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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
Amazon Rolls Out Alexa Brief Mode For Echo Owners Who Want Less Words And More Beeps

Amazon has rolled out a new Alexa feature named Brief Mode, and it is perfect for Echo owners who want the digital assistant to respond with less words and more beeps.

Alexa is a very useful companion, but some people may think that the digital assistant is a bit too talkative. Amazon apparently thinks that this is an issue worth solving and has rolled out a feature to make Alexa less chatty.

Alexa Brief Mode Makes Amazon Echo Quieter

Users on the Amazon Echo subreddit were the first ones to notice the new Brief Mode for Alexa. In the opening post of a thread, an Echo owner narrated that the digital assistant said it would stop saying "OK" to confirm a voice command and use a beep tone instead.

It was unclear at first if Brief Mode was accidentally made available for some Echo units or if Amazon was already quietly rolling out the feature. It now looks like the latter, as the option has started appearing in the Settings section of the Alexa app. Specifically, the feature is located under the General menu, in Alexa Voice Responses. Users can simply toggle the feature on and off, which is described as making Alexa speak less and plays a short sound instead of a voice response for some simple messages.

Currently, replacing Alexa's "OK" response with a beep is the only function of Brief Mode. However, it is not hard to imagine that Amazon will expand its applications in the future. For example, Alexa may be set to have no response at all, whether an "OK" or a beep, at certain hours of the day. The mode may also someday make Alexa's responses to questions a bit shorter.

New Alexa Features

The Brief Mode for Alexa comes several days after Amazon rolled out the Follow-Up Mode for the digital assistant. While the Brief Mode results in less words coming from Alexa, Follow-Up Mode reduces the words coming from users themselves. This is because once the mode is activated, users can keep issuing voice commands to Alexa without having to say the wake word each time.

Meanwhile, another "feature" for the digital assistant recently started freaking out Amazon Echo owners. Alexa randomly laughs without any voice commands coming from users, which could be downright terrifying in certain situations. Amazon said that it will fix the problem by disabling certain phrases and changing voice commands, but it is unclear if this solution will work.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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03-19-2018 Politics
As Trump attacks Mueller and FBI, critics warn about special counsel dismissal

WASHINGTON — As President Trump renewed his attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI officials, lawmakers warned Sunday that any move to dismiss Mueller would trigger a legal and political crisis over the Russia investigation.

Trump and aides are now calling on Mueller to end his probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election; Trump is also attacking the credibility of two witnesses who are crucial to Mueller's obstruction of justice investigation of the president: Former FBI director James Comey and newly fired deputy director Andrew McCabe.

"Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?" Trump said during a morning tweet storm. "Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!"

Donald J. Trump



Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

9:35 AM - Mar 18, 2018


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Some lawmakers said Trump's claims may be laying the groundwork for a dismissal of Mueller, and used the Sunday interview shows to warn the president against such a course.

"The president is floating trial balloons about derailing the Mueller investigation," said Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate's top Democrat, adding that Republicans have an obligation to "make it clear that firing Mueller is a red line for our democracy that cannot be crossed."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC's This Week that Congress would likely to respond to a Mueller removal with legislation re-instating the special counsel. "This would undoubtedly result in a constitutional crisis," he said.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a House intelligence committee member who is generally supportive of Trump, urged Trump and his team to give Mueller "the time, the independence, and the resources" needed to complete the job.

"Let it play out its course," Gowdy told Fox News Sunday.

Other GOP lawmakers said they don't expect Trump to make such a move, noting that the special counsel probe has produced indictments and appears on track to gathering facts of Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

"They want him to be able to finish the investigation," said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., also speaking on ABC's This Week. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump ally, told the same program that firing Mueller "would be inappropriate," and he doesn't think it will happen. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   USA Today

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
U.S. and British lawmakers demand answers from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg

Lawmakers in the United States and Britain are calling on Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to explain how the names, preferences and other information from tens of millions of users ended up in the hands of a data analysis firm connected with President Trump's 2016 campaign.

The demands came in response to news reports Saturday about how the firm, Cambridge Analytica, used a feature once available to Facebook app developers to collect information on 270,000 people and, in the process, gain access to data on tens of millions of their Facebook “friends” — few, if any, of whom had given explicit permission for this sharing.

Though both companies have been embroiled in investigations in Washington and London for months, this weekend’s demands have taken on a more personal tone, focusing explicitly on Zuckerberg, who has not testified publicly on these matters in either nation.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
Astronomers Are Unable To Explain These 3 Mysterious Radio Bursts

Three other mysterious signals — the famous Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) — were detected this month, and one of them breaks all records: it is the strongest ever observed by astronomers. It is, however, impossible, to tell where it comes from.

Of all the unexplained things in our universe, the fast radio bursts are probably the strangest. Powerful and fleeting, they are among the most elusive and explosive signals ever detected in space. Although they last only a few milliseconds, they generate as much energy as a hundred million suns!

For now, researchers have managed to capture 33 of these fast radio signals. A few months ago, a team of astronomers claimed to have identified the exact location of one of these signals, FRB 121102, apparently from a young neutron star – one of the densest objects in the Universe known, which forms after the collapse of a star. By combining the Hubble Space Telescope data with that of the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, researchers at Tohoku University in Japan were able to locate this star, located in the suburbs of a dwarf galaxy 3 billion light-years away from Earth.

FRB 121102 is an exception. These three new signals, detected on the 1st, 9th (for the brightest) and 11th of March by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in Australia, have an unknown origin. Called FRB 180301, FRB 180309 and FRB 180311, these three signals are not likely to be repeated. If they do repeat themselves, they are simply too weak for us to detect. However, the recording of three bursts in a month remains an exceptional experience given the few cases detected so far.

An upcoming radio telescope project could soon change the game. The Square Kilometre Array, built in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, is a low-frequency opening network that will soon capture these lower-frequency signals – if they exist. The telescope will also cover a much wider area of ??the sky, and in more detail. This means that discoveries of fast radio bursts can be much more frequent in the future. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Talking Democrat

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
Android Auto lets you use your phone with a swipe up

Smartphones of all flavors these days often come with a number of distraction-free driving features for when users are behind the wheel, keeping their focus on the road by limiting things like notifications and app interactivity. Google’s own Android Auto is one such system, and while it does a great job of eliminating distractions, there are still some instances when users need to interact with their phone despite it being connected to their car. Thankfully, a new option is rolling out that makes this much easier.

When Android Auto is activated, it basically locks down the phone. To address this, Google is rolling out a new swipe-to-unlock option. When enabled, instead of attempts to unlock the device simply displaying the Android Auto logo, it now displays instructions to “Swipe up to unlock.” After swiping up, users will have access to the device’s standard home screen and apps. This additional upward swipe will be required for each unlock as long as the phone is connected to the car.

Interestingly, Google hasn’t made any official announcement about this change in Android Auto functionality, and it appears to have been gradually rolling out to users over the last few weeks. This means there’s no word on when it will be available to everyone, or if the feature is just in limited testing.

Either way, it’s likely going to be a welcome change for Android Auto users, especially those that use a wireless connection to power their car’s in-dash display. Not only does it eliminate the number of hoops to get through to use the phone, but it makes it much easier for passengers to use the device in place of the driver.

Read Original Article     ON:   Slash Gear

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
Match Group sues Bumble for alleged patent infringement

Recode is reporting that Match Group, which owns Tinder, Match, and other online dating services, is suing one of its biggest competitors, Bumble, for alleged patent infringement. Bumble is an online dating service that requires women to initiate the conversations between users.

Bumble was created by one of Tinder’s co-founders, and Match Group is alleging that Bumble infringed one two of its patents. One of those was Tinder’s famous swipe-to-connect feature. The lawsuit also claims that two of Bumble’s early executives, Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, stole “confidential information related to proposed Tinder features,” such as the ability to let users go back if they accidentally skipped over someone they were interested in. Both Mick and Gulczynski worked at Tinder prior to moving onto Bumble.

“Match Group has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products,” a Match Group spokesperson told Recode. “We are committed to protecting the intellectual property and proprietary data that defines our business. Accordingly, we are prepared when necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights against any operator in the dating space who infringes upon those rights.”

Patent lawsuits are a way of life in the tech world, but Bumble and Match Group have some history together. Most notably, Tech Crunch reported that Match Group tried to buy Bumble for $450 million. There is some speculation that this lawsuit might be a means of pressuring Bumble back to the negotiation table. After all, if Bumble is part of Match Group, then it can hardly be accused of infringing on Match Group’s copyrights or patents. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Digital Trends

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
Sony paying up to $65 to people who purchased the original PlayStation 3

TOKYO, JAPAN - Remember all that money you dished out on PlayStation 3 video games back in the day? Well, you may be eligible to get some of that money back.

Several buyers of the original PlayStation 3 filed a class action lawsuit against Sony recently due to the company attempting to originally sell the console as a computer and saying you could run Linux on it. Sony never went through with that idea due to a security issue.

Sony lost the case and now has to pay out $3.75 million to settle the lawsuit. The five plaintiffs received $3,500 each while the remaining money is being split between other PlayStation 3 buyers, lawyers and settlement organizers. At the end of the day, buyers are eligible for up to $65.

How to tell if your console is included in the settlement:

The console version covered in the settlement is the original PlayStation 3, commonly known as the "fat PS3," for its size in comparison to the later models. Other than the size, the defining visual characteristic separating the "fat" model from the newer and slimmer models is a white strip on the front deck, as seen in the picture above.

Some special or limited-edition versions of the console may come in other color schemes, or designed in the style of well-known Sony PlayStation-exclusive games. Determining whether these versions are included in the settlement requires contacting Sony to confirm the serial number and model.

How to get your piece of the settlement:

In order to make your claim to receive money from Sony, you must do the following:

Have purchased the PlayStation 3 between the dates of Nov. 1, 2006 and April 1, 2010.

Have made the purchase from an authorized PlayStation retailer in the United States.

The purchased console must have been bought new, not a floor model or used.

Claim you used the "Other OS" functionality and believe your console lost value when Sony patched it. You must attest under penalty of perjury when doing this, as well.

Fill out this form and provide your PlayStation 3's serial number and/or your PlayStation Network sign in information.

The deadline to submit your claim is April 15.

Read Original Article     ON:   Click On Detroit

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03-19-2018 Science&Technology
CAMERA SHOOTOUT: Samsung's new Galaxy S9 versus the best smartphone camera in the world, the Pixel

Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL had the best smartphone cameras ever when they were released in October 2017.

But Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones are contending for that title in a serious way.

What I've found after taking both the Pixel 2 XL and Galaxy S9 Plus for a photo shoot is that they each have their strengths, but they don't do everything superbly well.

I should note that I took out the larger models of each smartphone lines. There's no difference between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL's cameras, and the only difference between the S9 and S9 Plus' camera is the 2x dedicated zoom lens.

Take a look at the photo comparisons below to see what I mean, and which smartphone would best fit your needs:

For an indoor shot with mixed indoor/outdoor lighting, the Pixel 2 XL takes the better shot.

Both shots look pretty comparable at first, but a closer look at the details outside the window show the Pixel handles this indoor/outdoor lighting situation better. The Pixel lets you actually see the details of the buildings outside the window, especially those to the left of the photos.

When it comes to colors for indoor lighting, the Pixel 2 XL wins again.

I'd be perfectly happy with the Galaxy S9's photo, but the Pixel 2's does look better. The colors look more natural and richer in the Pixel 2's photo.

And the Pixel 2 XL better handles that bright, harsh halogen-style indoor lighting, too.

Everything about the Galaxy S9's photo is fine until you get to the leeks towards the bottom of the photo. The Galaxy S9 overexposed the light reflecting from the leeks, making them look super white. Meanwhile, the leeks are actually green in the Pixel 2's photo. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Business Insider

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03-17-2018 Science&Technology
Android Wear Renamed To Wear OS By Google: More Changes To Follow, Hopefully

Android Wear has officially been rebranded to Wear OS by Google, and users are hoping that the new name is just the start of significant changes coming to the operating system for wearable devices.

Rumors on the Android Wear name change started appearing recently, and it was thought that the rebranding would be unveiled at the upcoming I/O developers' conference. The announcement, however, came much earlier than expected, and so it will be Wear OS heading into the annual event by Google.

Why Did Google Rename Android Wear To Wear OS?

The name change of Android Wear to Wear OS was announced through the official Google blog. Dennis Troper, the Director of Product Management for the operating system, explained that the rebranding was necessary due to the changes in technology, partnerships, and most importantly, in users.

According to Troper, in 2017, one out of every three new owners of an Android Wear smartwatch paired the device to an iPhone by rival Apple. With such a statistics, Google is looking to eliminate the notion that Android Wear devices only work with Android smartphones, similar to why Android Pay was combined with Google Wallet to be renamed as Google Play.

Android Wear Issues

The new name of Android Wear, unfortunately, is the best news that has been reported for the operating system for about a year.

Android Wear 2.0 was released over a year ago, and there is still no announcement on an update. Before that, there was a gap of 2.5 years between Android Wear 1.0 and Android Wear 2.0. In addition to the stagnation of the operating system itself, the hardware side has also been very slow. Google has not created its own smartwatch to showcase Android Wear 2.0 like it did with the Pixel smartphones for Android.

With all these issues, Android Wear-powered devices have not been able to challenge the presence of the Apple Watch in the wearables industry.

What Users Want To See In Wear OS

Android Wear 2.0 is terribly outdated compared to Apple's watchOS 4, but the foundation is solid. There will be no major features added alongside the rebranding, but Wear OS is already enough to make it a perfectly capable operating system for wearable devices.

Fans of Android Wear would want Wear OS to get the similar kind of attention given to Android, with constant updates and the regular addition of new features. The best thing that may happen would be a Google-made smartwatch showcasing Wear OS. Will such a device be unveiled at the upcoming I/O developers' conference?

Users will have to wait and see if the name change to Wear OS will lead to a much improved Android Wear. At the very least, we now know that Google has not forgotten about the operating system.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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03-17-2018 Science&Technology
facebook twitter reddit Comment HOME TECH GOOGLE Google Experiments With Light Fields For A More Rea

The virtual reality experience continues to improve as the technology innovates. Google chooses to work with light fields, which apparently adds more realism to entertainment.

A new demo app was likewise released by the search firm that is compatible with the Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and HTC Vive. Users can take it for a spin to determine if the company's bold new approach really makes a difference from what is currently available.

Lighting Makes A Difference

Industry experts agree that although the current virtual reality technology is already immersive enough, how objects appear in the 3D space lack more realism. Others postulate that with the right amount of computing power available, developers can take advantage of the resources to add more reflections to the environment.

Nevertheless, scenes captured by cameras that intended to recreate the surroundings in the VR space often come out flat. Google's approach uses an array of 16 GoPro cameras mounted in a vertical arc to capture how light hits and reflects off objects from multiple angles all at once.

Advanced Algorithm For VR

According to Google's research, the current technology used for virtual reality cannot replicate how the light works on surfaces from various perspectives. However, it claims that light fields can reproduce a realistic effect courtesy of its advanced algorithm that captures, stitches, and renders the objects and environment.

"With light fields, nearby objects seem near to you — as you move your head, they appear to shift a lot. Far-away objects shift less and light reflects off objects differently, so you get a strong cue that you're in a 3D space," wrote Google on their blog.

Its "Welcome to Light Fields" app features several locations and the objects within them, such as the Space Shuttle Discovery, St. Stephen's Church in Granada Hills, the Gamble House in Pasadena, and the Mosaic Tile House in Venice. All these are currently viewable via the supported VR headsets detailed above. Users can move around and find out if it lives up to its claim of a better object representation within a VR environment.

Application And Limitations

Reports seem to suggest that its biggest challenge right now is the bandwidth required to send or process the data captured by their light fields equipment. Sources speculate that the video and image files generated by the system are possibly terabytes in size.

Yet the data from Google's experiment can potentially improve the overall quality of virtual reality applications in the future.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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03-17-2018 Science&Technology
NASA Shapes Science Plan for Deep-Space Outpost Near the Moon

DENVER — NASA is pressing forward on plans to build a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, an outpost for astronauts positioned in the space near Earth's moon.

According to NASA, the Gateway will not only be a place to live, learn and work around the moon but will also support an array of missions to the lunar surface. And scientists foresee a host of uses for the station.

By making use of a suite of instruments housed on or inside the structure itself, or free-flying nearby, scientists could make Earth and solar observations.They could also carry out astrophysics and fundamental physics experiments as well as human physiology and space biology studies.

NASA's fiscal year 2019 budget request calls for launching the first element of the Gateway – its power and propulsion module – into space in 2022. NASA plans to launch the module through a competitive commercial launch contract in an effort to both speed up establishment of the Gateway and advance commercial partnerships in deep space. Under that plan, construction of the Gateway would be complete after two additional launches by 2025, rounding out the complex with habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities. [6 Private Deep-Space Habitat Concepts for Mars]

Breadth of science

Several hundred scientists gathered here between Feb. 27 and March 1 to take part in a Deep Space Gateway Concept Science Workshop that discussed how best to use what is billed by NASA as developing "a strategic presence" in cislunar space (or the space near the moon).

"We invited scientists from a wide range of disciplines and thrilled with the breadth of science that's represented," said Ben Bussey, chief exploration scientist in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

"The different science areas are really embracing the idea of a human-tended Gateway around the moon and it doesn't compete with what they currently do. It represents a new opportunity for them," Bussey told Even though the Gateway isn't science-driven, he said, NASA would like science to be performed at the facility and wants to identify what the Gateway could enable. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Space

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03-17-2018 Health
FDA begins push to cut addictive nicotine in cigarettes


Federal health officials took the first step Thursday to slash levels of addictive nicotine in cigarettes, an unprecedented move designed to help smokers quit and prevent future generations from getting hooked.

The Food and Drug Administration floated the proposal last summer, but provided new details in a government filing on the potential impact of drastically cutting nicotine from cigarettes, by as much as 80 percent.

Currently, there are no limits on nicotine, which occurs naturally in tobacco plants. Under law, the FDA can regulate nicotine although it cannot remove it completely.

The FDA's powers to police the tobacco industry are unique worldwide and the attempt to restrict nicotine would represent a first in global efforts to reduce smoking-related deaths.

Under one scenario, the FDA estimates the U.S. smoking rate could fall as low as 1.4 percent by 2060, down from the 15 percent of adults who smoke now. The agency also calculates that about 5 million more people would quit cigarettes within one year of implementing limits.

The greatest impact, though, would come from preventing young people from ever becoming addicted, they said.

Limiting nicotine "could help keep future generations of kids who experiment with cigarettes from making the deadly progression from experimentation to addiction," said Mitch Zeller, the head of the FDA's tobacco center.

Key to FDA's proposal: Nicotine is highly addictive, but not deadly. Instead, it's the burning tobacco and other substances inhaled through smoking that cause cancer, heart disease and bronchitis. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year, despite decades of anti-smoking measures that have pushed the smoking rate to new lows.

The agency is first seeking comment on a number of issues, including potential unintended consequences, such as the creation of a black market for higher nicotine products.

» One woman in 14 still smokes while pregnant — and these states have the highest rates

The FDA gained authority to regulate ingredients in cigarettes and other tobacco products in 2009. But FDA's regulatory efforts have been hampered for years by legal challenges by Big Tobacco companies.

Cigarette makers generally have vowed to take part in the nicotine discussions, often emphasizing the long, complicated nature of creating new regulations.

"Altria has already been preparing for any reasonable potential standard, and we plan to participate in every step of this process," said Altria, parent company of Marlboro-maker Philip Morris USA, in a statement.

Tobacco industry analyst Bonnie Herzog estimates it will be 4 to 5 years before the FDA puts in place any changes, due to "the sheer complexities and risks involved."

Anti-smoking activists applauded Thursday's action but said FDA should set a deadline to put regulations in place. ...

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03-15-2018 Science&Technology
Fitbit just unveiled its $200 answer to the Apple Watch — here's what it can do

With its new smartwatch, Fitbit is keeping women in mind.

The $200 Fitbit Versa, announced on Tuesday, is Fitbit's second true smartwatch and the first geared toward a more mainstream audience — and smaller wrists.

Fitbit Versa looks a lot like an Apple Watch — although it's a bit smaller — and is less fitness-focused than the watch Fitbit debuted last year, called Fitbit Ionic.

The new Fitbit Versa still has plenty of fitness tracking capabilities built in, including on-watch workouts, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and personalized fitness tips. But the Versa watch can also answer texts, download apps, and store music. And it also has several new features specifically dedicated to women's health.

Fitbit Versa is available for preorder starting Tuesday, and will go on sale in April. Here's what it can do:

Fitbit Versa comes in three colors: black, silver, and rose gold.

The watch looks pretty similar to an Apple Watch.

t features the same rounded-yet-squarish design and full touchscreen face, and it's about the same dimensions — the Fitbit measures a few millimeters smaller, though.

While the Fitbit Versa only comes in three colors, there are plenty of bands to go with it.

The sport bands are sweat- and water-resistant, and come in peach, gray, black, periwinkle, and white.

Fitbit also offers stainless steel and metal-mesh bands in black and silver. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Business Insider

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03-14-2018 Politics
GOP rep: We’re going to show the CIA ‘got it wrong’ on Russia trying to help Trump

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) said on Monday that an upcoming report by House Intelligence Committee Republicans will show that the CIA was incorrect in its assessment that Russia sought to help elect President Trump in 2016.

"I have spent a couple days out to the CIA actually reading the raw intelligence; actually reading what we were basing this on," Stewart, a member of the intelligence panel, said on CNN. "And when we release this report, we're going to be able to show, you know what, the CIA just got it wrong."

The CIA and other agencies within the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a report made public early last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and sought to sway the race in Trump's favor.

"The CIA is not perfect. They often – or at least from time to time – will make mistakes, as do I, as do you, as does any agency," Stewart said. "And we're just going to have to show people they were wrong on this. They just misinterpreted some very key intelligence and drew the wrong conclusion."

The House Intelligence Committee abruptly ended its investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election on Monday, with Republicans on the panel asserting that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the lawmaker leading the committee's Russia probe, said that while committee Republicans believed that the Russians used "active measures" to disrupt the election, they disagreed with the intelligence community assessment that Moscow favored Trump's candidacy.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee blasted the decision to end the investigation, accusing Republican members of failing to conduct a thorough investigation in order to protect the president from scrutiny.

A criminal investigation into the matter is being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. That probe has appeared to expand in recent weeks. Last month, Mueller unsealed indictments against 13 Russians in connection with an alleged plot to sow chaos and division in the U.S. election.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Hill

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03-14-2018 General
Take a little off the top: How visits to the barbershop helped reduce blood pressure in...

... African American men

When a customer opens the well-worn door to Eric Muhammad’s barbershop in Inglewood, he’ll be looking to relax in the comfort and camaraderie of a neighborhood meeting place and maybe to take a little off the top or sides.

If that visitor is among the close to 40% of African American men with high blood pressure, he might also get a little taken off the top of that vital health reading.

New research suggests that shops like Muhammad's A New You Barber and Beauty Salon might be just the place to rescue African American men from an epidemic that has ravaged their ranks: uncontrolled hypertension.

The study found that when a group of African American men with untreated high blood pressure got a screening and a friendly nudge from their barber, as well as a visit to the shop from a pharmacist, close to two-thirds of the men brought their blood pressure into a healthy range.

Their systolic blood pressure — the top-line number that measures the pressure in your vessels when the heart beats — fell by an average of 27 points. In addition, their diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number that measures pressure on the vessels' walls between heart beats — fell by an average of nearly 15 points.

The 132 men who got a barbershop visit from a pharmacist were almost six times more likely to bring their blood pressure under control than were those who just got a barber's advice to eat better, exercise more and see a doctor. Fewer than 12% of the 171 men in the latter group brought their blood pressure under control. (Their average reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were too small to be considered statistically significant.)

The clinical trial was conducted from February 2015 to July 2017 in 52 black-owned barber shops across Los Angeles County. Two pharmacists specially trained to treat high blood pressure shuttled across a 450-square-mile area bringing advice and an array of medications to the study's participants.

"Bringing rigorous medicine directly to men in a barbershop, and making it so convenient for them, really made a difference," said Dr. Ronald G. Victor, who led the new study.

"We had hoped for maybe a seven-point difference" between the two groups in their systolic blood pressure, the one that is considered a better predictor of heart attack and stroke risk, Victor said. "But this was a really big difference" — the kind that "could make an impact on a national level" if the initiative were scaled up, he said. "We were really ecstatic." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Los Angeles Times

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03-13-2018 Science&Technology
Elon Musk says 1st flight of SpaceX’s Mars spaceship may happen in 2019 Read more at http://www.spac

While at South by Southwest, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he believes the first test flights of SpaceX’s “Big Falcon Rocket” (BFR) spaceship could happen in the first half of 2019, although he admits to having optimistic timelines.

The comment came during a surprise March 11, 2018, question and answer session at the annual technology and culture festival in Austin, Texas, and less than 24 hours after Musk made another surprise appearance the night before during a panel with the co-creators of the HBO series Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Just like the panel, the Q&A session was run by Nolan, who is a friend of Musk.

The first topic discussed was SpaceX’s ambitions to send humans to Mars and its progress on the BFR, which was unveiled by Musk in September 2016 and further refined in September 2017. The architecture, which will be able to send more cargo to low-Earth orbit than even NASA’s Saturn V Moon rocket and be fully and rapidly reusable, consists of a 190-foot (58-meter) tall booster for its first stage, and a 157-foot (48-meter) tall spaceship that doubles as a second stage. Musk said the Hawthorne, California-based company was “making good progress” on the spaceship portion.

“We are building the first ship,” Musk said. “I think we’ll be able to do short flights, short sort of up and down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year.”

Musk said that people have told him that his projected timelines have historically been optimistic. As such, he said he is trying to “re-calibrate to some degree,” although it is unclear if the 2019 time frame for the first spaceship tests have been included in his new calibrations. In September 2017, the SpaceX founder said he expected the first full test flight of the BFR rocket and spaceship on a trip to Mars could happen as early as 2022.

Regardless of when the BFR flies, Musk said once SpaceX builds the vehicle, it would be a “point of proof” that other companies and countries could follow.

“They currently don’t think it is possible,” Musk said. “So if we show them that it is, then I think they will up their game and they will build interplanetary transport vehicles as well.”

Musk said that once the BFR and similar ships are built, there will be an economical means of getting cargo and people to and from the Moon as well as Mars and other destinations in the Solar System. He said that is where a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial resources will be needed in order to build out entire industrial bases and everything that allows modern civilization to exist.

Read Original Article     ON:   Spaceflight Insider

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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 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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