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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."'

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