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05-26-2016 Politics
Clinton thinks she knows how to take on Trump. Will it work?

Plotting a general election strategy against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton’s advisers joke that their challenge feels like Lucille Ball’s in the famed chocolate factory episode of “I Love Lucy.”

As truffles fly down a conveyor belt, Lucy frantically tries to wrap each one before they pass. Falling behind, she stuffs some under her hat, down her blouse and in her mouth. For the Clinton campaign, the conveyor belt is Trump’s mouth and Twitter feed — and the chocolates are his inflammatory statements.

In the three weeks since the celebrity mogul became the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Clinton and her sprawling bureaucracy of a campaign have struggled to keep pace with Trump’s unremitting medley of savage attacks, unorthodox policy pronouncements and casual misstatements.

Clinton advisers are trying to stitch together an overall narrative that they are confident will destroy Trump, but they are still experimenting with tone and tactics as they seek an effective equilibrium. And even as they launched their first big effort this week, Trump’s response to it stole some of their thunder — illustrating vividly that breaking through his barrage of attention-getting words will not be easy.

Clinton’s aides say they have settled on the big story they want to tell about Trump: He is a business fraud who has cheated working people for his own gain, and his ideas, temperament and moves to marginalize people by race, gender and creed make him simply unacceptable as commander in chief.

“Our thesis is that this isn’t just a difference in world views akin to, say, a policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama in 2008. This is somebody who’s uniquely dangerous and disqualified,” said Brian Fallon, Clinton’s national press secretary.

On Tuesday, the likely Democratic nominee and her allies opened a coordinated and methodical assault on Trump, starting with reviving his past comments that he had hoped to profit off a housing crisis that devastated millions of families. Other lines of attack will follow.

“What we’re doing amounts to a deconstruction of Trump’s phony story about himself to show the seedy, sleazy underside of his business record,” said David Brock, a Clinton ally who runs a collection of supportive outside groups.

But a day that began with Clinton’s housing push — from the candidate’s speeches and a campaign video to a surrogate blitz in battleground states and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fiery Trump take-down — ended with a Trump stage performance in New Mexico so provocative that it threatened to distract voters from the substance of Clinton’s argument.

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Source: Washington Post

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
Automakers Befriend Start-Ups Like Uber, Girding Against a Changing Car Culture

SAN FRANCISCO — Automakers are looking toward a technology-driven future, one where they increasingly acknowledge that getting around may not require owning a car.

On Tuesday, two of the world’s largest automakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, said they were stepping up to invest in technology start-ups that are working to change the way people travel by car. Toyota said it had formed a partnership with and invested an undisclosed amount in Uber, the biggest ride-hailing company. Gett, the app popular in Europe, said it was working with Volkswagen, and the automaker was investing $300 million in the start-up.

The alliances are the latest in a string of pairings between technology companies and traditional automakers that are scrambling to reposition themselves. For decades, automakers had abided by the well-worn formula of making bigger and more powerful cars to fuel their growth.

But start-ups like Uber and Lyft and technology companies like Google and Tesla have disrupted that cadence. These companies, mostly located in Silicon Valley, have in the last few years sped the development of self-driving cars, electric vehicles and ride services.

Automakers have become increasingly concerned about those technologies and their potential to help people travel easily and cheaply without owning a car — or even without knowing how to drive.

In some American cities, small groups of people are already choosing not to own cars by relying on ride-hailing services like Uber, through which consumers can order a ride through their smartphone, and car-sharing companies like Zipcar, where they essentially pick up a car whenever they need to drive one. Eventually, self-driving cars will be a reality, which would let Uber and others field fleets of driverless vehicles that can operate around the clock and further cut the cost of ride services.

“Ride-sharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota, said in a statement about partnering with Uber. “We would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”

Karl Brauer, an analyst at the research firm Kelley Blue Book, said there was no sign that car-sharing or ride-sharing — sometimes called “mobility services” — was slowing auto sales today. Auto sales in the United States hit a record high in 2015 and are on the rise this year, and China and other international markets will ensure the global auto market continues to grow.

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Source: The New York Times

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
Apple Smart Speaker Coming Soon As Siri SDK Will Be Available To Developers

A rumor has surfaced on the Web claiming that Apple is currently baking its smart speaker that will soon rival Amazon Echo. It further claims the company will soon open up its Siri voice assistant to third-party app developers.

The report comes from The Information that cites its source who is familiar with this purported Cupertino-based firm’s latest effort.

“After years of internal debate and discussion about how to do so, the company is preparing to open up Siri to apps made by others,” reads the report. “And it is working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer.”

The report says that a Siri software development kit is the company’s “more immediate step.” The said SDK will be made available to developers who wish their apps to be more accessible via the company’s voice assistant. In the meantime, the Amazon Echo’s competitor seems to be Apple’s more long-term project.

The Siri SDK is believed to be rolled out this coming June, during the company’s yearly WWDC conference.

The Apple’s smart speaker is speculated to have been in the works prior to the release of the Amazon Echo. Among the functionalities that will be fitted into the speaker include the capacity to carry out a few tasks currently associated with automated bots plus its capability to switch on and off appliances that are supported by the firm’s HomeKit platform.

This new Apple rumor comes hot on the heels of Google’s announcement of its very own artificial intelligence assistant named Google Assistant and its home speaker called Google Home. The Mountain View-based company, though, has not unveiled an SDK for its home speaker. A possibility exists, though, that it may introduce one in the succeeding months.

“For Apple to stay competitive in this space — and make up the substantial ground its ceded to its rivals — it has to make Siri more open and more powerful,” says a report from The Verge. “From there, the company can try to bake it into a speaker customers may want to place in their living rooms.”

As always in this case, take this story with a considerable dose of skepticism.

Source: Tech Times

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05-26-2016 Politics
Taliban's new leader 'natural choice' to unite group, say analysts

(CNN)The Taliban has named a senior religious cleric from its founding generation as its new leader, in a decision the Afghan militant group hopes will avoid succession disputes, analysts say.

Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada was the "natural choice" to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan Saturday, said Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts' Network.

"He was already the senior deputy to Mullah Mansour. It's a clever choice because he is a religious scholar from the founder generation of the Taliban, and was close to Mullah Omar," said Ruttig, referring to the one-eyed mujahedeen commander who led the group from its inception in 1994.

"He may therefore be able to integrate the younger and more militant generation," he said. "The Taliban understood that they needed a new consensus leader, and quickly, to prevent what was possibly the aim of the U.S. and Afghan governments -- to create turmoil around the succession."

Respected cleric

The new Taliban leader belongs to the Noorzai tribe, is in his late 50s -- although the Taliban claim he is 47 years old -- and hails from the Taliban heartland in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, according to Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, a founding member of the Taliban who lives in Kabul and says he knows the new leader.

While Akhundzada was involved in the mujahedeen struggle against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, Agha said he was unlikely to have participated in frontline military activities.

He did judicial work between 1996 and 2001, the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and following the group's fall from power in late 2001 he worked as Taliban Chief Justice, according to Agha. He became Mullah Mansour's deputy when he succeeded Mullah Omar in 2013, and subsequently took an active part in the day-to-day running of the movement, playing a key role in negotiating a ceasefire with a dissident Taliban faction earlier this year.

Michael Semple, professor at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen's University Belfast, said Akhundzada was the author of "many of the decrees that Mansour used to provide religious cover for his actions."

Analyst: Position on talks unknown

An educated and well-respected figure within the organization, his authority stemmed principally from his reputation as a religious teacher and scholar, which meant he could prove easier to negotiate a peace settlement with than his predecessors, Agha said. Ahmed Rashid, author of five books on the Taliban and the region, said that Akhundzada's position on talks with the Afghan government was not known.

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Source: CNN

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05-26-2016 General
No sign of EgyptAir plane technical problems before takeoff: sources

The EgyptAir jet that disappeared last week did not show technical problems before taking off from Paris, sources within the Egyptian investigation committee said late on Tuesday.

The sources said the plane did not make contact with Egyptian air traffic control, but Egyptian air traffic controllers were able to see it on radar on a border area between Egyptian and Greek airspace known as KUMBI, 260 nautical miles from Cairo.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said the plane disappeared without swerving off radar screens after less than a minute of it entering Egyptian airspace. Air traffic controllers from Greece and Egypt have given differing accounts of the plane's final moments.

Egypt's state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Tuesday that the plane had shown no technical problems before taking off, citing an Aircraft Technical Log signed by its pilot before takeoff.

Al-Ahram published a scan of the technical log on its website. The paper said EgyptAir flight 804 transmitted 11 "electronic messages" starting at 5.09 p.m. ET on May 18, about 3 1/2 hours before disappearing from radar screens with 66 passengers and crew on board.

The first two messages indicated the engines were functional. The third message came at 8.26 p.m. ET on May 18 and showed a rise in the temperature of the co-pilot's window. The plane kept transmitting messages for the next three minutes before vanishing, Al-Ahram said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the head of Egypt's forensics authority dismissed as premature a suggestion that the small size of the body parts retrieved since the Airbus 320 jet crashed indicated there had been an explosion on board.

Investigators are looking for clues in the human remains and debris recovered from the Mediterranean Sea.

The plane and its black box recorders, which could explain what brought down the Paris-to-Cairo flight as it entered Egyptian air space, have not been located.

An Egyptian forensics official said 23 bags of body parts had been collected, the largest no bigger than the palm of a hand. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said their size pointed to an explosion, although no trace of explosives had been detected.

But Hisham Abdelhamid, head of Egypt's forensics authority, said this assessment was "mere assumptions" and that it was too early to draw conclusions.

At least two other sources with direct knowledge of the investigation also said it would be premature to say what caused the plane to plunge into the sea.

"All we know is it disappeared suddenly without making a distress call," one of them said, adding that only by analyzing the black boxes or a large amount of debris could authorities begin to form a clearer picture.

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Source: Reuters

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05-26-2016 Cars
2016 BMW i3 Review – The electric time machine

The 2016 BMW i3 is the DeLorean of our times. No, I'm not talking about gullwing doors (that's the exclusive province of its bigger brother, the i8), nor am I referring to sketchy Renault mechanicals (you'll still have to travel to France for that pleasure). What I mean is, the BMW i3's future-tense design and real-world electric car performance qualify it as a time machine of the first caliber, a glimpse into tomorrow along the lines of what we were once promised in the breathless prose and scintillating images published in the pages of Popular Science magazine.

Doc Brown would be proud - but more to the point, so would Marty McFly, because here, finally, is a dedicated compact EV that dares to wear its stylish 21st-century design on its elegantly-sculpted steel-and-glass sleeve. In other words, it's a car worth leaving your hoverboard at home for.

That BMW's i division is far and away the most risk-tolerant arm of the German automaker's luxury empire is clear after spending any time inside or alongside the 2016 BMW i3. Rarely does such a small car make such a big impression on everyone within a 50-foot radius, as the bubble-topped subcompact's curvy snout, upright stance, blacked-out hatch door, and blocky side panels give it a profile unlike anything else in the brand's line-up.

This arresting collection of styling cues continues within the i3's cabin, which is surprisingly open and airy for a small automobile - a testament to its tall roofline and the decision to use light-colored woods and accentuate the gaps between screens, panels, and dashboard throughout the vehicle. Although the materials used throughout the interior of the BMW i3 walk the line between recycled-chic and upscale niche, it's their presentation that seals the deal and makes driver and passengers feel as though their are riding along inside something special.

It's also worth noting that the concept of carting around more than just a pair of people in the BMW i3 isn't an unrealistic one. Not only does the rear seat offer legitimate comfort for actual adults, but getting back there is made easier by the presence of a pair of rear-hinged half-doors that carve a useful hole into the side of the hatchback when in used. You'll have to crack open the front doors to release the rear set from their shackles - a minor annoyance, especially in crowded parking lots - but it's a small price to pay for not having to clamber over a seat when seeking the back bench. Cargo room is also surprisingly generous for a subcompact EV, with just under 37 total cubes available in an easy-to-fill format.

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Source: Slash Gear

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05-26-2016 Entertainment
Martin Scorsese exhibition at ACMI highlights a career written in blood

Martin Scorsese's is a career written in blood, a point made quickly and repeatedly in the massive exhibition dedicated to the American filmmaker that opens to the public at Melbourne's ACMI on Thursday. At the recently re-opened entry on Flinders Street, one panel of the revolving glass door has been turned red; passing through it feels like stepping into the aftermath of one of the more violent encounters in a body of work that stretches back more than 50 years and has never shied away from the uglier side of life. Walking down the main staircase to the basement exhibition space, the visitor immediately encounters another splash of red – the word SCORSESE, written in large capitals and tilted on its side – and to its left, one of the director's student films, The Big Shave (1967). In this shockingly powerful short, a man shaves over a bathroom sink, a nick on his cheek giving way to a series of cuts and eventually a fully-fledged throat slashing. In just six minutes, it comprehensively captures the elements on which Scorsese's career has been built: troubled masculinity, ritual, an obsession with appearance and, of course, violence and its aftermath. You could feasibly turn around right there and say you'd seen it all. But you'd be missing out on a vast array of artefacts, costumes and clips – many from the 73-year-old writer-director-producer's own collection – that serves to remind us just how prolific and potent a force in American cinema he has been, and remains. Scorsese may not have quite the razzle-dazzle of the recent David Bowie exhibition, and it doesn't have the range of outfits of the Hollywood Costume show, but its thematic approach is compelling. There are spaces dedicated to the importance of music in his work (and to his work as an avid documenter of music, seen most recently in the cable series Vinyl), to the lonely hero who stands at the centre of so many of his films, to the relationship with Robert De Niro, to the importance of editing and cinematography and his commitment to the preservation of film in general, and the films that inspired him in particular. A four-screen "theatre" brilliantly highlights some of his visual obsessions, including tight close-ups on eyes, the cruciform male, and, of course, the splatter of blood. There's a focus on fashion, too, a facet of Scorsese's work that particularly appealed to Dom Bagnato, who took a sneak look at the exhibition ahead of the crowds on Wednesday morning. "The detail of the collars on the shirts, the detail on the jackets, the colourings, the textures, they are all so accurate that in an atom they describe for you the era in which the movie is set," said Bagnato, who has been in the men's fashion business for more than 30 years.

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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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05-26-2016 Cars
Unlike 2017 MazdaSpeed, Mazda Cares About RX-9

Calls for Mazda to revive the Mazda Performance Series (MPS) in the form of new MazdaSpeed models next year were met by a scathing comment by Mazda North America chief Masahiro Moro, with the top man simply dismissing it as childish. It seems that the Japanese automaker takes a contrasting view to its other popular performance series that has been teased by the RX-Vision concept at the end of last year.

In speaking to Top Gear, the design director of the brand Kevin Rice said that Mazda actually began work to improve the heavily criticized rotary engine since the release of the RX-8.

This sentiment echoes prior statements from Mazda about its efforts with the rotary engine. Plenty of resources have been dedicated to making it work to overcome its major flaws in efficiency and reliability.

As Mazda continues to look for its eureka moment with the rotary engine so that the RX-Vision could be brought to life as an RX-9, the automaker has sent the message that nothing would be forthcoming in the near future.

But unlike the MazdaSpeed series, which has been outright dismissed, Mazda remains as hopeful as fans that eventually something good would come from its decade’s worth of work in developing a better rotary block.

Source: Daily Sun Knoxville

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05-25-2016 Science&Technology
Google’s closing argument: Android was built from scratch, the fair way

SAN FRANCISCO—Google attorney Robert Van Nest made his closing argument to a panel of jurors here today, asking them to clear Android of copyright infringement allegations as a matter of "fairness and fair use."

"This is a very important case, not only for Google but for innovation and technology in general," Van Nest told the jury. "What Google engineers did was nothing out of that mainstream. They built Android from scratch, using new Google technology, and adapted technology from open sources. Android was a remarkable thing, a brand-new platform for innovation."

Van Nest's hour-long closing argument, and his later rebuttal, was Google's final fusillade before this six-year-old lawsuit goes to the jury. Oracle has argued that Google's use of 37 Java APIs in Android infringes copyrights that Oracle acquired when it purchased Sun Microsystems. An appeals court has already found that APIs can indeed be copyrighted. Unless the ten-person jury empaneled in San Francisco finds that Google's use of APIs was "fair use," Oracle will win damages, and the company is hoping to ask for as much as $9 billion.

The Java language was "open and free," and the APIs "have always been treated by Sun as open and free, along with the language," Van Nest said. Android was a brand-new use for the Java APIs, "a use that no other company, before or since, has been able to achieve."

And Sun never complained about Android, he said. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison didn't, either—at first. "it wasn’t until later that Mr. Ellison changed his mind," said Van Nest. "It was after he had tried to use Java to build his own smartphone and failed to do it."

"Now we’re in a situation where Oracle, which had no investment in Android, took none of the risk—they want all the credit and a lot of the money," he said. "And that’s not fair."

Van Nest focused on four key witnesses: former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, former Android chief Andy Rubin, and Alphabet CEO Larry Page. He pulled up Schwartz's picture first, and reminded the jurors that he didn't have any problem with Android. “It was completely—you know, it was fair," Van Nest said, quoting Schwartz's testimony to the jury. "They weren’t asking us to put our logo on it, and they weren’t asking us to call it Java or bless or endorse it.”

Then Van Nest moved to parry an attack he knows is coming from Oracle, which will give a closing statement immediately after him. Oracle is going to run through Google and Sun internal e-mails about how licensing was required, part of a failed negotiation between the companies that took place before Android was launched. It's a red herring, he told the jury.

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Source: ArsTechnica

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05-25-2016 Science&Technology
Here's what we know about Xiaomi's first drone that it will unveil this week

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi will unveil its first drone at a live streaming event on May 25, The Verge reported.

A post published to Xiaomi’s company forum indicates that the drone will be a quadcoptor with a spherical camera on the bottom of the drone that looks like it may be able shoot 360-degree video.

The Xiaomi drone looked remarkably like Hong Kong-based Yuneec’s Typhoon H drone, raising the question of whether the drone could be a collaboration between the two companies. However, Xiaomi’s smartphones have very similar designs to its competitors; it doesn’t sell smartphones in the US for fear of patent lawsuits.

Very few details about the drone have been released, but Xiaomi briefly released a smartphone app for a drone that included 4K video recording earlier this year. It has also filed a patent for a quadcoptor drone that can be controlled by a connected wristband like Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness tracker.

It will also be interesting to see what markets Xiaomi will sell the new drone in. The US is the biggest market right now for consumer drones, particularly for camera drones that can cost several hundred dollars. Xiaomi sells some devices here in the US, including fitness bands and its new Mi Box media streaming device.

The company could look to make a big splash with drones in the US, or it could offer a cheaper camera drone priced for the Chinese market where the consumer drone market is very nascent. This is the same playbook it has used in the smartphone market, where Xiaomi sells very cheap phones for the domestic market that have many of the characteristics of high-end smartphones.

Drones turned the corner in 2015 to become a popular consumer device, while a framework for regulation that legitimizes drones in the US began to take shape. Technological and regulatory barriers still exist to further drone adoption.

Drone manufacturers and software providers are quickly developing technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance that will make flying drones safer. The accelerating pace of drone adoption is also pushing governments to create new regulations that balance safety and innovation.

Safer technology and better regulation will open up new applications for drones in the commercial sector, including drone delivery programs like Amazon’s Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing initiatives.

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Source: Business Insider

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05-25-2016 Politics
Hillary Clinton Declines Invitation to Debate Bernie Sanders

DETROIT — Eager to move on from the Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton has turned down an invitation to debate Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of California’s primary, her campaign said on Monday.

The announcement came hours after Mrs. Clinton unleashed a biting critique of Donald J. Trump while addressing a union convention, mocking his business record and offering a glimpse at how she might confront him in the general election.

Mr. Sanders’s campaign last week tentatively accepted an invitation by Fox News to participate in a debate before California’s June 7 primary, and expressed hope that Mrs. Clinton would agree to face off against the senator.

In a statement issued Monday evening, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, said Mrs. Clinton’s team would contest California while “turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses.”

“We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Ms. Palmieri said.

Mr. Sanders said in a statement that he was “disappointed but not surprised” by Mrs. Clinton’s “unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.” He added, “I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.”

Earlier on Monday, Mrs. Clinton left no confusion about where she was focusing her attention.

Speaking at a convention here for the influential Service Employees International Union, which endorsed her in November, Mrs. Clinton asserted that “a lot of Republicans themselves say Donald Trump is a disaster waiting to happen to America.”

She broached the subject of his business record, suggesting his supposed acumen was less than met the eye.

“He could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I mean, ask yourself: How can anybody lose money running a casino? Really.”

The union has spent millions underwriting the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage. On that subject, Mrs. Clinton brought up Mr. Trump’s comment during a debate in November about wages being “too high” — though he has recently said otherwise — and his suggestion that the federal minimum wage should be eliminated.

Mrs. Clinton has not supported a $15 hourly federal minimum wage, but when pressed about it in the last Democratic debate, she said she would sign a bill raising it to that amount if she were president.

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Source: The New York Times

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05-25-2016 Cars
2016 Mazda CX-9 first drive: Worth the wait

All-new CX-9 is another homerun for Mazda

Mazda has an incredible talent for injecting athleticism into every vehicle it makes. It’s a consistency that starts with the company’s smallest hatch and runs all the way through to the largest crossover. Heck, Mazda could probably make a Conestoga wagon feel sporty if it wanted to. And one of the best examples of that know-how came in 2006 when the company launched its first three-row crossover, the CX-9.

The original CX-9 was a roomy seven-passenger family hauler that was actually fun to throw into a set of switchbacks. It made everyone else’s three-row crossover seem a little dull by comparison. However, 10 years is a long time to wait for a replacement. Last year the company moved a little over 18,000 CX-9s down from a high of almost 35,000 back in 2011. The CX-9 needed an update.

“From a corporate priority, it just got stacked up last to be redesigned,” says Mazda senior vice president of U.S. operations Robert Davis. “And I think it also suffered from being such a great car to begin with, so it was the one that could wait the longest.”

After spending some time winding our way from San Francisco to Bodega Bay in the second generation CX-9, we can say this new one was worth waiting for.

“We have a bundled planning philosophy,” says Davis. “So we try to share as many components as we can throughout the whole Mazda family—this car shares a lot of elements with CX-5 and Mazda 6.”

Indeed, if you were to flip the CX-9 upside down, Davis says you’d certainly see similarities with other Mazda cars in the way parts are connected to the chassis. However, for use in the big CX-9, many of those parts have been scaled up and strengthened. The philosophy clearly works well for weight savings. Front-drive CX-9s have lost around 200 pounds over the old model, yet they’re about the same size. The wheelbase has been stretched by 2.2 inches but engineers shaved 1.2 inches from the overall length. Better still, they’ve cut more than 2 inches of overhang from both the nose and tail. Viewed in profile, it’s clear that the A-pillars are moved back further on this new model. It not only makes the CX-9 look more athletic but it draws attention to the longer hood, beneath which is the big news.

Many of Mazda’s competitors in this three-row class still use a V6. But for 2016, Mazda ditched the six-shooter for a turbocharged four-cylinder.

“Ford really paved the way for us with its Ecoboost products. They really got the world to think about four cylinder turbos a little differently,” says Davis. “So this engine isn’t tuned for a Mazdaspeed3—it’s tuned for a crossover.”

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Source: Autoweek

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05-20-2016 Cars
Watch out Porsche: Koenigsegg One:1 spotted at the Nurburgring

Koenigsegg said it wanted to become king of the Nurburgring but a speed restriction on the track meant it had to put its plans on ice.

Video: Koenigsegg One:1 Testing on the Nurburgring

Until now, that is, because the speed limits are gone and already manufacturer of four-wheeled stupidity Koenigsegg has been spotted back on the legendary Nordschleife circuit in its One:1 hypercar in what appears to be a practice session.

The video, uploaded to YouTube by user 'cvdzijden Supercar Videos', shows the 1,322hp One:1 monster – named so because it has 1hp for every 1kg of weight – blasting around the track, giving viewers a chance to see and hear that 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 at full tilt.

The Internet seems to think it's Robert Serwanski at the wheel, which would make sense as he is Koenigsegg's test driver and the man ultimately charged with making the Swedish manufacturer do more than just look good on paper.

To be crowned king of the Green Hell, Koenigsegg needs to challenge the current record production car record holder, which is the Radical SR8LM and its time of 6:48. Second place is the Radical SR8.

A more likely target would be the Porsche 918 Spyder hypercar in third place, which managed a time of 6:57 and the fourth place Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce's time of 6:59.73. Not easy competition, but then the modified Lotus Evora has a power-to-weight ratio better than a Bugatti Veyron.

Whether or not the 260mph Koenigsegg One:1 comes away victororious (we get the feeling it will), the video of the lap should make for one hell of a video. Until then, scroll down for a taste.

Source: Recombu

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05-19-2016 Society
First missing Chibok girl found, reunited with her family, activist says

(CNN)One of the more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 has been found -- the first to be recovered since the time of the abduction, according to an activist with the Bring Back Our Girls movement in Nigeria.

The girl was found on the edge of Sambisa Forest, in the northeast of the country, where the girls have long been suspected to have been held since they were kidnapped from their school dormitory. She was identified by a local resident and taken to her mother, who confirmed her identity, the activist says.

More than 200 of the girls abducted from the town of Chibok remain missing. Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 teenage girls from their boarding school in Chibok in Borno, northeast Nigeria, on April 14, 2014. At least 57 girls were able to escape soon after their abduction. Their kidnapping sparked global outrage, with Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai and a slew of other high-profile figures lending their weight to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

But Nigeria's government has proven powerless to recover the girls, most of whom were Christian, and are believed to have been forced to convert to Islam by their captors. Last month, CNN obtained a video of some of the missing Chibok girls sent to negotiators by their captors as a "proof of life," and showed it to some of the girls' mothers, who had not been shown the footage by officials. Nigeria's missing girls: A glimpse of the stolen Boko Haram, based mainly in Nigeria's northern states but responsible for attacks in neighboring countries, is seeking to implement sharia law. According to a report released in November, the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram was the world's deadliest terror group in 2014, responsible for 6,644 deaths, an increase of 317% from the previous year.

Two years ago, when CNN first visited Chibok after the mass abduction, parents described how they followed their daughters' trail to the edge of the Sambisa Forest, which had been overrun by the Islamist insurgents several years earlier. But with danger lurking amid the dense vegetation, an ideal hiding place for the militants and their IEDS, they were unable to go any further. Since then, Nigerian soldiers have infiltrated the forest and driven back the militants from some of their territory. But the group still holds territory right in the heart of the forest.

Source: CNN

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05-19-2016 Politics
Clinton wins Kentucky, Sanders takes Oregon

Hillary Clinton got the win she badly needed — just barely. It took a last-minute campaign blitz and a significant financial investment for Clinton to win the Kentucky Democratic primary by half a percentage point over her stubborn primary foe Bernie Sanders — in a state she won by 35 percentage points over Barack Obama in their 2008 primary clash and where her family has deep political roots going back decades.

Sanders, after racing Clinton right up to the finish line in the Bluegrass State, easily won the Oregon primary, and declared at a raucous rally in California that despite pressure from the Clinton campaign to abandon his quest for the nomination, he would stay in the race "until the last ballot is cast." His speech did little to soothe escalating tensions between the Democratic campaigns. Clinton did not appear in public on Tuesday night, but her campaign tweeted thanks to the people of Kentucky and said "we're always stronger united."

In the end, Tuesday's political drama didn't measurably alter the state of the Democratic primary. Sanders is poised to walk away with more delegates than Clinton from the night. But Clinton maintains an overall lead of roughly 280 pledged delegates with only one significant night remaining in the contest — June 7, when, win or lose the states in play that night, she is expected to formally clinch the nomination after voters in delegate-rich California and New Jersey weigh in.

But Clinton's cliffhanger victory in Kentucky, where the Secretary of State's office said she led by 1,923 votes with all precincts reporting, spared her the embarrassment of a brace of losses on Tuesday and will counter a media narrative that her failure to finally snuff out the Sanders campaign is a sign of weakness.

Vulnerabilities Clinton's wafer-thin victory margin did, however, point to vulnerabilities in her campaign that will complicate the task of uniting the party once the primary finally ends. Clintons earned more than $6.7 million from paid speeches in 2015 Despite the former secretary of state's status as the almost certain Democratic nominee, tens of thousands of Democratic voters still prefer another candidate — Sanders. It's a scenario that will do little to ease questions about enthusiasm for her candidacy, message to blue collar workers and personal campaigning skills that could resurface in a general election campaign against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton headlined 11 campaign events over the last few weeks in Kentucky, but may have been hurt by her remarks in a CNN town hall meeting in Ohio in March that her clean energy plan would put coal companies "out of business."

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Source: CNN

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05-19-2016 Science&Technology
Subsurface ocean on Europa could be habitable for life

Jupiter’s moon Europa has long been thought to harbor a subsurface ocean of liquid water. Now, a study conducted by a group of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) suggests that ocean may have a balance of hydrogen and oxygen similar to that found in oceans on Earth.

The scientists, who published their findings in this week’s issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, compared the processes on Europa that could produce the proportion of hydrogen and oxygen necessary for life with those occurring in Earth’s oceans. They found Europa has the potential to produce a balance of hydrogen and oxygen similar to that found on Earth, with both worlds producing approximately ten times more oxygen than hydrogen.

Volcanic activity has long been thought necessary to make the Jovian moon’s underground ocean habitable. Without such activity, oxidants from the moon’s surface, created when radiation from Jupiter breaks up molecules of water ice, would acidify the ocean to the point that it would be toxic to any life.

The icy world’s neighboring moon Io is the most volcanically active object in the solar system due to it being squeezed and stretched by Jupiter’s powerful gravitational pull, which generates heat. Scientists are still uncertain as to whether volcanic activity also occurs on Europa.

However, they now think the correct balance of elements needed for life may not require volcanic activity at all. This is because Europa’s rocky interior is now believed to be far more complex than previously thought as well as surprisingly Earth-like.

Hydrogen could be produced by the interaction of Europa’s salty ocean water with rock. Through a process known as serpentinization, water flows into spaces between mineral grains and interacts with the rock, resulting in the creation of different minerals and a release of hydrogen.

As Europa’s interior cools, more cracks open up in its ocean floor, exposing more rock to ocean water, leading to increased hydrogen production.

While fractures in the crust of Earth’s oceans extend downward between three and four miles, those in Europa may extend as much as 15 miles (25 kilometers), meaning hydrogen-producing water-rock interactions might be occurring deep into its ocean floor. Oxidants and other compounds capable of reacting with Europa’s hydrogen are produced when radiation from Jupiter breaks up water ice molecules on the moon’s icy surface. They are then cycled into the moon’s interior and subsequently brought to its ocean.

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Source: Spaceflight Insider

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