Police Officer Who Executed Unarmed Father of Two Found Not Guilty of Murder

December 8th, 2017

Via: Daily Mail:

A former Arizona police officer was found not guilty of murder Thursday of in the 2016 fatal shooting of an unarmed man outside his hotel room, as video of the shocking moment is finally released by officials.

Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 27, was found not guilty in the 2016 death of 26-year-old father-of-two Daniel Shaver, from Granbury, Texas.

The shooting, which Shaver’s family has referred to as an ‘execution,’ occurred in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa when officers were responding to a call that someone was pointing a gun out a window at the La Quinta Hotel.

Police told Shaver to exit his hotel room, lay face-down in a hallway and refrain from making sudden movements – or he risked being shot.

New disturbing footage of the encounter shows the moment Shaver, sobbing and crawling towards the officer, audibly begs ‘please don’t kill me,’ before Brailsford opens fire and shoots him dead.

Related: One-Third of All Americans Killed by Strangers Are Killed by Police


Tesla Is Working on Its Own New AI Chip

December 8th, 2017

Via: Electrek:

There have been rumors that Tesla is developing its own chip optimized for self-driving applications ever since we reported on the automaker quietly hiring legendary chip architect Jim Keller from AMD last year.

Now CEO Elon Musk finally confirmed the rumor – specifying that Tesla is working on its own new AI chip and that the effort is led by Keller.


General Electric to Cut 12,000 Jobs in Power Business Revamp

December 7th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

General Electric Co (GE.N) is axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business, the struggling industrial conglomerate’s latest effort to shrink itself into a more focused company.

The U.S. company launched the cuts to save $1 billion in 2018, saying it expected dwindling demand for fossil fuel power plants to continue.

“Traditional power markets including gas and coal have softened,” GE said.


TRUMP WHITE HOUSE WEIGHING PLANS FOR PRIVATE SPIES TO COUNTER “DEEP STATE” ENEMIES

December 5th, 2017

Via: The Intercept:

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency.

The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.

“Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”


Google AI Spawns Other AIs

December 5th, 2017

Via: Independent:

Google has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that has created its own “child”.

What’s more, the original AI has trained its creation to such a high level that it outperforms every other human-built AI system like it.

It’s an impressive achievement, but one that could also trigger fears about what else AI could create without human involvement.

Google unveiled its AutoML project in May, with the aim of making it easier to design machine learning models by automating the process.

“In our approach…, a controller neural net can propose a ‘child’ model architecture, which can then be trained and evaluated for quality on a particular task,” the company said at the time.

“That feedback is then used to inform the controller how to improve its proposals for the next round. We repeat this process thousands of times — generating new architectures, testing them, and giving that feedback to the controller to learn from.”

In November, the AutoML plans were used to create NASNet, a “child” AI designed for object detection, which outperformed state-of-the-art machine-learning architectures built for academic competitions by humans.


Philippines Orders Probe Into Sanofi Dengue Vaccine for 730,000 Children

December 4th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

The Philippines ordered an investigation on Monday into the immunization of more than 730,000 children with a vaccine for dengue that has been suspended following an announcement by French drug company Sanofi (SASY.PA) that it could worsen the disease in some cases.


A Quantum Boost for a Different Kind of Computer

December 4th, 2017

Disclosure: I have invested in technology related to quantum computing.

Via: MIT Technology Review:

In two papers published today in the journal Nature, a team at MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and another from the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards in Washington D.C., reveal that they have built specialized types of quantum calculator, each of which uses more than 50 qubits—well beyond what had been demonstrated previously. In both cases, the researchers created quantum simulators, machines capable of using analog calculations to model how quantum particles interact.

The two systems both use atoms but work in different ways. The MIT-Harvard system handles 51 qubits by using lasers to trap neutral atoms in an excited state. The Maryland-NIST machine, which handles 53 qubits, traps ytterbium ions in place using gold-coated electrodes. Together, they suggest that an alternative approach to building quantum machines might yet have the potential to challenge the one being pursued by industry.

“While our system does not yet constitute a universal quantum computer, we can effectively program it by controlling the interactions between the qubits,” says Mikhail Lukin, a physicist at Harvard who developed on of the systems in collaboration with Vladan Vuletic at MIT.


Living in Cars, Working for Amazon: Meet America’s New Nomads

December 3rd, 2017

Via: Guardian:

Millions of Americans are wrestling with the impossibility of a traditional middle-class existence. In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills. Lights burn late into the night. The same calculations get performed again and again, through exhaustion and sometimes tears.

Wages minus grocery receipts. Minus medical bills. Minus credit card debt. Minus utility fees. Minus student loan and car payments. Minus the biggest expense of all: rent.

In the widening gap between credits and debits hangs a question: which bits of this life are you willing to give up, so you can keep on living?

Book: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder Amazon affiliate link. *snort*

Research Credit: EG


Robots Are Coming for Jobs of as Many as 800 Million Worldwide

November 29th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

As many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labor force.

That’s according to a new report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations by the research arm of McKinsey & Co.

The consulting company said Wednesday that both developed and emerging countries will be impacted. Machine operators, fast-food workers and back-office employees are among those who will be most affected if automation spreads quickly through the workplace.


You Can Log Into macOS High Sierra as Root with No Password

November 29th, 2017

Via: Register:

A trivial-to-exploit flaw in macOS High Sierra, aka macOS 10.13, allows users to gain admin rights, or log in as root, without a password.

The security bug can be triggered via the authentication dialog box in Apple’s operating system, which prompts you for an administrator’s username and password when you need to do stuff like configure privacy and network settings.

If you type in “root” as the username, leave the password box blank, hit “enter” and then click on unlock a few times, the prompt disappears and, congrats, you now have admin rights. You can do this from the user login screen, too.

The vulnerability effectively allows someone with physical access to the machine to log in, cause extra mischief, install malware, and so on. You should not leave your vulnerable Mac unattended, nor allow remote desktop access, until you can fix the problem.

And while obviously this situation is not the end of the world – it’s certainly far from a true remote hole or a disk decryption technique – it’s just really, really sad to see megabucks Apple drop the ball like this.


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