Star Trek: Discovery will feature SPACE FUNGUS! →

Dirk Libbey writing at Cinemablend:

One of the hallmarks of any entry in the Star Trek franchise is the new technology they create. But how does a series set prior to the other entries create anything we haven’t seen before? Star Trek: Discovery will be setting out in just a couple of months to tell a story set just prior to the events of the original Star Trek series, which would seem to indicate that most of the technology that we will see in the new series will be more or less on par with that part of the timeline. However, in a press conference for the series which I attended during San Diego Comic-Con, co-star Anthony Rapp revealed that the show will be introducing some new tech, via his character’s particular area of interest, fungus.

The more I see and hear about this show, the more I like it in advance.

But it should be on broadcast or basic cable, for maximum possible reach.

How Star Trek: Discovery Will Introduce New Technology Despite Being A Prequel.

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Chicagoans hate ketchup on hot dogs. So Heinz renamed its ketchup “Dog Sauce.” →

Dog Sauce? That’s awesomesauce!

Dear Heinz, Chicago Does Not Want Your ‘Dog Sauce’[Ashok Selvam/Eater]

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IBM’s Watson has the potential to revolutionize medicine, but it’s been massively overhyped

A Reality Check for IBM’s AI Ambitions [David H. Freedman/Technology Review]:

…lately, much of the press for Watson has been bad. A heavily promoted collaboration with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston fell apart this year. As IBM’s revenue has swooned and its stock price has seesawed, analysts have been questioning when Watson will actually deliver much value. “Watson is a joke,” Chamath Palihapitiya, an influential tech investor who founded the VC firm Social Capital, said on CNBC in May.

However, most of the criticism of Watson, even from M.D. Anderson, doesn’t seem rooted in any particular flaw in the technology. Instead, it’s a reaction to IBM’s overly optimistic claims of how far along Watson would be by now. In fact, it still seems likely that Watson Health will be a leader in applying AI to health care’s woes. If Watson has not, as of yet, accomplished a great deal along those lines, one big reason is that it needs certain types of data to be “trained.” And in many cases such data is in very short supply or difficult to access. That’s not a problem unique to Watson. It’s a catch-22 facing the entire field of machine learning for health care.

Though the problem of missing and inaccessible data may slow Watson down, it may hurt IBM’s competitors more. That’s because the best bet for getting the data lies in close partnerships with large health-care organizations that tend to be technologically conservative. And one thing IBM still does very well in comparison to startups, or even giant rivals like Apple and Google, is gain the trust of executives and IT managers at big organizations.

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California farmers are replacing immigrant labor with automation

As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots [Geoffrey Mohan, with photography by Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times]:

Driscoll’s is so secretive about its robotic strawberry picker it won’t let photographers within telephoto range of it.

But if you do get a peek, you won’t see anything humanoid or space-aged. AgroBot is still more John Deere than C-3PO — a boxy contraption moving in fits and starts, with its computer-driven sensors, graspers and cutters missing 1 in 3 berries.

Such has been the progress of ag-tech in California, where despite the adoption of drones, iPhone apps and satellite-driven sensors, the hand and knife still harvest the bulk of more than 200 crops.

Immigration crackdowns aren’t producing more jobs for Americans. Instead, farmers are using robots, changing crops — grapes and vegetables are labor intensive to pick, but almonds can just be shaken from the trees — and breeding thick-skinned varieties of fruits and vegetables that can be more easily harvested mechanically.

And some crops that have are simply moving outside the US. Asparagus is moving to Mexico.

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MacBook Air pros and cons

The case for (and against) the MacBook Air [Jason Snell/Six Colors]

Jason’s points are valid, but the 2015 MacBook Air is the best computer I’ve ever used, excepting possibly the dual-floppy Toshiba T-1000 I used around 1990, and a Radio Shack Model 100 I used in the 80s.

That MBA is my only computer; I do everything on it.

And yet I’d think twice about recommending anyone buy a MBA today, because today’s MBA is essentially the same as that 2015 model.

I’m glad I don’t need to upgrade the MBA for a couple of years. Because the reviews I’m seeing for the current generation of Mac laptops are lukewarm at best. Maybe my future is an iMac at my desk and iPad Pro when I travel? But that’s EXPENSIVE.

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MAGICIAN: Think of a horse
ME: Ok
MAGICIAN: You thinking of one?
ME: Yep
MAGICIAN: Cool right?
ME: Very cool


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Test post →

Via Enterprise Cloud News – Collaborate – Innovate – Transform – Monetize.

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Volkswagen ad, 1981


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Only an old well

Via Raiders of the Lost Tumbler

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Meanwhile, on a plane to the Bahamas

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Twice for me

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Oompa loompa doompidy doo

@phranqueigh: “I feel like every time a Trump employee quits, Oompa Loompas should appear & sing a song to teach us about the perils of gluttony & greed.”


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Cory Doctorow on why it’s better to bug in than bug out, and why iron man arguments are better than straw men

Cory talked with Locus Online during a publicity tour for his new novel, “Walkaway:”

… what I want is for people to be able to vividly imagine that the heroism in the moment of disaster is to avert catastrophe by bugging in _instead of bugging _out. Because the heroic story, in a lot of traditional science-fiction, is that when disaster strikes, the hero runs to the hills. The hero bugs out of town, and defends a small group of people from the ravening hordes. It’s The Road. It’s John Wyndham. The reality is that power plants have been failing for a long time, and the people who ran to the hills during the blackout didn’t fix the power plant. It’s the people who ran to the power plant who fixed the power plant. Those are the heroes. I want to give people the intuition that what the right sort of person does is look after their neighbors, that’s what stops disasters from turning into catastrophes. I really want this book to be an intervention in the world. I want it to be something that’s easy to call to mind in the moment where your heart is thundering and things are going terribly wrong, to realize what you do in that situation is help out. Mr. Rogers said when there’s a disaster, ‘_Look for the helpersYou will always find people who are helping.’ If you ever take a first aid class, 99% of that first aid class is the knowledge that everyone else is going to assume that someone else is going to take care of a problem, and the realization that the perfect person doing the perfect thing is less important than _any _person doing _something. Even if you know a small amount about looking after someone, you should rush forward. Be prepared to get out of the way if someone says, ‘I’m a doctor,’ but rush forward….

‘‘Later on this tour I’m going to stop at Reason Magazine, which is part of the Cato Institute. I’ve talked with those guys a lot before, and we have a lot in common, and a lot of places where we differ. Like with Occupy, I think you should never over-specify your values. Walkaway plants some flags that are unequivocal in terms of how I stand on some issues where I have deep and probably irreconcilable differences with some of my allied people in the libertarian camp. I speak as a guy who’s won three Prometheus Awards! I have a lot of respect for elements of libertarianism, but I also have some gaps. I don’t dispute that libertarianism works well, I dispute whether it fails better than collectivism. I think libertarianism has some really grotesque failure modes. This is what I’m planning to dig into when I talk to them. I keep having dialogues in my head where I try to Iron Man their best arguments and think about what my best arguments will be. Do you know the term ‘Iron Man?’ It’s the opposite of a Straw Man argument, so when you’re having a dispute with someone else, and you say, ‘Can we stop, and I’m going to tell you what I think your best argument is for your position, and you tell me if I have it right?’ It’s a way of advancing the debate beyond exploiting bugs in how the person has expressed themselves, and trying to come to common ground so that you can argue about substance. The one thing I love about libertarians is that they often overlap with the rationalist movement. Rationalism is not without its flaws, but it’s a very powerful force for improving the world.

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‪Missed photo: Disabled kid in a scooter with a stuffed ET in a milk crate in front of the handlebars. ‬

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‪Genderswap Han Solo is picking up a coffee drink at Starbucks. Greedo did an espresso shot first.‬

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A woman dressed as Leeloo from the 5th Element is on line for the restroom ahead of me. I hope I don ’t need a Multipass to get in.

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I arrived downtown but there wasn’t much going on yet so I fortified myself at Starbucks.

Google Maps said there was a cat cafe – coffee cafe where cats roam around and interact with the customers – within a few blocks but I looked and couldn’t find it.

Maybe it’s closed? Maybe I didn’t look hard enough? Maybe it got batted under the sofa?

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Trump’s latest senior science nominees are a talk-radio ignoramus and a career poisoner, writes Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing:

The Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist oversees more than 1,000 scientists in 100 research facilities: Trump’s pick to run the agency is Sam Clovis, a climate-denying talk-radio host who not only lacks any kind of scientific degrees — he didn’t take a single science course at university.

Meanwhile, Trump has nominated Michael Dourson to head the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; Dourson’s last job was at the helm of Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, the company that DuPont picked when it needed experts who would claim that its toxic waste wasn’t so bad for the people who were imbibing it.

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Welcome to Moonlight Rollerway, Where Nothing Has Changed Since 1956

A beautiful article and slideshow, written and photographed by Lisa Whiteman for

Every Tuesday night, Lillian Tomasino laces up her roller skates, puts her arms around her partner, and glides in sweeping circles across the floor of Moonlight Rollerway. Holding each other like ballroom dancers, she and Tom Clayton move effortlessly to the jaunty, classic tunes played live on a Hammond organ above the Glendale, California, rink. Despite the fact that she’s recently had spinal surgery, and that her bad knee keeps acting up, and that Tom, one of her regular skating partners, suffers from partial paralysis – Lillian is 86 years old, after all, and Tom’s 72 – they are among the most graceful skaters on the floor.

Moonlight Rollerway (formerly known as Harry’s Roller Rink) opened in 1956 and occupies a building that was originally built as a factory for aircraft parts during World War II. Although there are traces of the intervening decades – a disco ball, gold tinsel, a rainbow carpet from the 1980s, a digital photo booth – owner Dominic Cangelosi, 80, has made a point of keeping the place’s character largely true to its original form. But what is perhaps most remarkable about Moonlight Rollerway is the fact that it is one of the last rinks in the country to feature a live organ player – as was standard in the ’50s – and that some of its current regulars have been coming since it first opened in 1956.

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Only left-dockers are right with God. Others must be scourged with fire.

Nick Douglas, writing at Lifehacker: Mac Users: Where Should You Put Your Dock?

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Woman on the Trolley is wearing a TARDIS knapsack.

Looks small but I bet you can get a lot of stuff in there. More than you’d think just to look at it.

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On my way to Comic-Con!

Or more precisely, near Comic-Con. I couldn’t get tickets this year. Plenty to do downtown in around the con without tickets though.

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Fresh Air: Martin Landau struggled to escape typecasting most of his career

Fresh Air Remembers Oscar Award-Winning Actor Martin Landau.. Replay of a 1990 interview. Until late in his career, Landau was typecast in ethnic roles in an era before De Niro and Pacino made ethnic actors stars.

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Fresh Air: America’s voting systems are old, underfunded and insecure

Fresh Air with Terry Gross: “Cybersecurity reporter Kim Zetter warns that our election systems, including our voting machines, are vulnerable to hacking: ‘We can’t rule out that elections haven’t already been manipulated.'”

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Mad Men was as much a show about women as about men

Caroline Framke on Vox: 10 years ago, Mad Men began a story of men who tried to change — and the women who actually did. Don, Roger, and Peter ended up where they began, but more so. However, Peggy went from secretary to powerhouse, and Joan went from the office courtesan to owner of her own company.

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