The Perfect Republican Stump Speech | FiveThirtyEight

The Perfect Republican Stump Speech | FiveThirtyEight

We asked former Republican speechwriter Barton Swaim to write a ​totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary GOP presidential candidate — one who ​espouses only positions that a majority of Republicans agree with. ​Here’s the speech he wrote, including notes to explain his phrasing, behind-the-scenes pro tips on appealing to Republican voters and the data he used to decide which positions to take.


Not Even Scientists Can Easily Explain P-values | FiveThirtyEight

Not Even Scientists Can Easily Explain P-values | FiveThirtyEight

P-values have taken quite a beating lately. These widely used and commonly misapplied statistics have been blamed for giving a veneer of legitimacy to dodgy study results, encouraging bad research practices and promotingfalse-positive study results.

But after writing about p-values again and again, and recently issuing a correction on a nearly year-old story over some erroneous information regarding a study’s p-value (which I’d taken from the scientists themselves and their report), I’ve come to think that the most fundamental problem with p-values is that no one can really say what they are.

Last week, I attended the inaugural METRICS conference at Stanford, which brought together some of the world’s leading experts on meta-science, or the study of studies. I figured that if anyone could explain p-values in plain English, these folks could. I was wrong.

What I learned by asking all these very smart people to explain p-values is that I was on a fool’s errand. Try to distill the p-value down to an intuitive concept and it loses all its nuances and complexity, said science journalist Regina Nuzzo, a statistics professor at Gallaudet University. “Then people get it wrong, and this is why statisticians are upset and scientists are confused.” You can get it right, or you can make it intuitive, but it’s all but impossible to do both.

Promising new prototype of battery — ScienceDaily

Promising new prototype of battery — ScienceDaily

The idea for using sodium in batteries dates back to the 1980s. At the time, lithium was preferred to sodium as the material of choice and it has been widely used ever since for portable electronic devices such as tablets, laptops and electric vehicles. However, lithium has a major drawback in that it is fairly rare on our planet. Teams from the RS2E (with the CNRS as the leading partner) therefore turned towards sodium, a thousand times more abundant. They developed sodium-ion battery prototypes where sodium ions move from one electrode to another in a liquid during the charge and discharge cycles.

The first step was to find the ideal “recipe” for the positive electrode (cathode) of the battery. Six partner laboratories of the RS2E (see list below) were involved in the project with the goal to find the right composition for this sodium electrode. The development of a future prototype was then entrusted to CEA, a member of the RS2E network. In only six months, CEA was able to develop the first sodium-ion prototype in the “18650” format, that of the batteries found on the market, i.e. a cylinder 1.8cm in diameter and 6.5cm in height. This should facilitate technology transfer to existing production units. Other international laboratories also work on this technology, but none of them has yet announced the development of such a “18650” prototype.

This second stage made it possible to move from the laboratory scale (synthesis of several grams of cathode material) to the “pre-industrial” scale (synthesis of 1kg batches). It enabled the production of batteries with unmatched power performance levels. This new technology is already showing promising results. Its energy density (the quantity of electricity that can be stored by Kg of battery) amounts to 90Wh/kg, a figure already comparable with the first lithium-ion batteries. And its lifespan-the maximum number of charge/discharge cycles that a battery can withstand without any significant loss of performance-exceeds 2,000 cycles. But most of all, these cells are capable of charging and delivering their energy very rapidly. The main advantage of the technology is that it does away with lithium, a rare element only found in specific locations, contrary to sodium. Its other advantage is financial, as using sodium could make it possible to manufacture less expensive batteries.

In-depth: State of 5G for the big four carriers

In-depth: State of 5G for the big four carriers

As of now, next generation 5G mobile networks are still years away from standardization, but the lack of formal definitions and speculation hasn’t deterred major international interest and investment.

In the US, all four major carriers–Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US and Sprint–have outlined strategies and expectations around 5G. The broad consensus is that 5G will need to provide superfast throughput across multiple types of access networks including support for Wi-Fi, LTE-U and more.

Each of America’s big four carriers have outlined a vision for 5G, but are far apart on agreeing when and how 5G will become a reality. Here’s an in-depth look at the state of 5G for the 4 big carriers.

[Most of the material is marketing hype.  Since there are no standards for 5G yet no one knows what is going to be real.  It will be more interesting to see what each carrier actually does. T-Mobile has traditionally be a laggard.  Thay let others make the mistakes and allow for the technology to mature in features and cost.  They may not have that luxury with 5G.]

Earth’s first ecosystems were more complex than previously thought, study finds — ScienceDaily

Earth’s first ecosystems were more complex than previously thought, study finds — ScienceDaily

The international team of researchers from Canada, the UK and the USA, including Dr Imran Rahman from the University of Bristol, UK studied fossils of an extinct organism called Tribrachidium, which lived in the oceans some 555 million years ago. Using a computer modelling approach called computational fluid dynamics, they were able to show that Tribrachidium fed by collecting particles suspended in water. This is called suspension feeding and it had not previously been documented in organisms from this period of time.

Tribrachidium lived during a period of time called the Ediacaran, which ranged from 635 million to 541 million years ago. This period was characterised by a variety of large, complex organisms, most of which are difficult to link to any modern species. It was previously thought that these organisms formed simple ecosystems characterised by only a few feeding modes, but the new study suggests they were capable of more types of feeding than previously appreciated.

Dr Simon Darroch, an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, said: “For many years, scientists have assumed that Earth’s oldest complex organisms, which lived over half a billion years ago, fed in only one or two different ways. Our study has shown this to be untrue, Tribrachidium and perhaps other species were capable of suspension feeding. This demonstrates that, contrary to our expectations, some of the first ecosystems were actually quite complex.”

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: List: Ways to Protect Your Data.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: List: Ways to Protect Your Data.

Eat your data

Eating your data is one of the best ways to keep it from ending up in the wrong hands. There are several ways you can do this. You can cook your data and season it to your preference, or you can have data tartar.

Put your data in the cloud

Lots of people talk about “cloud storage” nowadays, but rarely do they get it right. See that big fluffy one up there? Here’s a crossbow. Tie your data to an arrow and shoot it straight into the cloud; it’s unhackable.

Abandon your data at a grocery store

Sometimes if you really care about something, like your data, it’s best to realize maybe you’re not the best person to take care of it, and let it go completely.

Put your data in an old tube sock

Everyone has an old tube sock, but few people appreciate their potential for data security. If it’s good enough for Grandma’s life savings, it’s definitely good enough to conceal your digital footprint.

Put a fake mustache on your data

One of the most effective tools in cyber security is a pair of Groucho Marx glasses. Put these on your data, and hackers won’t know what they’re even looking at.

Teach your data how to protect itself

You’re probably babying your data; it’s time to toughen it up a bit. Start off by watching UFC fights with your data, and — when it’s ready — sign it up for martial arts lessons.

Poison your data

This is a last resort, straight out of the Cersei Lannister playbook. If your feel your data may be compromised, slip it a little poison and sing it a lullaby as it slowly drifts into the next world. It’s important to remember that going with this option doesn’t mean you’re bad at cyber security, it just means you’d do whatever it takes to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Bury your data

Squirrels forget where most of their nuts are buried, and eventually those nuts become trees. Grab your data, along with some acorns, and start digging. If you’re lucky, your data will remain underground, safe from hackers who neurotically dig holes in your backyard trying to access it.

Don’t make any data

This one takes dedication, so only try it if you’re very serious about cyber security. You’re going to want to wander into the woods shortly after being born, before they have time to print a birth certificate and issue you a social security number. Remain there for the rest of your days, data breach-free.

AT&T predicted to dominate 600 MHz incentive auction with $10B in bids, outshining T-Mobile’s $8B spend – FierceWireless

AT&T predicted to dominate 600 MHz incentive auction with $10B in bids, outshining T-Mobile’s $8B spend – FierceWireless

The financial analysts at Wells Fargo predicted that AT&T(NYSE: T) will outspend its rivals on licenses during the FCC’s incentive auction next year of TV broadcasters’ 600 MHz spectrum, dropping up to $10 billion on a 2×10 MHz block of spectrum with nationwide capability. The analysts predict T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) will come in second with bids of up to $8 billion, while Verizon (NYSE: VZ) will clock in last among the nation’s largest wireless carriers with a total of $5 billion in bids.

As the Wells Fargo analysts point out in their latest report on the incentive auction, AT&T initially pledged to bid at least $9 billion in the incentive auction, but when the carrier made that pledge it was still in the process of acquiring DirecTV. The Wells Fargo analysts said that, since the close of its DirecTV acquisition earlier this year, AT&T has backtracked from that pledge.

Nonetheless, the analysts point to recent statements on the auction from AT&T CFO John Stephens that “We would expect to participate. … Certainly, getting nationwide opportunities is what we’ve talked about in the past. The 2×10 nationwide capability is something that works very well with our network planning and our network team, but we will see how this develops.”

Sprint has said it will not bid in the auction.

Part of what may drive up that price is participation in the auction from so-called “dark horse” players, or those companies that do not currently play in the wireless industry. Wells Fargo pointed to cable companies like Comcast as possible auction dark horses, as well as Google, SoftBank, Dish Network and possibly former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, who has said he may participate in the event.

Teardown shows Nest Cam is “always-on” even when you think it’s off | Ars Technica

Teardown shows Nest Cam is “always-on” even when you think it’s off | Ars Technica

It turns out your home security camera may see more of your home than you thought it did. In a teardown of the Nest Cam, a team at ABI Research found that even when “off,” the camera draws nearly the same amount of power as when it’s fully powered on, meaning it’s functional and running even when the indicator light claims otherwise.

Within the Nest Cam app, there is a “Camera On/Off” toggle, which many may think controls the camera’s capture of video. However, the ABI team and Jim Mielke, vice president of teardowns at ABI Research, found that the home security camera doesn’t draw much less power when it’s “off.” “In this case, the current drain only changed slightly when given the turn off command, reducing from 370mA to 340mA. Typically a shutdown or standby mode would reduce current by as much as 10 to 100 times. This means that even when a consumer thinks that he or she is successfully turning off this camera, the device is still running.”

This may be unsettling for those who own Nest Cams and believed they were totally shutting down the camera when they turned it off from within the app. However, Nest doesn’t deny that this is true—a spokesperson for Nest Labs told the BBC in a statement, “When Nest Cam is turned off from the user interface (UI), it does not fully power down, as we expect the camera to be turned on again at any point in time.”

While it doesn’t change the potential security risks that come along with an “always-on” camera observing your living room, that explanation makes sense when you understand what “on” and “off” mean in terms of the Nest Cam. Turning the camera on in the app means the Nest Cam is actively looking for motion and sound to alert you to—and capturing video while it does so. It doesn’t disassociate motion and sound detection from the camera’s functionality, so when the camera is on, the Nest Cam is on high alert for disturbances in your home. Of the handful of home security cameras I’ve recently reviewed, the one that does have an explicit option to turn off the camera is the Canary—it has three modes of watchfulness, with one being “Privacy: Camera and microphone are completely off.”

The Nest Cam may be watching, but according to the company, that doesn’t mean that footage is going anywhere. The same Nest spokesperson told the BBC, “When Nest Cam is turned off, it completely stops transmitting video to the cloud, meaning it no longer observes its surroundings.” Really, it’s no longer actively observing and looking for things to ping your smartphone about, but it also shouldn’t transmit that video elsewhere. Nest Labs also made a point to note that the camera uses 128-bit secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and a 2,048-bit RSA key that is different for each camera. These precautions make sure your video data can’t be accessed, even over the local Wi-Fi network.

Wearable tech to decode sign language | Reuters

Wearable tech to decode sign language | Reuters

The communication barrier between deaf people who use sign language and those that don’t understand it may be coming to an end thanks to a new wearable technology being developed at Texas A&M University.

The device incorporates a system of sensors that records the motion of hand gestures, as well as the electromyography or EMG signals produced by muscles in the wrist when signing.

“We decode the muscle activities we are capturing from the wrist. Some of it is coming from the fingers indirectly because if I happen to keep my fist like this versus this, the muscle activation is going to be a little different,” said Roozbeh Jafari, an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

It’s those differences that present the researchers with their biggest challenge. Fine tuning the device to process and translate the different signals accurately, in real time, requires sophisticated algorithms. The other problem is that no two people sign exactly alike, which is why they designed the system to learn from its user.

“When you wear the system for the first time the system operates with some level of accuracy. But as you start using the system more often, the system learns from your behavior and it will adapt its own learning models to fit you,” Jafari added.

Suit Over Drawing in Court Papers Can Proceed

Suit Over Drawing in Court Papers Can Proceed

A Louisiana man whose divorce papers contained his son’s pornographic drawing can sue the website that published it, a state appeals court ruled.

Chris Yount is a paralegal and process server. During the course of his job, he has served process in defamation lawsuits to Douglas Handshoe and his website.

Yount was going through a divorce in 2013 when his son’s drawing, which was part of the divorce proceeding, appeared on the Slabbed website.

Handshoe and Jack “Bobby” Truitt commented on the article, identifying the artist as a child and noting that the drawing was attached to a divorce case.
The judge sealed part of the divorce case record and ordered that the drawing be removed from the Internet.
The blog post came down after the Slabbed site also received a notice of copyright infringement. However, Handshoe found a new webhost and republished the site, including the drawing.

Handshoe posted on two other occasions after the case was sealed, identifying Yount and his son.

Yount sued Handshoe, Truitt, and Slabbed New Media LLC for invasion of privacy, defamation, cyberstalking and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Handshoe and Truitt tried to block the lawsuit with anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motions. Handshoe stated that his blog posts were substantially true or consisted of reasonable opinion.

The trial court granted Handshoe and Truitt’s motions, ruling that the blog posts were protected speech under the First Amendment in connection with a public issue.

However, the Gretna-based Fifth Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision in Handshoe’s case in May, allowing Yount to proceed with his lawsuit.

Presently, the appeals court made a similar ruling in regard to Truitt.

Judge Hans Liljeberg wrote that in the Handshoe ruling, the appeals court “found that Mr. Yount’s divorce proceeding is ‘a private domestic matter, not a matter of public significance for purposes of applying the Louisiana anti-SLAPP protections.

“Just like Mr. Handshoe, Mr. Truitt has not met his burden of proving that his actions were in furtherance of his right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue, and (the law) does not protect him from the claims made against him by Mr. Yount,” he added.

[I find it strange that divorce is viewed as a private matter.  There are many benefits available for couples known to be married.  The public will need to then know when they are unmarried (i.e. divorced).]