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Posted by Patrick Allan

You know that thing you do where you ask your partner/friend/family member to remind you to do something later? Yeah, well now Google Home can actually do that, and unlike that person you always ask, it won’t forget. This week, Google Home is rolling out an update that will finally enable voice-activated reminders for…

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Posted by Ryan Felton on Jalopnik, shared by Melissa Kirsch to Lifehacker

If you ride the subway in New York City long enough, you’re bound to see a passenger move between cars mid-ride. Me, I couldn’t do it. Too afraid. But this? What you see above? I mean, damn. Over the weekend, this clip emerged of a guy apparently riding a subway in a very unorthodox way—by hanging onto the door as the…

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Posted by Michael Todd

WATSONVILLE >> New molestation charges were filed this week for a 28-year-old Watsonville martial arts instructor awaiting trial in two sexual-abuse cases involving three students, according to Watsonville Police Department.

The new charges were added to the man’s most recent case while he was released on bail.

Nemesio Estrada-Alfaro
Nemesio Estrada-Alfaro 

The man, Nemesio Estrada-Alfaro, is a taekwondo instructor and owner of N & H Tae Kwon Do studio in Watsonville, Sgt. Brian Ridgway said.

Estrada-Alfaro was charged Thursday with lewd acts with a minor, copulation with a minor, sex with a minor and having sex with a minor on video. He was arrested Thursday at Main Street and Green Valley Drive in Watsonville, Ridgway said.

The new charges are part of Estrada-Alfaro’s Jan. 31 arrest in connection with willful cruelty to a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing marijuana to a child and committing a felony while released on bail, Ridgway said.

Warrants were issued in September for Estrada-Alfaro’s arrest after police received information about new video evidence in the January case, Ridgway said.

Ridgway declined to release the children’s ages.

On May 25, 2016, Estrada-Alfaro was arrested on suspicion of molesting a child, copulation with a minor, lewd acts with a minor, continual sexual abuse of a child, contacting a minor with intent to have sex, willful cruelty to a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and furnishing marijuana to a minor, Ridgway said.

Estrada-Alfaro remained at Santa Cruz County Jail on Friday.

Bail was set at $50,000, according to jail records.

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Posted by Alma Fausto, Scott Schwebke


The end-of-the-world message heard on some Orange County channels during an Emergency Alert System test on Thursday was a technical glitch prompted by a local radio station, broadcasting officials said on Friday.

KWVE-FM, a Santa Ana station that broadcasts Christian programs, was conducting the test for the region that did not properly kick off – prompting a pastor’s comments meant only for that station to be heard over TV and probably radio channels in the county and beyond.

“During a regularly scheduled test of the Emergency Alert System for Orange County, KWVE-FM experienced an equipment failure that resulted in KWVE-FM not sending the end-of-message tones that would disconnect those media entities participating in the Emergency Alert System test,” a statement from the station says.

“When KWVE-FM resumed its regular programming, approximately 90 seconds of that audio was sent to the rest of the participants of the Emergency Alert System test.”

KWVE-FM has volunteered to be the primary Emergency Alert System station for the area since the inception of the alerts in 1996 and has never experienced a similar equipment failure, the statement says.

“The piece of equipment that failed has been sent back to the manufacturer in an effort to understand how the failure happened and to remedy the situation so that it will not happen again,” the statement says.

Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox Communications, among the cable networks that picked up the gaffe, said the system’s rare burp is why tests are held.

“Finding equipment failures is exactly what regular testing is supposed to do,” he said. “KWVE has sent literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of tests … and the vast majority of them go off without a hitch.”

Thursday morning’s words caught many viewers watching various shows off guard.

The muffled message from a man sounded like it said: “Realize this, extremely violent times will come.”

It was apparently a broadcast from Pastor Chuck Swindoll, the leader of a Texas-based church, during the program “Insight for Life.” At the time he was discussing end-of-times prophecy.

The announcer introduced the sermon, “Depravity on Parade,” with a Bible Scripture from the Second Book of Timothy: “Realize this, Timothy, that in the last days difficult times will come.”

Swindoll then repeated the line during the cablecast.

Bill Gemaehlich, chief operating officer for “Insight for Life,” said on Friday the sermon was recorded more than a year ago at Swindoll’s Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and was scheduled several months ago to air on Thursday.

Coincidentally, the air date was just two days before a doomsday prediction by David Meade, a self-described “specialist in research and investigations” is to play out. Meade said he believes catastrophic events will occur Saturday ushering in the end of the world.

“It’s not like we planned the broadcast to coincide with that,” Gemaehlich said.  “It was just a fluke thing. Pastor Swindoll would never try to line something up with that. He is a very conservative, sound theologian and not a conspiracy person.”

Though it is unclear how many customers were affected, Camero said the message would have gone out mostly to those in Orange County and just beyond. Viewers in Diamond Bar also reported seeing the message.

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Posted by Martha Ross

Kylie Jenner was having lots of fun over the weekend, teasing her fans with selfies that had them puzzling: Is that a baby bump or isn’t it?

In case you missed the weekend’s news, we’re not in a war with North Korea — not yet — but the 20-year-old lip kit mogul and Kardashian sister is pregnant.

Instagram Photo

Or that’s what the Kardashians have allowed numerous sources to tell TMZ, People and other outlets, perhaps to generate buzz for Sunday night’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” 10th anniversary special, which launches the new season of the reality TV series.

No, Kylie didn’t discuss her pregnancy during the the special, but we can be sure that her mother and manager Kris Jenner has figured out a way to mine this internet-breaking pregnancy news for record ratings.

Meanwhile, it’s possible that others in the Kardashian circle were trying to get in on the pregnancy buzz over the weekend. That includes Kylie’s ex-boyfriend Tyga.

Maybe Tyga did — or maybe he didn’t — claim in a since deleted Snapchat post that he is the father of Kylie’s baby.

Those sources vouching for Kylie being knocked up have insisted that the father is her new boyfriend, rapper Travis Scott, who was reportedly going around telling people that the baby is a girl.

Tyga and Kylie Jenner attend the Alexander Wang Spring 2016 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Pier 94 on September 12, 2015 in New York City.
Tyga and Kylie Jenner in 2016. 

Kylie and Tyga had an on-again, off-again relationship for three years before they broke up in April. During their relationship, which possibly took place when she was underage, Tyga made a name for himself sleeping with Kylie and rapping about sleeping with Kylie, the Daily Beast said.

After Kylie and Tyga broke up in April, she took up with Scott.

Since Kylie is said to be due in January, her date of conception could be sometime in April — which would put Tyga in the realm of possibility of being the father.

Instagram Photo

But as Bustle reports, there’s also some question about the authenticity of the screenshot circulating Twitter that purports to be Tyga’s since-deleted Snapchat post.

Bustle says there’s a clue that the screenshot could be Photoshopped. The clue is that there are no emojis next to the name “T-Raww” in the upper lefthand corner. Tyga’s Snapchat username typically comes with two flames and a tiger aside his name.

In other ways, Tyga wasn’t acting like an expectant father, being seen displaying major PDA Saturday night with UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste, according to TMZ. The gossip site said the two were at Universal Studios Saturday night for Halloween Horror Nights, walking her through the mazes.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time in her young life that Kylie has had to deal with rumors about her being pregnant, the Daily Beast said.

In December 2014, she posted that she’s not trying to become a rapper, I’m not getting married, & I’m not pregnant….” A few months later, she tweeted, “People been thinking I’m pregnant for 8 months now…CLEARLY I’m not pregnant.”

The following year brought even more rumors and another denial, with Kylie insisting, “Omg. No I’m not pregnant. It’s been the same rumor for years & no baby…So when I decide to go to that next stage in my life…I’ll be the first to let you know…”

On Friday, TMZ first broke the news that this time the Kylie pregnancy rumors are true and that Scott is the father.

And the news was accompanied by incredulity. But, really, that’s not surprising, given that neither Kylie nor anyone else from her family was confirming the news. Instead, she appeared to just want to have fun stoking a mystery, no doubt, for some self-promotional advantage.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel's party lost significant support in federal elections, as did her coalition partners, the Social Democrats. But the end of that bloc could mean healthier democracy and weakened fringe politics like that of far-right AfD.

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Posted by amul

In April 2017, Terry Spears shared his story with San Diego’s local public media station KBPS on what it’s like to be listed in the CalGang database. Even though Mr. Spears says he has never been in a gang, it hasn’t stopped law enforcement from harassing him, and he once had his car seized for two weeks, disrupting his livelihood. He’s not the only one. California has several shared gang databases, the biggest of which is CalGang, and they are in desperate need of reform.

Fortunately, Governor Brown can sign a bill today, A.B. 90, that will go far in solving these problems.

As we explained in our earlier blogpost about A.B. 90, a 2016 California State Auditor’s report on California’s gang database was damning. It detailed how the CalGang database is riddled with errors and unsubstantiated information. It contains records on individuals that should never have been included in the database as well as records that should have long since been purged. And the system lacks basic oversight safeguards. The report went as far as saying that due to the inaccurate information in the database, it’s crime-fighting value was “diminished.” 

With the engagement of a broad coalition of civil liberties organizations—such as Youth Justice Coalition, National Immigration Law Center, Urban Peace Institute, among others—much needed reform was passed last year. However, that bill (A.B. 2298) was written prior to the California Auditor publishing its findings and therefore did not anticipate many of the important problems identified by the audit. Therefore, further work is needed to ensure that the reforms passed last year are followed through by law enforcement agencies, and that we build on them to prevent future abuses.

A.B. 90 has passed the California Senate and Assembly and is currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. As we argued in our letter to Gov. Brown:

A.B. 90 enhances accountability of the CalGang and similar databases by codifying new standards and regulations for operating a shared gang database, including audits for accuracy and proper use. The bill would also create a new technical advisory committee comprised of all stakeholders—including criminal defense representatives, civil rights and immigration experts, gang-intervention specialist, and a person personally impacted because of being labeled as a gang member—as opposed to just representatives from law enforcement.

Further, the legislation would ensure that CalGang database administration is supported by empirical research findings in developing criteria for including Californians in the database and to ensure that the information is not retained indefinitely.

A.B. 90 builds-upon and brings additional common-sense reforms to ensure that Californians can hold law enforcement accountable when they are unfairly targeted and listed in opaque databases.

Take Action

Tell Gov. Brown to sign S.B. 90 into law

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Posted by Mark Gomez

SAN JOSE — The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office has identified Edward Rodriguez, 59, of San Jose, as the motorcyclist who was killed in a crash Saturday night on northbound Highway 101 near Story Road.

Rodriguez was traveling north on 101 when he rode across uneven surface dirt to connect to the transition ramp to Interstate 280/680, according to the California Highway Patrol. He lost control and was ejected from the motorcycle.

Rodriguez was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, according to the CHP.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

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Posted by Judith Tarr

I’m glad my whim and the vagaries of my bookshelves brought me to ’Ware Hawk after The Gate of the Cat, though it was published earlier (1983 versus 1987) and falls earlier in the chronology of the Witch World books as well. It was no problem to move back in time to a period soon after Trey of Swords, years after the Witches of Estcarp moved the mountains against Karsten, and this is a much better book. I can mercifully forget the adventures of—who was that again? What adventures?

Ah. Relief.

Here we have a collection of classic Norton tropes: a mismatched pair of misfit humans, a battle between Light and Dark, interfering Old Ones, a quest through death and beyond, and of course, a geas.

Norton loves a geas. Character or characters driven by forces beyond their control? Compulsion so strong they can’t resist? Unseen and unknown Powers manipulating humans like pieces on a gaming board? That’s your standard Witch World plot. The Old Ones even recycle. Here we have Ninutra again, the neutral force of Trey of Swords (Ni-Neutral? Get it?).

This time she’s messing with the last (or so the character thinks) scion of a noble house of the Old Race in Karsten, driving her through dreams and visions to return from exile to the ruins of Hawksholme and claim a mysterious and dangerous artifact. What makes this particular version of the trope rise above the rest is the quality of the characters.

When Norton’s characters are on, they really are on. Tirtha does Strong Norton Female exceptionally well. She’s tough, trail-wise, smart, and while she’s geas-bound, she works actively to make it happen. She’s not a passive instrument. She embraces her destiny.

Part one of her plan, as far as the novel goes, is to hire a guide through the broken mountains to Hawksholme. The single candidate at the hiring fair is another exceptional character: a one-handed, falconless Falconer, whose name, we eventually learn, is Nirel. (Falconers, like the Witches they notoriously loathe, keep their names to themselves.)

Nirel is an interesting person. We only see him through Tirtha, and she sees him through a filter of assumptions about Falconers. They’re clannish, secretive, and ferociously misogynistic. She’s not even sure this Falconer will agree to work for her, and is surprised when he does.

She continues to be surprised as they travel together through the dangerous terrain of this world. Like several characters before him, he happens across a mystical weapon, a dagger that clearly is not meant for use as such, but has magical powers—and he doesn’t shy off it as Tirtha expects: Falconers hate magic, she’s been taught. He uses it early and often to protect them and to find their way. Late in the story we learn that it has a long history, and its name is Basir’s Tongue.

The dagger brings Nirel another and possibly even more precious gift: a hawk named Wind Warrior. Or maybe it’s the other way about: the hawk reveals the dagger to Nirel. We learn a great deal about Falconers and their birds. Men and hawks communicate in bird language, the birds have their own clans and leaders, and individual birds make a conscious choice to bond with a man.

What we don’t get from Nirel is any genuine hatred of Tirtha as a woman. She keeps expecting it and assuming it, but he serves her loyally and will not let her dissolve their bargain before the expiration date. When that date gets closer, and Tirtha has told him the truth about her mission, he voluntarily extends his service indefinitely.

By that point it’s quietly clear, though not to Tirtha, that Nirel doesn’t hate her at all. Quite the opposite. It’s subtle, understated, and far from explicit, but a glance here and an action there tells us that his feelings for her have developed and grown. If he ever really did hate women, he certainly learns not to hate this one.

Tirtha is much slower with her own emotional arc, but she has an awful lot on her mind. She doesn’t have time to worry about matters of romance. She’s busy being geas-bound, questing for the place of her dream, and dealing with a band of enemies who are also looking for the magic box—and one of them is a Power of the Dark, named Rane as we discover, which further ups the ante. When she finally makes it to the box and takes possession of it, she’s pretty thoroughly convinced that she’s dead and her spirit is haunting her body, which holds the box in a literal death grip. It’s not until somewhat later, when Nirel also is presumed dead, that she starts to recognize her feelings for him.

As Norton romances go, this is as good as it gets. It’s mostly hints and glances, but they add up. The conclusion actually feels like the culmination of a believable arc. I was ready for it and I cheered when it happened.

Even Nirel’s transformation from dour warrior to happy young man in love makes sense in context. We don’t get any of his internal progression from doubly maimed Falconer to willing Lord of the Hawk, but we see just enough of it to deduce the rest.

This being a sequel to Trey of Swords, we actually have a trio here (and if we happened to miss it, it’s pointed to in so many words later in the book). The third member of the fellowship is an unusual character for a Norton novel.

We first meet him as a child driven catatonic a by horrific attack on the walled farm compound he lives in. And not only catatonic—magically invisible. It’s the hawk who finds and is able to see him. The humans rescue him by feel, and Tirtha, who keeps insisting (with various degrees of frustration) that she has no major witch powers despite being of the Old Race, has enough healing power, assisted by Nirel, the hawk, and the magic dagger, to make him visible and bring him out of his catatonia.

His name is Alon, and he’s older than he looks. Sometimes he seems much older. We never learn who or what he really is, except that he’s probably at least part Old One, his powers are enormous but he doesn’t know much about them yet, and he was brought to the farm by a Wisewoman named Yachne.

Yachne is a loose end here. All through the rest of the story we keep getting hints that she disappeared before the attack on the farm, she found Alon somewhere and had plans for him, and she may be following him now. But she never shows up, and we never find out what’s going on there. Alon helps a great deal with the finding of the box and the defeat of Rane, but he drops out of the story after that, and there’s no closure except Tirtha’s observation that he has more to do in this life. If that sequel was planned, I don’t think it ever hapened, unless there’s a short piece somewhere.

He’s a lively and intriguing character while he is on stage. There’s always the danger he’ll slip into catatonia from terror again, but when he does seem to do that, it becomes evident that he’s feigning it in order to keep his enemies off balance. When he’s not a captive, he’s an interesting combination of child and ancient creature of power. Both Tirtha and Nirel feel very protective of him, but are also in awe of his capabilities.

For quite some time the story seems to be about Tirtha finding Hawksholme and the magic box, and fighting Rane and his human allies for possession of it. When she finally claims the box, the plot takes a sharp turn. Nirel is apparently killed, the hawk is maimed and transforms into one of Ninutra’s supernatural birds, and Tirtha commits suicide by ingesting poison—but remains conscious inside her moribund body.

Because the body won’t release the box, and the one bandit who tries to take it meets a fate no one will specify except that it’s horrific, she’s hauled off, box and all, out of the ruined castle and into Escore. Rane, it seems, has a plan, and that involves using the box to ramp up the power of the Dark in Escore.

But Ninutra also has a plan, which she has been orchestrating for years. Tirtha is not the only one of the Hawk’s blood to have been called by geas. Before they meet Alon, Tirtha and Nirel find the body of a man of the Old Race who wears the lord’s ring of Hawksholme, but Tirtha doesn’t recognize him. He carries a scroll in a magically secured container, which Tirtha eventually manages to open, but none of the fellowship can read it.

To keep the theme of threes going, there’s one more Hawk pulled into the quest: a half-Sulcar man whom Tirtha knew as a child. Rane and company capture and torture him, and force him to help them capture the box—attached to Tirtha, but since she’s dead, there’s nothing she can do about it.

Ninutra, however, is still in control. She guards Tirtha with the Shadow Sword, and eventually we meet the human woman who won it in Trey of Swords: the Wisewoman Crytha, along with her companions, Uruk the ancient axeman and Yonan.

I think Norton had a thing for Yonan. He shows up all over the place in the late Witch World books. Here he’s the same person, more or less, that he was in Trey of Swords, though not nearly as conflicted about being the reincarnation of an ancient adept.

The three of them help Tirtha and Alon and a badly wounded but still living and ferociously determined Nirel to wield the box, fulfill Ninutra’s plan, and defeat Rane and company. They all end up in what we can presume is the Green Valley, though the most we see of it is the magic mud that we encountered in the Tregarth series.

I knew that was coming as soon as I realized they were all headed for Escore. Tirtha turns out not to be dead at all; what she thought was a poison was a powerful paralytic drug. She did break her back and suffer other agonizing injuries, but the mud takes care of that.

It really takes care of Nirel and the hawk, who gets his own body back when Ninutra is done with him. The hawk grows a new foot, and—even more miraculous—Nirel grows a hand. And they’re all healed and healthy and happy and together, though Alon is off somewhere denying us closure.

This was a satisfying read, page by page. Loved the characters. Didn’t find the standard endless quest narrative as annoying as usual—it moved along fairly quickly, it had a point to it, and there was that twist after Hawksholme.

Even the standard weird dream-sequences worked for me, and traveling for a third of the book with a character who thought she was dead was actually interesting. We could only know what Tirtha knew, with her very limited vision and her frequent lapses into comae. It could have been frustrating but it was rather intriguing—a bit of a tour de force in unreliable narration.

I enjoyed it. It actually made up for the slog of The Gate of the Cat.

Next will be the last of the Witch World novels on my list: Horn Crown. Then we’ll move on to another Norton universe.

Judith Tarr forayed into the Witch World with a novella, “Falcon Law,” in Four from the Witch World. Her first novel, The Isle of Glass, appeared in 1985. Her new short novel, Dragons in the Earth, a contemporary fantasy set in Arizona, was published last fall by Book View Cafe. In between, she’s written historicals and historical fantasies and epic fantasies and space operas, some of which have been published as ebooks from Book View Café. She has won the Crawford Award, and been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and the Locus Award. She lives in Arizona with an assortment of cats, a blue-eyed dog, and a herd of Lipizzan horses.

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Posted by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya on The A.V. Club, shared by Virginia K. Smith to Lifehacker

I grew up with two Indian cuisines: The food I ate in Indian restaurants on special occasions, and the food cooked by my grandmother. The biggest difference I noticed between the two came in the bread department. My grandma served us many kinds of breads, but they never included naan.

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Posted by Alma Fausto, Scott Schwebke


The end-of-the-world message heard on some Orange County channels during an Emergency Alert System test on Thursday was a technical glitch prompted by a local radio station, broadcasting officials said on Friday.

KWVE-FM, a Santa Ana station that broadcasts Christian programs, was conducting the test for the region that did not properly kick off – prompting a pastor’s comments meant only for that station to be heard over TV and probably radio channels in the county and beyond.

“During a regularly scheduled test of the Emergency Alert System for Orange County, KWVE-FM experienced an equipment failure that resulted in KWVE-FM not sending the end-of-message tones that would disconnect those media entities participating in the Emergency Alert System test,” a statement from the station says.

“When KWVE-FM resumed its regular programming, approximately 90 seconds of that audio was sent to the rest of the participants of the Emergency Alert System test.”

KWVE-FM has volunteered to be the primary Emergency Alert System station for the area since the inception of the alerts in 1996 and has never experienced a similar equipment failure, the statement says.

“The piece of equipment that failed has been sent back to the manufacturer in an effort to understand how the failure happened and to remedy the situation so that it will not happen again,” the statement says.

Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox Communications, among the cable networks that picked up the gaffe, said the system’s rare burp is why tests are held.

“Finding equipment failures is exactly what regular testing is supposed to do,” he said. “KWVE has sent literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of tests … and the vast majority of them go off without a hitch.”

Thursday morning’s words caught many viewers watching various shows off guard.

The muffled message from a man sounded like it said: “Realize this, extremely violent times will come.”

It was apparently a broadcast from Pastor Chuck Swindoll, the leader of a Texas-based church, during the program “Insight for Life.” At the time he was discussing end-of-times prophecy.

The announcer introduced the sermon, “Depravity on Parade,” with a Bible Scripture from the Second Book of Timothy: “Realize this, Timothy, that in the last days difficult times will come.”

Swindoll then repeated the line during the cablecast.

Bill Gemaehlich, chief operating officer for “Insight for Life,” said on Friday the sermon was recorded more than a year ago at Swindoll’s Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and was scheduled several months ago to air on Thursday.

Coincidentally, the air date was just two days before a doomsday prediction by David Meade, a self-described “specialist in research and investigations” is to play out. Meade said he believes catastrophic events will occur Saturday ushering in the end of the world.

“It’s not like we planned the broadcast to coincide with that,” Gemaehlich said.  “It was just a fluke thing. Pastor Swindoll would never try to line something up with that. He is a very conservative, sound theologian and not a conspiracy person.”

Though it is unclear how many customers were affected, Camero said the message would have gone out mostly to those in Orange County and just beyond. Viewers in Diamond Bar also reported seeing the message.

Star Trek Discovery 101-02

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:14 am
istia: men's hands with silver rings atop each other on blue globe against starry bg (Default)
[personal profile] istia
So that's why Sasha died on The Walking Dead! Sonequa Martin-Green is this new Trek's main character, Lt Michael Burnham.

Spoilers ST: Discovery 101-02 )

the hilarious world of depression

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:05 am
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Posted by wil@wilwheaton.net (Wil Wheaton)

I spoke with John Moe about my mental illness for his podcast, The Hilarious World of Depression:

Wil Wheaton was a child star in Stand By Me, a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager, and has been trying to figure out his role in show business for a long time since then. He was dealing with the pressures of fame and the fickle tastes of Hollywood, all while dealing with a chemical imbalance in his brain that made him prone to anxiety and depression. Wil’s better now thanks to medication, but despite his long IMDb page and regular work on The Big Bang Theory, his hit YouTube show, and a thriving and varied career, he sees himself primarily as a failed actor.

It’s a good show, as they say. Go give it a listen.

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Posted by Jessica A. York

SANTA CRUZ  – When the $8.5 million “The Lost Boys” production brought Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and company to frolic through Santa Cruz and its Beach Boardwalk for three weeks in 1986, it was just one of the six major theatrical films plus a network television movie filming in the city that year.

Fast forward 31 years to last week, when the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk slipped out of its post-summer weekday dormancy to tow screaming extras along the rails of the Giant Dipper in scenes for “Bumblebee,” an estimated $70 spinoff to the “Transformers” live action franchise. The plot, set in 1987, reveals the back story for one of the major autobot team member’s origins, with lead co-star Hailee Steinfeld, of “True Grit” and “Pitch Perfect” playing human companion “Charlie.”

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is named the ‘Brighton Falls Boardwalk’ in Paramount Pictures’ ‘Bumblebee.’ (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is named the ‘Brighton Falls Boardwalk’ in Paramount Pictures’ ‘Bumblebee.’ (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

“The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is one of the most iconic and appealing attractions along the West Coast,” said Paramount Supervising Location Manager/Co-Producer JJ Hook in a release. “We’d be remiss not to include such a fun landmark as one of our key locations. What’s more quintessentially Californian than a view of the Pacific from the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster?”

In addition to its three days in Santa Cruz, scenes from the unofficially estimated $70 million Transformers film are being shot throughout Northern California, including the cities of Vallejo and San Rafael. Some 200 extras earned $104 a day for three days were sought who fit the description of “hot California beach babes and dudes” to young hippies, surfers and skaters.

Santa Cruz County, in the decades between the tale of young vampires in “Santa Carla, California,” and a girl and her giant car-transforming robot, has attracted productions large and small. The city’s last major feature production – the $20 million “Chasing Mavericks – filmed in 2011 at locations in Pleasure Point and Santa Cruz. Film production requests have ramped up significantly enough in the past two to three years for the city of Santa Cruz to establish commercial filming permit fees for the first time this summer.

SEEKING PUBLIC ACCESS

Kathy Agnone, Santa Cruz city special events coordinator, counted eight film crew permit requests in August and another five in September “from a lot of different types of filming companies” – though many of them are using Santa Cruz’s picturesque setting as contextualizing background b-roll shots, she said.

“Bumblebee’s” Paramount Pictures has been the largest film studio request since “Chasing Mavericks,” Agnone said. Because the film shooting is happening primarily on private property – the Boardwalk – the city was only brought into permit discussions when Paramount decided to borrow a Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf parking lot to film a scene on Wednesday, she said. Paramount did request a public street closure for use in a driving scene, but did not give the city sufficient lead time, Agnone said.

“When we have a major motion picture where we have road closures . typically those large ones come to us a year or two ahead, and then we would go to City Council and often it would require more staff time because they want higher security,” Agnone said. “I remember when “Sudden Impact” came and filmed and they had a lot of locations, but some of them were on private property, like the lumberyard or the Boardwalk. So, trying to assist in keeping a secure, closed set, may involve more city staff. We look at those very carefully when they come through, so we can do what we can do.”

Agnone said she suspects Santa Cruz city, as with other parts of the county, has been kept busy with new production filming requests through the help of Visit Santa Cruz County, the area’s tourism marketing association and film commission office.

TRAVEL DESTINATION

Assisting with permits, site locations, lodging and other amenities for film crews take about 5 percent of Visit Santa Cruz County’s resources, said Christina Glynn, who serves as the nonprofit’s film commissioner and communications director. The majority of her organization’s efforts are focused on showcasing the county’s travel-worthy attributes to commercial markets. Glynn, like Agnone, said the county was seeing a higher concentration of broadcast filming this September than usual.

“This month, Transformers aside, what it has been is essentially promotion for destination, which is a really integral part of what we do here,” Glynn said.

New PBS travel series “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” will focus on Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to Big Sur after vigorous promotion by Visit Santa Cruz County partner Visit California. The Penny Ice Creamery, Nicholson Vineyards and Santa Cruz surfing history and culture will be features in the show, expected to air beginning in February, Glynn said.

Other September filming projects included:

. “James Martin’s American Adventure” was in Santa Cruz on Sept. 6, visiting a surf school, farmers market and scenic spots around town. The British ITV network’s food, travel and lifestyle show scheduled to debut in early 2018.

. UK tour operator Trek America Travel visited Soquel and Corralitos wineries and local beaches on Sept. 10-11 to film a promotional video.

. “Great American Railroad Journeys,” a historical, travel-based show, visited Roaring Camp Railroads, the Boardwalk and a Santa Cruz surf school on Sept. 10.

. An as-of-yet unnamed three-part UK documentary by Betty TV filmed in Santa Cruz on Sept. 21.

TRANSFORMERS

Santa Cruz, as one of several filming locations, was chosen for “Bumblebee” filming, said Paramount representative Gabriella Gutentag, was chosen because it “fit the landscape of the film’s storyline” and “the filmmakers love Santa Cruz.”

Movie extras, as with Boardwalk officials, signed agreements not to disclose details of the filming process, so details of the experience remained scarce last week.

The film’s screenplay was written by Christina Hodson and directed by Travis Knight, who has produced and done animation work on such movies as “The Boxtrolls and “ParaNorman.” Producers include Michael Bay, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto. In addition to Steinfeld’s leading role, WWE wrestler and actor John Cena also joins the cast of the film.

Even with the extra draw on city resources to host big-budget feature film productions, the activity is welcome in Santa Cruz, said city Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb.

“Having movies filmed in Santa Cruz is great for the overall local economy. Local jobs, visitor serving retail and restaurants all have a boost whenever a film crew comes to town,” Lipscomb said. “Having numerous films shot in Santa Cruz raises our profile in general and can be a draw for tourists as well. Yes, we highly support having Santa Cruz as a location for the film industry.”

This year’s economic benefit to the local economy from filming productions – large and small – is unclear, but in 1986, then-Convention and Visitors Bureau manager Joe Flood estimated that “The Lost Boys,” ABC’s “The Brotherhood of Doom” movie featuring Keifer Sutherland, “The Frontrunner” and an unnamed western would generate about $5.5 million in local revenue.

SANTA CRUZ FILM SAMPLING

Feature films

. ‘Bumblebee,’ 2018.

. ‘Chasing Mavericks,’ 2012.

. ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space,’ 1988.

. ‘The Lost Boys,” 1987.

. ‘Sudden Impact,’ 1983.

Music videos

. ‘A Little More Summertime,’ Jason Aldean.

. ‘Santa Cruz,’ James Durbin.

. ‘Then the Morning Comes,’ Smash Mouth.

. ‘If This is it,’ Huey Lewis and The News.

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Posted by Harry Harris

BERKELEY — Eleven people, one from as far away as Reno, were arrested Sunday during protests at the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos at the UC Berkeley campus, officials said Monday.

Berkeley police identified those arrested as Jonathan Cho, 27, of Oakland; Drean Coxburnett, 23, of Berkeley; Syth Feil, 30, of Redwood Valley; Kelsey James, 24, of Reno; David Johnson, 24, of Oakland; Kyle McCoy, 28, of Oakland; William Orr, 29, of Oakland; Gautam Reddy, 22, of San Ramon; Keith Sherman, 30, of Oakland; Imalda Starling, 32, of Berkeley; and Rane Stark-Buhl, 27, of Oakland.

The majority of arrests were for carrying a banned weapon, a violation of Berkeley municipal codes, although Reddy was booked on suspicion of carrying an illegal knife and Sherman and McCoy were also arrested for wearing a mask while committing a crime. Stark-Buhl was also arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and attempting to remove a person from police custody.

The arrests happened on both the UC campus and Berkeley streets.

There were no reports of any injuries or of any property damage, police said.

Police said they would continue to investigate potential crimes that occurred during the demonstrations and are asking the public to send photos or videos using any web-enabled device to  http://bit.ly//berkvideo.

Before Yiannopolos’ appearance, which lasted just 15 minutes, police and UC officials had put out numerous notices about rules and regulations that would be in place, including what items were banned.

The appearance attracted hundreds and a like number of police from law enforcement agencies throughout the state, some from as far away as Kern County.

Check back for updates.

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Posted by Shaheer Faltas

At the beginning of each year, I am asked by parents, “What is the homework load for my child?” What they’re really asking is, “Will you see my child if she is soaring to new heights and needs to stretch?” Or, “Will you see my child if she is flailing under an avalanche of anxiety?” Really, “Will you see my child?’ is the point.

Teachers and administrators are tasked with educating students, and effective assessment is integral to the process. Yet the predominant form of assessment via grading eliminates opportunities for comprehensive evaluation and in fact offers a narrow view of one’s abilities.

In response to your article “Private schools join up to dump A-to-F grading” (Sept. 9), I applaud the goal of the Mastery Transcript Consortium to create a more balanced approach to grading and wanted to highlight that changing the grading system is just the beginning of a needed overhaul in how we as educators prepare our students for their future.

The Mastery Transcript Consortium advocates for change for a good reason. As Madeline Levine documented years ago in The Price of Privilege, we who live in Marin see stress bubbling up from our students and their parents on a daily basis.

Anxiety about college and future work is one culprit. According to the World Economic Forum, in less than five years our lives will be even more transformed by advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Listen to a handful of the jobs predicted by the Institute for the Future: soil programmer, pre-crime analyst, neuro-marketer and, my favorite, gut florist.

We can’t predict and teach to each future job. That’s why we need to teach students to think, to adapt and to search. I ask you, is it possible for a single letter grade to measure a student’s ability to adapt, or would an authentic demonstration and narrative assessment better measure learning?

Moreover, the purpose of education has expanded beyond offering mere content, and a student’s success extends far beyond letter grades on a report card. The future is dependent on kids who also master life skills. These include social intelligence, cross cultural competence, virtual collaboration and computational thinking.

To measure such life skills requires that we adapt our assessment techniques beyond letter grades.

As parents and schools across the country debate the adoption of the new grading standards proposed by the Mastery Transcript Consortium, I wanted to offer a perspective of  my school in Marin that has been using narrative grading for the last 15 years.

Greenwood School has used comprehensive teacher reports and standards-based criteria to provide a fuller picture of the whole child – assessing for academic achievement, artistic expression and life skills like the ability to focus (mindfulness) and compassion (emotional intelligence).

As educators, our goal is to release into the world students who have grit, a zest for life and are grounded in the belief that they can tackle any problem that comes their way. It is a fuller picture than any traditional grading system can depict, and while at Greenwood we do believe there is a place for letter grades in middle school, we augment them with a narrative on each student, written by teachers who truly understand kids.

In this way, we can reassure the parents that their child is actually seen. After all, isn’t the goal of grades and assessment to offer a full picture of a student who is prepared for the future?

Shaheer Faltas is Head of School at the Greenwood School in Mill Valley. He wrote this for The Mercury News. 

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Posted by Steve Dempsey

In this slideshow, it appears these cartoonists are split on NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem and President Donald Trump insisting that such conduct should be disciplined by team owners.

Click here if you’re having trouble viewing this photo gallery on your mobile device.

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Posted by Liz Bourke

It is difficult for me to write this review without simply gushing READ THIS NOW. (But seriously: read this now.)

It’s true that I have been a fan of Ann Leckie’s work since first reading Ancillary Justice, and that Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy only deepened my appreciation for Leckie’s ability to tell a story. The Imperial Radch trilogy impressed a lot of people, as witnessed by the array of awards and award nominations it took home. But after such a successful debut—after such a lauded debut trilogy—there is always going to be a question when the author moves on to something new. Can the next book live up to the quality of what has gone before while breaking new ground? Or will they spend their career telling different versions of the same story?

The answer, in Leckie’s case, is Provenance, which is every bit as good as her previous work and very different in theme, tone, and approach. Provenance takes place in the same universe as the Ancillary books, but outside the Radchaai sphere of influence. Hwae is a small planet-nation of limited importance to anyone except its inhabitants and near neighbours. Unlike the Radchaai, the people of Hwae have three genders (and consequently three sets of pronouns, she, he, and e) which young people choose between as one of the signs they have become adult. Hwaeans ascribe immense social and cultural importance to relics, which play a significant (and legitimating) role in their culture and politics. Those politics revolve around important families (and/or the very wealthy) who periodically must run for election. People in these families frequently adopt or foster children from less-well-off crèches, but it seems that only one child can inherit their parent’s name and position. This is certainly the case when it comes to Ingray Aughskold’s mother, Netano Aughskold. In order to impress her mother and show up her elder brother, Ingray has come up with a brilliant plan. A plan so brilliant it doesn’t go off the rails until oh, just before Provenance begins.

Ingray paid to get a criminal out of prison, on Tyr Siilas station, in order that she can convince said criminal to tell her where e put the Hwaean relics that e was convicted of stealing. (Her plan did not include any inducement for e to tell her other than “asking nicely.”) Unfortunately, the criminal arrives in a suspension box—essentially in stasis—which she did not expect. She further did not expect Captain Uisine, the ship-captain she hired to get her and her cargo home, to refuse to take a person who isn’t awake anywhere without them being woken up and asked if they were quite all right with being shipped off to strange places. And she certainly didn’t expect the person who wakes up from suspension to completely deny being Pahlad Budrakim, the criminal who’s central to Ingray’s plan.

Oops.

This is where the complications begin. Murder, fraud, and an obsessive ambassador from the alien Geck (one of the few Geck ever to leave the Geck home system) who believes that Captain Uisine’s ship was stolen from the Geck and refuses to be persuaded otherwise all come into play. So does a political dispute among Hwae’s neighbours, which is about to spill over—is in fact in the process of spilling over—onto Hwae itself.

Ingray is a delightful main character. (And a very different one from Breq.) Ingray is really quite a young adult, with the grasp of second- and third- order consequences commonly found among first-year undergraduates. Ingray makes many of her plans, at least at first, based on the assumption that people will act in the way that she imagines they will act. When they don’t—when they react to Ingray in a completely different fashion—Ingray is frequently left scrambling to catch up, bereft of a backup plan, until she stumbles across something that works (more or less), or is backed up by her ability to make friends—or at least find people who feel sympathetically inclined towards her—in unusual places.

The Geck are interestingly strange, and have a very different social organisation than any of the human societies Leckie has written about to date in the Imperial Radch universe. (The only Radchaai in the book is the ambassador to the Geck. An ambassador in a posting she never wanted, that no one cares about, to a people who mostly ignore her. She’s kind of hilariously rude and give-no-fucks: she wants to go home and drink tea, but that’s not going to happen for her.)

As Ingray convinces the person she thought was Pahlad to work with her to at least embarrass her brother, she learns that Pahlad can’t lead her to the relics. E can only tell her a truth about them which, if it got out and was proven, would have a destabilising effect on Hwaean society.

Of course, then the people with guns happen.

Part coming-of-age story, part murder mystery, part political thriller, and part exploration of questions of memory, meaning, and cultural identity as represented by physical relics of the past, Provenance is an extraordinarily good book. Tightly paced and brilliantly characterised—as one might expect from Leckie—with engaging prose and a deeply interesting set of complicated intersecting cultures, it is a book that I loved, and one that I expect to read again.

It’s remarkably fun, really good, and has a strikingly satisfying conclusion. Very well recommended.

Provenance is available September 26th from Orbit Books.

Liz Bourke is a cranky queer person who reads books. She holds a Ph.D in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. Her first book, Sleeping With Monsters, a collection of reviews and criticism, is out now from Aqueduct Press. Find her at her blog, where she’s been known to talk about even more books thanks to her Patreon supporters. Or find her at her Twitter. She supports the work of the Irish Refugee Council and the Abortion Rights Campaign.

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Posted by Alter S. Reiss

“Getting the archaeology right” doesn’t actually matter that much when it comes to fantasy. The fact is, when it comes to secondary worlds, a lot of the absolutely basic assumptions don’t make any sense. Why are there people in this world, whose history—whose natural history—is so different from ours? If dragons and elder gods and all that were around for hundreds of thousands of years, why are the horses and carrots and stews and pie in that world exactly the same as ours?

Once you’re willing to swallow that horses are the same despite gryphon-related predation pressures, why strain at faceted diamonds a few centuries too early?

Even if something is set in an actual time and place, the sort of mistakes that archaeologists notice don’t matter that much. Writing about anything—mainly horses and guns, but really, anything—will upset people who know the subject well, but there are very few works that fail artistically because they annoyed experts.

Nobody can do all the research about everything, and specificity works better than generalities, even if the specificity is wrong, because most readers aren’t going to notice things that are wrong. Provided it’s not wrong in well-known ways—for one reason or another, readers are able to accept “hello” in a pseudo-medieval setting but will reject “okay,” even if those words were both later coinages. Potatoes in medieval Europe will be rejected, while orange carrots are accepted, although those were introduced at about the same time.

And even though people might notice a subset of blatant anachronisms, even those aren’t necessarily going to actually cause them to fall out of the work. There are lots of people who are annoyed by the potatoes in the Lord of the Rings, but that’s seldom sufficient to cause them to reject the work as a whole.

There are a couple of things that archaeology can do, though. One of the pleasures of reading fantasy is seeing people in situations that are greatly different from our own, and seeing how people did things in pre-modern times is a short-cut to differences of that sort.

In one of my early manuscripts, which is deservedly never going to see the light of day, I had a bunch of convict laborers being taken out to a work site. And I had them brought there by ox-cart. The reason why I did that was because I had the default assumption that when people are going long distances, they go in vehicles. It was set in olden times, so they had an old-timey vehicle, but I didn’t look hard enough at the default assumption. Prisoners wouldn’t have gone in a cart—they’d have walked. Getting the precise details of a 12th century ox-cart right doesn’t matter nearly as much as noticing whether or not there’d be an ox-cart there in the first place.

Similarly, there’s a tendency when writing in pre-modern settings to have people cooking in iron pots or skillets. Iron is old-timey, it’s not too different from what we use now, good enough. But the fact is, right up until the industrial revolution, for every iron cook-pot that’s been excavated, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of clay cooking vessels. And glazed cooking vessels come in relatively late, and are relatively uncommon.

There are a lot of reasons not to make cooking vessels out of clay. Ceramics are excellent insulators, heavy, likely to shatter if dropped, and will occasionally explode when heated. In addition, unglazed pottery is porous. Those pores retain flavors and fats from everything that gets cooked in them; when that fat goes rancid, the pot will taint everything cooked in it. But the reason why pottery was preferred over the conductive, resilient, and much less explosive iron was because people could throw pots in their spare time. Not that every single person living in pre-industrial society could manage that, but it was a sort of common adult skill—a bit like being able to set up a wireless network, or change the oil on a car.

That isn’t to say that there need to be more scenes where the stalwart heroes have their pots explode because of thermal shock (though I’ll admit, I’d like that.) But before machines did more of the heavy work of mining and refining and fashioning tools, people had a different relationship to their tools, and a glimpse of that in a story can go a long way.

Close attention to ancient material culture can cause dozens of similar insights into different ways people used to interact with their world. Light, let’s say. Oil lamps are a pretty common find, as are amphora used to transport and store olive oil. And using one of those lamps tells you that those lamps don’t give that much light.

Modern lighting is amazingly clean and bright, which causes the default assumption that if the light is on, you can see things. Oil lamps, or tallow candles, or even medieval fireplaces, simply didn’t give that much light. And when lamp oil was coming from overseas, and was also one of the best sources of calories available, people didn’t burn any more than they needed, not unless they were extremely wealthy. So there’d be a little bit of light; just enough to do let them see what they wanted to see, and no more than that.

There are similar things that could be mentioned about food storage, about the shapes of storage vessels, about the differences between dirt floors and stone floors, between ancient sheep and modern sheep, and so on, and so on.

Which is what archaeology does have to offer. Getting things wrong doesn’t necessarily matter. But getting things right, even just one or two small things right, can convey an authenticity that will carry the weight of any number of wrong assumptions.

History gives some of the same benefits for fantasy, as well as things that archaeology can’t offer. But history is what people who lived in those times thought was worth writing down. They had their blind spots, the same way we do; if all that survived of the culture of the 21st century were some histories, and a few novels and screenplays, it would be hard to figure out how we interacted with our wifi networks. Fiction that was based on those histories and novels might get some things right—it might get a lot right. But looking at the material culture could help people understand things about our lives that our history books don’t discuss.

This article was originally published in September 2015.

Alter S. Reiss is the author of Sunset Mantle as well as an archaeologist and writer who lives in Jerusalem with his wife Naomi and their son Uriel. He likes good books, bad movies, and old time radio shows.

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Posted by The Washington Post

By Samantha Schmidt and Joel Achenbach | Washington Post

JUNCOS, PUERTO RICO — In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

The 63-year-old mother, Maria Dolores Hernandez, had cotton stuffed in her ears to keep flies out, since her now screenless windows were letting all sorts of bugs in. The gray-haired diabetic woman spoke with her daughter about her worries: that she would run out of prescription drugs, that they were almost out of generator fuel to keep her insulin refrigerated and to run the fans at night. With all the heat, she feared that her ulcer would become infected.

But she worried most about her daughter’s home on the floor above hers, which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The shrieking winds had ripped off the zinc roof and the pounding rains had soaked the unprotected rooms below. While the outer concrete walls were mostly intact, everything else was ruined, covered by dirty tree branches, leaves, glass and debris.

Aldea reached out to hold her mother’s hand.

“Relax,” she said. “It’s OK.”

Four days after a major hurricane battered Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island in a communications and power blackout, regions outside San Juan remained disconnected from the rest of the island – and the world. Juncos, in a mountainous region southeast of the capital that was slammed with Maria’s most powerful winds, remains isolated, alone, afraid.

For many residents, the challenge of accessing the essentials of modern life – gasoline, cash, food, water – began to sink in. And government officials had no answers for them. Estimates for the return of electricity and basic services will be measured not in days but in weeks and months. For those most vulnerable, far too long.

Many have been openly wondering when help will arrive, whether from local officials or from the federal government. The first thing some villagers ask when they see outsiders: “Are you FEMA?”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is warning that his government needs broader assistance from the federal government, calling on the Pentagon especially to provide more aid for law enforcement and transportation. Rosselló said he’s also worried that Congress will shortchange his island once the initial wave of emergency relief is gone.

“We still need some more help. This is clearly a critical disaster in Puerto Rico,” he said Sunday night. “It can’t be minimized and we can’t start overlooking us now that the storm passed, because the danger lurks.”

For federal agencies trying to respond to Maria, the situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is inescapably more challenging than the situations in Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It’s difficult to get onto the islands.

The airports and harbors here were severely damaged. That means the islands are more isolated than ever, even as the humanitarian crisis has worsened by the day.

So although massive amounts of food, water, fuel and other supplies have been dispatched by federal agencies and private organizations, with more resources on the way, this has been an obstacle-filled process.

Federal agencies have succeeded in clearing the use of the Port of San Juan for daytime operations, but other ports remain closed pending inspections. Many roads are blocked, inhibiting relief convoys. The Transportation Department has opened five airports in Puerto Rico and two in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but only for military and relief efforts.

Six commercial cargo ships have delivered supplies including food, water and generators to the Caribbean islands, and more supplies are on the way by ship from Florida and by air from Florida and Kentucky. Among the provisions: The Defense Logistics Agency is sending 124,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico.

In addition to concerns about basic survival, on the west side of the island worries have intensified about a ruptured dam that has been tenuously holding back the waters of Lake Guajataca. Government officials said Sunday that the “fissure” in the dam is “large and will collapse at any time.” Throngs of residents in nearby towns have been urged to evacuate. The dam’s failure could lead to massive amounts of water flowing unabated through coastal communities.

In Juncos, scores of homes were destroyed, and thousands of homes sustained damage, Mayor Alfredo Alejandro estimated. Four highways are inaccessible by car, and two bridges were harmed. Roofs of homes all over town are gone, and almost all government buildings were damaged.

Mountains typically brimming with trees and other vegetation are brown and desolate, stripped of all greenery. The mayor of 17 years said he discovered a river he never knew existed in his town, because it was always overgrown with plants. Curved bamboo lining the winding roads were left as bare sticks.

Less than a week ago, Alejandro said, “I had a pretty town.”

“Today I have a desert,” he said.

Puerto Rico’s executive director of emergency management said in an interview that aerial views of destruction in this region looked “more like a tornado than a hurricane.”

But Maria’s destruction in the town was just the beginning. The mayor said Juncos “anxiously” needs diesel, water, hospital equipment and satellite phones for local leadership.

Some local responders in Juncos were forced to clear area streets by hand with machetes, because the town doesn’t have enough chain saws.

Just two gas stations were functioning in the town, and lines stretched for more than half a mile. Some people walked and rode bicycles for miles with empty gas canisters in hand.

One of the town’s two supermarkets was open Sunday, and employees would let in only 10 people at a time to avoid chaos. Residents, who stood in line for hours, could purchase only rationed food. There is no functioning bank or cash machine in the entire municipality.

When Aldea, 37, and her 5-year-old daughter walked through her shell of a home in Juncos after the hurricane had passed, the child hardly said a word. She scoured her pink room, with pony stickers on its walls, and picked out a couple of soaked dolls and coloring books.

“We don’t have a house anymore,” Aldea explained to her daughter, Darangellie. “We’re going to have to start new with what we have.”

Aldea, who works as a secretary in the mayor’s office, is living with and taking care of her mother in the tiny room downstairs. Darangellie spends most of the days with a relative in town, but at night she sleeps with her mother. The child has asthma and needs to use a daily nebulizer treatment – requiring her mother to turn on their generator at night. They have enough diesel to power the generator for one more day.

She has a half-tank of gas left and can’t set aside the entire day that would be necessary to wait in line for more because she has to care for her daughter and mother. It doesn’t help that driving to town for her job – which usually takes seven minutes – now takes more than a half-hour because of blocked or inaccessible roads.

But Aldea remained calm. More than anything, she is thankful to be alive: “If I don’t stay strong, how can I take care of the two people who depend on me?”

Across town, a second-level three-bedroom apartment was ripped to shreds in the storm, the cooking appliances, kitchen counters and cabinets the only surviving evidence of the wooden structure.

Maribel Quiñones Rivera, 53, lived with her husband in the home for decades, raising her children and grandchildren there. During the hurricane and in the days that followed, she sought shelter with relatives in their apartment directly below.

On Sunday, she still hadn’t walked upstairs to see the debris up close. When asked why, she shook her head and cried. “I can’t,” she said.

To make matters worse, Quiñones Rivera and her relatives are out of cash – they used their last $30 to buy gasoline. They have five or six bottles of water left.

There are some moments of hope amid the misery in Juncos. On Sunday, about 30 people gathered in a small blue church for Mass. The priest apologized for the lack of a microphone and said the service would be brief.

Aida Sanchez, a member of the congregation, said she came to thank God.

“Because despite the circumstances,” she said, “we’re alive.”

Achenbach reported from Washington. Daniel Cassady in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Ed O’Keefe in Washington contributed to this report.

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Posted by Katy Murphy

SACRAMENTO — At long last, California has an official state dinosaur: Augustynolophus morrisi, whose fossilized remains have been found only in California.

To the delight of science-lovers everywhere, Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed into law a bill adding the extinct, duck-billed creature to the growing list of state insignia that includes the golden poppy, the California grizzly and — most recently — denim as the state’s fabric.

The dinosaur may have lived 66 million years ago, but it has a Los Angeles-based Twitter account, which celebrated with the tweet “Dreams really do come true!”

In 1939, the Augustynolophus morrisi’s remains — including skull material — were found in the Moreno Formation of Fresno County. The dinosaur was named after geologist and paleontologist William J. Morris, who discovered many dinosaur remains along North America’s western coast, and Gretchen Augustyn, a longtime Natural History Museum supporter.

Scientists believed it roamed the Earth at the same time as the better-known Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. Little is known about the dinosaur other than that, like other duck-billed species, it was a plant eater.

“Today is a great day for California and for paleontology” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, who carried the dinosaur bill. “It’s not often that legislation gives us an opportunity to learn about California’s prehistoric past; over the past several months Augustynolophus morrisi has inspired and educated Californians across the state, including its students, policymakers, and journalists.”

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Posted by Louis Hansen

Consider a typical cannabis farmer, growing an indoor crop.

In a protected, controlled environment, they can grow a profitable mix of high-potency, medicinal marijuana and any number of milder strains appealing to a new market.

But the venture comes with both a business and social overhead: high energy bills and a heavy, carbon footprint.

“It’s a big problem,” said Tim Hade, co-founder of micro-grid company Scale. “It has an impact far beyond cannabis consumption.”

A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

Hade said the growing industry could wipe out gains the country made in the last decade that kept energy consumption stable even as the population and economy grew. As the legalized marijuana industry expands in California, it could seriously challenge state goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The cannabis industry is starting to address the issue. Startups are hunting for ways to make growing more efficient. Farmers are innovating and experimenting.

Evan Mills, an energy and climate change scientist based in California, said the cannabis industry could make efficiency gains in almost every step of its process. According to Mills’ research, the total amount of energy used to power marijuana farms is equivalent to powering 2 million homes, with emissions equal to 3 million typical U.S. cars.

Mills said the key change in the industry is a trend toward large-scale cannabis cultivation “which may prove to be far more energy intensive” than the current collection of small-growers.

Scale, based in New York, combines solar, battery storage and natural gas generators in a system that can cut energy cost by up to 35 percent.

Hade, an Air Force veteran and Stanford Graduate School of Business grad, said the system uses excess heat from generators to fuel air conditioning. With about 30 percent of a farmer’s overhead spent on fuel and electricity, he said, “you have to be sophisticated about energy management.”

JP Martin, founder of GrowX, a company in the cannabis accelerator Gateway, has focused his company on making indoor growing more efficient. The startup has produced prototypes for an aeroponic growing system, with sensors, lights and a mesh growing medium. It’s testing the system with two customers.

Martin said the system uses less energy and water than hydroponic growing, and eliminates possible impurities and disease developed from soil.

Cannabis grown indoors is often believed to be more potent — and is more expensive — than crops grown outdoors.

“Traditional farming is a broken model,” Martin said.

But even the promise of new technology — including energy saving LED lighting, sensor-filled growing pods and a network of artificial intelligence and high-efficiency electronics — may not be enough.

“In this warming world, indoor farming is an environmentally unaffordable luxury,” Mills said. “Even deep energy savings leave indoor grows as energy-intensive as most ordinary buildings.”

Some farmers have taken a traditional, natural approach to growing.

Cyril Guthridge, owner and operator of Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, plants outdoors. He searches for the right combination of plants and environment to produce high-quality strains of marijuana on his 160 acre homestead.

He has several friends growing indoors and producing great crops, he said. The process can produce high-quality crops, but is usually three times more expensive, he said.

But Guthridge wants to fill a niche for high-quality, naturally grown marijuana. And his farm is off the grid, powered by renewable sources.

“Nature is providing us with a very good environment,” he said.

Growers in the True Humboldt collective, in rural Humboldt County, also strive to produce natural products, with less environmental impacts.

“The most energy-efficient way to cultivate cannabis in California,” said Chrystal Ortiz, a representative for True Humboldt, “is using our (California) sunshine as a primary light source.”

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Posted by Patrick May

After President Trump put the NFL’s taking-a-knee debate smack dab on the 50-yard line of the national consciousness, scores of NFL players pulled off their own personalized protests on the sidelines during the national anthem before Sunday’s games.

Some took a knee, in the spirit of former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick. Some team members locked arms. And some stayed completely off the field to show their solidarity with one another in what has become a spirited national debate: What exactly is the propriety of publicly sitting out the national anthem as a way of protesting social ills?

Here’s what each team did on Sunday during The Star-Spangled Banner:

Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans

Both teams made a deafening statement by not even taking the field as Meghan Linsey, former contestant on The Voice, sang the national anthem. The move was not a complete surprise: The Seahawks had announced previously that they’d sit out the anthem, writing in a press release: “As a  team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”

Even Linsey got in on the act, taking a knee of her own after singing the anthem before the game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. “I was absolutely terrified walking out there,” the country singer said later.  “I knew what I was getting ready to do, and I understood what it meant. Obviously, I made a name for myself in country music, and I knew what the backlash would be. So I walked out there scared. But I have to go into my gut and my heart, and I knew that was the right thing to do today.”

Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears

Another no-show came before the Steelers faced the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago. The entire Steelers team stayed off the field during the anthem, though some of the coaches, including Mike Tomlin, were on the sideline. There was one exception: Pittsburgh’s Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who had served in Afghanistan, was seen inside the tunnel during the song, his hand over his heart. Meanwhile, the Bears stood on the sideline during the performance, their arms linked together.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

In a mixed-bag protest, some players, like wide receiver Jarvis Landry, stood while other Dolphins knelt nearby, including safety Maurice Smith and tight end Julius Thomas. Jets head coach Todd Bowles and Dolphins owner Steve Ross joined their teams on the field, locking their arms together.

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (in London, England)

Raven and Super Bowl champ Terrell Suggs took a knee before the game. Alongside him was retired Ravens legend Lewis, who locked arms with wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker C.J. Mosley. Other Baltimore players and coaches also locked arms while at least a dozen Jaguars took knees during the anthem. They included defensive stars Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey, along with No. 4 draft pick running back Leonard Fournette.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots

This one was weird: Since the Patriots have often been seen as sympatico with Trump, with owner Robert Kraft and star Tom Brady both tight with the president, fans may have expected a low-key response on Sunday. Kraft, however, condemned Trump’s tweeted remarks critical of players like Kaepernick who have protested the anthem in the past. And the Patriots also demonstrated during the performance, as Brady arm-locked with many of his teammates while around 20 players chose to kneel. The Texans players all locked arms.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

At least three New York Giants took a knee before the team’s game in Philadelphia. Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins and Damon “Snacks” Harrison all knelt while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed at Lincoln Financial Field. It was the first time any Big Blue players had taken a knee during the national anthem. The rest of the Giants locked arms in unity, as did all of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Several Chargers stood with their arms interlocked and others sat. Some Chiefs players knelt, including linebacker Justin Houston who faced the players bench. “I believe in honoring the American flag and supporting all of those who sacrifices protect the many freedoms we have in this country, including the right to have differences of opinion,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement.

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

Like other NFL owners, Atlanta’s Arthur Blank had already gone on the record denouncing Trump’s remarks on Twitter. During the anthem, Blank joined his players on the sideline, locking arms, as did Detroit’s owner, Martha Ford, and her three daughters. Rico Lavelle, who performed the anthem, took a knee at the conclusion of the song and raised his fist.

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

Players on both teams who either knelt or locked arms did not get a positive reception: the crowd in Indianapolis booed loudly to protest the protest. The Browns had around 20 players kneeling while the owners of the team, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, said in a statement that “We must not let misguided, uninformed and divisive comments from the president or anyone else deter us from our efforts to unify.”

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

Five-time Pro Bowler Von Miller was among several Broncos players who knelt, while Garett Bolles and Virgil Green stood with their fists in the air. Several Buffalo Bills players had their arms around each other, while some players knelt with their arms interlocked. Bills running back LeSean McCoy stretched during the national anthem, according to local media reports. “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is … acting like a jerk, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner,” McCoy said after the game.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram were among a group of ten teammates on the Saints who stayed on the bench during the anthem. The Panthers stood for the anthem, as they have since the protests began last season. The Panthers’ Julius Peppers was not on the field during the anthem. Later, he said he stood by his decision to skip the anthem, saying “this was not about disrespecting the military, disrespecting the flag, police, first responders, none of that. It was about me making a decision as a man on my own two feet.” Of Trump, he said “I felt like he attacked our brothers, my brothers in the league. So I felt like it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Although all of Vikings stood during the anthem, the entire team, along with its owners, stood with their arms linked. Tampa Bay had two players kneel during the anthem, DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans. “The Buccaneers recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American way of life that we cherish,” the team said in a statement. “We are equally committed to the principles of inclusivity and respect for differing points of view that should be afforded to all Americans.”

Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers

Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton were among the players on both teams who stood and locked their arms on their sidelines. Three Packers players sat during the national anthem.

Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins

The entire offensive line of the Oakland Raiders, the only line in the NFL made up entirely of African-American players, was joined by virtually the entire team in kneeling or sitting during the anthem. In one of the more dramatic displays by teams on Sunday, the Raiders were joined across the field by the Redskins who stood with linked arms while some players knelt. As in some other cities, some fans in attendance at FedEx Field could be heard booing the players while they sat.

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Posted by Jessica A. York

SANTA CRUZ  – When the $8.5 million “The Lost Boys” production brought Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and company to frolic through Santa Cruz and its Beach Boardwalk for three weeks in 1986, it was just one of the six major theatrical films plus a network television movie filming in the city that year.

Fast forward 31 years to last week, when the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk slipped out of its post-summer weekday dormancy to tow screaming extras along the rails of the Giant Dipper in scenes for “Bumblebee,” an estimated $70 spinoff to the “Transformers” live action franchise. The plot, set in 1987, reveals the back story for one of the major autobot team member’s origins, with lead co-star Hailee Steinfeld, of “True Grit” and “Pitch Perfect” playing human companion “Charlie.”

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is named the ‘Brighton Falls Boardwalk’ in Paramount Pictures’ ‘Bumblebee.’ (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is named the ‘Brighton Falls Boardwalk’ in Paramount Pictures’ ‘Bumblebee.’ (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

“The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is one of the most iconic and appealing attractions along the West Coast,” said Paramount Supervising Location Manager/Co-Producer JJ Hook in a release. “We’d be remiss not to include such a fun landmark as one of our key locations. What’s more quintessentially Californian than a view of the Pacific from the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster?”

In addition to its three days in Santa Cruz, scenes from the unofficially estimated $70 million Transformers film are being shot throughout Northern California, including the cities of Vallejo and San Rafael. Some 200 extras earned $104 a day for three days were sought who fit the description of “hot California beach babes and dudes” to young hippies, surfers and skaters.

Santa Cruz County, in the decades between the tale of young vampires in “Santa Carla, California,” and a girl and her giant car-transforming robot, has attracted productions large and small. The city’s last major feature production – the $20 million “Chasing Mavericks – filmed in 2011 at locations in Pleasure Point and Santa Cruz. Film production requests have ramped up significantly enough in the past two to three years for the city of Santa Cruz to establish commercial filming permit fees for the first time this summer.

SEEKING PUBLIC ACCESS

Kathy Agnone, Santa Cruz city special events coordinator, counted eight film crew permit requests in August and another five in September “from a lot of different types of filming companies” – though many of them are using Santa Cruz’s picturesque setting as contextualizing background b-roll shots, she said.

“Bumblebee’s” Paramount Pictures has been the largest film studio request since “Chasing Mavericks,” Agnone said. Because the film shooting is happening primarily on private property – the Boardwalk – the city was only brought into permit discussions when Paramount decided to borrow a Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf parking lot to film a scene on Wednesday, she said. Paramount did request a public street closure for use in a driving scene, but did not give the city sufficient lead time, Agnone said.

“When we have a major motion picture where we have road closures . typically those large ones come to us a year or two ahead, and then we would go to City Council and often it would require more staff time because they want higher security,” Agnone said. “I remember when “Sudden Impact” came and filmed and they had a lot of locations, but some of them were on private property, like the lumberyard or the Boardwalk. So, trying to assist in keeping a secure, closed set, may involve more city staff. We look at those very carefully when they come through, so we can do what we can do.”

Agnone said she suspects Santa Cruz city, as with other parts of the county, has been kept busy with new production filming requests through the help of Visit Santa Cruz County, the area’s tourism marketing association and film commission office.

TRAVEL DESTINATION

Assisting with permits, site locations, lodging and other amenities for film crews take about 5 percent of Visit Santa Cruz County’s resources, said Christina Glynn, who serves as the nonprofit’s film commissioner and communications director. The majority of her organization’s efforts are focused on showcasing the county’s travel-worthy attributes to commercial markets. Glynn, like Agnone, said the county was seeing a higher concentration of broadcast filming this September than usual.

“This month, Transformers aside, what it has been is essentially promotion for destination, which is a really integral part of what we do here,” Glynn said.

New PBS travel series “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” will focus on Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to Big Sur after vigorous promotion by Visit Santa Cruz County partner Visit California. The Penny Ice Creamery, Nicholson Vineyards and Santa Cruz surfing history and culture will be features in the show, expected to air beginning in February, Glynn said.

Other September filming projects included:

. “James Martin’s American Adventure” was in Santa Cruz on Sept. 6, visiting a surf school, farmers market and scenic spots around town. The British ITV network’s food, travel and lifestyle show scheduled to debut in early 2018.

. UK tour operator Trek America Travel visited Soquel and Corralitos wineries and local beaches on Sept. 10-11 to film a promotional video.

. “Great American Railroad Journeys,” a historical, travel-based show, visited Roaring Camp Railroads, the Boardwalk and a Santa Cruz surf school on Sept. 10.

. An as-of-yet unnamed three-part UK documentary by Betty TV filmed in Santa Cruz on Sept. 21.

TRANSFORMERS

Santa Cruz, as one of several filming locations, was chosen for “Bumblebee” filming, said Paramount representative Gabriella Gutentag, was chosen because it “fit the landscape of the film’s storyline” and “the filmmakers love Santa Cruz.”

Movie extras, as with Boardwalk officials, signed agreements not to disclose details of the filming process, so details of the experience remained scarce last week.

The film’s screenplay was written by Christina Hodson and directed by Travis Knight, who has produced and done animation work on such movies as “The Boxtrolls and “ParaNorman.” Producers include Michael Bay, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto. In addition to Steinfeld’s leading role, WWE wrestler and actor John Cena also joins the cast of the film.

Even with the extra draw on city resources to host big-budget feature film productions, the activity is welcome in Santa Cruz, said city Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb.

“Having movies filmed in Santa Cruz is great for the overall local economy. Local jobs, visitor serving retail and restaurants all have a boost whenever a film crew comes to town,” Lipscomb said. “Having numerous films shot in Santa Cruz raises our profile in general and can be a draw for tourists as well. Yes, we highly support having Santa Cruz as a location for the film industry.”

This year’s economic benefit to the local economy from filming productions – large and small – is unclear, but in 1986, then-Convention and Visitors Bureau manager Joe Flood estimated that “The Lost Boys,” ABC’s “The Brotherhood of Doom” movie featuring Keifer Sutherland, “The Frontrunner” and an unnamed western would generate about $5.5 million in local revenue.

SANTA CRUZ FILM SAMPLING

Feature films

. ‘Bumblebee,’ 2018.

. ‘Chasing Mavericks,’ 2012.

. ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space,’ 1988.

. ‘The Lost Boys,” 1987.

. ‘Sudden Impact,’ 1983.

Music videos

. ‘A Little More Summertime,’ Jason Aldean.

. ‘Santa Cruz,’ James Durbin.

. ‘Then the Morning Comes,’ Smash Mouth.

. ‘If This is it,’ Huey Lewis and The News.

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Posted by Harry Harris

BERKELEY — Eleven people, one from as far away as Reno, were arrested Sunday during protests at the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos at the UC Berkeley campus, officials said Monday.

Berkeley police identified those arrested as Jonathan Cho, 27, of Oakland; Drean Coxburnett, 23, of Berkeley; Syth Feil, 30, of Redwood Valley; Kelsey James, 24, of Reno; David Johnson, 24, of Oakland; Kyle McCoy, 28, of Oakland; William Orr, 29, of Oakland; Gautam Reddy, 22, of San Ramon; Keith Sherman, 30, of Oakland; Imalda Starling, 32, of Berkeley; and Rane Stark-Buhl, 27, of Oakland.

The majority of arrests were for carrying a banned weapon, a violation of Berkeley municipal codes, although Reddy was booked on suspicion of carrying an illegal knife and Sherman and McCoy were also arrested for wearing a mask while committing a crime. Stark-Buhl was also arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and attempting to remove a person from police custody.

The arrests happened on both the UC campus and Berkeley streets.

There were no reports of any injuries or of any property damage, police said.

Police said they would continue to investigate potential crimes that occurred during the demonstrations and are asking the public to send photos or videos using any web-enabled device to  http://bit.ly//berkvideo.

Before Yiannopolos’ appearance, which lasted just 15 minutes, police and UC officials had put out numerous notices about rules and regulations that would be in place, including what items were banned.

The appearance attracted hundreds and a like number of police from law enforcement agencies throughout the state, some from as far away as Kern County.

Check back for updates.

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Posted by Erika I. Ritchie, Southern California News Group

CAMP PENDLETON   The first female Marine to graduate from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course will be assigned to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, officials with Marine Corps Training and Education Command announced Monday, Sept. 25.

The lieutenant,  who has asked not to be identified, earned the infantry officer military occupational specialty, at Quantico in Virginia Monday. She is the first to complete the course since the Marine Corps opened all military occupational specialties to women in April 2016. Four other women have attempted to pass the course since then.

“I am proud of this officer and those in her class‎ who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.

Infantry Officer Course is the Military Occupation Specialties-producing school for Marine Corps infantry officers and the prerequisite course for ground intelligence officers. The grueling 13-week course trains and educates newly selected infantry and ground intelligence officers in leadership, infantry skills, and character required to serve as infantry platoon commanders in the operating forces.

One hundred and thirty-one Marines started the course in July, and 88 graduated today.

“Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat,” said Neller.

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Posted by Bill McBride

From economist Tim Duy at FedWatch: Has The Fed Abandoned Its Reaction Function?
The immediate policy outcomes of the FOMC meeting were largely as expected. Central bankers left interest rates unchanged while announcing that the reduction of the balance sheet will begin in October as earlier outlined in June. The real action was in the Summary of Economic Projections. Policymakers continue to anticipate one more rate hike this year and three next. This policy stance looks inconsistent with the downward revisions to projections of inflation and the neutral rate; under the Fed’s earlier reaction function, the combination of the two would drive down rate projections. Arguably, policy is thus no longer as data dependent as the Fed would like us to believe. That or the reaction function has changed.
...
The economic forecasts were somewhat confounding. Policymakers edged up their growth forecasts, but still anticipate that unemployment will end the year at 4.3%.

The unemployment forecast for the next two years edged down 0.1 percentage point, but this relative stability is somewhat confusing given that growth is expected to exceed potential growth until 2020 (remember, the Fed believes that labor force participation is more likely to fall than rise, so strong growth should induce downward pressure on unemployment).
...
Bottom line: the Fed is strongly committed to rate hikes. The[y] don’t appear to be following their earlier reaction function; policy feels path dependent at the moment. Indeed, given the Fed’s expectation of low inflation and volatile and possibly weak data due to the hurricanes, it is difficult to see what stops the Fed from hiking in December.
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Posted by Katy Murphy

SACRAMENTO — At long last, California has an official state dinosaur: Augustynolophus morrisi, whose fossilized remains have been found only in California.

To the delight of science-lovers everywhere, Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed into law a bill adding the extinct, duck-billed creature to the growing list of state insignia that includes the golden poppy, the California grizzly and — most recently — denim as the state’s fabric.

The dinosaur may have lived 66 million years ago, but it has a Los Angeles-based Twitter account, which celebrated with the tweet “Dreams really do come true!”

In 1939, the Augustynolophus morrisi’s remains — including skull material — were found in the Moreno Formation of Fresno County. The dinosaur was named after geologist and paleontologist William J. Morris, who discovered many dinosaur remains along North America’s western coast, and Gretchen Augustyn, a longtime Natural History Museum supporter.

Scientists believed it roamed the Earth at the same time as the better-known Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. Little is known about the dinosaur other than that, like other duck-billed species, it was a plant eater.

“Today is a great day for California and for paleontology” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, who carried the dinosaur bill. “It’s not often that legislation gives us an opportunity to learn about California’s prehistoric past; over the past several months Augustynolophus morrisi has inspired and educated Californians across the state, including its students, policymakers, and journalists.”

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Posted by Louis Hansen

Consider a typical cannabis farmer, growing an indoor crop.

In a protected, controlled environment, they can grow a profitable mix of high-potency, medicinal marijuana and any number of milder strains appealing to a new market.

But the venture comes with both a business and social overhead: high energy bills and a heavy, carbon footprint.

“It’s a big problem,” said Tim Hade, co-founder of micro-grid company Scale. “It has an impact far beyond cannabis consumption.”

A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

Hade said the growing industry could wipe out gains the country made in the last decade that kept energy consumption stable even as the population and economy grew. As the legalized marijuana industry expands in California, it could seriously challenge state goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The cannabis industry is starting to address the issue. Startups are hunting for ways to make growing more efficient. Farmers are innovating and experimenting.

Evan Mills, an energy and climate change scientist based in California, said the cannabis industry could make efficiency gains in almost every step of its process. According to Mills’ research, the total amount of energy used to power marijuana farms is equivalent to powering 2 million homes, with emissions equal to 3 million typical U.S. cars.

Mills said the key change in the industry is a trend toward large-scale cannabis cultivation “which may prove to be far more energy intensive” than the current collection of small-growers.

Scale, based in New York, combines solar, battery storage and natural gas generators in a system that can cut energy cost by up to 35 percent.

Hade, an Air Force veteran and Stanford Graduate School of Business grad, said the system uses excess heat from generators to fuel air conditioning. With about 30 percent of a farmer’s overhead spent on fuel and electricity, he said, “you have to be sophisticated about energy management.”

JP Martin, founder of GrowX, a company in the cannabis accelerator Gateway, has focused his company on making indoor growing more efficient. The startup has produced prototypes for an aeroponic growing system, with sensors, lights and a mesh growing medium. It’s testing the system with two customers.

Martin said the system uses less energy and water than hydroponic growing, and eliminates possible impurities and disease developed from soil.

Cannabis grown indoors is often believed to be more potent — and is more expensive — than crops grown outdoors.

“Traditional farming is a broken model,” Martin said.

But even the promise of new technology — including energy saving LED lighting, sensor-filled growing pods and a network of artificial intelligence and high-efficiency electronics — may not be enough.

“In this warming world, indoor farming is an environmentally unaffordable luxury,” Mills said. “Even deep energy savings leave indoor grows as energy-intensive as most ordinary buildings.”

Some farmers have taken a traditional, natural approach to growing.

Cyril Guthridge, owner and operator of Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, plants outdoors. He searches for the right combination of plants and environment to produce high-quality strains of marijuana on his 160 acre homestead.

He has several friends growing indoors and producing great crops, he said. The process can produce high-quality crops, but is usually three times more expensive, he said.

But Guthridge wants to fill a niche for high-quality, naturally grown marijuana. And his farm is off the grid, powered by renewable sources.

“Nature is providing us with a very good environment,” he said.

Growers in the True Humboldt collective, in rural Humboldt County, also strive to produce natural products, with less environmental impacts.

“The most energy-efficient way to cultivate cannabis in California,” said Chrystal Ortiz, a representative for True Humboldt, “is using our (California) sunshine as a primary light source.”

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(Image credit: June Bhongjan)

If you've had enough of your roommate eating your leftover take-out, your absentee landlord hiking the rent year after year even though the heat barely works, or your mom asking what time you — a full-grown adult the last time you checked — will be home, you might be dreaming about buying your own place, and doing it sooner rather than later.

READ MORE »

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Posted by Louis Hansen

Consider a typical cannabis farmer, growing an indoor crop.

In a protected, controlled environment, they can grow a profitable mix of high-potency, medicinal marijuana and any number of milder strains appealing to a new market.

But the venture comes with both a business and social overhead: high energy bills and a heavy, carbon footprint.

“It’s a big problem,” said Tim Hade, co-founder of micro-grid company Scale. “It has an impact far beyond cannabis consumption.”

A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

Hade said the growing industry could wipe out gains the country made in the last decade that kept energy consumption stable even as the population and economy grew. As the legalized marijuana industry expands in California, it could seriously challenge state goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The cannabis industry is starting to address the issue. Startups are hunting for ways to make growing more efficient. Farmers are innovating and experimenting.

Evan Mills, an energy and climate change scientist based in California, said the cannabis industry could make efficiency gains in almost every step of its process. According to Mills’ research, the total amount of energy used to power marijuana farms is equivalent to powering 2 million homes, with emissions equal to 3 million typical U.S. cars.

Mills said the key change in the industry is a trend toward large-scale cannabis cultivation “which may prove to be far more energy intensive” than the current collection of small-growers.

Scale, based in New York, combines solar, battery storage and natural gas generators in a system that can cut energy cost by up to 35 percent.

Hade, an Air Force veteran and Stanford Graduate School of Business grad, said the system uses excess heat from generators to fuel air conditioning. With about 30 percent of a farmer’s overhead spent on fuel and electricity, he said, “you have to be sophisticated about energy management.”

JP Martin, founder of GrowX, a company in the cannabis accelerator Gateway, has focused his company on making indoor growing more efficient. The startup has produced prototypes for an aeroponic growing system, with sensors, lights and a mesh growing medium. It’s testing the system with two customers.

Martin said the system uses less energy and water than hydroponic growing, and eliminates possible impurities and disease developed from soil.

Cannabis grown indoors is often believed to be more potent — and is more expensive — than crops grown outdoors.

“Traditional farming is a broken model,” Martin said.

But even the promise of new technology — including energy saving LED lighting, sensor-filled growing pods and a network of artificial intelligence and high-efficiency electronics — may not be enough.

“In this warming world, indoor farming is an environmentally unaffordable luxury,” Mills said. “Even deep energy savings leave indoor grows as energy-intensive as most ordinary buildings.”

Some farmers have taken a traditional, natural approach to growing.

Cyril Guthridge, owner and operator of Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, plants outdoors. He searches for the right combination of plants and environment to produce high-quality strains of marijuana on his 160 acre homestead.

He has several friends growing indoors and producing great crops, he said. The process can produce high-quality crops, but is usually three times more expensive, he said.

But Guthridge wants to fill a niche for high-quality, naturally grown marijuana. And his farm is off the grid, powered by renewable sources.

“Nature is providing us with a very good environment,” he said.

Growers in the True Humboldt collective, in rural Humboldt County, also strive to produce natural products, with less environmental impacts.

“The most energy-efficient way to cultivate cannabis in California,” said Chrystal Ortiz, a representative for True Humboldt, “is using our (California) sunshine as a primary light source.”

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Posted by Andrew Cunningham

Enlarge / High Sierra wallpaper. The low-hanging clouds in the background may or may not be related to the name. (credit: Apple)

If you've felt like the last few macOS releases have been a little light, High Sierra won't change your mind.

That's not because there's nothing here but because most of Apple's development work this time around went into under-the-hood additions and updates to foundational technologies. Changing filesystems, adding external graphics support, adding support for new image compression formats, and updating the graphics API to support VR are all important, and none of them are small tasks. But the UI doesn’t change, apps get only minor updates (when they get them at all), and multiple features continue to be more limited than their iOS counterparts. Updates like Mountain Lion and El Capitan have drawn comparisons to Snow Leopard for focusing on refinement rather than features, but High Sierra is the closest thing we've gotten to a "no new features" update in years. High Sierra is so similar to Sierra in so many ways that it’s honestly pretty hard to tell them apart.

It’s not like the constancy of macOS is a bad thing; while the Mac operating system has been trundling along in a comfortable groove, iOS has been working its way through an exciting-but-occasionally-awkward teenage phase, and Windows has swerved wildly from desktop OS to tablet OS and back again. On the other hand, it has been a while since I came away from a new macOS version thinking, "Yes, this software absolutely makes my computer indisputably better than it was before."

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Posted by Katy Murphy

SACRAMENTO — At long last, California has an official state dinosaur: Augustynolophus morrisi, whose fossilized remains have been found only in California.

To the delight of science-lovers everywhere, Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed into law a bill adding the extinct, duck-billed creature to the growing list of state insignia that includes the golden poppy, the California grizzly and — most recently — denim as the state’s fabric.

The dinosaur may have lived 66 million years ago, but it has a Los Angeles-based Twitter account, which celebrated with the tweet “Dreams really do come true!”

In 1939, the Augustynolophus morrisi’s remains — including skull material — were found in the Moreno Formation of Fresno County. The dinosaur was named after geologist and paleontologist William J. Morris, who discovered many dinosaur remains along North America’s western coast, and Gretchen Augustyn, a longtime Natural History Museum supporter.

Scientists believed it roamed the Earth at the same time as the better-known Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. Little is known about the dinosaur other than that, like other duck-billed species, it was a plant eater.

“Today is a great day for California and for paleontology” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, who carried the dinosaur bill. “It’s not often that legislation gives us an opportunity to learn about California’s prehistoric past; over the past several months Augustynolophus morrisi has inspired and educated Californians across the state, including its students, policymakers, and journalists.”

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_ca_feed

Posted by Louis Hansen

Consider a typical cannabis farmer, growing an indoor crop.

In a protected, controlled environment, they can grow a profitable mix of high-potency, medicinal marijuana and any number of milder strains appealing to a new market.

But the venture comes with both a business and social overhead: high energy bills and a heavy, carbon footprint.

“It’s a big problem,” said Tim Hade, co-founder of micro-grid company Scale. “It has an impact far beyond cannabis consumption.”

A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

Hade said the growing industry could wipe out gains the country made in the last decade that kept energy consumption stable even as the population and economy grew. As the legalized marijuana industry expands in California, it could seriously challenge state goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The cannabis industry is starting to address the issue. Startups are hunting for ways to make growing more efficient. Farmers are innovating and experimenting.

Evan Mills, an energy and climate change scientist based in California, said the cannabis industry could make efficiency gains in almost every step of its process. According to Mills’ research, the total amount of energy used to power marijuana farms is equivalent to powering 2 million homes, with emissions equal to 3 million typical U.S. cars.

Mills said the key change in the industry is a trend toward large-scale cannabis cultivation “which may prove to be far more energy intensive” than the current collection of small-growers.

Scale, based in New York, combines solar, battery storage and natural gas generators in a system that can cut energy cost by up to 35 percent.

Hade, an Air Force veteran and Stanford Graduate School of Business grad, said the system uses excess heat from generators to fuel air conditioning. With about 30 percent of a farmer’s overhead spent on fuel and electricity, he said, “you have to be sophisticated about energy management.”

JP Martin, founder of GrowX, a company in the cannabis accelerator Gateway, has focused his company on making indoor growing more efficient. The startup has produced prototypes for an aeroponic growing system, with sensors, lights and a mesh growing medium. It’s testing the system with two customers.

Martin said the system uses less energy and water than hydroponic growing, and eliminates possible impurities and disease developed from soil.

Cannabis grown indoors is often believed to be more potent — and is more expensive — than crops grown outdoors.

“Traditional farming is a broken model,” Martin said.

But even the promise of new technology — including energy saving LED lighting, sensor-filled growing pods and a network of artificial intelligence and high-efficiency electronics — may not be enough.

“In this warming world, indoor farming is an environmentally unaffordable luxury,” Mills said. “Even deep energy savings leave indoor grows as energy-intensive as most ordinary buildings.”

Some farmers have taken a traditional, natural approach to growing.

Cyril Guthridge, owner and operator of Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, plants outdoors. He searches for the right combination of plants and environment to produce high-quality strains of marijuana on his 160 acre homestead.

He has several friends growing indoors and producing great crops, he said. The process can produce high-quality crops, but is usually three times more expensive, he said.

But Guthridge wants to fill a niche for high-quality, naturally grown marijuana. And his farm is off the grid, powered by renewable sources.

“Nature is providing us with a very good environment,” he said.

Growers in the True Humboldt collective, in rural Humboldt County, also strive to produce natural products, with less environmental impacts.

“The most energy-efficient way to cultivate cannabis in California,” said Chrystal Ortiz, a representative for True Humboldt, “is using our (California) sunshine as a primary light source.”

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_tv_feed

Posted by Joan Morris

“Survivor,” the granddaddy of all reality shows, returns to the air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS, with a season theme that seems oddly in tune with today’s world — heroes vs. healers vs. hustlers.

As usual, the one who outwits, outplays and outlasts the rest will receive $1 million, a good payoff for all the suffering the players endure. As in recent seasons, there will be a “super idol with a twist.” We can’t wait.

Were back with the snark, starting now as we introduce you to the players and size up their chances based on nothing more than too many years of experience and the desire to make jokes at the expense of others.

Here’s the rundown, and join us here Wednesday night for a recap of the episode.

LEVU- HEROES TRIBE

Alan Ball, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Alan Ball (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Alan Ball, 31

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Occupation: NFL cornerback (formerly of the Dallas Cowboys)

  • Survivor skills: Physical ability and mental strength
  • Survivability: The problem with athletes is that they often put all their abilities into one sport. In this case, Alan has physical power and can run, but can he swim? Can he solve puzzles? Can he find something else for a career other than as a former something? We set his chances at fair.
Ben Driebergen, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ben Driebergen (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Ben Driebergen, 34

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Occupation: Marine

  • Survivor skills: Come on, he’s a Marine. He’s tough. He’s determined. He knows we can’t handle the truth.
  • Survivability: At first blush, we might write Ben off for lacking a social game. The man lists “whiners” as his one and only pet peeve, and “Survivor” is known for being a sanctuary for whiners. But on the other hand, this is a guy who is battle tested and knows how to make friends quickly. It likely would be a mistake to question his loyalty. We give him a better than fair chance of winning.
John "JP" Hilsabeck, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
John “JP” Hilsabeck (Robert Voets/CBS) 

John “J.P.” Hilsabeck, 28

Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Firefighter

  • Survivor skills: Putting out fires, saving lives, driving big red trucks
  • Survivability: He has the physical strength and determination, but we think he’s going to run out of water before the fire is completely extinguished. In other words, we think he’ll be among the first to go.
Chrissy Hofbeck, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Chrissy Hofbeck (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Chrissy Hofbeck, 46

Hometown: Lebanon Township, New Jersey

Occupation: Actuary

  • Survivor skills: World traveler, can do math
  • Survivability: We get including firefighters, a Marine, sports heroes and a lifeguard on the hero tribe, but someone who analyzes risks and sets insurance rates? We’ve done a little calcutating on our own and we think Chrissy’s day are numbered. Single digits.
Ashley Nolan, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ashley Nolan (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Ashley Nolan, 26

Hometown: Satellite Beach, Floria

Occupation: Lifeguard

  • Survivor skills: Physically fit, swims well, presumably good at running on a beach
  • Survivability: Despite Ashley’s physical abilities, she seems likely to rely on her looks and charm to get her through. The “Survivor” she most identifies with is Richard Hatch, winner of Season 1, when no one really knew what was going on. Hatch is definitely old news. Ashley’s chances are going down for the third time.
Katrina Radke, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Katrina Radke Robert Voets/CBS

Katrina Radke, 46

Hometown: Excelsior, Minnesota

Occupation: Olympian

  • Survivor skills: Strong swimmer, martial arts practitioner
  • Survivability: First of all, we call foul on her stated occupation. She was on the U.S. Olympic swim team in 1988, an astounding feat but hardly a current career. But maybe listing her profession as Olympian wasn’t her idea. In real life, she’s a marriage and family therapist and online professor for Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. She’s actually in a good position to make it all work, so we’re ranking her chances of winning high.

SOKO- HEALERS TRIBE

Jessica Johnston, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Jessica Johnston (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Jessica Johnston, 29

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Occupation: Nurse practioner

  • Survivor skills: smart, fit, has her own brand of healthy products
  • Survivability: She believes her Type A personality will help her, along with her “sanguine personality.” She says she always stands out as being a super-social optimist and could win the Miss Congeniality of Survivor award, if there was one, which there isn’t. Oh, she’ll be going home soon.
Roark Luskin, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Roark Luskin (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Roark Luskin, 27

Hometown: Palo Alto (currently resides in Santa Monica)

Occupation: Social worker

  • Survivor skills: Watches a lot of “The Bachelor,” pro at reading Yelp! reviews
  • Survivability: Let’s just say we don’t hold much hope for Roark, whose role model in life is not Beyonce, but her 5-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy. What? She also said, if given the chance to bring three items with her, she would bring Kalteen bars, “because butter isn’t a carb.” What? Something tells us when she goes, and she will go, we’ll all be saying “Who?”
Cole Medders, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Cole Medders (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Cole Medders, 24

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Occupation: Wilderness therapy guide

  • Survivor skills: Rock climbing, mountaineering
  • Survivability: The theme this year seems to be players describing themselves as “well rounded.” OK, we’ll give Cole the benefit of the doubt. Until we see how his social game plays out, his odds of making it to the finals stand at even.
Joe Mena, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Joe Mena (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Joe Mena, 34

Hometown: Tolland, Connecticut

Occupation: Probation officers

  • Survivor skills: Street cred, accustomed to dealing with tough personalities
  • Survivability: Joe, who grew up in the Bronx, is definitely a tough guy who is not used to taking any guff. We think he’ll be tempted to take charge and the other players rarely care for take-charge people and tend to get rid of them first. Let’s say he has potential, but he’ll need luck.
Desiree Williams, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Desiree “Desi” Williams (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Desiree “Desi” Williams, 27

Hometown: Newport News, Virginia

Occupation: Physical therapist

  • Survivor skills: Fit, athletic, former pageant girl
  • Survivability: We’re a bit disappointed by Desi’s list of her own attributes — charm, wit, beauty, mental fortitude, physical strength. We think that list should be reversed, but then again, we’re sitting here in the recliner watching, not playing the game. We’re putting her odds at even.
Mike Zahalsky, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Mike Zahalsky (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Mike Zahalsky, 43

Hometown: Parkland, Florida

Occupation: Urologist

  • Survivor skills: Fishing, archery, ability to diagnose a kidney stone
  • Survivability: Mike wins our seasonal award as the player most likely to start mumbling to himself and needlessly hacking things with a machete. That could be because he lists watching “Game of Thrones” as a hobby. A hobby or a manual for playing “Survivor.” He also promises that people will be hugging him after he votes them off. He’ll probably go far in the game, but in the end his hopes will be flushed.

YAWA — HUSTLERS TRIBE

Patrick Bolton, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Patrick Bolton (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Patrick Bolton, 24

Hometown: Auburn, Alabama

Occupation: Small business owner

  • Survivor skills: Fishing, shelter building, fire starting
  • Survivability: Unlike some of his fellow hustlers, Patrick takes the negative connotation out of the word “hustler.” He seems like a genuinely nice guy who has worked hard to start his own business. His role model is his dad, and he wants to be liked. He could make it to the end.
Ali Elliott, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ali Elliott (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Ali Elliott, 24

Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Celebrity assistant

  • Survivor skills: Can shop, hang out at the gym and share photos on social media
  • Survivability: We’re unclear if she works for a particular celebrity or if she just shows up and randomly assists wandering celebrities. Ali is another one who describes herself as well-rounded, and believes she can “excel at the social, physical and mental aspects” of the game. We think she’ll be spending a lot of time at Loser Lodge, posting selfies on Instagram.
Simone Nguyen, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Simone Nguyen (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Simone Nguyen, 25

Hometown: New York, New York

Occupation: Diversity Advocate

  • Survivor skills: Volunteering, practicing yoga, complaining
  • Survivability: Oh my, we’re going to enjoy watching this one. Her reason for signing on to “Survivor” was because “I wanted a change, for like a month.” Oh honey, you’re not going to be in the game nearly that long, but you’ll have plenty of time for complaining at Loser Lodge.
Devon Pinto, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Devon Pinto (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Devon Pinto, 23

Hometown: Solano Beach, California

Occupation: Surf instructor

  • Survivor skills: Swimming and surfing, pumping up his ego
  • Survivability: Despite our concerns that Devon already is bragging about all the Immunity Challenges he’s going to win, and just how wonderful and lovable he is, he probably will go far in the game, all the while wracking up the haters.
Lauren Rimmer, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lauren Rimmer (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Lauren Rimmer, 35

Hometown: Beaufort, North Carolina

Occupation: Fisherman

  • Survivor skills: Fishing, good on a boat, playing softball
  • Survivability: Lauren seems like a nice person with some marketable skills in the world of “Survivor,” but she’s a bit older than the other women on her tribe, and that’s never good. If she can survive the mean girls and make an alliance, she could buck the odds and go far.

 

Ryan Ulrich, will be one of the 18 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers," when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 35th season premiere on, Wednesday, September 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ?2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ryan Ulrich (Robert Voets/CBS) 

Ryan Ulrich, 23

Hometown: North Arlington, New Jersey

Occupation: Bellhop

  • Survivor skills: Plays harmonica, sings karaoke, highly trained at watching sports
  • Survivability: Are you kidding us? He not only has our vote for being named the most annoying player this season, he also stands a good chance of being of captured by a gang of monkeys and never being heard from again. Which means he’ll probably win.
[syndicated profile] apartmenttherapymain_feed

There's just something about fall that makes us want to snuggle up with a good book, a great cup of tea, and the best wool blanket money can buy. But because we don't all have limitless budgets, we've rounded up 15 of our favorites at a range of prices, even including a couple under $100. Why is wool worth the price, you ask? Prepare to meet the warmest, most durable, longest-lasting blanket you'll ever own.

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[syndicated profile] arstechnica_ip_feed

Posted by Timothy B. Lee

Enlarge / Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. (credit: George Grinsted)

The new CEO of Uber says he's sorry for "mistakes" the company has made—mistakes that could lead to the company losing its license to operate in London. London's taxi regulator, Transport for London, announced Friday that Uber's license would not be renewed.

"While Uber has revolutionized the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote. "On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes we’ve made."

Uber's license expires at the end of the month, but Transport for London said Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue operating while the appeal is being heard. The agency faulted Uber for its poor record of reporting serious crimes involving Uber drivers to the police. It also objected to Uber's handling of driver background checks and said Uber had not adequately explained whether it used software called "Greyball" to mislead British regulators the way the company had misled some Americans.

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Posted by Ars Staff

Enlarge / Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite detected this jack-o-lantern corn maze in Bell County, Kentucky. Satellite images are being paired with other data to find a totally different sort of pattern—predicting crop yields and failures. (credit: Space Imaging/Getty Images)

Despite Elon Musk's warnings this summer, there's not a whole lot of reason to lose any sleep worrying about Skynet and the Terminator. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is far from becoming a maleficent, all-knowing force. The only "Apocalypse" on the horizon right now is an over reliance by humans on machine learning and expert systems, as demonstrated by the deaths of Tesla owners who took their hands off the wheel.

Examples of what currently pass for "Artificial Intelligence"—technologies such as expert systems and machine learning—are excellent for creating software that can help in contexts that involve pattern recognition, automated decision-making, and human-to-machine conversations. Both types have been around for decades. And both are only as good as the source information they are based on. For that reason, it's unlikely that AI will replace human beings' judgment on important tasks requiring decisions more complex than "yes or no" any time soon.

Expert systems, also known as rule-based or knowledge-based systems, are when computers are programmed with explicit rules, written down by human experts. The computers can then run the same rules but much faster, 24x7, to come up with the same conclusions as the human experts. Imagine asking an oncologist how she diagnoses cancer and then programming medical software to follow those same steps. For a particular diagnosis, an oncologist can study which of those rules was activated to validate that the expert system is working correctly.

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[syndicated profile] lifehacker_feed

Posted by Patrick Lucas Austin

Avid gamers are most likely using the digital marketplace and multiplayer matchmaking app Steam to play their games library on the big screen, even if it’s just the battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. But Steam and its TV-friendly streaming console Steam Link (favored by users who aren’t playing on their…

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