Category Archives: History

USA To Finally Battle Japan In Giant Robot Fight 

By: James Vincent of the Verge 

We’ve been waiting a long time to see the “world’s first giant robot duel,” and next week we’ll finally get to watch the metal-on-metal action. If you’ve forgotten the background, all the way back in July 2015 a US team of engineers (MegaBots Inc.) challenged their Japanese rivals (Suidobashi Heavy Industry) to a fight, but the difficulty in finding a venue and upgrading the robots has delayed the bout. Well, next Tuesday, October 17th at 7PM PT, the duel will finally be streamed on Twitch for all to see.

It won’t be a live event though. In a press release, MegaBots Inc, said that the duel consisted of “multiple rounds of fighting,” and that in order to give the teams time to repair their bots, the rounds were spread out over several days. This meant the fight “could not be livestreamed like a traditional sport.” The duel was held in an abandoned steel mill in Japan, with no spectators beyond the two sets of engineers. Commentary was provided by Mike Goldberg of the MMA and robotics expert Saura Naderi.

Over email, MegaBots’ Gui Cavalcanti explained that the duel was fought on a knockout system, with no point scoring involved. Victory is attained by either knocking over or disabling your opponent (or, if they surrender), with the weight, power, size, and weapons of the bots “left to each individual team.” Cavalcanti adds, though, that the weapons were chosen “to not cut through metal, but instead to damage it.”

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Californians Evacuated as Fires Grow Exponentially In Northern and Southern California 

By: Anh Do, Victoria Kim and James QueallyContact Reporters

Orange County fire officials have evacuated at least 1,000 homes as a fast-moving fire in the Anaheim Hills spat smoke into the air and scorched several structures early Monday afternoon, according to fire officials and television footage.

The fire raced up a ridge and hit a tract homes at the top of a hill. Several caught fire, and firefighters were trying to prevent the fire from spreading further into the subdivision.
Canyon fire No. 2 broke out around 9:20 a.m. near the 91 Freeway and Gypsum Canyon Road, and quickly leapt the California 241 toll road, according to Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for the Anaheim Fire Department.

As of 2 p.m., the fire had grown to approximately 2,000 acres, fire officials said. In a video posted to the Anaheim Fire Department’s Facebook page, Wyatt said he had received “unconfirmed reports” of one firefighter suffering a minor injury and five structures sustaining fire damage.

At least 200 firefighters from multiple fire task forces are battling the blaze. Television footage showed several homes on fire early Monday afternoon.

Evacuations were ordered south of the 91 Freeway, west of the 241 toll road, north of Nohl Ranch Road and east of Serrano Avenue. The eastbound 91 Freeway was closed, with small spot fires reported along the roadway.

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Civil Unrest Intensifies In Spain

By: John White 

The scenes of Spanish riot police marching through the streets of Barcelona and other Catalonian towns and cities, attacking civilians with batons and rubber bullets outside polling stations for the crime of attempting to cast a democratic vote on their future, of ballot boxes being seized and elected politicians being arrested — all at the behest of the government of an EU member state — you might think are incongruous and incompatible with the EU’s self-declared status as a pillar of democratic values in the 21st century, a status enshrined in Article 2 of its very own constitution, the Lisbon Treaty, which reads:

“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

However Brussels’ position of pristine indifference in the face of the grotesque and disgraceful scenes that unfolded in Catalonia should be no surprise, given the anti-democratic character of its institutions.
It should also not go un-noted that just as the EU has essentially washed its hands of the crisis in Catalonia, taking the position that it is an internal matter for the Spanish government and authorities, so the so-called democratic powers in the 1930s stood by as democracy in Spain was extinguished back then, holding to the supine position of “non-intervention.”

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Nanotechnology Starts In The Medicine Field 

By: Phillip Perry 

We marvel at movies like Ant Man, Inner Space, and Fantastic Voyage, where someone or something can shrink down to the nanoscale and navigate a microscopic world. Although shrinking something down with some type of laser or energy field is all but impossible today, we are beginning to exact more and more control over tinier and tinier environments.

The new and growing branch of nanotechnology promises much. In the near future, experts predict that nanosensors will be used inside our bodies to monitor our health and alert us to disease or even an oncoming health crisis. Nanosensors could also monitor the environment. Another exciting application is creating the next generation of materials with novel properties.
These can include gaining electrical properties in fabric-based items. Consider clothing that can conduct electricity; your outfit could have electronics built into it, or even a wireless charger for your phone. Nanotech can also help create the next generation of bullet-proof and explosive-resistant materials. We will be able to imbue materials with other properties as well such as water-resistance, anti-corrosive properties, anti-fogging, anti-abrasion, and more.
Imagine self-healing materials. Tear your jacket? No problem. It just grows back. In the realm of energy, nanotech could be used to improve solar cells and develop ultra-capacitors for energy storage, which could help us embrace green energy and jettison fossil fuels. In total, scientists believe nanotech can help us to develop multi-component systems that are smart, autonomous, and adapt to the environment or changing circumstances.

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In this Turkish Town No One Goes Hungry

By: Zeyneb Varol of The Middle East Eye 

Under the glaring sun of a Saturday afternoon in August, a restaurant in a small eastern Turkish town welcomes its “most valuable customers”.

It is only one of the many establishments across the town where those in need are invited to eat free of charge. This well-preserved tradition has been carried down from generation to generation for decades.

Karakocan, a 70-minute drive north of the centre of Elazıg province, has attracted attention in recent years for its tradition of offering free food to those in need. For locals, the custom is a way of fulfilling their responsibility to assist the less fortunate.

Mehmet Ozturk, 55, the owner and manager of one of Karakocan’s busiest restaurants, Merkez, for nearly 35 years, says he always keeps at least three tables reserved for those in need, even during rush hour when his eatery is cramped. According to Ozturk, “the poor never fail to come”. 

On any given day, Ozturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town, which is home to around 28,000 people, according to official statistics.

Galip is one of the familiar faces at the restaurant who has eaten there every day for the last 10 years. “He was here for breakfast and he will probably come for dinner as well,” a young waiter says.

Suffering from mental illness, Galip doesn’t share much.

“The Merkez is my favourite place in town, because the food is great,” he says.

The restaurants offer Galip and others their pick from a variety of choices listed on their menus including kebabs, chicken, soup, rice and salads.

Ozturk says: “The tradition has always been here, even 70 years ago. For us it was a natural thing to do, something we learned from our elders.”

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Marriot Life Boat leaves Tourist Without Hotel Reservations on The Islands As Hurricane Irma Approaches.

By: Abigail O’Leary 

Terrified tourists stuck on the Caribbean Island of St Thomas during Hurricane Irma were left ‘stranded’ when a Marriott rescue ship refused to allow non-hotel guests to board.

As 185mph winds unleashed devastation across the tropical islands, killing a total of 22 so far, holiday makers were astonished when staff onboard the ship said they could not accommodate those who had not booked a Marriott stay.

Pier lights were then turned off in an attempt to disperse the stranded group.

As darkness fell and killer winds from departing Irma and approaching Hurricane Jose picked up, tourists turned to social media to reveal their disgust at being left on the dock as the rescue boat departed with a reported 200 free seats.

They faced being left on the devastated US Virgin Island, much of which had been cut off from main water supplies, electricity and gas.

Roads became impassable as debris from falling buildings and trees littered the streets and part of the International Airport terminal was torn to the ground.

Tourists were also left desperate for food and water after local shops and hotels sold out of provisions and many hotel rooms were flooded.
In a video showing the moment the ship departed, she can be heard saying: “They shut the lights off here in order to get us to go.

“This was a decision of Marriott who did not let us get on this boat so we could get on flights home.

“Instead we have to ride out Hurricane Jose when we just went through Hurricane Irma a few days ago.

“We don’t have food or water, we are stranded.”

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Updates On Hurricane Irma 

By: Jason Samenow of The Washington Post 

Large and extremely powerful, Hurricane Irma is sweeping toward Florida, its outer rainbands and strong winds already lashing the southern peninsula. If the storm reaches its full potential, it could be one of the worst hurricanes in the state’s history.

The latest computer model forecasts suggest the vicious storm is likely to ride up Florida’s west coast, with a devastating combination of wind and storm surge from the Florida Keys through Naples and Fort Myers and up the coast to Tampa. It’s not clear exactly where the storm will make landfall, but destructive winds could batter numerous population centers along Florida’s west coast. And coastal waters could rise 10 to 15 above normally dry land, completely inundating homes, businesses, and roads.

“In the FLORIDA KEYS, it is a full-scale hurricane emergency,” Bryan Norcross, The Weather Channel’s hurricane specialist, posted to Facebook. “Key West is probably going to get its worst storm in modern history, and perhaps ever.”

He added: “In SOUTHWEST FLORIDA – the NAPLES-FT. MYERS-CAPE CORAL area, the potential exists for the worst hurricane in history. The core of Hurricane Irma, potentially with winds gusting over 150 mph or more, is going to come close. Buildings in Southwest Florida are not, in general, built to withstand these winds.”

Hurricane warnings cover much the Florida peninsula’s coastal areas. Hurricanes watches extended farther north into coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

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Jet Blue To Charge No More Than $100 Dollars For Tickets Out Of Florida 

By: Julia La Roche of Yahoo 

JetBlue (JBLU) is capping its ticket prices in every city in Florida where the airline operates so people can evacuate as Hurricane Irma barrels through the Caribbean.

JetBlue will charge a maximum of $99 up to the last available seat for direct flights and a maximum of $159 up to the last available seat for connecting flights, a JetBlue representative told Yahoo Finance. That includes government taxes.

The airline has also added flights to its schedule out of select cities where they have aircraft available.

For existing reservations, JetBlue is waiving cancellation fees as well as waiving change fees and differences in air fare for rebooking.

“Given that many Floridians are struggling to get out of harm’s way, this is welcome news,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said in an emailed statement sent by a spokesman. “I hope more airlines do the right thing and follow suit.”

Other airlines followed JetBlue’s lead.

On Wednesday afternoon, American Airlines (AAL) said it would also cap its airfares.

“While there are limited seats remaining before the storm hits, we will cap our pre-tax fares at $99 for MainCabin seats on direct, single leg flights out of Florida for tickets sold through Sunday Sept. 10 for travel until Sept. 13,” a spokeswoman said in a statement to Yahoo Finance. 

A spokesman for Delta (DAL) told Yahoo Finance that the airline reduced the price level of its highest fares, which are “typically seen when customers are booking last-minute travel and inventory is limited.”

“In addition, we are waiving change fees for customers who want to change their flight plans due to the forecast. We have full details on the waiver at delta.com,” the Delta spokesman said. “We also are adding flights and increasing the size of the aircraft we’re using on flights to and from San Juan and south Florida, providing more opportunities for customers to leave. New flights are being added to and from San Juan, Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Key West, all to Atlanta (where people can connect to destinations across the U.S.).”

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China Reaches Solar Power Goal 3 Years Ahead Of Schedule 

By: Sam Morgan of Euractiv 

New figures published by solar industry firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) last week revealed that China has exceeded its 2020 target of 105GW of installed solar capacity, after new builds in June and July pushed it up beyond 112GW.

Solar power is enjoying a sunny 2017 in China, after the first half of this year saw capacity increased by 24.4GW, dwarfing similar efforts in Europe, and cementing China’s status as the world’s leading solar nation.

China is not planning to rest on its laurels either. Officials have recently tweaked its 2017 forecast for new solar installations and figures now suggest that total new capacity for this year could reach 45GW. In contrast, in 2016 Germany’s total capacity was 41.1GW.

Renewable energy groups have called on Europe to be more like China and strive to be number one in the sector. SolarPower Europe association urged the EU to increase the current 27% renewable energy target for 2030 to 35%.

The association’s recent Global Market Outlook concluded that only a 35% target will maintain the impetus for the renewable industry. It also estimated that the bloc will struggle to hit the current 27% goal unless ambitions are raised.

China’s ambitions are admittedly impressive. It already boasts the largest solar farm in the world, which measures in at over 30 square kilometres. It also recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, which is positioned over an old coal mine.

But once capacity and landmark projects are excluded from the equation, the Chinese solar sector does have significant problems. Although China hit its 2020 target, only 1% of its energy demand is satisfied by solar power. Coal still reigns supreme in its energy mix.

There is also the issue of subsidies. Feed-in-tariffs, paid to solar companies to generate power and make the market more attractive, have often arrived late, hurting the bottom lines of many of those energy firms.
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South Korea Drops Bombs On Its Boarders To Intimidate North Korea 

By: Jon Sharman of The Independent 

South Korea’s military has dropped eight heavy bombs near its border with the North in a show of what local media called “overwhelming force” following Pyongyang’s latest missile test.

President Moon Jae-in ordered the strike, by four F-15K fighter-bombers, at a firing range in the country’s east to “display a strong capability to punish” North Korea if it were to attack.

The MK-84 multi-purpose bomb is a 2,000lb munition that can penetrate some 11m of earth and 11ft of concrete. South Korea said all eight hit their targets at a testing ground on the country’s own soil.

The Yonhap news agency said government officials wanted to show Seoul’s ability to overwhelm its belligerent neighbour in the case of all-out hostility.

Pyongyang’s test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island was condemned by Tokyo as an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to the region. “We will do our utmost to protect people’s lives,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

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