Daily Archives: June 17, 2017

Worry about people, not jobs: Garry Kasparov – Economic Times

Posted: June 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Over the last 12 years, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov has been a writer, human rights and democracy activist and a sometime chess-coach-cum adviser to top players. For an earlier generation, Kasparov is a superstar, probably the greatest ever chess player, a World Champion at the age of 22 in 1985 and a flag-bearer for human intelligence in matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue (Kasparov won the first match in 1996 but lost the re-match in 1997). Twenty years later, Kasparov has written a book on the match, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. In an email interview with Suman Layak, New York-based Kasparov shares his views on chess, AI, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Edited excerpts:

On why the book has come 20 years after the match The approach of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 rematch was the catalyst, but I wouldnt have written Deep Thinking if I hadnt felt ready. It was still painful to look back at that catastrophe, but enough time had passed to be objective, to find the truth, even if it was unpleasant. The other factor was that I had a lot more to say about intelligent machines and human-machine relationship. I felt that this could be an important message for others as well.

On whether he would do it again No, the strength of todays chess machines makes me quite happy Im retired! A free app on your smartphone is stronger than Deep Blue ever was. And a top engine on a decent laptop is likely unbeatable by even the best human on a good day. Engines dont play perfectly, but they dont make enough mistakes of the magnitude required for a human to beat them. Draw, yes, but probably not win. It was my blessing and curse to be the World Champion during the period in which chess computers went from laughably weak to practically unbeatable. It was a fascinating moment in my life, but in the historical perspective its a tiny blip.

On whether computers can take up human jobs, replace chess coaches Job loss to intelligent automation is a critical topic, but one of the reasons I wrote Deep Thinking was because we are looking at it the wrong way, with dangerous repercussions. Worry about people, not jobs, not professions. The evolution of human civilisation is the replacement of human labour by technology. Thats progress. Its essential, and makes our lives better, longer, more comfortable and productive. We should be concerned about what people will do if their tasks are taken over by machines, yes, but that problem will only get worse if we slow down instead of speed up automation and the development of new technology. Industries that automate also expand, leading to the creation of better jobs, even new industries. We need to focus on how to train people who are being displaced, how to keep them active. The good news is that smarter tools are also easier to use with less training. Computers are already teaching kids to play chess! But there will always be a place for human coaches and teachers, to help kids reach their potential and not only in chess. With an infinite amount of information at everyones fingertips, its ridiculous to preserve the old teacher-student relationship. Teachers today should focus on teaching kids how to learn, not what to learn. Training methods and critical thinking are still essential.

On opponents Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik Enjoyed isnt really the way to put it! In a professional game, especially in a World Championship match, its a life or death struggle, and even the thrill of victory leaves you exhausted. But I always felt a special surge of energy when facing Karpov who was, of course, my great rival over five World Championship matches.

Even in less consequential games later in our careers, I had a feeling like against no other opponent. We knew each other so well, and public interest was always high when we met. To answer more selfishly, my record against Anand was far better than against Karpov or Kramnik, so I suppose those games were more enjoyable in that way. Vishy was a formidable opponent so he inspired me to play my best, and more often than not it went my way.

On challenging current players They are very strong, with Magnus Carlsen still a step above everyone else. But I havent been gone so long! I played many games against several of the players still near the top, especially Kramnik and Anand. Of the young generation, they are often very good technically and still need to show their fire and dedication. One reason Im impressed with Wesley So is how hard he works. He has other chessboard talents as well, but his ability to focus and prepare is tremendous. I have no interest in big chess challenges. Top-level chess, especially classical chess, requires concentration and dedication. I have a million other things in my life today, from young children to books and politics. Its not compatible with professional chess and Im quite happy with my life.

On US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin long ago decided that the US was his enemy. It is the worlds most powerful nation and so it is a potential threat to his uncontested power as the dictator of Russia. And he cant stay quiet since he needs international conflict to justify his power at home. More conflict was inevitable, but this scandal with Trump is a huge wildcard.

Why does he praise Putin, a brutal dictator who attacked the US election? Why does Russian propaganda attack the US constantly, but never say anything negative about Trump himself? So far, most of the known contacts are with Trumps team, which has more Russian connections than Aeroflot. Trump may not be intelligent enough to be part of a grand conspiracy himself, but he may end up being prosecuted for trying to interfere in the investigation of his administration and allies, like Michael Flynn.

On the dichotomy of Edward Snowden finding sanctuary in Russia Its only a dichotomy if he wasnt already working with Russian intelligence, either willingly or as a pawn. I have no special knowledge of Snowdens activities, but his path afterwards, his welcome in Putins Russia and his willingness to allow himself to be used as a tool of Putins propaganda arent in his favour as a mere whistleblower or misguided zealot. You can be happy that what he exposed was exposed and still suspect he was an agent or traitor.

On democracy in Russia There isnt any democratic politics in Russia, only that approved by the Putin regime. The balance of power is between various camps of Putins allies, pushing and pulling for influence and cash, usually behind the scenes. You cant speak of democracy or sully the word election by talking about Russia. Its a joke, a show to distract people, nothing more. Russia is a dictatorship and anyone who posed any sort of real challenge to Putins grip on power would be dead, in jail, or exiled.

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Worry about people, not jobs: Garry Kasparov – Economic Times

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Chinese astronomy satellite placed into orbit by Long March rocket – Spaceflight Now

Posted: at 2:38 pm

Chinas Long March 4B rocket lifts off Thursday with the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope. Credit: Xinhua

Chinas first X-ray astronomy satellite launched Thursday on a mission to survey the Milky Way galaxy for black holes and pulsars, the remnants left behind after a star burns up its nuclear fuel.

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope will also detect gamma-ray bursts, the most violent explosions in the universe, and try to help astronomers link the outbursts with gravitational waves, unseen ripples through the cosmos generated by cataclysmic events like supernova explosions and mergers of black holes.

The orbiting X-ray observatory, renamed Huiyan, or Insight, following Thursdays launch, is Chinas first space telescope and second space mission dedicated to astronomy after a Chinese particle physics probe was sent into orbit in 2015 to search for evidence of dark matter.

Before its launch, we could only use second-hand observation data from foreign satellites, said Xiong Shaolin, a scientist at the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was very hard for Chinese astronomers to make important findings without our own instruments.

The only way to make original achievements is to construct our own observation instruments, Xiong said in a report by Chinas state-run Xinhua news agency.Now Chinese scientists have created this space telescope with its many unique advantages, and its quite possible we will discover new, strange and unexpected phenomena in universe.

The X-ray telescope launched at 0300 GMT Thursday (11 p.m. EDT Wednesday) aboard a Long March 4B rocket from the Jiuquan space center in northwestern Chinas Gobi Desert. Liftoff occurred at 11 a.m. Thursday Beijing time.

The Long March 4B booster, powered by three hydrazine-fueled stages, delivered the Huiyan telescope into a 335-mile-high (540-kilometer) orbit tilted 43 degrees to the equator, according to tracking data released by the U.S. military. That is very close to the X-ray telescopes intended operating orbit.

Ground controllers plan to activate and test the observatory over the next five months before entering service late this year, fulfilling a mission first proposed by Chinese scientists in 1994 and formally approved by the Chinese government in 2011, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The 5,500-pound (2,500-kilogram) Huiyan spacecraft is designed for a four-year mission. Its three X-ray instruments, sorted to observe low, medium and high-energy X-rays, are sensitive to 1,000 to 250,000 electron volts, an energy range that encompasses the energy of a medical X-ray.

Earths atmosphere absorbs X-ray light signals, so astronomers must build and launch satellites for the job. X-ray observatories are uniquely suited for studies of black holes and neutron stars, two of the densest types of objects in the universe created in the aftermath of supernovas, the explosions at the end of a stars life.

Unlike X-ray telescopes launched by NASA and the European Space Agency, Chinas Huiyan mission does not use grazing mirrors, which must be extremely flat to reflect high-frequency X-ray waves. Chinese officials said they do not have the expertise to build such flat mirrors, so scientists came up with a backup plan that does not rely on traditional imaging.

The observing method, called demodulation, can help reconstruct the image of X-ray sources by using data from relatively simple non-imaging detectors, such as a telescope with collimators that collects and records X-ray photons parallel to a specified direction, Xinhua reported.

Scientists said the Chinese X-ray telescope will be able to observe brighter targets than other X-ray missions because the demodulation method diffuses X-ray light. Other telescopes reflect and focus X-ray photons onto detectors.

No matter how bright the sources are, our telescope wont be blinded, said Chen Yong, chief designer of Huiyans low-energy X-ray instrument, in an interview with Xinhua.

We are looking forward to discovering new activities of black holes and studying the state of neutron stars under extreme gravity and density conditions, and physical laws under extreme magnetic fields, said Zhang Shuangnan, the X-ray missions lead scientist. These studies are expected to bring new breakthroughs in physics.

Another set of detectors on the Huiyan telescope, originally added to shield against background noise, can be adjusted to make the observatory sensitive to even higher-energy gamma rays, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The detection of gravitational waves by ground-based sensors in Washington and Louisiana opened a new door in astronomy. Created by distant collisions and explosions, gravitational waves are ripples through the fabric of spacetime, and astronomers now seek to connect the phenomena with events seen by conventional telescopes.

Since gravitational waves were detected, the study of gamma-ray bursts has become more important, Zhang said in Xinhuas report on the mission. In astrophysics research, its insufficient to study just the gravitational wave signals. We need to use the corresponding electromagnetic signals, which are more familiar to astronomers, to facilitate the research on gravitational waves.

The launch of the Huiyan space telescope comes as NASA scientists turn on and calibrate another X-ray instrument recently delivered to the International Space Station.

After its launch June 3 on a SpaceX supply ship heading to the space station, NASAs Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer will spend the next 18 months studying the structure and behavior of neutron stars.

Three other satellites joined Chinas Huiyan spacecraft on Thursdays launch.

The OVS 1A and 1B satellites are the first two members of a commercial constellation of Earth-imaging craft for Zhuhai Orbita Control Engineering Co. Ltd. based in southern Chinas Guangdong province. The two 121-pound (55-kilogram) satellites will record high-resolution video from orbit, and future spacecraft in the Zhuhai 1 fleet will collect hyperspectral and radar imagery.

TheuSat 3 microsatellite owned by Satellogic, an Argentine company, was also aboard the Long March 4B rocket Thursday.

Built in Montevideo, Uruguay, by a Satellogic subsidiary company,uSat 3 weighs around 80 pounds (37 kilograms) and is identical to twouSat satellites launched on a Chinese rocket in May 2016.

Each uSat craft hosts cameras to capture imagery in color, infrared and in the hyperspectral regime, which gives analysts additional information about the makeup of objects, plants and terrain in Earth observation products. The satellites can resolve features on Earth as small as 3.3 feet (1 meter) across.

uSat 3 is nicknamed Milanesat, after the traditional Argentine steak dish Milanesa. The first twouSat satellites launched last year were named after Argentine desserts.

Satellogic is one of several privately-funded companies launching sharp-eyed commercial Earth-viewing satellites to collect daily images of the entire planet. The company says its satellite constellation, which could eventually number from 25 to several hundred spacecraft, will help urban planners, emergency responders, crop managers, and scientists tracking the effects of climate change.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Chinese astronomy satellite placed into orbit by Long March rocket – Spaceflight Now

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Prairie Astronomy Club will have solar telescopes set up – Lincoln Journal Star

Posted: at 2:38 pm

The monthly meeting of the Prairie Astronomy Club is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 27) at Hyde Memorial Observatory on the south side of Holmes Park. The club will have a special solar observing event that same evening starting at 6 p.m.

Club members will have special solar telescopes set up to safely look at the sun. The public is encouraged to come and observe the sun through these telescopes. The Total Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21 is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event. Youll want to be as prepared as possible to enjoy this occurrence.

Come to the Prairie Astronomy Clubs monthly meeting June 27 and let us assist you in being as prepared as possible, says club spokesman Jim Kvasnicka.

The Prairie Astronomy Club will answer any questions you have regarding the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse which will occur Aug. 21 at the clubs monthly meeting in June.

Topics to be discussed are likely to include:

– When will the eclipse begin?

– How long will it last?

– What will I see?

– What do I need to safely look at the sun?

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Prairie Astronomy Club will have solar telescopes set up – Lincoln Journal Star

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Pressing Tech Issue: Enterprise Software Vs. Cloud Computing? – Credit Union Times

Posted: at 2:37 pm

One ofRobert Frost’s most popular poemscontains more than a few parallels with what insurance technology executives are grappling with as they look at systems in the cloud compared with systems housed within their own organizations.Consider this classic verse:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Certainly there are many who are opting for the less-traveled SaaS road, and others who prefer the other road commonly called enterprise.

Within the insurance industry, cloud technologies have been successfully deployed in ancillary areas of the organization such as Human Resources, Accounting, e-mail, and other non-core areas of the business. Typically, those core applications such as policy administration, agent commissions, rating, billing, claims, and agent and customer portals have been firmly entrenched in enterprise or on-premises applications.

However, with the success of cloud-based software in those non-mission critical areas,SaaS systems are becoming the favored choice for deployment in certain core insurance areas. But for those core tasks that are truly mission critical, have deep integration requirements and importantly, are processor intensive, IT executives are taking a go-slow approach before they commit to putting those systems or business processes into the cloud.

Why the concern? The short answer is that enterprise software is “owned” by the insurance carrier, and the risks of a data breach of sensitive information is relatively low when the application is housed behind the insurance companys firewall. Insurance companies are huge repositories of customers personal information. And that information is entrusted to the insurance company with the expectation that it will remain private and confidential.

In short,enterprise software deployments merit a certain kind of securitythat is hard to duplicate in a cloud-based system.

Another aspect to consider is processing horsepower. Saving and retrieving data such as we see in popular CRM systems like Salesforce.com is not particularly processor intensive. Tasks with intensive calculation requirements, such as commissions and bonus calculation, are another matter. These systems can often have more than a hundred integration points both up- and downstream, and managing them in the cloud is a major concern to many insurers.

According to recent research from Novarica, the key driver for carriers adopting SaaS systems was “the speed of deployment and the ability to sunset current applications.” (Photo: iStock)

Among the common drivers for carriers to adopt SaaS system, according toNovarica, were standardization paired with release management, which reduces support costs and ultimately lowers the cost of ownership. However, that standardization, call it efficiency, is largely a trade-off between having key business processes undifferentiated from competitors that are on that same SaaS application and having a custom designed application that preserves competitive differentiation.

Large companies see being able to differentiate from competitors as a key advantage of the on-premises model. Additionally, large companies havevery large IT staffs that are capable of implementing and managing new applications.

Cost is clearly another factor in making SaaS a viable choice for many core insurance applications. For mid-tier and smaller insurance organizations, the advantages of SaaS are clear:

No infrastructure costs;

Software is on a subscription model that includes maintenance and upgrades; and

Provisioning is very easy.

With SaaS, a smaller insurance company can readily compete with the ‘big guys.’ While some simple back-of-the-napkin analysis can show advantages for SaaS, the analysis is really an apples-to-oranges comparison. A more detailed look at cost and a few other items show that cost may not be the main concern.

You may not appreciate the importance of some of the items buried in the fine print of SaaS solution provider contracts. Items such as transaction volume, number of processes allowed per month, data storage fees, data transformation costs and other items can result in significant additional fees levied by the vendor that must be met for subscription compliance.

If you dont understand and carefully quantify each item in the SaaS agreement, fees can easily double or triple but you might not realize the impact until the solution is implemented and in full production and you receive your first over-usage invoice. (Photo: iStock)

In order to get a full assessment of hosted versus on-premises factors such as implementation, customization,upgrade cycles, support and maintenance, security,scalability, and integration(s)must be understood. For example, implementing a SaaS application is relatively easy, since it is using a ready-made platform that has already been provisioned, while on-premises applications take resources, equipment, and time to set up a new environment. In essence, the financial choice is whether the new system will tap the operating expense budget or the capital expense budget.

The key in assessing the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS or on-premises is one that is common to all technology acquisitions the vendor. At the outset, the absolute key requirement is that the vendor has extensive experience withininsurance technology. There are many vendors that purport to have deep domain experience in insurance. From what Ive observed, however, in many applications sold to insurance companies vendors are very likely taking a horizontal application and providing some level of uniqueness that makes it salable to insurance companies. This is very common in CRM and commissions applications, where vendors have created hundreds of applications from managing sales to managing human resources to managing inventory. Vendors will claim insurance expertise, but a look under the hood will usually reveal an application that was built for, say, telecommunications or pharmaceuticals and verticalized to make it acceptable to insurance carriers and distributors. Its the old “one-size fits all” mentality.

Where the rubber hits the road invendor selectionis in looking at a vendors expertise in integration and security. As experienced insurance IT managers are aware, insurance infrastructure can be a hodge-podge of technologies and applications that run the gamut from fairly modern to legacy. A vendor that doesnt have a track record of successful implementations with a variety of technologies is one that probably shouldnt be on your short list. As a starting point, look for applications with embedded integration platforms that you (not the SaaS IT/Support team) will have full access to. The same thing can be said regarding the privacy and security of data and personal and private information.

Insurance carriers are very aware of the security implications of SaaS, where security is dependent on the vendor. A corollary to the vendors experience in integrations is the vendors experience in implementing fixes of the software or migrating existing clients to new versions of the software. Again, vendors that have dozens of satisfied clients are more likely to have the experience and talent to become a credible business partner. One more tip on vendor selection.

Ask for a report detailing system outages for the last two years that shows the nature of the outage, core issue and time to resolution. If the vendor refuses to deliver this document, think again about adding them to your short list.

Some large vendors in our space have recently dropped their on-premise solutions and ‘gone all in’ for the cloud. It might be a safer to go with a vendor that can provide cloudoron-premise solutions, leaving the final hosting decision in your hands. You can always migrate to the cloud later if youre not comfortable with the change. The choice between the cloud and on-premises is very much like choosing between the two paths that ‘diverged in the wood.’

There are certainly advantages to each alternative, but ultimately the key driver is whether the vendor can accommodate both software delivery models, on-premises and SaaS. Vendors that have the capability to work with clients with unique requirements that mandate enterprise software or SaaS are vendors that have the overall experience to help you choose which path to take.

John Sarichis an industry analyst and VP of Strategy atVUE Software. He is a senior solutions architect, strategic consultant and business advisor with over 25 years of insurance industry experience.He can be reached atJohn.Sarich@VUESoftware.com.

Originally published on PropertyCasualty360. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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From mobile phones to cloud computing – Media India Group

Posted: at 2:37 pm

While the newer versions of the good old mobile phones are now becoming store houses of data, cloud computing, content creation and data catalogingare gaining popularity among young Indians who are pursuing it with rigour, armed with latest technology and devices. We trace their geeky rituals and here is what we learn.

Several electronics makers, engineers and tech aspirantshave started focusing on personal computing devices, their data recording capabilities and tools. This has formed an aggressive market which caters to growing data and content needs. With a growth in human resourcesin Indiaand increasing acceptance of a digitally driven world, the countrys youth has come up with means unique to help create suitable ideas for a progressive future. Content creators now have mediums to cater to the specific need of data generation. This has become possible due to the easy availability of services such as online-data storing drives and seamless access of such data houses.

With the introduction of smart-phones in India, the tech-savvy Indian youth has been provided with a better device to make use of their tech skills and showcase it online.Combination of skills and an ambitionfor excellence along with the innate human curiosity to innovate are the qualities which are always needed to create a special family-like working environment. Companies which are on the look-out for individuals for taking their ideas forward like to care about their creation. Since a particular smartphone will be used by several others, the companies also take care of their users like you and me. Indian gadget bloggers have shown tremendous effort in combining these two key characters, says Darren Paul Miller, a designer and editor at HTCBro, an online forum which creates relevant data about technology giants and their product designs. Forums such as these have markedly become an important mile-marker in every computer engineering aspirant. Documenting any and every progress step-by-step provides insight to employment and other work environment behaviour, he adds.

The turning of the century has invigorated enthusiasm to talk about a fresh outlook, devices and technology amongst the Indian youth. Innovative inventions and future prototypes have always been on a mind that thinks of technology. Nobody wants to put their toys away so soon. Computers, smartphones and new inventions based on pure imagination are gripping the attention of fast working minds once more. It is like being a kid again with the coming of glass based block smartphones. Imagining a device in your head is easy. What is not easy is its final design and how to get it to a functional level, says Shimon Das, 20, editor-in-chief, Droid-Now. My love for mobile phones and android in particular started when I got my first smartphone HTC Wildfire S. There is no restricting when it comes to the youth taking to devices of their own. The gears of almost every techie marks their willingness to perform better than the world-class computer engineer.

When it comes to surfing across social media platforms like YouTube, we have also strived for future content generation and documenting swift adaption of technology in our daily lives. @Geeky Ranjitis a rapidly growing YouTube channel in which an Indian talks and reliably advises about the upcoming tech specifications and electronic appliances. At the channel, there are ways discussed on smartphones and how to effectively use them in your daily life because it is not every day people realise that smartphone is not just a piece of what your livelihood stands as a symbol of. It is a brilliant tool for our personal ambitions and future projects. I am in my late 30s and I have been working with computers for over 25 years now, and being a resident geek I have lots to share. Ranjit has been making electronics and guide videos and uploading them on YouTube for six years now.

Cataloguing ideas and putting them on the internet is allowing readers, viewers and eager techies to make note of what all needs to be done. With the help of user friendly tech, reliable planning and protocol, Indians are taking huge strides on solving technology, data and content related situations.

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Toward optical quantum computing – MIT News

Posted: at 2:37 pm

Ordinarily, light particles photons dont interact. If two photons collide in a vacuum, they simply pass through each other.

An efficient way to make photons interact could open new prospects for both classical optics and quantum computing, an experimental technology that promises large speedups on some types of calculations.

In recent years, physicists have enabled photon-photon interactions using atoms of rare elements cooled to very low temperatures.

But in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters, MIT researchers describe a new technique for enabling photon-photon interactions at room temperature, using a silicon crystal with distinctive patterns etched into it. In physics jargon, the crystal introduces nonlinearities into the transmission of an optical signal.

All of these approaches that had atoms or atom-like particles require low temperatures and work over a narrow frequency band, says Dirk Englund, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and senior author on the new paper. Its been a holy grail to come up with methods to realize single-photon-level nonlinearities at room temperature under ambient conditions.

Joining Englund on the paper are Hyeongrak Choi, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, and Mikkel Heuck, who was a postdoc in Englunds lab when the work was done and is now at the Technical University of Denmark.

Photonic independence

Quantum computers harness a strange physical property called superposition, in which a quantum particle can be said to inhabit two contradictory states at the same time. The spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron, for instance, could be both up and down at the same time; the polarization of a photon could be both vertical and horizontal.

If a string of quantum bits or qubits, the quantum analog of the bits in a classical computer is in superposition, it can, in some sense, canvass multiple solutions to the same problem simultaneously, which is why quantum computers promise speedups.

Most experimental qubits use ions trapped in oscillating magnetic fields, superconducting circuits, or like Englunds own research defects in the crystal structure of diamonds. With all these technologies, however, superpositions are difficult to maintain.

Because photons arent very susceptible to interactions with the environment, theyre great at maintaining superposition; but for the same reason, theyre difficult to control. And quantum computing depends on the ability to send control signals to the qubits.

Thats where the MIT researchers new work comes in. If a single photon enters their device, it will pass through unimpeded. But if two photons in the right quantum states try to enter the device, theyll be reflected back.

The quantum state of one of the photons can thus be thought of as controlling the quantum state of the other. And quantum information theory has established that simple quantum gates of this type are all that is necessary to build a universal quantum computer.

Unsympathetic resonance

The researchers device consists of a long, narrow, rectangular silicon crystal with regularly spaced holes etched into it. The holes are widest at the ends of the rectangle, and they narrow toward its center. Connecting the two middle holes is an even narrower channel, and at its center, on opposite sides, are two sharp concentric tips. The pattern of holes temporarily traps light in the device, and the concentric tips concentrate the electric field of the trapped light.

The researchers prototyped the device and showed that it both confined light and concentrated the lights electric field to the degree predicted by their theoretical models. But turning the device into a quantum gate would require another component, a dielectric sandwiched between the tips. (A dielectric is a material that is ordinarily electrically insulating but will become polarized all its positive and negative charges will align in the same direction when exposed to an electric field.)

When a light wave passes close to a dielectric, its electric field will slightly displace the electrons of the dielectrics atoms. When the electrons spring back, they wobble, like a childs swing when its pushed too hard. This is the nonlinearity that the researchers system exploits.

The size and spacing of the holes in the device are tailored to a specific light frequency the devices resonance frequency. But the nonlinear wobbling of the dielectrics electrons should shift that frequency.

Ordinarily, that shift is mild enough to be negligible. But because the sharp tips in the researchers device concentrate the electric fields of entering photons, they also exaggerate the shift. A single photon could still get through the device. But if two photons attempted to enter it, the shift would be so dramatic that theyd be repulsed.

Practical potential

The device can be configured so that the dramatic shift in resonance frequency occurs only if the photons attempting to enter it have particular quantum properties specific combinations of polarization or phase, for instance. The quantum state of one photon could thus determine the way in which the other photon is handled, the basic requirement for a quantum gate.

Englund emphasizes that the new research will not yield a working quantum computer in the immediate future. Too often, light entering the prototype is still either scattered or absorbed, and the quantum states of the photons can become slightly distorted. But other applications may be more feasible in the near term. For instance, a version of the device could provide a reliable source of single photons, which would greatly abet a range of research in quantum information science and communications.

This work is quite remarkable and unique because it shows strong light-matter interaction, localization of light, and relatively long-time storage of photons at such a tiny scale in a semiconductor, says Mohammad Soltani, a nanophotonics researcher in Raytheon BBN Technologies Quantum Information Processing Group. It can enable things that were questionable before, like nonlinear single-photon gates for quantum information. It works at room temperature, its solid-state, and its compatible with semiconductor manufacturing. This work is among the most promising to date for practical devices, such as quantum information devices.

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Donald Trump had the absolute worst week in Washington – CNN

Posted: at 2:36 pm

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Trump himself is under investigation by special counsel Bob Mueller for the possibility that he obstructed justice in his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Trump seemed to confirm that story — his White House hadn’t denied it but instead condemned the leak from which it sprang — in a Friday morning tweet. “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” wrote Trump. His aides scrambled in the wake of that tweet to make clear the President was simply saying he had read the reports that he was under investigation but had not been told it separately.


The point is that Mueller’s investigation is broadening, not narrowing. And Trump’s attitude toward the investigation is getting worse and worse. Between Thursday morning and Friday morning, Trump sent a series of tweets that suggest he is extremely frustrated with his current position.

The problem for Trump — and Congressional Republicans — is that Mueller’s investigation is going to take time. And with the investigation reaching all the way up to Trump — and with Trump regularly tweeting about it — it’s nearly impossible for the White House to compartmentalize.

The “cloud” that Trump has been complaining about for months got bigger and darker this week. And he is outside without an umbrella.

Donald Trump, for your refusal to stop digging yourself into a hole, you had the Worst Week in Washington.

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Donald Trump had the absolute worst week in Washington – CNN

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Starbucks Customer Says She Was Mocked for Wearing a Donald Trump Shirt – Fortune

Posted: at 2:36 pm

Photograph by Getty Images

A North Carolina woman said that she was mocked by employees at a local Starbucks for wearing a T-shirt with an image of President Donald Trump .

Kayla Hart said that she walked into one of the chain’s Charlotte stores donning the shirt and was laughed at by a cashier who took her order, according to local affiliate Fox 46. Her order was then labeled with the phrase “Build a Wall,” a reference to Trump’s campaign promise, she said.

“I don’t know what politics has to do with getting a cup of coffee,” she told the station.”They shouted out build a wall and shoved a drink at me and then all the baristas in the back started cracking up laughing.”

Hart said that the exchange caught the attention of fellow customers.

“I just walked out because everyone was staring,” she told the network. “I just found it really sad that I can’t wear a T-shirt with our president without being made fun of.”

“We failed to meet this customer’s expectations of us, and we have apologized and are working directly with her to make it right,” Starbucks said in a statement to Fox 46. “This experience is not consistent with our standards or the welcoming and respectful experience we aim to provide every customer who visit our stores. We have spoken with our store partners about this situation and are using this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”

Hart said that she heard from Starbucks corporate but is waiting on the district manager to reach out before she decides whether or not to return.

“This isn’t me trying to get people to stop going to Starbucks,” Hart told continued. “I just want it to be put out there so people know this is what’s occurring. I don’t think it’s right you should be humiliated for wearing a T-shirt with your opinion on it.”

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Starbucks Customer Says She Was Mocked for Wearing a Donald Trump Shirt – Fortune

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Karen Handel Is Keeping Donald Trump At Arm’s Length In Georgia’s 6th District – BuzzFeed News

Posted: at 2:36 pm

It was hard not to notice the odd medley of mainstream Republicanism and insurgent Trumpism during the GOP congressional candidates get-out-the-vote rally Saturday.

You could count on one hand the red Make America Great Again baseball caps in the crowd here Saturday at a get-out-the-vote rally for Karen Handel, who is in danger of being the first Republican since the 1970s to lose in Georgias 6th Congressional District.

At least two of the hats sat atop the heads of voters from the nearby 14th District. And that summed up rather neatly the struggle Handel and her GOP allies face.

They need to keep Donald Trump close. Just not too close.

The president beat Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 points last fall in the suburban Atlanta district. Polls suggest Tuesdays special election to fill the House vacancy left by Tom Price, whom Trump picked to be Health and Human Services secretary is a coin flip. Many Republicans fear the contest in its final days is trending toward Democrat Jon Ossoff, who has raised far more money in whats already the most expensive congressional race in history. Results will be parsed as a barometer for both parties nationally as they realign in the Trump era.

Handel has offered Trump an awkward and politically cautious embrace. He headlined a private fundraiser for her in April, though he already had been scheduled to come to town for a National Rifle Association event. That checked the box, Chip Lake, a Republican consultant in Georgia, told BuzzFeed News. Handel accepted an assist from the White House, but she didnt have to do it in front of TV cameras or the kind of raucous rally crowd that Trump draws. (More recently, Vice President Mike Pence came to the district for a low-key fundraiser with Handel.)

I think shes handled it very well, Lake said. Itd be a tricky situation for anyone.

It was hard not to notice the odd medley of mainstream Republicanism and insurgent Trumpism during Handels event Saturday in a muggy airport hangar.

One supporter carrying a Handel yard sign walked toward the media section. Thank you for being here, he said. It was a gentle contrast to what had happened a few weeks earlier leading up to a special congressional election in Montana, where the Republican candidate (and eventual winner) assaulted a reporter. Meanwhile members of Bikers for Trump, a group whose members are known for acting as enforcers at Trump campaign rallies, paced the floor. When one of the groups leaders spotted a woman standing up front with a sign criticizing Republicans on health care, he strolled casually toward her, said a few words, then escorted her away.

Handels opening acts at what was billed as her final major rally before Tuesday were two of Trumps Cabinet members: Price and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor whom Handel once served as a deputy chief of staff.

Just for the record, Im here in my personal capacity and as a former member of the United States House of Representatives, said Price, who reminded the audience that the seat also has been held by former Speaker Newt Gingrich and by Johnny Isakson, whos now in the Senate.

Those gentlemen represented the district sincerely, and diligently, and honestly, and faithfully, and thats exactly what Karen Handel is going to do, Price added.

Perdue hit on the message Handel hopes will resonate with voters skeptical of Trump. If its right, shell stand up for it, he said. If its wrong, you better watch out.

Then Perdue tried to draw a contrast with Ossoff, whom Republicans paint as being a puppet of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the political left while also scoffing at his own attempts to play it safe with Trump voters. She doesnt have any strings to pull Ive already tried!

Perdue also made a pitch to those who dont like Trump. I know some of you out there, some Republicans, may even be turned off by our president. Im not, because let me tell you I know its hard, but let me just share. I was in Miami yesterday with him, Perdue said, noting Trumps reversal of friendlier US policy toward Cuba. The president keeps his promises.

It was the most Trumps name was mentioned during the half-hour event. Handel avoided reference to the president in her remarks. (My job is to represent the people of the 6th District, she told reporters the night before when asked about her relationship with Trump during a campaign stop at a local tavern. Im not an extension of the White House.)

Shell be independent, theres no doubt in my mind shell do that, Ed Painter, leader of the 14th District Republican Party and one of the Make America Great Again hat wearers in the crowd, told BuzzFeed News. I dont know that shell do it the way I like it. But she will do it.

If only Handel were running in Painters district. Trump won there by more than 50 points.

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Karen Handel Is Keeping Donald Trump At Arm’s Length In Georgia’s 6th District – BuzzFeed News

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How to count with Donald Trump – VICE News

Posted: at 2:36 pm

Donald Trump knows a lot of numbers. Some very big, some catastrophically low, others staggering or just plain ridiculous.

Much has been made of the presidents rhetorical style, which by his own admission relies heavily on hyperbole. But its especiallyapparent when he delves into math and analytics. Trump rarely gives data without attaching descriptors that tell usexactly how to feel about that data. Often when hes talking about numbers, he ditchesspecifics altogether, in favor of superlatives.

In several instances, Trump has evenacknowledged concealing exact details from his audience. During his campaign, this became a recurring trope whenever he was discussing insurance premiums. I know the number. I will not tell you, Trump said at a rally in Iowa. I never do this with any of the groups; I dont say the number, because its so depressing.

In a sense, Trump has created his own nebulous numeric system that employs adjectives in lieu of traditional numerals. To illustrate, weve created this compilation of the president counting from a negative number to the biggest number ever, in his exuberant ifimprecise style.

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How to count with Donald Trump – VICE News

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