Blog Rolls

Room to Breathe: My Quest to Clean Up My Home's Filthy Air

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 07:00
Poor indoor air quality causes serious health issues. Things can be improved with determination to sniff out the cause of the problem—and some pricey hardware.
Categories: Just News

Forget Earth: In Space, Libertarian Ideas Are Thriving

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 07:00
Space entrepreneurs tend to share a fondness for libertarian principles. So before checking into your space hotel, be sure to read your Heinlein.
Categories: Just News

China's AI Unicorns Can Spot Faces. Now They Need New Tricks

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 07:00
Companies such as Megvii thrived on government contracts for facial recognition, but they face challenges from US sanctions to cheaper tech.
Categories: Just News

How The House Prescription Drug Plan Would Try To Lower Drug Prices

Lawmakers are voting Thursday on a bill to rein in drug costs. President Trump has vowed to veto it. But the plan shares a lot with other bipartisan efforts. Here's how it would work.

(Image credit: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Trump Still Faces 3 Lawsuits Over His Business Empire

The suits allege that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution — and demand that the president divest from his private dealings.

(Image credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Attorneys For Boston Marathon Bomber To Appeals Judges: Trial Was Not Fair

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015. On Thursday his attorneys will argue, among other things, that the jury was biased and Tsarnaev couldn't get a fair trial in Boston.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Just News

House Expected To Move One Big Step Closer To Impeaching Trump Thursday

Democrats control the Judiciary Committee, so Thursday's vote is considered a fait accompli, but it moves the articles of impeachment to a full House vote.

(Image credit: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

A Construction Company Embraces Frank Talk About Mental Health To Reduce Suicide

The suicide of a construction worker in 2014 became a pivotal event for the Denver-based company that employed him. The death led management to make mental health care a part of the workplace culture.

(Image credit: Yuki Noguchi/NPR)

Categories: Just News

The Year in Pictures 2019

The New York Times – “So much of the year’s news played out in the streets. Week after week, protesters poured onto the wide boulevards of Hong Kong, where the photographer Lam Yik Fei seemed to be everywhere. Brexit drew tens of thousands into the streets of London. A subway fare increase was the final spark that led to protests in Santiago, Chile, and people heaved makeshift bombs along a bridge linking Venezuela and Colombia. The tumult of mass gatherings produced some of the year’s most powerful pictures. But a quiet image of two people stood out as perhaps the saddest: Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez lay with his arm limply draped over his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, their lifeless bodies locked together on the banks of the Rio Grande, where they drowned trying to cross from Mexico into the United States.
Every year the photo editors of The New York Times cull through 365 days of photographs in an attempt to recapture and visually distill the year. The result is this collection of images, a visual chronicle of violence, political power struggles, climate catastrophes, mass shootings and a few poignant scenes of everyday life. Some stories were obvious in their photographic power. The wildfires that erupted across California seemed urgent and frightening. Blazes destroyed large parts of the Amazon rainforest. And the entire roof of the 850-year-old Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire, and came perilously close to bringing down the medieval structure. By comparison, Washington’s power struggles mostly eluded the camera. The intrigue that may lead to the impeachment of an American president — the biggest domestic story of this year and probably the next — took place over secret phone calls and behind the closed doors of the Oval Office. Nonetheless, our photographers Doug Mills, Erin Schaff and Damon Winter made subtle and telling images of a process often obscured by political maneuvering and stagecraft…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Harvey Weinstein Reaches Tentative $25 Million Deal To Settle Sex Claims

It isn't clear how many of Weinstein's accusers will agree to the deal. He still faces criminal charges in New York next month for sexually assaulting two women.

(Image credit: Mark Lennihan/AP)

Categories: Just News

Why every website wants you to accept its cookies

Vox/Recode: “…cookies are pieces of information saved about you when you’re online, and they track you as you browse. So say you go to a weather website and put in your zip code to look up what’s happening in your area; the next time you visit the same site, it will remember your zip code because of cookies. There are first-party cookies that are placed by the site you visit, and then there are third-party cookies, such as those placed by advertisers to see what you’re interested in and in turn serve you ads — even when you leave the original site you visited. (This is how ads follow you around the internet.) The rise of alerts about cookies is the result of a confluence of events, mainly out of the EU. But in the bigger picture, these alerts underscore an ongoing debate over digital privacy, including whether asking users to opt in or opt out of data collection is better, and the question of who should own data and be responsible for protecting it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

George Laurer, Who Developed the Bar Code, Is Dead at 94

The New York Times – “George J. Laurer, whose design of the ubiquitous vertically striped bar code sped supermarket checkout lines, parcel deliveries and assembly lines and even transformed human beings, including airline passengers and hospital patients, into traceable inventory items, died on Dec. 5 at his home in Wendell, N.C., near Raleigh. He was 94…The Universal Product Code made its official debut in 1974 when a scanner registered 67 cents for a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio. (The package of gum is now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.) “It was cheap and it was needed,” Mr. Laurer told The New York Times in 2009. “And it is reliable.” The concept that replaced price tags and revolutionized commerce had evolved over several decades, the result of fluky coincidences and the expertise of several collaborators…The bar code sped checkout lines by some 40 percent, eliminated labor-intensive placement of price tags on every product, and resulted in fewer register errors and more efficient inventory controls. But Mr. Laurer often said that he was amazed at how omnipresent it became…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Think you can’t escape Google? You haven’t seen anything yet

FastCompany – The future of Google is post-phone, post-Internet, ambient computing all around you. “…The news of today is that Google is repositioning an open source technology it developed called Flutter to have a bigger scope. It’s a software development kit that allows designers to build an app UI just once, and then use that UI on platforms like Android, iOS, or the web without needing to rebuild it or recode it. Flutter allows rich, animated interfaces to be transferred between devices—which has led a million developers to adopt it since 2018. If you’ve played the New York Times crossword puzzle on a phone, or tried Realtor.com’s app, you’ve experienced Flutter without even realizing it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Second Federal Judge Blocks Plan To Use Pentagon Funds For Border Wall

The Trump administration insists it has the legal authority, under an emergency proclamation, to redirect defense funds away from other projects and spend the money on the border wall.

(Image credit: Evan Vucci/AP)

Categories: Just News

Federal Judge In Texas Blocks Trump Plan To Use Military Funds On Border Wall

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit arguing the president overstepped his authority in diverting funds to the border wall which were appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

(Image credit: Evan Vucci/AP)

Categories: Just News

Learning at work is work and we must make space for it.

MIT Sloan Management Review Magazine Winter 2019 -“The event was running over, the car was waiting, but the keynote speaker did not seem to mind. He was enjoying fielding questions from a large auditorium packed to the rafters with executives, aspiring entrepreneurs, and management students. “Get ready for an age in which we are all in tech,” he had told them, “whether you work in the tech industry or not.” The moderator called for one last question. “What’s the best way to get ready?” a woman asked. “Be great at learning,” he said without hesitation. “The moment you stop learning is the moment you begin to die.” Calls for learning have long been common at corporate retreats, professional conferences, and similar gatherings. But with the furious pace of change that technology has brought to business and society, they have become more urgent.1 Leaders in every sector seem to agree: Learning is an imperative, not a cliché. Without it, careers derail and companies fail. Talented people flock to employers that promise to invest in their development whether they will stay at the company or not.2 And companies spend heavily on it. By one estimate, in 2018, corporate outlays on learning and development initiatives topped $200 billion.

Despite the lofty statements and steep investments, however, learning at work remains complicated. People are ambivalent about it, if not outright resistant. We want to learn, but we worry that we might not like what we learn. Or that learning will cost us too much. Or that we will have to give up cherished ideas. There is often some shame involved in learning something new as an adult, a mentor told me at the start of my career. What if, in the process, we’re found lacking? What if we simply cannot pick up the knowledge and skills we need? I have spent two decades studying adult learning, helping companies design and deploy learning initiatives, and teaching and coaching thousands of high potentials and executives all over the world. And I have found that mentor’s words to be wise: Nothing truly novel, nothing that matters, is ever learned with ease…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Journalists imprisoned in 2019

“The number of journalists imprisoned globally for their work in 2019 remained near record highs, as China tightened its iron grip on the press and Turkey, having stamped out virtually all independent reporting, released journalists awaiting trial or appeal. Authoritarianism, instability, and protests in the Middle East led to a rise in the number of journalists locked up in the region — particularly in Saudi Arabia, which is now on par with Egypt as the third worst jailer worldwide. In its annual global survey, the Committee to Protect Journalists found at least 250 journalists in jail in relation to their work, compared with an adjusted 255 a year earlier. The highest number of journalists imprisoned in any year since CPJ began keeping track is 273 in 2016. After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, the worst jailers are Eritrea, Vietnam, and Iran…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Nude, Pin-Up-Style Portrait Of Emiliano Zapata Sparks Protests In Mexico City

The controversial painting depicts the revolutionary war hero naked, flirtatiously glancing over his left shoulder as he rides an aroused white stallion. His only wardrobe: a pink hat and heels.

(Image credit: Marco Ugarte/AP)

Categories: Just News

52 things I learned in 2019

Tom Whitehall – Medium – “This year I edited another book, worked on fascinating projects at Fluxx, and learned many learnings….[this is a terrific read – and I had a beloved budgie named Nigel – and the name fit him perfectly – he is missed…] [snipped from the list]

  • No babies born in Britain in 2016 were named Nigel. [Jonathan Ore]
  • Each year humanity produces 1,000 times more transistors than grains of rice and wheat combined. [Mark P Mills]
  • The maths of queuing are absolutely brutal and counter-intuitive. [John D Cook]
  • Emojis are starting to appear in evidence in court cases, and lawyers are worried: “When emoji symbols are strung together, we don’t have a reliable way of interpreting their meaning.” (In 2017, an Israeli judge had to decide if one emoji-filled message constituted a verbal contract) [Eric Goldman]
  • Harbinger customers are customers who buy products that tend to fail. They group together, forming harbinger zip codes. If households in those zip codes buy a product, it is likely to fail. If they back a political candidate, they are likely to lose the election. [Simester, Tucker & Yang]
  • A Python script, an Instagram account and quite a bit of free time can get you free meals in New York City. [Chris Buetti]
  • At least three private companies have fallen victim to ‘deep fake’ audio fraud. In each case, a computerised voice clone of the company CEO “called a senior financial officer to request an urgent money transfer.” [Kaveh Waddell, Jennifer A. Kingson]…”
Categories: Law and Legal

India Passes Controversial Citizenship Bill That Would Exclude Muslims

The legislation would fast-track citizenship for scores of other immigrants living in the country.

(Image credit: Anupam Nath/AP)

Categories: Just News

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