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What People Are Saying About Homeland Security’s Plan to Crack Down on Immigrants – Phoenix New Times

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:43 am

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Scene from a travel ban protest at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Melissa Fossum

This morning, the Department of Homeland Security announced its new plans to enforce President Donald Trumps executive orders on immigration.

Among the changes: tripling the number of agents who work in ICEs Enforcement and Removal division, and deporting immigrants before their cases have been heard in immigration court.

In addition, anyone whos been charged with a crime or has committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense is now considered a priority for deportation.

That includes people like Guadalupe Garcia who are guilty of nonviolent (and typically victimless) crimes like driving without a license or applying for a job with a fake social security number.

Thats just bad policy, David Leopold, the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, argues.

The immigration enforcement priorities are what keep us safe, he explained in a question-and-answer session for Americas Voice, a group that advocates for immigration reform.

If theyre spending resources on getting the bad people, then were safer. Theyre spending resources on the people who are easier to find the law-abiding folks. Whos easier to find: a woman whos tired after a day washing dishes, or a hardened criminal?

The priority of the Trump administration is to instill fear and panic, he added.

We’ll be updating this post throughout the day as Arizonans react to the new executive orders. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of the initial response on Twitter.

Update 12:11 p.m.: Activists fromLUCHA, Living United For Change in Arizona, will be at the State Capitol today at 4:30 p.m. to provide an update about what the new policies will mean and inform community members of their legal rights. More information here.

Update 1:31 p.m.: The Arizona Democratic Party is asking anyone who disagrees with Trump’s new deportation plan to sign a petitionvoicing their opposition.

Update 2:06 p.m.: James Garcia, communications director for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says that the new immigration policies will have a tangible real world effect in Arizona.

Theres an estimated 350,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state, all of whom contribute to the local economy in various different ways.

Thats a substantial number of people thats a city, he says. Those are people who spend money, fuel this economy, do jobs that most people dont want to do.

And many of those people have family members who are legal United States citizens, meaning theres likely to be a ripple effect.

When undocumented people leave, they dont just leave by themselves, Garcia points out. They leave with children, they leave with spouses. When they leave, they take all of their economic impact with them. These are people who were pumping money into the tax system.

Roughly a fourth to a third of the small businesses in Arizona are owned by Hispanic immigrants including some who are undocumented or have DACA. Theyre likely to be hit hard by the new policies.

Anecdotally, Garcia heard that some businesses have already seen their customer base drop because undocumented immigrants are scared to be out and on the streets.

People are limiting their movements, theyre changing their patterns in life to avoid getting into a situation if they can, he says.

Arizona has been through this before thanks to S.B. 1070, Garcia points out.

When you go out and talk to major construction firms, you here that it is a lot of harder to find enough workers, he says. Theyre still feeling the consequences of S.B. 1070.

Update 3:40 p.m.: Rep. Ruben Gallego has issued the following statement condemning the new policies:

These new guidelines tell us one thing: the Trump administration is willing to go after just about any member of the immigrant community. Last week, ICE arrested a DACA recipient and continues to hold him in custody without showing sufficient cause for his detention. Now the administration releases guidelines that lay the groundwork for mass deportation and tries to sell it to the American people as business-as-usual. This is far from the truth.

Under these new rules, ICE can go after people who have not been found guilty of committing a crime and remove them from the country within days of their arrest. It also strips anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of many due process protections. These are not the values our country was founded on.

I am dedicated to holding the Trump administration accountable and will continue to call out these policies for what they are: un-American.

Update 4:39 p.m.: Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, has released the following statement:

These directives lay out a blueprint for mass deportation. They bring to life some of the worst of Donald Trumps campaign rhetoric and threaten to tear apart families and leave U.S. citizens without parents, children, husbands and wives. Its not who we are as a country to rule by fear, confusion and cruelty.

The ACLU is also concerned about the Trump administrations prioritization of immigrant detention. Asylum seekers, families and others who pose no risk to the public do not belong in jails, lining the pockets of for-profit prison corporations.

Furthermore, rushing to incorporate a massive number of new federal agents into an undertrained and inexperienced deportation force, which may be cooperating with state and local police, is a perfect formula for large-scale racial profiling and other constitutional violations, including unlawful searches and detentions.

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Hornbeck Offshore Services: Too Many Problems Will Drag The Stock Further Down – Seeking Alpha

Posted: at 4:34 am

Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE:HOS) shares tanked following the company’s recent quarterly report. The numbers themselves were not surprising given the horrible market environment – the company reported a net loss of $0.53 per share on revenues of $41.9 million.

To get a quick picture of how bad things are, revenues declined by 52.8% since the fourth quarter of 2015 and by 19.3% since the third quarter of 2016. As a result of poor market conditions, the company had to stack 25 more vessels.

As I stated above, the results themselves are not a surprise at all. Perhaps, seeing actual numbers was a pain for Hornbeck Offshore investors, and this partially caused the post-earnings sell-off.

Also, the stock was elevated after the post-OPEC deal rally, although the deal changed nothing yet for the offshore drilling industry as was highlighted many times during this earnings season (read here, here and here).

However, the most important factor for any company is the outlook, and the outlook presented by Hornbeck Offshore management was just horrific.

Here’s what Hornbeck Offshore had to say:

“We project that even with the current depressed operating levels, cash generated from operations, together with cash on hand, should be sufficient to fund our operations and commitments at least through to our current guidance period ending December 31, 2018.

However, absent improved market conditions, we do not currently expect to have sufficient liquidity to repay our three tranches of funded unsecured debt outstanding that mature in fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, as they come due, unless such debt is refinanced or restructured.

Refinancing in the current climate may not be achievable on terms that are in line with our historic cost of debt capital. We are fully aware of the challenges of current market conditions are presenting to all offshore oil and gas industry and continue to actively review our capital structure and assess our strategic options, as we consider plans to ensure the long-term viability of Hornbeck Offshore”.

In the previous report, the company warned investors that it was going to assess strategic options, but the language was softer. Now Hornbeck Offshore presented the big picture to investors – the company will have no money to pay debt in 2019 and will have to restructure its debt.

I would like to highlight that it does not even matter for Hornbeck Offshore if the industry rebounds by 2019 or not. The rationale for this statement is that Hornbeck Offshore management believes that it will be necessary to address the capital structure long before 2019. As always, concessions from lenders mean big concessions from shareholders.

Judging by Hornbeck Offshore comments, the company will try to push maturities as far as possible as it does not see any recovery coming soon:

“Earlier in this cycle, the industry mantra was lower for longer. The message we have recently been hearing from our customers, almost uniformly, is that they now see oil prices as lower forever. They no longer view this as a U-shape recovery, but an L-shaped recovery, or so we’re told []

Our customers are telling us, they’re not going to FID or sanction projects in deepwater. I mean, this is what they’re telling us, $40 a barrel. They’re going to have to justify $40 a barrel, not $50, but $40″.

Here’s what we see from this and what the market has so far failed to appreciate in both OSV and OSD stocks.

No matter what the current oil price is, the breakeven bar for projects is set low because oil producers don’t want to be trapped in capital-intensive endeavors if oil goes below $50.

Once again, I remind that it does not matter now if they are right or wrong in their evaluation, because they will act upon their views and this means little demand for OSD and OSV industries.

The year 2017 is going to be bad for the industry and for Hornbeck Offshore. The company will likely see its revolving credit line go from $200 million to $75 million as it plans to elect interest coverage holiday at some point during this year.

There is no cash crunch as the company had $217 million at the end of 2016, but this number will trend down as the year progresses.

The deal with creditors won’t be easy to reach as highlighted by the problems of Hornbeck Offshore’s peer, Tidewater (NYSE:TDW).

Tidewater’s shareholders are already on the verge of a wipeout. The situation for Hornbeck Offshore shareholders is better, as the company did not ran into any covenant and does not depend on lenders’ good will.

Anyway, proactive attempts to deal with debt mean nothing good for shareholders unless the company can suddenly gain access to capital markets.

At the end of 2016 – beginning of 2017, a group of offshore drillers, namely Transocean (NYSE:RIG), Rowan (NYSE:RDC), Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE), Ensco (NYSE:ESV) and Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) were able to raise money through debt and equity.

The window of opportunity was opened by the OPEC/non-OPEC deal, but I believe that it has already shut down as no tangible evidence of any improvements on the offshore drilling front materialized after the deal.

Also, players with financial problems like Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) or Ocean Rig (NASDAQ:ORIG) were not able to raise money during this fortunate period. Yes, Seadrill is in restructuring negotiations right now, but even its founder is not willing to inject money via equity. So, for weaker industry players like Hornbeck Offshore or Tidewater the market was never really opened.

All in all, Hornbeck Offshore still has time to review its strategic options and I expect that the company will not hurry.

Any negotiations with creditors will take long as evidenced by Tidewater and Seadrill restructuring negotiations. Given the uncertainty, the stock will be highly volatile and present trading opportunities on both long and short sides.

However, the general direction will be to the downside as the OSV industry is the last one in the supply chain to benefit from rising oil prices, and current oil prices are not sufficient enough to bail out the OSD industry, the client of the OSV industry.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a short position in HOS over the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Editor’s Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

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Transformation of South Africa needs high sense of consciousness for social justice for success – Thought Leader

Posted: at 4:05 am

The biggest and most immediate challenge government faced as it entered the democratic transition was the unacceptable high levels of poverty and inequality inherited from the apartheid government that still define the new South Africa today. The challenge was even complicated and compounded by the crushing high level of government debt that was sitting at just over 50% of GDP in 1995 and the unemployment rate that had risen to over 30% of the labour force (using the expanded rate). These massive macro-economic and fiscal limitations were at the centre of the complex and constraining reality that was inherited by the pot-apartheid government. They served to handicap options for policy innovation for the new democratic government severely.

The policy response to poverty and unemployment was obvious and urgent. No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government. (The Reconstruction and Development Programme 1994).

This policy statement attests to the fact that the mass democratic movements went into the post-apartheid negotiations driven by a very high sense of consciousness for social justice. The current level and extent of the social wage package is very redistributive and forms the largest proportion of the national budget compared to other developing countries and is a direct policy response to this debilitating legacy of apartheid. The package is broad extending from social grants, free public health, no fee schools, water and electricity subsidies for the indigent at municipality level to free RDP hoses. However, for this to remain sustainable, the current size of the tax base must increase incrementally on the back of an increasing economic growth. Both of these conditions have not been met for almost a decade.

The policy conundrum arising out of this is that given the stubbornly high structural unemployment and wealth and income inequality, the economic trajectory we have chosen emphasizes high skills and technology rather than the labour intensity that is needed to absorb the high unemployment demographic that is under-educated and unskilled. It is instructive to observe that this capital and skills intensive growth translated into rising wages for the formal and increasingly regulated labour market and increasing profits for the owners of capital. The informal labour sector on the other hand has been decimated due to casualization and decreasing job opportunities. This is the situation and dynamic that is driving the increasing inequality and poverty.

The central issue and question is why is it that the current political leadership paid less attention to obvious strategies that could have made a significant impact on mass employment and growth. Why is it, for example, that criminal and gross incompetence was allowed to grow and erode the provision of quality education for all and the efficient implementation of the land restitution programme? These are the two key areas that could have driven personal empowerment and individual enterprise for many people. It is difficult not to conclude that the growth of corruption and selfish pursuit and abuse of political power have replaced the virtue of consciousness for social justice that motivated the mass democratic movement at the beginning of the democratic transition.

The crisis in education is especially worrying as an area of spectacular policy failure. A little less than 50% of the population is under the age of 25 and just over 20% are between the ages of 15 to 24. Despite the promise of a better life for all various forms of inequalities continue to hobble their opportunities for upward social movement. The barriers that were created during the apartheid era continue to exist well into the democratic era in education, employment, business opportunities, land and housing.

The strong correlation between wealth and education means that in general poorer learners, who generally receive poor quality education, perform worse academically and get trapped into intergenerational poverty. And, the painful fact is that the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is heavily complicit in efforts to undermine the pursuit of accountability in teaching. SADTU is a key member of COSATU in the governing Tripartite Alliance. The conclusion that the level of consciousness for social justice is waning in the governing party is unavoidable.

Quality education can indeed become a revolutionary and transformative force for a society characterised by high levels of income and wealth inequality and that is also in a democratic transition. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that the disruptive efforts of SADTU neatly qualify them as a counter revolutionary force

This is a very worrying picture but there is emerging optimism in the fact that the improving level of competitive electoral politics is accelerating and that a new political order may be emerge in the 2019 national elections.

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The Magical Rationalism of Elon Musk and the Prophets of AI – New York Magazine

Posted: at 3:59 am

Photo: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One morning in the summer of 2015, I sat in a featureless office in Berkeley as a young computer programmer walked me through how he intended to save the world. The world needed saving, he insisted, not from climate change or from the rise of the far right, or the treacherous instability of global capitalism but from the advent of artificial superintelligence, which would almost certainly wipe humanity from the face of the earth unless certain preventative measures were put in place by a very small number of dedicated specialists such as himself, who alone understood the scale of the danger and the course of action necessary to protect against it.

This intense and deeply serious young programmer was Nate Soares, the executive director of MIRI (Machine Intelligence Research Institute), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the safe which is to say, non-humanity-obliterating development of artificial intelligence. As I listened to him speak, and as I struggled (and failed) to follow the algebraic abstractions he was scrawling on a whiteboard in illustration of his preferred doomsday scenario, I was suddenly hit by the full force of a paradox: The austere and inflexible rationalism of this mans worldview had led him into a grand and methodically reasoned absurdity.

In researching and reporting my book, To Be a Machine, I had spent much of the previous 18 months among the adherents of the transhumanist movement, a broad church comprising life-extension advocates, cryonicists, would-be cyborgs, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs, neuroscientists looking to convert the human brain into code, and so forth all of whom were entirely convinced that science and technology would allow us to transcend the human condition. With many of these transhumanists (the vast majority of whom, it bears mentioning, were men), I had experienced some version of this weird cognitive dissonance, this apprehension of a logic-unto-madness. I had come across it so frequently, in fact, that I wound up giving it a name: magical rationalism.

The key thing about magical rationalism is that its approach to a given question always seems, and in most meaningful respects is, perfectly logical. To take our current example, the argument about AI posing an existential risk to our species seems, on one level, quite compelling. The basic gist is this: If and when we develop human-level artificial intelligence, its only a matter of time until this AI, by creating smarter and smarter iterations of itself, gives rise to a machine whose intelligence is as superior to our own as our intelligence currently is to that of other animal species. (Lets leave the cephalopods out of this for the moment, because who knows what the hell is going on with those guys.) Computers being what they are, though, theres a nontrivial risk of this superintelligent AI taking the commands its issued far too literally. You tell it, for instance, to eliminate cancer once and for all, and it takes the shortest and most logical route to that end by wiping out all life-forms in which abnormal cell division might potentially occur. (An example of the cure-worse-than-the-disease scenario so perfect that you would not survive long enough to appreciate its perfection.) As far as I can see, theres nothing about this scenario that is anything but logically sound, and yet here we are, taken to a place that most of us will agree feels deeply and intuitively batshit. (The obvious counterargument to this, of course, is that just because something feels intuitively batshit doesnt mean that its not going to happen. Its worth bearing in mind that the history of science is replete with examples of this principle.)

Magical rationalism arises out of a quasi-religious worldview, in which reason takes the place of the godhead, and whereby all of our human problems are soluble by means of its application. The power of rationalism, manifested in the form of technology the word made silicon has the potential to deliver us from all evils, up to and including death itself. This spiritual dimension is most clearly visible in the techno-millenarianism of the Singularity: the point on the near horizon of our future at which human beings will finally and irrevocably merge with technology, to become uploaded minds, disembodied beings of pure and immutable thought. (Nate Soares, in common with many of those working to eliminate the existential threat posed by AI, viewed this as the best-case scenario for the future, as the kingdom of heaven that would be ours if we could only avoid the annihilation of our species by AI. I myself found it hard to conceive of as anything other than a vision of deepest hell.)

In his book The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and director of engineering at Google, lays out the specifics of this post-human afterlife. The Singularity, he writes, will allow us to transcend these limitations of our biological bodies and brains. We will gain power over our fates. Our mortality will be in our hands. We will be able to live as long as we want (a subtly different statement from saying we will live forever). We will fully understand human thinking and will vastly extend and expand its reach. By the end of this century, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will be trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. This is magical rationalism in its purest form: It arises out of the same human terrors and desires as the major religions the terror of death, the desire to transcend it and proceeds toward the same kinds of visionary mythologizing.

This particular Singularitarian strain of magical rationalism could be glimpsed in Elon Musks widely reported recent comments at a conference in Dubai. Humans, he insisted, would need to merge with machines in order to avoid becoming obsolete. Its mostly about the bandwidth, he explained; computers were capable of processing information at a trillion bits per second, while we humans could input data into our devices at a mere ten bits per second, or thereabouts. From the point of view of narrow rationalism, Musks argument was sort of compelling if computers are going to beat us at our own game, wed better find ways to join them but it only really made sense if you thought of a human being as a kind of computer to begin with. (Were computers; were just rubbish at computing compared to actual computers these days.)

While writing To Be a Machine, I kept finding myself thinking about Flann OBriens surreal comic masterpiece The Third Policeman, in which everyone is unhealthily obsessed with bicycles, and men who spend too much time on their bicycles wind up themselves becoming bicycles via some kind of mysterious process of molecular transfer. Transhumanism a world as overwhelmingly male as OBriens rural Irish hellscape often seemed to me to be guided by a similar kind of overidentification with computers, a strange confusion of the distinct categories of human and machine. Because if computation is the ultimate value, the ultimate end of intelligence, then it makes absolute sense to become better versions of the computers we already are. We must optimize for intelligence, as transhumanists are fond of saying meaning by intelligence, in most cases, the exercise of pure reason. And this is the crux of magical rationalism: It is both an idealization of reason, of beautiful and rigorous abstraction, and a mode of thinking whereby reason is made to serve as the faithful handmaiden of absolute madness. Because reason is, among its other uses, a finely calibrated tool by which the human animal pursues its famously unreasonable ends.

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The Magical Rationalism of Elon Musk and the Prophets of AI – New York Magazine

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Dave LaRock’s Virginia Campus Free Speech Resolution – National Review

Posted: at 3:59 am

Virginia Delegate Dave LaRock (R-Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun Counties) has just filed House Resolution 431, The Campus Free Speech Resolution. HR 431 is based on the model legislation I co-authored with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of Arizonas Goldwater Institute.

Since the Virginia House of Delegates is nearingthe end of its current session, Delegate LaRock is offering a resolution conveying the sense of the legislature, to be followed up next session by detailed legislation based on the Goldwater model. As Delegate LaRock put it in a press release, This resolution will put down a marker as a precursor for next session when I will follow up with legislation to assure that universities take this seriously.

Explaining his reason for taking up the Goldwater proposal on campus free speech, Del. LaRock said, Virginia is the cradle of democracy and it is a disgrace that many universities have lost track of the idea that it is their responsibility to uphold free-speech principles By passing this measure we are communicating to universities and the public that students are in school to learn how to think; they are not going to college to be protected from differing opinions.

Virginias HR 431, and Del. LaRocks promise to follow it next session with fuller legislation based on the Goldwater model, means that Virginia is now the third state to move forward with initiatives based on the Goldwater proposal. North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has announced that a bill will soon be filed in that state, and Illinois Representative Peter Breen has introduced HB 2939. And although no bill has yet been filed, I will be testifying at the request of Education Committee Chair Michael Bileca before the Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee of the Florida State House this Thursday on the Goldwater proposal.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at [emailprotected]

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Kredo Tells OAN: Obama Officials Pushed Flynn Out As NSA – Washington Free Beacon

Posted: at 3:56 am

BY: Nick Bolger February 21, 2017 1:16 pm

Adam Kredo, senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon, appeared on One America News Network Monday to discuss the secret campaign to oust former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Kredo discussed his recent report with Liz Wheeler.The piece reports that Obama Administration holdovers waged a campaign of leaks to force Flynn’s resignation.

“It is quite an accusation,” Kredo said. “And from at least half a dozen sources both inside and outside of the White House that I spoke to, it happens to be a fact.”

Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, created a “pro-Iran echo chamber” and used his allies to create an echo chamber outside of the White House to combat Trump on foreign policy, Kredo explains.

Kredo reports that Flynn’s resignation was forced in an attempt to keep hidden side deals surrounding the Iran nuclear deal.

Flynn resigned from his post on February 13 following reports that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence over his contact with Russia.

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CF Rayo Majadahonda 0-1 Real Madrid Castilla – Managing Madrid

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:23 pm

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How Valve is Taking a Nintendo-like Approach to Virtual Reality – UploadVR

Posted: at 7:18 pm

Valve is building hardware for virtual reality, and its taking cues from one of the console industrys brightest minds.

VR is still in its early stages in terms of revenues relative to the industry as a whole, but Valve is pushing virtual realityforward by following the methodthat legendary Nintendo designerShigeru Miyamoto used in the development of devices like the DS handheld or the Wii motion-controlled console. Miyamoto, creator of the Mario and Zelda franchises, has repeatedly worked on hardware and software in conjunction with one another to ensure that the companys games and systems take full advantage of their capabilities.

Valves prototype grip controllers. Photo by GamesBeat/Jeffrey Grubb

Valve wants to emulate that process with SteamVR.

One of the questions you might ask us is, Why in the world are you making hardware, Valve founder Gabe Newell said during a roundtable interview with several media outlets including GamesBeatlast week. Were building three VR games. What we can do now is we can be designing hardware at the same time that were designing software. This is something that Miyamoto has always had. Hes had the ability to think about what the input devices and design of systems should be like while hes also designing games. And our sense is that this is going to enable us to build much better entertainment experiences for people.

Newell said that Valve isnt suddenly looking to make a significant profit from hardware devices because the margins are typically not great on those kinds of products. Instead, he explained that in order to move VR forward, Valve needs to think about software and hardware developing in unison.

It feels like weve been stuck with mouse-and-keyboard for a really long time, said Newell. The opportunity to build much more interesting kinds of experiences for gamers is there, we just had to expand what we could do. But its not about building hardware, its about making bigger leaps forward by working on these things together.

All the senior members of Valves VR team acknowledged that its efforts could flop because they dont know whats going to work. But the company thinks that any potential failure could provide useful data for anyone else working in the space, and since SteamVR is open, someone else could swoop in with a successful idea that Valve couldnt think of.

The presumption is that when youre trying to build something new, youre going to have a lot of failures, said Newell. So you want to be in a position so you know if something could work. If youre not failing, then youre probably not exploring the potential space.

But Valve is determined to do that exploring, and Newell specifically points to Nintendo as an example of how to do this kind of experimentation.

Because you can always be surprised, said Newell. Personally, I thought the DS was kinda stupid. I thought Sony was going to crush Nintendo in that generation of handheld devices. I was totally wrong. I hadnt worked on it. I hadnt tried to design any games for it. And clearly the DS ended up the winner.

On the flipside, the first time I played Wii Sports, I was like, Oh, my god theres so much potential here. But it turned out that Wii Sports pretty much nailed it, and that was it. And there was less innovation that I expected.

So Newell is wary of his initial instincts.

You can still find out that there was more or less [to an idea] than you thought, said Newell. And you find out by making a bunch of experiments and getting a bunch of other people to try things.And the assumption is that as we continue this ongoing evolution of game design, tools, and hardware, were going to find stuff that really creates game experiences that take advantage of the unique characteristics of VR.

And so Valve will keep iterating on its hardware and software, and everyone will get to see if the company ends up with a success like the Nintendo DS or a flop like the Wii U. Either way, Newell and his team are prepared.

This post by Jeff Grubb originally appeared on VentureBeat.

Tagged with: controllers, Gabe Newell, Valve Software

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How Valve is Taking a Nintendo-like Approach to Virtual Reality – UploadVR

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Woman Proudly Shows Off Her Eczema To Prove A Point About Instagram – Huffington Post

Posted: at 6:46 pm

A picture says a thousand words, but onsocial media, they dont always tell the whole story.

Gray posted two side-by-side photos on of her face last week, calling the post a reality check. The first image, she wrote, ishow you see me when my eczema is under control, Ive done my makeup and Im feeling sassy. The second, she said, was taken when my eczema isnt under control, its very blotchy, sore and I cant wear any makeup.

Gray acknowledged that social media is a great way to show the good parts of people and their lives, but she wanted to use this image to remind her 139,000 followers that what you see on social media is not the full story, its not how that person will look or be alllllll the time!

Indeed. Eczema is common skin condition that affects over 30 million Americans. Symptoms can include redness, itching, inflammation, oozing and swelling of the skin. Promising trialsshow that relief may be on the way for some, and there are dermatologist-approved remediesand productsthat help people with eczema cope. Still, theres currently no cure.

The condition is still a big insecurity for Gray, she admits, but she said shes learning to accept myself knowing that everyone has their own struggles and insecurities and thats what makes us unique and special.

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Woman Proudly Shows Off Her Eczema To Prove A Point About Instagram – Huffington Post

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Kenny Atkinson sees hope and progress for his Nets at All-Star break – Newsday

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

When the season was young, the Nets ranked as one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. A team widely panned as the leagues worst was 4-5, and two of those wins came after Jeremy Lin suffered his first hamstring injury in the fifth game.

That initial surge of optimism faded long ago as the Nets without Lin for all but 12 games have struggled. It turns out they are exactly what the critics forecast, a 9-47 team that is 8 12 games worse than the 29th-best team in the NBA at the All-Star break.

The Nets rank 30th in points allowed (114.2), plus-minus (-8.8) and turnovers (17). They are fourth in three-pointers attempted (32.4) but only 26th in three-point field-goal percentage (34.0).

In short, with the NBAs weakest roster, general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson havent found any way to stem the tide of losing. The Nets have lost a franchise-record 16 straight home games and 25 of their past 26 games overall. Yet, as tough as it may be to sell to the fans, Atkinson maintains that his team has made incremental progress as the franchise overhauls the playing style and creates a new culture.

Describing the rays of hope he sees, Atkinson said: I think the intangibles are: Whats your teams work ethic? Whats their spirit like? How are they coming into practice every day? How are they approaching the games? Hows their focus? Those are the things were looking at, and we cast an eye towards our young players. How are they doing? How are they improving?

Considering the depth of their problems, the most amazing part of the Nets season is how hard they still are playing. Their past 11 straight losses all have come by 10 or fewer points. There was one brief locker-room flareup, but the Nets have held together despite constant lineup changes.

This is the most positive group Ive been around in my three years with three teams, said Spencer Dinwiddie, who was claimed out of the D-League and has been starting at point guard in Lins long absence. Its just a great group of guys. Spirits are always high even through the losses.

I think I was a little bit shocked at first, having been on other teams. Nobody can like losing or tolerate losing, but to be able to have that collective buy-in and stick to the program, I think it talks to the character of the guys. We have that belief in the coaching staff and the GM, the whole regime.

The most obvious area of progress is the development of the Nets three young core players, second-year forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, rookie wing man Caris LeVert and rookie Isaiah Whitehead. Atkinson credits the Nets recent defensive improvement to the decision to make Hollis-Jefferson the starting power forward. LeVerts athleticism and defensive prowess are eye-opening, and second-round pick Whitehead has surprised with his toughness and grasp of the system.

The major question as the Nets approach Thursdays NBA trade deadline is whether to take what they can get for long-time franchise center Brook Lopez or to give Lopez and Lin a chance to play together when Lin returns for the start of an eight-game road trip Friday in Denver.

That decision ultimately belongs to Marks, who has said he will listen to all trade offers. According to multiple reports, the Nets are asking for two first-round picks for Lopez, a high price that means theres a strong chance he will survive the trade deadline.

Id love to see them together, see how they mix, how they work, Atkinson said of the Brook-Lin pairing. I reminisce about those first games when Jeremy was throwing to Brook in the post and cutting off the post and all that kind of action that looked really good in the beginning. The post stuff I was surprised because Jeremys never really played with a pure post-up guy. So it was great seeing that. Id like to see more. Cant wait til Denver.

Lin, for one, is eager for the opportunity.

Im realistic enough to understand that we havent had a fair look at what this team is really going to look like, Lin said after returning to practice last Tuesday. I played like five games and then another [seven] games, which is just such a small sample size.

Right now, we have guys playing a little bit out of position and guys being asked to do certain things that maybe they havent had to do in their career. So thats not really fair to them. When I come back, I want to be able to help this team and be what they envision me to be. I think post-All-Star break is enough games to see that.

Atkinson has praised Lopez for all the adjustments he has made, from developing his three-point shot to fit in the spread offense and working harder to improve his defense to the positive attitude he has maintained. Missing out on the chance to show how effective he might be with Lin on the floor has been the biggest disappointment of the season.

I think we did a great job of jelling in the offseason through our workouts, Lopez said. Hes such a smart player, such a gifted point guard, and he elevates whoever he plays with. Were obviously missing him. Hes such a great player and great leader, hell improve a lot of players, including me.

Thats what Marks, Atkinson and the rest of the Nets organization need to find out.

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Kenny Atkinson sees hope and progress for his Nets at All-Star break – Newsday

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