Canadas health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain UN

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.That’s the conclusion of the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras. He wrapped an 11-day visit to Canada Friday.He says most Canadians enjoy a good standard of care but barriers remain for Indigenous peoples, the poor, undocumented migrants and other vulnerable groups.Puras says Canada has yet to fully embrace the notion that health care is a human right, despite signing onto international declarations on the subject.Puras also says Canada should stop providing foreign aid to countries with mental health systems that rely on over-medication and coercion.A summary of Puras’ findings was contained in news release issued Friday; his full report is due in June.last_img read more

More Canadians are saying the countrys housing is unaffordable regardless of income

OTTAWA — Feel like a house in your city is unaffordable? Apparently, you’re not alone.A new poll suggests that just over two in five Canadians believe housing in this country is not affordable for them, a finding that cuts almost evenly across income levels.The poll by EKOS Research appears even more bleak in some of Canada’s hottest housing markets, where only a small sliver of respondents said they believe homes are affordable.The data closely lines up with more formal benchmarks the federal government uses to measure affordability, as well as other data about the cost of housing, whether purchased or rented.The Trudeau government has promised a national housing strategy to help Canadians find and afford suitable housing, part of a larger strategy to reduce poverty. But the poll suggests the government is also dealing with public fears about affordability.Mortgage rate hike looms as Canadians hit near-record debtHas Poloz been more hawkish than people think? The July 12 rate decision will offer up some clues“It’s a deeply troubling finding that in certain portions of Canada, either geographically or societally, that this is a crisis level,” said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research.The poll found about half of respondents who consider themselves poor or working class believe that the cost of local housing is beyond their means. The rate was 38 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, with respondents who consider themselves middle or upper class.Looking at cities, only six per cent of respondents in Toronto and two per cent in Vancouver said they believe housing was affordable. In Calgary, the number was 11 per cent; in Montreal, 22 per cent.The results of the telephone poll of 5,658 Canadians, conducted between June 1 and 19, are considered accurate to within 1.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.The federal government hopes to halve the number of the hardest-to-help homeless, lifting tens of thousands out of “core housing need” — meaning they spend more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or doesn’t meet their needs.The Liberal government believes the biggest impact could be on renters who are stretched financially in many of Canada’s biggest cities.Research from the University of Calgary’s school of public policy finds that affordability crunch is most acute in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, where a low-income family can spend upwards of half their income on the lowest-priced apartments.Different situations in different cities make crafting a national housing strategy a challenge, because it must account for regional variations in incomes and costs, the school says in its June research note.Municipal leaders are asking the government to prioritize federal spending on repair existing and construct new affordable housing units to deal with chronic shortages and deepening poverty in Canada. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is also recommending the government provide direct housing support newcomers to Canada and provide more help for indigenous peoples living in urban centres.The recommendations are part of a submission to the Liberals’ anti-poverty strategy consultations.The Canadian Press read more

Annan calls on Israel to cease West Bank settlement expansion

“The Secretary-General expresses strong concern over reports of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, through the Government of Israel’s recent publication of tenders for construction of new housing units,” a statement issued by his spokesman said.Such activities “clearly contradict Israel’s obligations under the Road Map” which unequivocally calls for a freeze on all settlement activity, the spokesman noted, pointing out that this also covers what is called “natural growth,” namely the construction of housing within the existing boundaries of a given settlement.The Secretary-General called on the Israeli Government to cease this settlement expansion and to fulfil its Road Map obligations.The Road Map, sponsored by the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States, calls for a series of parallel and reciprocal steps leading to two States living side-by-side in peace by the end of next year. read more

Water resources a reason for cooperation not conflict Ban tells Security Council

“The need for coordination in water management is especially compelling for the more than 260 international rivers and at least that many transboundary aquifers,” Mr. Ban told a Security Council debate, which was open to non-Council members.According to a concept note issued by Senegal, the Council’s President for November, in the same way that disputes over oil and land have led to conflicts now and in the past, disputes over water could lead to confrontations in the future, if nothing is done. The debate is an opportunity to showcase successful experiences and mechanisms for cooperation and mediation with a view to strengthening one of the UN’s weaknesses – conflict prevention. “Access to water can exacerbate communal tensions,” the UN chief said, citing hostile competition for scarce water resources in Darfur and Afghanistan as well as protests and violence against extractive companies by local communities in Peru.On the other hand, shared water has historically – and sometimes rather improbably – brought adversaries together, and served as a crucial confidence-building measure in both inter-state and intrastate conflicts, Mr. Ban stressed, noting that in the second half of the 20th century, more than 200 water treaties were successfully negotiated. In addition, he said, international river agreements have enhanced security and stability in river basins, such as the 1960 Indus Waters agreement between India and Pakistan, which has famously survived at least two wars and numerous clashes and diplomatic crises. In the Nile Basin, last year’s signing of a Declaration of Principles by the Governments of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, followed more recently by various formal and informal dialogues, has been a vital confidence-building measure. And in the Senegal River Basin, riparian States including Mali, Mauritania and Senegal have had a long history of benefit-sharing, providing a cornerstone for regional stability and peace. With at least one in four human beings likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water by 2050, the UN has actively promoted the potential of water for cooperation, the Secretary-General said.The work of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) on “hydro-diplomacy” is one notable example. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Water Convention is now open for accession to all UN Member States, offering the opportunity to create a global framework for dealing with transboundary water issues. The Department of Political Affairs and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have published a useful guide containing best practices in this area. A dam in Um Baru, North Darfur, which, during the rainy season, increases water storage, supports frequent irrigation of agricultural lands and reduces the risks of floods. Photo: UNAMID/Hamid Abdulsalam The Laghman River, one of Afghanistan’s many waterways, is essential to agriculture and other development in this largely rural eastern province. Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi Mr. Ban also stressed the central role of women in local water management, the negatively compounding impact of climate change on these challenges as well as the holding of water resources as military strategies.“Despite these serious challenges, we must also recognize the potential for cooperation around shared water resources,” he said. “And let us commit to invest in water security as a means to ensure long-term international peace and security.” Today’s debate was also addressed by Danilo Turk, Chair of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace; Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee on Red Cross; and Sundeep Waslekar, Strategic Foresight Group President. read more

Kareem AbdulJabbar Blasts Stereotype All Athletes are Cheaters Amid

(Wikimedia Commons)Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has heard about the Cleveland Cavaliers star Tristan Thompson cheating on Khloé Kardashian. He’s also heard people say that Kardashian should have seen it coming due to his athlete status and he wants folks to know that’s the wrong way to think.The retired NBA star explains the issue with boxing athletes as cheaters in a Monday, April 16 essay for Cosmopolitan, saying it’s still bad even if it doesn’t compare to making a sexist joke or buying into racist stereotypes.“This is a pervasive opinion people have of pro athletes — and not even the worst one,” he wrote of unfaithful pro-players. “But that doesn’t make it true or acceptable. Imagine how different the response would be if the comment were, ‘He’s Black.’ But athletes are expected to accept the insulting stereotypes, shut up, and dribble.“This offensive characterization is in no way on par with the much worse stereotyping of women, people of color, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community,” he continued. “But when we allow any prejudice to pass unchallenged, we endorse all prejudice. That smarmy joke about dumb blondes that a colleague tells at lunch demeans all women. That ‘observation’ about smart Asian students or gay flair or rapist immigrants endorses an environment of lazy thinking that carries over into other decision-making that is ultimately detrimental to society. When we hear casual stereotyping and say nothing, we collude in the detriment.”After acknowledging the role confirmation bias plays into pushing forward the notion that athletes are all cheaters, Abdul-Jabbar also admitted that sports stars from all kinds of games have had their share of indiscretions.“What makes the Khloé Kardashian situation more poignant — and more ripe for tabloid fodder — is that this is not the first time she’s been publicly cheated on, not even the first pro athlete to cheat on her,” he said, possibly referring to Rashad McCants, who claimed the cheating story was made up for TV.“Certainly, wealth, power, and fame give athletes, politicians, musicians, actors, and filmmakers more opportunities to be unfaithful to their spouses,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “But availability is no excuse for availing. Nor is it okay to use the bad behavior of some to characterize all. I’m not here to defend or condemn Tristan Thompson’s actions. If people feel the need to judge him, let them do so based on his behavior, not his profession or gender.”Meanwhile, folks on Twitter have been giving their take on the 71-year-old baller’s essay.“Right, so it’s our fault this stereotype persists, we make them cheat by our micro-aggressions,” someone said. “Got it. It’s a form of stereotyping, therefore a form of #racsim and so on, blah, blah, blah.”“Well they need to stop cheating so they aren’t stereotyped… if the shoe fits, buy a matching shirt,” someone else said.“Lol, but why isn’t this stereotype pushed on actors, musicians and politicians too?” someone else wondered. “They cheat just as often? Why not criticize the home wreckers, groupie, and gossip sites that take advantage of often false rumors to defame celebrities?” read more

Off the Ball 5 announce new partnership with the Irish Times

first_imgUpdated 12.25THE ‘OFF THE BALL 5′ are back.Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Ciaran Murphy, Simon Hick and Mark Horgan — the team formerly behind Newstalk’s award-winning sports show — have confirmed their return to broadcasting in a new partnership with the Irish Times.The new “Second Captains @ The Irish Times” will be a weekly show free to stream and podcast worldwide every Tuesday.The announcement brings an end to weeks of speculation following the team’s high-profile departure from Newstalk.The quintet surprised listeners in early March when they resigned en masse following “fundamental differences of opinion” with station management regarding the show’s scope and time slot.Reports suggested that a return to radio or a possible cross-over into television were in the pipeline, but the team were required to serve out two months of “gardening leave” before announcing their next move.“This month, the only place to hear the Second Captains is with,” a statement this morning read, wording which suggests that the team may branch out into further projects either collectively or individually in the near future.Off the Ball has since continued in its nightly 7pm-10pm slot on Newstalk, anchored by one of the show’s original creators Ger Gilroy and co-presenter Joe Molloy.11 ways the world has changed since the Off The Ball 5 were last on the airlast_img read more

Push to extend Greeces tourism period

first_imgBudget European airliner EasyJet has approached Greek tourist officials in an attempt to have the country’s tourism season extended, after it saw numbers to north African destinations drop as a result of increased terror attacks.The company – founded by Athens born Cypriot Stelio Haji-Ioannou – wants the period to run March to November, compared to the current May to September months.Flights to Tunisia have been scrapped after two separate terror attacks in the coastal town of Sousse and the Tunis’s Bardo National Museums killed dozens this year.“There’s a lot more unrest in places like Egypt and North Africa than we’ve seen,” UK regional director Sophie Dekkers said. “Where we probably would be piling on a lot more capacity, at the moment we’re being a bit more cautious because the consumer is being more cautious.”It would like to see the extended period operate from 2016. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Alcool la population des Pygmées Baka en danger depuis louverture dun bar

first_imgAlcool : la population des Pygmées Baka en danger depuis l’ouverture d’un barDéjà victimes de la déforestation, les habitants de Moange-le-Bosquet, au Cameroun, sont en train de voir leur taux de natalité chuter de manière vertigineuse depuis 7 ans. Les travaux d’un directeur de recherche au CNRS montrent que l’installation d’un bar dans le village pourrait être responsable de ce phénomène.   L’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé, on le sait. Mais ce que l’on sait moins c’est qu’il représente  un véritable risque pour la survie de l’espèce humaine. A plus de 4.000 km de Paris, dans le sud du Cameroun, un peuple est en train de disparaître. Et pas n’importe lequel. Celui des Pygmées Baka, l’un des derniers de notre planète à vivre de la chasse et de la cueillette. Et l’ouverture d’un bar n’y serait pas étrangère. Un paléontologue Made in France a mené l’enquêteDirecteur de recherche au CNRS, Fernando Ramirez Rozzi a passé de nombreuses années à étudier les Pygmées Baka, un peuple forestier vivant essentiellement au Cameroun et au Gabon. Leur population est estimée aujourd’hui entre 30 et 40.000 personnes. Ce chiffre pourrait dramatiquement baisser, comme l’a constaté le paléontologue dont les récents travaux ont été publiés, le 18 juin, dans la revue Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (les comptes-rendus de l’Académie nationale des sciences des États-Unis d’Amérique).C’est en examinant des statistiques concernant la population (800 habitants) du village-capitale de Moange-le-Bosquet, au sud du Cameroun, qu’il a remarqué une très forte baisse de la natalité, depuis 2011. Des données qui n’ont pas été aisées à récupérer. En effet, dans les sociétés nomades et de chasseurs-cueilleurs,  il est rare que les naissances soient répertoriées dans des registres. Mais en croisant les archives des religieuses qui se sont installées dans un dispensaire médical et ses propres annales, Fernando Ramirez Rozzi a pu mener à bien ses recherches. Entre 2007 et 2010, les femmes avaient en moyenne 8,8 enfants. Mais depuis 2011 et jusqu’en 2017, ce chiffre est tombé à 5,6 enfants par femme. Une chute qu’a bien évidemment voulu comprendre le chercheur. Après avoir examiné d’autres causes probables qui auraient pu impacter le taux de natalité, comme une hausse de maladies pouvant entraîner des problèmes de fertilité, il n’a pu que se rendre à l’évidence. Seule l’ouverture d’un bar, en 2010, dans le village pouvait expliquer cette baisse.Un bar qui sert un dangereux mélange Tenu par une femme parlant la langue Baka, le bar est devenu « The place to be » du village où hommes, femmes et même enfants se retrouvent. Mais Chez Djeny, on n’y sert pas que des sodas et du jus d’orange. Un dangereux cocktail à base de méthanol (un produit toxique qui sert de combustible) et d’éthanol (un alcool utilisé dans les dissolvants)  est proposé dans des pochettes pour 0,09 dollars (environ 8 centimes d’euro). Un prix attractif qui pousse malheureusement à la consommation d’alcool.À lire aussiL’étrange maladie qui rend ivre sans boire une goutte d’alcoolCette dernière, comme l’ont prouvé plusieurs études nuit à la fertilité féminine … et masculine. Le bar continue de servir ce mélange toxique alors que le gouvernement camerounais l’a pourtant interdit en raison de ses conséquences sur le système nerveux et le développement de certains cancers. Depuis 2011, l’intoxication alcoolique est l’une des premières causes de décès chez les Baka. « Cette baisse spectaculaire de la fertilité met en danger les chances de survie de ce peuple. [La consommation de ce mélange] peut avoir des conséquences  sur la mortalité infantile, alerte Fernando Ramirez Rozzi. Même de très jeunes enfants suçotent les dernières gouttes qu’ils trouvent dans les sachets abandonnés au sol » Lorsque le paléontologue du CNRS a averti les femmes du village des dangers que cela représentait « ellesont été très, très inquiètes quand on leur a parlé de la chute du taux de fertilité ». Peut-être militeront-elles pour que Chez Djeny ferme ses portes ou modifie, au moins, sa carte des consommations.  Par M.M À lire aussiAlcoolisme : les signes à ne pas ignorerL’OMS reconnaît l’addiction aux jeux vidéo comme une maladieLe 19 juin 2018 à 14:29 • Marina Marcoutlast_img read more

Technology outages compound DMV inefficiencies and wait times

first_img Posted: August 16, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsKUSI’s Sasha Foo takes a closer look at recent technology outages at local DMV’s, that combined with inefficiencies and long wait times, have made the problems with California DMV’s even worse. August 16, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Sasha Foo Technology outages compound DMV inefficiencies and wait times Sasha Foo, last_img read more

Davie family displaced after fire express gratitude for 7News viewers donations

first_imgDAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida family is giving thanks after receiving a generous gesture from 7News viewers, days after their home went up in flames.Davie homeowner David Cohen and his family received donations from kind 7News viewers on Sunday. Those viewers provided school supplies and clothing.Cohen said the family’s air conditioning unit caught fire, Wednesday, and destroyed their home, located near Southwest 39th Court and Davie Road.The heartbroken family is now homeless. “It really hurts. It really, really does, man,” David told a 7News crew on Saturday. “I’ve been here all my life, but in this house, I’ve been here 25 years.”RELATED: Davie family displaced after fire destroys homeThe family said, without homeowners insurance, it’s impossible for them to rebuild on their own.A family member has set up a GoFundMe page to help the Cohens during this difficult time. If you would like to make a donation, click here. You may also call David at 863-212-3631 or Rudy at 954-638-4882. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Sterling Highway Shoulder Widening Construction Project Starts Monday

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Department of Transportation will begin the process of widening the shoulders of the Sterling Highway from MP 97 to 118 starting on Monday, March 25. DOT will be working to widen the highway shoulders and install four large diameter culverts. This project is scheduled to be completed by October 2019. Drivers should expect minor delays in the area during the duration of the project. Construction for the 2019 season will primarily occur at Slikok Tributary, Crooked Creek, and Clam Gulch. The Coal Creek culvert will be replaced as a part of improvements, and the adjacent areas revegetated and restored. Construction work includes pavement removal, unclassified excavation, embankment, grading, paving, stream diversions, stream channel construction, stream bank construction, culvert installation, signing, and striping.last_img read more

Proposed criminal justice reform bill under scrutiny

first_imgSenators are working on a bill that would overhaul Alaska’s criminal justice system. The measure would reduce arrests and prison time for nonviolent offenses. It also would help prisoners re-enter society.But victim’s rights advocates and some legislators have raised concerns about the legislation.Download AudioThe bill draws on recommendations from the 13-member Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. It spent more than a year considering ways to reduce recidivism while taking pressure off of the need to build more prisons.Bill sponsor North Pole Republican Senator John Coghill said the bill would reduce the state’s prison population by 21 percent over the next 10 years, saving the state more than $400 million.Coghill also has worked to include input from victim’s rights advocates, who are worried that the bill would make life easier for offenders at victims’ expense.Emily Haynes testified in Juneau that a man who sexually assaulted her could be released soon due to the bill. That’s because he accepted a plea bargain that reduced the severity of his conviction.“I oppose this bill,” said Haynes. “It’s going to have a direct impact on my life. Five years ago I was a victim of a violent sexual assault and the offender will be eligible for release immediately under your proposal. For the past five years, I’ve been fighting this case.”And Butch Moore of Anchorage asked that the bill be changed to require those convicted of murder to have minimum sentences at least as long as those convicted of rapes. His daughter was killed in 2014.The bill’s been changed to carve out people convicted of sex crimes and domestic violence offenses from those who could be released from prison early.Chugiak Republican Senator Bill Stoltze supported more changes to the bill yesterday (Tuesday).While the commission included a police officer and heard testimony from victims’ rights advocates and corrections officers, Stoltze said law enforcement and victims didn’t have enough input on the legislation. He chairs the Senate State Affairs Committee.“Well, I think the rights have victims have been improved. I don’t think they were really that well considered through the commission process,” Stoltze said. “I think they were invited but not that welcomed there. And the Office of Victim Rights, which has very in-depth expertise, really didn’t get meaningful input until the bill got to this committee.”The Senate State Affairs Committee amended the bill to require the Department of Corrections to notify victims of offenders who are eligible for release under the bill, as well as contact information for the body that will decide whether to release the prisoner. The committee made a series of amendments and voted to release the bill.Supporters of the legislation have credited the Pew Charitable Trusts with providing much of the research and national expertise that supported the commission’s work.But Stoltze said the nonprofit foundation has had two much influence over the bill.“I haven’t fallen under the talismanic influences of the Pew Charitable Trusts,” said Stoltze. “I am interested in the fiscal savings. But I think the public has not been well enough informed of the details about that crime bill.”But supporters of the bill are concerned that some of the changes are weakening the bill.Grace Singh, assistant to the president at the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, criticizes a provision that requires that those who’ve had their convictions suspended still have their charges listed on the website CourtView.“This significantly discourages self-sufficiency, and it puts them in a more desperate position, which will not discourage crime or recidivism,” Singh said.The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear the bill next.last_img read more

Airbnb buying Indianfounded background check startup

first_imgAirbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky launches a new Airbnb service in New Delhi on March 19 this year.IANSShort-term lodging rental company Airbnb is buying Trooly, a background check startup co-founded by Savi Baveja, Anish Das Sarma and Nilesh Dalvi, in an effort to protect its hosts and guests from trouble makers using its service.Trooly analyses user data from social media, public records, and various other sources to verify the identity of users and prevent the registration of scammers or other bad actors.The Los Altos, California-based company has been helping Airbnb authenticate user identities since 2015. By analysing data from public records, social media and other sources, Trooly’s technology could help Airbnb track various customer violations, such as side deals between guests and hosts, according to a Bloomberg report.According to the report, Airbnb is expected to purchase Trooly’s intellectual property and engineering team on Monday.”We look forward to welcoming the Trooly team to Airbnb in the coming weeks,” Airbnb spokesman Tim Rathschmidt told Bloomberg, without providing a specific purchase price or other details of the arrangement between the two companies.Since its inception in 2008, Airbnb has found the task of whetting fraudulent listings a truly difficult one, as many people have been posing as property owners. Trooly’s data analysis has helped the verification process immensely and the purchase of the company will help Airbnb consolidate host and guest data to make oversight more efficient.In recent years, some Airbnb guests have been reportedly circumventing the service’s system to conduct side deals on social media or offer to pay hosts directly after locating them on the service. The purchase of Trooly should help Airbnb verify the identities of users on its platform more stringently.Airbnb takes as much as a 12 percent fee from its guests. Hosts are charged a 3 percent fee on listings that are booked. In most cases, the company is also required to charge guests a local tax, usually 3 per cent, though the tax rates vary by city, state and country.Founded in 2008, Airbnb raised $1.5 billion in December 2015. In 2016, it reportedly raised $10 million, according to venture capital tracking portal Crunchbase. It raised an additional $1 billion from unnamed investors in a funding round in March this year, expanding its warchest at a time of increased investor interest in fast-growing businesses.Airbnb raised $1 billion as part of the financing round which started in 2016, which had valued the business at $30 billion. Airbnb’s current valuation is understood to be approximately $25.5 billion.Over the years, Airbnb has raised more than $3 billion, and secured $1 billion as line of credit, according to research firm CB Insights. Airbnb, based in San Francisco, is the No.2 most valuable private company in the United States behind Uber, the ride-hailing business, according to CB Insights.last_img read more

Learn to Speak Like a Millennial With 300 New Dictionarycom Definitions

first_img Oxford Dictionary adds new slang, gaming terms, and a verb form of ̵…Adorkable is now a real word in the dictionary Stay on target Colorism: “Differential treatment based on skin color, especially favoritism toward those with a lighter skin tone and mistreatment or exclusion of those with a darker skin tone, typically among those of the same racial group or ethnicity”Whitelash: “A hostile or violent reaction by white people to the advances or influx of other racial or ethnic groups” (first recorded in 1965-70)Other race-based additions—neither term nor phenomena new—include:White guilt: “The feelings of shame and remorse some white people experience when they recognize the legacy of racism and injustice and perceive the ways they have benefited from it”White fragility: “The tendency among members of the dominant white cultural group to have a defensive, wounded, angry, or dismissive response to evidence of racism” (coined by author and academic Robin DiAngelo in her 2011 article “White Fragility”)And in a win for feminism, the dictionary has defined two relevant and provocative concepts:Male gaze: “The assumption in visual and creative arts that the default or desired audience consists of heterosexual males, and inclusion of women in narrative or art should seek to please this audience with the objectification or sexualization of these depicted women” (coined by film theorist Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”)Toxic masculinity: “A cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health”The list goes on—including technological terms (virtue signaling, crybullies), gullible gags (dad joke, womp womp, brain fart), and cultural curiosities (death cleaning, thirst trap, imposter syndrome).“If our 2019 updates ask us to accept anything,” said, “it’s that our language—as our times, will never sit still.”More on Dictionary Just Legitimized the Way You Throw Away Your WeekendsOxford Dictionary Adds New Slang, Gaming Terms, Verb Form of ‘MacGyver’QWERTY Effect: How Typing Makes Us Love Certain WOrds, Hate Others Chicanx: “Of or relating to people of Mexican-American design; used in place of the masculine form Chicano and feminine form ChicanaWomxn: “A woman; used as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women” (the earlier term womyn features a similar alternative spelling)“This word [womxn] gives greater voice to gender fluidity and inclusivity in intersectional feminism,” added.The 2018 blockbuster Black Panther, meanwhile, helped give rise to a number of racially charged terms—for better and worse:Afrofuturism: “A cultural movement that uses the frame of science fiction and fantasy to reimagine the history of the African diaspora and to invoke a vision of a technically advanced and generally hopeful future in which black people thrive” (coined by author and critic Mark Dery in his 1993 essay “Black to the Future”) The times, they are a-changin. And in an effort to keep up, this week added more than 300 new words and definitions to its repertoire.From Internet slang abbreviations (JSYK and JOMO) to inclusive and empowered identity and cultural terms (aromantic), the online lexicon is jumping feet first into the zeitgeist.“Now, we can’t do a deep dive into every new entrant here, because we only have one article and that would be too great an infodump,” the domain said in a blog post highlighting some of its latest additions. “So, consider this overview an elevator pitch for how our updates are defining the times.”Perhaps the most important enhancements concern visibility of marginalized groups.Three new terms take advantage of the letter “x” in alternative spellings, meant to be inclusive of those who identify as gender non binary:Latinx: “Of or relating to people of Latin American design; used in place of the masculine form Latino and feminine form Latina” (recorded in 2000-05)last_img read more

Kick back and enjoy over an hour of music from the 67

first_imgThe sounds of your youth can be a powerful trigger for transporting you back to a moment in your childhood. As someone who appreciates that pure feeling of nostalgia, I am constantly searching for these triggers. This week I was very happy to find a very unexpected one. YouTube user 11db11 has combined all of the background music from the 1967 Spider-Man animated series into one epic fan video. Now if you are saying to yourself, “I was born decades after this cartoon came out. Why should I bother checking this out?” Well, if you can’t enjoy some fun moody jazz tunes, you can at least say you now know where all those famous Spider-Man memes get their source material.The music is not perfect. 11db11 had to work with the source material available, but they went through great effort to remove voice and sound effects. This is exactly the kind of geeky love note to a niche subject that makes the internet special. More importantly, it plants a flag. It says to the marketplace that people have a desire for this material. So showing interest in this video is probably our best chance to “vote” to get a true release of the soundtrack.The music was created by jazz Legend Ray Ellis who passed away in 2008. He was a music arranger, conductor, and producer. Ellis is probably best know to non-cartoon music fans for his work on the orchestration for Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin (1958). For the cartoon fan, he is best known for his brilliant work with the company Filmation. There he worked under two pseudonyms, Yvette Blais or George Blais. Along with Norm Prescott, he composed much of the music for that storied cartoon studio from 1968 to 1982. If you like this music, you should check out some of his other work on shows like Ark II, Space Academy, and Jason of Star Command.This video is amazing, but 11db11 is not the only fan of this music to make an attempt to revive it. The Winnipeg-based band Volume, going under the name, “The Amazing Spider-band,” released nine tracks that capture the sound and flavor of the original recordings way back in 2002. You can even see their original website, which was long ago taken down via the Wayback Machine. Sadly, while I did find their original site and this image of a compact disc, I was not able to find a place to purchase the music online. Luckily, the tracks are all still available to stream at their page on Reverb Nation.via The Retroistlast_img read more

Implementing fuzzy logic to bring AI characters alive in Unity based 3D

first_img SetLabels(); } The Start() method doesn’t require much explanation. We simply update our labels here so that they initialize to something other than the default text. The EvaluateStatements() method is much more interesting. We first do some simple null checking for our input string. We don’t want to try and parse an empty string, so we return out of the function if it is empty. As mentioned earlier, there is no check in place to validate that you’ve input a numerical value, so be sure not to accidentally input a non-numerical value or you’ll get an error. For each of the AnimationCurve variables, we call the Evaluate(float t) method, where we replace t with the parsed value we get from the input field. In the example we ran, that value would be 65. Then, we update our labels once again to display the values we got. The code looks similar to this: /* * Updates the GUI with the evluated values based * on the health percentage entered by the * user. */ private void SetLabels() { healthyLabel.text = string.Format(labelText, healthyValue); hurtLabel.text = string.Format(labelText, hurtValue); criticalLabel.text = string.Format(labelText, criticalValue); } } We simply take each label and replace the text with a formatted version of our labelText constant that replaces the {0} with the real value. To summarize, we learned how fuzzy logic is used in the real world, and how it can help illustrate vague concepts in a way binary systems cannot. We also learned to implement our own fuzzy logic controllers using the concepts of member functions, degrees of membership, and fuzzy sets. If you enjoyed this excerpt, check out the book Unity 2017 Game AI Programming – Third Edition, to build exciting and richer games by mastering advanced Artificial Intelligence concepts in Unity. Read Next: Unity Machine Learning Agents: Transforming Games with Artificial Intelligence Put your game face on! Unity 2018.1 is now available How to create non-player Characters (NPC) with Unity 2018 public class FuzzySample1 : MonoBehaviour { private const string labelText = “{0} true”; public AnimationCurve critical; public AnimationCurve hurt; public AnimationCurve healthy; healthyValue = healthy.Evaluate(inputValue); hurtValue = hurt.Evaluate(inputValue); criticalValue = critical.Evaluate(inputValue); public Text healthyLabel; public Text hurtLabel; public Text criticalLabel; public InputField healthInput; center_img Fuzzy logic is a fantastic way to represent the rules of your game in a more nuanced way. Perhaps more so than other concepts, fuzzy logic is a very math-heavy topic. Most of the information can be represented purely by mathematical functions. For the sake of teaching the important concepts as they apply to Unity, most of the math has been simplified and implemented using Unity’s built-in features. In this tutorial, we will take a look at the concepts behind fuzzy logic systems and implement in your AI system. Implementing fuzzy logic will make your game characters more believable and depict real-world attributes. This article is an excerpt from a book written by Ray Barrera, Aung Sithu Kyaw, and Thet Naing Swe titled Unity 2017 Game AI Programming – Third Edition. This book will help you leverage the power of artificial intelligence to program smart entities for your games. Defining fuzzy logic The simplest way to define fuzzy logic is by comparison to binary logic.  Generally, transition rules as looked at as true or false or 0 or 1 values. Is something visible? Is it at least a certain distance away? Even in instances where multiple values were being evaluated, all of the values had exactly two outcomes; thus, they were binary. In contrast, fuzzy values represent a much richer range of possibilities, where each value is represented as a float rather than an integer. We stop looking at values as 0 or 1, and we start looking at them as 0 to 1. A common example used to describe fuzzy logic is temperature. Fuzzy logic allows us to make decisions based on non-specific data. I can step outside on a sunny Californian summer’s day and ascertain that it is warm, without knowing the temperature precisely. Conversely, if I were to find myself in Alaska during the winter, I would know that it is cold, again, without knowing the exact temperature. These concepts of cold, cool, warm, and hot are fuzzy ones. There is a good amount of ambiguity as to at what point we go from warm to hot. Fuzzy logic allows us to model these concepts as sets and determine their validity or truth by using a set of rules. When people make decisions, people have some gray areas. That is to say, it’s not always black and white. The same concept applies to agents that rely on fuzzy logic. Say you hadn’t eaten in a few hours, and you were starting to feel a little hungry. At which point were you hungry enough to go grab a snack? You could look at the time right after a meal as 0, and 1 would be the point where you approached starvation. The following figure illustrates this point: When making decisions, there are many factors that determine the ultimate choice. This leads into another aspect of fuzzy logic controllers—they can take into account as much data as necessary. Let’s continue to look at our “should I eat?” example. We’ve only considered one value for making that decision, which is the time since the last time you ate. However, there are other factors that can affect this decision, such as how much energy you’re expending and how lazy you are at that particular moment. Or am I the only one to use that as a deciding factor? Either way, you can see how multiple input values can affect the output, which we can think of as the “likeliness to have another meal.” Fuzzy logic systems can be very flexible due to their generic nature. You provide input, the fuzzy logic provides an output. What that output means to your game is entirely up to you. We’ve primarily looked at how the inputs would affect a decision, which, in reality, is taking the output and using it in a way the computer, our agent, can understand. However, the output can also be used to determine how much of something to do, how fast something happens, or for how long something happens. For example, imagine your agent is a car in a sci-fi racing game that has a “nitro-boost” ability that lets it expend a resource to go faster. Our 0 to 1 value can represent a normalized amount of time for it to use that boost or perhaps a normalized amount of fuel to use. Picking fuzzy systems over binary systems With most things in game programming, we must evaluate the requirements of our game and the technology and hardware limitations when deciding on the best way to tackle a problem. As you might imagine, there is a performance cost associated with going from a simple yes/no system to a more nuanced fuzzy logic one, which is one of the reasons we may opt out of using it. Of course, being a more complex system doesn’t necessarily always mean it’s a better one. There will be times when you just want the simplicity and predictability of a binary system because it may fit your game better. While there is some truth to the old adage, “the simpler, the better”, one should also take into account the saying, “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Though the quote is widely attributed to Albert Einstein, the father of relativity, it’s not entirely clear who said it. The important thing to consider is the meaning of the quote itself. You should make your AI as simple as your game needs it to be, but not simpler. Pac-Man’s AI works perfectly for the game–it’s simple enough. However, rules say that simple would be out of place in a modern shooter or strategy game. Using fuzzy logic Once you understand the simple concepts behind fuzzy logic, it’s easy to start thinking of the many ways in which it can be useful. In reality, it’s just another tool in our belt, and each job requires different tools. Fuzzy logic is great at taking some data, evaluating it in a similar way to how a human would (albeit in a much simpler way), and then translating the data back to information that is usable by the system. Fuzzy logic controllers have several real-world use cases. Some are more obvious than others, and while these are by no means one-to-one comparisons to our usage in game AI, they serve to illustrate a point: Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems: The temperature example when talking about fuzzy logic is not only a good theoretical approach to explaining fuzzy logic, but also a very common real-world example of fuzzy logic controllers in action. Automobiles: Modern automobiles come equipped with very sophisticated computerized systems, from the air conditioning system (again), to fuel delivery, to automated braking systems. In fact, putting computers in automobiles has resulted in far more efficient systems than the old binary systems that were sometimes used. Your smartphone: Ever notice how your screen dims and brightens depending on how much ambient light there is? Modern smartphone operating systems look at ambient light, the color of the data being displayed, and the current battery life to optimize screen brightness. Washing machines: Not my washing machine necessarily, as it’s quite old, but most modern washers (from the last 20 years) make some use of fuzzy logic. Load size, water dirtiness, temperature, and other factors are taken into account from cycle to cycle to optimize water use, energy consumption, and time. If you take a look around your house, there is a good chance you’ll find a few interesting uses of fuzzy logic, and I mean besides your computer, of course. While these are neat uses of the concept, they’re not particularly exciting or game-related. I’m partial to games involving wizards, magic, and monsters, so let’s look at a more relevant example. Implementing a simple fuzzy logic system For this example, we’re going to use my good friend, Bob, the wizard. Bob lives in an RPG world, and he has some very powerful healing magic at his disposal. Bob has to decide when to cast this magic on himself based on his remaining health points (HPs). In a binary system, Bob’s decision-making process might look like this: if(healthPoints We see that Bob’s health can be in one of two states—above 50, or not. Nothing wrong with that, but let’s have a look at what the fuzzy version of this same scenario might look like, starting with determining Bob’s health status:Before the panic sets in upon seeing charts and values that may not quite mean anything to you right away, let’s dissect what we’re looking at. Our first impulse might be to try to map the probability that Bob will cast a healing spell to how much health he is missing. That would, in simple terms, just be a linear function. Nothing really fuzzy about that—it’s a linear relationship, and while it is a step above a binary decision in terms of complexity, it’s still not truly fuzzy.Enter the concept of a membership function. It’s key to our system, as it allows us to determine how true a statement is. In this example, we’re not simply looking at raw values to determine whether or not Bob should cast his spell; instead, we’re breaking it up into logical chunks of information for Bob to use in order to determine what his course of action should be.In this example, we’re comparing three statements and evaluating not only how true each one is, but which is the most true:Bob is in a critical condition Bob is hurt Bob is healthy If you’re into official terminology, we call this determining the degree of membership to a set. Once we have this information, our agent can determine what to do with it next. At a glance, you’ll notice it’s possible for two statements to be true at a time. Bob can be in a critical condition and hurt. He can also be somewhat hurt and a little bit healthy. You’re free to pick the thresholds for each, but, in this example, let’s evaluate these statements as per the preceding graph. The vertical value represents the degree of truth of a statement as a normalized float (0 to 1): At 0 percent health, we can see that the critical statement evaluates to 1. It is absolutely true that Bob is critical when his health is gone. At 40 percent health, Bob is hurt, and that is the truest statement. At 100 percent health, the truest statement is that Bob is healthy. Anything outside of these absolutely true statements is squarely in fuzzy territory. For example, let’s say Bob’s health is at 65 percent. In that same chart, we can visualize it like this: The vertical line drawn through the chart at 65 represents Bob’s health. As we can see, it intersects both sets, which means that Bob is a little bit hurt, but he’s also kind of healthy. At a glance, we can tell, however, that the vertical line intercepts the Hurt set at a higher point in the graph. We can take this to mean that Bob is more hurt than he is healthy. To be specific, Bob is 37.5 percent hurt, 12.5 percent healthy, and 0 percent critical. Let’s take a look at this in code; open up our FuzzySample scene in Unity. The hierarchy will look like this: The important game object to look at is Fuzzy Example. This contains the logic that we’ll be looking at. In addition to that, we have our Canvas containing all of the labels and the input field and button that make this example work. Lastly, there’s the Unity-generated EventSystem and Main Camera, which we can disregard. There isn’t anything special going on with the setup for the scene, but it’s a good idea to become familiar with it, and you are encouraged to poke around and tweak it to your heart’s content after we’ve looked at why everything is there and what it all does. With the Fuzzy Example game object selected, the inspector will look similar to the following image: Our sample implementation is not necessarily something you’ll take and implement in your game as it is, but it is meant to illustrate the previous points in a clear manner. We use Unity’s AnimationCurve for each different set. It’s a quick and easy way to visualize the very same lines in our earlier graph. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to plot all the lines in the same graph, so we use a separate AnimationCurve for each set. In the preceding screenshot, they are labeled Critical, Hurt, and Healthy. The neat thing about these curves is that they come with a built-in method to evaluate them at a given point (t). For us, t does not represent time, but rather the amount of health Bob has. As in the preceding graph, the Unity example looks at a HP range of 0 to 100. These curves also provide a simple user interface for editing the values. You can simply click on the curve in the inspector. That opens up the curve editing window. You can add points, move points, change tangents, and so on, as shown in the following screenshot: Unity’s curve editor window Our example focuses on triangle-shaped sets. That is, linear graphs for each set. You are by no means restricted to this shape, though it is the most common. You could use a bell curve or a trapezoid, for that matter. To keep things simple, we’ll stick to the triangle. You can learn more about Unity’s AnimationCurve editor at The rest of the fields are just references to the different UI elements used in code that we’ll be looking at later in this chapter. The names of these variables are fairly self-explanatory, however, so there isn’t much guesswork to be done here. Next, we can take a look at how the scene is set up. If you play the scene, the game view will look something similar to the following screenshot: A simple UI to demonstrate fuzzy values We can see that we have three distinct groups, representing each question from the “Bob, the wizard” example. How healthy is Bob, how hurt is Bob, and how critical is Bob? For each set, upon evaluation, the value that starts off as 0 true will dynamically adjust to represent the actual degree of membership. There is an input box in which you can type a percentage of health to use for the test. No fancy controls are in place for this, so be sure to enter a value from 0 to 100. For the sake of consistency, let’s enter a value of 65 into the box and then press the Evaluate! button. This will run some code, look at the curves, and yield the exact same results we saw in our graph earlier. While this shouldn’t come as a surprise (the math is what it is, after all), there are fewer things more important in game programming than testing your assumptions, and sure enough, we’ve tested and verified our earlier statement. After running the test by hitting the Evaluate! button, the game scene will look similar to the following screenshot: This is how Bob is doing at 65 percent health Again, the values turn out to be 0.125 (or 12.5 percent) healthy and 0.375 (or 37.5 percent) hurt. At this point, we’re still not doing anything with this data, but let’s take a look at the code that’s handling everything: using UnityEngine; using UnityEngine.UI; using System.Collections; private float criticalValue = 0f; private float hurtValue = 0f; private float healthyValue = 0f; We start off by declaring some variables. The labelText is simply a constant we use to plug into our label. We replace {0} with the real value. Next, we declare the three AnimationCurve variables that we mentioned earlier. Making these public or otherwise accessible from the inspector is key to being able to edit them visually (though it is possible to construct curves by code), which is the whole point of using them. The following four variables are just references to UI elements that we saw earlier in the screenshot of our inspector, and the last three variables are the actual float values that our curves will evaluate into: private void Start () { SetLabels(); } /* * Evaluates all the curves and returns float values */ public void EvaluateStatements() { if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(healthInput.text)) { return; } float inputValue = float.Parse(healthInput.text); last_img read more

Beijing rejects US report on Chinese military

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona How men can have a healthy 2019 Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   This year’s report, which was released Friday, describes an ambitious, fast-growing Chinese military program aimed at transforming the People’s Liberation Army into a modern force. It says its main goals include preserving Communist Party rule and preparing for possible hostilities with Taiwan.The report, which in past years also drew critical reviews in Beijing, was shorter than earlier versions and struck a measured tone. The Pentagon said it was meant to present data in a “descriptive, analytical manner.”Hong demanded that the United States stop issuing the reports.“We ask the United States to respect facts, change its mindset and stop the wrong act of issuing such annual reports and instead do more to improve the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese militaries and promote trust,” Hong said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img BEIJING (AP) – China on Saturday rejected an annual Pentagon report that said Beijing is aggressively modernizing its military forces.Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the report made irresponsible statements about China’s legitimate defense development and falsely claimed that the country presented a military threat.“China is developing its limited military forces only to protect its national independence and sovereignty,” Hong said. “No country needs to worry if it harbors no hostility toward China.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Navy chief says Russia wants naval bases abroad

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help MOSCOW (AP) – Russia is talking to Cuba, Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island country of Seychelles about housing Russian navy ships, the nation’s navy chief said in remarks reported Friday.Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Russia is in talks about setting up maintenance and supply facilities for Russian ships in those countries but wouldn’t give any further details. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Russia’s only existing naval base outside the Soviet Union is located in the Syrian port of Tartus. A squadron of Russian navy ships, including several assault ships carrying marines, is currently heading to Tartus in a show of support for a longtime ally whom Moscow protected from international sanctions and continued to supply with weapons.Chirkov’s statement marked a sharp about-face for Russia, which closed a Soviet-era naval base at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay and a spy base in Lourdes on Cuba in the early 2000s during President Vladimir Putin’s first term.Along with financial reasons, that move was part of Putin’s bid to improve ties with the United States. But relations with Washington deteriorated and Putin, who was re-elected to a third term in March, has grown increasingly eager to challenge Washington. During his election campaign, he accused the U.S. of encouraging protest against his 12-year rule in order to weaken Russia, and pledged to strengthen the nation’s military might.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

by The Associated Press Posted Jun 7 2018 15

first_img by The Associated Press Posted Jun 7, 2018 1:53 pm PDT Last Updated Jun 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Spanish royal couple to visit US, meet President Trump MADRID – Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia will travel later this month to the United States, where they will visit the White House as well as Louisiana and Texas.Authorities said in a statement Thursday that the royal couple will begin their trip June 14 with stays in New Orleans and San Antonio, cities that this year are celebrating the 300th anniversary of their foundation and which have close historical ties with Spain.The royals will be in Washington on June 19, where they will be received by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump.The statement said the foreign minister of Spain’s new Socialist government, Josep Borrell, will also be on the trip. It gave no further details.last_img read more

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“We always felt like an integral part of the university community, which are currently docketed in a federal court in Ohio.” He withdrew the U. on Aug. centers by 6. "Tamil Nadu is implementing 69 per cent reservations for over two decades. Writing them down gets them out of your head clearing your brain of the clutter that is interfering with being able to focus on what you want to focus on Everything youre worried about every to-do every concern gets written down in one place One Not scattered across a notepad at home your iPad in the office your email inbox sticky notes on your monitor and your unreliable memory That scattering makes you wonder if youve forgotten something and research shows it produces anxiety So get it out of your head and on one list Afterwards Getting Things Done author David Allen says break it up into 4 categories: Once you have those 4 lists you know what you actually need to do and its all in one place Just having that list is a big step toward VIP cool Why does this work Theres some neuroscience behind it Writing things down deactivates "rehearsal loops" Via The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload: When we have something on our minds that is important especially a To Do item were afraid well forget it so our brain rehearses it tossing it around and around in circles in something that cognitive psychologists actually refer to as the rehearsal loop a network of brain regions that ties together the frontal cortex just behind your eyeballs and the hippocampus in the center of your brain. It fielded Manish Mishra. they end up having to do the work to fix it. a move that he had earned just a few months ago.

"You are happy when you get the call, Lt.) In other words. read more