Culture

Migrants From Aquarius Flotilla Arrive in Spain

Boats in a flotilla of vessels carrying 629 migrants docked in the Spanish port of Valencia, ending a perilous crossing of the Mediterranean that has focused attention on Europe’s response to their plight. The Dattilo, an Italian vessel, arrived at Valencia before 7 a.m. and passengers began disembarking, according to images shown by Spanish state broadcaster TVE. The Aquarius and the Orione, another Italian ship, berthed later on Sunday. Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed to receive the migrants from the Aquarius after Italy and then Malta refused permission for the vessel to dock. The insistence of the new Italian government, led by the League and the Five Star Movement, to curb the arrival of migrants and asylum-seekers has already rocked relations with France, which on Sat...

Dank learning system autogenerates memes

We all know that in the near future humanity will come to a crossroads. With 99% of the world’s population currently tasked with creating memes and/or dank memes, what will happen when computers get better at it than humans? Researchers may have just found out. Using machine learning, a pair of Stanford researchers, Abel L. Peirson V and E. Meltem Tolunay, have created a system that automatically generates memes including the ones visible above. Their system, they’ve discovered “produces original memes that cannot on the whole be differentiated from real ones.” You can read the report here. The system uses a pre-trained Inception-v3 network using the long short-term memory model to produce captions that are applicable to a particular picture. Humans then assess the humor of the meme, rewar...

New technology can see your body through walls

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has created a system that can see your body through walls, recreating your poses when you walk, sit, or simply stand still. It uses RF waves to sense where you are and then recreates your body as a simple stick figure. It’s called RF-Pose. From the release: The researchers use a neural network to analyze radio signals that bounce off people’s bodies, and can then create a dynamic stick figure that walks, stops, sits and moves its limbs as the person performs those actions. The team says that the system could be used to monitor diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS), providing a better understanding of disease progression and allowing doctors to adjust medications accordingly. It could also help elderly people live...

Baseball Keeps Antitrust Exemption as U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider rulings that give Major League Baseball a broad exemption from federal antitrust laws, turning away two appeals. The justices rejected arguments from two major league scouts who claimed the 30 teams were colluding to suppress wages. The court also declined to hear from property owners who say their rights were violated when the Chicago Cubs and owner Tom Ricketts blocked some rooftop views of Wrigley Field. The dual rebuffs leave intact a line of Supreme Court rulings, dating from 1922 to 1972, that largely insulate the business side of baseball from antitrust lawsuits. Congress overturned the rulings with regard to players and their salaries, but left the exemption in place in other contexts. Scouts Jordan Wyckoff and Darwin Cox argued that it’...

Isolated North Korean Public Mostly Unaware of Historic Trump-Kim Summit

Pyongyang, North Korea (AP) — With all the international attention focused on Singapore and the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang must be buzzing with excitement, right? Well, it might be, if anyone knew what was going on. Instead, it’s like the center of the storm. With few sources of information other than the state-run media, gossip and word of mouth, most North Koreans are still largely in the dark about the momentous — and potentially life-changing — events that are about to take place outside of their isolated nation. The official media has reported that the two leaders plan to meet, but has offered few specifics, including where and when. There was no official word that Kim had left the country Sunday and arrive...

Avenatti Demands Cohen Turn Over Any Stormy Daniels Audio Tapes

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels’s attorney told President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer he must turn over any audio recordings that may exist in which the actress is discussed. Michael Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan “effectively admitted” in court on Wednesday that his client recorded telephone conversations with the actress’s former lawyer, Keith Davidson, her current lawyer Michael Avenatti said in a letter to Cohen Thursday. Any recording would be protected by attorney-client privilege, Avenatti said. Ryan didn’t specifically affirm that such a recording existed during a hearing in federal court Wednesday on the FBI raid of Cohen’s home and office. He said that if any such recordings exist, they’re “under lock and key.” Davidson represented Daniels, whose real nam...

Trump’s Bid to Halt Former ‘Apprentice’ Candidate’s Lawsuit Denied on Appeal

President Donald Trump’s request to put a former “Apprentice” candidate’s defamation lawsuit on hold while he challenges a ruling denying his bid to throw out the case entirely was rejected by a New York appeals court. Summer Zervos sued Trump last year claiming he defamed her when he said she lied about her claim that he groped and forcibly kissed her. Zervos, who met with Trump in hopes of securing a job after her Apprentice television show appearance in 2005, is one of more than a dozen women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct. Trump has called the lawsuit politically motivated, saying Zervos can’t hold him liable for engaging in political speech that’s protected by the First Amendment. He has said she continued to attempt to contact him and seek employment even aft...

William Hill, Paddy Power See Sales Hit From U.K. Betting Limit

William Hill Plc and Paddy Power Betfair Plc warned that new U.K. gambling limits will slash their revenue from roulette and poker machines, raising the threat of widespread closures of the bookmaking shops that are a fixture of U.K. shopping districts. William Hill, seen by analysts as most exposed to the measure, forecast a gaming revenue hit of as much as 45 percent and said 900 of its shops, or 38 percent of the total, could become unprofitable. Paddy Power warned of a similar impact on its revenue. The maximum bet on the devices known as fixed-odds betting terminals now will be 2 pounds ($2.71), down from 100 pounds, the government said in a statement Thursday. The decision is likely to hasten bookmakers’ efforts to seek new sources of revenue, a trend that’s already under way after a...

Zuckerberg Agrees to EU Parliament Grilling Over Data Scandal

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to face a grilling from European Union lawmakers over how the data of as many as 2.7 million Europeans could have ended up in the hands of consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday said Zuckerberg had accepted the EU institution’s invitation to travel across the Atlantic and face lawmakers in person as soon as next week. The meeting will take place in private, the assembly’s press service said. “Our citizens deserve a full and detailed explanation,” Tajani said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I welcome Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to appear in person before the representatives of 500 million Europeans. It is a step in the right direction towards restoring confidence.” The ...

Bitter Election Fight in Southern India State Goes Down to Wire

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won the most seats in a closely-fought election in the southern state of Karnataka but may not be able to form a government after two rival parties vowed to form a coalition government. The BJP is leading in 104 seats, eight short of the majority mark in the 224-member assembly, according to the Election Commission of India. The Congress party, which has governed Karnataka for the last five years, is leading in 76 seats, it said. Regional party Janata Dal (Secular) is ahead in 39 seats. The inconclusive outcome has paved the way for the Janata Dal (Secular) party, led by former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda, to play a kingmaker in forming the government. Traditionally, the governor calls the single-largest party first to prove its maj...

Mueller Refutes Manafort’s Claim of Grand Jury Leaks by Government

Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a federal judge to reject a request by Paul Manafort, the indicted former Trump campaign chairman, for a hearing to determine whether government officials improperly leaked secret grand-jury information to the news media. U.S. prosecutors said in a filing on Monday that defense attorneys had failed to provide evidence that news reports about Mueller’s investigation of Manafort were based on matters before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, that indicted him in February on tax- and bank-fraud charges. Manafort had asked the judge to identify and punish government officials who allegedly disclosed secret information that appeared in reports by the Associated Press, the New York Times, CNN, NBC News and BuzzFeed. Mueller, who is investigating Russian me...

Split-Screen Coverage of Violence in Gaza and Ceremony in Jerusalem

Palestinian death toll climbs as U.S. officials unveil contentious new embassy. Bloomberg News May 14, 2018, 1:50 PM EDT Israeli defense forces killed dozens of Palestinians and injured more than 1,500 with a barrage of tear gas and live fire at the border fence between Gaza and Israel, according to Bloomberg News. Gaza protesters, egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, streamed to the border, where some threw rocks, burned tires and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory. Palestinians will mark the 70th anniversary of the “nakba,” or “catastrophe,” of their displacement during Israel’s birth, on Tuesday. U.S. President Donald Trump, along with daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other officials...