Some Amazon Alexa users were met with deafening silence Friday, with the voice-controlled digital assistant going down across the U.S. According to Downdetector.com, a website that monitors technology outages and service interruptions, issues with Alexa began after 9:30 a.m. EST.Users reported issues with Alexa’s voice recognition service on either Amazon Echo devices or third party electronics that run Alexa, reports The Verge. However, users were able to access the digital assistant through Alexa app, notes TechCrunch.The outage appears to be impacting fewer people than earlier in the day, according to Downdetector.com. However, those with mute virtual assistants have been forced to perform mundane tasks like turn on lights, look up the weather, play music, or call friends the old-fashioned way.
Source: Users Report That Amazon’s Digital Assistant Alexa is Down | Time
Fox Searchlight and DeVon Franklin are set to produce the film “Flamin’ Hot,” which will tell the true story of Richard Montanez, who rose from humble beginnings to a successful businessman when he created a food phenomenon — Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.Fox Searchlight nabbed the project in what was a highly competitive sale, with multiple studios vying for the project.The film follows Montanez, the son of an immigrant, who grew up as a migrant farm worker picking grapes in the fields of Southern California before becoming a janitor at Frito-Lay. It was while working at the company that Montanez came up with the idea to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, transforming the Frito-Lay brand into a pop culture phenomenon and disrupting the entire food industry in the process. Now commonly referred to as the Godfather of Multicultural Marketing, it was that initial idea that would spark a billion-dollar brand and catapult him from janitor to elite corporate executive.
Source: Flamin Hot Cheetos-Inspired Movie in Works From Fox Searchlight – Variety
A new study “Brain-to-brain coupling during handholding is associated with pain reduction” says that holding your loved one’s hand during difficult times will synchronize your breathing, heart rate, and brain wave patterns, and ultimately ease your pain. Additionally, the more empathy your partner has for you, the more in sync your brainwaves will become, and the more relief you will feel.Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder collaborated with researchers from the University of Haifa to conduct this study and make this interesting discovery, which shows just how important physical interaction is. “We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions. This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch,” explained Pavel Goldstein, lead author of the study and postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder.Goldstein decided to explore the idea of a “healing touch” just after his daughter was born. According to Neuroscience News, he said that holding his wife’s hand appeared to ease her pain significantly. “I wanted to test it out in the lab: Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?” Goldstein found support in his colleagues and went on to conduct a few experiments, which ultimately yielded significant findings.
Source: If You’re in Pain, Holding Your Partner’s Hand Can Help – Thriveworks
Climbers who come from around the world to tackle North America’s tallest mountain face packing out more of their own human waste after an expert found that a glacier in which much of it is dumped is probably not breaking it down.National Park Service (NPS) rangers trying to protect the spectacular slopes of Denali – formerly widely known as Mount McKinley – in Alaska are concerned that human poop is blighting the environment there.Michael Loso, a glacier geologist, calculates that 36,000 mountaineers attempting the treacherous peak between 1951 and 2012 have deposited up to 215,000 pounds of solid human waste on to Kahiltna glacier, on the most popular summit route.Since 2007, the NPS has required that climbers keep waste off the mountain’s surface. Alpinists catch their poop in biodegradable bags and pitch it into deep crevasses on the glacier.However, Loso’s research indicates human waste never reaches the bottom of the glacier and will never fully disintegrate. He warns of the prospect of the waste reappearing downstream as stains on the glacial surface, in the otherwise beautiful wilderness landscape.
Source: Peak poop: climbers of tallest mountain in US told to take their feces home | US news | The Guardian
In partnership with NRKBEHIND AN ABANDONED military facility 40 miles northwest of Oslo, Norway built a surveillance base in close collaboration with the National Security Agency. Its bright, white satellite dishes, some of them 60 feet in diameter, stand out against the backdrop of pine-covered hills and red-roofed buildings that scatter the area.Classified documents describe the facility as “state-of-the-art,” with capabilities “previously not released outside of NSA.” Despite a hefty price tag of more than $33 million paid by Norwegian taxpayers, the Norwegian Intelligence Service has kept the operations at the site beyond public scrutiny.The station, code-named VICTORY GARDEN, was ostensibly built to support Norwegian troops serving overseas and to combat terrorism. But its dragnet has also secretly captured records of phone calls and emails transmitted between law-abiding Norwegians and their friends, families, or colleagues in foreign countries, an investigation by The Intercept and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, known as NRK, has found.In 2014, the data collection at the base was central to a behind-closed-doors dispute between the Norwegian Intelligence Service and the oversight committee that monitors the conduct of the country’s spy agencies, according to sources with knowledge of the incident. The intelligence service argued that the surveillance was lawful and necessary. But the committee disagreed and claimed that the storing and searching of Norwegians’ communication records was legally dubious. The disagreement remains unresolved; meanwhile, the surveillance appears to have continued unabated.
Source: Norway Used NSA Technology for Potentially Illegal Spying
Bias and mass censorship from extraordinarily powerful tech companies create an enormous problem that Americans have to come to terms with, says a former Google employee who was fired for his politically incorrect views.While tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are incentivized to create a “safe and civil” environment for their customers, problems emerge when “they get to define what offensive is,” James Damore said during a breakout session at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.Damore lost his job as an engineer in August over an internal memo he wrote questioning Google’s gender diversity policies, which went public. He initially filed a complaint about his firing with the National Labor Relations Board, but withdrew it and filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.Most of those who work in the tech industry have had little contact with conservative ideas and have “lived in liberal bubbles their entire lives,” Damore said during a CPAC session Friday titled “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media.”
Source: Fired Googler Warns Social Media Users About Censored Speech
Drivers for Amazon have started taking pictures of people’s front doors as part of a creepy new delivery service.The service, which is quietly being rolled out in the UK and US, is designed to help people find packages left by Amazon employees.But it also raises privacy concerns as many customers may be not be aware that pictures of their home are being stored on company servers.The unnerving project extends Amazon’s already substantial reach into customer homes.It follows news that the firm has brought ‘smart doorbell’ company Ring for £700 million ($1 billion) – a company that records footage of people’s front doors.
Source: Amazon drivers are now taking photos of your front door | Daily Mail Online
London (AFP) – Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer said Saturday a woman having sex with a Hollywood producer to advance her career is “not rape”, in a British newspaper interview on the eve of the Oscars.Ben Brafman is one of the US’ top criminal defence attorneys, hired by the disgraced Hollywood mogul whose career is in tatters following accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape.More than 100 women have accused Weinstein of impropriety going back 40 years, but Brafman argued there was no criminal behaviour.”If a woman decides that she needs to have sex with a Hollywood producer to advance her career and actually does it and finds the whole thing offensive, that’s not rape,” he told The Times.”You made a conscious decision that you’re willing to do something that is personally offensive in order to advance your career,” he added.
Source: Sex to boost film career is ‘not rape’: Weinstein lawyer
Web browsers’ private browsing mode is the first resolution taken by most users to protect their privacy online. But subconsciously they’re aware that the private mode or incognito mode is doing nothing but deleting the browsing activity from their computer. According to past studies, it’s possible to track people’s browsing habits even when privacy mode is enabled.For concerned, and paranoid users, MIT might have a solution called ‘Veil’. It is a new system developed by the researchers at CSAIL and Harvard University.MIT explains that even though the web browser may not have any evil intentions, the data used during private browsing can also pass through different processor cores, caches, and even end up on the hard drive of the main memory is full. This could provide room for some determined attacker to find their way to that meant-to-be-private user data.Veil is not some anonymity network like Tor, it’s designed to add a security layer on top of an existing web browser. There is no software or plugin required, the user can visit Veil’s website while running private mode or using Tor.
Source: MIT’s ‘Veil’ Fixes Holes In Private Browsing Modes To Boost Anonymity
A Chinese condom manufacturer says it is considering making its products in different sizes after Zimbabwe’s health minister complained that contraceptives made in China and exported to the African nation were too small for its men.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa made the comments at an event in the capital Harare last week to promote HIV/Aids prevention, according to the website New Zimbabwe.com. “The southern African region has the highest incidence of HIV and we are promoting the use of condoms,” Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying. “Youths now have a particular condom that they like, but we don’t manufacture them.
We import condoms from China and some men complain they are too small.”China’s condom is world’s thinnest: court settles bragging rightsParirenyatwa added that Zimbabwean firms should look at making condoms rather than relying on imports.Zhao Chuan, the chief executive of the condom manufacturer Beijing Daxiang and His Friends Technology Co, told the South China Morning Post the firm was planning to make contraceptives in different sizes.
Source: Chinese-made condoms too small, Zimbabwe’s health minister complains | South China Morning Post
Memristors are two-terminal passive circuit elements that have been developed for use in non-volatile resistive random-access memory and may also be useful in neuromorphic computing1,2,3,4,5,6. Memristors have higher endurance and faster read/write times than flash memory4,7,8 and can provide multi-bit data storage. However, although two-terminal memristors have demonstrated capacity for basic neural functions, synapses in the human brain outnumber neurons by more than a thousandfold, which implies that multi-terminal memristors are needed to perform complex functions such as heterosynaptic plasticity3,9,10,11,12,13. Previous attempts to move beyond two-terminal memristors, such as the three-terminal Widrow–Hoff memristor14 and field-effect transistors with nanoionic gates15 or floating gates16, did not achieve memristive switching in the transistor17. Here we report the experimental realization of a multi-terminal hybrid memristor and transistor (that is, a memtransistor) using polycrystalline monolayer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) in a scalable fabrication process.
Source: Multi-terminal memtransistors from polycrystalline monolayer molybdenum disulfide | Nature
They are known as wild boars, wild pigs and even razorbacks in some parts of the country.However you want to label them, feral swine are a growing problem in Ohio according to state wildlife officials.The USDA Wildlife Services office says feral swine in Ohio are still mostly located in the southern and southeastern portions of the state, but they have made their presence known all across the Buckeye State through a variety of ways.”They arrived primarily through domestic escape, escape from hunting preserves and intentional release which is illegal,” said Craig Hicks, a wildlife disease biologist and Ohio’s feral swine coordinator for the USDA Wildlife Services.Hicks says it is difficult to estimate how many feral swine are currently in the state.”When we look at white-tailed deer or turkey, there is mandatory harvest reporting,” he said. ”With the feral swine, there is no harvest report so we have no idea how many are being taken. It’s a guess.”
Source: Feral Swine Becoming A Growing Problem In Central Ohio | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports
The Russia hysteria that has taken hold in the United States has fixated on troll farms and Facebook ads as evidence of an elaborate Kremlin conspiracy to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. This paranoia stoked by incessant corporate media coverage has intentionally distracted from the fact that the US government has a very long and very bloody history of destabilizing and overthrowing foreign governments that challenge it’s economic interests.US efforts at international sabotage continue to this day. In fact, former CIA directors are even joking about it. James Woolsey, a hard line neoconservative who lead the CIA in the 1990s, insisted in an interview on Fox News that when the US meddles in foreign countries politics it is only for a very good cause.
Source: Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It
Photo: TwitterA woman was caught by police after she tried to hide from them by placing a washing basket on her head.The Derbyshire Police turned up at the woman’s home after she failed to attend court and told the officers that she will hand herself in on Monday, the Metro reports.However, in order to try and fool the officers, the woman placed the white basket on her head.But her torso and legs were still poking out underneath.The police took a picture of the disguise and posted it onto Twitter, captioning the snap: “Female located and arrested for failing to appear at court.”It’s all well and good saying “I’ll hand myself in on Monday” – you should have turned up last week when you were told to!!!”She even tried to hide when we saw her but she was far from good at hide and seek #OffToCourt (sic)”
Source: Woman tries hiding from police by placing washing basket on her head – Emirates 24|7