils watermarking
A team from National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) yesterday unveiled a novel digital watermarking technology using hybrid halftone dots that has been granted patents in Taiwan and the US. The technology relies on a method that mixes amplitude modulation halftone dots and frequency modulation halftone dots to produce a watermark and enables hidden patterns to be detected by copying machines and optical scanners. Wang Hsi-chun (王希俊), a professor in NTNU’s Department of Graphic Arts Communication, who leads the team, said although the watermark cannot be perceived by the human eye, it will become visible when a document embedded with it is scanned or duplicated using a copying machine. “Because of this, people can highlight their copyright and protect their intellectual property,” Wang said, adding that the technology is highly practical and can be used to produce customized notebooks and office paper. The same technology can also be used to embed audio watermarks in paper, Wang said.
CDC sponsors comic books
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday announced a new strategy for promoting the concept of disease prevention to the younger generation — comic books. The center has adopted the approach to communicate to a wider public, including students, through language that they are familiar with, CDC Deputy Director Lin Ting (林頂) said. A year ago, the CDC got in touch with a popular young online comic artist named Sana to brainstorm ways to “revolutionize” the means of spreading information, Lin said. The comic book includes 48 stories about how to keep disease at bay and will soon be distributed to schools of all levels.
‘Happy stay’ poll ends today
An online poll sponsored by the Tourism Bureau of the most popular hotel and guesthouses nationwide ends today as part of its efforts to promote tourism in the country. According to the bureau, Kindness Hotel Han Shen in Greater Kaohsiung, Kue Kuan Motel in Changhua and Moon Area Motel in Yunlin were the leading votegetters in the hotel category as of yesterday. Happy 88 in New Taipei City (新北市), Canaan and Xinyuan in Yilan topped the guesthouse category. The “happy stay” poll has drawn about 650,000 votes since it began on Dec. 2 last year, bureau officials said. The top 100 places will be put to a seven-member panel, which will pick out 10 finalists for each of the two categories. The winners will be announced in the middle of next month, the officials added.
THSR ridership hits high
Taiwan High Speed Rail’s (THSR) annual ridership for last year reached a record-high 36.9 million passengers, a 14.19 percent increase over the previous year, according to the company. It also recorded a daily average of 101,000 rides last year amid steady growth in ridership since the THSR started operations in 2007, THSR Corp public affairs manager Christina Tao (陶令瑜) said. The figures indicate a big jump in performance compared with 2009, when the daily ridership averaged 88,000, Tao said, adding that they could be attributed to successful alliances between the THSR and local travel agencies. She said special travel packages have drawn attention from both domestic and foreign travelers. The company said it hopes to increase the average daily ridership to 105,000 this year.
Zoo annouces pangolin birth
Taipei Zoo’s program to keep and breed pangolins, an animal notoriously difficult to raise in captivity, has scored another success. Zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said in a statement that a baby pangolin, the fourth born in captivity at the zoo, was born on Dec. 9 and now weighs 260g, compared with its birth weight of 105g. Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, forage with their long and sticky tongues, with ants and termites their major food source, but reproducing their natural diet in captivity has been problematic. Yeh said he did not anticipate having similar problems with the baby pangolin, which at present is doing little more than sleeping, feeding on milk and occasionally climbing on the back of its mother. The toothless pup was found by zoo staffers last month in a hole its mother made after they tried to move her to a heated room during a cold spell.
KMT attracts 290 hopefuls
A recruitment drive by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) attracted almost 300 applicants for 20 jobs with a starting salary of NT$30,000 a month, party officials said. It is the first recruitment drive held by the party in 10 years after it spent much of the previous decade trying to streamline its operations, officials said. The first stage of the drive — a written exam — was held on Sunday and attracted 290 applicants. The exam covered official document writing and essay writing, with the essay question topic being “My feelings about work,” a KMT party official said. The 20 people who are hired will have to complete a training program and work for a three-month trial period at one of the party’s chapters. If they make it through the trial period, they will be given a two-year contract with a starting salary of NT$30,000. The successful candidates will be announced on Jan. 26.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37