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It’s Not All About Trump

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:30
Geographic quirks, not presidential ones, could determine many midterm contests.

The Different Ends of NeverTrump

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:30
Are Trump's conservative critics really conservatives anymore?

Taylor Swift, the Grown-Up in the Room

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:30
Tennessee progressives were unhappy with their options in a close Senate race. A 28-year-old pop star explained the stakes.

O.C.D., My Exhausting Best Friend

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:30
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a companion that constantly wants to protect me, never realizing the threats it sees aren’t legitimate.

The New American Dream Home Is One You Never Have to Leave

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:30
Forget the game room and formal dining. You need space for aging parents and Airbnb guests.

Scientists Are Getting Seriously Worried About Synthetic Smallpox

SlashDot - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 13:34
An anonymous reader quotes ScienceAlert: Earlier this year, scientists published a paper describing how they pieced together segments of DNA in order to bring back a previously eradicated virus called horsepox. The paper, written by two University of Alberta researchers and the co-founder of a New York pharmaceutical company, was controversial because, as various experts told the magazine Science, someone could use a very similar process to bring back a related virus: smallpox. Smallpox, you'll recall, killed hundreds of millions of people before the World Health Organization declared it eradicated in 1980. That was the result of a long vaccination campaign — so the idea of piecing the virus back together from bits of DNA raises the specter of a horrifying pandemic. Two journals rejected the paper before PLOS One, an open access peer-reviewed journal, published it. Critics argue that the paper not only demonstrates that you can synthesize a deadly pathogen for what Science reported was about US$100,000 in lab expenses, but even provides a slightly-too-detailed-for-comfort overview of how to do it. Some of the horsepox scientists' coworkers are still pretty upset about this. PLOS One's sister Journal, PLOS Pathogens, just published three opinion pieces about the whole flap, as well as a rebuttal by the Canadian professors. Overall, everyone's pretty polite. But you get the sense that microbiologists are really, really worried about someone reviving smallpox. MIT biochemist Kevin Esvelt, for instance, wrote on Thursday that the threat is so grim that we shouldn't even talk about it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US Grounds All F-35 Jets

SlashDot - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 12:34
Thelasko tipped us off to this story. NBC News reports: The U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marines -- as well as 11 international partners who participated in the program -- grounded all F-35 fighters on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into a jet that crashed in Beaufort, South Carolina, late last month. "The pilot in that incident ejected safely but the aircraft was destroyed," reports the BBC, adding "the problem has already been identified as faulty fuel tubes. Once these are checked or replaced the aircraft will be back in the air." The U.S. has spent more than $320 billion to build their fleet of 2,400-plus F-35 jets, according to a recent GAO report -- or roughly $130 million for each one of the planes. The BBC calls it "the largest and most expensive weapons program of its type in the world."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Do You Do When You Are Anonymously Accused of Rape?

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 12:09
The writer Stephen Elliott is suing Moira Donegan, the creator of the Media Men list.

What’s at Stake in the Harvard Lawsuit? Decades of Debate Over Race in Admissions

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 11:49
The case, which begins Monday, is widely seen as a referendum on affirmative action.

It Was Flat Sales That Helped Microsoft Become America's #5 PC Maker

SlashDot - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 11:34
An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: Microsoft was the fifth-biggest PC maker in the U.S. in the third quarter of this year, according to industry advisory firm Gartner. The top spot in the U.S. belongs to HP, with about 4.5 million machines sold, ahead of Dell at 3.8 million, Lenovo at 2.3 million, and Apple at 2 million. The gap between fourth and fifth is pretty big -- Microsoft sold only 0.6 million Surface devices last quarter -- but it suggests that Microsoft's PC division is heading in the right direction, with sales 1.9 percent higher than the same quarter last year. The company pushed down to sixth place was Acer. The current quarter should be better still; the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Studio have all been given hardware refreshes which, when combined with the always-busy holiday season, should stimulate higher sales. Globally, both Gartner and IDC reported a flat PC market (up 0.1 percent in Gartner's view, down 0.9 percent in IDC's), after the previous quarter's modest growth. "The PC market continued to be driven by steady corporate PC demand, which was driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades," said one Gartner analyst. In defining what constitutes a PC, Gartner includes notebooks and "premium" ultramobile devices -- but does not include iPads or Chromebooks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

From In-N-Out to the County Fair: Republican John Cox Tries to Make a Name in California

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:51
Behind in the polls and fund-raising, John Cox, a Republican running for governor in California, fights for name recognition in a bus tour of the state.

150 San Franciscans Explain How Tech Money Changed Their City

SlashDot - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:34
DevNull127 writes: In a remarkable odyssey, documentary-maker Cary McClelland interviewed more than 150 San Francisco residents — including a tattoo artist, a longshoreman, a venture capitalist, and a pawnshop owner — to capture the real voices of a changing city, in a kind of oral history of the present. It becomes a magical "documentary without film... panoramic, complex — and surprisingly well-balanced," writes one reader, applauding the book's "dazzling omniscience." Legendary Silicon Valley marketer Regis McKenna speaks fondly of the days when young Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were dropping into his office, and despite the apparent challenges facing San Francisco, many people interviewed remained surprisingly hopeful. "Idexa, a German-born tattoo artist who'd hitchhiked to the city from Los Angeles as a teenager, says despite the new displacements happening today, 'It's also beautiful. There's been a lot of money put into the neighborhood and into the buildings. Buildings that would have fallen apart have been renovated. Oh, it's the end of the world soon. We're not the first generation who thinks that.' It's an almost poetic picture of San Francisco that proves the world isn't as simple — or as discouraging — as it's often made out to be, and the book's passionate purpose seems to spontaneously find its way into the words of each interview subject." "Until you're standing in front of someone and listening to them with your own ears, you're never going to understand them," says a survivor of one of California's recent wildfires. So Cary McClelland listens — writing in his introduction that his book asks us to hear the city of San Francisco speak in a chorus of voices, with a message for all the other cities. "The goal of the book," he says, "is to reflect people's subjective perspective, their experience — lived, visceral, emotional, intimate. The living-room experience..."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Jared Kushner Avoided Paying Taxes

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:15
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser appears to have paid almost no federal income taxes for several years running.

On Pro Basketball: For the Warriors, One More Title Run in Oakland. Then What?

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:14
The rest of the league is wondering when Golden State’s reign will end, but Stephen Curry is just enjoying the team’s last year at Oracle Arena.

Snowstorm Kills at Least 8 Climbers in Nepal

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:55
The climbers were killed near their base camp on Mount Gurja in the Himalayas. Among the dead and the missing were five South Koreans, including a world-record holder, and the team’s local guides.

A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is As Creepy As You Feared

SlashDot - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:00
schwit1 shares a report from The New York Times: More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk. [...] In recent years, the tech industry's largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There's just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. The industry's new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone. Cars, door locks, contact lenses, clothes, toasters, refrigerators, industrial robots, fish tanks, sex toys, light bulbs, toothbrushes, motorcycle helmets -- these and other everyday objects are all on the menu for getting "smart." Hundreds of small start-ups are taking part in this trend -- known by the marketing catchphrase "the internet of things" -- but like everything else in tech, the movement is led by giants, among them Amazon, Apple and Samsung. [American cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier] argues that the economic and technical incentives of the internet-of-things industry do not align with security and privacy for society generally. Putting a computer in everything turns the whole world into a computer security threat. [...] Mr. Schneier says only government intervention can save us from such emerging calamities. "I can think of no industry in the past 100 years that has improved its safety and security without being compelled to do so by government."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

As Suburban Women Turn to Democrats, Many Suburban Men Stand With Trump

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 08:53
Suburban men, focused largely on economic issues, constitute a potential bulwark for President Trump in many of the suburban districts that will determine control of the House.

To Cope With Loss, a Pianist Mined the Music of Life Itself

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 08:18
Igor Levit discusses his album “Life,” which he recorded in the aftermath of his best friend’s death, ahead of his recital at Zankel Hall next week.

As South Korean Athletes Avoid the Draft, Some Ask: Why Not K-Pop Stars?

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 06:01
For decades, medal winners in the Olympics and other events have been excused from South Korea’s mandatory military service. Some people are asking why.

Paris Art Dealer Brings the Party to New York

NY Times - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 06:00
Emmanuel Perrotin, a blue-chip gallery owner, treats the global art market like a giant soiree.