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01-17-2018 Science&Technology
Google's museum app finds your fine art doppelgänger

If you've ever wondered if there's a museum portrait somewhere that looks like you and you're ready to have your ego crushed, there's now an app for that. Google Arts & Culture's latest update now lets you take a selfie, and using image recognition, finds someone in its vast art collection that most resembles you. It will then present you and your fine art twin side-by-side, along with a percentage match, and let you share the results on social media, if you dare.

The app, which appears to be unfortunately geo-restricted to the United States, is like an automated version of an article that circulated recently showing folks standing in front of portraits at museums. In many cases, the old-timey people in the paintings resemble them uncannily, but, other than in rare cases, that's not the case at all with Google's app.

Google matched me with someone who doesn't look like me in the slightest, a certain Sir Peter Francois Bourgeois, based on a painting hanging in Dulwich Picture Gallery. Taking a buzz around the internet, other folks were satisfied with their matches, some took them as a personal insult, and many were just plain baffled, in that order, as presented below. From all that, it's pretty clear that deep learning systems like those from Google are great at matching individual details, but painfully miss the big picture.


Update: As some folks, like Twitter user @AndrewCBartlett have pointed out, and as the Google Arts & Culture app warns, the museum-matching feature appears to be limited to the United States. I was unknowingly able able to access it in France thanks to my always-on VPN, so that's another way to go. If it does work in any other nations, please do let us know in the comments.

Read Original Article     ON:   Engadget

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01-17-2018 Politics
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Children on President Trump: ‘Work on This Man’s Heart’

Martin Luther King Jr.’s children and the pastor of an Atlanta church where he preached decried disparaging remarks President Donald Trump is said to have made about African countries, while protests between Haitian immigrants and Trump supporters broke out near the president’s Florida resort Monday, the official federal holiday honoring King.

At gatherings across the nation, activists, residents and teachers honored the late civil rights leader on what would have been his 89th birthday and ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.

Trump marked his first Martin Luther King Jr. Day as president buffeted by claims that during a meeting with senators on immigration last week, he used a vulgarity to describe African countries and questioned the need to allow more Haitians into the U.S. He also is said to have asked why the country couldn’t have more immigrants from nations like Norway.

In Washington, King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticized Trump, saying, “When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”

He added, “We got to find a way to work on this man’s heart.”

In Atlanta, King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, told hundreds of people who packed the pews of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that they “cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America.”

“We are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny. … All of civilization and humanity originated from the soils of Africa,” Bernice King said. “Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father.”

Church pastor the Rev. Raphael Warnock also took issue with Trump’s campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”

Warnock said he thinks America “is already great … in large measure because of Africa and African people.”

Down the street from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, Haitian protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposing corners. Trump was staying at the resort for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Video posted by WPEC-TV showed several hundred pro-Haiti demonstrators yelling from one side of the street Monday while waving Haitian flags. The Haitians and their supporters shouted “Our country is not a shithole,” referring to comments the president reportedly made. Trump has said that is not the language he used. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Time

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01-17-2018 Politics
Palestinian officials vote to suspend recognition of Israel, security cooperation

JERUSALEM — Palestinian leaders on Monday voted to suspend recognition of Israel until it reciprocates by recognizing a Palestinian state and to cease security cooperation, as the political fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital escalated.

Members of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s central council made the recommendation during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where they had gathered to formulate their response to recent moves by Washington that have incensed the Palestinian leadership.

In addition to the Jerusalem decision, the Trump administration has also threatened to close down offices of the PLO in Washington and, according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, attempted to present a peace plan that gave them a suburb of Jerusalem as their capital, instead of the city’s eastern side. When Abbas said the United States could no longer be considered a fair broker for negotiations, the U.S. administration threatened aid cuts.

“He’s taken us hundreds of miles back,” said Qais Abd ­al-Karim, a Palestinian official who was present at the meeting. “The Trump decision on Jerusalem completely destroyed the immediate prospects of any peace process.”

In its declaration, the council said the Palestinians should no longer be bound by the Oslo accords, a set of agreements between Israel and the PLO signed in 1993. Those agreements set in place the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel, with the two sides sharing intelligence to thwart attacks. That cooperation should be stopped “in all forms,” the council’s statement said. The Palestinian Authority has threatened to make the move in the past, but has never carried through.

The recommendations were made to the PLO’s executive committee which still needs to implement them.

The council also called for a peace process based on the Arab Peace Initiative — which promises normalization of ties with Israel in return for a withdrawal to its 1967 borders — and said until the United States changes its stance on Jerusalem and settlements, any agreement should be rejected.

At the opening session on Monday, Abbas gave a fiery speech attacking President Trump, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Pro-Israel groups denounced it as incendiary and anti-Semitic, saying Abbas was denying the connection of the Jewish people to Israel.

Speaking in New Delhi, where he is traveling on a state visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas was serving Israel’s interests by lashing out.

“He exposed what we have been saying all the time, that the root of the conflict is the basic refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders,” he said, according to Israeli press ­reports.

Sufian Taha contributed from Jerusalem.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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01-17-2018 Sports
Olympian Simone Biles says she was abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar

Simone Biles, one of the most decorated gymnasts in Olympic history, publicly alleged Monday that she was also sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar.

“Most of you know me as a happy, giggly, and energetic girl. But lately … I’ve felt a bit broken,” the 20-year-old wrote in a statement she posted on Twitter. “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.”

Biles’s statement implied her abuse was similar to allegations made in lawsuits and public statements by more than 140 women, who have accused Nassar, under the guise of medical treatment, of probing and fondling without gloves, warning or permission. Before Nassar pleaded guilty to a series of sex crimes late last year, both he and his attorneys denied the allegations and maintained he was providing legitimate pain therapy.

“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust,” Biles wrote.

Biles, who won four gold medals and a bronze at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, is the third member of that team, dubbed “The Final Five,” to accuse Nassar of abuse, along with Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. McKayla Maroney, a gold medal-winning member of the 2012 Team USA women, and Jaime Dantzscher, a bronze medalist who competed at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, have also alleged abuse by Nassar.

Biles’s announcement came the day before the beginning of Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich., in which dozens of women are expected to read victim impact statements over the course of four days before a judge hands down a sentence for seven sexual assaults Nassar has admitted to as part of a plea deal. Nassar, 54, already faces a 60-year sentence for federal child pornography crimes and has one more sentencing hearing scheduled for later this month, for three more sexual assaults committed in another county in Michigan.

Raisman tweeted earlier Monday that she will not be attending Nassar’s sentencing “because it is too traumatic” but added that a letter will be read in court on her behalf. “I support the brave survivors,” she wrote. “We are all in this together.”

Nassar, a physician with a specialty in sports medicine, particularly gymnastics, worked full-time at Michigan State’s school of osteopathic medicine and treated young athletes at a campus clinic. He also volunteered for USA Gymnastics and treated Team USA women’s gymnasts at the Karolyi family ranch outside Houston and at competitions around the globe. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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01-17-2018 General
One of the Biggest Diamonds in History Has Just Been Dug Up

One of the biggest diamonds in history has been discovered in the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa.

Gem Diamonds Ltd. found the 910-carat stone, about the size of two golf balls, at its Letseng mine in the country. It’s a D color Type IIa diamond, which means it has very few or no nitrogen atoms and is one of the most expensive stones. The diamond is the fifth-biggest ever found.

The Letseng mine is famous for the size and quality of the diamonds it produces and has the highest average selling price in the world. Gem sold a 357-carat stone for $19.3 million in 2015 and in 2006 found the 603-carat Lesotho Promise.

“This exceptional top-quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letseng mine,” Chief Executive Officer Clifford Elphick said in a statement.

Gem did not say how it will sell the diamond or what it could be worth. Its value will be determined by the size and quality of the polished stones that can be cut from it. Lucara Diamond Corp. sold a 1,109-carat diamond for $53 million last year, but got a record $63 million for a smaller 813-carat stone it found at the same time in 2015.

“The pricing of diamonds is hugely variable and driven by a multitude of factors,” said Ben Davis, an analyst at Liberum Capital Markets. “But assuming that there are no large inclusions running through the diamond, we initially estimate a sale of $40 million.”

Gem’s mega discovery follows news last week that it had found 117-carat and 110-carat stones. It will be another boost for the company that dropped to a record low last year after prices for its stones fell and it was forced to close a new mine in Botswana. Gem rose as much as 18 percent, the biggest intraday gain since 2010, and traded at 93 pence by 9:06 a.m. in London.

The three large discoveries will raise investor confidence that the company has overcome a shortage of large stones and that it can recover the biggest diamonds without breaking them. Gem found at least seven stones bigger than 100 carats in 2017 and five the year before. It recovered a dozen exceeding 100 carats in 2015.

The biggest diamond discovered is the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria, in South Africa, in 1905. It was cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa, which are set in the Crown Jewels of Britain. Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona is the second-biggest, with the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone the third- and fourth-largest.

Read Original Article     ON:   Bloomberg

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01-17-2018 Cars
2019 Hyundai Veloster N wants to eat the Golf GTI

Clearly nobody told Hyundai that the Detroit Auto Show 2018 was being dominated by trucks and slick luxury sedans: the South Korean company instead brought the brand new 2019 Veloster and its crazy Veloster N. The regular Veloster is now available with both a regular and a turbocharged engine for those looking for more power. As for the Veloster N, that’s Hyundai’s attempt to out-play VW’s Golf GTI.

Whichever of the three you opt for, the oddball two-plus-one asymmetrical door configuration is carried over from the previous-generation Veloster. On one side, you get a front and a rear door. On the other, a front door alone.

Hyundai‘s argument remains that by putting two doors on the passenger side it makes loading passengers in and out more convenient. It also gives the Veloster its coupe-esque styling. At the front, that styling has been tautened up with a new, three-dimensional cascade grille, now flanked by both functional air curtain vents and available LED headlamps and daytime running lights.

The fenders and wheel arches have swollen compared to the old car, and the cowl point and A-pillar have been pushed back. Hyundai has lowered the roofline, too, while the fender line is also tweaked there’s an integrated diffuser in the rear. LED taillamps are an option, as is a darkened roof.

Read Original Article     ON:   Slash Gear

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01-17-2018 Science&Technology
Doubts About SpaceX Reliability Persist As Astronaut Missions Approach

We may never know the precise reason a billion-dollar spy satellite that was launched Jan. 7 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket failed to reach orbit. Everything about the mission except the launch itself was secret, so even after a root cause for the loss is identified, few details will be available to the public.

However, one thing can already be said for certain: the failed mission isn't going to help SpaceX overcome doubts about the reliability of its launch vehicles.

Founder Elon Musk got into the launch business to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space. With regard to cost, he has been spectacularly successful: SpaceX provides launch services at a price well below that of competitors, even state-subsidized offerors such as Europe's Arianespace.

With regard to reliability though, the jury is still out, and the evidence is ambiguous. Although SpaceX was quick to assert last week that its Falcon 9 performed as advertised, the secret "Zuma" satellite is the third payload sitting on a Falcon 9 that has been lost in four years. By way of comparison, United Launch Alliance, SpaceX's sole competitor in the military launch business, hasn't lost a single payload in 12 years and 124 missions.

ULA once again demonstrated its reliability on Jan. 12, lifting a different spy satellite into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. ULA is jointly owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, two companies with whom I have long relationships, so you might say I'm biased. But the statistics speak for themselves. The launch alliance hasn't seen a single major failure since it was created a dozen years ago; SpaceX has lately been averaging a major setback every year.

In 2015, a Falcon 9 cargo mission to the International Space Station exploded minutes after launch, costing NASA $110 million. In 2016, an Israeli commercial satellite was destroyed on the ground when supposedly routine fueling procedures went dramatically awry (the launchpad was damaged by that explosion). In 2017 the latest version of the company's Merlin rocket engine blew up at a testing facility in Texas.

And now SpaceX has begun 2018 with yet another catastrophe. Maybe SpaceX really isn't responsible for the latest failure; the problem might have been caused by a payload adapter that Northrop Grumman, the company that also built the lost satellite, supplied. But launch providers usually have final responsibility for tip-to-tail readiness before a rocket lifts off, and competitor ULA has successfully employed a variety of payload adapters to attach satellites to its rockets. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Forbes

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01-17-2018 Cars
First Look: The fifth-generation 2019 Toyota Avalon looks to deliver comfort, style and innovation

There is nothing wrong with being solid and comfortable. Heck. Just think about it: a nice cardigan, a comfortable pair of slippers. A pair of sweatpants. Am I right?

Comfortable is also the Toyota Avalon. Has been for four – now five – generations. With every passing model year, the Avalon chases a dream of being all things to its buyers: safe, quiet, roomy, an overall premium experience. With new technology and better mechanicals, the Avalon is gently updated every few years, adding more refinement with each reiteration. All of it without ostentatiousness. Avalon drivers don’t care if you think they’re special. They are special, and they know it.

Same goes for the 2019 Avalon. It’s been thoroughly updated in the right places this time, (except for no Android Auto), made better through technology, and with an added investment in the finery of automotive interiors. It’s a worthy fifth interpretation of a car built to be comfortable and consistent.

Innovative infotainment features, including Apple CarPlay and Entune 3.0

The last time I checked, Android owns 86.2 percent of the smartphone operating system market. And I’m betting that a fair slice of the full-size, near luxury sedan market is included in that percentage, which makes me wonder why Toyota would opt to offer only Apple CarPlay in the new 2019 Avalon. Hmm. According to Automotive News and a handful of mobile nerd sites, the reason is over legal wrangling about privacy, the control of data, and the simple fact that Toyota wants to own the experience.

No matter. Toyota says the Avalon will work with Alexa connectivity, which handles Apple and Android, so there’s that. And the fact that it has Apple CarPlay available is a first and notable move toward making the use of technology easier and more convenient for drivers.

That includes Toyota’s Entune 3.0, same system that currently sits in the Camry. For the Avalon, it offers a 9-inch touchscreen, app connections and a whole host of goodies, including standard wireless charging, connected services and an available Wi-Fi hot spot.

Otherwise, what you get for the most part with the 2019 Avalon is some notable new technology throughout the vehicle, an updated design, more expansive dimensions, and similar mechanicals to the Camry. That’s no surprise, as the Avalon sits on the same TNGA platform (and others). So like the Camry, it’s safe to assume that the drivability and the power of the car will improve.

New technology, new style and a more comfortable, quiet interior ...

Read Original Article     ON:   New York Daily News

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01-16-2018 Science&Technology
Intel Rolls Out Meltdown And Spectre Patches, Then Warns Against Installing Them Due To Glitches

Intel rolled out some patches to fix the dreaded Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, but it is now advising customers not to install these security updates.

Meltdown and Spectre are recently discovered significant design flaws in Intel chips that exposes users to the risk of their data being compromised by hackers.

Intel Meltdown And Spectre Patches Causing Random Reboots

Intel recently promised that all the necessary Meltdown and Spectre fixes will be rolled out by the end of January. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, however, said that users may experience performance slowdowns on their computers after applying the security updates, which is a warning that was also given by Microsoft for older computers running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The Meltdown and Spectre patches that Intel have so far released apparently do more than just degrade the speed of machines, though.

In a statement from Intel, the company's executive VP and general manager of the Data Center Group Navin Shenoy noted that there have been reports from certain customers of higher system reboots after the installation of firmware updates. The systems affected by the bugs are said to be the computers running on Intel's Broadwell and Haswel chips.

"We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue," Shenoy promised.

However, in the meantime, Intel is warning customers to hold off on installing the patches, according to e-mail acquired by The Wall Street Journal.

"It doesn't surprise me a lot that there would be some hiccups," said Paul Kocher, a security researcher who discovered some of the problems in Intel chips.

Applying the necessary patches to the CPU firmware is considered to be the most difficult task in providing protection against Meltdown and Spectre, compared to the operating system and internet browser patches that have already been released. The CPU firmware patches are also the most likely to slow down computer performance, but by exactly how much is still unclear.

The Danger Of The Meltdown And Spectre Vulnerabilities

Hackers may exploit the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities to steal sensitive data stored in computers and mobile devices through a side-channel analysis attack. This basically means that hackers can break into kernel memory and access the information inside, though that is supposedly the most secure area in a CPU.

The best course that users can follow for Meltdown and Spectre protection is to install the latest updates for their internet browsers and operating systems. Upgrading CPU firmware is also needed, but customers should all hold off on that for now, as per Intel's warning.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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01-16-2018 Science&Technology
Google Buys UK Startup That Turns Screens Into Speakers

Google acquired part or all of UK startup Redux in August 2017. The purchase went under the radar and only came to light now after clearing regulatory processes in the UK.

Redux is known for using vibrations to turn phone and tablet screens into speakers.

Getting Rid Of Speakers

This new mode of delivering sound could start the end of the speakers in phones. Redux's technology is able to turn screens or other surfaces into a speaker. The sound would be emitted from under the screen through actuators. Actuators create "bending waves," sounds and vibrations that turn the screen into a speaker.

Removing a speaker from smartphones would allow more space for other components, such as a larger battery, or make it more waterproof. This same technology can also be used for better haptic touch feedback on screens. Instead of focusing on just the feel of textures, Redux worked on better touch sensations for users.

The deal happened in August, but it was formally transferred in the UK according to regulatory filings. Even though Redux holds 178 patents, it never puts them in any major consumer products. Redux's website has already been taken down.

Google is currently trying to stay ahead with its recent hardware releases. So far, Google hasn't released a statement on the purchase of Redux.

Pixel 2 Sound Problems

Last year, after the release of Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, many users started complaining of sound problems with the phones. User were reporting buzzing or rattling sounds coming from the front-facing speakers of the phone. Issues with the sound quality would be present regardless of the device's volume.

That's not the only issue regarding playback with the Pixel 2. Some users experience clicking noises from the handset and malfunctions with the headphone jack. Complaints from customers fill Google's Forums and Reddit. There also issues with uneven sound coming from the top and bottom speakers of the phone.

Google still doesn't have a fix for the issue. The most suggested fix for the problem is to perform a factory reset by Google itself. The issue didn't hit users uniformly, with many reporting the issue at varying sound volumes. Videos were even posted showing off the buzzing.

Just like getting rid of the headphone jack for Apple was the next step in smartphones, getting rid of speakers may be the way that Google differentiates its phones from the market. Google's Pixel phones haven't made a big splash and are suffering from issues.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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01-16-2018 Cars
Ford past and future ‘intertwined’ at Detroit show

Detroit — Ford Motor Co. is leaning on history to drive the company forward.

And company leaders said as much with the new takes on legacy products unveiled Sunday at the Detroit auto show.

“We were the original transportation disruptor,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said during a press conference at the show. “(We) have reinvented our company many times over the last 114 years. Our heritage and our future are intertwined.”

The Dearborn-based automaker rolled out three vehicles Sunday — including a 475-horsepower limited-edition Mustang Bullitt and the 2019 Ranger — and announced plans for a hybrid F-150 and a battery electric performance Mach 1.

The company also announced an increased investment in electric powertrains. Ford plans to spend $11 billion to launch 40 new electric vehicles by 2022. That number includes 16 full battery electric vehicles; the rest will be hybrids.

The Blue Oval’s tweaked electric strategy gives a tangible glimpse of how the company is bridging its past with a future that some argue is going to be here sooner than anticipated. Part of the company’s North American plan seems to be to electrify nameplates people recognize in higher-margin segments.

“We think that electrifying the vehicles that we’re best known for, that really drive our business results, and making them electric is really what (CEO) Jim (Hackett) means by smart vehicles in a smart world,” Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, said Sunday after Ford made its North American International Auto Show announcements. “People want nice (electric) products. They want a higher-end product.”

Ford is leaning on the Blue Oval badge to drive the company into the future. The company said as much late last year when Hackett and his lieutenants presented plans for the company to the investment community in New York. The electrification plans, though vague, show that Farley and his team want to reinvent the brand’s storied products.

The company won’t have to work as convince buyers to choose a hybrid if the powertrain is stuffed in an F-150 — as long as Ford can prove there’s no change in performance. That’s the goal, based on comments made in recent months by Hackett and others.

Meantime, Ford is packing product into its existing lineup. The company this quarter launched a much-needed compact SUV in North America with the EcoSport. Ford leadership used the Detroit show to show a new performance-SUV, the Edge ST, which is the first in a news “series” of performance models.

Ford has trailed the competition in the growing segments EcoSport and Ranger will enter. But Farley said Sunday the company is well-positioned, and that Ford’s lineup is flush with fresh product that’s well-timed. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Detroit News

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01-16-2018 Business
Tesla is about to suffer the same fate as Ford

In the 20th century, General Motors outcompeted Ford.

Ford was the early innovator, but GM was able to improve on Ford's achievements to become dominant.

The same dynamic is now playing out between GM and Tesla, with electric cars and autonomous vehicles.

About a century ago, give or take a decade, the Ford Motor Company was the American carmaker. Its Model T was the first successful vehicle for everybody, and its founder, Henry Ford, was the greatest businessman in history, warts and all.

At the time, General Motors was a disorganized cluster of brands, while Ford was cranking away. That all changed when Alfred Sloan took over as GM's President in the 1920s. He restructured GM to be what we now recognize as the first professionally managed global conglomerate, the model of the modern corporation.

GM's brands became a strength as the company was able to market a car to customers of "every purse and purpose." The philosophy contrasted with Ford's, which was to sell you any car you wanted, as long as it was a black Model T.

Sloan's ideas and execution fit perfectly with the arrival of postwar American consumer culture. Ford obviously didn't vanish, but it was relegated to No. 2 status as GM took control of half the auto market at its peak in the 1950s.

Tesla arrives on the scene

In the ensuing decades, as the US market changed and became more competitive, a lot of GM hatred emerged. When the company finally had to be bailed out by the government and entered bankruptcy in 2009, there was a thinly disguised sense of glee in some quarters. GM was an evil empire, and its merciless ways had finally caught up with it.

Interestingly, as GM was entering Chapter 11, Tesla was barely escaping its own insolvency. A few years later, it would launch its Model S sedan, with clear evocations of the Model T in the name. And in 2010, both GM and Tesla would stage IPOs.

Tesla's stock is up over 1,000%, while GM is up ... 34%, with much of that coming in the past year after a long period when shares went nowhere.

Tesla looks like the big winner, while GM looks like the also-ran, and that's the narrative that Tesla fans and devotees of "disruption" have seized upon. Gene Munster, a former analyst-turned-venture capitalist, has argued that Tesla could capture 65% of the US market, selling 11 million vehicle annually.

That's a nonsensical overstatement, but it summarizes the crazed enthusiasm around Tesla's prospects.

Naturally, it overlooks competition — and conveniently, too, because if Tesla gets bigger, it will have to compete more broadly in the US car market, where competition is brutal. GM is the biggest player in the market, and it has just a 20% share.

Tesla takes on all the risk, but doesn't get all the rewards ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Business Insider

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01-11-2018 Science&Technology

Intel has had a very bad week.

The revelation of the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws put the company at the epicenter of a vulnerability story, then a processor slowdown story, and even a CEO stock malfeasance story. It’s not the lead up to the the main keynote of the Consumer Electronics Show that CEO Brian Krzanich wanted. But it’s the one he got.

So Krzanich did the obvious thing: he kicked off the keynote with some somber words about the bugs and Intel’s planned response. He was careful to describe these bugs as an industry-wide issue requiring an industry-wide response. It was a rhetorical dance that needed to achieve several goals. First, make up for Intel’s original (pardon the pun) chip-on-its-shoulder response to the initial reports. Second, try to ensure that it wasn’t just Intel taking the brunt of the blame for these vulnerabilities.

And most importantly, get the damn subject out of the way so Intel could move on to what it really wanted to do this year at CES: change your mind about what Intel is and what it does.

“If you’ll indulge me,” Krzanich said, “I’d love nothing more than to simply put my phone away and take this evening to truly celebrate innovation with you.”

The keynote that ensued has clearly been in production for many months, based on what we saw in our exclusive backstage look at a rehearsal a couple days early. We had also planned on interviewing Krzanich, but after the Meltdown news broke he declined to participate in our story. Meltdown didn’t stop Intel’s CEO from photobombing our video or posing for a quick selfie with me, but it did stop him from answering questions on camera.

Outside of the immediate problems with Meltdown and Spectre, Intel has long had a very simple, very fundamental problem: you, personally, don’t buy anything it makes. You buy phones made by Apple that may or may not have Intel modems in them, you buy PCs from Microsoft and OEMs that probably have Intel processors, and you use web services from Google that run on servers powered by Intel chips. Intel has been trying to change that story for years now, trying to convince you that you should care about Intel as much as Apple or Google or Microsoft. It’s trying to tell new stories about itself.

One story is about data. Intel likes to say data is “the new oil,” which is supposed to mean that you need constant access to it and that it powers everything. It’s a weird way to talk about it. It’s better than vague “cloud” language, but it has the unfortunate connotation of robber barons and global conflict.

Most of the other stories Intel is trying to tell are all of a piece, one that is much more relevant to consumers than the come-to-nothing tech demos Intel used to put in its CES keynotes. The theme this year is that Intel is able to turn objects in space into data that can offer you new experiences

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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01-10-2018 Science&Technology
Google takes on Echo Show with four new smart displays

Chris Turkstra, director of Google Assistant, sat on a couch in a Renaissance hotel suite in Las Vegas on Sunday and started to chat with what was essentially your family's old kitchen TV on steroids.

On a side table to his right was the Lenovo Smart Display, more or less a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a built-in touchscreen. The gadget is one of four new smart displays -- made by Sony, Samsung-owned JBL, LG and Lenovo -- that Google and its partners unveiled Monday at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

The devices do everything you can do with a smart speaker, like play music and operate your connected lights, but they also let you make video calls, watch YouTube videos and look at photos, all using voice controls.

"Our thinking is that over time, this is how people will interact with technology," Turkstra said of the voice-controlled device.

You may have seen a gadget like these smart displays before, since Amazon unveiled a similar concept in the Echo Show last May. With Google showing off a set of four additional smart display devices, a large segment of the tech industry is now betting that a lot of us want a touchscreen stationed at our kitchen counters and shared with the whole family to run our connected smart home gadgets and check calendars, directions and local restaurants.

It's a different vision of technology than the highly personalized and up close one we're used to with phones and, despite all these companies' efforts, it's hard to say if it will catch on.

But, with the success of smart speakers, these companies see touchscreen displays as the next logical progression for voice computing, allowing customers to do more (and perhaps shop more) using their voice-controlled gadgets.

"We worked with Google to go past just voice," said Carly Okerfelt, a senior product manager at Lenovo who sat by Turkstra.

The new smart displays are important for Google's business, too. Amazon is currently the leader in consumer voice devices, controlling about 70 percent of the US market thanks to is Alexa-controlled Echo devices. The Google Home speakers are a distant second. As smart speakers take on a central role in operating our smart-home devices, Google needs to gain more customers, and fast, to stop Amazon from taking over the new market.

In an effort to catch up, Google already introduced the Google Home to compete with the Amazon Echo speaker, and followed up with the smaller Home Mini, which is similar to the Echo Dot. With the smart displays, Google will now have an even larger lineup of competing electronics. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Cnet

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01-10-2018 Business
Google, Twitter face new lawsuits alleging discrimination against conservative voices

James Damore, the former Google engineer who was fired after distributing a memo questioning the company’s diversity policies, filed a class-action lawsuit Monday claiming that the technology giant discriminates against white men and conservatives.

Damore’s suit came on the same day that conservative publisher Charles C. Johnson sued Twitter for banning him from the platform in 2015. The cases are the latest signs of a broad effort by some conservatives to challenge technology companies on the grounds that they favor liberal or moderate voices, reflecting the prevailing political sensibilities in Silicon Valley. The technology industry’s crackdown against users accused of “hate speech” after August’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville has fueled allegations of political bias against companies that are playing a crucial role is disseminating speech worldwide.

The suit by Damore, filed in Santa Clara, Calif., alleges discrimination by Google against men, people of the “Caucasian race,” and people with perceived conservative political views. The suit says that Google employees who expressed views deviating from the majority at Google on politics or on employment practices, including “diversity hiring policies, bias sensitivity, and social justice,” were “singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google,” in violation of their legal rights.

Damore’s fellow plaintiff in the class action is another Google employee, a former software engineer named David Gudeman.

Google fired Damore after he wrote a 10-page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion.” Though initially circulated internally in July, it reached a wide audience in August when Motherboard published the memo, saying the “anti-diversity memo” had gone “internally viral” at the Mountain View, Calif.-based technology company. The memo said that “genetic differences” may explain “why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

The company, which called the memo “offensive” and “harmful,” soon fired Damore, further elevating him in the eyes of his supporters as a victim of what they called an overreaching “political correctness” and ideology rigidity within the tech industry. Damore, who also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, appeared to embrace his rising political visibility, posing in a T-shirt with the word “Goolag” written in a multicolored style that mimicked Google’s familiar logo. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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01-09-2018 Science&Technology
Intel launches five Core chips with Radeon graphics from rival AMD

Intel’s startling marriage with AMD’s graphics chips has finally borne fruit, as Intel announced five new Core H-series chips that use two variants of the AMD “Vega M” GPU. The combination of Intel and AMD technology should outperform a last-gen system with a discrete Nvidia chip, Intel says.

You can jump straight to our performance section to learn more about Intel’s claims.

The new 8th-generation, quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 chips, together with what AMD calls the Radeon RX Vega M GPU, will power laptops from Dell and HP. They’ll also appear in new Intel-branded “Hades Canyon” NUCs, with prices beginning at $799 and $999, Intel said.

[ Further reading: Our picks for best PC laptops ]

Intel’s announcement Sunday at CES adds a significant amount of detail to the bombshell AMD and Intel dropped in November. Intel’s overarching goal with its Core/Radeon combination has been to deliver a gaming PC with great VR capabilities within an ultrabook form factor. We now know the NUCs will ship in late March, though timing remains unclear for the notebook launches. Intel also shared more information on speeds and feeds.

Intel originally disclosed that its new processor contained an H-series Core chip, the AMD GPU, and HBM2 memory, all within the same package. We now know the clock speeds of the five Core i5 and i7 cores will range from 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz, and that 4GB of HBM2 memory will accompany both the Vega M GH and Vega M GL, the two GPU versions whose 20 and 24 compute units appear to be much more powerful than AMD’s own Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 for laptops.

Intel says its new chips will be 7 percent faster in 3DMark versus a Core i7-7700HQ system with an Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB) chip accompanying it, and up to 13 percent faster in games.

Why this matters: For years, we’ve seen integrated notebook processors and notebook chips that use discrete GPUs, each with their own performance tier. Intel’s new partnership with AMD’s Radeon division splits the difference, offering a somewhat modular solution together with graphical performance that’s rather impressive. We all suspected that the Intel-AMD partnership would be a game-changer, and we’re starting to see that it is. We don’t know how Intel will price these chips compared to its more vanilla Core i5 and Core i7 processors, however.

Read Original Article     ON:   PC World

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No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

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