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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 17 declined, 7 accepted (24 total, 29.17% accepted)

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Submission + - White House blocks news organizations from press briefing (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: CNN reports that it, along with several other major news organizations, were blocked from attending a press briefing at the White House today. From the article:

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room. The gaggle was held by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

In a brief statement defending the move, administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the White House "had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today."

The pool usually includes a representative from one television network and one print outlet. In this case, four of the five major television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.

And while The New York Times was kept out, conservative media organizations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were also allowed in.


Submission + - House science chairman: 'Get your news directly from the president' (cnn.com) 1

ClickOnThis writes: CNN has reported that Rep. Lamar Smith (R), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is asking Americans to trust the information they get from the President over the news produced by the media. From the article:

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith saluted President Donald Trump from the floor of the House on Tuesday evening, rattling off his first-week accomplishments but saying Trump is not getting the press coverage he deserves.

"The national liberal media won't print that, or air it or post it," Smith said. "Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."


Submission + - Scientists scramble to protect research on climate change (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: Scientists are concerned that an incoming Trump administration would remove existing datasets on climate-change. They are scrambling to ensure that existing data is preserved. From the article:

Some scientists and academics are embarking on a frenzied mission to archive reams of scientific data on climate change, energized by a concern that a Trump administration could seek to wipe government websites of hard-earned research.

Environmentalists and researchers encountered a friendly White House over the last eight years that encouraged inquiry into global warming and signed historic agreements meant to lower global carbon emissions. But the surprise victory of Donald Trump last month has ignited a scramble among those minds who are alarmed by the President-elect's comments on climate change and a string of appointments who do not share the Obama administration's views or attention to this type of scientific research.

The chief concern: publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public. Some worry the information could only be retrieved with a taxing Freedom of Information Act request.


Submission + - Sarah Palin says 'Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am' (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: From this story on CNN: 'Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin mocked Bill Nye on Thursday, using the premier of a film that criticizes climate change scientists to call into question Nye's credentials. "Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am," the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said, according to The Hill. "He's a kids' show actor, he's not a scientist." Palin, who was speaking at the Washington premiere of the anti-climate change film "Climate Hustle," targeted Nye during a rant against the "alarmism" of climate change activists.'

Submission + - Another Earthquake hits Japan (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: CNN reports that another earthquake has hit Japan. From the article: "A magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck early Saturday in Japan's Kyushu island, the same region a 6.2 quake struck two days earlier. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the latest quake struck just west-southwest of Kumamoto-shi and about 8 miles south-southeast of Ueki, the epicenter of the late Thursday tremor that left nine dead. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured or killed as a result of Saturday's seismic event. Nor was it clear how much damage, if any, had been caused, though there's plenty of reason to be concerned."

Submission + - Walmart to Begin Employee-Cloning Program 2

ClickOnThis writes: Retail giant Walmart today annouced the start of a program to clone employees to staff its almost 10,000 stores worldwide. Speaking from inside Walmart's flagship store in Bentonville, Arkansas, Stella de Ville, Senior VP of Human R&D, described the program as a "win-win" for Walmart and its associates, with potential to optimize the "right-fit" of employees with their positions. "We want employees to be happy and thrive in their jobs" explained de Ville. "What better way to do this than to design their DNA so that it's inevitable?" De Ville went on to describe future plans that could include the cloning of lower and middle management candidates, and ultimately customers. "There's a long development time for this, because we're talking about years of growth for a clone to mature to a marginally literate and functioning member of Walmart society, but the benefits are significant. We are making the required investment in the lobbying of legislators to ensure that our young and growing cloned Walmarters are supported by the social welfare system and are educated to Walmart standards with taxpayer assistance." When asked about the inevitable exercise of free will by some of the clone candidates who may not wish to be Walmart employees or customers, de Ville replied "Uh, those candidates will be re-directed towards other objectives" as she shifted uneasily on her feet and glanced over to the store's frozen-meat section.

Submission + - Amazon Announces 'Buy it Yesterday' Feature

ClickOnThis writes: Online retailer Amazon.com has announced the availability of the "Buy it Yesterday" feature on their checkout page. CEO Jeff Bezos explained that the new option, several years in development, allows customers to transcend the physical limits of causality, and order items so that they are purchased and delivered on the day before the customer orders them. "We expect a broad appeal for this feature" said Bezos. "Husbands who miss anniversaries, friends and family who forget birthdays, now have a viable 'do-over' to repair their reputation and rewrite their social screwups as though they never happened." Bezos went on to describe future enhancements to the feature that will include support for longer time-periods into the past, potentially allowing unlimited revision of shopping oversights, including the retroactive purchase of items that are sold-out or discontinued. Bezos gave no details on pricing for this new feature, but emphasized that it is not, and probably never will be, included in the Amazon Prime membership benefits. When asked about recent Amazon patent applications that strongly resembled those of their competitors, and with submission dates that were exactly one day earlier, Bezos smiled and replied that these were merely coincidences.

Submission + - Donald Trump and the Rise of American Authoritarianism (vox.com)

ClickOnThis writes: Vox.com has this article on research conducted by several sociologists that examines the sudden rise in popularity of US presidential candidate Donald Trump. They found that people who support him show a disposition to authoritarianism. From the article: "Authoritarians are thought to express much deeper fears than the rest of the electorate, to seek the imposition of order where they perceive dangerous change, and to desire a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force." The article author reports that authoritarians are not all one type, but vary from those who are overtly authoritarian to those who are "activated" by external events that generate fear. The article concludes that "authoritarians, as a growing presence in the GOP, are a real constituency that exists independently of Trump — and will persist as a force in American politics regardless of the fate of his candidacy."

Submission + - Donald Trump and the Rise of American Authoritarianism (vox.com)

ClickOnThis writes: Vox.com has thiis article on research conducted by several sociologists that examines the sudden rise in popularity of US presidential candidate Donald Trump. They found that people who support for him show a disposition to authoritarianism. From the article: "Authoritarians are thought to express much deeper fears than the rest of the electorate, to seek the imposition of order where they perceive dangerous change, and to desire a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force." The article author reports that authoritarians are not all one type, but vary from those who are overtly authoritarian to those who are "activated" by external events that generate fear. Thus, "authoritarians, as a growing presence in the GOP, are a real constituency that exists independently of Trump — and will persist as a force in American politics regardless of the fate of his candidacy."

Submission + - SpaceX rocket launch postponed again (www.cbc.ca)

ClickOnThis writes: The CBC reports:

SpaceX called off a planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a communications satellite less than two minutes before blastoff from Florida on Thursday, citing a technical problem. It marked the second straight day that Elon Musk's privately owned Space Exploration Technologies had postponed the launch.

There's no mention of the story yet on CNN.

Submission + - Giving a voice to ALS patients

ClickOnThis writes: We are all familiar with the speech synthesizer used by Stephen Hawking, famous physicist and ALS patient. He has heard the synthesizer's accent described as Scandinavian, American or Scottish although he has learned to identify with it. But what if an ALS patient could speak with her/his own voice? Former helicopter mechanic and now ALS patient Cal Moore can do just that. Moore, with the help of speech pathologist Roberta Kelley at Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital, began recording his own voice years ago, before the disease began to affect his speech. He can play back, in his own voice, phrases such as "I feel tired", "You know what? Your driving sucks" and others. The process, known as voice-banking, was invented by speech pathologist John Costello at Boston Children's Hospital. Granted, it's not exactly a synthesizer, and obviously it requires sampling of the patient's unaffected voice in advance. But couldn't this be a precursor to other technologies that could synthesize arbitrary phrases in a patient's own voice, from pre-sampled phonemes?

Submission + - Programmer Outsources His Own Job to China 3

ClickOnThis writes: A USA-based programmer with Verizon oursourced his own job to a third-party contractor in Shenyang, China. He got away with the ruse for months until Verizon became suspicious of the traffic on his home-office VPN, and noticed that his in-office activities were perfunctory. From the article: "[T]he employee — identified only as “Bob” — used his 9-to-5 hours to peruse Reddit, watch cat videos, update his Facebook profile and shop on eBay." He paid the contractor $50,000 of his six-figure salary annually, and pocketed the difference. What is particularly irksome is that many blog posts on the Verizon website are praising him for his "business savvy."
Shark

Submission + - Laser Technology May Reduce Military Friendly-Fire 1

ClickOnThis writes: CNN has a story on the use of laser-based identification technologies to reduce friendly-fire incidents. From the article: 'The DCID-TALON works when its user spots a target in his or her scope. The shooter aims the device, which sends an encoded message by laser beam. If the target is friendly, the message will reflect off of the target’s retroreflectors (they are the size of a postage stamp and can be embedded in the soldier’s helmet and uniform; each soldier would be outfitted with multiple retroreflectors), and the device will display the word "friend."'
Linux Business

Submission + - Nokia: Linux Needs to Learn Business

ClickOnThis writes: BusinessWeek.com has an article on a speech given by Dr. Ari Jaaksi, VP of Nokia, at the Handset World conference. He claimed open-source software developers need to be "educated" on how the mobile industry works, particularly on the "business rules" that they need to obey, which include embracing "DRM, IPR [intellectual property rights], SIM locks and subsidised business models." From the article: "Why do we need closed vehicles? We do," he said. "Some of these things harm the industry but they're here [as things stand]. These are touchy, emotional issues but this dialogue is very much needed. As an industry, we plan to use open-source technologies but we are not yet ready to play by the rules; but this needs to work the other way round too." There is also some discussion about Maemo, the Linux OS that runs on Nokia's N800-series tablets, as well as Nokia's recent acquisition of Trolltech (makers of the Qt widget kit) and possible consequences for the mobile application market.
Television

Submission + - Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" [rev

ClickOnThis writes: [a few corrections and additions...]

Candidates I'd like to see on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice"

OJ Simpson
Jenna Jameson
Richard Stallman
Kevin Mitnick
Alberto Gonzales
Uwe Boll
Hello Kitty Robo
The "Duke Nukem Forever" development team
A Beowulf cluster of Cowboy Neals

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