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German Government Expands Subsidies For Electric Cars

Slashdot - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:10
The German government and car industry have agreed to increase joint subsidies for the purchase of electric cars on the same day automobile giant Volkswagen began production of a new all-electric vehicle. From a report: The agreement between the government and the automobile industry was reached following a Monday evening "car summit" aimed at fostering the mass production of cleaner transportation. Under the agreement, consumer subsidies for electric cars costing less than $44,500 will increase to about $6,700 from from $4,400. Purchasers of plug-in hybrids in this price range would be given a subsidy of $5,000, up from $3,320. For electric cars over $44,500, there will be an increase in the subsidy by 25%. Industry and government will evenly split the cost of the subsidies. The subsidies will also be extended from the end of 2020 to the end of 2025. In addition to the subsidy issue, the two sides discussed ways to expand infrastructure for electric cars.

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Categories: Geek

Apple’s bet on wearables will continue to pay off in the coming years

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:50

Apple's bet on wearable technology, with devices like the Apple Watch Series 5 and AirPods, has already paid off in a big way. But the company's earnings in this regard will continue to rise according to a new report.
Categories: Geek

Xiaomi Launches Mi Watch, Its $185 Apple Watch Clone

Slashdot - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:46
Xiaomi, which competes with Apple for the top position in the wearable market, today made the competition a little more interesting. The Chinese electronics giant has launched its first smartwatch called the Mi Watch that looks strikingly similar to the Apple Watch in its home market. From a report: The Mi Watch, like the Apple Watch, has a square body with a crown and a button. It sports a 1.78-inch AMOLED display (326 ppi) that offers the always-on capability and runs MIUI for Watch, the company's homegrown wearable operating system based on Google's Wear OS. Inside the metal housing -- aluminum alloy with a matte finish -- are microphones on two sides for recording audio and taking calls, and a loudspeaker on the left to listen to music or incoming calls. The Mi Watch, which comes in one size -- 44mm -- has a ceramic back, which is where the charging pins and a heart rate sensor are also placed. The Mi Watch is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 4G chipset with four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage. The company says its first smartwatch supports cellular connectivity (through an eSIM), Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC for payments. The Mi Watch should last for 36 hours on a single charge on cellular mode, the company claimed. The Mi Watch is priced at CNY 1,299 ($185) and will go on sale in the country next week.

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Categories: Geek

Apple partners with Sprint, Samsung, and eBay on a new wind farm in Texas

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:37

Apple has partnered with Samsung, eBay, and Sprint on a brand new 500-megawatt wind farm located in Texas.
Categories: Geek

Mike Pompeo's deplorable turn at the State Department is emblematic of betrayal and cowardice

Daily Kos - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:28

Next to Donald Trump, there may be no White House figure who is so clearly headed to a future of prosecution and shame than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Yes, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney assembled Trump’s “three amigos” hit squad to go twist arms in Ukraine and was directly responsible for pulling the plug on already approved military assistance. And sure, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was actually on the ground, participating in creating an existential crisis for an allied nation in exchange for lies. Attorney General William Barr had his name literally all over the not-a-transcript of Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president. And Mike Pence was … there. But no one else was as deeply involved, and as deeply complicit, in every step of the process as Pompeo. 

What the record shows for Mike Pompeo—West Point and Harvard Law School graduate—is simply a staggering, staggering, degree of cowardice. Pompeo was the man in place between the diplomats trying to maintain a semblance of orderly foreign policy in the face of a Trump White House that was flip-flopping madly on the basis of Sean Hannity monologues, what sports figures were refusing to come to the White House on a given day, and Trump’s semi-secret history of failed real estate deals. It was up to Pompeo to maintain vital relationships, protect national security, and reassure allies even as Trump was breaking treaties and tossing his arm around tyrants. And he failed. He failed hard.

Again and again, Pompeo was given the opportunity to salvage both America’s standing in the world and his own dignity. He was approached repeatedly by people on his own staff warning him about the damage being done and the genuinely criminal figures moving against the diplomatic staff. His staff. But rather than stand up for his people, Pompeo refused to help. More than that, he made himself utterly complicit in schemes to defraud the nation, destroy alliances, and demean the people he was supposed to protect. 

Donald Trump may be the main villain of the last four years. William Barr may be his most odious henchman. But no one defines utter failure to act in the face of wrongdoing like Mike Pompeo.

Categories: Politics

Yet Another Health Update

Kevin Drum - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:24

Why am I blogging at 6:30 am Pacific time? In fact, why have I been blogging and reading all night?

You may recall that back in 2018 I took 8mg of Dexamethasone once a week. It kept me up all night, and I mostly used those nights to take pictures and to write idiosyncratic explanations of general relativity. In January I rebelled and stopped taking the dex. It took two months to wear off, but by March I felt pretty good—which is to say, normal. In May I took a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sadly, my cancer load increased, and in July I restarted the dex along with a new drug. In August I was casting around for a trip to take before the dex kicked in, and that’s when I went to Colombia.

Now, my doctor and I had agreed on an experiment: instead of 8mg of dex once a week, I would take 4mg of dex twice a week. This might allow me to sleep on dex nights and would have a milder side effects on the other days.

The first part worked: with a big slug of Ambien in hand, I could manage 5-6 hours of sleep. Not bad. The second part was a failure. Not only were the side effects just as bad—fatigue, lots of napping, etc.—but they pretty much lasted all week. There was no break from feeling lousy.

So yesterday I went back to the old regime: 8mg of dex on Monday. So far I’ve noticed two things: I’ve been more talkative than usual and I was up all night despite taking the strongest Ambien I have. I expected that. So I’ll ditch the Ambien completely and just become a talkative night owl on Mondays. I will still suffer the side effects, of course, but hopefully they will last two days, maybe three at most, and I will have at least Thursday-Monday to feel relatively normal. We’ll see.

Categories: Politics

Cannot sign in to the Apple TV app on Amazon Fire TV? Here’s the fix

9to5Mac - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:21

The Apple TV app launched on the Amazon Fire TV Stick recently, and is coming to other Amazon Fire TV devices soon. However, users are hitting a very common roadblock when trying to set up and sign in to the TV app on their Fire Stick. Here’s the fix …

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Categories: Geek

Republicans pour money into barrage of anti-impeachment calls to House Democrats

Daily Kos - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:14

The Republican National Committee has poured money into swamping House Democrats’ offices with anti-impeachment phone calls in recent weeks. This isn’t your standard campaign of sending an email urging supporters to call. It’s not just about pressuring lawmakers, either.

“The fact that the calls to congressional offices, estimated to number 11,000, were partly intended to jam the phone lines of House Democrats—potentially thwarting access to government offices—was described at a recent dinner of more than a dozen Republican aides, advisers and elected officials, known as the ‘Off the Record’ dinner,” The New York Times reports. “Officials with the Republican National Committee told others at the dinner about the calls, suggesting they were automated and indicating that the aim was to tie up the phones in Democratic offices, according to two people briefed on what was said.”

The RNC used a vendor to “survey” voters, then offered the strongly anti-impeachment voters the opportunity to be patched through to their House member’s office. That’s part of a broader effort including scripts handed out at Trump rallies, texts, and more.

Getting people to call their representatives to express their opinions is a good thing. Doing so with the express intention of jamming phone lines is … a very Republican thing, anyway.

Categories: Politics

It's election day! There's still time to GOTV

Daily Kos - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:45

As of Monday morning, 2,071 of you signed up to help Get Out The Vote today to help in Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi. That's on top of what the Daily Kos community has done so far with your small dollar donations to help. Literally small dollar—the average donation to these campaigns is $3.76, to contribute to a total of $400,000 raised for the 2019 general election. That's as grassroots as it gets.  

In Virginia, we've helped a slate of diverse and fantastic, progressives to be in a position to flip the state legislature. In Texas, we've boosted Eliz Markowitz in her bid to start the coming blue wave in a special election run for a state House seat. And in the deepest red state of the deep south, Jennifer Riley Collins is poised to make history in a bid to become attorney general of Mississippi.

Today is the final push. If you live in Virginia, or Texas, or Mississippi, you can volunteer to GOTV in person. But if you're invested in these campaigns but don't live there, you can still help.

You can volunteer in Virginia's critical legislative campaigns with both the on-the-ground and virtual events.

Here are the canvassing events for Eliz Markowitz in the Houston area.

To help in Mississippi (and Kentucky!) by texting voters and would-be voters, sign up here.

And always, thanks for everything that you do!

Categories: Politics

Warehouses Are Tracking Workers' Every Muscle Movement

Slashdot - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:40
Unions and researchers who study workplace surveillance worry that employers who begin gathering data on workers for whatever reason will be unable to resist using it against them. From a report: Productivity tracking is already widespread throughout the industry -- and workers can be fired or punished if their performance dips. The opacity of data-analysis tools can make it difficult for workers to fully understand how much employers can see. StrongArm, a company that makes such devices, says it has about 30 clients, including Heineken NV and Toyota Motor, and is also establishing relationships with insurance companies interested in ways to reduce workers compensation costs. Walmart says it's testing StrongArm in eight distribution centers and adds it has no plans to use them in stores. StrongArm says about 15,000 workers have worn its devices, and most of them use it daily. The Brooklyn, New York-based startup expects to have 35,000 daily active users by the end of next year. StrongArm acknowledges that concerns about workplace surveillance surround its work, but the company says its products are designed solely to improve safety and cites a recent study it commissioned that found users wearing them suffered 20% to 50% fewer injuries. It says it's not tracking individual productivity and that its products aren't used to punish individual workers or to contest workers compensation claims. But ergonomic tracking isn't happening in isolation.

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Categories: Geek

Sen. Sherrod Brown Hopes Republican Senators Take Impeachment Trial Seriously

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:30

Stephen Colbert discussed the procedures for an impeachment trial in the Senate with Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who was plugging his new book, "Desk 88."

"When it comes to the Senate, what's that going to be like? A jury of 100 people seems a little excessive. Twelve is hard to wrangle. Who is going to be in charge of the Democrats?" Colbert asked.

Sen. Brown said he didn't think anyone was in charge.

"I think we're told -- I've never been through this and most senators have, I believe we're told we have to remain silent every hour of every day until the trial is over," he said.

"You can't talk -- which is a constitutional crisis of its own," Colbert quipped. "You can't talk to each other or have phones. Which will be the hardest?"

Brown said his wife (columnist Connie Schultz) told him "it's hardest for me not to talk that long."

He went on to praise Nancy Pelosi and called her "the best legislative leaders since Lyndon Johnson and maybe more. So I trust her to do this right, I expect the impeachment to happen. We will have this trial and what I'm hopeful is, the hundred senators, just like in a court of law, doesn't listen to public opinion, a jury doesn't listen to public opinion, the hundred of us should base this on the facts and the evidence.

"I'm hopeful the Republicans and Democrats alike take it that seriously."

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Categories: Politics

When Is Medicare 4 All Not Really Medicare 4 All?

Kevin Drum - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:22

I know that what I’m about to write is obvious to a lot of people, but I think it’s probably worth making a lot more obvious. Here goes.

Elizabeth Warren announced her Medicare for All plan last week, and since we’re liberals we immediately jumped on it, demanded more details, deconstructed it, analyzed its benefits, and blue-penciled its costs and funding sources. There’s no help for that. As the Geico ad says: we’re liberals, it’s what we do.

Fine. But we all recognize that it doesn’t matter, don’t we? For starters, to put her plan in place we’d need to win the presidency and the Senate, and that’s a tough task. Then we’d need to eliminate the filibuster, which is very, very unlikely since a few Democrats have already said they wouldn’t join in.

But suppose we miraculously do all that. Actual legislation depends mostly on the Senate, not on President Warren or Speaker Pelosi. This means that health care legislation can’t be more progressive than the 50th most liberal senator, which is likely to be someone like Joe Manchin or Doug Jones. So even in the best case we won’t get the M4A plan that Warren is campaigning on. Not even close.

What this means is that these M4A plans shouldn’t be treated like real legislation to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Rather, they should be treated like Republican tax cut proposals. Nobody bothers to analyze them (except for liberal think tanks, natch) because no one takes them seriously. They are meant merely as markers to show where your heart is. A weak plan shows that you’re a RINO. A big tax cut shows you’re a strong conservative. And a ridiculous plan shows that you’re a lunatic—which might or might not be a good thing depending on the mood of the electorate.

So forget the details. Warren and Sanders are deliberately selling themselves as lunatics. Their plans mean nothing except that they are true blue liberals. Don’t try to read any more than that into them. Biden and Buttigieg and Booker are demonstrating that they’re part of the mainstream Obama wing of the party. And Amy Klobuchar is . . . not trying to demonstrate her DINO credentials, but she’s close.

Bottom line: stop sweating the details. Candidate plans aren’t meant to pencil out with a lot of precision. They’re rough drafts designed to show where their hearts are at. Smart analysts will mosttly take them that way.

Categories: Politics

Lasers can control Siri and other voice assistants: Researchers

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:21

Light Commands

Researchers have shown lasers and other focused light sources can be used to inject voice commands from a distance on Siri and other voice assistants.
Categories: Geek

OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock features 10Gb Ethernet, eSATA, CFast reader, more

9to5Mac - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:10

While there are many Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market already, OWC has designed its latest release for professional creators and producers. It includes 10Gb Ethernet, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, CFast 2.0 and SD 4.0 card readers, an eSATA port, and more.

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Categories: Geek

Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren't Cinema. Let Me Explain.

Slashdot - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:00
Martin Scorsese, writing at The New York Times: [...] In a way, certain Hitchcock films were also like theme parks. I'm thinking of "Strangers on a Train," in which the climax takes place on a merry-go-round at a real amusement park, and "Psycho," which I saw at a midnight show on its opening day, an experience I will never forget. People went to be surprised and thrilled, and they weren't disappointed. Sixty or 70 years later, we're still watching those pictures and marveling at them. But is it the thrills and the shocks that we keep going back to? I don't think so. The set pieces in "North by Northwest" are stunning, but they would be nothing more than a succession of dynamic and elegant compositions and cuts without the painful emotions at the center of the story or the absolute lostness of Cary Grant's character. The climax of "Strangers on a Train" is a feat, but it's the interplay between the two principal characters and Robert Walker's profoundly unsettling performance that resonate now. Some say that Hitchcock's pictures had a sameness to them, and perhaps that's true -- Hitchcock himself wondered about it. But the sameness of today's franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What's not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes. They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can't really be any other way. That's the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they're ready for consumption. [...] In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all. [...] Today, that tension is gone, and there are some in the business with absolute indifference to the very question of art and an attitude toward the history of cinema that is both dismissive and proprietary -- a lethal combination. The situation, sadly, is that we now have two separate fields: There's worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there's cinema. They still overlap from time to time, but that's becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is being used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other. For anyone who dreams of making movies or who is just starting out, the situation at this moment is brutal and inhospitable to art. And the act of simply writing those words fills me with terrible sadness.

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Categories: Geek

Microsoft makes over Mac Outlook

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 08:59

Microsoft Outlook for Mac is getting a long-overdue user interface overhaul, performance improvements and added functionality, according to the Verge.
Categories: Geek

The scheduled witnesses are expected to be no-shows, but Tuesday's transcripts could be blockbusters

Daily Kos - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 08:55

Dig hole, insert head. It’s not exactly a new strategy for the Trump White House, but it is being executed at a high level this week as a whole line-up of potential witnesses for the House impeachment inquiry go mysteriously missing. The House leadership held the vote that Republicans said they wanted. The judiciary has weighed in to say that the inquiry is absolutely legitimate and the subpoenas being produced carry the full weight of any other impeachment process. And still the inquiry is expected to see nothing but empty chairs on Tuesday, just as it did on Monday.

On Monday, the no shows included Robert Blair, a top aide to acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; senior OMB official Brian McCormack, National Security Council attorney Michael Ellis; and chief attorney for the NSC—and man with a highly secure server he’s not afraid to use in burying Trump secrets—John Eisenberg. For Tuesday, expect empty chairs that represent yet another OMB no-show in the non-form of Michael Duffey, and Wells Griffith, who is an assistant to Energy Secretary Rick Perry. All of them will be nice footnotes on the one or more charges of contempt of Congress that are certain to adorn Donald Trump’s articles of impeachment.

But while the only testimony being generated on Tuesday will be of the kind that speaks to a failure to cooperate or obey the law, that doesn’t mean some important words won’t be emerging. Because another pair of transcripts will be released on Tuesday, as Adam Schiff and Democratic leadership does just what Republicans have been claiming they wanted all along — make every word of what was said in closed door hearings visible to the public.

This set of transcripts are expected to come from the depositions of acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and the special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. The two are something of a study in contrast. Volker is one of the “three amigos” put together by Mulvaney and charged with arm-twisting to get the “investigations” that Trump wanted from Ukraine. Taylor is an experienced diplomat, horrified by the treatment of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch—whose deposition was released on Monday—and repeatedly shocked by the clear intentions of Trump’s team to bludgeon Ukrainian officials into providing political dirt in exchange for survival.

Categories: Politics

iPhone 11 Pro review – is it worth the significant price difference? [Video]

9to5Mac - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 08:50

After initially using the baseline iPhone 11 as my daily driver, I transitioned over to the iPhone 11 Pro Max in order to see if Apple’s top-of-the-line hardware was good enough to justify its price premium. As you’ll see in this hands-on iPhone 11 Pro review, I came away with a conclusion that largely mirrors last year’s efforts.

Like last year, I think it’s wise for the majority of users to opt for the entry-level iPhone, as that device will more than meet the needs of most customers who are looking to upgrade. However, there are a few use cases that warrant splurging for the iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max over the baseline model. Have a look at the full video review for the details. more…

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Categories: Geek

Trump goes full White (Nationalist) History Month during Native American Heritage Month

Daily Kos - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 08:47

Donald Trump just struck a blow for every white person who ever asked in February why there’s no White History Month. (Answer, as always: Because that’s every damn month.) Since a 1990 proclamation by Republican President George H.W. Bush, November has been Native American Heritage Month. Trump himself proclaimed Native American Heritage Month in 2017 and 2018, but in 2019 he decided to go full white nationalist, proclaiming November to be "National American History and Founders Month."

Because who really doesn’t get enough credit? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton … yeah, those guys are basically forgotten and unacknowledged. And what do you know: honoring them turns out to be all about the Trump agenda. “From overthrowing tyrannical rule in the Revolutionary War to liberating Europe from Nazi control during World War II, the United States will always remain steadfast in our dedication to promoting liberty and justice over the evil forces of oppression and indignity,” the proclamation reads. “This same truth fuels us in our efforts to confront the challenges that face our citizens here at home, including protecting precious religious liberties, securing our Nation’s borders, and combating the opioid crisis.” (Paging Lin-Manuel Miranda here.)

Trump offers a charge that he himself has so blatantly ignored. “To continue safeguarding our freedom, we must develop a deeper understanding of our American story. Studying our country’s founding documents and exploring our unique history—both the achievements and challenges—is indispensable to the future success of our great Nation.”

I’m sorry—Mr. “The emoluments clause is phony” wants us to study our country’s founding documents? Sure, guy, take a look into not just the emoluments clause but the impeachment power. For that matter … Donald Trump is endorsing the study of history of any kind? 

”To continue to advance liberty and prosperity, we must ensure the next generation of leaders is steeped in the proud history of our country,” the proclamation proclaims. Hey, you know what else is part of the proud history of our country? Native American heritage. 

It appears that Team Trump didn’t give an advance heads up on the new plan for White Nationalist Heritage Month to the folks over at NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.gov, where “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.” They’d already planned events for the month—events that are still, or even more, worth checking out in the face of this erasure.

Categories: Politics

Apple’s new $5 movie sale includes recent hits and old classics, more from $1

9to5Mac - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 08:44

Apple has a new $5 movie sale going today alongside the usual $1 rental of the week and various other deals. You’ll want to hit the jump to see all of our top picks and browse through the entire sale.

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Categories: Geek

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