Feed aggregator

Apple News is co-hosting its first Democratic presidential debate on February 7

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:00

apple news channels you follow

Apple News will be co-hosting its first Democratic presidential debate in February of next year.
Categories: Geek

House passes bipartisan bill putting undocumented farm workers on pathway to citizenship

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:53

Advocates celebrated as the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act—historic legislation that would put hundreds of thousands of farm workers who meet certain requirements onto a path to legalization—by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, 260 to 165. 

Campaign Action

The legislation, introduced by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington this past fall, marks the first time in decades that the House has passed an agricultural labor immigration bill, said United Farm Workers, one of the 300 groups to support the bill. It implements long overdue protections for undocumented immigrants who are the backbone of the farming industry—and whose work puts food on tables across the U.S.

“The legislation would address labor challenges and establish a program for agricultural workers and their families in the United States to earn legal immigration status through continued employment in the agricultural field,” said the office of Rep. Gil Cisneros. “The process will include requirements for employment in agriculture for at least 180 days over the last two years and at least 100 days per year to renew status as a Certified Agricultural Worker. Long-term workers would be able to pursue a green card. The legislation would also ensure critical protections for workers that are needed to ensure their safety, a stable income, and workers’ rights.”

It’s estimated that at least half of all farm workers are undocumented, and their lack of legal status makes them all the more vulnerable to abuses in an already strenuous job that is in no way “unskilled labor.” But like domestic workers, farm workers remain excluded from vital protections. Yet whether it's buying produce or dining at our favorite restaurant, we've all benefited from their labor. They deserve better.

“Legislators have voted in favor of protecting the people whose hands harvest the fruits and vegetables offered in congressional buildings’ cafeterias and all of American’s kitchen tables,” said UFW Foundation executive director Diana Tellefson Torres. “Whether it is through organizing in congressional districts or walking the halls of Congress, farm workers are a force that deserves recognition during the nine months it took to craft and get the legislation through the House.

Categories: Politics

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Will 'any one' Republican say it is 'OK' to invite foreign election help?

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:51

In the House Judiciary Committee's continuing impeachment debate, Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal asked the question most of America has been wondering about: "Forget about President Trump. Will any one of my colleagues on the other side say that it is an abuse of power to condition aid on official acts?. Forget about President Trump. Forget about President Trump. Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever OK for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in our elections? Not a single one of you has said that so far."

Not one Republican has so far answered Jayapal's question. House Republicans present have expressed outrage at the methods by which Trump's actions were discovered. They have lied about the evidence. They have claimed that the witnesses, testifying under oath, are all enemies of Dear Leader. They have claimed that the efforts to obtain evidence from a White House claiming "absolute immunity" to be unfair.

But none are addressing the actual topic of impeachment: whether we are now claiming that those in the office of the presidency are allowed to condition military aid to a nation on that nation's government doing favors of personal benefit to that president. It is transparently corrupt when stated plainly, which is why not one Republican on the committee is willing to state it plainly.

This is not about Trump. If it were, the drive to remove him would be bipartisan and quickly successful. This is about the Republican Party, about its members, from Nunes, Meadows, and Jordan to McCarthy and McConnell, who have devoted themselves steadfastly to allowing Donald Trump, his family, his staff, and his appointed officials to break the law. It is their corruption, not his, that has put the nation into constitutional crisis.

And so Jayapal's question remains unanswered.

Categories: Politics

AI R&D is Booming, But General Intelligence is Still Out of Reach

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:44
The AI world is booming in a range of metrics covering research, education, and technical achievements, according to AI Index report -- an annual rundown of machine learning data points now in its third year. From a news writeup, which outlines some of the more interesting and pertinent points: AI research is rocketing. Between 1998 and 2018, there's been a 300 percent increase in the publication of peer-reviewed papers on AI. Attendance at conferences has also surged; the biggest, NeurIPS, is expecting 13,500 attendees this year, up 800 percent from 2012. AI education is equally popular. Enrollment in machine learning courses in universities and online continues to rise. Numbers are hard to summarize, but one good indicator is that AI is now the most popular specialization for computer science graduates in North America. Over 21 percent of CS PhDs choose to specialize in AI, which is more than double the second-most popular discipline: security / information assurance. The US is still the global leader in AI by most metrics. Although China publishes more AI papers than any other nation, work produced in the US has a greater impact, with US authors cited 40 percent more than the global average. The US also puts the most money into private AI investment (a shade under $12 billion compared to China in second place globally with $6.8 billion) and files many more AI patents than any other country (with three times more than the number two nation, Japan). AI algorithms are becoming faster and cheaper to train. Research means nothing unless it's accessible, so this data point is particularly welcome. The AI Index team noted that the time needed to train a machine vision algorithm on a popular dataset (ImageNet) fell from around three hours in October 2017 to just 88 seconds in July 2019. Costs also fell, from thousands of dollars to double-digit figures. Self-driving cars received more private investment than any AI field. Just under 10 percent of global private investment went into autonomous vehicles, around $7.7 billion. That was followed by medical research and facial recognition (both attracting $4.7 billion), while the fastest-growing industrial AI fields were less flashy: robot process automation ($1 billion investment in 2018) and supply chain management (over $500 million).

Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Greta Slays The Orange Shitgibbon, Part 2

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:42

What to make of a 73-year-old man who keeps trying to publicly ridicule and bully a 16-year-old? And that the teen easily bests him at every turn, with humor and class, while the old man does nothing but soil himself and embarrass the entire country that gave him this platform.

Source: The Guardian

Incensed perhaps by her selection – and not his – as Time magazine’s person of the year, Donald Trump opened Twitter fire Thursday morning on the climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Trump, 73, tweeted that Thunberg, 16, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, had an “anger management problem” and should “chill” – no pun apparently intended.

“So ridiculous,” the president wrote. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Thunberg has caught the ire of many US conservatives for helping to spotlight a climate emergency which her critics pretend does not exist. But Trump’s attack on her, in personal terms, from his presidential bully pulpit struck many observers as a marked and hypocritical escalation.

read more

Categories: Politics

Apple News co-hosting its first presidential debate between Democrats in February

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:30

The Democratic National Committee has today announced the next series of presidential debates for 2020. For the first time ever, Apple News will serve a co-host for one of those debates.


The post Apple News co-hosting its first presidential debate between Democrats in February appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Trump's attacks on FBI could have a 'chilling effect' on future investigations, agents warn

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:27

Donald Trump and his pet attorney general, William Barr, have repeatedly attacked the FBI—even following the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that the investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign’s Russia ties was not political—and the attacks could be having the intended effect. Next time there’s good reason to investigate someone powerful, the FBI might think twice, current and former officials told CNN.

“We're constantly told to be agile and use all the legal tools available to us,” an FBI counterintelligence employee told CNN. “But who is going to risk sticking their neck out now only to have DOJ chop it off?”

”These comments will have a chilling effect on the workforce,” a retired agent said.

That, of course, is what Trump wanted—along with delegitimizing the concerns about him, his campaign, and their ties to Russian election interference.

Categories: Politics

Samantha Bee Warns: 'Don't Let GOP Yell You To Sleep'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:23

Samantha Bee observes the impeachment "debate," consisting of somber Democrats, and Republicans who are convinced the "best defense is a loud offense."

Bee called the yellings of Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy... “Kava-noise” after Brett Kavanaugh.

Her definition is spot-on: “That’s when white men who’ve done something awful shout into a camera at us until it goes away.”

SAMANTHA BEE: My God, can you imagine if a woman tried that strategy? I get accused of being shrill even when I’m sleeping. And it wouldn’t work for people of color either. If any of them tried to pull a Louie Gohmert, they’d get swatted by the white ladies filming them at all times.

But Bee also noted that the press buys right into their nonsense: "It’s not partisan if it’s pretty much all one side. Believe me, if there were ever a real partisan brawl, Maxine Waters would let you know.”

This isn't a "he said, she said" both sides thing, folks. It's about whether we have free and fair elections from now on.

propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('crooksandliars_content_1'); });
Categories: Politics

Netflix is filming a limited series about the rise of Spotify

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:16

The leading force in video streaming is making a show about the largest music service.
Categories: Geek

Renowned music producers put the Mac Pro to the test with Logic Pro X session

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:07

After we saw first impressions and some early benchmarks for the Mac Pro, YouTuber Jonathan Morrison has partnered up with two successful music producers to see how the new pro machine performs during a recording session in Logic Pro X.


The post Renowned music producers put the Mac Pro to the test with Logic Pro X session appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Getting Drivers for Old Hardware Is Harder Than Ever

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:03
At least one major provider of hardware-level BIOS drivers is actively deleting old stuff it no longer supports, while old FTP sites where vintage drivers are often found are soon going to be harder to reach. Ernie Smith, writing for Motherboard: You've never lived until you've had to download a driver from an archived forum post on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. You have no idea if it's going to work, but it's your only option. So you bite the bullet. I recently did this with a PCI-based SATA card I was attempting to flash to support a PowerPC-based Mac, and while it was a bit of a leap of faith, it actually ended up working. Score one for chance. But this, increasingly, feels like it may be a way of life for people trying to keep old hardware alive -- despite the fact that all the drivers generally have to do is simply sit on the internet, available when they're necessary. Apparently, that isn't easy enough for Intel. Recently, the chipmaker took BIOS drivers, a boot-level firmware technology used for hardware initialization in earlier generations of PCs, for a number of its unsupported motherboards off its website, citing the fact that the programs have reached an "End of Life" status. While it reflects the fact that Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a later generation of firmware technology used in PCs and Macs, is expected to ultimately replace BIOS entirely, it also leaves lots of users with old gadgets out in a lurch. And as Bleeping Computer has noted, it appears to be part of a broader trend to prevent downloads for unsupported hardware on the Intel website -- things that have long lived past their current lives. After all, if something goes wrong, Intel can be sure it's not liable if a 15-year-old BIOS update borks a system.

Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Siri saves college student after icy car crash into the Winnebago River

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:51

We often hear stories of Apple Watch playing a role in saving someone’s life, but this time it was Siri on iPhone. KIMT News in Iowa tells the story of Gael Salcedo, an 18-year-old who was on his way to classes at North Iowa Area Community College when he hit a patch of ice on the road.


The post Siri saves college student after icy car crash into the Winnebago River appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Zoe Lofgren Goes There: What About Stormy Daniels?

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:45

Thank you, Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

During Thursday's impeachment debate in the House Judiciary Committee, there have been instances of back and forth regarding this impeachment versus Bill Clinton's impeachment, in which he lied (about sex) under oath. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, takes that on:

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The argument, that somehow, lying about a sexual affair, is an abuse of presidential power, but the mis-use of presidential power to get a benefit, somehow doesn't matter. If it's lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels ahead of us. We don't believe that's a high crime or misdemeanor...

REPUBLICAN off screen: Will the gentlewoman yield?

LOFGREN: No. And it is not before us, and it should not be before us, because it's not an abuse of presidential power. I yield back.

Twitter (including my colleague @karoli) has opinions on this, too:

Categories: Politics

Ky. Gov. Bevin rushed to pardon fundraiser's killer brother, child rapist, and guy who hired hitman

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:43

Some true stories these days would never last three minutes as scripts in a Hollywood producer’s office. The author would be shown the door for fiction that is just too implausible for the audience to handle. Like, say, a U.S. president meeting the Russian foreign minister just as a U.S. ally is trying to get the Kremlin to quit killing his people and occupying a chunk of his nation. “Get out of here, even Oliver Stone couldn’t make that believable.”

A couple of investigative reporters wrote just such a story last night about Kentucky’s former governor, Republican Matt Bevin. Andrew Wolfson and Joe Sonka at The Louisville Courier Journal report that in his last days in office after losing the November election, Bevin pardoned a murderer whose brother, Eric Baker, hosted a July 2018 fundraiser to retire the governor’s campaign debt from 2015. Baker and his wife also contributed $4,000 of their own money to Bevin at that fundraiser.

The brother, Patrick Baker, had been sentenced in 2017 to 19 years for reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a law enforcement officer, and tampering with evidence. Two men convicted with him are still in prison, even though he’s the one who squeezed the trigger in a home invasion robbery.  Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele, who prosecuted Baker, was outraged about the pardon: "What makes Mr. Baker any different than the other two?" He thinks it’s the Baker family’s money that did the trick.

Bevin said he pardoned Baker because he didn’t think the evidence was convincing. Judge David Williams, a onetime Republican president of the Kentucky Senate, sentenced Baker in 2017. He told the Courier Journal that in his 30 years of practice, he’s “never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming.”

This part of the story would probably get a pass in Hollywood. It is, after all, the kind of corruption we’re all too familiar with. Not just believable, but almost a cliché. Money for a favor.

Categories: Politics

Google Assistant Can Now Interpret 44 Languages on Smartphones

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:25
Kyle Wiggers, writing for VentureBeat: In January during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google debuted interpreter mode, a real-time translation feature for Google Home speakers and third-party smart displays like those from JBL, Sony, LG, and Lenovo. The tech giant said at the time that interpreter mode would eventually come to mobile devices, but it didn't set a date. The date is today, as it turns out. As of this morning, Google Assistant on both Android and iOS smartphones supports interpreter mode, enabling you to ask for directions, order food, or simply chat in a foreign language. The number of recognized languages has increased from 27 to 44, and interpreter mode now lets you optionally type using a keyboard or manually select the language in which you'd like to speak. Saying a command like "Hey Google, be my German translator" or "Hey Google, help me speak Thai" kicks off interpreter mode. You'll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone, and after each translation, Google Assistant might present suggestions (like "Nien" or "Ju tut et") that let you quickly respond.

Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Orangetheory Fitness announces intricate Apple Watch integration coming in early 2020

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:17

Aside from all-new Apple Watch connectivity, Orangetheory also announced a membership program along with apps for coaches and sales associates to further enhance the member experience.
Categories: Geek

Buck up, House 'moderates,' and stand with the Constitution

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:16

First-term Kansas Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids will vote to impeach Donald Trump. "The evidence uncovered by the House impeachment inquiry is overwhelming," she said. "And the facts are uncontested." So will Pennsylvania's Rep. Conor Lamb, another freshman Democrat who you might remember winning a squeaker of a special election last year. "I think the evidence is strong," he says.

So if they can do it, the Blue Dog Democrats in the House should pull up their big-girl and big-boy pants and do the right thing. Instead, they're whining about their districts and waffling. And that's after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave them very narrow—and completely irrefutable—articles of impeachment. A handful of them have even been talking about maybe instead censuring Trump. Censuring him for trying to extort a foreign government to help him fix his reelection.

"I'm still thinking it over," said Rep. Susie Lee, from Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, which she won by 10 points. "This is a very grave decision. […] I'm hearing all sides of it. […] It's mixed, it's very mixed." It's not at all mixed, and there aren't more than two sides: neither with Trump and his endangering of national security to help Russia help keep him in office nor with the Constitution. Waffler Rep. Josh Gottheimer of NJ-05, which he won in 2016 by almost 5 points, says, "I've said all along, I need to see all the facts. I'm not going to prejudge anything until we get every bit of information." You've gotten the information. The testimony and the report from the House Intelligence Committee could not be more clear.

Davids is there. Lamb is there. Rep. Susan Wild in PA-07, another who won a very tight special election in 2018, will vote for both articles. "I know from my own inbox that there's plenty of antagonism out there, but on the other hand I've also gotten enormous numbers of people texting me, emailing me, private messaging me with supportive messages," Wild said. "I don't really know how it plays back home at this point, so ultimately, for me, it comes down to doing the right thing, and I think this is the right thing to do."

The right thing to do. The thing you were elected to do. The thing you swore to do: defend and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Step up, snowflakes.

Categories: Politics

73-year-old Trump bullies 16-year-old Thunberg on Twitter. She once again makes a fool of him

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:14

Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg was named TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year for her work as an environmental activist and advocate. Thunberg is the youngest person to receive this recognition. Donald Trump, who was a finalist for the position, and who himself was dubbed Person of the Year in 2016, responded to Thunberg’s cover in a manner suggesting that he, not Greta, is the teenager in this equation. After TIME’s cover was revealed, Trump took to Twitter to mock Thunberg and suggest that she seek anger management and watch a movie with a friend.


This isn’t the first time Trump has bullied Thunberg on Twitter. In September, Thunberg gave a speech urging adults to act on climate change. "I shouldn't be up here," the teenager said in her U.N. climate action speech. "I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

Moving, for sure, but not particularly happy. Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax and whose administration continues to attack the environment, made haste on Twitter to diminish her as a “very happy young girl” as her speech went viral.

Categories: Politics

New data from November election shows Mississippi's Jim Crow constitution still harms black voters

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:00

Last month, Republican Tate Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood by a modest 52-47 margin to become the next governor of Mississippi, but thanks to a unique relic of Jim Crow that’s still very much alive today, Reeves could have lost the popular vote by double digits yet still won the election.

How could this be possible?

The state's 1890 constitution, which was officially enacted "to secure to the State of Mississippi 'white supremacy,'" is still in effect today, and among its provisions is an “electoral college” for statewide elections that deliberately penalizes black voters and the Democrats they support.

The provision in question requires candidates for offices such as governor or attorney general to win not only a majority of the vote but also a majority of the state House’s 122 districts. If no candidate surpasses both thresholds, the members of the House choose the winner, and there’s nothing to stop them from picking the person who lost the popular vote.

Republicans have controlled the state legislature since 2011, and as soon as they took charge, they redrew their own districts to guarantee they’d never lose their grip on power. They did so by making sure a majority of districts would be heavily white, and therefore heavily Republican. As a result, they not only gerrymandered the state House, they gerrymandered every statewide election, too.

Just how big of a penalty does this system impose on Mississippi Democrats, who overwhelmingly rely on the support of black voters? We compiled the results of every contested statewide election in 2019 broken down by state House district to find out. Even though Reeves won the popular vote by just 5 points, that victory translated into a crushing 74-48 win at the district level, meaning he won 61% of the state’s "electoral votes." But even that doesn’t tell the whole story.

We can also ask ourselves what it would have taken for Hood to have carried a majority of House districts. One way we can answer that question is by ranking every district from most Republican to most Democratic, ranging from Reeves' largest margin of victory to Hood's largest margin, and finding the district in the middle. Reeves won that median district 60-39, 15 points to the right of his 5-point statewide win.

Categories: Politics

Impeachment Hearings Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:57

For your watching pleasure –

Categories seem to be broken…

The post Impeachment Hearings Open Thread appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics