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Police dashcam video shows Vermont Senator having difficulty with field sobriety test

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


`The Williston Police Department has released dashcam video showing the arrest of Vermont State Senator Debbie Ingram.

The police dashcam video, obtained by Local 22 & Local 44 following a Vermont public records request, shows Ingram appearing to have trouble with field sobriety exercises, which drivers are asked to do when police suspect possible impaired driving.

In the video, an officer can be seen approaching Ingram, 55, of Williston, as she sat in her 2016 Mercedes—as it rested in a ditch.



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Harmonix Hit With A Round Of Layoffs

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



However, DropMix didn’t necessarily set the market on fire, and now Harmonix is looking to Super Beat Sports as a way to keep the company afloat. The title is due out for the Nintendo Switch. Given the popularity of Nintendo’s system it could result in some strong sales, but much like the Wii, it’s a long shot.



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Bill Gates is investing more than $1 billion in public schools

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



bill gates mark zuckerberg friends
Beck
Diefenbach/Reuters


  • Bill Gates announced that he would invest more
    than $1.7 billion in public education.
  • Mark Zuckerberg invested $100 million into Newark
    Public Schools in 2010 and it was largely seen as a
    failure.
  • Gates wants schools and educators to drive the
    process.

Bill Gates will fund a massive investment in education, pledging
more than $1.7 billion into public schools, The Washington Post
reported
.

Gates has long been a thought leader on improving school outcomes
through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he’s
invested more than $3.4 billion in public education in the US,
according to The Post.

But the eye-popping sum of his newest investment harks back to
another tech titan’s massive investment in public schools — one
that was largely deemed a failure.


zuckerberg
Facebook
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Stephen Lam/Reuters

In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg donated
$100 million to Newark, New Jersey’s
failing public-school
system with the intention of turning around the schools in five
years.

The goals Zuckerberg set out to achieve — to enact a number of
reforms that would make Newark a model city for education reform
— were largely panned, and multiple sources tore into Newark
Public Schools for squandering his
money
and not delivering on any of the goals it set out to
achieve.

Critics also argued Zuckerberg’s strategy was top heavy, done
quickly and without input from parents or local administrators,
who could have provided guidance on how the changes would play
out among the community.

After his so-called blunder in Newark, Zuckerberg appeared to
employ a different strategy for affecting positive change in
schools. In 2014, he committed $120 million to school
districts
around the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on
reform at the community level, rather than a heavy-handed,
top-down approach, as the Newark reform plan has been described.

Gates will invest more than 10 times as much as Zuckerberg did in
Newark. He appears cognizant of the need to engage school
communities in the process, noting he wants schools and educators
to drive the process, according to The Post.


bill gates
Bill Gates.
Eric
Vidal/Reuters


“The actual tactics about great teaching, about how to reform the
schedule, how to get students who are off track on track — those
will be driven by the schools themselves,” Gates said before an
audience in Cleveland, Ohio, according to The Post. ” We will let
people come to us with the set of approaches they think will work
for them in their local context.”

Gates, the richest man in the world, has been at the forefront of
some of the biggest ideas in education, if sometimes equally
unpopular. He invested heavily in the Common Core State
Standards
, the controversial set of nationwide education
standards that almost all 50 states signed into law.

Following near-universal praise and adoption of the
standards in 2010, there has since been equally swift backlash
against the standards on both sides of the aisle.



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NASA spacewalkers install new HD video camera on space station – GeekWire

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


NASA astronauts finished up this month’s trio of spacewalks with a nearly seven-hour-long outing today — highlighted by the installation of a new HD camera on the International Space Station’s exterior, plus the replacement of a faulty camera-light assembly on the end of the station’s robotic arm. After the robotic arm’s “hand” was replaced on Oct. 5, NASA noticed that the camera-light assembly wasn’t focusing properly, which prompted the replacement. Spacewalkers Randy Bresnik and crewmate Joe Acaba also took care of some get-ahead tasks.



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Blue Origin’s Successful Engine Test Fire Puts SpaceX on Notice

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


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Up until now, the majority of ongoing US-based rocket coverage has focused on SpaceX. There are multiple reasons for that, ranging from the company’s groundbreaking use of reusable rockets to the simple fact that NASA doesn’t currently have a launch vehicle of its own to crow about. Companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have rated a distant second or third, if only because they’ve been well behind SpaceX’s overall launch and deployment schedule, with seemingly little chance of catching up.

Blue Origin hasn’t caught up–not yet–but it did demonstrate a major step forward for its own rocket engine yesterday. The Blue Engine 4 (BE-4) has successfully completed a 3-second burn at 50 percent power. These “hot-fire” tests are a milestone for a rocket design, since they demonstrate that the rocket is capable of meeting an appreciable percentage of its rated engine output without exploding or failing in some other fashion.

The test yesterday is also a step forward for Blue Origin’s eventual deployment with the United Launch Alliance (comprised of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing). Beginning in 2002, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket (then operated solely as Lockheed-Martin) relied on a Russian-built RD-180 engine that burns kerosene and liquid oxygen for its first-stage fuel. By 2014, growing national security concerns had made this arrangement less tenable, and ULA went looking for a new partner. It found with in Bezos and Blue Origin, who signed an agreement to use the BE-4 in ULA’s upcoming Vulcan rocket.

The Vulcan Heavy configuration with all six boosters and the two BE-4 engines visible.

The BE-4 uses liquid oxygen and liquid methane for fuel and is rated for 550,000 lbf (2400 kilonewtons). ULA will deploy two engines per Vulcan, for 1.1 million lbf at sea level. That’s significantly higher than the Atlas V’s RD-180 engine, which is rated for just 860,000 lbf at sea level. Vulcan will also use up to six stretched GEM63 rocket boosters (this new variant is the GEM63XL). Each booster can provide up to 204,000 lbf; combined, the boosters offer even more thrust than the main engine. With a maximum thrust configuration of 2,324,000 lbf, the so-called Vulcan Heavy will be one of the most powerful rockets in the world when it flies (no earlier than 2019).

One of the major features of the BE-4 is its use of liquid natural gas as a fuel rather than kerosene. This allows autogenous pressurization, in which a gaseous fuel is used to pressurize a liquid fuel. LNG leaves no soot byproducts and does not require a separate pressurization system, reducing complexity and weight. In fact, while SpaceX has captured the lion’s share of the attention these last few years, the company has initially relied on gradually improving rather simple rocket designs compared with the BE-4. Bezos’ baby can downthrottle as low as 20 percent , which should make landing the rocket for repeated re-use simpler and more likely to succeed.

For those of you wondering how these rockets compare to NASA’s Senate Space Launch System, the answer is a bit complicated. The SLS Block 1 will be more powerful than either the Falcon Heavy or New Glenn, with the SLS Block 1B boosting up to 105,000 kg to orbit and the SLS Block 2 nearly matching the Saturn V’s throw weight (130,000kg to 140,000kg). These estimates could change somewhat in the future if the engines are tested and found capable of boosting heavier payloads. But NASA’s ability to bring the SLS to the launchpad has been hampered by Congress’ refusal to approve budgets that would allow for realistic mission planning, or pay to keep the vehicle in regular use. That means the SLS might only fly every other year, or even less. This, in turn, drives up maintenance costs as a percentage of total vehicle cost, since there’s non-trivial expense associated with keeping up the hardware and job force required to do this work whether the rocket is flying on a regular basis or not.





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Jenna Jameson slams Playboy for featuring first transgender Playmate

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Jenna Jameson is not happy with Playboy’s choice to feature its first ever transgender Playmate, the French model Ines Rau, in its November issue. 

The former adult entertainer told Fox News, “I just think it’s a ridiculous attempt by Playboy to stay relevant. It is a foolish decision that alienates its consumer base.”

We unsuccessfully reached out to Playboy for comment. But Cooper Hefner, the son of late founder Hugh Hefner, told the New York Times: “It’s the right thing to do. We’re at a moment where gender roles are evolving.”

Jameson, 43, took to Twitter to voice her frustration with the legendary men’s entertainment brand.

Some followers expressed their dismay with Jameson’s Playmate perspective.

One user said, “So many LGBTQ people have been fans of you & actually looked up to you & your empire. That’s sad you would be so judgmental.”

Jameson replied to her former fan, “Just because Miss USA won’t let me compete (because I’m an ex pornstar) doesn’t mean they don’t love me 👌🏻I love my gay and trans peeps.”

Another echoed Jameson’s sentiments, “Playboy has women in it. Playgirl has men in it. The Boy Scouts have boys in it. The Girl Scouts have girls in it. Why is this so hard?”

The mother of two continued to defend her position.

“Just because I don’t agree with a trans person being in Playboy doesn’t mean I’m “transphobic” .People these days with all their “phobics” 🙄”

During%20an%20appearance%20at%20a%20San%20Francisco%20gentleman's%20club%20in%20August%2C%20retired%20adult%20film%20actress%20Jenna%20Jameson%20told%20the%20local%20CBS%20affiliate%20that%20she's%20%26quot%3Blooking%20forward%20to%20a%20Republican%20being%20back%20in%20office.%20When%20you're%20rich%2C%20you%20want%20a%20Republican%20in%20office.%26quot%3B%0A

Jenna Jameson: “I just think it’s a ridiculous attempt by Playboy to stay relevant.”

 (Reuters)

Meanwhile, Playboy posted one reader’s criticism on social media, likening it to mail they received in 1965 when they featured their first African-American Playmate.

 



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Crunch Report | SoftBank Vision Fund Sequels

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



SoftBank is planning to create $100 billion Vision Fund sequels, Chariot is temporarily paused in San Francisco and Stitch Fix shows us what a good IPO looks like. All this on Crunch Report. Read More





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AI IN E-COMMERCE: How artificial intelligence can help retailers deliver the highly personalized experiences shoppers desire

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


AI In Retail InvestmentsBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

One of retailers’ top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals. 

These personalized online experiences are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This is the technology that enables e-commerce websites to recommend products uniquely suited to shoppers, and enables people to search for products using conversational language, or just images, as though they were interacting with a person. 

Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers. Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture. 

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we illustrate the various applications of AI in retail and use case studies to show how this technology has benefited retailers. It assesses the challenges that retailers may face as they implement AI, specifically focusing on technical and organizational challenges. Finally, the report weighs the pros and cons of strategies retailers can take to successfully execute AI technologies in their organization.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Digitally native retailers are setting new standards for the customer journey by creating highly curated experiences through the use of AI. This has enabled them to cater to consumers’ desire to interact with mobile apps and websites as they would with an in-store sales representative.
  • By mimicking the use of AI among e-commerce pureplays, brick-and-mortars can implement similar levels of personalization. AI can be used to provide personalized websites, tailored product recommendations, more relevant product search results, as well as immediate and useful customer service.
  • However, there are several barriers to AI adoption that may make implementation difficult. By and large, these hurdles stem from a general unpreparedness of legacy retailers’ systems and organizational structures to handle the huge troves of data AI solutions need to be effective.
  • For many retailers, successfully leveraging AI will require partnering with third parties. Because of the barriers involved, employing an in-house strategy can be extremely costly and difficult. This has led to the rise of AI commerce startups, which can provide a more cost-effective approach to overhauling the customer experience.

In full, the report: 

  • Provides an overview of the numerous applications of AI in retail, using case studies of how retailers are currently gaining an advantage using this technology. These applications include personalizing online interfaces, tailoring product recommendations, increasing the relevance of shoppers search results, and providing immediate and useful customer service.
  • Examines the various challenges that retailers may face when looking to implementing AI, which typically stems from data storage systems being outdated and inflexible, as well as organizational barriers that prevent personalization strategies from being executed effectively.
  • Gives two different strategies that retailers can use to successfully implement AI, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy.

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.



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Bitcoin Breaks $100 Billion in Value, Soars to Over $6000 for the First Time

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


In Brief


Bitcoin, which is unarguably the world’s most prominent digital currency, just broke through one of the most important milestones ever, vaulting to over $6000 and over $100 billion in value.

Welcome to a new kind of currency, or rather, welcome to a new kind of financial system. Today, for the first time ever, Bitcoin surpassed the $6000 barrier, proving that cryptocurrency is, in all likeliness, here to stay.

Bitfinex, which has the highest volume BTC/USD exchange, broke the $6,000 barrier initially. Now, the same can be said for all of the other major exchanges. It has only been a little over a week since the price of bitcoin soared passed $5,300, and then it quickly surpassed $5,800. Now, it has surpassed another barrier.

Ultimately, this surged caused its market capitalization to exceed $100 billion for the first time.

The digital currency is expected to continue rising in price, with cryptocurrency mogul Mike Novogratz predicting that it could hit $10,000 sometime next year and other industry experts saying it will top $25,000 within the next 5 years.

Considering how quickly Bitcoin has risen recently, such predictions may not be impossible…or even unlikely.

That said, Bitcoin isn’t infallible and could eventually collapse. Earlier this month, Harvard professor of economics Kenneth Rogoff claimed that it is only a matter of time before the currency takes a turn for the worse:

“It is one thing for governments to allow small anonymous transactions with virtual currencies; indeed, this would be desirable,” he said in an article that he wrote for MarketWatch. “But it is an entirely different matter for governments to allow large-scale anonymous payments, which would make it extremely difficult to collect taxes or counter criminal activity.”

This year alone, Bitcoin has been impacted by bans and restrictions that were set in countries like ChinaRussia, and South Korea. It seems, however, that these developments were only minor stumbling blocks for the currency, as Bitcoin has risen by more than 500 percent in value this year alone, and Vladimir Putin subsequently stated that Russia would issue its own cryptocurrency.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.



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You’re not an AI company until you’re a full-stack company

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


From Siri and Alexa becoming household names to Apple recently announcing its new HomePod smart speaker, artificial intelligence finally seems to have made the jump from the world of futuristic science fiction straight into our own homes. The variety of tasks that AI creations are taking on is increasing. AI can vacuum our floors, create expensive works of art, and even debate the meaning of life.

With AI technology permeating the public consciousness, tech companies are eager to ride the hype and emphasize the AI aspects of their products. Everyone is claiming to be an AI company, showcasing their neural networks or their bots. But with a narrow and specialized focus, those companies are often missing the big picture. The companies that will rise to the top and stay there are full-stack AI companies.

AI is a holistic process

To build a meaningful AI system, you have to have a big data practice, a software engineering practice, and a user experience design practice. Only then can your AI evolve into a useful and practical tool that can communicate with other applications. You also need to create a feedback loop to determine whether the decisions that your AI system is making are actually helpful to the people using it.

I saw this for myself when I started my career as a knowledge engineer, focused on creating the backend rules and algorithms that give AI systems the ability to “think.” I quickly realized that in order to deliver results, knowledge engineering isn’t enough: I also needed to understand software engineering, the front-facing aspects of the trade that made our AI systems useful and usable to customers. If I wanted to be effective, I needed mastery over the complete, end-to-end solution.

Companies looking to develop successful AI will also need to master every level of the solution: big data, analytics, and user experience (UX). A bot or an algorithm can’t and shouldn’t just stand on its own.

Trend-driven AI misses the big picture

The market has witnessed enthusiasm for the AI trend before, and we can learn from it. Prior to 1990, venture funding poured into artificial intelligence. As early as 1986, university researchers in Munich successfully tested self-driving vans.

In the 1990s, though, the fickle market grew tired of AI. The bubble for AI products burst. Even mentioning the word in a company’s description would hurt a startup’s valuation. That doesn’t mean companies stopped working on AI advancements — they just stopped calling it that. They replaced the terminology with catchphrases like “big data” or “intelligent algorithms” that were still pieces of the AI stack but didn’t take into consideration the full picture.

This focus on just one facet of the science puts companies at risk of missing AI’s larger potential. In business, this translates to missed opportunities to build a lasting product, rather than a trend-driven one.

Moving forward with a full-stack approach

For artificial intelligence to truly become mainstream, it needs to work with and fit into the universe that people already live in. This is rough news for industry leaders who place AI at the center of its own universe, envisioning it to be a standalone source of light around which everything else must revolve. These companies tend to view a bot or an algorithm as the end game, not realizing that these products on their own are not actually solving problems.

People are connected to technology like never before, with end-points from our wrists to our thermostats to industrial assembly lines. That means AI finally has the network it needs to reach its full potential — if developers can successfully integrate it in order to improve and streamline the devices we are already using.

Until recently, only the largest companies and institutions had the technological capabilities to work with and analyze big data by reading, interpreting, and sending huge amounts of quality information. Today, though, cloud computing and advanced computing power make working with large datasets easier, more affordable, and more accessible.

Additionally, working on the user experience aspect of artificial intelligence has recently become within reach, given the proliferation of API building blocks for user-friendly packages like responsive mobile apps. Previously, these would have to be coded from scratch.

Why full-stack companies are still rare

While recent progress serves to level the playing field somewhat, it doesn’t mean an AI stack is easy to build.

Data, in particular, proves to be difficult for many companies hoping to join the full-stack club. It’s hard to acquire, it’s messy, it’s inaccurate, and it’s incomplete. Analysts can look at pools of data and come up with correlations and insights, but knowing how those insights apply to real-life problems is yet another part of the stack: user experience (UX). AI without UX design as a core competency will only have a tiny impact — namely, it will answer the question of  “what does the data say?” but not “so now what do we do?”

Full stack is the way of the future

As the industry works to integrate artificial intelligence into every aspect of our daily technology use, a full-stack AI company will be best positioned to thrive. This is because companies that deliver a single AI component will become commodities for end users.

In contrast, full-stack companies will have the knowledge to see how their product fits into a complete solution. They will also be able to take advantage economically of the vertical integration that comes along with that knowledge.

John Price is the chief executive officer at Vast, a company that provides a platform to support big data experiences for automotive and real estate.



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Google to match Apple by lowering app subscription fee to 15 percent

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Starting January 2018, the search giant will reduce the amount of money it charges app developers for app subscriptions from 30 percent to 15.

The search giant is following the footsteps of Apple and making some changes to its policy regarding mobile subscriptions. Apple announced back in June 2016 that it would reduce the standard App Store transaction fee from 30 percent to 15 percent in an effort to incentivize app developers to sell app subscriptions directly through the App Store. As you can imagine, it was a welcome change for many developers, and fortunately, they’ll have the exact same incentive in the Google Play Store, starting next year.

Developers will be able to take advantage of this only for customer subscriptions that have been ongoing for a year.

Google announced that it would also reduce its standard subscription fee from 30 percent to 15 percent. Identical to the approach that Apple is taking with auto-renewed paid apps, developers will be able to take advantage of this only for customer subscriptions that have been ongoing for a year. In other words, the charge will remain at 30 percent for the first year.

By offering reduced fees, Google is not only now better positioned to compete with Apple, but it also encourages app developers to offer app subscriptions through the Play Store and maintain the app’s quality to retain subscribers for at least a year.



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Prozac in ocean water a possible threat to sea life

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



Oregon shore crabs exhibit risky behavior when they’re exposed to the antidepressant Prozac, making it easier for predators to catch them, according to a new study.



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Yankees Are Undone by Altuve and Verlander as the Astros Force a Game 7

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


The only Yankees run came after Verlander departed, when Aaron Judge hit a towering home run off Brad Peacock with one out in the eighth to bring the Yankees within 3-1. The home run seemed to unnerve Peacock, but after falling behind Didi Gregorius on a 3-0 count, he threw a strike and then retired him on a lazy fly ball. Peacock then struck out Sanchez, who took a 3-2 fastball for a called strike.

Verlander has been rejuvenated by his Aug. 31 trade from Detroit, which came minutes before the deadline for him to be eligible for the postseason. He entered Friday having won all seven starts in an Astros uniform — as well as gaining a victory in a relief appearance in the division-series clincher against the Red Sox – and compiling a 1.39 earned run average.

Few pitchers have his playoff résumé, which includes a pair of Game 5 shutouts of the Oakland Athletics and three wins over the Yankees.

“I consider him to have a bionic arm,” Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said before Game 6. “He’s never fatigued. Whatever that pitch count, I hope he gets as many outs as he can.”

Verlander looked vulnerable at the start of the game, when Brett Gardner led off by lashing a single to left. Judge then whistled a 1-1 slider on the ground toward left field, but shortstop Carlos Correa crouched to backhand the ball, spun around and flipped to second baseman Jose Altuve, who completed a slick double play.

Photo

Todd Frazier after striking out in the fifth inning.

Credit
Ben Solomon for The New York Times

The Yankees had few hard-hit balls after that, rarely getting on top of Verlander’s four-seam fastballs up in the strike zone, where contact often resulted in towering but unthreatening fly balls. In all, he allowed five hits — all singles — and one walk, striking out eight.

The Astros, who had not scored in 15 innings, broke through in the fifth on a run-scoring double by the former Yankee Brian McCann — his first hit of the series — and a two-run, two-out single by Altuve, who jumped on a first-pitch slider from Luis Severino.

The decision to allow Severino to face Altuve, with Chad Green warming up, was a second-guesser’s delight.

When asked before the game about the depth of his well-rested bullpen, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said: “Believe me, it’s been really nice to have. I know that we have weapons down there. We approach games that we went and got those weapons to win games with those weapons, and I’m not afraid to go with them.”

That bullpen will not be so fresh — or fearsome — come Saturday night, however. Green is most likely unavailable after throwing 38 pitches in two and one-third scoreless innings in Game 6, and Robertson was assailed for a home run by Altuve, doubles by Correa and Bregman and a single by Yuli Gurriel — the only four hitters he faced.

Photo

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel celebrated after scoring on Alex Bregman’s double in the eighth inning.

Credit
Ben Solomon for The New York Times

If there was a consolation for the Yankees, it was that they made Astros closer Ken Giles expend himself in the ninth, throwing 23 pitches.

The Yankees’ best chances came late against Verlander. Chase Headley looped a single to center to lead off the sixth, and after Gardner popped up and Judge struck out, Didi Gregorius laced a single that landed just in front of right fielder Josh Reddick.

That brought up Sanchez, who took three borderline pitches for balls to find himself in a 3-0 count. But Sanchez took a checked swing on the next pitch, a slider, and tapped a slow roller to shortstop that Correa handled easily.

The Yankees threatened again in the seventh when Verlander walked Bird and nicked Starlin Castro with a pitch that sent him to first and Bird to second after a video review. But with the tying run at the plate, and no one out, Verlander struck out Hicks at the end of a tense at-bat, and Springer then made his leaping catch. Verlander escaped when he retired Headley, who had seven hits in his last nine at-bats, on a grounder to second.

When the out was recorded, Verlander roared and pumped his fists, then waited — along with Altuve and Correa — to high-five Springer as he came off the field.

Photo

Yankees starter Luis Severino, center, gave up three runs in the fifth inning and departed with two outs.

Credit
Ben Solomon for The New York Times

While Severino was easily the Yankees’ best pitcher during the regular season, he has been their most sporadic in the playoffs. He lasted one-third of an inning in the wild-card playoff, allowed two homers but otherwise pitched well in beating Cleveland, and was lifted after four innings in Game 2 against the Astros when he stretched his shoulder after a pitch.

Though Severino said he was fine, there is some apprehension about his workload. Severino entered Friday having thrown 810 more pitches than last season — about a one-third increase or nearly twice what teams generally allow.

“Am I concerned about him?” Girardi said before the game. “Yeah, I’m a little concerned about it, and I think you have to keep it in the back of your mind and you have to manage — to me — maybe cautious instead of saying we’re going to let him go.”

Severino matched Verlander pitch for pitch through four innings, but came unhinged in the fifth. He walked Alex Bregman, who took second on a slow roller to second baseman Starlin Castro and followed with a four-pitch walk to Evan Gattis.

That brought up McCann, who fell into an 0-2 count, took a slider and a fastball just off the plate to even the count, then pulled a drive into the right-field corner that one-hopped the wall and bounced in the stands. Bregman scored easily, and Gattis was required to stop at third.

After pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited Severino, he retired Josh Reddick, who is hitless in the series, on a fly ball to shallow center field.

But with Green warming up, Girardi stuck with Severino, who had struck out Altuve on three pitches in his first at-bat. This one did not last long. Severino delivered a belt-high slider that Altuve ripped past lunging third baseman Todd Frazier and into left field, scoring Gattis and McCann without a play and putting the Astros in front by 3-0.

As Altuve stood at first, he pounded his chest — a declaration that the Astros were not done yet.

Continue reading the main story



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Woman’s ‘Missing’ IUD Turns Up in Her Bladder

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Woman's 'Missing' IUD Turns Up in Her Bladder

An X-ray showing a woman’s displaced IUD in her bladder. The red arrow points to the IUD in the bladder, while the white arrow points to a second IUD inserted in the uterus.

Credit: Wei Chai; Wenlei Zhang; Guifeng Jia; Miao Cui; Lifeng Cui/CC BY-SA 4.0


A woman’s IUD that appeared to be “missing” from her uterus turned up in an unusual place: her bladder.


The woman, a 26-year-old in Changchun, China, went to the doctor because of bladder problems, including increased frequency of urination and blood in her urine, along with pain in her abdomen, according to a report of the woman’s case. The patient said she’d had these symptoms for the past five years, and previous treatments hadn’t helped.


In addition, she’d had an intrauterine device, or IUD, inserted six years ago, her doctors said. But she’d become pregnant while she had the IUD, and gave birth to the baby via cesarean section in 2012. Doctors didn’t find any signs of her IUD during the C-section, and they thought the IUD may have become embedded in the wall of her uterus. She had another IUD inserted after her C-section. (An IUD is a type of long-acting, reversible contraception that is inserted into the uterus. Pregnancy with an IUD is rare, but in this woman’s case, it occurred because the IUD moved from its proper position in the uterus.)


After she reported bladder problems, doctors at The First Hospital of Jilin University in Changchun, China, performed an X-ray of her pelvis and saw something surprising: the “missing” IUD. Indeed, the X-ray revealed that the woman had two IUDs in her body: the more recently inserted IUD, which was in her uterus, and the old IUD, which had “migrated” to her bladder.


“As far as we know, the migration of an IUD into the bladder, where it causes chronic urinary symptoms, occurs rarely,” the report said. [How Can You Get Pregnant Using an IUD?]


The devices are generally very safe, and less than 1 percent of women who use the devices get pregnant each year, according to Planned Parenthood. But in rare cases, they can cause serious problems, including “perforation” of the uterus, meaning that the IUD pushes through the uterine wall. This happens in only about 1 in 1,000 women who get an IUD, the researchers said.


“Once an IUD perforates the uterus, it can move freely into many places,” including the abdominal cavity or the pelvic cavity (where the bladder is located), the researchers wrote in their report, which was published in the October issue of the journal Medicine.


In the woman’s case, the IUD perforated the uterus, and once it was in the pelvic cavity, it perforated the bladder, the researchers said. The bladder perforation healed without treatment but caused chronic urinary symptoms, they said. The woman had a procedure to remove the IUD from her bladder and did not experience any further complications, the report said.


Although rare, movement of an IUD to the bladder has been reported before — a 2016 report of a similar case in Greece noted that there have been at least 40 cases of IUD migration to the bladder reported in the past 10 years.


Perforation of the uterus by an IUD usually happens when the IUD is inserted. In the Changchun woman’s case, the uterine contractions she experienced as a result of pregnancy could have helped the IUD perforate the uterus and migrate to another area, the researchers said.


This case report demonstrates that “a missing IUD should be noticed and immediately removed to avoid further complications,” the researchers wrote.


Original article on Live Science.



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Small Plane Has Emergency Landing on a Florida Street, Strikes Two Cars

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Surveillance footage captured a small place as it made an emergency landing on a residential street in St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 18.

The twin-engine Cessna 402B aircraft made an emergency landing on 18th Avenue S, according to reports.

The plane hit trees, power lines, and two vehicles on its way down. There was also a small burst of flames, news reports.

said.

The two people on board and the three people in the two vehicles managed to escape without serious injury. Credit: Troy Jones via Storyful



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How The Hellboy Reboot Will Differ From The Guillermo Del Toro Movies, According To David Harbour

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



For nearly a decade, Hellboy fans waited with bated breath to see if Guillermo del Toro would be able to get Hellboy III of the ground. Alas, that didn’t end up happening, and instead, the Dark Horse Comics protagonist will return to silver screen soon in a reboot starring Stranger Things star David Harbour. it’s already been made clear that this new Hellboy movie will differentiate itself from its predecessors by aiming for an R rating rather than stay in PG-13 territory, but according to Harbour, the reboot will also paint the protagonist in a more complex light. After noting that Hellboy is similar to his Stranger Things character, Chief Jim Hopper, and that the comic book character isn’t a “clear hero,” Harbour said the following:



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BuzzFeed is investigating anonymous allegations of harassment by employees

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



buzzfeedLara O’Reilly/Business Insider

  • BuzzFeed is investigating allegations of
    harassment by its employees.

  • The investigation follows a BuzzFeed report about
    a list titled “Sh—- Media Men.”

  • BuzzFeed staffers appeared on this list, which is
    anonymously sourced. The number of BuzzFeed employees on
    the list sparked a conversation among current and former
    employees about the publication’s own workplace
    culture.

BuzzFeed is investigating allegations of harassment by its
employees, people familiar with the matter said.

The investigation comes after several of its staffers appeared
on a list, titled “Sh—- Media Men,” which
was
 distributed among journalists across several
news organizations. The existence of the list, which names
men from a variety of
publications, was reported
by BuzzFeed
 last week.

The allegations on the list include verbal, physical and sexual
abuse, but were added anonymously so it is unclear who wrote
them. The list makes clear that these are “allegations and
rumors,” and that readers should “take everything with a grain of
salt.”

BuzzFeed staffers, both current and past, are represented in
multiple versions of the list reviewed by Business Insider. The
number of BuzzFeed employees on the list sparked a conversation
among current and former employees about the publication’s own
workplace culture, according to people familiar with the
matter.

An anonymous reporting tip line was distributed to editors this
week in which employees can report harassment if they don’t feel
comfortable going to their managers, according to a person with
knowledge of the matter.

“We cannot discuss specific personnel matters, but we take
allegations of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously,
including anonymous ones,” BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal
said.

The list was widely distributed among journalists in the wake of
the Harvey Weinstein scandal that has rocked
Hollywood. 

Female journalists, in conversations with Business Insider, say
that a list of this nature is necessary to warn other
women and because women may otherwise hesitate to report
harassment to management for fear of retribution.



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Satellite readings track how mountain glaciers are thinning out – GeekWire

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Mount Rainier elevation change
This map shows the elevation change of Mount Rainier glaciers between 1970 and 2016. The earlier observations are from USGS maps, while the recent data use the satellite stereo imaging technique. Glacier surface elevations have dropped more than 40 meters (130 feet) in some places. (University of Washington Photo / David Shean)

Elevation readings captured by satellites confirm that glaciers in the western United States are fading away at a worrisome rate.

The fade-out isn’t a surprise, considering the rise in global mean temperatures that’s ascribed to climate change. The new twist has to do with how the measurements were made.

University of Washington researcher David Shean looked back at satellite readings that have been amassed in databases, plus fresh readings that are being taken by DigitalGlobe’s constellation of GeoEye and WorldView satellites.

An analysis of the data, facilitated with NASA’s Ames Stereo Pipeline software, produces a 3-D elevation model of mountainous terrain. The method supplements other techniques to estimate glacier size, including area measurements based on aerial imagery and depth measurements made using stakes in the snow.

The result is a year-by-year record tracing the ups and downs of a glacier.

“I’m interested in the broad picture: What is the state of all of the glaciers, and how has that changed over the last 50 years?” Shean, who is now a research associate with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, said today in a news release.

Shean is due to present his findings at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center on Sunday during the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.

Mountain glacier map
Satellite readings are being collected for all the shaded areas in late spring and late fall. Mountain glaciers are shown in blue. (UW Graphic / David Shean)

Thanks to the fresh data, the satellite elevation readings can provide a twice-yearly assessment of roughly 1,200 mountain glaciers in the Lower 48 states, down to a resolution of about a foot. Most of the glaciers are in Washington state, and Shean is paying special attention to Mount Rainier.

He estimates that Mount Rainier has lost about a cumulative total of 900 million cubic yards of ice since 1970. If that volume could be distributed evenly across all of Rainier’s glaciers, it would amount to the disappearance of a 25-foot-deep layer of ice.

Of course, the ice loss isn’t distributed evenly. Lower-elevation glaciers have been especially hard hit.

“There are some big changes that have happened, as anyone who’s been hiking on Mount Rainier in the last 45 years can attest to,” Shean said. “For the first time we’re able to very precisely quantify exactly how much snow and ice has been lost.”

Mount Rainier’s level of loss is consistent with what readings from the other glaciers are showing, Shean said.

The comprehensive snapshots of glacial elevation should help resources planners anticipate what’s coming in the decades ahead, and how to plan accordingly.

“We want to know what the glaciers are doing and how their mass is changing, but it’s important to remember that the meltwater is going somewhere. It ends up in rivers, it ends up in reservoirs, it ends up downstream in the ocean. So there are very real applications for water resource management,” Shean said. “If we know how much snow falls on Mount Rainier every winter, and when and how much ice melts every summer, that can inform water resource managers’ decisions.”

Co-authors of the research that Shean will present at the GSA meeting include Anthony Arendt, Erin Whorton, Jon Riedel and Andrew Fountain. The work was funded by the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA.



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The Best PS4 and PS4 Pro Accessories

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

Four years in, and there are tens of millions of PlayStation 4s in the wild. Whether you’re using an original model, PS4 Slim, or PS4 Pro, there are likely aspects of your experience that could use some improvement. Want to shorten a particularly long load time? Maybe you’d like to stream gameplay to your bedroom. Heck, you might just be willing to drop a couple hundred bucks on a full-fledged VR setup.

Countless accessories are being marketed toward console gamers, and the truth is that most of them suck. It’s safe to ignore the vast majority of accessories, and focus on the handful of ancillary products that can meaningfully impact your experience. So to help you find the signal within all the noise, we’ve selected eight of our favorite accessories for the PS4.

HD60 S

Elgato Game Capture HD60 S

The built-in video options on the PS4 are incredibly convenient, but they’re limited in scope. You can only stream to a select group of sites, you’re limited to 720p video on the base PS4, and you can only record locally in relatively small chunks. But with this HDMI capture gear from Elgato, you can take your gameplay footage to the next level. Stream to sites like Smashcast or Mixer, record entire 1080p60 Let’s Plays on your computer, and add some real panache to your videos. If you take your video production seriously, this is definitely where you need to start. Buy on Amazon for $167.95

PSTV

PlayStation TV

If you want access to your PS4 library in multiple rooms, using Remote Play on the PlayStation TV is a simple and affordable way to achieve that. Provided you have a decent local network, you can stream PS4 gameplay at 720p60 with very little latency. It doesn’t offer the optimal visual experience, but the price tag and simplicity is hard to argue with. And since it plays a decent selection of Vita games as well, it’s a particularly excellent deal for PS Plus subscribers with a healthy Vita backlog. Buy on Amazon for $59.99

DualShock 4

DualShock 4

It goes without saying that you’ll need to invest in a DualShock 4 if you’re interested in playing local multiplayer games on the PS4, but this controller is pretty handy in other situations as well. Not only can Sony products like the PS3 and PSTV use it, but it’s great on the PC too. With a little work, it can be used to play standard PC releases, but it also lets you use your Windows PC or Mac to stream PS4 gameplay at 1080p with the Remote Play app. Buy on Amazon for $43.89

Gold Wireless

PlayStation Gold Wireless Headphones (Refurb)

Being able to talk to your teammates completely changes the multiplayer experience, and can easily turn the tide during competitive matches. Of course, you can use just about any wired or Bluetooth headset you want, but the PlayStation Gold headset is definitely worth the price – especially this refurb. Not only does this comfortable headset sport a built-in noise-cancelling mic, but it also offers up impressive virtual 7.1 surround sound. Download the headset companion app on your PS4, and you’ll be able to use presets to optimize the audio on a game-by-game basis. Buy on Amazon for $64.99

Samsung SSD

Samsung 850 EVO Internal Solid-State Drive

The spinning drive included in the PS4 gets the job done, but it’s far from optimal. If you’re willing to drop some serious dough to improve load times, this SSD from Samsung will make a noticeable difference in any game that’s bottlenecked by the storage device. And since the PS4 Pro has a SATA III interface, you can get even better performance. Take your SSD, grab a Phillips screwdriver, and follow this guide. You won’t get the same improvements you’d see on a PC, but shaving off a few seconds on each load can make a noticeable difference in some games. Buy on Amazon for $329

Samsung T5

Samsung T5 Portable Solid-State Drive

Of course, not everyone is willing to spend big on a large SSD simply to turn around and sacrifice the drive that comes with the console. Thankfully, external drive support is finally available on the PS4, so an extra USB 3 drive serves as a nice compromise. Pick up a 250GB Samsung T5, and you can selectively move over your games with the longest load times to the faster drive. Buy on Amazon for $119.99

PSVR Bundle

PlayStation VR Bundle

While the release of VR-enabled PS4 games has been much slower than we had hoped, there’s still a lot of entertainment to be had with the PSVR. Great games like Resident Evil 7, Rez Infinite, and TrackMania Turbo benefit significantly from the helmet, and 360 videos on YouTube and Jaunt VR can be legitimately thrilling. Buy on Amazon for $379.99

PlayStation Move Bundle

While many VR games are designed to work with the DualShock 4, there’s a selection of titles that require the Move controllers. The likes of Job Simulator and Batman: Arkham VR trade on the idea of physically interacting with virtual environments, so two Moves are a must for that experience. And if you’re already buying the helmet and camera, these are easy to justify. Buy on Amazon for $82.99

Now read: The Best Gamer Gift Cards



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Singer Selena Quintanilla to receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Beloved Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame more than 20 years after her death.

The unveiling will take place on Nov. 3 and her sister Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga will join Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler for the ceremony, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported.

“Before there was JLo, Shakira or Beyonce, there was a transformative female artist called Selena,” said Otto Padron, president of Meruelo Media and the official sponsor of the tribute. “Selena is one of the most influential music icons of the 20th century; her music, style and smile are timeless and now her star will grace our city forever.”

COUNTRY SINGER KAYLEE KELLER HAS ‘ENOUGH SELF WORTH’ TO SAY ‘NO’ TO OPPORTUNITIES THAT CONFLICT WITH HER VALUES

The Texas native’s star will be the 2,622nd on the Walk of Fame and will sit in front of the Capitol Records building, Fox 11 said.

The day will also reportedly be marked as “Selena Day” in a second ceremony that evening, attended by the mayor of Los Angeles and actress Eva Longoria.

Considered by her fans as the “queen of Tejano music,” Quintanilla died in March 1995 after she was fatally shot by the president of her fan club.

She was the first Tejano artist to win a Grammy award and her last record, released after her death, became her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, Billboard said. She is known for songs like “Dreaming of You” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”



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New Animated Shorts From Around The World (Trailer)

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


For the new season, seven animated shorts were selected from exciting up-and-coming directorial voices in five different countries: Chile, Israel, Canada, Spain, and Switzerland. The line-up is below:

  • Sunday, October 22: Here’s the Plan by Fernanda Frick (Chile)
  • Sunday, October 29: In Other Words by Tal Kantor (Israel)
  • Sunday, November 5: I Am Here by Eoin Duffy (Canada)
  • Sunday, November 12: Lights by Alessandro Novelli (Spain)
  • Sunday, November 19: Immersion by Lalita Brunner (Switzerland)
  • Sunday, November 26: Change by Jonny Ostrem (Canada)
  • Sunday, December 3: Timber by Nils Hedinger (Switzerland)

For Here’s the Plan, I Am Here, and Timber, Cartoon Brew will co-present the premieres with the short film purveyors at Short of the Week, who will offer additional insights and perspectives on the films.

The programmer for the second season of CB Fest is Cartoon Brew’s editor in chief Amid Amidi.



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Mozilla proposes combined WebXR standard for virtual and mixed reality in the browser

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



Although we may disagree on the usefulness of VR and AR today, it’s hard to argue with the idea that it should be easier to develop for and deploy — especially on the web. That’s why Mozilla is working on a combined framework that gives developers standardized, well-documented tools with which to access the user’s chosen mixed reality platform.

Basically it’s just hard to build something on the web that you can easily deploy not just to desktop browsers, but to mobile, VR and AR headsets, and anything else that might do a little reality mixing. If these things are going to take off, they need to be easier to deploy.

Mozilla previously worked with Google and others on the WebVR API, which over the last year has let browsers launch VR experiences without any fuss or weird plugins. WebXR (that’s a placeholder name) is a successor to this standard, including lots of similar functions but adding in all the stuff you need for, you know, the augmented side of the equation.

That means creating a common language that connects concepts like object anchoring despite changes in implementation between ARCore, ARKit, Hololens, and other platforms. So there’s plenty of work to go around. Google isn’t a partner, but Mozilla’s work here is meant to be complementary to and compatible with the other company’s existing demos.

“We’ve talked with the folks at Google in the past about how to implement AR ideas on the web, given them feedback on what they’ve done with their WebAR sample implementations, and we’re making sure that our WebXR javascript library works in their apps so that developers have the freedom to use whichever apps they want to experiment with these new technologies on the web,” explained Mozilla principal research scientist Blair MacIntyre in an email to TechCrunch.

It’s not meant to outright replace WebVR, either. But it’s unclear how things will develop, so to speak, so if considerable changes are made implementing AR within that standard, it may at some point no longer be practical to call it that.

“Right now we think that evolving WebVR to include support for AR capabilities would be the best long-term outcome,” MacIntyre said. “These changes might be relatively small, and the API still be called WebVR, or the community might decide to adopt more comprehensive changes and change the name to WebXR or even WebMR.”

In the meantime this is more of a developer playground than a serious proposal; it supports desktop Firefox and there’s a WebXR Viewer on the iOS App Store if you want to test it out, but for most people it’ll be fine to just wait.

You can check out the proposal and a handful of AR/VR experiments that use it on GitHub.



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BuzzFeed is investigating anonymous allegations of harassment by employees

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



buzzfeedLara O’Reilly/Business Insider

  • BuzzFeed is investigating allegations of
    harassment by its employees.

  • The investigation follows a BuzzFeed report about
    a list titled “Sh—- Media Men.”

  • BuzzFeed staffers appeared on this list, which is
    anonymously sourced. The number of BuzzFeed employees on
    the list sparked a conversation among current and former
    employees about the publication’s own workplace
    culture.

BuzzFeed is investigating allegations of harassment by its
employees, people familiar with the matter said.

The investigation comes after several of its staffers appeared
on a list, titled “Sh—- Media Men,” which
was
 distributed among journalists across several
news organizations. The existence of the list, which names
men from a variety of
publications, was reported
by BuzzFeed
 last week.

The allegations on the list include verbal, physical and sexual
abuse, but were added anonymously so it is unclear who wrote
them. The list makes clear that these are “allegations and
rumors,” and that readers should “take everything with a grain of
salt.”

BuzzFeed staffers, both current and past, are represented in
multiple versions of the list reviewed by Business Insider. The
number of BuzzFeed employees on the list sparked a conversation
among current and former employees about the publication’s own
workplace culture, according to people familiar with the
matter.

An anonymous reporting tip line was distributed to editors this
week in which employees can report harassment if they don’t feel
comfortable going to their managers, according to a person with
knowledge of the matter.

“We cannot discuss specific personnel matters, but we take
allegations of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously,
including anonymous ones,” BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal
said.

The list was widely distributed among journalists in the wake of
the Harvey Weinstein scandal that has rocked
Hollywood. 

Female journalists, in conversations with Business Insider, say
that a list of this nature is necessary to warn other
women and because women may otherwise hesitate to report
harassment to management for fear of retribution.



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These Science Cartoons Depict Our Terrifying and Thrilling Future

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


The Future is Coming. . .Soonish

The future is both thrilling and terrifying. It’s normal to feel both. That’s especially true in thinking about the role of technology. For every aspect of life in which technology could play a role, it’s not hard to envision a doomsday scenario (or two) arising from it.

When considering the fate of humanity, keen insight, inference, and humor go a long way. That’s what science-communicating husband and wife Zach and Kelly Weinersmith had in mind when they penned their new book SOONISH: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and / or Ruin Everything. Zach is a cartoonist best known best for his webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and Kelly is a biologist at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Their book, published this week by Penguin Press, uses science cartoons to take readers on a fun and fact-filled journey through ten technologies that will likely define our future, for better or worse.

SOONISH gets into topics from space travel and asteroid mining to singularity and swarm robots. Each chapter helps readers understand where we are now, where we hope to be headed (and the major challenges we need to overcome to get there), plus how, should these sci-fi visions become a reality, they could be amazing or terrible for humanity.

It wasn’t easy for the authors to narrow down the technologies to include in their book (and the authors mention some that didn’t make the cut in the book’s conclusion). Choosing our favorites to put in this piece wasn’t easy, either. Here are a few science cartoons to get you started; you’ll have to check out the Weinersmiths’ book for all 10.

Image Credit: Zach & Kelly Weinersmith/Penguin Press

The Future of: Space

Since we entered the first space race a half-century ago, technological progress has advanced by small steps and giant leaps, bringing those far-flung corners of the galaxy closer to our fingertips than they’ve ever been. The question of where to go next is limited primarily by what we can build to get us there.

As our natural resources continue to dwindle on Earth, some have suggested we should plan to move off-world if we want humanity to survive. Elon Musk has proposed plans to bring humans to Mars, but others suggest we colonize something a little closer to home first — specifically, the Moon. We, of course, have the technology required to get us there. But getting humans to the Moon, like all space travel, is not cheap, no matter whether or not humans are the cargo.

People with varying amounts of engineering knowledge have been thinking creatively about how we could affordably launch humans into space. SOONISH tackles the space elevator, first suggested by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895. According to a study published in the journal New Space in 2016, we’ll have the technology to develop the low-cost space travel alternative by 2030 — so long as the materials we need to construct them are developed in the interim.

Getting to previously unvisited planets or galaxies will require different tools. No matter if we get there via shuttle, rocket, elevator, or slingshot, the problem of ownership (by individuals or nations) will come up quickly, as the Weinersmiths point out. And if space travel suddenly becomes more reasonably priced, the real estate situation could get messy.

“The laws of space that are legally agreed upon essentially say that no nation can claim anything out there,” the Weinersmiths write. “We find it hard to believe that a nation with a space elevator would abide by that.”

The Future of: Robots

Robots are already exploring distant terrains in space, but robotics and artificial intelligence are making life on Earth easier, too. It’s no longer a question of when robots will alter our daily lives — it’s already happening. Robots can now be found almost anywhere, from the operating room to the humble smartphone.

The roles robots will have in the future is limited primarily by what we can invent, rather than what we can imagine. As artificial intelligence progresses, we may not have to think about new applications for it, but rather figure out how to rein it in.

The threat of automation is already looming in several industries, leaving human workers wondering what will happen if (or when) a robot takes their jobs. That leads to a more existential question: What if technology renders us obsolete?

That, at least, seems unlikely. What does seem more likely, though, is that humans and AI will augment each other’s capabilities. Take self-driving cars — autonomous vehicles have been shown to improve road safety, but as the Weinersteins ask in their book, “Who’s at fault when a machine messes up?” That is, if humans give objects agency, who’s to blame when things go wrong? The person who built the parts? Who coded the software? Who decided that objects should be granted agency in the first place?

The problem gets even knottier when we consider technology embedded inside the body, such as neural laces, which would make AI a physical part of us.

Things to Come: A Timeline of Future Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The Future of: AR/VR

Though technology like neural lace could alter the information the brain processes from the inside, augmented and virtual reality has already begun changing what seems real from the outside. So far, most of the applications for AR/VR are focused on entertainment — games like Pokemon Go proved that anyone with a smartphone can enter and engage with augmented reality. The potential for virtual and augmented reality to enhance everything from how we design cars to letting people “try on” a smile before receiving dental work.

“At its grandest, AR offers us the opportunity to remake the world the way it is in our imaginations,” the Weinersteins write.

VR could have similarly dramatic effects — that is, if anyone could design a VR headset that people would actually wear. The race has been going on for several years: Google Glass may have initially failed, but it’s made somewhat of a comeback, having found a new purpose as a wearable for workers in industries like healthcare and manufacturing that keep their hands busy. Earlier this month Facebook unveiled Oculus, the first standalone VR headset that might actually be affordable.

Scientists have been among the quickest to take advantage of the new technology; AR/VR headsets have already become invaluable research tools. Researchers at Oxford have developed a VR headset that allows biologists to model genetic data in 3D, giving them unprecedented insight into how genes interact. And for the users for whom biology is just a hobby, there are apps like Curiscope’s Virtuali-Tee that lets anyone “see” inside their body — point a smartphone at a t-shirt and glimpse an augmented reality view of one’s internal organs.

Image Credit: Zach & Kelly Weinersmith/Penguin Press

The Future of: Medicine

AR/VR might help us peek in the body, but there are still many mysteries of our biology that science has yet to solve. Progress in medicine can only come from advances in both hard science and technology.

With precision medicine, physicians hope to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and even customized treatment. One force driving precision medicine is gene editing technology, like CRISPR/Cas9, which could help doctors better treat patients with afflictions from broken bones to metastatic cancer. As improved technology enables researchers to track more information that could indicate disease at its earliest stages, doctors could fine-tune diagnoses, improve treatment, and even prevent illnesses.

“As medicine becomes more and more personalized, and individual bodies become wellsprings of data, it may be possible to find diagnoses and even cures simply (“simply”) by combing through the information for patterns,” the Weinersmiths write.

In fact, there’s a good chance that many of us will see (if not directly benefit from) the work being done with gene editing in our lifetimes. CRISPR, the powerful gene modifying enzyme, has already been used to edit human embryos, giving researchers an unprecedented look at early human development. It’s helped scientists develop drugs that could curb antibiotic-resistant bacteria. About 20 clinical trials are exploring its potential to engineer immune cells that can target and kill cancer cells or to treat rare genetic disorders.

However, the power edit the human genome brings up ethical concerns, such as reducing the frequency of characteristics that some people find less desirable. At its extreme, the technique could be used to make “designer babies,” as some have feared for decades. The Food and Drug Administration has chosen to classify CRISPR as a drug, meaning it intends to highly regulate its use in humans. The technology is still in its infancy, so it’s not yet clear if the FDA will be successful. The technology is  here, but the ethics aren’t yet as developed yet: the question is not so much how can we edit specific traits from embryos— but should we?



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Bitcoin blows past $6,000 for the first time

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


(Reuters) — Bitcoin surged to a record high of more than $6,000 on Friday, pushing its market capitalization to $100 billion at one point, as investors continued to bet on an asset that has a limited supply and has paved the way for a whole slew of crypto-currencies.

The original virtual currency has gained over 500 percent this year, more than any other tradable asset class. Bitcoin though is very volatile – posting gains and losses as high as 26 percent and 16 percent respectively on any given day.

On Friday, bitcoin hit a record peak $6,000.10 BTC=BTSP on the BitStamp platform, and was last at $5,964.24, up 4.7 percent on the day.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that can either be held as an investment, or used as a foundation for future applications through the blockchain, its underlying technology. The blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions.

It is more scarce though than most people realize. The number of bitcoins in existence is not expected to exceed 21 million.

Analysts said it was a combination of factors that drove Friday’s surge in price.

Charles Hayter, co-founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare in London said hopes that China will soften its regulatory stance on crypto-currencies helped bitcoin’s cause.

“As China … fears fade, the price is unlocked and driven by demand and buyers entering the markets,” said Hayter.

Over the summer, China has banned the practice of raising capital through the sale of tokens to the public in what is known as initial coin offerings. It has also ordered the shutdown of digital currency exchanges.

But many in the market believe the Chinese ban is temporary.

“China would not want to be left out of the digital currency market nor the development of blockchain applications in general,” said Jason English, vice president of Protocol Marketing, at Sweetbridge, a global alliance in Zug, Switzerland that aims to use blockchain to create a liquid supply chain.

“As much as 60 percent of the world’s bitcoin mining is happening in China, and therefore, many of the large … investments in ICO projects have also been coming from crypto-currency holders in China, whether directly or indirectly,” English added.

Sean Walsh, a partner at venture capital firm Redwood City, Ventures in Redwood City, California, also believes investors have been going back into bitcoin given the still uncertain global regulatory environment on crypto-currencies.

A big part of bitcoin’s recent surge was the ICO craze, which exploded this year. Bitcoins and ether, another digital currency, are used to purchase tokens for ICOs.



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Huawei might release a foldable phone next year

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


As we look back at cell phones from the past couple of years, we can see several trends emerge. These range from dual-camera setups, to bezel-less designs, dropping the headphone jack, and more. The next trend we see might be foldable phones. ZTE recently released the Axon M and we know that Samsung is working on a foldable device too. So, who’s next? If you guessed Huawei, you might be right.

Speaking to CNET, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer group, Richard Yu confirmed that the company is currently working on a foldable phone. Though it is currently working on the device, it’s not yet ready for release. Yu said that it could be ready as early as next year, but it needs a better, more flexible screen technology and mechanical design.

We have two screens. But we still have a small gap [between the screens]. That’s not good, and we should get rid of that gap.

In addition to a foldable phone, Yu has his sights set on Samsung and Apple. Currently, Huawei sits as the number three phone-maker in the world, but it’s not getting complacent. When asked if Huawei will challenge for the title of biggest smartphone vendor, the answer was a resounding “yes”.

We will overtake them definitely. That’s our destiny. Maybe I’m not humble … but nobody can stop us.

One area that Huawei is looking to expand in is the United States. It does most of its business in Asia and Europe so it has plenty of room to grow here in the States. If it’s looking to grab that number one spot, taking a large portion of customers from Apple and Samsung in the US would be a good way to go about it. The company recently announced the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro and Mate 10 Porsche Design in an effort to do just that.



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The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments



A new vaccine under development provoked an immune response to 72 forms of the bacteria that’s responsible for pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. That’s up from the 23 forms of bacteria covered by current immunizations. The new vaccine, which represents the ‘most comprehensive’ coverage of pneumococcal disease to date, could greatly reduce the number of deaths from the disease.



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After Harvey Weinstein’s Fall, Spotlight Finds His Brother

| October 21, 2017 | 0 Comments


Yet Colony sees no future for Bob Weinstein at the company, should it emerge from this crisis, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were private.

Photo

Harvey, left, and Bob Weinstein used to work closely together, but in recent years, rancor between them grew to the point that they were barely speaking.

Credit
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

Last weekend, Bob Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter that his brother was “sick and depraved.” He also said that, until The New York Times, The New Yorker and others revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against his brother, he thought his sibling’s “philandering” with women involved “all consensual situations.”

But Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s former assistant, said she confronted him about his brother’s behavior over a quarter-century ago.

She was concerned about a young woman she supervised at Miramax, the film studio that the brothers started in the late 1970s. The woman had left the company after an encounter with Harvey Weinstein — fleeing so quickly that she never claimed the extra shoes under her desk, another former employee recalled. Ms. DeClesis said she later handed Bob Weinstein a letter from a lawyer representing the young woman, who eventually received a settlement.

“Your brother is a pig,” Ms. DeClesis remembers telling Bob Weinstein around the same time. She said she quit shortly afterward.

Bob Weinstein, who owns about 20 percent of the Weinstein Company, declined requests for an interview. His lawyer, Bert Fields, said, “Bob has no recollection of that happening.”

A few years ago, the TV writer Marti Noxon, an executive producer of shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” said that Bob Weinstein tried to persuade her to take on projects including a horror movie, and a remake of a robot film.

Ms. Noxon said she was not interested, but he badgered her on the phone and grew belligerent when she would not agree, telling her she was hurting her career. Ms. Noxon says she asked him why he was speaking to her that way.

“I don’t know if I really want to work with you, or if you’re just the girl who won’t” have sex with me, he said, using a vulgar term, according to Ms. Noxon.

Mr. Fields, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, said there was “nothing belligerent or pressuring in his conversations” with Ms. Noxon, “and it sure as hell had nothing to do with sex.”

People who have worked for Bob Weinstein, a twice-divorced father of four and avid New York Jets fan, describe him as a number cruncher. He focused on projects with more commercial potential than his older brother, overseeing films like “Spy Kids” and “Bad Santa” through the company’s Dimension Films label. Though known to have a volcanic temper, he also fostered loyalty among a small group of staff members and has a reputation as a homebody.

Pantea Ghaderi, a spokeswoman for Dimension, said she and others at the company were “shocked and sickened” to read the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.

“I have been lucky enough to get to know Bob closely for years now,” Ms. Ghaderi, who has reported to Bob Weinstein for nearly a decade, said in an email. “He has always shown me the utmost respect as a boss, mentor and friend.”

But one woman, a television writer named Amanda Segel, came forward this week to claim that Bob Weinstein harassed her.

Last summer, as Ms. Segel was working as an executive producer of “The Mist,” a Weinstein Company series, he asked her to dinner at Dan Tana’s in West Hollywood. Ms. Segal said he asked her to sit closer in the booth and dropped hints that he would like to date her. At the end of the night he said, “I’m a hugger,” and embraced her, Ms. Segel recalled in a phone interview. (Variety first reported her harassment allegation.)

More invitations followed. In a July 2016 email reviewed by The Times, Ms. Segel told the creator of “The Mist,” Christian Torpe, that she found Bob Weinstein’s attention “super creepy.” Mr. Torpe responded, “That is not O.K., in any way.” A few weeks later, Ms. Segel said she told colleagues that she was being sexually harassed and asked her lawyer to complain to the Weinstein Company. The contact stopped.

Mr. Fields said that Ms. Segel’s account was “riddled with false and misleading assertions.” He added, “There’s no way any fair-minded person could label this — even if you were to believe it — as sexual harassment.”

In emails between Bob Weinstein and Ms. Segel that were shared with The Times by Mr. Fields, the two seem to have a friendly rapport. “Last night was delightful,” Ms. Segel wrote in one.

But there was also some awkwardness. In making one of his dinner invitations, Bob Weinstein wrote, “If u can’t do that, then your fired!!! Oh I forgot, we are supposed to be friends. Ha!” (Mr. Fields said that Mr. Weinstein was joking and that Ms. Segel appeared to take it as a joke.)

Jeffrey Katzenberg, who orchestrated the Walt Disney Company’s $80 million purchase of Miramax in 1993, said in a phone interview that Bob Weinstein was sometimes more aggressive than his brother in dealings with Disney. Although declining to give specifics, Mr. Katzenberg said, “I once said to him, ‘If you ever talk to somebody at my studio that way again, it’s over. You’re finished here.’”

Bob Weinstein came into his own in 1996, when Dimension backed Wes Craven’s “Scream,” which cost about $15 million to make and collected $173 million worldwide, spawning a franchise. Dimension hit again in 2000, when the horror spoof “Scary Movie,” which cost $19 million to make, took in $278 million.

When the brothers left Disney in 2005 to found the Weinstein Company, they took Dimension with them.

But only one Dimension film in recent years has taken in more than $39 million at the domestic box office: “Paddington,” a family movie, collected $76.3 million in 2015; a sequel is planned for January.

Bob Weinstein and his Dimension team are based on Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan, a two-minute walk from the Greenwich Street offices occupied by Harvey Weinstein.

In recent years, according to employees and public comments by Bob Weinstein, they barely spoke to each other. When they were forced to interact, they sometimes resorted to yelling. “You need me more than I need you!” Harvey Weinstein snarled at his brother at one meeting over the summer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Within the past year, the brothers agreed to split up the company, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plan. Bob Weinstein would take Dimension; Harvey would take the Oscars-focused Weinstein Company film unit. The agreement expired last month and was contingent on a sale of the television division, which never happened.

Now, with a sale to Colony perhaps imminent, the Weinstein Company may be facing a future without either brother.

But Mr. Fields, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, dismissed that notion. “Bob is going to be a key part of the new company when it’s reconstituted,” he said. “Bob expects to be the key guy.”

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Sea Lilies on Twitter Are Mesmerizing … And Not What They Seem

| October 20, 2017 | 0 Comments



 


 


Odd-looking and gracefully mesmerizing plant-animal creatures are having a moment on Twitter: Some look like swimming feather dusters or fluffy, undulating mops. Others look like seaweed or the kind of plastic plants that decorate the aquariums in dentists’ waiting rooms.


But what they are is much, much weirder.


Crinoids, also known as feather stars or sea lilies, are animals, despite their plant-like appearance. They’ve been around for at least 490 million years, and possibly more than 500 million, according to the Kansas Geological Survey. (As the long-ago site of a shallow inland sea, Kansas boasts numerous crinoid fossils.)


Though these creatures came into the spotlight on Twitter only recently, thanks to GIFs and images posted by diving enthusiasts, sea lilies’ real heyday was between about 359 million and 323 million years ago, during what geologists call the Mississippian period. Sea levels were high during this time, creating shallow oceans over the northern continents. It was paradise for crinoids, which reached their peak level of diversity during this time, according to a 2006 paper in the journal Palaios. About 250 million years ago, though, nearly all crinoid species died in the Permian mass extinction, in which 95 percent of life on Earth also died off. A “skeleton crew” of crinoid lineages survived, however, according to a 2014 analysis of sea life after the die-off.  


From this skeleton crew arose the crinoids that still ply the oceans today. They’re most common in relatively shallow waters, but can thrive at depths of up to 29,578 feet (9,000 meters), where varieties that attach themselves to the ocean floor via a long stalk have been discovered. These sessile, or nonmobile, crinoids are known as sea lilies.


Versions that swim freely are more often called feather stars. Like sea stars, these creatures are echinoderms, a group of marine animals that are usually radially symmetrical, like a wagon wheel or many types of flowers. The animals feed by filtering tiny particles out of the water, and they reproduce by releasing sperm or eggs out into the current. Fertilization produces larvae that swim freely for a few days and then, in most species, attach themselves via stalk to the ocean floor.

A feather star, a type of crinoid, undulates through the water.

A feather star, a type of crinoid, undulates through the water.

Credit: Ktomy/Shutterstock


Sea lily varieties stay tied down, but feather stars regain a little bit of mobility as they grow up. Some can creep along the ocean floor with tentacle-y legs called cirri. Others flutter through the water, propelling themselves by moving their feeding arms like bunch of synchronized feather boas. 


Crinoids don’t do well in aquariums, according to a 2013 article in Advanced Aquarist magazine. Their stalks and arms are too fragile and tend to tear apart when handled, meaning that it’s difficult to collect or ship the animals without injuring them. Feeding them in an aquarium is all but impossible, given that different species require different types of food in quantities large enough to destroy a tank’s water quality, according to the Advanced Aquarist article. 


To see a crinoid up close, then, requires either scuba diving or rock hounding. Crinoids were so abundant during the Paleozoic era (which started 544 million years ago and ended with the Permian mass extinction) that their fossils are everywhere. North American and European limestones laid down in the Mississippian period are a fertile fossil-hunting source. The fossils can also be found in rocks dating from the Pennsylvanian period (323 million to 290 million years ago) and the Permian (298 million to 250 million years ago).


Many crinoid fossils preserve just the stem in a variegated cylinder about the diameter of a pencil. Other fossils preserve the arms in an elaborate flower-like design. Ancient crinoids could grow to massive sizes. According to the fossil-sale website Fossil Era, the largest fossil crinoid ever discovered had a stem 130 feet (40 m) long. 


Original article on Live Science





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Attack on policemen in Ingushetia.

| October 20, 2017 | 0 Comments


Three policemen were injured at a post in the village of Yandare in Ingushetia. Magomed Miziev tried to crush the police with a car, then attacked them with a knife.The attacker was eliminated. Two policemen in the intensive care unit, the third received minor injuries.



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