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08-05-2015 Environment
Will the Clean Power Plan make every state look more like California?

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is about 1,500 pages long, but it can be summed up succinctly: Mr. Obama wants the United States to be more like California.

The Clean Power Plan aims to replace most coal-fired power plants with renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, and California has almost completely eliminated coal as a source of energy already, the LA Times reported.

In his announcement of the regulations, Obama recalled arriving as a student at Occidental College in 1979, when “Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside.”

"And you fast-forward 30, 40 years later, and we solved those problems,” he said. Obama’s plan aims to bring the percentage of energy derived from renewable resources up to 28 by 2030. According to the Times, because California’s renewable energy was already at 19 percent in 2013, the California Air Resources Board estimates the state will be able to meet federal emissions targets a full decade earlier than the plan requires.

"We're going to be able to comply and even over-comply," Edie Chang, who oversees the board, told the Times.

The Christian Science Monitor’s David Unger wrote,

The doubling down on climate reflects an administration emboldened by recent high-profile victories on other key issues. Having solidified significant gains on health care, gay rights, Iran nuclear talks, and relations with Cuba, President Obama appears determined to do the same for another key item of his agenda: climate change.

It's also part of a concerted effort to demonstrate that the world's largest economy and, after China, the second-largest carbon emitter, is serious about decarbonizing its energy supply. ...

‘Power plants are the single biggest source of the harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change,’ Mr. Obama said in a video posted to Facebook over the weekend. ‘But until now, there have been no federal limits to the amount of that pollution those plants can dump into the air.'"

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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08-05-2015 Science&Technology
Microsoft HoloLens coming for developers in 2016

The developers waiting for an update on the Microsoft's HoloLens release now have a reason to rejoice. The date of availability of Microsoft's HoloLens headset for the developers will soon be here.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently gave an interview in which he talked about the availability of the augmented reality headset. "It will be available to de3velopers within the next year," he said. This announcement has got the tech world talking that HoloLens will be available earlier than previous estimates.

Nadella's BBC Interview also confirmed him saying that, "Microsoft will release 'V1' (or version 1) of the HoloLens headset within the next year. The new hologram-projecting device will be focused more around developers and enterprises."

Microsoft HoloLens is company's attempt to get into the niche market of augmented reality and graphics manipulations.

The HoloLens headset overlays digital graphics over real world objects with an advanced version of WIndows running specially for the augmented reality use. The user wearing the HoloLens can spread out a virtual screen which can be manipulated according to various uses.

The consumer ready version of Microsoft HoloLens will take about five years, according to Nadella. "It's a five year journey," he said. The delay is mainly due to 'field view', which is one of the biggest limitations of HoloLens. The time will also let the HoloLens as well as Windows 10 mature to a more stable release.

HoloLens is attracting the eyeballs of many across industries. From architectural software company AutoDesk to medical universities, everyone is loving the ability to interact with the physically present framework designs in a way that's never been done before.



Source: India Today

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08-05-2015 Politics
Assuming we don’t get 19 more polls today, here’s the Republican debate stage

In the past 48 hours, as of my writing this, there have been five national polls released ranking the Republican candidates for president. That's the pool that Fox News has established as its baseline for determining the ten candidates that will make its debate stage Thursday night, meaning that those 10 candidates will essentially be the ones that were most popular at the end of last week. Four of the five completed their surveys on Sunday.

Will there be more polls before today's 5 p.m. cut-off? Sure, why not. Ten more, 20 more. It's a great way to get a bit of free press, right? We should all have seen this deluge approaching. Dark Sky for polling.

If there aren't any more, the stage will likely look like this. (The influx of new polls from established outlets means that we don't have to wonder if Fox will include polls of iffier methodologies.) For kicks, here's what the stage looked like about a month ago, when we updated the graphic less frequently, because people weren't dropping polls in our laps every 10 hours. The people in the top 10 haven't changed much, but they've certainly moved around a lot.

Over the past month, we've seen an interesting change. A month ago, the Real Clear Politics polling average had Jeb Bush with a healthy lead, and everyone else fairly neatly scattered beneath him. Now, there are four distinct tiers in the polling, as shown below.

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2015/08/PastMonth.png&w=1484

Why is that? Is it because Republican voters are starting to think about the candidates more deliberately? Is it an artifact of rounding in poll numbers? Is it poll herding? It will be interesting to see if this loosens up as the rate of polling eases and upcoming debates use different standards for inclusion.

Or maybe this is what the 2016 election will be: More and more polls, multiple polls a day from now until next November. If that's the case, I'm probably going to stop updating this graphic.

Source: Washington Post

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08-05-2015 Cars
Cadillac CTS-V is big and impressive—a high-performance variant of the CTS sedan

The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V has finally been unleashed and if initial reviews are anything to go by, this car may just be America’s answer the amazing BMW M5. For many years now Cadillac has been considered a sedate automaker, but with cars like the CTS-V, they may have been able to change this perception just a little bit. Still, it’s not quite certain whether this car will be able to topple the BMW M5 from its mantle in the segment of luxury performance sedans. Fortunately, the CTS-V has a powerful 6.2 liter supercharged V8 engine with 640 horsepower & 630 lb/ft of torque. If you find those figure looking a bit familiar then perhaps that is because it has the same engine as the Corvette Z06.

The brand new 2016 Cadillac CTS-V knocks the BMW M5 off its perch Even though this car has a much larger frame as compared to the Corvette, it has managed to go from 0 to 60 mph in a measly 3.6 seconds. In comparison, the BMW M5 needs 3.7 seconds to achieve the same speed. The quarter mile time for this luxury sedan is at 11.6 seconds which is quite remarkable in this segment. What helps is that the car has 6-piston Brembo brakes in the front & 4-piston Brembo brakes in the back. It also has the Magnetic Ride Control shocks & Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Handling and ride feel is excellent in this super sedan.

Magnetic Ride Control is one of the newest selling points for the CTS-V. But that is merely scratching the surface when it comes to early testing. The sedan comes with 4 driving modes, Race, Sport, Touring and Snow. All of them have distinct settings for the throttle, shocks, traction control and transmission. The car does have a few drawbacks though. The CUE infotainment system is quite unimpressive & isn’t easy to use. The interior of the M5 has an edge over the CTS-V as well. Even though the CTS-V managed to beat the M5, BMW & Mercedes are both on the verge of releasing challengers for this Cadillac monster. We’ll just have to wait & see if it will still reign supreme. 2016 Cadillac CTS-V First Drive – 640 all-American horses There’s a moment, just after you start up the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, when the seat belt gently contracts around you, almost like the 640 horsepower super-sedan is giving you a hug. It’s a reassuring gesture, though a little at odds with the near-simultaneous gurgle from the engine as the exhaust valves flutter. “Sure, I’m 16.5 feet long, weigh more than four thousand pounds, and will catapult to sixty miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and then run all the way to 200 mph,” the Caddy is saying, “but I don’t want to kill you in the process.” Palms damp against the microsuede wheel as I prepared to venture out onto the Road America track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, that brief anthropomorphized cuddle was welcome.

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Source: Herald recorded

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08-05-2015 Environment
Speed of glacier retreat worldwide 'historically unprecedented', says report

The world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.

And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology. In the past year or so, researchers have identified rapid rises in meltwater and alarming cases of glacial retreat in Greenland, West Antarctica, the Canadian and Alaskan coastal mountains, in Europe and in the Himalayan massif. They have also watched glaciers pick up speed downhill. One satellite-based study, confirmed by on-the-ground measurements, of the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland, confirms that the river of ice is now moving at the rate of 46 metres a day, 17 kilometres a year, which is twice the speed recorded in 2003, which in turn was twice as fast as measured in 1997.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and with partners in 30 countries, has been compiling data on changes in glaciers over the last 120 years. And it has just compared all known 21st century observations with data from site measurements, aerial photography and satellite observations and evidence from pictorial and written sources. Altogether, the service has collected 5,000 measurements of glacier volume and changes in mass since 1850, and 42,000 records of variations in glacier fronts from records dating back to the 16th century.

And the evidence is clear: the glaciers are in retreat, worldwide, and the retreat is accelerating. “The observed glaciers currently lose between half a metre and one metre of ice thickness every year – this is two to three times more than the corresponding average of the 20th century,” says the study’s lead author, Michael Zemp, who directs the monitoring service. “Exact measurements of this ice loss are reported from a few hundred glaciers only. However, these results are qualitatively confirmed from field and satellite observations for tens of thousands of glaciers around the world.”

The great ice sheets help maintain the climate zone differences that drive weather patterns. They provide distinct ecosystems that support precisely adapted lifeforms, from mountain wildflowers to snow leopards. They offer a source of tourist income for mountain communities and deliver spring and summer meltwater to irrigate crops in the fertile valleys downstream. And as long as ice is safely stored in mountain ranges, it isn’t contributing to sea level rise. But sea levels are creeping up inexorably every year, as a consequence of galloping glacial retreat in the polar, temperate and tropical zones.

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Source: The Guardian

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08-05-2015 Business
Comcast is doubling the speed of its low-cost Internet plans

Comcast is rolling out a few upgrades to its Internet program for low-income consumers, doubling download speeds and, for the first time, targeting senior citizens under a Florida-based pilot project.

The $10-a-month program, Internet Essentials, will be getting a free speed bump from 5 megabits per second to 10 Mbps, which is fast enough to support multiple video streams simultaneously. That's good news for poorer Americans who increasingly rely on the Web to do homework, find jobs and use government services.

Comcast is also expanding access to Internet Essentials. Eligibility for Internet Essentials used to be dictated by whether households had a child who qualified for free or reduced-price school lunches, or who merely attended a school where 70 percent of the school qualified for meal subsidies.

Now, Comcast is lowering that 70 percent threshold to 50 percent to make it easier for more families to qualify for Internet Essentials. And its pilot project in West Palm Beach will give older Americans — who, according to the Pew Research Center, remain disproportionately unconnected from the Web — access to Internet Essentials, too.

So far Comcast hasn't laid out how it will evaluate this pilot project, over what time period, or even how it will determine eligibility for seniors. Proof of eligibility could be Medicaid or Medicare, for instance. Although some older Americans already likely benefit from Internet Essentials by living in the same household as those eligible school-aged children, the program expansion would give other seniors the ability to sign up for low-cost Internet.

Roughly 500,000 households have signed up for Internet Essentials so far, up from 350,000 a year ago.

Source: Washington Post

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08-05-2015 General
Trillions of Dollars Needed For Anti-Poverty Plan, Says UN

UNITED NATIONS: The price tag for a bold global new anti-poverty agenda comes to between $3.5 and $5 trillion annually over the next 15 years, part of a United Nations' "to-do list" for the world.

The UN's 193 member states agreed on a draft plan for the sustainable development goals at the weekend and world leaders are set to endorse them at a summit in New York from September 25 to 27.

The 17 goals and 169 targets to end poverty, ensure healthy lives, promote education and combat climate change are even more sweeping than the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of this year. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the new agenda as "a to-do list for people and the planet", but warned that implementing it would be a challenge.

"We are resolved to free the human race within this generation from the tyranny of poverty," he said in a statement.

Kenyan Ambassador Macharia Kamau, who shepherded negotiations along with Irish Ambassador David Donoghue, acknowledged that the funding required to achieve the goals was "astronomical".

Trillions of dollars would need to be spent by member states and international organizations for each country reach its goals.

"But let's understand what it is that we are trying to do here. We are engaged in an agenda that seeks to address economic, social and environmental transformation," Mr Kamau told a news conference at UN headquarters.

The United Nations is hoping that businesses will step up along with national governments to redirect their development aid toward achieving the new global goals.

"There is no reason that we cannot see remarkable transformation in the next 15 years," said Mr Kamau.

The goals are non-binding, but Mr Donoghue said failing to meet them would create "a degree of political embarrassment or discomfort" for governments who flout such agreed objectives as gender equality.

Too ambitious?

Launched in 2012, the negotiations on the new agenda were to build on the success of the MDGs which have helped reduce poverty rates while setting education and health targets, in particular for infant mortality.

But the new goals have come under criticism for being ill-defined in some instances and far too broad in scope, undermining prospects for achieving measurable success.

Bill and Melinda Gates, who head a mega-billion-dollar foundation, have complained that the new goals stray too far away from the UN's previous focus on health and education.

"Yes, they are ambitious," said Mr Donoghue, but he added: "There is a much greater sense of a collective purpose this time around."

The agenda revolves around the five Ps -- people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership -- and encompasses such hard-to-measure objectives as promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.



Source: NDTV

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08-05-2015 Environment
Scientists discover how some of the world's first animals reproduced Read more: http://www.smh.com

Rangeomorphs, which lived about 565 million years ago, were pretty strange. They're often considered to be some of the first animals to evolve on Earth, but they share little in common with modern critters - they look more like plants. But according to a new study, their reproductive techniques were astonishingly complex - and familiar, too. The research, published on Monday in Nature Communications, used statistical analysis to determine what kind of reproductive strategy was used by the genus Fractofusus, a type of rangeomorph. Based on the population distributions found in fossils, the researchers report, these creatures used a two-pronged reproductive approach. They may even have been the first group to develop such a nuanced plan for populating the world. "Rangeomorphs don't look like anything else in the fossil record, which is why they're such a mystery," lead study author Emily Mitchell, a postdoctoral researcher in Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences, said in a statement. "But we've developed a whole new way of looking at them, which has helped us understand them a lot better - most interestingly, how they reproduced." Because these creatures - which had beautiful fractal branches like intricate little ferns - were immobile, well-preserved fossils can show entire ecosystems of them as they lived and died. That means that scientists can analyse the way they're clustered to determine how their populations grew. According to that analysis, Fractofusus would send out "grandparents" - little bits of itself ejected out into the water, kind of like seeds or spores - to colonise new areas. Once settled in a new spot, those "grandparents" would produce "parents" and "children" using stolons, or runners - cloned organisms connected to each other, much like strawberries grow today. It's a rapid technique for asexual reproduction, especially compared to the "grandparent" technique. But those waterborne bits, while inefficient, could be used to propagate new areas, perhaps even sexually. Combined, these two techniques make it easy to see how rangeomorphs ruled the sea. At least until the Cambrian period, when newly evolved, mobile creatures turned them into sitting ducks.



Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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08-04-2015 Politics
Obama set to announce steeper emissions cuts from US power plants

President Obama will impose steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants across the country than previously expected, senior administration officials said Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming.

The Obama administration is expected to finalize the rule at a White House event on Monday, a year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits. Obama, in a video posted on Facebook, said the limits were backed up by decades of data and facts showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma.

"Climate change is not a problem for another generation," Obama said. "Not anymore."

Initially, Obama had mandated a 30 percent nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emission by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version, which follows extensive consultations with environmental groups and the energy industry, will require a 32 percent cut instead, according to White House officials.

Opponents said they would sue the government immediately. The also planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out.

The steeper version also gives states an additional two years to comply, officials said, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. The new deadline is set for 2022. States will also have until 2018 instead of 2017 to submit their plans for how they intend to meet their targets.

The focus on renewables marks a significant shift from the earlier proposal that sought to accelerate the ongoing shift from coal-fired power to natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide. The final version aims to keep the share of natural gas in the nation’s power mix the same as it is now.

The stricter limits included the final plan were certain to incense energy industry advocates who had already balked at the more lenient limits in the proposed plan. However, the Obama administration said its tweaks would cut energy costs and address concerns about power grid reliability.

The Obama administration previously predicted emissions limits will cost up to $8.8 billion annually by 2030, though it says those costs will be far outweighed by health savings from fewer asthma attacks and other benefits. The actual price is unknown until states decide how they’ll reach their targets, but the administration has projected the rule would raise electricity prices about 4.9 percent by 2020 and prompt coal-fired power plants to close.

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Source: Fox News

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08-04-2015 Politics
Iran deal’s fate in Congress rests with undecided Democrats

Before he served as a U.S. senator, before he ran Delaware’s largest county, Christopher A. Coons was a corporate lawyer, reviewing contracts and business proposals for W.R. Gore & Associates.

The eye he once brought to sales agreements for Gore-Tex fabric he is bringing — a decade later — to the United States’ most scrutinized diplomatic accord in a generation: the Iran nuclear deal.

“Your training and your role as a lawyer is not to be the wedding-day guy but to be the divorce-day guy,” Coons, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this past month. “Your job is to read it through as closely as you can .?.?. because no one ever pulls that document out unless there’s a problem.”

His lawyerly conclusion: “I will tell you, my gut response at several places has been grave concern.”

Congress is not scheduled to weigh in on the Iran agreement for at least six more weeks, but its fate lies in the hands of undecided lawmakers such as Coons who have assumed a studious, serious posture in coming to a decision.

And, uncomfortably for President Obama and his negotiating team, they are almost exclusively Democrats.

Their reviews of the agreement stand to leave the outcome of a congressional vote uncertain for weeks — into the summer congressional recess, when advocates on both sides are expected to mount targeted efforts to pressure those who are undecided. Most notably, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last month formed a new anti-deal lobbying group whose board is packed with former lawmakers, including former vice-presidential candidate and senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.). Backers of the group, Citizens for a Nuclear-Free Iran, have pledged to raise as much as $40 million. Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer has met with more than 50 members of Congress to warn against the deal, with more meetings this week, an Israeli official said.

On the other side, the liberal pro-Israel group J Street has said it plans to raise millions of dollars to support the deal, and the White House has promised to remain engaged throughout the two-month review process.

That included a White House lobbying session for dozens of lawmakers this past week and personal phone calls from Obama to skeptical but undecided Democrats.

“You think that happens every week?” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who took a call from Obama.

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Source: Washington Post

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08-04-2015 Health
Healthy British nurse ends her life in a Swiss clinic because of fear of getting old

A healthy retired British nurse who had worked with the elderly has ended her life in a Swiss clinic because she was afraid of getting old and being unable to to kill herself, a British newspaper reported Monday.

Gill Pharoah, 75, who suffered no serious debilitating illness and was still active, was given a lethal injection and was in good enough spirits to joke with a doctor before she died, the London Times newspaper reported.

Pharoah was afraid of suffering a stroke as happened to one of her friends, who then lived on for many years with a poor quality of life, the paper reported.

Pharoah was accompanied to the Swiss clinic in Basel by her long-time partner, John Southall, 70, who told the paper his partner would still be alive if Britain allowed people to make living wills asking that they should be helped to die if they lost the ability to kill themselves.

Pharoah’s case is likely to revive an already vigorous debate in Britain about assisted suicide, or euthanasia.

Those against the practice will likely raise fears that softening the law might encourage healthy, active people like Pharoah to end their lives prematurely, the paper reported. Those in favor of such a law being enacted may point to the desperate fear that drove a person like Pharoah to end her life outside of Britain because she was frightened to become old and infirm in her own country.

In an interview with the Sunday Times shortly before her death at the Lifecircle assisted-death clinic on July 21, Pharoah, a highly-active retiree, said: “I have looked after people who are old, on and off, all my life. I have always said, ‘I am not getting old. I do not think old age is fun.’ I know that I have gone just over the hill now. It is not going to start getting better. I do not want people to remember me as a sort of old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley.”

She told the Sunday Times yesterday that she had “so many friends with partners who, plainly, are a liability. I know you shouldn’t say that but I have this mental picture in my head of all you need to do, at my age, is break a hip and you are likely to go very much downhill from that.”

Three weeks before her death, Pharoah was entertaining friends in the back yard of her London home, and joking with them about the pale legs of her partner, who she had been with for 25 years, the Sunday Times reported.

Her partner told the London Times that Pharoah, was “terrified of having a stroke because she had a close friend who always was a member of Exit (a voluntary euthanasia society) but who had a stroke and was then bed bound for 10 years in a very pathetic state that she herself would have hated and Gill hated to see.”

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Source: Washington Post

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08-04-2015 Entertainment
'Mission Impossible' conquers weekend box office

For Tom Cruise and the "Mission Impossible" franchise, the missions might be impossible but success at the box office isn't.

"Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation," the fifth installment in the series, brought in an estimated $56 million in its opening weekend. This is the second highest opening since "Mission Impossible II" grabbed $57.8 million in 2000.

Even though the film was bumped up for release and shooting continued well into the spring, critics found the movie "relentlessly entertaining" and "surprisingly resurgent."

Rentrak's Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Cruise is to credit for making these films one of the longest-running viable franchises on the market.

"He created a new Tom Cruise in the minds of audiences. He came off as very approachable, funny, he did the lip synching with Jimmy Fallon. This is the playbook on how a star - who is also a producer on the movie - gets the word out about his movie," he said. "He's a marketing machine."

The Paramount and Skydance Productions film from writer-director Christopher McQuarrie cost a reported $150 million to produce and should have no problem making up its budget, especially with overseas earnings.

The film also did not appear to suffer from any Cruise backlash as a result of Alex Gibney's Scientology documentary "Going Clear," which came out earlier this year.

"The average moviegoer just cares about the movie," said Dergarabedian. "They're not thinking about that other stuff."

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' "Vacation," went a bit off track. The $30 million film earned $14.9 million over the weekend and $21.2 million since opening Wednesday. Starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, the R-rated film was imagined as a continuation of the 1983 road trip comedy "National Lampoon's Vacation" when a now grown Rusty Griswold (Helms) takes his family to Wally World.

Critics were not kind to the raunchy comedy from first-time directors John Frances Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and audiences as a whole didn't seem too thrilled either. According to exit polls, audiences gave the film a not-promising B CinemaScore.

Dergarabedian said that "Vacation" started out slow partially because "Mission: Impossible" dominated the conversation, but it has the potential to gain traction.

"That was a tough opening," he said. "We'll see how it does in the coming weeks."

Holdovers "Ant-Man," "Minions," and "Pixels," rounded out the top five. While the year-to-date box office is still up 8.3 percent, it was down significantly for this weekend from last year when "Guardians of the Galaxy" opened to a stunning $94.3 million.

Source: CBS News

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07-30-2015 Science&Technology
Google Translate app adds 20 more languages

Google is expanding the repertoire of its Translate app to handle more than two dozen different languages.

Designed for both iOS and Android, the Google Translate app is adding 20 new languages. You'll be able to translate to and from English with Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. For Hindi and Thai, you'll be able to do one-way translations from English.

Counting English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, that makes for a total of 27 languages that the app will be able to recognize.

The update is rolling out over the next few days, so you may not see it right away. But it should pop up by the end of the week.

Google also offers a translation feature via its website search results and directly through its Chrome browser. But there's clearly a need for portable, on-the-go translation.

The company faces potential competition from Skype Translator, which will be bundled with the Skype for Windows desktop app by the end of summer. The challenge for Google Translate and Skype Translator alike is to translate text on the fly and do it as quickly and accurately as possible, a la Star Trek's universal translator. Accuracy is key as using machine technology to translate certain phrases and colloquialisms is still a challenge.

The Google Translate app offers three ways to translate text. You can simply type the text you want translated. You can speak the text. Or you can point your mobile device's camera at a sign, book or other object with text on it and watch as that text is automatically translated into the language of your choice. No Internet connection is required, so you can use the visual translation offline. (Camera mode supports a total of 37 languages.)

Google is also promising smoother, more natural conversation, even on a slow mobile network.

"In many emerging markets, slow mobile networks can make it challenging to access many online tools -- so if you live in an area with unreliable mobile networks, our other update today is for you," Barak Turovsky, product lead for Google Translate, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

To help improve its app's translation skills, Google relies on the Translate Community. At this site, people can correct any translation that Google gets wrong and type in their own phrases and translations. But even with the help of the Translate Community and today's update, there's still more to be done to enhance Google Translate's skill set.

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Source: CNet

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07-28-2015 Politics
Obama chides Huckabee for invoking Holocaust in criticism of Iran deal

Republican Mike Huckabee drew a rebuke from President Obama on Monday for invoking the Holocaust in his criticism of the Iran nuclear deal -- marking a rare, long-distance clash between the sitting president and the field of Republicans vying to replace him.

Speaking at a press conference during his visit to Ethiopia, Obama said the comments from the GOP White House contender were part of a "pattern" of remarks from candidates that "would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad."

He also criticized Donald Trump for questioning Sen. John McCain's "war hero" record, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his comments on the Iran agreement.

Huckabee has faced broad criticism after likening the nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven," a reference to the Holocaust.

The former Arkansas governor included the statement in a tweet Sunday, a day after first making the comparison.

"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history," Huckabee said in an interview with Breitbart News that was broadcast on Sirius/XM radio Saturday. "He's so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven." Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Huckabee's statement was "grossly irresponsible" and called on him to apologize.

But a Huckabee spokeswoman said Sunday his comments reflect a longstanding position that "the Iran deal is a bad deal, bad for America and bad for Israel." Huckabee's tweet called on Congress to reject the nuclear deal.

Huckabee also sent out several tweets in defense of his statements, quoting Ayatollah Khamenei and others regarding plans to target Israel.

Source: Fox News

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07-27-2015 Cars
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata officially arrives in three variants starting from $25K

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is here and for the first time in years the vehicle delivered in a variety of ways. The latest edition to the MX-5 lineup is one that delivers performance, comfort, and luxury in one shot, whereas previous editions left drivers feeling that they had been cheated out of something that they could have otherwise had in a better designed car. The Mazda MX-5 Miata though, delivers in ways that previous models simply could not – with a lighter body, and slightly more efficient engine behind it.

The The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata delivers 155-horsepower and 148 lbs-ft of torque. As we mentioned, the lighter bodyweight, which is about 150 pounds short of the 2015 model gives the car a little extra drive, too. This is something for roadster purists, which have craved something with a little more control, and something that would deliver in performance, while maintaining its low-end budget style.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is here and for the first time in years the vehicle delivered in a variety of ways. The latest edition to the MX-5 lineup is one that delivers performance, comfort, and luxury in one shot, whereas previous editions left drivers feeling that they had been cheated out of something that they could have otherwise had in a better designed car. The Mazda MX-5 Miata though, delivers in ways that previous models simply could not – with a lighter body, and slightly more efficient engine behind it.

The The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata delivers 155-horsepower and 148 lbs-ft of torque. As we mentioned, the lighter bodyweight, which is about 150 pounds short of the 2015 model gives the car a little extra drive, too. This is something for roadster purists, which have craved something with a little more control, and something that would deliver in performance, while maintaining its low-end budget style. The vehicle will be available in manual and automatic options, which will definitely open the door for more than the “exclusive group,” which would typically own this car. At the end of the day, this is about delivering a vehicle that can measure up to the higher-end performance cars, while still maintaining a fair price point, with some efficiency to go along with it. Mazda says that the MX-5 Miata is the most-efficient vehicle that they have ever produced at the performance or roadster level, so it will be a matter of waiting to see where things stand down the road.

Source: The Hoops News

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07-27-2015 Religion
Satanic monument in Detroit unveiled: Is it disrespectful?

In an effort to make a statement against religious monuments on government property, members of the Satanic Temple of Detroit unveiled a statue of a goat-headed winged statue in Detroit on Saturday night.

The 9-foot-tall bronze statue of Baphomet made its public debut at a ticketed event in an industrial building near the Detroit River. The monument was revealed shortly before midnight as hundreds of supporters cheered and chanted “Hail Satan.”

Members of the Satanic Temple of Detroit viewed the unveiling as a victory; “a celebration of a group effort” that has taken several years to complete.

Recommended: Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz Not all Detroit residents were as pleased. The statue has been a point of contention in the Motor City for months, and demonstrations against it continued up until the last minute. Around 100 protesters turned out Saturday afternoon to pray and denounce the monument, calling it “disrespectful” to other religions. Jex Blackmore, the director of the Satanic Temple of Detroit, says this backlash is the product of years of “deep misunderstanding” about Satanism.

“Satanism and the term ‘Satanic’ has been used a political tool to demonize individuals who have rebelled against systems of authority and power,” Blackmore said in a heated segment of WJBK-TV’s “Let it Rip.”

The Satanic Temple of Detroit is non-theistic and does not celebrate the Judeo-Christian representation of Satan, Blackmore said. The group’s website defines Satan as “a symbol of man’s inherent nature, representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom rather than a supernatural deity or being.”

The Temple originally applied for the statue to be installed in 2012 near a Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. After that application was denied, the Temple decided on Detroit, where the Satanic Temple is said to have a stronger-than-average congregation.

Blackmore said Saturday that temple members planned to transport the sculpture to Arkansas, where the governor recently signed a bill authorizing a Ten Commandments monument on the State Capitol's grounds.

This isn’t the Satanic Temple of Detroit’s first controversial demonstration. Last Christmas, the organization set up a “Snaketivity” scene outside the Michigan State Capitol in support of LGBT rights.

Read full story

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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