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05-26-2016 Politics
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Rebuffs Report’s Criticism of Email Use

WASHINGTON — The Clinton campaign on Wednesday released a 203-word statement largely dismissing the criticisms in the inspector general’s report on the email practices of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It reprised many of the arguments Mrs. Clinton has made throughout the 14-month drama over her use of a personal email and server. Now, though, the statement can be compared directly with the findings in the 79-page report.

From the statement: “The inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email.”

Only one other secretary of state — Colin L. Powell — exclusively used his personal email for official communications. Condoleezza Rice said she did not use personal or government email. Madeleine K. Albright did not use email, which was in its infancy when she was in the job. Secretary of State John Kerry said he occasionally used personal email, mostly to reply to people who emailed him on his personal account. But the report said that after discussing the issue with his aides and other staff members, “he began primarily using his department account to conduct official business.”

“The report shows that problems with the State Department’s electronic record-keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor.”

The report does acknowledge chronic issues with record keeping at the State Department. But it also traces how regulations were modified in the years between Ms. Albright and Mrs. Clinton to make sure digital communications were preserved for federal archives. More than once, State Department officials proposed setting up an official email address for Mrs. Clinton — in part so she could use two BlackBerrys. Her aide Huma Abedin rejected that, telling her colleagues, “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

“Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the secretary’s server.”

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Source: The New York Times

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05-26-2016 Politics
Eleven states sue Obama administration over bathroom guidance for transgender students

Eleven states and state officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Obama administration over federal guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that the guidance “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”

State officials have hinted they might file a legal challenge since the Obama administration released a letter earlier this month from the Justice Department and the Education Department that the federal agencies said was in response to questions from schools around the country.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement when the letter was released. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

In that letter, the two agencies cited Title IX, which prohibits sexual discrimination at educational facilities that receive federal funding, and said that this extended to how schools treat transgender students. The lawsuit filed Wednesday argues that the Obama administration was “officially foisting its new version of federal law” on schools and accuses federal officials of seeking “to rewrite Title IX by executive fiat.”

[Read the lawsuit here]

This lawsuit — which bears the names of nine states as well as a governor and another state’s education department — is the first filed in response to the administration’s letter. Although some politicians, parents, elected officials and school districts embraced the directive, others aggressively argued against it and said the administration was overstepping its authority.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) almost immediately said his state would fight the letter because President Obama is “not a king.” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, accused Obama of trying to “bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms” and vowed a legal fight.

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Source: Washington Post

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
Report: Apple interested in charging station technology for powering rumored electric vehicle

If Apple is going to produce an electric vehicle like Tesla, then naturally Apple will want to provide customers with a way to recharge away from home without relying on infrastructure from third parties. Reuters now reports that Apple is showing interest in such charging stations as it’s talking to existing companies and hiring engineers with experience in building them.

Specifically, the report shares that Apple is simply exploring the technology behind charging stations that would be used to power its electric vehicle for customers:

Apple is now asking charging station companies about their underlying technology, one person with knowledge of the matter said. The talks, which have not been reported, do not concern charging for electric cars of Apple employees, a service the company already provides. They indicate that Apple is focused on a car, the person added.

If Apple’s rumored electric vehicle does materialize, it makes sense that Apple would want to put its force behind a charging solution outside of the home. Charging stations essentially replace gas stations in the EV equation and it’s still very early days for charging station availability.

Specifics beyond Apple’s interest in charging stations are unclear for now, however, as it’s possible Apple could produce its own system like Tesla’s Supercharger network, which is considered one of Tesla’s greatest assets, or help fund third-party charging stations without its own official presence. The current stages of exploration reported indicate that Apple is looking for data around charging stations, but companies are naturally reluctant to share as Apple could become a competitor.

As for Apple’s EV effort, codenamed Project Titan, the latest report claims Apple has recently been scouting an 800,000 square foot space for the rumored car team, which now includes around 600 employees. 9to5Mac profiled several key hires to the Apple Car project in early 2015.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has openly acknowledged rumors that Apple is looking to compete in the future as well, often calling news that Apple is working on an electric vehicle an “open secret” that will be “compelling” when it materializes. An ongoing poaching war between the two companies hasn’t helped hide the effort.

As for when to expect to see anything solid from the Apple Car project, reports initially pointed to 2020 as the year for Apple Car, although later reports suggest that the project has possibly been moving faster and could be announced officially a year sooner.

Earlier this year, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to questions about the rumored project by saying it’ll be ‘Christmas Eve for a while’ for anyone waiting on major new areas for Apple. When asked specifically about the project in a separate appearance, Cook explained that Apple explores lots of areas but is only committed to new products when the company puts a lot of money behind it.

Source: 9TO5 Mac

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
T-Mobile Releases Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 6.0 Marshmallow Software Update, Verizon, AT&T Next

T-Mobile has officially announced the rollout of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow software update to users of the Samsung Galaxy S5 on its network.

The carrier is the second of the big four U.S. networks to release the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to the device, leaving Verizon and AT&T to follow.

"Beginning May 23, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will have a software update to Android version 6.0.1/ Baseband G900T3UVU1GPE1 OR G900TUVU1GPE1 via Wi-Fi or Samsung Smart Switch for PC. This update provides new features," states T-Mobile.

Users of the 2-year-old former Samsung flagship can access the update manually by visiting their settings menu, or wait for the update to roll out OTA.

At the end of March, Samsung began rolling out the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to the international version of the Galaxy S5, and Sprint soon followed with the upgrade for its customers.

Sprint also released Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the Galaxy S5 Sport, the more rugged version of the handset that closely mirrors the specs and design details of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, which is exclusive to AT&T.

It looks like once again, AT&T is bringing up the rear in getting the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to its customers, along with Verizon, which has also yet to release the software upgrade.

There's no word on when Verizon and AT&T will release their versions of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to the Galaxy S5. AT&T in particular has been late to the party in terms of Marshmallow upgrades recently, having just released the software to the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge well after its competitors did so.

We'll keep you updated on any details regarding the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for the Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon and AT&T.

Source: Tech Times

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05-26-2016 Cars

I just spent an afternoon driving the brand new Porsche 911 Carrera S through the redwood forests outside of Fort Bragg, deep in the emerald crown of California. It's impossible to write that sentence without feeling like a jerk, because unless you were on that launch you didn't spend the afternoon driving the brand new Porsche 911 through a redwood forest. And unless you’re Drake, or your last name is Dicaprio or Gronkowski, there's just no way your life could have been any better for those fleeting six hours.

Let me try to explain to you the dizzying sensation. If you’re lucky, you have been blessed at some point to experience the visceral fusion of driver and machine, dependent on the specialness of that machine. Your McLarens, Ferraris, Lambos, Bentleys, etc, holding top billing. Even more rare, however, are those moments where you get to experience one of these superior cars on roads that allow them to offer up all the delicious fruits of their engineering.

And such is Route 128, which slices from Yountville to Albion as it carves an asphalt ribbon through the towering, majestic pillars of the redwood forest. The road is dark from the shadows, dappled with light beams that pierce through the vertiginous canopy above. And along on this high contrast, twisting chiaroscuro you row through seven gears of the 911’s manual transmission, summoning varying bursts of power from the latest itineration of Porsche’s famed high-revving flat-six engine.

The 911 has existed since 1963, religiously retaining its basic shape and rear-mounted engine setup. As it has evolved, slowly growing in dimension, the 911 lost its beloved air-cooled setup and replaced it with water coolers. While still one of the most lauded vehicles of all time, Porsche has rankled zealots with “advancements” like its electronic steering — a required modern update that nevertheless eliminated the storied Porsche steering feel in 2011. This is not just gearhead minutia; it defined one of the world’s finest driving experiences.


The steering feel on this Carrera S has been greatly improved since that first somewhat numb electric steering, although it still lacks the connected, unfiltered communication that only comes from direct mechanics linking the steering wheel with the front axle. Some drivers may complain it still suffers from lack of feel, but what I experienced carving through those redwoods was a gorgeous sensitivity, as emotive as the rumbling soundtrack emanating from the twin exhaust tips in the rear.

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Source: Maxim

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05-26-2016 Politics
New Taliban leader vows: No peace talks; 'terror on enemies' will continue

(CNN)The new Afghan Taliban leader has told commanders and the group's supreme leadership council that there will be no peace talks with the Afghan government, a source in the group reached through an intermediary said Wednesday.

The source said that Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, newly appointed to lead the terror group after a U.S. drone strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour, will follow the militant policies espoused by founder Mullah Omar, killed in Pakistan in 2013. The source said that the appointment of Akhundzada "will bring back the era of Mullah Mohammad Omar," referring to the one-eyed mujahedeen commander who led the group from its inception in 1994, with "a simple life, loyalty, and terror on enemies." The Taliban has made strong battlefield gains against government forces in recent months, driving back Afghan troops from key positions and launching a string of bombings in Kabul. On Wednesday, as the new leader was announced, the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the capital that killed 10 people and injured four others, including two children. OPINION: Challenges for new Taliban leader However, Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, a founding member of the Taliban who lives in Kabul and says he knows the new leader, told CNN that he is an educated and well-respected man, with more clerical and judicial experience than military, and brokering a peace with him could be easier than Mansour.

Natural choice

The new Taliban leader belongs to the Noorzai tribe and is in his late 50s -- although the Taliban claim he is 47 years old -- and hails from the Taliban heartland in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, according to Agha. He became Mullah Mansour's deputy when he succeeded Mullah Omar, and subsequently took an active part in the day-to-day running of the movement, playing a key role in negotiating a ceasefire with a dissident Taliban faction earlier this year. The senior religious cleric, who hails from its founding generation and was active in the 1980s mujahedeen struggle against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, is seen as a uniter and his appointment shows the Afghan militant group hopes it will avoid succession disputes, analysts say. Akhundzada was the "natural choice" to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Saturday, said Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts' Network.

Mullah Omar's presence looms large Along with the stated desire to return to the hardline policies of the group's founder, a statement announcing his appointment also names Mullah Omar's son, Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoob, in a deputy role.

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Source: CNN

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France

In February 1990, thanks to a 15-year-old boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski, footsteps echoed through the chambers of Bruniquel Cave for the first time in tens of thousands of years.

The cave sits in France’s scenic Aveyron Valley, but its entrance had long been sealed by an ancient rockslide. Kowalsczewski’s father had detected faint wisps of air emerging from the scree, and the boy spent three years clearing away the rubble. He eventually dug out a tight, thirty-meter-long passage that the thinnest members of the local caving club could squeeze through. They found themselves in a large, roomy corridor. There were animal bones and signs of bear activity, but nothing recent. The floor was pockmarked with pools of water. The walls were punctuated by stalactites (the ones that hang down) and stalagmites (the ones that stick up).

Some 336 meters into the cave, the caver stumbled across something extraordinary—a vast chamber where several stalagmites had been deliberately broken. Most of the 400 pieces had been arranged into two rings—a large one between 4 and 7 metres across, and a smaller one just 2 metres wide. Others had been propped up against these donuts. Yet others had been stacked into four piles. Traces of fire were everywhere, and there was a mass of burnt bones.

These weren’t natural formations, and they weren’t the work of bears. They were built by people.

Recognizing the site’s value, the caver brought in archaeologist Francois Rouzaud. Using carbon-dating, Rouzaud estimated that a burnt bear bone found within the chamber was 47,600 years old, which meant that the stalagmite rings were older than any known cave painting. It also meant that they couldn’t have been the work of Homo sapiens. Their builders must have been the only early humans in the south of France at the time: Neanderthals.

The discovery suggested that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for. They wielded fire, ventured deep underground, and shaped the subterranean rock into complex constructions. Perhaps they even carried out rituals; after all, there was no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave, so what else were the rings and mounds for?

Rouzaud would never know. In April 1999, while guiding colleagues through a different cave, he suffered a fatal heart attack. With his death, work on the Bruniquel Cave ceased, and its incredible contents were neglected. They’ve only now re-entered the limelight because Sophie Verheyden went on holiday.

“When I announced the age to Jacques, he asked me to repeat it because it was so incredible.”

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Source: The Atlantic

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05-26-2016 Science&Technology
Bendable smartphones coming this year, Chinese start-up says

A little-known start-up in China is gunning to be the first to sell bendable smartphones this year, seeking to upstage Samsung, which has started to dabble in flexible-screen technology.

Moxi Group, based in Chongqing, says it will ship 100,000 of the devices in 2016. They are, at the very least, unique. The phones, which will sell for about 5000 yuan ($1062) apiece, are designed to be rolled into a bracelet and worn on the wrist. The touchscreens work when curled up, or can be unfurled into rectangles to use just like any other smartphone. For now, the gadgets will only feature black and white displays, with a colour version to follow later. Still, that gives Moxi enough bragging rights to beat out other smartphone makers in being first to release bendable products.

"Black and white phones are much easier to make," said Chongsheng Yu, Moxi's executive vice president. "The colour model power usage is also much higher than that of the black and white unit. We'll sell in China and if there's demand overseas, we'll look into it." The wobbly screens are based on graphene technology, where carbon atoms are arranged in a specific pattern to make them more conductive and resilient. Instead of putting all the smartphone's parts behind the flexible screen, Moxi crammed the battery, processor and the other components into one end of the gadget. That enables the display to almost bend into a full circle. A key question is how good the screen will be. "If they're using flexible e-ink then it's a real loser," said Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Canada, which showed off its own prototype of a bendable phone using the technology five years ago. "It was the only flexible technology we could get, but the colours are poor, the contrasts are poor and you can't play videos on it."

Yu said the bendable phone is based on e-ink, which is also used in Amazon's Kindle devices, but it's superior to what's been seen before because it uses better touchscreen capabilities. Still, the desire to find a new hit product is fuelling efforts to introduce bendable phones. Moxi, whose official corporate name is Chongqing Graphene Tech Co., is seeking to make the most of a technology that could eventually help to boost sales in a market that's starting to decelerate.

"If you make a working, bendable phone then it's a massive market," said Aravind Vijayaraghavan, a graphene researcher at Manchester University. "If they're going to release it commercially this year I'd be thoroughly impressed. If you have a low-resolution black and white screen that is not terribly reliable, then that's not a commercial prospect."

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Tech Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Reuters

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

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

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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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

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

Video: Koenigsegg One:1 Testing on the Nurburgring

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Recombu

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Spaceflight Insider

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