Tag Archives: video

‘Trump Trance’? Media Sure It ‘Heard’ Sweden Comment Trump Never Said – PJ Media

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:22 am

This article starts with some homework. I want you to watch this video:

If you have been a devoted reader of my Buddhism pieces, you have already seen this, so don’t give the punchline away to the rest of the class.

Most all of you seeing this naively — not aware of what is going to happen — will have seen the little basketball exercise, and very few of you will have seen the moonwalking bear. Hell, I know what is happening and without consciously doing the Zen thing I still get sucked in. The point is that perception is altered by our thinking. One of the goals of Buddhist meditation is to make us aware of this — not stop it, because we can’t, that’s the way we’re built, but to be aware of it.

The furor about the Trump presidency has gotten to the point that people are literally (and I don’t mean figuratively literally, I mean literally literally) seeing and hearing things that aren’t there, just as in the video.

The truly glaring example this week was the succession of articles about Trump “lying” about a terrorist attack in Sweden. It’s been widely reported, even on the one paragon of truth in American politics, PJ Media.

There’s only one problem.

It didn’t happen.

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‘Trump Trance’? Media Sure It ‘Heard’ Sweden Comment Trump Never Said – PJ Media

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The three reasons YouTubers keep imploding, from a YouTuber – Polygon

Posted: at 4:15 am

You know that PewDiePie guy youve been hearing about lately? I have a funny story about him.

I made this YouTube video back in 2012, wherein a bunch of us mocked PewDiePie using a satirical version of The Fine Bros. React videos. I made the centerpiece the fact that, back then, PewDiePie tended to use the word rape quite a bit.

Please note, as many get wrong, I dont think he was making rape jokes at all; it was just yelling the word more than anything. The video blew up a little and prompted him to make a specific apology video to his viewers.

PewDiePie has since actually turned over a new leaf. He had a video called Old vs. New PewDiePie in which he watched his old content and appeared to be a little surprised at his original self. In fact, he contacted me and we had a very cool email exchange, in which he said that my video led to him thinking more about the things he said and re-examine the kind of jokes he was making.

Wow! My trolly little video where I made trouble for a really big YouTuber although not quite the biggest, back then had inadvertently caused some self-reflection and ultimately some good in the world. Not a bad deal!

Well, thats my story. It was a little short for a Polygon article, but alls well that ends well and there has never been, nor will there ever be, any new developments there. Im positive of this fact. Not even gonna Google it.

Now to read my favorite newspaper, The Wall Street Journal …

Well, instead of just deleting the previous few paragraphs, what say we just go ahead and write a whole article about this?

I go by slowbeef, and Ive been doing Lets Plays and related content since about 2007. Im certainly not rich off of, or successful from my videos, but I run in those circles because Ive been doing it for so long in addition to my day job. Some people even consider me a progenitor of it. I talk to a lot of the A-Listers the people whose names you know rather often and I have some insight into that world. I have one foot in the door, and see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.

PewDiePie isnt remotely the only e-celebrity to have this sort of scandal, though most controversies tend to be a bit smaller in scope.

Did you ever hear about the streamer who got drunk and told her fans that kids getting cancer was just natural selection? Or the two YouTubers who conveniently forgot to tell their fans they were getting paid for their Ryse gameplay? Or that guy who got caught masturbating on camera during his pre-show? This stuff happens with regularity.

Allow me to extrapolate on a meme those kids today are using: Dude, you had one job. And it looked like a really easy one. Lets Players, streamers or content creators, whatever you like, get to play video games and make jokes while doing so. It seems like a dream gig, so why even risk these sort of gaffes? Why do people risk their jobs for jokes or mistakes that seem easy to avoid?

Well, its complicated. But there are three reasons this keeps happening.

Lets play (ha) a game you cant win. In the comments below, tell me how to get your videos featured, get your subscribers to watch videos or get your related videos in the related videos sidebar as opposed to some other person on YouTube.

Im not joking, go down and do this right now. The rest of the story will be here when you get back.

I can bet that some of you got it right, but the problem is that your answer will become wrong in the next month or so. Content producers get frustrated with the system because the rules keep changing; it always seems like the site is keen to promote someone else, and it can feel impossible to keep up.

For example: subscriber burn, which is a nefarious little side effect of not uploading a new video for a couple of weeks. The term was popularized by the Game Theory channel in 2014; your subscribers stop getting notified of your videos if they stop watching or you stop uploading. Going on vacation? Lets hope you got a backlog, because youll see a big drop in views if you take a week or two off. And they might not come back.

Heres another fun one. If you manage your YouTube settings as a viewer, youll see the selected default option is occasionally notify me of videos and activities from my subscriptions. Occasionally. A lot of viewers dont know this, but YouTube doesnt default to always showing you new videos from their favorite channels.

Youll frequently see uploaders complain that users suddenly get unsubscribed, certain videos no longer appear, or you have to explicitly check a whole new notification setting for some reason. As of this writing, theres a little bell icon next to the subscribe button. The button itself isnt enough to see videos of people to subscribe to, you need to hit the bell and tell YouTube to always send you notifications, the notifications they default you to only sometimes getting.

If this doesnt make much sense to you, you see what we deal with. Its constantly changing. Now, imagine your business hinges on all these random changes.

Most uploaders begin to believe they have to flood the site with videos for a chance one goes viral or to reach subscribers who arent notified or to make up for losing them. And the numbers do go up when you start to do that, leaving many to believe its the only reliable way to keep relevant.

You need ad revenue if you want to make a living talking over video games, which means views and that means uploads. Or at the very least, you need brand deals which means you need clout, which means you need subscribers, which means views, which again means uploads. Most pros create at least one video a day, and its a punishing schedule. Some create as many as three videos a day.

Protip: You can oversaturate your audience, so dont read this as, its good to upload 10 videos a day.

None of this is good for your mental health if you want to do this job or even come up with a standard workflow, which creates the next big problem.

Theres an apparent double standard, right? Comedians tell AIDS jokes, Holocaust jokes, 9/11 jokes and much more. When a popular YouTuber does it, its suddenly being reported by the media (and, cough, other YouTubers). Didnt George Carlin once say no topic is off limits?

Yeah. But like most comedians, he also spent a lot of his time writing those jokes, refining them, trying them in smaller clubs before his big venues, commiserating with his peers, etc. A secret of successful comedians is you dont just spit out jokes that come to you. You develop bits, callbacks, sets, etc. There are legit reasons that Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, and Jim Jefferies get away with questionable jokes and JohnnySephiroth315 doesnt.

Many YouTubers do some of this work, mind, but they also have to prep footage, record it, process it, do editing, transcode it, upload it, schedule it… there are many steps to take before the audience sees the content. And this has to happen, for most, at least once a day. On a platform that changes its rules on the fly, all the time.

Come on, you say. How much work can it be to make a ten-minute video? Try it. Speak about a topic you care about, and then edit out all the pauses and awkward moments but keep your flow. Aim for five minutes, if you like. If you want it to look good, you might have had to do a couple of takes, re-read your outline (you wrote one, right?), mull over editing decisions and make sure the sound is just as good as the video.

Its different for everyone, but there is no process in which you can do this well that doesnt eat up a lot of time and energy. Its a grueling job, especially when positivity is so often tied to success.

There isnt much time to mull over a joke, consult with colleagues, rewrite it, see how smaller audiences take it, and then tailor accordingly. Again, many of us want to have new content every day. The chance youre going to misread your audience and be punished for it goes up with every video you release in this environment. Watch the video below, and imagine having to do this for every joke, on every video for every day of your life.

PewDiePies now infamous sketch? Bit? You know, where he pays a couple of Indian kids on Fiverr … eh, Im sure youve heard of it. There really is a joke there somewhere at Fiverrs expense, and I think thats what he was going for.

The parts are there, loosely, if you cock your head and squint a bit. Theres an air of exploitation (on Fiverrs part, but also often claimed to be on PewDiePies part) but it was a rush job. Seinfeld, in contrast, maps out goofy jokes about Pop Tarts down to the syllable.

PewDiePie ends up looking like the villain because he uses the old South Park haha anti-Semitism! routine, but the whole joke is malformed. People are quick to dismiss it as merely an edgy throwaway when it couldve been meant as a commentary on paid online services. But who can blame them? As it stands, the joke is really hard to read. It doesnt land cleanly at all.

You can actually imagine, if you like, PewDiePie doing a stand-up set and having comedian friends tell him at the bar that man, youve been leaning on the Nazi stuff a bit lately. Or an audience groaning at a smaller venue, which signals to him its time to do a rewrite. Thats why there are workshops, writing sessions and smaller venues and drinks with fellow comedians. You have to fail often when the stakes are low to learn how to get the big wins. Its a process.

Online personalities cant really know that theyve lost the goodwill of the audience, or that the material will gain mainstream anger if theyre famous, until its too late. Theyre already forming tomorrows video without even seeing the storm thats coming.

Even worse is that there is this air of everyone gets sooo offended and, while thats a whole different conversation, some people use the reverse-outrage to mask the fact that they fucked up a joke and have to pay a price. Or they blame others for pointing it out.

Its one of the cons of being an entertainer. But it all adds up to a firestorm thats always a spark away, no matter where you fall on the ultimate outcome. Come to think of it where was Disney and Maker and YouTube in all this? What the hell are they doing to manage their most popular asset?

One time, a much more successful friend, someone with over 500,000 subscribers, was going to be interviewed by a major television network. He spoke with me about it beforehand.

I warned him off the situation; it sounded like he was going to be sandbagged. He was adamant about the opportunity, and I turned out to be wrong. It also turned out I was one of the only people who were trying to offer an opinion on it.

This guy had tons of views and made a bunch of money; didnt anyone at his Multi-Channel Network, or MCN, know or care that he was gonna do this interview? Did they offer advice or prep him for challenging questions? Was there a conversation about avoiding sound bites that can be taken out of context?

Nope.

MCNs are agencies that partner with you, Maker Studios was PewDiePies MCN, and if youre someone big enough to be worth their time youll get brand deals and opportunities to work with others and increase your audience and revenue. They handle a lot of the backend stuff that most people dont think about when it comes to big entertainers.

The chance youre going to misread your audience and be punished for it goes up with every video you release in this environment

But if someone asks why they should give an MCN 10 percent of their revenue and theyre not a managed partner that means youre in a special relationship because youre big enough for them to really care there may not be much of an answer.

My MCN is typically pretty nice and in touch, but Im not managed and if I decide to do an interview or write this article a PR person wont notice or care. Im completely on my own when it comes to thinking about how my audience views me, for better or worse. I dont have a manager to call for advice, guidance or media training.

Surprisingly, this is also true of some of the biggest names in the business. I dont want to make it sound like MCNs do nothing, they are valuable business partners that make it easier to pay the bills, but they definitely dont curate your content. They dont tell their big talent to lay off the political posting, or dial it back on the hard stuff for a bit. Its all business, no grooming or advice.

I dont think this is due to apathy or greed. Im not sure they know how to handle these things either. I mean, even if youve worked in Hollywood or television, here comes a bunch of kids who get tons of ad revenue for screaming over video games. And heres another batch who pantomime being cartoonishly scared of the games. And heres a channel that comments on their commentary! Its baffling to people who dont like or understand it, so I think most business people dont want to touch the golden goose for fear itll stop laying eggs. They just know people are paying attention, and thats worth money.

PewDiePie is a bit anomalous among even the A-Listers, and consider this: part of his contract was that he retained full editorial control (in retrospect: maybe not a win), and Disney agreed to those terms.

Disney.

Jesus, do these italics slant any farther over? Disney! There is almost no other company more protective of its intellectual property or image, and they let a guy in his twenties with one of the largest audiences in the world say and do whatever he wanted under their umbrella. If you combine that with a contract that likely gave Disney a lot of easy ways to drop him if things went south, and you have a creator who is in a bad situation without any guidance from people who can help manage the situation.

Thats huge, and its also telling. It feels like Disney was thinking, Were not exactly sure what you do, or how it makes money, but it does, so lets partner and leave shit alone and hope it keeps making us money. But when you get in trouble, well, bye.

I think most business people dont want to touch the golden goose for fear itll stop laying eggs

Theres always someone else with a funny screen name and a million subscribers who can reach the same audience. But youd think this whole situation couldve been avoided if there were somebody checking in when the first few issues with the content begun. This controversy didnt happen all at once, there were plenty of chances for someone to step in and try to cool things down or provide help or advice when the media got involved.

Yes, real celebrities do mess up. But there are publicists and agencies that try to prevent this from happening and then help with damage control. YouTubers start their careers doing everything solo, get into the Ill take care of it all myself mentality, and MCNs dont seem super equipped to deal with the downsides to some of that.

So you end up with very famous and very rich (and often, very young) personalities with no one to help manage genuine crises. Which means the bad decisions continue.

On the surface, humor seems easy and I think people make the mistake of thinking it just comes naturally. People think Lets Play is just I get paid to play video games and talk?!

But creativity takes time and reflection and refinement and work. Content creators are in this system where theyre incentivized to pump it out faster and faster, which means a lot of jokes come out half-baked and rushed. Short-term controversies cause everyone to rush to make their own reaction video, which is the YouTube version of the hot take, or thinkpiece.

Eager to compete with each other, you get misleading titles and custom thumbnails its kinda clickbaity, really. Hell, even PewDiePie uploads daily despite the fact that hes on top and every publication in the world wont stop telling me how much he makes.

I dont think this system will be improved any time soon, but I would like to end on a positive note. If there is someone whos making the stuff you enjoy (and maybe that still is PewDiePie), find ways to contribute. If they have alternate payment systems like merchandise or Patreon, consider it so they dont have to play the ad revenue works in volume game. Support the people you like and boost their signal. Get them out of the realm where they need to make a video a day.

YouTube has a speed and quantity problem, and it affects all aspects of the business. If you are a content creator, take a little time with controversial stuff. It really is fun to make things, but irreverent, boundary-breaking stuff is high-risk/high-reward. Dont just spit it out: run things by friends and people not in the business. Test the tone before you go live. Sleep on it. That way, you too can be a successful celebrity with a long, stalwart career like Mel Gibson or Michael Richards, only with video games involved, somehow.

Sorry to end this early, but I have a video to upload. Later!

Michael Sawyer goes by the alias “slowbeef” and has been doing Let’s Plays since 2005, despite being incredibly unsuccessful at them. He is a self-described video game humorist and is officially way too old to being doing that. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch or YouTube.

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The three reasons YouTubers keep imploding, from a YouTuber – Polygon

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Making Virtual Reality More Accessible – VideoInk

Posted: at 4:15 am

If a tree falls in a virtual world, but no one has a headset, binaural audio, or an expensive PC so they could watch it falldid it really happen?

Virtual reality hardware makers and content producers are busily building up the value proposition of virtual reality; the better the experience, the more consumers who will buy in. But its a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma. How do you entice audiences to buy in to virtual reality before the technology and content offerings have matured? And how do you have the resources and consumer data to make a great product before the audience has congealed?

VR is the next inflection point for [telling] great stories and the way to do that is with compelling technology, says Jaunts new Chief Revenue Officer JP Colaco, who also told VideoInk, that the mile markers for VRs impending growth are already visible, despite various hurdles, including its accessibility.

But the early-adopters and innovators press on nevertheless. Here are three companies working to solve VRs access problem today:

IMAX is bringing the movie theater model to virtual reality. The company launched its flagship VR Experience Centre in Los Angeles (near the Grove) earlier this year. IMAX knows that a high quality VR setup costs upwards of $1K, so the opportunity to buy tickets to visit a VR theater space and go home afterwards is appealing to tourists and LA early adopters alike. The model replicates the VR cafe in eastern Asia. You can buy tickets ahead of time, but walk-ins are welcome. Reportedly, the IMAX VR Center has already seen over 5,000 visitors come through their doors, 75% of which have never experienced VR in their lifetime. And the momentum is strong, with IMAX stating that paid admissions have been increasing 75% week over week. IMAX plans to launch five additional pilot locations this year, including some centers that will share space with traditional movie theaters.

Kitsplit connects creators and the gear they need to create. Its essentially a camera gear rental company that conveniently solves the VR access problem. A quick search on Kitsplit for VR & Edge Tech in Los Angeles revealed both 360 camera and VR setup offerings. You can rent VR 360 Camera Nokia OZO for $2500 per day, or a HTC Vive setup for $200 per day. Its a great solution for events, creators with modest resources or limited space, and allows consumers to experience VR without investing in a full setup.

Stanfords Computational Imaging Lab is solving the VR headache problem that results from eyes that are tired of focusing on a fixed point and expanding VR to users with glasses. Researchers are developing a technology called adaptive focus display, which adjusts the screen using either liquid lenses or mechanically adjusting the lenses a la binoculars.

The researchers are in touch with VR hardware companies, who have a vested interest in personalizing VR headsets to make the viewing experience as smooth as actual reality.

Accessibility is key to the success of virtual reality as a content industry. The experience itself has to be available, affordable, and comfortable for consumers in as many demographics as possible. While hardware and software companies generate cutting edge headsets and experiences, others tackle the logistical and technical challenges of making virtual reality accessible to all.

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Making Virtual Reality More Accessible – VideoInk

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Prepare for a new age of mobile technology – ZDNet

Posted: at 4:04 am

Artificial intelligence, natural-language processing, and bots integrated into messaging apps will create new opportunities to interact with users via their mobile devices. (Image: Just East)

Mobile technology like smartphones will be changing in ways many users can’t even imagine today, and much of this change will come from trends such as the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).

The convergence of devices, bots, things, and people means organizations will need to excel at mainstream mobility and prepare for the “post-app” era, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

The future of mobility will offer ubiquitous services provided anywhere, by any person or thing, to any person or thing, said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. Alternative approaches to interaction and service delivery will spring up, and code will move from traditional mobile devices and apps to the cloud, he said.

It’s clear that mobile has become an integral part of doing business today. Gartner has estimated total shipments of 2.37 billion devices (including laptops, tablets, ultramobiles, and mobile phones) and 293 million wearable products for 2016. It projects shipments of 2.38 billion devices and 342 million wearables in 2017.

The proliferation of devices means they are now omnipresent within the business environment, reinventing the way people interact and work, Willis said.

While users are always looking for new and compelling experiences with apps, the importance of apps in delivering services will diminish, and the emergence of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today, he said.

“App mania has created a horrible experience for customers,” Willis said. “There are too many of them. Many large brands have multiple apps in the same app store. Consumers are abandoning apps at an alarming rate. App fatigue has set in.”

Users are settling on fewer, more trusted apps, Willis says. “The brands that are the most reliable, trustworthy, and are the easiest to deal with will win,” he says. “We used to say that if your customers need a manual, you’ve lost. Now, if your customer has to train and configure their experience, you’ve lost.”

Newer tools and technology developments such as wearables, IoT, VR and AR are changing the parameters of customer experience with mobile, Willis said. “It’s going to be a dynamic, immersive, and highly varied world out there,” he said.

The growing use of wearables and “bring your own thing” such as smart power sockets and smart light bulbs in the workplace will introduce new ways of interacting and new platforms, Willis said, diluting the need for specific mobile app experiences.

A lot of the innovation in the mobile technology market in the future will not come within the devices themselves, but in the things that communicate with the devices. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 25 percent of new mobile apps will talk to IoT devices.

Advancing technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural-language processing, and bots integrated into messaging apps will create new opportunities to interact with users seamlessly via their mobile devices, the firm said.

VIDEO: Here’s how Facebook envisions you being social in VR

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Prepare for a new age of mobile technology – ZDNet

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NYT: Yep, Liberal Tantrums and Identity Politics Are Helping Trump (Secure That Second Term) – Townhall

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm

There is an old story in politics from the 1950s, where Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson is approached by a confident aide who tells him that he has the thinking people on his side, to which Stevenson replies, ah, but I need a majority. Liberalism is rooted in condescension, which is hidden under the veneer of tolerance andsupportingfree speech. It is actuallyremarkable: a group of overly indoctrinated individuals have managed to successfully polish a turd–until now.

For liberals, Hillary Clinton was so amazingly qualified to be president. She could have been the first female president, and she had a long history of publicservice etc. except no one liked her. No one has ever really liked Hillary except hard-core liberals, and theyre not the majority of the country. She was also dishonest, inauthentic, not trustworthy, and overly secretive. These characteristics were hurled at her in the 1990s, and rehashed when her campaign stumbled endlessly trying to explain how her unsecure and unauthorized private email server was okay for her to use for official business secretary of state. The ethical quid pro quo allegations at the Clinton Foundationwere also another source of heartburn for the campaign. Though there was an absence of hard evidence, it appears a pattern as common: good things happened to big donors to the Clinton Foundation. Just take a look at the Rosatom takeover of Uranium One as an example. All feed into the notion that voters couldnt trust Hillary, that she was in it for herself, and that she was a typical politician:all talk, no action. She lost in one of the biggest political upsets in American history.

As liberals deal with ruins of their movement and the Democratic Party struggles to find its way out of political exile, theyre lashing out at Trump voters, even reluctant ones who theycould flip in 2020. Those who out themselves are then besieged by judgment by the urban-based elite, who still haven’t noticed that their way of thinking failed to win over voters. In fact, it was the opposite; millions of Obama voters voted for Trump. Talk about compounding the suck that is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So, as liberals think theyre gaining ground with a Tea Party of their own (i.e. town hall protests)and continue to embrace identity politics because nothing says insanity than smashing your face against the same wall twice for a different result, they also have to know that its only emboldening Trump voters. The New York Times had an article that showed how even Democrats from the Clinton era are sick of the progressive antics that have taken over their party, namely that fact that BillClinton pretty much reiterated much of what Trump said about immigration. The only difference is that Bill was lauded for it; Trump is smeared as a racist. It also delves into how dating is becoming a game of cloak and dagger for some, with dates lying to their friends about political affiliations to avoid being shunned. While others make it very clear that theyre not interested in Trump supporters. So, in liberal America, your vote is all that defines you. And they say the GOP has an outreach problem.

ViaNYT:

Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

[]

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed.

Protests and righteous indignation on social media and in Hollywood may seem to liberals to be about policy and persuasion. But moderate conservatives say they are having the opposite effect, chipping away at their middle ground and pushing them closer to Mr. Trump.

[]

Conservatives have gotten vicious, too, sometimes with Mr. Trumps encouragement. But if political action is meant to persuade people that Mr. Trump is bad for the country, then people on the fence would seem a logical place to start. Yet many seemingly persuadable conservatives say that liberals are burning bridges rather than building them.

[]

It is tempting to blame Mr. Trump for Americas toxic political state of mind. He has wreaked havoc on political civility and is putting American democratic institutions through the most robust stress test in decades. But many experts argue that he is a symptom, not a cause, and that the roots go deeper.

[]

The Democratic Party has changed so much that I dont even recognize it anymore, she said. These people are destroying our democracy. They are scarier to me than these Islamic terrorists. I feel absolutely disgusted with them and their antics. It strengthens peoples resolve in wanting to support President Trump. It really does.

Polling data suggest many center-right voters feel the same way. The first poll by the Pew Research Center on presidential job performance since Mr. Trump took office showed last week that while he has almost no support from Democrats, he has high marks among moderates who lean Republican: 70 percent approve, while 20 percent disapprove.

Looks like liberals are doing a bang up job getting Trump that second term, especially those who work in Hollywood.

Milo Now OUT at CPAC After Shocking Video Emerges

Calls to Boycott Wegmans Backfire as Stores Sell Out of Trump Wine

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NYT: Yep, Liberal Tantrums and Identity Politics Are Helping Trump (Secure That Second Term) – Townhall

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"brain scans" of artificial intelligence processes – Boing Boing

Posted: at 7:17 pm

Graphcore produced a series of striking images of computational graphs mapped to its “Intelligent Processing Unit.”

The graph compiler builds up an intermediate representation of the computational graph to be scheduled and deployed across one or many IPU devices. The compiler can display this computational graph, so an application written at the level of a machine learning framework reveals an image of the computational graph which runs on the IPU.

The image below shows the graph for the full forward and backward training loop of AlexNet, generated from a TensorFlow description.

Our Poplar graph compiler has converted a description of the network into a computational graph of 18.7 million vertices and 115.8 million edges. This graph represents AlexNet as a highly-parallel execution plan for the IPU. The vertices of the graph represent computation processes and the edges represent communication between processes. The layers in the graph are labelled with the corresponding layers from the high level description of the network. The clearly visible clustering is the result of intensive communication between processes in each layer of the network, with lighter communication between layers.

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"brain scans" of artificial intelligence processes – Boing Boing

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US Navy sends warships on freedom of navigation operation through South China Sea – Fox News

Posted: at 7:10 pm

The U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier and guided-missile destroyer to patrol the South China Sea over the weekend, for the first time since President Trump took office, military officials confirmed.

TILLERSON HOLDS FIRST SET OF TALKS WITH CHINESE COUNTERPART

The USS Carl Vinson carrier was joined by the USS Wayne E. Meyer and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2. Navy officials said the previously scheduled operations, which got underway Saturday, were routine.

In January, during his confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said China should be denied access to its man-made islands in the South China Sea, where China has installed runways on three islands and bunkers to house fighter jets and bombers. The Pentagon is closely monitoring to see if China deployssurface-to-air missilesnext, which could affect U.S. Navy flight operations in the region.

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China has issued stark warnings to the U.S. and other nations to tread carefully.China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any countrys attempt to undermine Chinas sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

The ships were likely to sail within the 12 nautical miles of Chinas artificial islands, theNavy Times reportedlast week.

Navy warships have deliberately sailed close to Chinese-occupied features four times since October 2015. The first three missions challenged China’s requirement for ships to obtain permission prior to transit, while the last one challenged China’s sovereignty over waters encompassing the Paracels.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said recently that such operations would continue while also ruling out any military escalation.

“Any miscalculation from either side may escalate tensions, which could spin out of control,” Zhiqun Zhu, who heads The China Institute at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, told the Navy Times. “China is unlikely to cave in no matter what the U.S. military does in the South China Sea. Cooler heads are needed from both sides, not moves to unnecessarily provoke the other side.”

China dispatched its own fleet for scheduled drills.

The missile destroyers Changsha and Haikou and the supply ship Luomahu wrapped up weeklong exercises on Friday. The fleet includes three helicopters and marines on board.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the drills involved naval aviation forces and military garrisons from the Spratlys and the Paracels, as well as elements of the Beihai and Donghai fleets. They practiced air defense, escorting, anti-terror, anti-piracy and defensive operations under real combat conditions, Xinhua said.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US Navy sends warships on freedom of navigation operation through South China Sea – Fox News

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War on drugs intensified as police arrest wanted drug baron’s accomplice – The Star, Kenya

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:46 am

Detectives are now hunting for a known drug baron whose main interests are in Diani at the south Coast.

The suspect, identified as Stephen Bosire, reportedly supplies large amounts of narcotics from neighbouring countries.

Musa Kibiringe, one of his close allies, was handcuffed upon presenting himself at DCI headquarters in Nairobi.

An police, who sought anonymity, said Kabiringe was called in on a friendly matter.

“We tricked him. He was on our radar. We suspect he was at Bosire’s residence when we raided the house in January,” the source said.

“He will be held at JKIA police station and will appear in a Nairobi court on Monday,” the source added.

When contacted by the Star, police offered no further comment on the arrest.

Bosire is said to be a close ally of recently arrested suspected drug baron Swaleh Yusuf Ahmed, also known as Kandrain.

He was in possession of 15 kilogrammes of heroin worth Sh170 million, as well as Sh18.4 million in cash.

Swaleh was apprehended alongside his wife Asmah Abdallah, and other accomplices: Rashid Athman, Athman Salim and Farida Omar.

More on this: [VIDEO] Five more suspected drug barons arrested, Sh18m cash, Sh170m heroin found

The crackdown was carried out by detectives who were behind the arrest and extradition of four suspected drug traffickers to the US.

Baktash (40) and Ibrahim Akasha (28) and foreigners Vijay Goswami (Indian) and Hussein Shabakash (Pakistani) were flown to New York on January 31.

They were arrested in Mombasa for conspiracy to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine into the United States.

Kenyan authorities have arrested more than eight drug barons in renewed efforts against drug dealing, especially at the Coast.

They have been working with agencies including the United States Drugs Enforcement Administration.

US authorities say Baktash is the leader of an organised crime family in Kenya, responsible for the production and distribution of narcotics in the country and across Africa.

More on this: [VIDEO] Akasha sons, two foreigners extradited to US – police source

Also read: The fall of the Akasha empire?

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War on drugs intensified as police arrest wanted drug baron’s accomplice – The Star, Kenya

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The great Lotto ‘cover-up’: Gambling watchdog redacts details on rapist’s dodgy jackpot – Mirror.co.uk

Posted: at 4:46 am

The gambling watchdog may have carried out a probe into how a rapist tricked his way to a lottery jackpot, but it seems they are not prepared to share the results with the public.

And they were accused of staging a cover-up over Edward Putmans 2.5million payout which he obtained with a dodgy ticket and alleged insider help.

Of the 270-page Gambling Commission report obtained by the Mirror, 195 are blacked out either in part or fully that is 72%. Another 79 pages have been removed from the dossier entirely.

Among the questions left unanswered were whether Camelot knew of the friendship between alleged inside man Giles Knibbs and 51-year-old Putman and what was the rapists side of the story.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson MP blasted the watchdog for denying the public details behind the 2009 win.

He said: It seems the Great Lotto Robbery is in danger of turning into the Great Lotto Cover-up.

Whilst the Gambling Commission have taken action against Camelot for its failure, the public will rightly want to see further action taken by authorities in order to recoup the money fraudulently taken.

To maintain public confidence in the integrity of the lottery, we need full disclosure of facts, the sequence of events and the failures to make sure something like this can never happen again. Pages of redacted evidence are not good enough.

The Gambling Commission, which had ruled it was more likely than not Putmans jackpot was paid out of a dodgy ticket, said: We believe the public interest does favour the disclosure of certain parts of the information.

There is, however, still material which remains exempt where the public interest balance favours maintaining the exemption and withholding information.

But Campaign for Freedom of Information director Maurice Frankel branded the withholding questionable.

The report did reveal alarm bells should have been ringing at Lottery HQ from the day Putman made his claim. He rang the lottery claimline bosses 10 days before the 180-day deadline.

Putman said his ticket had been damaged but had enough information about where the winning line was bought and was paid a week later.

It is feared he had the help of Camelot IT specialist Knibbs, who worked in the fraud detection department.

The Commission report said: The circumstances of the claim made it an exceptional onewhich should have caused concern.

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And it remained troubled as to why the prize was paid out in all the circumstances. If Camelots inadequate investigation been done properly, there was a real possibility the fraud would have been spotted.

The operator was fined 3million last year over the scandal.

Police looked into the alleged fraud when it came to light in 2015 and arrested Putman, of Kings Langley, Herts.

He was told four months later he would face no further action and the file has now remained closed for more than a year.

Camelot said: We accept that, at the time of the alleged incident, there were weaknesses in some of the processes we had in place to prevent a potentially fraudulent claim of the very specific kind seen in this case. And, as we said at the time, were very sorry for that.

Running The National Lottery with the utmost integrity has always been our priority.

“Having investigated the circumstances of the alleged incident and having reviewed and strengthened the systems we have in place to prevent potential fraud, we are completely confident that the alleged fraud could only have been carried out under a unique set of circumstances and would certainly not be possible today.

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The great Lotto ‘cover-up’: Gambling watchdog redacts details on rapist’s dodgy jackpot – Mirror.co.uk

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The Stomp Cast Visited Ascension Coffee and Made a Ruckus With … – Dallas Observer

Posted: at 4:32 am

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 1:45 p.m.

Ascension Coffee on Oak Lawn is a bustling place. Pay a visit any afternoon and you’ll find most of the tables full with people deeply engaged in conversation, whether it’s business types sizing each other up for a deal, or friends catching up over cappuccinos and croissants. The customers are so engaged, in fact, that when a few members of the Stompcast stopped by for a flash mob performance, not one person batted an eye.

Stomp, a wordless show in which everyday objects are turned into percussive instruments, first got its start in England in the ’90s. It opened in the U.S. four years later, where it has run continuously at the Orpheum Theater in New York City ever since. The cast has played some pretty big gigs, like Bill Clinton’s Millenium Celebration and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Now the Stomp tourhas come to the Music Hall at Fair Park (909 1st Ave.), and Globetrek Productions invited four of Stomp’s cast members, Andrew Brought, Artis Olds, Krystal Renee and Ivan Salazar, to visit Ascension while they’re in town and do their thing for the latest video in Globetrek’s busking series. Watch the video to see what happens when salt shakers, water glasses and demitasse spoons are turned into instruments at one of Dallas’ most popular coffee shops.

And if you haven’t had the chance to see the full production of Stomp in its two-decade-plus run, you still have time to make it happen. The show continues through Sunday, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. each day and matinees at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 to $90 at ticketmaster.com.

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The Stomp Cast Visited Ascension Coffee and Made a Ruckus With … – Dallas Observer

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