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06-24-2017 Science&Technology
Amazon’s vision for the future: delivery drone beehives in every city

Amazon’s drone delivery program stopped being a joke a while ago, but the company still has to overcome serious challenges to make the technology actually work. One of these is getting drones near enough to large populations so they’re more efficient than regular road delivery. Amazon has an idea for that though: Huge. Drone. Beehives.

In a patent application published yesterday, Amazon described how “multi-level fulfillment centers for unmanned aerial vehicles” could help put drones where they’re needed. The application notes that due to “their large footprint,” current warehouses are located “on the outskirts of cities where space is available.” But multi-story drone centers could be built vertically, rather than horizontally, allowing them to be placed within “downtown districts and/or other densely populated urban areas.” And, of course, making them high-rises would let the drones fly in and out without getting dangerously close to pedestrians at street level.

Amazon’s application includes sketches of a number of differently shaped buildings and interior views, showing how human employees would load-up the drones with packages:

But flying large numbers of drones in cities invites other problems too. Who’s going to want to live near a drone delivery tower if it makes so much noise? And what if drones start falling out the sky, making impromptu, and possibly fatal, deliveries? Amazon is obviously thinking hard about these problems, and in the same round of patent applications as the delivery beehive, suggests a few solutions.

For drone noise, the company is suggesting custom rotor designs that would chop through the air more quietly. These include adding “trailing edge fringes,” “leading edge serrations,” “sound dampening treatments,” and “blade indentations for sound control” to rotors, but all focus on the same principle: breaking up the airflow around propellers to try and alter or reduce the sound they make.

The image below shows how “trailing edge fringes” — the tiny plant-like fronds — might be added to the rotor blade. These might make drones quieter, but let’s face it: they’ll also look terrifying.

And the last significant item on Amazon’s patent application list? Drones with multiple sets of rotors and motors, so that if one set fails, the other can take over. It’s a simple idea, but an essential one.

Of course, all these are just applications. It doesn’t mean Amazon is necessarily going to build these things, or that drone deliveries will ever become widespread. What it does show, is that the company is continuing to think hard about the future of deliveries. And who knows? These things always seem silly, right up until the point they’re real. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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06-24-2017 Science&Technology
Google is trying to get people into virtual reality by chopping it in half

For all the wild hype around virtual reality (VR) right now, it still isn't widely used by ordinary people. The headsets are expensive, the tech is daunting, and there isn't really much must-see content on it that might drive adoption.

Google is trying to solve this — by cutting it in half.

On Thursday, the Californian firm announced "VR180." It is what it sounds like — 180-degree stereoscopic virtual reality, eschewing the full 360 degrees usually used in videos in favour of a more limited field of view.

This makes it far easier to produce: Most normal videos could also be shot in VR180, using forthcoming camera built from companies including Lenovo, LG, and Yi are also working with Google that are slated to launch this winter.

"For creators, you'll be able to set up and film your videos the way you normally would with any other camera," Google product manager Frank Rodriguez wrote in a blog post. "And, soon, you'll be able to edit using familiar tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. From vlogs, to makeup tutorials to music videos - your videos will work great in VR."

The aim is that producers who might be intimidated or unwilling to produce proper 360-degree VR footage will be prepared to experiment with VR180.

The VR180 videos will be playable on Daydream, Google's smartphone-VR solution, as well as its budget Cardboard option, and Sony's PSVR.

Google has also produced a playlist of VR180-ready videos on YouTube, which you can watch here.

For all the buzz, big companies aren't going to throw everything they have at VR until more ordinary people use it. But consumers are unlikely to adopt it at scale until more compelling media is available and it's easier and more accessible.

VR180 is an attempt to start to solve that impasse.



Read Original Article     ON:   Business Insider

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06-24-2017 Politics
The Daily 202: Senate Republicans want to get to yes on the health care bill

THE BIG IDEA: Much of the concern that Republican senators expressed yesterday about the draft health-care bill felt more like political posturing than genuine threats to torpedo the effort.

There are not currently the 50 votes necessary to advance the legislation that Mitch McConnell unveiled Thursday. There will need to be concessions and compromises, and there are several ways the push could still fall apart in the coming days.

But pretty much every Republican, including the current holdouts, wants to pass something. And no GOP senator wants to bear the brunt of the blame from the base for inaction. That factor must not be discounted.

-- President Trump, who endorsed the Senate bill last night, also badly wants to get something done, and he’s made clear that he’ll sign whatever makes it through Congress.

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-- Ted Cruz carried around a “path to yes” memo in his suit coat pocket yesterday that contained a list of his asks. “This current draft doesn’t get the job done, but I believe we can get to yes,” said the Texan, who is up for reelection next year and has been trying to rebrand himself as an effective legislator. “We continue to have positive, productive conversations.”

Cruz issued a joint statement with three other conservatives — Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah — saying that they cannot support the legislation as it stands. Parse their words carefully, and it’s notable how many outs they gave themselves.

Here is the statement in full (I’ve added italics on the wiggle words): “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.” ...



Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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06-24-2017 Politics
Trump says tape bluff was to keep Comey honest

President Trump in an interview with Fox News claimed his bluff about having White House tapes of his conversations with James Comey was made to keep the fired FBI director honest.

In the interview, Trump said that when Comey found out there was a possibility of tapes, "I think his story may have changed.

Fox reporter Ainsley Earnhardt suggested that keeping the tapes was "a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings."

"Well, uh, it wasn't very stupid, I can tell you that," Trump replied.

"He did admit that what I said was right, and if you look further back, before he heard about that, i think maybe he wasn't admitting that. So I think maybe you'll need to do a little investigative reporting to determine that, but I don't think it will be that hard."

Trump said that his story on the conversations with Comey "never changed."

"My story was the straight story. My story never changed.”

Trump's firing of Comey led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel for an investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, including possible links to Trump's campaign.

It's also possible that Mueller is looking into an obstruction of justice case against Trump linked to the firing of Comey, who had been leading the Russia probe.

Trump first mentioned the possibility of tapes of recordings with Comey after the firing when news leaked out about the FBI director feeling uncomfortable in meetings with Trump.

The president in speaking with Fox reiterated that he did not actually tape Comey.

“Well I didn’t tape him,” Trump said. “You never know what’s happening when you see that the Obama administration and perhaps longer than that was doing all this unmasking and surveillance and you read all about it and I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months about the seriousness of the and the horrible situation of surveillance all over the place."

“But I didn’t tape, and I don’t have any tapes, and I didn’t tape, but when he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether its governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, I think his story may have changed,” he added.

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Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that Trump had once asked him for a pledge of loyalty and later pressed him to drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump accused the former top cop of lying under oath.

Trump repeated his assertion on Friday that his version of his interactions with Comey were the truth.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Hill

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06-24-2017 Politics
Brexit: What is UK offering EU citizens?

Since the vote to leave the EU a year ago, millions of EU citizens living in the UK, and about a million UK expats in other EU states have been living in a state of uncertainty about their future.

On Thursday we were given a glimpse of the UK government's offer to deal with the issue - but the full details have not yet been published. Here is what we know.

What has Theresa May offered?

Mrs May outlined her proposal at a private dinner with other EU leaders in Brussels which was not on camera.

So we do not have a great amount of detail - more information is due to be revealed in a government paper being published on Monday, although much will remain subject to negotiation.

What has been announced is that a new immigration "UK settled status" will be created for EU citizens who have been living legally in the UK for at least five years.

It is not yet clear exactly what rights those people would be entitled to but it is understood they would get education, health, benefits and pension rights for life.

It is understood no EU national currently resident in the UK would have to leave at the point of Brexit. Mrs May has said no-one would face a "cliff edge" and describes her plan as "a fair and serious offer, one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society.'

A government source told the Daily Telegraph: "We will be aiming to treat them as if they were UK citizens for healthcare, education, benefits and pensions."

Those who have not yet reached five years would be entitled to stay on until they reach the threshold for settled status while it is understood that those arriving after an as-yet-unspecified cut-off date would be given a "grace period" - expected to be two years - to obtain a work permit or return to their home countries.

But the offer is not unilateral - it is dependent on UK citizens living abroad getting a reciprocal deal from other EU states.

What don't we know?

Quite a bit. For how long would this deal apply? There seems to be some dispute over the "cut-off" date. The UK has suggested it could be anywhere between March 2017, when it triggered Article 50, the formal process of leaving the EU, and March 2019 when it will formally leave.

Will rights under the new "settled" UK immigration status apply to family members living elsewhere - to children in particular? Mrs May has said she does not want to see families split up, but without the full detail it is not clear who would get the status. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   BBC

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06-24-2017 Science&Technology
Chicago’s new Apple Store has a giant MacBook for a roof

Construction is underway at the new Apple Store in downtown Chicago, and today, as reported by DNA Chicago, a new design element was added: a giant Apple logo. A construction crew laid out the logo on the store’s silver, rectangular roof, making it look like a giant MacBook. It stayed for less than an hour before crews rolled up the logo and removed it.

Designed by London-based Foster+Partners, the store is a relocation of Apple’s original Chicago flagship and is a 20,000-square-foot space which, upon completion, will have all-glass walls and a thin, carbon fiber roof... that looks like a MacBook.

The first renderings were originally unveiled in 2015, and touted the project’s “echo” to Prairie Style homes. As the Chicago Tribune details, the all-glass walls range between 14 to 32 feet in height, and are made out of four layers of half-inch thick glass joined with layers of stronger, thicker laminated glass.

Though the Apple logo on top wasn’t in original plans, outlets like the Chicago Tribune and NBC Chicago made mention of the logo’s inclusion on the store’s roof as early as March 28th. “The roof is made from a lightweight material used in yacht hulls to keep it thin,” writes the Chicago Tribune, “four feet thick at its widest point and four inches at its narrowest, with an Apple logo on top.” Between these clues, the original renderings, and all the overhead photos people have taken along the way, it’s astounding the MacBook roof stayed a mystery until now.

When it is finished, the store will include many of the new elements that were introduced at a San Francisco store last year, including an outdoor plaza and a video wall with gathering space called “The Forum.” Apple has not indicated when the new Chicago store will open, but you can watch the construction crew fuss with its oversized logo above.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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06-24-2017 Science&Technology
Google Leak Delivers Pixel 2 Nasty Surprise

The Pixel and Pixel XL are brilliant smartphones with one clear flaw: their huge, ugly top and bottom bezels. Recent leaks suggested a new manufacturing partnership would see the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 fix this, but there’s some bad news...

Japanese blog HTC Soku has discovered references to both the ‘S2’ and ‘M2’ inside the system files of HTC’s flawed U11 handset. S1 and M1 were the codenames of the Pixel and Pixel XL respectively, which were made by HTC and based loosely on the company’s controversial A9 iPhone clone. So will the S2 (Pixel 2) and M2 (Pixel 2 XL) be based on the uninspiring U11?

Certainly the specifications suggest so.

The S2 and M2 listings inside the HTC U11 are also tied to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, currently the flagship chipset of choice and widely expected to power the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Furthermore while three Pixel 2 models were expected at one stage, a recent cancellation leaves just the two remaining models - the S2 and M2.

Which leads us to the big problem with HTC building the new Pixels, is it does not have the same attention grabbing, almost bezel-less display technology seen in Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and LG’s G6. More to the point, it was LG which was previously expected to build the new Pixels therefore fuelling hope they’d get this shape changing technology.

Feeling The Squeeze

What HTC does have is ‘Edge Sense’ pressure sensitive chassis sides. This is used in the U11 and allows different levels of ‘squeeze’ to be measured and assigned to commands. Yes it’s a gimmick, but it is fun. The flipside is this feature was exposed as a big factor in the U11’s fragility.

The flipside for those not wanting HTC near the new Pixels is there could still be a reasonable explanation for finding reference to them inside the U11. Most obvious is Google GOOGL -0.24%’s switch to LG was supposedly late in the day, so HTC may have been working on the new Pixels before losing the contract which can still be found in the U11’s code.

Another positive is the HTC built Pixel and Pixel XL were really durable phones, despite their polarising designs. That said would most users prefer a squeezable Pixel 2 over a Pixel 2 with almost no bezels? I think we all know the answer to that...

Read Original Article     ON:   Forbes

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06-24-2017 Security
Under pressure, Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cyber secrets

Western technology companies, including Cisco, IBM and SAP, are acceding to demands by Moscow for access to closely guarded product security secrets, at a time when Russia has been accused of a growing number of cyber attacks on the West, a Reuters investigation has found.

Russian authorities are asking Western tech companies to allow them to review source code for security products such as firewalls, anti-virus applications and software containing encryption before permitting the products to be imported and sold in the country. The requests, which have increased since 2014, are ostensibly done to ensure foreign spy agencies have not hidden any "backdoors" that would allow them to burrow into Russian systems.

But those inspections also provide the Russians an opportunity to find vulnerabilities in the products' source code - instructions that control the basic operations of computer equipment - current and former U.S. officials and security experts said.

While a number of U.S. firms say they are playing ball to preserve their entree to Russia's huge tech market, at least one U.S. firm, Symantec, told Reuters it has stopped cooperating with the source code reviews over security concerns. That halt has not been previously reported.

Symantec said one of the labs inspecting its products was not independent enough from the Russian government.

U.S. officials say they have warned firms about the risks of allowing the Russians to review their products' source code, because of fears it could be used in cyber attacks. But they say they have no legal authority to stop the practice unless the technology has restricted military applications or violates U.S. sanctions.

From their side, companies say they are under pressure to acquiesce to the demands from Russian regulators or risk being shut out of a lucrative market. The companies say they only allow Russia to review their source code in secure facilities that prevent code from being copied or altered. (Graphic on source code review process: tmsnrt.rs/2sZudWT)

The demands are being made by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which the U.S. government says took part in the cyber attacks on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the 2014 hack of 500 million Yahoo email accounts. The FSB, which has denied involvement in both the election and Yahoo hacks, doubles as a regulator charged with approving the sale of sophisticated technology products in Russia. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Reuters

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06-23-2017 Politics
Senate unveils secretive GOP Obamacare repeal plan, with a vote likely next week

Denate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a sweeping draft bill to roll back the Affordable Care Act, including a drastic reduction in federal healthcare spending that threatens to leave millions more Americans uninsured.

The legislative outline, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team wrote largely behind closed doors, hews closely to the Obamacare repeal bill passed last month by House Republicans, though it includes important differences. The House version was first celebrated by President Trump in a White House Rose Garden ceremony, though he later criticized the bill as “mean.”

Despite that admonition, the Senate measure would dramatically cut federal funding for Medicaid, likely forcing states to make deep cuts in their healthcare programs for the poor.

And although the Senate bill preserves premium subsidies for some low-income buyers to purchase insurance, it would scale them back significantly.

McConnell hopes to call a vote on the measure next week, all but daring Republican holdouts to oppose it and prolong what has already been a painstaking process to advance their promise to do away with Obamacare.

It remained unclear whether McConnell has the 50 votes he needs for passage, as several GOP senators voiced reservations Thursday. Moderates thought the bill was too harsh, while conservatives wanted a faster rollback of Obamacare.

As the draft was released during a closed-door meeting Thursday morning, senators grilled leadership staff for nearly 90 minutes.

One key Republican, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who had proposed his own alternative, suggested that the draft — which he said he is not yet ready to support — is not the final product. "There will still be changes," he said.

Trump said Wednesday night, during a campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that he had told senators to “add some money to it” to produce a healthcare bill with “heart.”

Asked Thursday morning if the Senate draft met that standard, Trump suggested some changes were needed. "A little negotiation, but it's going to be very good," he told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said that by slashing taxes on the wealthy and cutting healthcare for the poor, "the Senate version of Trumpcare is even meaner than the House bill.”

The legislation drew quick condemnation from across the nation’s healthcare system and from leading consumer advocates.

“For the hospitals that protect millions of Americans and their communities — our essential hospitals — this bill might even accelerate decisions by some to reduce services or close their doors,” said Dr. Bruce Siegel, president of America’s Essential Hospitals, a trade group representing safety-net medical c

Read Original Article     ON:   Los Angeles Times

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06-23-2017 Environment
The Latest: Tornado warnings in Alabama, more rain on way

NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

Two tornado warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service in Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey says the threat of severe weather hasn’t let up as remnants of a tropical storm push inland.

One of the warnings was issued around 1 p.m. CDT Thursday in Jefferson County near Birmingham. The other was for Tuscaloosa and Bibb Counties. The weather service indicated that damage was likely from a possible twister near Birmingham, noting radar signaled there was debris in the air.

Photographs on social media showed what appeared to be a funnel cloud in the air in the Birmingham area.

Jim Stefkovich, a meteorologist with the Alabama Emergency Agency, said Cindy dumped three to six inches of rain on coastal Alabama with up to 12 inches in some spot. More rainfall was expected through the day.

“We are not done with the threat yet,” Stefkovich said.

___

12:45 p.m.

Rising tides in the wake of Tropical Depression Cindy have prompted the mayor of a low-lying coastal Louisiana town to urge an evacuation.

Mayor Tim Kerner said Thursday that streets and yards in the town of Lafitte, south of New Orleans, are flooded.

Kerner said he’s concerned that fast-rising water might affect homes and automobiles throughout the town and surrounding areas — even those protected by levees.

Kerner said he issued the call for a voluntary evacuation as a precaution.

Cindy moved ashore as a tropical storm early Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas line. It weakened to a tropical depression and was moving north toward Arkansas. The system continues to pull moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and is fueling bands of heavy rain and storms throughout the Southeast.

___

Noon

Even as a weakening Tropical Depression Cindy moved inland over Louisiana, the effects of the storm were being felt for a third day on the Gulf Coast.

In a neighborhood in Ocean Springs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, residents awoke Thursday to flooded streets and, in a few cases, flooded homes.

Water wasn’t the only problem. Resident and neighborhood watch organizer Erin West says people are keeping an eye out for alligators that live in nearby ponds.

Meanwhile, Cindy’s intermittent wind and rain weren’t just limited to the coast. Moderate to heavy rain fell hundreds of miles away, throughout much of the Southeast and as far north as southern Illinois and Indiana.

___

11:50 a.m.

Louisiana’s governor is urging his state’s residents against dropping their guard now that Tropical Storm Cindy has weakened to a tropical depression. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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06-23-2017 Science&Technology
Facebook changes mission statement to ‘bring the world closer together’

“Making the world more open and connected” had one fundamental flaw: it didn’t push for any specific positive outcome from more connection. Technically, it could encompass digital voyeurism via the News Feed, trading in-person friendship for online acquaintanceship or the filter bubbles and echospheres that have further polarized the United States.

So today, as Facebook approaches 2 billion monthly users, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new mission statement, to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Zuckerberg announced the change today at the Facebook Communities Summit for top Group admins where it announced new Group management tools. “For the last decade or so we’ve been focusing on making the world more open and connected. But I used to think that if we just give people a voice and help some people connect that that would make the world a whole lot better by itself,” Zuckerberg admits. “Look around and our society is still so divided. We have a responsibility to do more, not just to connect the world but to bring the world closer together.”

Rather than have the new mission be just a philosophy, Zuckerberg says Facebook is turning it into a goal. “We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities. If we can do this it will not only reverse the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen around the world… but it will also strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” Right now Facebook considers there to be only 100 million meaningful group members.

The evolution of Facebook’s mission statement is a milestone in its transformation. Catalyzed by the fake news scandals surrounding the U.S. presidential election, Zuckerberg first laid the groundwork with his 6,000-word community letter on “Building Community,” which focused on what Facebook could do to help. He noted that, “When we began, this idea was not controversial. Every year, the world got more connected and this was seen as a positive trend. Yet now, across the world, there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection.”

Then in his Harvard commencement speech, he outlined how individuals could help “to create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.” Now Zuckerberg has codified those intentions into Facebook’s charter. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech crunch

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06-23-2017 Science&Technology
No one is building the smart speaker we actually want

The perfect smart speaker for the home is easy to describe, and completely elusive. Ask Verge readers what they wanted in an Echo or HomePod, and the majority would likely land on more or less the same features. And after they finished describing it, and went out to buy it, they would learn that it doesn't exist. Can someone build us the speaker of our dreams already?

First, let's describe it. The speaker of our dreams delivers high-quality audio, links with other smart speakers, plays music from all the major streaming services, can be controlled by voice, and is relatively affordable. You can get any three of those five in a smart speaker on the market today, but you'll never be more than 60 percent satisfied.

Amazon's Echo is a relatively affordable product that you can control with your voice. It plays music from several big streaming services, including Spotify and Pandora, though Google Play Music and Apple Music are notable exceptions. But you can't yet link your Echoes together, and the quality of the sound is passable at best. I have an Echo in my bedroom, and when I crank up the volume so I can hear music in the shower, the sound becomes unpleasantly tinny.

Google Home is affordable at $129, and its voice controls give you access to the Google Assistant. But it plays fewer streaming services than the Echo, even as it offers otherwise similar trade-offs. While you can link multiple devices together, the sound quality is merely decent. Throw in the fact that it will occasionally bark ads at you, and I'm not sure why you would invite it into your home.

The Sonos family of speakers delivers beautiful, room-filling sound from every major music service. Link a couple Play:1 speakers together in your living room and the audio is thrillingly good. After moving into a new place recently, I've spent more than one afternoon shuffling through tracks on Spotify just to marvel at the sound quality.

But Sonos has no voice controls — you have to swipe and tap your choices into an app, which ranges from awkward to unusable. And because its speakers lack sophisticated microphones, it has no equivalent to Alexa or Siri, either. Sonos is for music, and that's it. And it will cost you $200 to buy a single entry-level speaker. The company says it plans to include microphones and voice assistants in future products, but it just released a $700 speaker that has neither. ...



Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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06-14-2017 Politics
Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." He continues:

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.

Sessions's citing of a "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books.

That research strongly suggests that cracking down on medical marijuana laws, as Sessions requested, could perversely make the opiate epidemic even worse.

In an email, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution characterized the letter's arguments as a "scare tactic" that "could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment."

Under PresidentBarack Obama, the Justice Department also sought to undermine the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. It circulated misleading talking points among Congress to influence debate over the measure, and it attempted to enforce the amendment in a way that "defies language and logic," "tortures the plain meaning of the statute" and is "at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law," in the ruling of a federal judge.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has significant bipartisan support in Congress. Medical marijuana is incredibly popular with voters overall. A Quinnipiac poll conducted in April found it was supported by 94 percent of the public. Nearly three-quarters of voters said they disapprove of the government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it either medically or recreationally. ...



Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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06-12-2017 Politics
Osborne says Theresa May is a 'dead woman walking'

George Osborne has called Theresa May “a dead woman walking” and suggested the prime minister would be forced to resign imminently.

The former chancellor said he did not expect to back the prime minister for much longer. “I think we will know very shortly. We could easily get to the middle of next week and it all collapses for her,” he said.

Osborne said the campaign had undone the work of himself and former prime minister David Cameron in winning socially liberal seats such as Bath, Brighton Kemptown and Oxford East, now lost to Labour and the Lib Dems.

“She is a dead woman walking and the only question is how long she remains on death row,” the editor of the Evening Standard said, defending his paper’s attacks on May as speaking from a “socially liberal, pro-business, economically liberal position” that he said had been consistent as editor and chancellor.

Asked if Boris Johnson was in a position to replace her, Osborne also mocked the foreign secretary whom he said was “in a permanent leadership campaign”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Osborne said he and Cameron had spent “years getting back to office, winning in seats like Bath and Brighton and Oxford and I am angry when we go backwards and I am not afraid to say that”.

Osborne said the Conservatives’ political strategist Lynton Crosby, blamed by May’s advisers for an overly negative, presidential-style campaign with robotic slogans, had been undermined by the prime minister’s own flaws.

Crosby ran two successful campaigns for the Conservatives when Cameron was elected in 2010 and 2015. “They are professionals,” Osborne said, blaming May’s “failure to communicate and a disastrous manifesto”.

Osborne said blame should be on the shoulders of May, though her advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resigned on Saturday. “You can’t just blame the advisers. The only person who decides to have an election is the prime minister, the person who decides what’s in the manifesto is the prime minister.”

The former chancellor has a long enmity with the prime minister, who sacked him the day after she was elected Conservative leader, telling him to “get to know the party better”.

As editor of the Evening Standard, Osborne’s paper has repeatedly attacked the May government for its stance on Brexit, especially the apparent willingness in Downing Street to control immigration at cost to the British economy.

In one savage editorial, the paper said the Tory campaign had “meandered from an abortive attempt to launch a personality cult around Mrs May to the self-inflicted wound of the most disastrous manifesto in recent history”. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Guardian

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06-12-2017 Games
E3 2017: Latest news, predictions, start time and what to expect

The Electronic Entertainment Expo - E3 for short- has technically begun. The video games industry's biggest big ticket event takes place in Los Angeles from June 13-15. Excited about what's coming? Here's what to expect from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo – E3 for short- has technically begun. The video games industry’s biggest big ticket event takes place in Los Angeles from June 13-15. This is where the big players in the industry show off the latest game titles, hardware and other news. E3 2017 will be open to the public this year. Up until now the conference has been reserved for industry and media attendees.

So while the video game conference is kicking off next week, early announcements from hardware manufacturers and publishers start to really show up a little early. EA has already held its EA Play press conference, but plenty of big announcements from the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have yet to be confirmed.

Excited about what’s coming? Here’s a quick look at what has been announced so far at E3 2017, the latest rumours and the full schedule for the event.

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (EA) held its EA Play event ahead of E3 to announce a selection of games. EA showed off FIFA 18, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Need for Speed: Payback. It also had some surprises as well – in the form of a brand-new game from BioWare called Anthem and a prison break game called A Way Out.

Microsoft

We’re just hours away from Microsoft’s keynote, and the company is expected to steal the limelight at this year’s E3. Microsoft will shed light on “Project Scorpio”, which the company claims will be the world’s most powerful home console ever made. The Xbox Scorpio will be a super charged version of the Xbox One that the company promises to run games in 4K and at a 60fps. Additionally, it will have eight custom CPU and 12GB RAM. That put the console ahead of the PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of raw power.

Microsoft says all existing Xbox One and backwards compatible Xbox 360 games will run smoothly and load faster on the next-generation console. It will also work with virtual reality headsets. Project Scorpio, first unveiled at last year’s E3, is the console’s codename and is due to be released this autumn. According to a recent report, the console is expected to cost $399 (or approx Rs 26,691). We’re also going to see a number of new games for both Xbox One and Project Scorpio at the show.

When launched, Project Scorpio will be Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro which is an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4 and costs $399. The latest sales stats suggest Sony’s PlayStation 4 is leading over Microsoft’s Xbox One, as the Japanese company has managed to sell 60 million units since the console launched three and half years ago. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Indian Express

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06-12-2017 Science&Technology
Google Pixel 2 leak spills a lot of important details

It would not be an understatement to say that Google achieved its objectives when it launched its own Pixel smartphones.

They may have not been the baddest, most powerful devices around, but they set a foundation for what Google wanted its smartphones to be – feature rich, sleek and beautiful, and the flag-bearer for what an Android phone should be. Now we have the Pixel 2 upcoming, and a major leak spills major beans on what the new smartphones will be like.

We understand that we may be up for not just 2 Pixel devices, but 3 – the Pixel 2, the Pixel 2 XL, and would you believe it, the Pixel 2 XXL. The leak we’ve just heard of may be details of the middle sized phone, the Pixel 2 XL, via GFX Bench. The screen size will be 5.6 inches, but it’s the resolution that will get you interested — 2560×1312, fairly unusual for a smartphone. It works out to an 18:9 aspect ratio, pretty much like we on the LG G6.

This phone will be longer than usual, with a big screen and probably a curved panel, if rumors from LG are to be believed (as they are supposed to be manufacturing these displays). The benchmark shows a Snapdragon 835 processor supported by 4GB RAM and a whopping 128GB storage. Pretty much what we expected.

There were earlier rumors that the Pixel 2 will sport the slightly improved Snapdragon 836 chipsets, the same ones rumored to be on the Galaxy Note 8. They might still be able to do that, and this benchmark may have been of an earlier prototype.

Read Original Article     ON:   Android Community

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06-24-2017 |

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Top 150 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 Pravda.ru / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers


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