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Member since: Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
Number of posts: 746

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Gas is almost $4 a gallon in California now

How are you holding up? It's hurting me pretty bad because I have to commute an hour to work.

Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is 'my partner in crime' and 'I love him to death'


Former first lady Michelle Obama said Thursday that ex-President George W. Bush has become her "partner in crime" after years of sitting together at official events.

"President Bush and I are forever seatmates because of protocol – that's how we sit at all the official functions," Obama said on NBC's "Today" show. "So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather. I love him to death," Obama added. "He's a wonderful man. He's a funny man."

Obama expressed her affection for Bush after being asked about the moment when Bush handed her a cough drop at the Sept. 1 funeral of the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain. The moment, which happened at the National Cathedral in Washington, went viral on social media. Bush was handing a cough drop to his wife, Laura, when Obama leaned over and asked him if she could have one too. She said she didn't realize that anyone was watching the "simple gesture."

"And I will add that they were old cough drops," Obama said, describing them as being in an official White House box. "And I was like, 'How long have you had these?' They said, 'A long time. We got a lot of these.' " Obama, a Democrat, said her friendship with Bush, a Republican, defies labels. "Party doesn't separate us," she said. "Color, gender, those sort of things don't separate us."

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/10/11/michelle-obama-george-w-bush-my-partner-crime/1603296002/

Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) machine-learning specialists uncovered a big problem: their new recruiting engine did not like women. The team had been building computer programs since 2014 to review job applicants’ resumes with the aim of mechanizing the search for top talent, five people familiar with the effort told Reuters.

Automation has been key to Amazon’s e-commerce dominance, be it inside warehouses or driving pricing decisions. The company’s experimental hiring tool used artificial intelligence to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars - much like shoppers rate products on Amazon, some of the people said.

“Everyone wanted this holy grail,” one of the people said. “They literally wanted it to be an engine where I’m going to give you 100 resumes, it will spit out the top five, and we’ll hire those.” But by 2015, the company realized its new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical posts in a gender-neutral way.

That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry. In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized resumes that included the word “women’s,” as in “women’s chess club captain.” And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter. They did not specify the names of the schools.


Bitcoin crash: This man lost his savings when cryptocurrencies plunged

An estimated $400 billion has been wiped off the value of major cryptocurrencies since January. Sean Russell's life savings were among them. Russell rarely played the stock market and had little investing experience when he put around $120,000 into bitcoin in November 2017. He was stunned when that turned into $500,000 in just one month.

"I think there was one morning where I woke up, where I made about £12,000 ($15,600) in one morning on my investment and it just kept going," said Russell. "I was thinking, wow, that's mortgages paid, that's holidays that I've always dreamed of." The dream didn't last for Russell, who works as a property developer in the United Kingdom, buying homes and fixing them up. The price of Bitcoin surpassed $20,000 in December before collapsing. It now trades at $6,300.

Russell attempted to mitigate his losses by shifting money from bitcoin (XBT) to an offshoot called Bitcoin Cash and other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum and Ripple. But that didn't work, and Russell says the paper losses on his initial investment have reached 96%.

"It was devastating, quite traumatic, really," Russell said. "I've seen stories on the news of billionaires going bankrupt, and you think how can that be? How on earth did you lose that amount of money? And yet, here I am in that position." Russell is not alone. Michel Rauchs, who researches cryptocurrency and blockchain at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, said the explosive rise in prices in 2017 attracted a wave of inexperienced investors.

"Retail investors, students, housewives, even grandma was driven in by the hype," says Rauchs. "They were told by the media that this was an opportunity of a lifetime. They bought at the top and are now sitting on heavy losses." The crash has left professional investors and enthusiasts debating where cryptocurrencies go from here. "Clearly the frenzy that we have seen and the volatility in the price of bitcoin ... resembles a lot of other financial bubbles that happen over and over again in our economic history," said Benedetto De Martino, a behavioral economist at University College London.

The fever that gripped cryptocurrency investors has faded in recent months. JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) have warned investors to stay away from bitcoin. Last week, bitcoin prices plunged more than 20% in two days after Business Insider reported that investment banking giant Goldman Sachs (GS) may be dropping plans to launch a crypto trading desk.


Possibly millions of water bottles meant for Hurricane Maria victims left on tarmac in Puerto Rico

Source: CBS

The federal government's response to Hurricane Maria is under fresh scrutiny over photos showing what appear to be millions of water bottles meant for victims still sitting on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, more than one year after the storm.

The Puerto Rican government has placed much of the blame for mismanagement of resources on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A senior FEMA official told CBS News' David Begnaud that "if [FEMA] put that water on that runway there will be hell to pay ... If we did that, we're going to fess up to it."

The images of huge stacks of bottled water began circulating on social media Tuesday, the same day President Trump called the government's response to Maria an "unsung success" during a meeting on hurricane preparedness in the Oval Office. Nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico because of the storm.

The photos were taken by Abdiel Santana, who works with the United Forces of Rapid Action agency of the Puerto Rican Police. Santana said he snapped the photos because he was angry to still see them sitting there, nearly a year after he first spotted them. Santana told CBS News he took pictures of the bottles last fall, but has not provided those photos yet.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/possibly-millions-water-bottles-meant-for-hurricane-maria-victims-left-on-tarmac-puerto-rico/

Amazon has patented a system that would put workers in a cage, on top of a robot

A patent Amazon has received would pair humans and machines. In this case, the humans would be in a cage.

Illustrations that accompany the patent, which was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 2016, show a cage-like enclosure around a small work space sitting atop the kind of robotic trolleys that now drive racks of shelves around Amazon warehouses.

The patent was called “an extraordinary illustration of worker alienation, a stark moment in the relationship between humans and machines” by researchers who highlighted it in a study published Friday.

Amazon says it never implemented the technology and has no plans to, but the design appeared to be an effort to allow humans to safely enter robot-only zones in Amazon’s highly-automated depots to make repairs or pick up dropped objects.


Tesla in turmoil after Elon Musk smokes marijuana on live show and top executives resign

Source: Telegraph

Tesla’s shares have crashed after two top executives left the company and Elon Musk, its chief executive, was filmed smoking marijuana during an interview.

Mr Musk, who announced and then abandoned a plan to take Tesla off the stock market last month, smoked the drug on a podcast hosted by the comedian Joe Rogan.

Marijuana is legal in California, where the podcast was recorded, but its explicit use is atypical for the head of a major company.

On Friday, Tesla revealed that its chief accounting officer Dave Morton had resigned after less than a month in charge, citing the intense “public attention” on the company.

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/09/07/tesla-turmoil-elon-musk-smokes-marijuana-live-show-top-executives/

Economic crisis in Turkey and Argentina lead to talk of "contagion", fears of panic spreading

Economic crises in Turkey and Argentina have led to talk of "contagion" - the danger of financial problems in one country spilling over into others. Turkey has struggled with a falling currency and worsening relations with the US. A spiralling crisis in Argentina prompted the government to announce austerity measures and to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an early release of a $50bn loan.

The sharp falls in the value of Turkey's lira and Argentina's peso have led to fears that currencies from South Africa to Russia will follow suit. In Asia, India's rupee and Indonesia's rupiah have already been hit. Put simply, contagion is a self-fulfilling process, whereby economic problems in one country prompt investors to sell assets in economies with similar risks.

In a globalised world, a crisis in one country can also quickly spread to others through trade links or lending by banks. That is why a downturn in Turkey or Argentina matters to foreigners - beyond making holidays there cheaper. Trade is the obvious way for trouble in one country to affect another.

When an economy begins to falter, companies tend to cut production and then jobs. As a result, consumers have less money to spend on goods, including imports. This is bad news for global businesses that export a lot of goods to the country. If a crisis also causes a country's currency to weaken, the cost of imports rise, further hurting demand.


'Gilligan's Island' star Dawn Wells(Mary Ann) is $200k in debt, turns to fans for help

"Gilligan's Island" star Dawn Wells hopes that fans of the beloved show might help her out of a financial jam. TMZ reports that the actress best known for playing Mary Ann on the iconic show is about $200,000 in debt, an apparent result of medical bills and investment losses.

A friend has now launched a GoFundMe so that the former TV star can move to an assisted care facility, "hopefully in the motion picture home that she likes," the GoFundMe page says. The pal says Dawn has had some difficult health battles of late. She spent last year recovering from a major surgery that "came close to killing her," the page says, and she also broke her knee earlier this year.

According to the GoFundMe page, Dawn said, "I just don't know what happened! I thought I would be just fine, but apparently I'm not. I've found myself with no home, husband or kids. I thank God every day that I have friends and fans who care or this whole thing would be too overwhelming!" The fundraising page noted that Dawn got hit hard during the 2008 recession and lost almost all of her savings.

"Dawn needs $194,000 to help her move and pay her hospital costs as well as future expenses," the GoFundMe says. A fundraising goal of $180,000 has been set, but after eight days, it hasn't come anywhere near that goal.


Amazon at $1 Trillion Pushes Jeff Bezos's 2018 Gain to $67 Billion

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. briefly became America’s second trillion-dollar company on Tuesday after adding $434 billion to its market cap this year.

No one has benefited more than founder Jeff Bezos, who has added $67 billion to his fortune this year, giving him a $167 billion net worth on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as of 12:30 p.m. in New York on Tuesday.

Here are six ways to put that $67 billion gain into context:

It’s more than the entire market capitalization of FedEx Corp.
Bezos’s gain this year alone would make him the seventh-richest person on Earth, ahead of Mexico’s Carlos Slim and Alphabet Inc.’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
It’s about the equivalent of Walt Disney Co.’s blockbuster bid for most of the assets of 21st Century Fox Inc.
His wealth has increased by an average of about $8 million an hour in 2018.
It’s roughly 10 times Amazon’s total net income since it went public in 1997.
The 499 other billionaires on the Bloomberg ranking have added a net combined $8.3 billion to their fortunes this year.

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