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White House-Pentagon emails show Trump’s claim that he called all Gold Star families was misleading

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Donald Trump
Donald Trump.
Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

  • President Trump said he called the families of
    “virtually” every servicemember killed in action since his
  • Emails obtained by Roll Call tell a different

When President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had contacted the families
of “virtually everybody”
who had been killed in the military
since he took office, the White House did not even have an
updated list of those who had died in action, according to an
internal Department of Defense email obtained by Roll

After Trump made the comment on Fox News Radio, White House
advisers reportedly rushed to reach out to the Pentagon for a
list of all the servicemembers who had died and the contact
information for their families. 

According to Roll Call, the White House sent an email with the
subject line, “Condolence Letters Since 20 January 2017” to
the Defense secretary’s office on the evening of the day
Trump said he had reached out to all the families of
soldiers who had been killed.

In return, Capt. Hallock Mohler, Defense Secretary James Mattis’
executive secretary, replied to the White House with an
email that included information about how each servicemember had
died and their family’s contact information, according to the

Mohler’s email also said that the president’s aides had “reached
out to Ylber [Bajraktari, a National Security Council aide]
looking for the following ASAP from DOD.”

Trump’s contact with Gold Star families came under fire this
week, after The Associated Press reached out to
43 families and got responses from 20, nine of whom said
they had heard from Trump and nine of whom said they had not,
despite his remark that he had called the families
of “virtually everybody” who had died in the line of

The president also invited scrutiny over a phone call he made to a
grieving widow
whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, was one
of the four troops killed during a mission in Niger. 

Frederica Wilson red
Frederica Wilson has made a name for herself as a spirited
opponent of Donald Trump.


Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who was present during
the phone call, told the Miami
ABC affiliate WPLG
 on Tuesday that Trump
had told Myeshia Johnson her husband
“knew what he signed up
for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”

Wilson said she was riding in the car with Johnson — who was on
her way to the airport to receive her husband’s body — when Trump
called. She then told MSNBC on Wednesday morning that the
soldier’s widow was “crying the whole time” and that when she
hung up the phone, she looked at Wilson and said, “He didn’t even
remember his name.”

Though Trump blasted Wilson’s account as “totally fabricated,”
the soldier’s mother confirmed to The Washington Post that
the congresswoman’s account was accurate, adding that Trump had
“disrespected” her family.

As the controversy continued to unfold, Gold Star families
came out en masse
to dispute the president’s claims. That included Chris Baldridge,
whose son, Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, died in Afghanistan
in June. Baldridge told The Post that
Trump had offered him a $25,000 check
, but did not follow

“I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had
it recorded because the man did say this,” Baldridge said. “He
said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but
he said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”

After The Post’s story was published, a White House
spokeswoman told the newspaper that the check had been sent, and
CNN reported
that it had been sent on the same day The Post’s story went

Allan Smith contributed reporting.

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What Would We Find At the Edge of the Known Universe?

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Take a moment to travel to infinity.

The post What Would We Find At the Edge of the Known Universe? appeared first on Futurism.

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PlayStation extends its reign as the gaming brand with the most-seen TV ads

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Nintendo Switch might have outsold the PlayStation 4 in September, but it’s Sony video game console that’s ruling the TV screen, leading in ad impressions month after month.

GamesBeat has partnered with, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than seven million smart TVs, to bring you a monthly report on the TV ad impressions generated by the gaming industry’s biggest campaigns. These are the ads, and by extension the games, that game makers are putting major muscle behind.

Below are the top five most-seen gaming industry brands from September 16 through October 15.


For the second period in a row, TV ad impressions from the gaming industry increased, up to 2.9 billion from 2 billion in our previous report. More brands came out to play as well: Thirty-five companies (up from 32 last time) ran 121 spots over 17,600 times with an estimated spend of $65.9 million. PlayStation maintained a strong lead, while Xbox moved up in the ranking.

PlayStation captured over 31 percent (954.5 million) of the industry’s impressions with its 14 ads that aired over 4,000 times. The most-seen spot with 186.3 million impressions was “FIFA 18: El Tornado” featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and James Harden. PlayStation got its ads in front of a sports-loving, male-skewing audience that was watching networks including ESPN, Fox, and ABC, and programming such as NFL football, college football, and South Park.

Xbox snagged second place, up from fourth last time, with 504 million impressions generated from eight commercials that ran over 1,800 times. Its top ad was “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War: Still Fighting” with 261 million impressions. Sports TV was also a focus for Xbox, with programming such as college football, NFL football, and SportsCenter producing the most impressions for the brand; the top three networks for Xbox were ESPN, TBS, and ABC.

Nintendo maintained its hold on third place with 374.3 million impressions generated off of 10 spots that aired over 3,000 times. The commercial with the most impressions (78.6 million) was “Arms: Answer the Call to ARMS.” Among the networks the brand prioritized: Disney Channel, Adult Swim, and Nick; among the shows: SpongeBob SquarePants, Family Guy, and Raven’s Home.

King slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 with 280.2 million impressions generated from six ads that aired over 2,000 times. Candy Crush was once again the focus, with “Candy Crush Saga: Fly Through the Levels” being the most-seen ad with 173.2 million impressions. Spots that aired during crime procedurals including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Forensic Files had the most impressions; in terms of networks with the most-viewed King commercials, ION, Investigation Discovery, and ABC led.

In fifth place: Top Games, Inc., with 126.7 million impressions from seven spots that aired over 1,600 times. All the commercials promoted the game Evony, with “Evony: The King’s Return: Choose Your Civilization” garnering the most impressions (32.2 million). The networks generating the most impressions for top games included History Channel, Fox News, and Fox Sports 1, while the top programming included MLB baseball, That ’70s Show, and college football.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s camera scores a rating of 97 from DxOMark

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Huawei recently took the wrap off its new Mate 10 lineup. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro both feature a dual-camera setup that leverages a 12 MP RGB and a 20 MP monochrome sensor to capture pictures and video. The camera testing and consulting firm DxOMark recently took a look at the Mate 10 Pro and had high praise for its camera.

While DxOMark’s testing process is rather in-depth, it says it takes over 1,500 images and 2 hours of video, it has received criticism for how it scores are weighted. After DxOMark scores each individual category, it applies weight to them and comes up with an overall score. This can be misleading because what’s important to one person, might not rate for someone else. Additionally, DxOMark doesn’t consider some aspects for the final score like wide-angle or monochrome capabilities.

Whenever you try to put a numerical score on something subjective like a picture, there’s always going to be an issue. We encourage you to take the scores with a grain of salt and focus on what the camera produces, rather than the final score.

The highest rated features on the Mate 10 Pro were its ability to preserve detail in low-light situations, good exposure and wide dynamic range, fast and repeatable autofocus, and good bokeh simulation.

On the other side of the coin, DxOMark said that the Mate 10 Pro can sometimes display exposure instabilities when shooting consecutive pictures and artifacts are sometimes visible in shots of the sky.

On the video side of things, the Mate 10 Pro was praised for fast and accurate autofocus, motion reduction, pleasant colors, accurate white balance, good exposure, and low noise levels. DxOMark thought it could improve on its low texture detail, lack of dynamic range in high-contrast situations, and orange color cast in certain situations.

The Huawei Mate 10 received a score of 100 for photos and 91 for video which equals out to a score of 97.

Does this change your perception of Huawei’s phones? Even though its the third largest phone manufacturer, its still far from the most popular here in the United States. Will you consider picking up a Mate 10 or Mate 10 Pro now that you know DxOMark’s opinions? Do those opinions mean anything to you? Let us know down in the comments.

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US ocean observation critical to understanding climate change, but lacks long-term national planning

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Ocean observing systems are important as they provide information essential for monitoring and forecasting changes in Earth’s climate on timescales ranging from days to centuries. A new report finds that continuity of ocean observations is vital to gain an accurate understanding of the climate, and calls for a decadal, national plan that is adequately resourced and implemented to ensure critical ocean information is available to understand and predict future changes.

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Memoir of Growing Up Fat Forces France to Look in the Mirror

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

In short, Ms. Deydier had touched a nerve. Her small publisher, which ran a limited first printing, has ordered a second.

“A book like this had not been done,” said Clara Tellier Savary, Ms. Deydier’s publisher at Éditions Goutte d’Or. “For an obese person to be aware of all the issues and step back is very rare.”

Unlike in the United States, where TV regularly features programs urging viewers to take a positive view of their bodies and where a plus-size clothing industry is booming, celebrating one’s girth is almost unheard-of in France.

Yet more and more French people are obese. A report published last year by Inserm, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, found that 16 percent of the adult population was obese, up from about 12 percent eight years ago.

That is still low compared with the United States, where 36.5 percent of the adult population was clinically obese in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (International standards define being obese as having a body mass index of 30 or higher, and overweight as a B.M.I. of 25 to 29.)

Activists trying to increase public awareness about the problems the obese face, and demanding that the French Health Ministry disseminate more information about treatment options, are only beginning to get a hearing, said Anne-Sophie Joly, president of an umbrella association of groups representing obese people.

“Society is very harsh with women,” Ms. Joly said. “Women face the most demands: She must be beautiful, but not too much; she must be thin, but not too thin; she must be intelligent, but not too much because you mustn’t put the man in the shadows.”

Ms. Deydier, a native of the southern city of Nîmes, studied literature as well as a bit of politics and philosophy in Montpellier and has worked in journalism. In her book, she describes with sometimes caustic candor the daily humiliations of “grossophobie,” or fat-phobia, in France.

France is one of few countries prohibiting job discrimination based on physical appearance, in a 2001 law, but the measure appears to be more often ignored than observed.

Jean-François Amadieu, a sociologist at the Sorbonne in Paris who tracks public perceptions of obesity, said that obese men were three times less likely to be offered job interviews, and obese women six times less likely. (It is customary in France for job applicants to include photographs with their résumés.)

Ms. Deydier recalled applying for a job at McDonald’s as a university student, when she weighed around 200 pounds. The manager “didn’t want customers to see me working there,” she said, “because he didn’t want them to think they would look like me if they came often.”

Later, during a trial period working with autistic children, a senior teacher told her, “You are the seventh handicapped person in the class,” Ms. Deydier recalled. She was told that she made the children feel doubly like misfits because they were saddled with an obese teacher. At the end of her six-month trial period, her bosses suggested that she look elsewhere for a job.

“I was ashamed to bring a complaint,” Ms. Deydier said about filing a discrimination suit, adding that people had told her that she would never win one anyway, given her weight.

One indicator of French views on obesity is the rising rate of extreme treatments like bariatric surgery, in which part of the stomach or intestine is removed or bypassed. The number of such operations has doubled in France in the past six years, to 50,000 annually.

Ms. Deydier, who has tried dieting repeatedly and lost weight only to regain it, said she had considered having the operation but had been disturbed by the idea of choosing “to amputate a functioning part of my body.”

Of the possible complications, she added, the most upsetting was the risk of social isolation: It can be difficult to share a meal after such surgery, which leaves people needing five small meals a day instead of the traditional three.

Yet for many, the desire to be svelte prevails over health risks or discomfort.

“In France, people are much more invested in ideas about physical appearance” than in other places, said Mr. Amadieu, the sociologist. “Norms have changed from the 1960s and 1970s; they have become thinner and thinner.”

Ms. Deydier describes her reluctance to take trains or buses because of frequent derision from fellow passengers, the discomfort of being out of breath even after walking a short distance and the sense of having her eating habits watched hawkishly.

Over a cup of coffee far from the high-fashion redoubts of the Avenue Montaigne, Ms. Deydier described walking into a bakery in her neighborhood in Paris late one morning and, having missed breakfast, ordering two croissants.

Before she even had time to put away her change, she recalled, the woman behind her in line said to the attendant, “One will be enough for me, thank you.”

“She spoke as if I couldn’t hear her,” Ms. Deydier said, “but I was standing right there.”

Sociologists link such censure to a strong emphasis on appearance, to attachment to rules and to fears that order will dissolve if conventions are flouted.

Abigail Saguy, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied attitudes toward appearance in the United States and France, said that obesity is seen in France as a sign of being out of control.

“Even if you’re not heavy, you can receive criticism if you are eating in a way that is perceived as out of control, such as not at meal times,” she said, citing a book whose French author described with horror seeing Americans eating alone, or at any time of day.

“France is a very rules-based society,” Ms. Saguy said. “There are rules about eating in France, about mealtimes, and you need to follow the rules.”

Continue reading the main story

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54-Million-Year-Old Baby Sea Turtle Had Built-In Sunscreen

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

54-Million-Year-Old Baby Sea Turtle Had Built-In Sunscreen

Preserved soft tissue in Tasbacka danicai held traces of pigments, hinting that the turtle’s shell was patterned with dark regions.

Credit: Johan Lindgren

An extraordinarily well-preserved fossil of a baby sea turtle that lived 54 million years ago contains traces of dark pigments that would have acted as built-in sunscreen, protecting the animal from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

The specimen, which is among the best-preserved fossils of sea turtles in the world, includes soft tissue, and analysis identified molecules linked to color, muscle contraction and oxygen transport in the blood, researchers reported in a new study.

One molecule in particular — eumelanin, a pigment linked to dark skin color in humans — hinted that the ancient turtle’s shell contained dark colors, perhaps in patterns such as those found in sea turtles alive today, the study authors wrote. [Image Gallery: 25 Amazing Ancient Beasts]

Found in 2008 entombed in fine-grain limestone in a marine deposit in Denmark, the fossil is very small — about 3 inches (74 millimeters) long, and many of the bones retain their original shape in three dimensions. The reason the fossil is in such good condition is likely that the turtle’s remains were trapped within a hard, rocky mass of sediment very early in the fossilization process, the study’s lead author, Johan Lindgren, a senior lecturer with the Department of Geology at Lund University in Sweden, told Live Science in an email.

After much of the fossil mineralized, protecting remnants of soft tissue, the absence of extreme heat or cold would have prevented any remaining soft tissue from degrading further, Lindgren explained.  

The scientists evaluated five samples of soft tissue from a sublayer in the turtle’s shoulder area, which was revealed during a second stage of fossil cleaning and preparation in 2013. When the researchers probed the tissue samples, they noted “a dark, well-defined film” containing structures that were carbon-rich, and which may have held organic compounds, they reported in the study.

The researchers analyzed the film using a combination of imaging and chemical techniques, which allowed them to identify molecules and determine their precise locations within the fossil — specifically, in organic material that once made up the turtle’s skin and shell, Lindgren told Live Science.

Molecules of eumelanin revealed to the scientists that the turtles were pigmented with dark patches, much like the dark patterns seen on the backs of modern sea turtles, the study authors wrote. Patterns with dark coloration are known to protect sea turtles from UV rays and also help young turtles retain heat, which can enable them to grow faster. This biological feature is known as adaptive melanism — coloration that improves the turtles’ chances for survival — and the researchers’ findings suggest that this adaptation may have emerged in the turtle lineage as early as 54 million years ago, according to the study.

Scientists have examined fossilized plants and animals for centuries, yet there is still much to be discovered about how living organisms are preserved for millions of years, and how much of their biological makeup may be retained after fossilization, Lindgren told Live Science.

“Despite many years of research, we still have an incomplete understanding of what can be retained in the fossil record and exactly how the fossilization process works,” Lindgren said.

The findings were published online Oct. 17 in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.

Original article on Live Science.

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Keepin' it real!

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Just keepin’ it real in da hood.

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Magnum P.I. May Be Getting A TV Reboot, Get The Details

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Magnum P.I. might be getting a TV reboot, which would place the series back on its home network. CBS is trying to bring back one of their beloved shows, and they’ve already handed out a sizable pilot-production commitment for the cop drama that could make a new series a reality. Of course, there’s still a long way to go before this reboot gets underway, but what has been reported so far looks promising.

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‘Pokemon Go’ Gen 3 Pokemon, candy bonuses for Halloween event

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

IMG_3147.PNGScreenshot/Business Insider

  • Pokémon Go is throwing an in-game Halloween event for
    the next two weeks with special bonuses and new Pokémon to

  • All Pokémon from the original game’s third
    generation of creatures will be made available by

“Pokémon Go” creator Niantic Labs is throwing an in-game event
for Halloween.

The promotion includes special bonuses and the addition of a few
new Pokémon from the original game’s third generation of
creatures. The perks and new Pokémon will be available in the hit
game between Friday, October 20 and Thursday, November 2.

Here’s how Niantic is encouraging more gameplay for the
next two weeks:

  • New Pokémon from the original game’s third generation of
    creatures, including Duskull, Dusclops, Sableye, Shuppet, and
    Banette are now available.
  • More previously available dark-type Pokémon, like Houndor
    and Gastly, are spawning more frequently in the game.
  • Double Pokémon candy will be awarded for in-game actions
    like evolutions, transfers, egg hatches, and buddy
  • Special Halloween-themed Pikachu will be available to

If you prefer the promotion’s details in chart form, one
Reddit user put together the following:

Niantic said it plans to release the rest of the Pokémon
from the original game’s third generation of creatures in

While “Pokémon Go” is no longer the cultural phenomenon it
once was, tens of millions of people still play the game. It’s
also one of the fastest mobile games to reach $1 billion in
according to third-party estimates

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Amazon’s HQ2 deadline arrives, renting sports jerseys, and new signs of a tech bubble – GeekWire

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Amazon summer camp
Amazon likes to say, “it’s still Day 1.”In the city Amazon picks for its HQ2, soon it really will be. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Cities around the continent submitted their bids for Amazon’s HQ2 this week, bringing the frenzy of speculation about the company’s second headquarters to new heights. On this episode of the Week in Geek podcast, GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg shares details from her reporting on the biggest headquarters contest in history, and looks ahead to what’s next.

Plus, the sharing economy has changed a lot of things, but could renting specialized clothes really become a thing? GeekWire’s Taylor Soper tried out the new $20/month jersey rental service Rep the Squad, and he says it actually worked pretty well.

Also this week, we remember Mighty AI co-founder Matt Benke, who passed away this week at 45 years old after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Be sure to read the piece that Benke wrote for Wired in August, “The Day I Found Out My Life Was Hanging by a Thread.”

And finally, in the Random Channel, we talk about some unoriginal Silicon Valley “innovations.”

Listen to the show above, and download the MP3 here.

[A big thanks to GeekWire reporter and podcast producer Clare McGrane for hosting the show this week, as I visited Bellingham, Wash., to take part in the TAG NW Tech Summit.]

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Leaves Up to 30GB in Installation Files

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

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Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) dropped earlier this week, to generally positive reviews. The new OS version isn’t a radical change from the previous Creators Update, but it does introduce some new features and improvements to Edge, OneDrive, GPU monitoring, battery meters, and more. One potential niggle, however, is that the OS apparently has a bloated footprint, and leaves up to 30GB of data behind it when finished, BetaNews reports.

We recommend taking this with a grain of salt, since the OS footprint can vary depending on how new your OS installation is and whether you’ve previously updated it or installed fresh. This can leave the aforementioned 30GB of files on your system, in at least some cases, which would be particularly impressive in my case considering my current Windows folder is 30GB. Google suggests this is roughly average, with a 20GB estimated footprint for Windows 10 64-bit and a range of 20GB to 35GB depending on the system. Since I’m actually using an OS image that was originally laid down as a Windows 7 install back in 2011, 30GB doesn’t seem unreasonable.

The conventional way for dealing with this problem is to either hit Start and type “Disk Cleanup” or to open File Explorer, right-click on the hard drive you wish to cleanup, and choose “Properties.” A variety of menu options will then be available, but the one you want, “Disk Cleanup” is shown in the default General tab. Click this tab, then the “Clean up System Files” option, and you’ll be able to select from the full range of system and non-system files (memory dumps, recycling bin, etc).

BetaNews helpfully details that there are now more options available than simply using the old Windows 7 disk cleanup menu. You can also navigate to System, Storage, and then the “Change how we free up space” option. This offers the option to run a disk cleaner automatically when you’re low on storage space, and to set specific rules for deleting temporary files, recycling bin, downloads directory (be very careful with that option), and to delete previous editions of Windows.


Image by BetaNews

This is part of a longer-term push that we really haven’t covered much, but is worth remarking on. Microsoft has been reinventing the Control Panel in various ways almost since its inception, but Windows 8’s effort was a half-baked push. Microsoft’s “solution” in Windows 8 was to make some Control Panel features available in Windows 8 Metro, some available in the Windows 8 Control Panel, and to offer limited control or interfacing between the two. While I don’t want to say the company never updated its Settings app in Windows 8, there were functions that could only be controlled from the desktop Control Panel right up to the launch of Windows 10.

Since the first iteration of Windows 10, we’ve seen a slow progression of features that were previously limited to the Control Panel making their way over to the new Settings panel. The new storage pane is actually a sensible update that reflects Microsoft’s new UI design. It still doesn’t duplicate the precise functionality of the original Disk Cleanup, but there’s also no sign that Microsoft plans to remove classic Control Panel capabilities.

And this, too, makes sense. One of the reasons that Microsoft Windows has historically been argued to be less user-friendly than macOS is because Windows offered more granular options that were harder to sort through or more intimidating, compared with Apple’s emphasis on simplicity (although you can still get into the weeds in macOS via the command line in Terminal). There are valid arguments to both approaches and as a power user, I tend to favor complexity because I know how to make use of it. But there’s nothing wrong with offering users a simpler default and retaining the complex option when it’s useful or applicable, and Microsoft seems to be working towards a better blend of the two styles than it ever offered with Windows 8 and 8.1.

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Harvey Weinstein disputes Lupita Nyong’o’s sexual harassment claims

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein responded to Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o claims that she was sexually harassed by the movie mogul.

Weinstein, through a representative, denied the allegations in a statement released Friday, the AV Club reported.

“Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed,” the statement read. 

Weinstein is reportedly in Arizona completing a rehab program for “sex addiction,” the AV Club reported. 


The “12 Years a Slave” star detailed her experience with Weinstein in a lengthy op-ed to The New York Times that was published Thursday.

Nyong’o wrote Weinstein invited her to his Connecticut home in 2011 while she was a student at the Yale School of Drama.

After having lunch with him and meeting his young children, they entered his private screening room with a large group. Eventually, he asked her to go to a bedroom with him and propositioned her for a massage.

“I thought he was joking at first. He was not,” the actress wrote.

Nyong’o said she gave him a massage instead but when he tried to remove his pants, she insisted she leave.

She described several other encounters with him over the years, including some propositions.

It was not until she became an Oscar winner in 2014 for her role in “12 Years a Slave” that Weinstein apologized for his behavior and agreed to show her the respect she deserves.


She said she later declined an offer to appear in one of his movies.

Nyong’o was the latest A-list star to speak out against the disgraced movie mogul. Recently, The New York Times and The New Yorker Magazine released exposes detailing Weinstein’s sexual misconduct spanning over decades.

Weinstein was fired from the company he founded with his brother Bob, the Weinstein Company and was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Redesigning the TechCrunch app | TechCrunch

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Over the last two years we have been working hard to improve the experience of TechCrunch products for our readers. Our tiny-but-mighty product team launched the brand new TechCrunch mobile app for Android and iOS earlier this month and we couldn’t be more excited. It has been completely redesigned with the goal of giving you easy access to the news you care about most, no matter where you are.

TechCrunch has had an app in the market for a long time, but it hadn’t been well-maintained and became outdated, even as mobile consumption of news grew over the years. Our mobile app users are among our most dedicated readers, and reimagining the app to better serve them represented a unique design opportunity.

We realized usage of our mobile apps was dropping for a few reasons: the apps weren’t fully native, ads were obtrusive, there was lack of support for certain operating systems and the user interface was outdated. My team and I were excited to come up with something unique and innovative that also could elevate the TC brand. After sharing rough sketches and wireframes internally we realized we needed to start simple, focusing on this question: What are we offering that’s uniquely native?

Old app design

To get a better idea of where we were standing, we surveyed current users and looked closely at app store reviews. These findings led us to define the first concepts with these high-level goals in mind:

  • Personalized news: Almost half of our surveyed users confirmed they wanted personalized news. While some care about VR, others might just want to get news about biotech and diversity. We needed to cater different worlds (with different content) for all TC users.
  • Notify users with fresh content: Send push notifications with content tailored to user interests.
  • Provide Crunchbase data: Discovering which companies are trending, got funded or acquired is something our audience finds very valuable.
  • Offline reading: Allow users to save directly from the push notification on the lock screen and sync across devices. This is part of a “know now, deep-dive later” idea.

These goals gave us a clear direction for an MVP that has three top-level screens:

TechCrunch News Feed: To access all featured and latest stories, essentially your home feed of stories.

Your News: To access a feed of personalized stories, notifications and manage topic subscriptions (I’ll talk more about this in a bit).

Saved Feed: To access bookmarked stories offline.

Once the requirements for each feature were defined, we created two prototypes that were tested with users allowing us to discover some interesting insights. We iterated based on those.

Making TechCrunch yours

Your News is a space for accessing all the stories you care about; catch up on missed notifications and subscribe or unsubscribe to topics.

On the top bar, you’ll find three tabs: For You, Notifications and Topics.

The For You feed presents all articles from topics to which you’ve subscribed. While the For You feed maintains the home feed article card components, it’s more visual, and articles are organized here by category.

The Notifications screen is where all your notifications will live. Articles here are organized in the order the notification is received; tapping on the notification takes you directly to the article.

And finally, the Topics screen is where you can easily subscribe/unsubscribe to TechCrunch’s topics at any time. Subscribing to different topics will change the stories you get notified about and which stories appear in the For You feed.

One of the aspects that stands out visually on Your News screens is the use of emojis. We learned from user testing sessions that users were more drawn to the prototype that had emojis incorporated in the interface. They said the emojis “felt familiar” to them. With that in mind, we decided to give this area of the app a friendlier experience while making stories more recognizable throughout the flow: from getting a push notification on the lock screen to quickly scanning categorized For You stories.

Creating a frictionless onboarding process

Our initial assumption was that creating a fun and interactive way for users to subscribe to topics would get them to complete the process without much friction. We tried a card-swiping interaction that was novel for some users, but ultimately felt forced. We learned there is more willingness to complete the process when presenting all topics on one view without requiring swiping or scrolling. It was simple and more efficient.

Getting Crunchbase information

Besides having the ability to bookmark and share an article, you also can get Crunchbase information about the company or person the article is about. The benefit behind this feature is to get more context on the subject mentioned in the story.

Adding texture to a uniform news feed

Observing how people read news on mobile devices got us thinking carefully about how they scan through content and how we can optimize the card layout to make scanning easier for our readers. The first iterations were focused on clarity and emphasis using a lot of white space. The initial designs used a large card treatment for all articles, with minor differences on the card components depending on the article type.

Ultimately, this design didn’t test well as it felt too uniform and needed to be “texturized.” We then opted for a solution that displays card variations with different components to help create a better sense of hierarchy, a more condensed and less monotonous news feed that displays more news with less scrolling and, consequently, a more efficient and better experience.

Handling the influx of notifications

One of the great advantages of enabling push notifications in the app is that you can get news curated by TC editors every day. For each topic you subscribe to, our editors will pick the 1-2 most important stories to send you as push notifications. To solve for the concern of getting too many pushes per day — encouraging users to disable them — we have set five pushes as a hard limit, even if you subscribe to all 12 topics. Additionally, we designed a setting that gives users the ability to set a quiet time to not be disturbed for a period of time.

Our approach was to keep reading the news simple while adding non-traditional features such as personalized news feeds, topic subscriptions and push notifications. We’re excited about the next features we have in the pipeline. We hope you enjoy the new experience and tell us what you think, because, ultimately, this app is for you!

You can download the app for iOS and Android.

Big thanks to Robyn, Dwight, Jedd, Saurabh, Awais, Jose, Nicole and Mischa for the amazing effort.

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How much sleep you actually need

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Getting plenty of sleep each night is important to maintaining a healthy and productive life. But how much sleep do you actually need?

Joe Avella and Jessica Orwig tackle this question on the Facebook series “Science the $#!* out of it.”

For the average adult, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

Today, however, many Americans are sleep-deprived, which can have significant adverse effects on physical and cognitive functions.

The reason why some people don’t get enough sleep can be accredited to busy modern lifestyles. But there are other reasons too.

It turns out habits such as using electronic devices or drinking alcohol right before bedtime can be detrimental to getting a good night’s sleep.

Learn more on how to get better sleep on this episode of “Science the $#!* out of it.” Following is a transcript of the video.

Jessica Orwig: Joe!

Joe Avella: Wh- what?

Orwig: What’s wrong?

Avella: I’m exhausted, I got like no sleep last night. Only two or three hours.

Orwig: That’s not enough.

Avella: Well, how much is enough?

Orwig: Well, you’re gonna find out. ‘Cause we’re on … Science The $#!* Out Of It.

Orwig: So, how much sleep do you usually get a night?

Avella: With the tossing and turning, and waking up all the time, pretty close to like five.

Orwig: Yeah, you definitely are sleep deprived.

Avella: I can’t help it. It’s not like I can’t get into the bed. It’s just like my mind is still just going like super-fast. Like, oh, you shouldn’t have said that. You shouldn’t have done that. Oh, your stepdad was right. You don’t know what you’re doing. This and that, like oh, like, oh, the cat, my money, I’m poor and I’m unhealthy, and boom, boom, boom. Next thing you know it’s like 3:00 AM and I’m like, “Oh, crap.”

Orwig: Some people have a hard time sleeping at night because they have reduced levels of melatonin in their system. Melatonin is called the sleep hormone. Night owls, for example, don’t actually start producing melatonin until much later in the night, which is why they don’t feel tired until later.

Avella: I’ve seen videos, and I’ve heard people brag about how they only need like four hours of sleep, and they’re, like, totally rested, whatever. Is there, like, a set amount of time that everyone needs sleep.

Orwig: Yeah, so you’re the average adult, like how old are you?

Avella: Twenty-three?

Orwig: An average adult between the ages of 18 to 64 needs about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. So it’s just your overall quality of life is gonna be lower if you are sleep deprived.

Avella: Yes, true, but staying up late totally rocks.

Orwig: What do you do late at night that’s so important?

Avella:– Surf the internet. I’m literally looking at a screen until the second before my head hits the pillow.

Orwig: No, that’s a bad thing. I mean the screen right in front of your face right before you go to bed. That’s … For years scientists knew that light affects sleep, but they didn’t necessarily know how. And then in 2002, they discovered a different kind of sensor in our eyes. It’s called the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. These cells are extremely sensitive to blue light. Which could explain why one study found that people who don’t have electronic light in their life, their circadian rhythms, their sleep cycles, actually synced up to the rising and setting of the sun. But because we bring these phones to our bed, we’re looking at this light, specifically, the blue light in those phones is sending a signal to our brain that it’s daytime out, which is making us feel more alert, less tired, and ultimately disrupting our sleep.

Avella: Okay, now what about drinking alcohol before going to bed? ‘Cause sometimes to help me go to sleep I kinda like to bada-bing a few, you know?

Orwig: Drinking alcohol can make you feel tired, because it actually elevates the amount of adenosine in your body, and adenosine is one of those chemicals that makes you feel tired. So it can help you fall asleep, but once you are asleep, that’s where the problem starts. So we have a sleep cycle, where we cycle in between non-REM and REM. And we cycle between that about five times a night. Alcohol blocks your ability to have REM sleep. But if you don’t get REM, you’re not going to feel as alert the next day, so nightcap’s probably not the best thing.

Avella: Do I wanna fall asleep fast and feel bad, or take forever to fall asleep and feel bad?

Orwig: There are some foods that you can eat that will help you fall asleep if the reason you’re having trouble with that is because you have lower melatonin levels in your body. And there are some natural foods with a relatively significant amount of melatonin. So there’s almonds, there’s raspberries, and goji berries actually have quite a bit as well.

Avella: Goji berries? What would be a couple of things to throw at me that I should do to like, probably help me to get better sleep?

Orwig: The number one thing that experts always recommend is the same bedtime every night.

Avella: No, I hate that note.

Orwig: I mean, you just have to set out a time. Live, you really should say, “Okay, 30 minutes “before bed, I’m not gonna look at my screen, “I’m not gonna turn on the TV.” Just like, open a book. You can even-

Avella: What? Books? No. Are you kidding me?

Orwig: You can do-, you should also probably-

Avella: No, forget that.

Orwig: If you’re …

Avella: Screens only. It’s TV, or iPad, or phone, or laptop, or some sort of monitor. That’s everything now, I’m not gonna pick up a book. What am I gonna … and then read by candlelight?

Orwig: Well then, continue having terrible sleep.

Avella: Fine, I will.

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A New Electric Motorcycle Can Go Over 200 Miles and Charges in Under an Hour

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

In Brief

Zero Motorcycles has revealed their 2018 lineup of electric bikes. They’ll be the same prices as their 2017 counterparts, but reduced charging speeds, improved range, and faster acceleration will undoubtedly make them more desirable.

Quick Charge

Zero Motorcycles makes some pretty fancy electric motorcycle models that can be used by both consumers and police units. With the introduction of its 2018 lineup, Zero has improved the capabilities of its bikes with a higher range and reduced charging times.

As Zero explains in its 2018 highlights post, the improvements to their electric motorcycle models are a result of the newly-revealed 6 kW Charge Tank accessory, which can be used by the company’s Zero S, Zero SR, Zero DS, and Zero DSR bikes. The new accessory enables the Zero S and DS ZF7.2 to be charged roughly an hour when plugged into a level 1 110 V outlet, while larger batteries found in the SR and DSR can be charged in around two hours using a level 2 charger.

As for the vehicles’ range, the electric motorcycle models equipped with the ZF7.2 and ZF14.4 power packs can now travel 10% farther thanks to “improved battery chemistry.” How far they can go largely depends on the area you’re in, but Zero notes the range will top out at around 223 miles.

“It’s the highest power and energy density battery in today’s transportation industry and for its size takes you farther than any other electric vehicle on the planet,” says Zero.

A Need for Speed

Riders who are all about speed will be happy to hear the new electric motorcycle models are slightly faster too. Bikes with the ZF7.2 power pack provide 11% more rear wheel torque, while the powertrains of the ZF13.0 Zero S and Zero DS have been finely tuned to offer up to 30% more power and torque. Want to quickly pass other cars and motorcycles on the road? Now you can.

According to Engadget, prices for the new 2018 models are the same as the 2017 models, with the cheapest Zero FX starting at $8,495. If you’re eyeing the base model Zero S, it starts at $10,995, though the Charge Tank will cost you another $2,295 — a high price to pay if you want to get back on the road quickly after a battery-depleting ride.

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TPCast will launch an Oculus Rift wireless adapter this year

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

One of our biggest stories of 2016 was the reveal of TPCast’s wireless adapter for the HTC Vive and for good reason; cutting the chord on PC-based headsets could do wonders for immersion in VR. But Oculus Rift owners won’t be missing out on the fun.

TPCast this month announced that it is also working on a wireless adapter for the Oculus Rift, which it intends to release in Q4 of this year. It’s not entirely clear if this is a separate product to the wireless Vive kit or additional functionality for that same device, but we’ve reached out to TPCast to clarify. The company is promising support for 2K video transmission at 90fps with less than 2 milliseconds of motion to photon latency added on top and a five-hour battery life.

The company’s Vive kit works by communicating with a transmitter that users place in their room just like they would a base station. It’s been available in China for some time, but pre-orders for the US and Europe opened last month and are expected to ship soon.

It’s worth noting that TPCast itself is a member of the Vive X VR accelerator, which offers support to startups looking to do more in the VR/AR space.

Since TPCast’s reveal, there’s been something of a race towards wireless PC VR, with several other rival devices also making themselves known. We’ve been impressedwith what we’ve tried from TPCast, but a solution from Intel and DisplayLink also blew us away. There’s also the impending release of standalone headsets with inside-out positional tracking that will be entirely self-contained, though won’t boast the power of a PC.

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8 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Assistant

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Google Assistant Hi

Google Assistant keeps on growing. New features and functionality are constantly appearing and that’s made keeping track of all the service’s little quirks and features tougher than ever. You can do much more than just searches these days.

Here’s a list of some of Google Assistant’s lesser known but still incredibly handy features.

> What is Google Assistant, and what devices use it? 

Control your smart home

You don’t need a Google Home to be the ear in your living room, Google Assistant on your smartphone can also control the various smart doodads dotted around your home.

Google Assistant plays nicely with smart home products from Nest, Philips Hue, Belkin, and a few others. You can control your lighting, thermostat, and other products using voice controls from your phone. Assistant also recently received support to work with Google’s Chromecast, so you can also start up content from YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, and the like from your phone and push it directly to your TV if it’s on the same WiFi network. Simply request the title of a TV show and your Chromecast will start right up. You can also issue commands to pause, play, adjust playback volume, and even skip songs.

Toggle your Quick Settings

The real power of Google Assistant is hot-word detection from any app or even when your screen is locked. As such, you can use the software to open up apps and even toggle your phone’s hardware settings regardless of what app you’re in or what you’re currently doing. Saying “OK Google, open [app name]” will boot up what you’re after, without having to sift through the app draw.

The same works for hardware toggles like Bluetooth or Wifi. Simply say “OK Google, turn off my WiFi” and that’s it. Google also presents a little toggle to confirm the setting is off, or for you to manually switch the option back on. This feature works for Bluetooth, WiFi, location, NFC, mute, Flight mode, and your phone’s flashlight.

Keep working when offline

Although most of Google Assistant’s features require an internet connection, it’s possible to add events to your calendar, manage alarms, and play music when stuck outside of data range. Commands that are linked to most apps won’t work, but many of your phone’s hardware voice commands keep on working when your phone is offline. Here’s the list of features that work even when offline:

  • Open an app by name
  • Play Music
  • Add an event to your calendar
  • Place calls and sends texts to contacts
  • Set new and cancel alarms
  • Toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, and flashlight
  • Adjust your phone’s volume
  • Dim the screen

Ask follow up questions

Google Assistant actually has a little bit of a memory. This means you can “have a conversation” about something and Assistant won’t forget what you’re taking about. Google likes to give the example of finding movie showtimes, but it works for other topics like finding your way to a local shop or restaurant just as well.

Here’s an example of how a conversation with Google would go. “OK Google, find Italian restaurants near me” and you’ll be presented with local results. Ask “which ones are open now” and Google will narrow down the results and display opening times alongside them. “Give me directions to the closest one” will then present you with a map of the nearest Italian restaurant that’s currently open. You can even close and reopen the app and Google remembers the context of your questions.

Send WhatsApp messages

Texts are all well and good but there are plenty more sophisticated messaging apps available these days, many of which work with Google Assistant. Simply say “OK Google, send a Whatsapp message to [contact].” Then you’ll be asked for your message, and then to confirm sending. It’s an especially handy feature for when you need to go hands-free.

As well as WhatsApp, Google Assistant plays nicely with Hangouts, Allo, Viber, and BlackBerry Messenger, to name just a few internet messaging services. A range of third party SMS applications are also supported, if you prefer old fashioned messaging. In fact, Assistant can also read back your latest text messages to you via the “Read Message” command too.

Read you the morning news

Like to catch up on the headlines with your morning coffee? Google Assistant can read those out to you too, just ask to “Play the news”.

You can curate the sources that Google will pull articles from. These are tucked away in the Settings menu under News. There are a range of US news outlets in there, including CNN, ABC, and USA Today, although other English speaking countries may find the choices a bit more limited. Some French, German, and Japanese sources are also supported, but again the number of outlets is a little more limited.

“Send me daily …”

Morning news bulletins are useful, but perhaps you’re more interested in receiving regular updates about something more specific? If you’re an Allo user, Google Assistant can help with these more niche requests too, thanks to its “send me daily” option.

If you search for news, the weather, or something more specific like a stock price or the route to work when using Allo, you might spot a prompt that says “send daily”. Clicking this adds the search to your Subscriptions and you’ll receive a message from Google Assistant each day with your request. You can also manually create recurring subscriptions by saying “send me the weather daily” or a similar request. There’s the ability to manage all your active subscriptions by asking for “my active subscriptions”, where you can delete and adjust daily requests. It’s just a shame this feature isn’t yet available outside of Allo.

Search through your pictures

If you’re a frequent traveller, you probably have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of pictures saved somewhere. Such a vast library makes finding old pictures a bit of a chore. Fortunately Google Photo’s smart algorithms are pretty good at automatically sorting your pictures into categories, organising them by location, the picture’s content, or people in them. Google Assistant is integrated with Google Photos and can use these categories to help make finding pictures easy.

Ask Google “show me pictures from London” or “find pictures of my Mom” and you’ll be presented with a section of results from Google Photos. Alternatively, if Assistant can’t find anything or you don’t use Photos you’ll be shown a selection of web results.

Google Assistant isn’t just useful for searching through photos though. You can use similar commands to sift through emails for specific topics, a person, or a particular date.

Do you have any of your own Google Assistant tips and tricks to add to this collection? Let us know in the comments below.

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Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Researchers employ microfluidic devices to show how and why dispersants are able to break up deposits of asphaltene that hinder the flow of crude oil in wellheads and pipelines.

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W.H.O. Names Mugabe a ‘Good-Will Ambassador,’ and the World Balks

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Iain Levine, the program director at Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter, “Given Mugabe’s appalling human rights record, calling him a goodwill ambassador for anything embarrasses WHO and Doctor Tedros.”

The NCD Alliance, a coalition that works with the W.H.O. and other global groups to battle noncommunicable diseases, released a statement signed by 27 other global health organizations — including the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Cancer Research UK — expressing “shock” at the appointment.

“Members of the NCD civil society movement present at the conference are shocked and deeply concerned to hear of this appointment, given President Mugabe’s long track record of human rights violations and undermining the dignity of human beings,” the statement said.

There was no immediate reaction from Mr. Mugabe or his government on Saturday.

A spokesman for the W.H.O., Christian Lindmeier, told Reuters that the agency’s director general was seeking broad support for its work.

“Tedros has frequently talked of his determination to build a global movement to promote high-level political leadership for health,” he said.

Mr. Mugabe, one of the world’s longest-serving rulers, has shown no signs of stepping down even as Zimbabwe has fretted over his increasingly frail health and he has traveled abroad for treatment.

Under his authoritarian rule, the country’s health care system, like many of its public services, has suffered badly, with hospitals frequently lacking essential supplies and nurses and doctors regularly left without pay.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, described the W.H.O. appointment as “laughable,” according to The Guardian. A spokesman, Obert Gutu, was quoted as saying: “The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state. It is an insult.”

He added: “Mugabe trashed our health delivery system. He and his family go outside of the country for treatment in Singapore after he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.”

Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, a human rights group, condemned the choice, saying: “The government of Robert Mugabe has brutalized human rights activists, crushed democracy dissidents, and turned the breadbasket of Africa — and its health system — into a basket case. The notion that the U.N. should now spin this country as a great supporter of health is, frankly, sickening.”

The United Nations’ penchant for naming celebrities as ambassadors has caused it to run into trouble before.

In October, shortly after choosing António Guterres over seven female candidates for its top leadership position, the United Nations named the comic book heroine Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador for “the empowerment of women and girls.”

Nearly 45,000 people signed a petition protesting the selection. “A large-breasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee-high boots” is not an appropriate spokeswoman for gender equity at the United Nations, the petition said.

The United Nations dropped the superhero in December.

Dr. Tedros, an Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the United Nations’ health agency. He took office this year, replacing Margaret Chan, who stepped down in June after 10 years.

Mr. Neuer also said on Twitter: “@DrTedros I urge you to cancel your appointment of Mugabe as W.H.O. ‘good-will ambassador’ — he ruined Zimbabwe’s health.”

Continue reading the main story

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When Your Body Needs Nourishment, Your Brain Eats First

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Even if you’re a generous person who believes in sharing, helping the needy and spreading wealth, your brain is a selfish glutton.

Sometimes your body will find itself in a real pickle: Both your brain and your muscles need to work hard, but you just can’t handle running both systems at once. New research published today (Oct. 20) in the journal Scientific Reports lends support to the idea that the brain chooses to prioritize itself. The findings show that in this type of situation, a person’s cognitive performance will suffer far less than their physical output.

“This is important because our ancestors made the transition from ‘soldier to diplomat,'” said study researcher Daniel Longman, a biological anthropologist from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. “We began to invest fewer resources in developing and maintaining high levels of muscularity, and instead began to achieve status through the development of enhanced social manipulation skills,” he told Live Science. [10 Surprising Facts About the Human Brain]

Longman told Live Science he was drawn to this sort of research after an attempt to row the Atlantic Ocean at age 22. After working himself into a state of shock during the endeavor where he could neither eat nor sleep, Longman said he was astonished at how quickly his mind sharpened and his body recovered after managing small snacks and naps in between rowing sessions. Now, he focuses his research on understanding evolutionary theory, particularly how humans respond to stress, through the lens of sports.

The selfish-brain theory, which postulates that a person’s brain will first and foremost allocate fuel and resources to itself over other parts of the body, first emerged in a 2004 paper published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Longman’s research set out to test the idea by having 62 male rowers from the University of Cambridge’s crew team complete three tasks.

First, they had to row as hard as they could on a rowing machine for 3 minutes. A week later, they sat on the same machine and completed a memory test where they had to recall as much of a list of 75 words as they could. Finally, on week three, they had to do both tasks at the same time.

While they were straining themselves on the exercise machine, the athletes couldn’t remember as many of the words as they had been able to while relaxing. But the drop in the amount of power they exerted in their workout was far greater than the relative drop in their cognitive abilities. While the athletes recalled about 9.7 percent fewer words, their physical power output dropped by 12.5 percent, according to Longman’s data.

“The rowers were absolutely rowing as hard as they possibly could,” Longman said. He explained that the drop in physical performance occurred because the rowers’ brains and muscles were sharing the same limited resource, not because they were distracted or actively chose to focus on the memory task.

It’s well known that the human brain is a huge energy suck, taking up as much as one-fifth of the body’s fuel supplies, Longman notes in the paper. And there’s evidence that the brain will continue to sustain itself even as other parts of the body fail, according to research cited in Longman’s paper.

“The selfish nature of the brain has been observed in the unique preservation of brain mass as bodies waste away in people suffering from long-term malnutrition or starvation, as well as in children born with growth restriction,” Longman said in a statement.

Originally published on Live Science.

Source Article – Motorcycle crash – Epic Failure

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

“I walked out of my apartment today and saw a guy trying to teach a girl how to ride a motorcycle. I knew it wouldn’t be good so I pulled out the ole iPhone. Watch at your own risk. Share to potentially save someone’s life who thinks they can just jump on a crotch rocket in a parking lot full of cars and be completely fine. “

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The Best Horror Movies Of The 21st Century… So Far

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

The horror genre has always had a complicated history in cinema. While there is no arguing that some of the greatest films of all time fit into the category, it can sometimes feel as though the most incredible achievements are outshined by the thousands of titles that purely take advantage of the fact that horror often offers opportunities for high production values at low budgets. Still, every year sees the release of some new titles that you just know audiences are going to be enjoying for decades — and it’s those features that we are here to celebrate today.

Within the 21st century (which is to say going back to 2001), we’ve seen the release of some horror movies that are guaranteed to be considered classics in the long run, and we’ve decided to take a look back by ranking them. Below and across the next few pages are our picks for the 21 best horror movies of the century, so far. Can you guess our number one pick? Read on and find out!

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Intel May Deploy AVX-512 in Upcoming 10nm Cannon Lake CPUs

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

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When Intel launched Skylake-SP (aka the Core X-series) earlier this year, one of the major features of the product family, in addition to a revamped L2 cache structure, was its support for Intel’s latest SIMD instruction set, AVX-512. AVX-512 has previously been reserved for Intel’s HPC (High-Performance Computing) Knights Landing. But Intel launched it as a feature in some of its Xeon Scalable Processors and the Skylake-SP-derived Core i9 and Core i7 CPUs launched earlier this year.

The Core i9-7900X (10-core) and above, including the Core i9-7980XE, have two 512-bit AVX-512 ports, while the 8-core and six-core parts have a single port for FMA-512. This means the higher end CPUs can support much higher throughput (64 single-precision or 32 double-precision operations per cycle, compared with 32 SP/16 DP operations on the 7800X and 7820X).

Now, Intel’s own instruction set guidelines suggest AVX-512 will be coming to desktop CPUs with Cannon Lake. That’s an unexpected update, given that this instruction set has been almost entirely confined to the HPC world, where applications are specialized enough to justify the kind of painstaking optimization that squeezes maximum performance out of the underlying hardware. Easier software development is one reason we were once told some HPC labs were embracing Intel’s Xeon Phi in the first place, though that was several years ago.

AVX-512 can deliver significant improvements and efficiency in appropriately optimized applications.

But here’s where things get a bit confusing, because unlike AVX or AVX2, AVX-512 comes in a lot of flavors, including:

AVX-512-F: Foundational support. Required for all AVX-512 products. Anything advertised as AVX-512-capable must support AVX-512-F.
AVX-512-CD: Conflict Detection. Allows a wider range of loops to be vectorized. Supported on Skylake-X (Skylake-SP and Skylake-X use the same architecture).
AVX-512-ER: Exponential and Reciprocal instructions designed to help implement transcendental operations. Supported in Knights Landing.
AVX-512-PF: New prefetch capabilities. Supported by Knights Landing.

All of the below operations were introduced with Skylake-X earlier this year:

AVX-512-BW: Byte and Word operations to cover 8-bit and 16-bit operations.
AVX-512-DQ: Doubleword and Quadword instructions. New 32-bit and 64-bit AVX-512 operations.
AVX-512-VL: Vector Length extensions. Allows AVX-512 to operate on XMM (128-bit) and YMM (256-bit) registers.

The following instructions will be introduced with Cannon Lake, in addition to AVX-512-F, AVX-512-CD, and all three Skylake-X capabilities):

AVX-512-IFMA: Integer Fused Multiply-Add with 52-bits of precision.
AVX-512-VBMI: Vector Byte Manipulation Instructions. Adds additional capabilities not in AVX-512-BW.

That’s a lot of AVX-512

It’s hard to say what kind of uptake we’ll see from this new SIMD instruction set. AVX and AVX2 may have boosted performance in specific applications. But they didn’t deliver the general speedups we saw from SSE2 when the Pentium 4 was relatively new. Some of that was due to the P4’s terrible performance in x87 code, which often lagged the P3, but that wasn’t the entire explanation. As new SIMD sets have rolled out, synthetic apps continue to show big gains and, as we’ve said, HPC and other well-optimized apps do as well–but the major push to optimize for later SIMD sets doesn’t seem to hit with the same intensity it used to.

AVX-512 has been designed to make it easier to move from AVX to AVX-512 than it was to shift from earlier versions of SSE to AVX or AVX2. Whether that’ll make a significant difference remains to be seen. Skylake-X chips throttle back significantly in AVX-512, which means we’ll need to see some significant improvements to deliver a net gain in various applications.

Cannon Lake is expected to debut in 2018.

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Victoria’s Secret Angel Sara Sampaio says Lui Magazine published nude cover without her consent

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Sara Sampaio took to Instagram Thursday to claim French magazine Lui not only reportedly pressured her to go nude, but also published those topless photos without her consent.

The adult entertainment publication features the 26-year-old Portuguese model in their autumn 2017 issue. The image shows Sampaio wearing white briefs and a furry shrug with her breasts exposed.

The Victoria’s Secret Angel insisted she only agreed to do the shoot under very specific conditions. However, when Sampaio appeared on set, she was reportedly “aggressively pressured” to pose nude.

“Throughout the shoot day, I needed to constantly defend myself and reiterate my boundaries with no nude images, making sure I covered myself as best as I could,” said Sampaio.

Sampaio added things only got worse from there. When she reviewed the images, she felt her body was too exposed and made it clear she didn’t want those photos published.

“The magazine lied and provided to publish the cover image of me with nudity, which was in clear violation of our agreement,” she said.

As a result, Sampaio confirmed she will “pursue legal action” against Lui.

“I want to do what I can to prevent this from happening to me again, and to others,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Lui has unveiled a risqué cover. Back in 2015, the New York Daily News reported Lui featured 12 topless models from around the world for their double December/January issue. The images were also used in a calendar to benefit breast cancer research.

That same year, Italian actress/model Monica Bellucci also appeared on the cover of Lui, but she chose to appear semi-clothed.

Sampaio is standing by her experience and hopes it will shed some light on the mistreatment models tend to face within the fashion industry.

“I feel violated, mistreated and disrespected as a professional and as a woman,” she wrote. “Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, and I am not alone.”

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CapHorn Invest raises $150 million fund to invest in B2B startups

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

French VC firm CapHorn Invest recently closed a new $150 million fund (€130 million). Around 250 CEOs and executives of big established companies invested in the fund as limited partners.

This is CapHorn Invest’s second fund. The firm plans to focus on Series A rounds, from $600,000 to $6 million (€500,000 to €5 million).

What’s interesting about this VC firm is that it focuses on B2B companies that try to disrupt old and dusty industries. Each partner is focusing on one vertical in particular. CapHorn Invest is also looking at companies that can sign deals with its LPs. As long as it’s a double opt-in model, it could help startups find new clients.

So far, CapHorn Invest has also invested in around 10 startups with this fund, such as Critizr, Finalcad, Simplifield, Ledger, Fidzup, and Brand & Celebrities.

The firm is also using this opportunity to hire someone based in the U.S. Philippe Finkelstein is going to be CapHorn Invest’s venture partner in New York. He’s going to help portfolio companies launch in the U.S. and open new offices in New York.

Previously, Finkelstein was CEO at Altavia and founder of Cross Border Network. And he also was a limited partner in CapHorn Invest before joining the team.

Limited partners include Econocom VP France Véronique Di Benedetto, Chantal Baudron, SFR board member Bernard Attali, former Truffaut CEO Bruno Lanthier, former Danone COO Jacques Vincent and Qosmos CEO Thibaut Bechetoille.

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Fed chair speculation is not as relevant as it seems, Rosenberg says

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

yellen bernanke volcker
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke speaks during a conversation
with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Bernanke and former Chair
Paul A. Volcker April 7, 2016 in at the International House in
New York City.


  • President Donald Trump has left markets in suspense as
    he considers who to nominate as the next Fed
  • His pick is not as relevant as many are making it
    out to be because with a few exceptions,

    chairs are not bigger than the institution they oversee,
    Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg argues.
  • The next chair will direct the huge task of slowly
    reversing the Fed’s accommodative policies without causing
    another recession.

The race for chair of the Federal Reserve is heating up.

Trump met with chair Janet Yellen on Thursday, solidifying
prospects that she could be
. Her four-year term ends next February.
Meanwhile, betting
odds at PredictIt
 placed Jerome Powell, a current Fed
governor, in the lead on Friday;
reported Thursday that Trump was leaning heavily
towards nominating him.

Although the Fed chair is influential, he or she joins 11
colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee
with wideranging views on monetary policy. And the chair has
only one vote, noted David Rosenberg, the chief economist at
Gluskin Sheff.

“The Fed is a democracy, not a dictatorship,” he told Business
Insider. “This chatter and talk about who the next Fed chairman
is is interesting, but I think it’s less relevant than a lot of
other people do.”

Alan Greenspan is one example of a chairman who became bigger
than the institution, Rosenberg said. But he was an exception.

“The most effective chairmen at the Fed have been the ones that
have cobbled together a consensus,” Rosenberg said. “The last
thing you want to do is come on board and think that you know the
economy better than the Fed staff does and begin to try and push
the Fed in a certain direction. It’s a very diverse group around
the mahogany table.”

A political decision

Trump’s decision could come down to a person he believes would
best further his economic agenda without undoing the last eight
years of recovery.

It’s not an unusual deciding factor. But
Trump’s value for loyalty
makes it an even more political
decision that could push him to break with the status quo.

Many of his predecessors did the opposite. Barack Obama
nominated Ben Bernanke, who had been appointed by George W. Bush,
for a second term in the wake of modern history’s worst financial
crisis. In 1996, Bill Clinton renominated Greenspan, who
leaned libertarian. And, Ronald Reagan
Paul Volcker, a Democrat.

“It will be a mistake to rule Janet Yellen out,” Rosenberg said.
Yellen has said she intends to serve out her
full term
and has not commented on her intentions beyond

“One of the challenges for President Trump is that he wants
to have a low-rates chairman and a deregulation chairman rolled
into one,” Rosenberg said. “But the problem is that the same
candidates for the Fed’s chairmanship who are pro deregulations
are the same ones that also want higher interst rates. So he’s
going to have to somehow compromise, and it’s uncertain as to who
it’s really going to be.”

federal reserve fomc
Federal Open Market Committee meeting in the

/ Federal Reserve

A whole new shift

Rosenberg added that markets and the economy coincidentally tend
to take a major turn shortly after a new Fed chair is

Volcker steered the Fed through two recessions, the first
starting within a year of his chairmanship.
Black Monday
in October 1987 occurred two months after Alan
Greenspan took the helm. Ben Bernanke walked into a housing
bubble that morphed into a financial crisis.

“I think that we’re not only going into potentially new
leadership of the Fed, we’re also going into a whole new shift of
the monetary policy regime of not just rising interest rates but
shrinkage of the balance sheet, which is a new experiment as we
run the movie backwards,” Rosenberg said.

“Also, keep in mind that we have likely rate hikes out of the UK
and possible tapering out of the ECB. So monetary policy globally
is going into a new chapter at a time when volatility measures
could scarcely be lower and complacency levels could scarcely be

If Yellen is not reappointed, her departure together with former
Fed Vice Chairman
Stanley Fischer
would remove nearly three decades of policy
experience from the Fed, Rosenberg said.

“That tells me that if there’s going to be a bull market in
anything in the coming year, it’s going to be in

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The Blackbird Can Shape-Shift Into Any Car You Want

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Anything is possible with a little technology and innovation.

The post The Blackbird Can Shape-Shift Into Any Car You Want appeared first on Futurism.

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Netmarble enlists Conan O’Brien to market Lineage 2: Revolution

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Netmarble Games is preparing to publish its blockbuster mobile game Lineage 2: Revolution in the West, and it has enlisted TV late-night comedian Conan O’Brien to help it raise awareness in the U.S. and Europe.

The O’Brien appearance is part of an aggressive marketing campaign as the company prepares to launch the free-to-play, massively multiplayer online action role-playing game in the U.S. and Europe on November 15, said Seungwon Lee, chief global officer of Netmarble Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. The stakes are high, as Lineage 2: Revolution scored an astounding $176 million in revenues in its first month in South Korea alone. More than 1 million people have signed up for the global version.

“We really hope this game will do well in the U.S. and Europe,” Lee said. “We are being much more aggressive with this launch than we have been before for any other game.”

Lineage 2: Revolution December 2016 in South Korea, and it expanded to 11 other countries in Asia in June. Tencent plans to publish the game in China. Netmarble is showing the multiplayer gameplay off this weekend at TwitchCon in Long Beach, California, where livestreamers and broadcasters are gathering for a convention.

O’Brien will appear at Netmarble’s TwitchCon booth this afternoon as part of a Twitch livestream.

At TwitchCon, streamers will take the Esports Stage for a 30 vs 30 Fortress Siege, a battle between two clans to conquer a fortress in Lineage 2: Revolution. Next year, Lineage 2: Revolution will add a 200-person Castle Siege mode, where 50 players defend a castle against 150 attackers. The mobile version of Lineage 2: Revolution is based on the popular PC online game Lineage 2.

Lee said Netmarble’s Los Angeles division and its newly acquired Kabam Games studio in Vancouver have worked for as long as a year now in localizing the game for the West. It will be available in English and numerous European languages on November 15.

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Facebook Messenger will soon let you pay your friends back with PayPal

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Paying back your friends is getting even easier. Facebook Messenger has supported sending money through its platform for a few years now, but you had to use a credit or debit card. Now, Facebook is bringing PayPal into the fold. PayPal certainly has its faults, but it does provide another layer of protection in case someone gets ahold of your account.

You can access the new feature the same way you’d pay with your credit or debit card. Tap the blue plus icon, then hit the green Payments button. It’ll bring up two options and you can just move on with PayPal from there. Pretty easy stuff. If you’ve previously been using Facebook Messenger for payments like this, you can just tap the Change button and select PayPal. That’ll allow you to connect your PayPal account with Messenger.

In addition to the expanded payment functionality, you’ll now also be able to chat with a PayPal bot. The bot will assist you in tasks like answering questions, requests for help, and resetting passwords.

The new PayPal payment feature is locked to the US as of right now, which is a bit of a bummer. Also, it looks like iOS is getting the feature first, but we’re hoping it shows up on Android soon. While finding a platform to pay your friends back hasn’t been a massive problem with popular apps like PayPal and Venmo out there, using an app that virtually everyone is on does have its benefits.

What do you think about this new feature? Do you use Facebook Messenger currently to send money? Will the addition of PayPal change that? Let us know down in the comments.

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