Category Archives: Entertainment

Google Assistant Vs. Siri? 

By: Romain Dillet of Tech Crunch 

 Watch out Siri, there’s a new kid in town. Google just announced at its I/O developer conference that its personal assistant is coming to iOS. You won’t be able to replace Siri with Google Assistant, but you’ll be able to use the feature in Google’s dedicated app.

“Today, I’m excited to announce that Google Assistant is available for iPhone,” VP of Engineering Assistant Scott Huffman said. The app isn’t currently available in the App Store as far as I can see, but it should be there later today.
Google Assistant is considered a more powerful voice assistant when you compare it to the current version of Siri. It lets you ask more complicated queries and it has third-party integrations. It also lets you control your connected devices, as the company just announced new partnerships with third-party companies.
Also new today, you can now type your queries instead of speaking out loud. This could be useful if you have a burning question and somebody is sleeping next to you.

The company first introduced Google Assistant on the Pixel phone. It is now available on more Android devices and it could also come to your appliances. It is currently available on 100 million devices out there.

Right now, Google Assistant only works in English, making it much less compelling for international users. This is Siri’s main advantage when you compare it to Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant.

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A Cable Survey Shows Majority Of Americans Prefer Net Neutrality 

By: Joe Brodkin of Ars Technica

As US cable companies push to eliminate or change net neutrality rules, the industry’s primary lobby group today released the results of a survey that it says shows “strong bipartisan consensus that the government should let the Internet flourish without imposing burdensome regulations.”
But proponents of keeping the current rules can find plenty to like in the survey conducted by NCTA—The Internet & Television Association. A strong majority of the 2,194 registered American voters in the survey support the current net neutrality rules that prohibit ISPs from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing online content in exchange for payment. While most opposed price regulation, a majority supported an approach in which regulators take action against ISPs on a case-by-case basis when consumers are harmed—the exact same approach the Federal Communications Commission uses under its existing net neutrality regime.

About 61 percent of respondents either “strongly” or “somewhat” support net neutrality rules that say ISPs “cannot block, throttle, or prioritize certain content on the Internet.” Only 18 percent oppose net neutrality, as the rest don’t know what it is or had no opinion.

Technically, this doesn’t contradict the official position of major cable companies like Comcast and Charter. These companies say they support the core net neutrality rules, while merely opposing the FCC’s use of its common carrier authority under Title II of the Communications Act to enforce them. But the net neutrality rules imposed in 2015 depend on Title II because of a 2014 court decision that prevented the FCC from enforcing the rules without reclassifying ISPs as Title II common carriers.
Support for protecting consumers
The first slide in the NCTA survey results trumpets broad support for “light touch” regulation. But instead of signaling broad opposition to Title II, the wording of the question shows that Americans support an approach that’s consistent with the one taken by the FCC’s then-Democratic leadership in 2015 (and which the FCC’s current Republican leadership wants to overturn).
The survey asked, “When it comes to the role of the federal government in regulating access to the Internet, which of the following comes closest to your view, even if none are exactly right?” Just 12 percent answered that “the government should have the ability to set specific prices, terms, and conditions for Internet access,” while 53 percent said, “the government should have a light-touch approach to the Internet that allows regulators to monitor the marketplace and take action if consumers are harmed.” The only other option people could choose was, “the government should not regulate the Internet at all.”

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Is The NSA At fault For The WannaCry Ransom Ware?

By: Chris O’Brien 

A Microsoft executive sharply criticized a U.S. spy agency Sunday for its role in weaponizing a weakness in Windows and allowing it to be stolen by hackers and used to launch history’s largest ransomware attack.

“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.

He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.

Smith’s criticism comes as the virus continues to spread around the globe, despite the efforts of companies, governments and security experts. Europe’s leading police agency said Sunday that the computer virus had reached an “unprecedented level,” claiming 200,000 victims and spreading to at least 150 countries.

With employees returning to work Monday, there were fears that more infections will be discovered. And there were also reports that new variations of the virus were appearing.

In an interview with Britain’s ITV, Europol Director Rob Wainwright said a cross-border investigation would be necessary to track down the culprits.

“It is unlikely to be just be one person, I think,” he told ITV.

The fast-moving virus, which first hit Friday, exploits a vulnerability in the Windows operating system that had been discovered by the U.S. National Security Agency. That information was stolen by hackers and published online.
In his response, Smith highlighted the work Microsoft has done to improve the security of its products, long a target of criticism in the security community. He said the company now has 3,500 security engineers, many of whom now act as “first responders” in such cases.

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Turns Out The Location Of The Asteroid Was What Ended The Dinosaurs. 

By: The BBC

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago.

The nature of this material records the details of the event.

It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth.

The shallow sea covering the target site meant colossal volumes of sulphur (from the mineral gypsum) were injected into the atmosphere, extending the “global winter” period that followed the immediate firestorm.

Had the asteroid struck a different location, the outcome might have been very different.

“This is where we get to the great irony of the story – because in the end it wasn’t the size of the asteroid, the scale of blast, or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct – it was where the impact happened,” said Ben Garrod, who presents The Day The Dinosaurs Died with Alice Roberts.

“Had the asteroid struck a few moments earlier or later, rather than hitting shallow coastal waters it might have hit deep ocean.

“An impact in the nearby Atlantic or Pacific oceans would have meant much less vapourised rock – including the deadly gypsum. The cloud would have been less dense and sunlight could still have reached the planet’s surface, meaning what happened next might have been avoided.

“In this cold, dark world food ran out of the oceans within a week and shortly after on land. With nothing to eat anywhere on the planet, the mighty dinosaurs stood little chance of survival.”

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Facebook Document Leaks Reveal It Targetted At Risk Youth For Financial Gain

By: Nick Whigham

The allegation was revealed this morning by The Australian which obtained internal documents from the social media giant which reportedly show how Facebook can exploit the moods and insecurities of teenagers using the platform for the potential benefit of advertisers.

The confidential document dated this year detailed how by monitoring posts, comments and interactions on the site, Facebook can figure out when people as young as 14 feel “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless”, and a “failure”.

Such information gathered through a system dubbed sentiment analysis could be used by advertisers to target young Facebook users when they are potentially more vulnerable.

While Google is the king of the online advertising world, Facebook is the other major player which dominates the industry worth about $80 billion last year.

But Facebook is not one to rest on its laurels. The leaked document shows it has been honing the covert tools its uses to gain useful psychological insights on young Australian and New Zealanders in high school and tertiary education.

The social media services we use can derive immense insight and personal information about us and our moods from the way we use them, and arguably none is more fastidious in that regard than Facebook which harvests immense data on its users.

The secret document was put together by two Australian Facebook execs and includes information about when young people are likely to feel excited, reflective, as well as other emotions related to overcoming fears.

“Monday-Thursday is about building confidence; the weekend is for broadcasting achievements,” the document said, according to the report.

Facebook did not return attempts by news.com.au to comment on the issue but was quick to issue an apology and told The Australian that it will conduct an investigation into the matter, admitting it was inappropriate to target young children in such a way.

“The data on which this research is based was aggregated and presented consistent with applicable privacy and legal protections, including the removal of any personally identifiable information,” Facebook said in a statement issued to the newspaper.

However there is suggestion that the research could be in breach of Australian guidelines for advertising and marketing towards children.

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Tesla Has Officially Been Deemed The Most Valuable Auto Maker In The U.S   

By: Robert Ferris of NBC

Tesla’s market capitalization is now bigger than General Motors’, making it the largest U.S. based automaker by that metric.

Investors are clearly betting on Tesla’s potential, and are undeterred by factors such as Tesla’s loss of $773 million in 2016, and the fact that it sells only a tiny fraction of the cars delivered annually by established competitors.

General Motors sold about 10 million cars in 2016 compared with Tesla’s roughly 76,000.

Tesla has only had two profitable quarters in its history as a public company, while GM earned a profit of more than $9 billion last year.

Tesla shares were up more than 3 percent to over $312 in midafternoon trading Monday, after receiving the highest price forecast ever issued for the stock by an analyst at a major firm.

On Monday, PiperJaffray analyst Alexander Potter published a note upgrading his rating on the stock from neutral to overweight and raising his price target from $223 to $368.

In his note, Potter said Tesla has a “captivating impact on consumers and shareholders alike” that will be difficult for competitors to replicate, and that although bears may have rational arguments against the stock, those “probably won’t matter.”

“In many ways, TSLA seems to play by its own rules,” Potter wrote. For instance, the company burns through cash at a rate “better-established companies would likely be crucified for,” devises “unreasonably fast” production timelines and “spurns industry norms,” by doing things such as choosing to sell directly to customers, rather than through dealers.

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Paul Thomas, UMEG Media Channel #303 on UCIT.tv, Covered By The Huffington Post For His Record Labels Work To Raise Awareness Against Violence

By: Alisha Peterson of Huffington Post

“Paul Thomas, Univeral Citizens Media Network Channel Owner, UMEG Media #303 on UCIT.tv and Producer was covered by the Huffington Post for his record labels work to raise awareness against violence.

The Hope for Boston CD was first released in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Bombing in 2014 and is now being re-released in honor of “Patriot Day” a CBS movie starring Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and Kevin Bacon. The 3rd Anniversary of the Boston Bombing is coming up on April 15th, 2017.

“We are so proud to have Paul Thomas on board at the UC Media Network. He addresses social justice concerns in creative ways that are inspiring and informative, bringing great content to our platform, says UC Media Network CEO Lady Alicia Hamilton.” The Hope 4 Boston CD is available at the UCSHOPTRN on line store.
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1984 Movie To Be Screened In Countries Around The World In Protest Of Donald Trump 

By: Rachael Revesz of The Independent

After Donald Trump stepped into the White House, the novel 1984 flew off the shelves and became the number one bestseller on Amazon.

Now almost 200 cinemas around the US and other parts of the world are planning a simultaneous screening of George Orwell’s dystopian classic in protest at the new President.
In the US, the UK, Canada, Croatia and Sweden, the “National Screening Day” has been organised for 4 April by Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the Cinema Arts Centre in New York, and Adam Birnbaum, director of film programming at the Avon Theatre Film Centre in Connecticut.
particular, this undermining of the concept of facts and the demonisation of foreign enemies [by the Trump administration] really resonate in 1984,” Mr Skolnick told Al Jazeera.

“No one is suggesting that we’re living in Orwell’s world. But the road to that world is people just becoming disengaged and allowing their government to do whatever it wants.”
The novel is centred on protagonist Winston Smith, who resists the establishment in an authoritarian world, which is controlled by one political party amid war and Big Brother surveillance.
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Male Contraceptive Has Everything The Female One Does Minus A Vendor  

By: Compliments of Bloomgerg

Doctors are on the cusp of launching the first new male contraceptive in more than a century. But rather than a Big Pharma lab, the breakthrough is emerging from a university startup in the heart of rural India.
Years of human trials on the injectable, sperm-zapping product are coming to an end, and researchers are preparing to submit it for regulatory approval. Results so far show it’s safe, effective and easy to use-but gaining little traction with drugmakers. That’s frustrating its inventor, who says his technique could play a crucial role in condom-averse populations.
A new birth control method for men has the potential to win as much as half the $10 billion market for female contraceptives worldwide and cut into the $3.2 billion of annual condom sales, businesses dominated by pharmaceutical giants Bayer AG, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co., according to estimates from the last major drug company to explore the area. India’s reversible procedure could cost as little as $10 in poor countries, and may provide males with years-long fertility control, overcoming compliance problems and avoiding ongoing costs associated with condoms and the female birth-control pill, which is usually taken daily.
It could also ease the burden on the 225 million women in developing countries, who the World Health Organization says have an unmet need for contraception. Yet so far only a U.S. non-profit has taken up development of the technology abroad.
For Sujoy Guha, 76, the biomedical engineer who invented the product, the challenge is to find a company that wants to sell it. But male contraception is an area Big Pharma has so far shown little interest in.

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Major Brands Implicated in Destruction Of Natuaral Animal Habitats 

By: Laurel Sutherlin of Post

A Rainforest Action Network field investigation team has documented new evidence of large-scale, illegal rainforest destruction within habitat critical to the survival of the Sumatran elephant, tiger and orangutan. RAN’s research has uncovered supply chain connections that link the rogue palm oil company responsible for the deforestation to major global brands through their shared supplier, Wilmar. The companies implicated include PepsiCo, McDonalds, Nestle, Unilever and Procter and Gamble.

This forest clearance is taking place in direct breach of the Indonesian government moratorium on the clearance of rainforests for palm oil plantations announced last April, as well as the no-deforestation policies announced by palm oil giant Wilmar and other brands that commit the companies to eliminate conflict palm oil such as this from their products.

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