Randy Bryce is More Than A Mustache – Progressive.org

It was a friendly audience, but Randy Bryces voice shook anyway.

This speech was among his first to a national crowd of this sizeover 1500 people passionate about progressive politics packed into a cavernous hall at the Netroots Nation conference held in Atlanta earlier this month. Towering screens on either side of the podium projected his now famously mustachioed face to the crowd.

Bryce took pauses to check his notes. A bumped mic filled the air with static. He wasnt smooth or showy in the way one might expect a U.S. Congressional candidate to be, especially one seeking to unseat a nearly 20-year incumbent, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

But then Randy Bryce said something that Paul Ryan could not: What Im doing isnt about me.

That message is such a threat that Ryan is planning his first town hall meeting in nearly two years, an event that will be broadcast Monday night on CNN. Its also an idea that has galvanized a left wary of personality politics, signaling a return to running on the issues and for the people.

Bryce, whos lost each of his three previous bids for elected office in Wisconsin, made his mission clear in his first campaign ad, released in June.

We can do so much better together, as a community, he says. And our future depends on it.

Its a powerful line that was even more powerfully timed, released smack in the middle of Republican efforts to pass the wildly unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement, a bill written by his opponent.

Within 24 hours, the video went viral and generated $100,000 in donations for Bryce, and an equally stunning number of Twitter followers. He appeared on cable news shows and very suddenly, noted Esquire in one of several glossy magazine features, became a capital-N, capital-F National Figure.

The ad focuses on health care but Bryce and his campaign have zeroed in on an even bigger vulnerability of Ryans, and more broadly, of the American experiment itself: the dogged devotion, both personally and politically, to individualism.

Ryan has built his entire political career on prioritizing the individual over society. This foundational conservative principle always made sense to the son of a wealthy and well-connected family. Whatever Ryan aimed for, he most often got.

Ryans devotion to philosopher Ayn Rand is well-documented. He gives copies of Atlas Shrugged as Christmas gifts, he has said, and makes all of his interns read it.

Individualism is the through-line of Ryans entire legislative agenda, including his draconian budgets that attempted to slash social programs that work to benefit the collective, and most recently, the American Health Care Act.

During the lead-up to the 2010 election, in which a wave of Tea Party candidates who idolize Ryan were voted into office, Ryan called the tax-and-spend agenda of the still-new Obama administration an attack on individualism and freedom…an attack on the moral foundation of America.

It is fitting then that Ryans first town hall in nearly two years, is not really a traditional open town hall with a focus on constituent questions, but instead a glittering CNN television event, moderated by news host Jake Tapper. Its a rehash of last years CNN-Paul Ryan production in New York City prior to the Republican National Convention, adjusted so that locals can come this timeif their application for an invite is accepted. The network is also vetting questions.

Problem with calling this thing a #townhall is that Ryan thinks he’s done his due diligence representing which he hasn’t, Bryce tweeted Sunday night.

The event itself seems like a direct response to the Bryce campaign, which has repeatedly pointed out Ryans lack of local town hall meetings in the last two years. Earlier this summer, Ryan explained that he offers office hours and phone conference meetings instead, citing obvious security concerns and the potential for a shouting fest.

Thats no deterrent for Bryce, who cut his teeth as the longtime volunteer political coordinator for his union Ironworkers Local 8. He was a fixture at the Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison during the days of so-called Wisconsin Uprising, when massive protests swelled the city following Scott Walkers multi-pronged attack on labor unions.

Its kind of similar to grabbing a bullhorn, he told The Progressive after taking to the stage for his big speech in Atlanta. Its actually easier because I dont have to yell and I have both of my hands free.

Bryces campaign has leaned into his working-class bonafides as an ironworker and a union man. He eschews the suit and tie favored by Ryan for literal blue, collared shirts. He passed out rainbow-colored toy mustaches at the Madison Pride Parade.

With the launch of his campaign, Twitter squealed, I want him to be my father. He was likened to Ron Swanson, a manly, thickly mustachioed government employee on the TV series Parks & Recreation. One fan tweeted her childrens drawings of Bryce as superhero Iron Man.

Its tempting to iconize Bryce, but too much of an emphasis on personality over issues can be dangerous, explains LaToia Jones, a longtime Democratic organizer who unsuccessfully ran for vice chair of the Democratic National Convention earlier this year.

The issue that I have with personality-driven campaigns is that you lose the local connection, Jones told The Progressive. It gets us the White House but it loses the House and the Senate. The reality is that when we focus on one person and one persons vision as opposed to talking about the democratic values we have locally, we dont have statehouses, we dont win municipal elections, we dont win governors races.

Maryland gubernatorial candidate and former NAACP president Ben Jealous, stumping alongside Bryce at Netroots Nation, also honed in on this same message.

We’re not going to win by running to the left, or running to the right, but running towards the people,” he said to cheers.

While Bernie Sanders presidential campaign successfully organized around core democratic issues and a for the people message, critics said it suffered from a cult of personality that coalesced around Sanders in a way that alienated potential Democratic voters.

It is smart then, for Bryce to continue countering Ryan with the language of we and the platform to back it up. Whether it is healthcare or social security or public education or fighting climate change, the most pressing challenges we face require the collective will to carry each other.

Id like to think other people want the best for their neighbors, Bryce said. Thats pretty much all that Im doing.

Excerpt from:

Randy Bryce is More Than A Mustache – Progressive.org

What Are Sound Weapons? – The Atlantic

Earlier this month the U.S. State Department disclosed that several Havana-based diplomats have experienced incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms. Secretary Rex Tillerson said the incidents began last fall, calling them health attacks.

They were not the good kind of health attacks. Symptoms have included severe hearing loss, headaches, and problems with balanceforcing some diplomats to return to the United States. We hold the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these health attacks, Tillerson said.

His remarks came after a search for the cause of the symptomsalso reported among Canadian diplomats living in Cuban housingled some U.S. officials to conclude that the weapon is inaudible sonic waves.

This morning journalists at CBS reported that the diplomats medical records indicated that they had undergone audiological evaluations and a battery of other tests, and that there was documented concern for the possibility that they were targets of a type of sonic attack directed at their homes, which were provided by the Cuban government. The analysis coincides with reports from the Associated Press earlier this month: After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences.

Cuba has denied what would be an unprecedented breach of obligation to protect foreign diplomats, and not to blast them with acoustic energy. But exposure to sound waves would be a plausible explanation for this constellation of vague symptoms unified by a relationship to the inner ear.

It is indeed possible to weaponize energy waves with frequencies outside the range that the human ear can detect. The concept is not new, and it has a rich history in science fiction. Weaponization of sound was a plot point in the book that Secretary Tillerson has called his favorite, Ayn Rands 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. In it, the federal science institute creates a weapon of mass destruction which deploys ultrasonic waves. The head of state uses the device to flatten a goat in a demonstration of power, and later to destroy the work of industrious private inventors, successfully stifling private-sector innovation.

The health effects of exposure to inaudible sonic waves are also real. In 2001 after residents of Kokomo, Indiana, began reporting symptoms including annoyance, sleep disturbance, headaches, and nausea, the U.S. National Institutes of Health investigated the issue. The result was a dossier on the toxicology of infrasoundacoustic energy with wavelengths of 17 meters or more. The agency couldnt pin down the cause of the Indiana residents symptoms as infrasound, but the report did confirm that infrasound can cause fatigue, apathy, hearing loss, confusion, and disorientation. In one study cited therein, volunteers exposed to industrial infrasound for just 15 minutes reported fatigue, depression, pressure in the ears, loss of concentration, drowsiness, and vibration of internal organs.

While infrasound would seem to be a possible and plausible mechanism of the health attacks in Cuba, CNN has also reported that some incidents were accompanied by audible noisesdeafeningly loud sound similar to the buzzing created by insects or metal scraping across a floor. The mechanism in that case would be less subtle. Deafeningly loud sound is so called because it either ruptures the eardrum or jolts the tiny bones of the middle ear.

At the same time, CNN also posits, The sophistication of the attack has led U.S. officials to suspect a third country is involved, perhaps seeking payback against the United States and Canada or to drive a wedge between those countries and Cuba, raising the possibility of operatives from Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, or Iran.

It’s not clear why these attacks would qualify as sophisticated. Noise-induced hearing loss affects around one in four peopleonly, usually, its due to lower-level exposures over years, from attending concerts, shooting guns, and being too cool to cover ones ears when an ambulance screams past on the street. While the investigation in Havana unfolds, fascination with this sort of attack can be a reminder that it is worth arming ourselves in daily life against the more quotidian forms of sonic weaponry.

Excerpt from:

What Are Sound Weapons? – The Atlantic

Donald Trump’s 57 most outrageous quotes from his Arizona speech – CNN

I went through the transcript of Trump’s speech — all 77 minutes — and picked out his 57 most outrageous lines, in chronological order. They’re below.

1. “And just so you know from the Secret Service, there aren’t too many people outside protesting, OK. That I can tell you.”

2. “A lot of people in here, a lot of people pouring right now. They can get them in. Whatever you can do, fire marshals, we’ll appreciate it.”

So many people love me — it’s hard to fit them all in the building! But, try!

3. “You know I’d love it if the cameras could show this crowd, because it is rather incredible. It is incredible.”

For the record: The cameras always show the crowd. Have for months and years.

4. “We went to center stage almost from day one in the debates. We love those debates.”

The election ended 287 days ago, as of last night.

5. “Our movement is a movement built on love.”

6. “We all share the same home, the same dreams and the same hopes for a better future. A wound inflicted upon one member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.”

7. “I see all those red hats and white hats. It’s all happening very fast. It’s called: ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Trump conflates a call to unity and an end to divisiveness with supporting him. The country is coming together because lots of people at a campaign rally have “MAGA” hats on!

8. “Just like (the media doesn’t) want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK.”

9. “So here is my first statement when I heard about Charlottesville — and I have a home in Charlottesville, a lot of people don’t know.”

Follow this logic: The media says I didn’t condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. I did — because I have a house there, which many people don’t know.

10. “So here’s what I said, really fast, here’s what I said on Saturday: ‘We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia’ — this is me speaking. ‘We condemn in the strongest, possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.’ That’s me speaking on Saturday.”

This is what he actually said (italics/bolding mine): “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”

Which is not the same thing. At all.

11. “I think I can’t do much better, right?”

No, you could have done much, much better. Just ask your own party — the vast majority of which condemned your Charlottesville comments. Also, Trump is always doing great!

12. “I hope they’re showing how many people are in this room, but they won’t”

[narrator voice]: They were.

13. “I call them anarchists. Because, believe me, we have plenty of anarchists. They don’t want to talk about the anarchists.”

Believe me, I know anarchists. The best anarchists. Bigly.

14. “If you’re reading a story about somebody, you don’t know. You assume it’s honest, because it’s like the failing New York Times, which is like so bad. It’s so bad.”

I have no idea what Trump’s point is here. But MAN, the New York Times is failing, right?!?!?

15. “Or the Washington Post, which I call a lobbying tool for Amazon, OK, that’s a lobbying tool for Amazon.”

Amazon doesn’t own the Washington Post. Jeff Bezos does.

16. “Or CNN, which is so bad and so pathetic, and their ratings are going down.”

17. “I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning — I don’t watch it much, but I’m watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George.”

A few things: 1. Trump watches TV constantly. 2. “Little George”: Trump as bully-in-chief.

18. “I didn’t say I love you because you’re black, or I love you because you’re white, or I love you because you’re from Japan, or you’re from China, or you’re from Kenya, or you’re from Scotland or Sweden. I love all the people of our country.”

19. “How about — how about all week they’re talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside. Where are they? Well, it’s hot out. It is hot. I think it’s too warm.”

It was warm! (105 or so.) But, again, multiple media reports — including CNN’s — show that there were thousands of protesters.

20. “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything — Antifa!”

21. “Then I said, racism is evil. Do they report that I said that racism is evil?”

22. “Now they only choose, you know, like a half a sentence here or there and then they just go on this long rampage, or they put on these real lightweights all around a table that nobody ever heard of, and they all say what a bad guy I am.”

“Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said in response to the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

23. “But, I mean do you ever see anything — and then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings”

See #16.

24. “But with me, they wanted me to say it, and I said it. And I said it very clearly, but they refused to put it on.”

The issue was that Trump said — on Saturday, August 12, and then again on Tuesday, August 15 — that the violence and hate on display in Charlottesville was “on many sides” and then that “both sides” were responsible for it. And, the news media didn’t condemn Trump for that; it was his own party who did that.

25. “I hit him with neo-Nazi. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi. I got them all in there, let’s say. KKK, we have KKK. I got them all.”

This is revealing in a way Trump doesn’t mean it to be. He views the naming of the KKK and the neo-Nazis who were responsible for this violence as a box-checking exercise. I said their names — so what’s the problem?! (Of course,Trump didn’t call out these groups in his initial statement on Saturday, which was the problem.)

26. “So then the last one, on Tuesday — Tuesday I did another one: ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.’

27. “So that was my words.”

Over 2,000 of them in fact. All dedicated to rewriting what he actually said about Charlottesville.

28. “Now, you know, I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They’re elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.”

29. “The words were perfect. They only take out anything they can think of, and for the most part, all they do is complain. But they don’t put on those words. And they don’t put on me saying those words.”

Trump is not sorry. Not ever. He has convinced himself that what he said initially about Charlottesville was “perfect.” And, I realize this may be getting repetitive, but the media reported every word Trump said about Charlottesville. Period. The end.

30. “And yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.”

This is demagogic language from Trump about the media. “They” are trying to rob us of “our history and our heritage.” You don’t have to look very hard to see racial and ethnic coding in that language.

31. “I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.”

Trump’s claim that the media doesn’t “like” America is hugely offensive. Offensive and dangerous. Imagine ANY other president saying anything close to this — and what the reaction would be.

32. “Look back there, the live red lights. They’re turning those suckers off fast out there. They’re turning those lights off fast.”

33. “CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I’m saying tonight, I can tell you.”

See #16.

34. “If I don’t have social media, I probably would not be standing.”


35. “They’ll say, ‘Donald Trump is in a Twitter-storm.’ These are sick people.”

Your guess is as good as mine.

36. “You would think — you would think they’d want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don’t. I honestly believe it.” The media, in Trump’s telling, is rooting against the country. Let me say again: Rhetoric like this is offensive, dishonest and dangerous.

37. “The New York Times essentially apologized after I won the election, because their coverage was so bad, and it was so wrong, and they were losing so many subscribers that they practically apologized.”

38. “I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. Fox treated me fairly.”

39. “How good is Hannity? How good is Hannity? And he’s a great guy, and he’s an honest guy. And ‘Fox and Friends in the Morning’ is the best show, and it’s the absolute, most honest show, and it’s the show I watch.”

40. “Oh, those cameras are going off. Wow. That’s the one thing, they’re very nervous to have me on live television.”

41. “I’m a person that wants to tell the truth. I’m an honest person, and what I’m saying, you know is exactly right.”

42. “You’ve got people outside, but not very many.”

He is obsessed with crowd size. Obsessed.

43. “So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?”

44. “He should have had a jury, but you know what? I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s going to be just fine, OK?”

The “pardon” tease! Make sure to stay tuned for next week’s episode!

45. “It was like 115 degrees. I’m out signing autographs for an hour. I was there. That was a hot day.”

It was hot. But I am still very popular. Extremely popular. Believe me.

(And for what it’s worth, CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak emails: “It was 106 degrees and he spent no more than 25 minutes shaking hands.”)

46. “But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

47. “‘Extreme vetting’ — I came up with that term.”

…he says proudly.

48. “And we have to speak to Mitch and we have to speak to everybody.”

49. “But, you know, they all said, Mr. President, your speech was so good last night, please, please, Mr. President don’t mention any names. So I won’t. I won’t. No I won’t vote — one vote away, I will not mention any names. Very presidential, isn’t’ it? Very presidential.”

This is Trump taking a shot at John McCain, who is currently battling brain cancer, for voting against the repeal and replace health care legislation. It’s also Trump showing how closely he reads press coverage and how he likes to openly flout suggestions of being more “presidential.”

50. “And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, who’s weak on borders, weak on crime, so I won’t talk about him. Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is.”

Jeff Flake is a sitting Republican senator. Trump is running him down in his home state at a campaign rally less than a week removed from touting one of his primary challengers on Twitter.

51. “Did you see Gruber got fired yesterday? He got fired because he defrauded somebody or something. Something very bad happened. Check it out. Something happened.”

52. “One vote — speak to your senator, please. Speak to your senator.”

53. “I think we’ve gotten more than anybody, including Harry Truman, who was number one, but they will tell you we’ve got none.”

54. “But Kim Jong Un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact.”

Respect. That. Fact.

55. “I don’t believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president in the first six or seven months. I really don’t believe it.” Trump believes that by saying things, he wills them into existence and truth.

He doesn’t.

56. “They’re trying to take away our culture. They are trying to take away our history.”

[dog whistle]

57. “So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point, OK? Probably.” Way to throw a major policy pronouncement into the end of a speech while negotiations are ongoing!

Read the original here:

Donald Trump’s 57 most outrageous quotes from his Arizona speech – CNN

Spectacular abandoned castles around the world – CNN

(CNN) An abandoned castle always cuts an impressive figure — a blast from the past submerged behind ruined walls.

“Societies are like a body: centuries go by and the body decays,” he tells CNN Travel.

“The castle’s like the skull or like the teeth, in fact they even look a bit like teeth, sticking out, out of the ground. They give us some clues, some entries into the past.”

Connolly’s book features castles from around the world and across the ages — including 19th century military forts in the French Alps, 13th century castles in the Scottish Highlands and a medieval fortress in Syria.

The book includes fortresses such as Fort de Malamot, built in 1889 in the Cottian Alps.

The pictures were sourced by Amber’s Terry Forshaw.

Connolly traces his own interest in abandoned places back to his childhood.

“As a kid we would go on long walks and often it would be along a disused railway line,” he recalls.

“These places had an air of mystery: ‘Why’s it closed down, where does it go, what does it look like when it’s closed down, how quickly do branches grow through the tracks, stations start to crumble?'”

Spis Castle is a stunning Gothic-Romanesque hybrid.

Many of the castles in the book have histories spanning centuries.

Over the years different owners and different conflicts put their stamp on the castles’ architecture.

“I love that you get this idea of layers of history,” says Connolly. “You can see how a castle was built and then rebuilt and expanded, how the walls changed, how it passed back and forth and finally became obsolete.”

Peeling back the layers offers a captivating peek into the past.

Take Spis Castle, in Slovakia. It started life as a Romanesque fort in the 12th century, before taking on a Gothic turn a century later.

In the 15th century, the castle was completely rebuilt. Later, new owners transformed it into a Renaissance family residence. It eventually burnt down in 1780, but remains a relic of these different architectural styles.

Genoese tower, Saint Florent, Corsica, France

Connolly’s favorite story concerns Mortella Tower in Corsica.

“It was built in the 16th century, when Corsica was part of the Republic of Genoa, to defend against pirates,” he explains.

“It was later blown up by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, but the structure and design of the tower impressed the British.”

The design includes a circular tower with a flat roof, ideal for mounting artillery.

“They took that design and it became the Martello Tower, which is seen all across the British empire,” Connolly says.

“So even though they destroyed the first one they ever found, they liked the idea of it and it became known all across the British empire. The fact that the spelling is different is apparently, I understand, simply a misspelling by the British.”

Ireland’s Ballycarbery Castle is slowing being absorbed by the natural world.

Other highlights in the book include Ballycarbery Castle in County Kerry, Ireland.

Situated on a dramatic location on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean, all that remains of this 16th century fort are the stone walls.

The castle was damaged by English Civil War militarian Oliver Cromwell’s troops, during his infamous Irish conquest.

Now this atmospheric fortress is being slowly absorbed into the natural landscape. The walls are clad in ivy and the first floor is covered in grass.

“It’s an interesting idea, how nature reclaims these things,” remarks Connolly.

Another striking spot is Golconda, near Hyderabad in central India.

Golconda Castle was the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (from 1518-1687).

Built in the 16th century by the Qutb Shahi dynasty, the fort formerly housed the infamous Koh-i-Noor diamond — later owned by Queen Victoria and now on display in Britain’s Tower of London.

The citadel once included four individual forts, mosques, temples, royal apartments and gardens, now it’s an arresting ruin.

Abandoned forts including Minard Castle, in Ireland, are a gateway to the past.

So why are photographers around the world so fascinated by ruins?

Connolly thinks it’s because abandoned places are a meeting place for the past and the present.

“Abandoned places touch a nerve with people,” Connolly says. “We’re interested in worlds gone by, forgotten worlds.”

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Spectacular abandoned castles around the world – CNN

African countries are importing robots and young people’s jobs are at risk – KPAX-TV

By Torera Idowu CNN

(CNN) — Although still in its infancy, with under 60,000 imports a year, the robotics industry in Africa is developing rapidly.

In some parts of the continent, robots are mining, controlling traffic and even fighting deadly diseases.

Five years ago, The African Robotics Network launched a ’10 dollar robot’ challenge to encourage students to produce their own robots. There are also over 20 African organizations encouraging participation in robotics.

While this might offer the continent more affordable production costs, it has far-reaching consequences for Africa’s 1.2 billion people.

‘Half of Africa’s jobs at risk’

A policy brief by the United Nations conference on trade and development reveals that robots will take away two-thirds of jobs in developing countries.

“The increased use of robots in developed countries risks eroding the traditional labor cost advantage of developing countries,” it states.

A 2016 study which stems from World Bank research, states that more than half of jobs in parts of Africa are at risk of automation with Ethiopia leading the highest proportion globally at 85%.

This rapid reduction of industrial activity is what economist Dani Rodrik refers to as “premature”, in his report stating that the window for industrialization opportunities is closing much faster.

The rise of robots in Africa

With Northern and Sub-Saharan African unemployment rates still at 29.3% and 10.8% respectively, the continent might not be maximizing its labor force to do the jobs currently being taken over by robots.

In Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, robots are already a part of everyday life. Eight foot tall, solar-powered ‘robocops’ have been brought in to direct traffic. These robots have eliminated the need for human traffic wardens as they can detect pedestrians and are designed to withstand all weather conditions.

In Tanzania and Uganda, drones with sensors have replaced the need for some farmers because of their ability to detect stress in plants, ten days before humans can.

In South Africa, robots in the gold mining industry are a welcome solution to the associated risk involved in these jobs. Robots now replace humans to assess the depth of some of the country’s gold mines.

The situation in Botswana closely mirrors that of South Africa. Robots are now employed to mine diamonds at depths that are unsafe for humans.

In the wake of the 2014 Ebola crisis, Liberia took full advantage of the 5×5 foot robot, TRU-D to beat the deadly virus. TRU-D had the ability to disinfect rooms where Ebola patients were treated, a feat too risky for humans.

Rwanda, a country where there is one doctor to every 16,046 people, plans to be the world’s first drone port to deliver medical and emergency supplies to its rural areas.

It is hard to predict the impact of the increase in robots on the continent, while it could maximize productivity on a much larger scale, it may also take away jobs; as stated in a brief from a United Nations conference on trade and development states: “Disruptive technologies always bring a mix of benefits and risks.”

TM & 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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African countries are importing robots and young people’s jobs are at risk – KPAX-TV

I was one of the first humans to see a solar eclipse in virtual reality – Ars Technica

Enlarge / Look all you want… in VR, this kind of view of the Sun is completely safe to stare at.

I’ve been told that being present for a total eclipse of the Sun is a life-changing experience. But I wasn’t able to get my act together to travel to the path of totality for today’s event. Luckily, I am part of the first generation to be able to experience an eclipse vicariously through the magic of virtual reality. While seeing a total eclipse in VR wasn’t exactly a life-changing experience, it was one of the best examples I’ve seen of the power and promise of live, 360-degree video.

I first tried to view CNN’s 360-degree Facebook Live video coverage of the eclipse on my Oculus Rift. Despite numerous tries, though, the livestream never showed up as a choice on the list of “New” or “Top Pick” videos available on the Oculus Video app. Without a built-in search function or any way to navigate to a specific URL or some such, viewing the eclipse on the Rift was a bust.

As a backup, I dug out the latest Samsung Gear VR headset and a Galaxy S7 Edge. While I waited for some necessary updates to download, I was able to watch CNN’s “VR” coverage in a simple Web browser window. I used the mouse to tilt the virtual camera between the people on the ground and the Sun in the sky. Having control of the viewpoint was nice, but watching through a small window on a laptop screen didn’t really feel all that different from watching similar coverage on TV.

I finally got the stream working on the Gear VR in time for the eclipse to hit Wyoming, the third of seven eclipse locations CNN was covering in VR. The video started out extremely grainy, but it got a bit sharper as the bandwidth caught up with itself. Even with the highest-quality stream from the 4K cameras, though, the relative image I saw on the Galaxy S7’s 1440×2560 screen was much blurrier than the same stream viewed on my Macbook Air screen.

In VR, facial features of people are hard to make out if they were more than a few feet from the camera, and details on the horizon almost completely lacked definition. There was also none of the “stereoscopic 3D” effect you usually get from most other apps in virtual realitythis was more like looking at a 2D video projected on a 360-degree dome surrounding me.

This adorable Girl Scout group in Missouri was looking up at the eclipse with me in VR (all these images are taken from the Facebook Live 360 video feed on a laptop, but the same content was viewable in the Gear VR).

A few onlookers in Wyoming look up with me just before totality.

While the Sun was just a small dot in the VR sky, CNN’s zoomed-in “eclipse cam” gave me the detailed crescent Sun view I craved.

That tiny white dot is all I could see of the Sun in VR during totality.

A cloudy Nashville main street a few minutes before totality.

The same Nashville street lit up during the total blackness of the total eclipse.

The VR image also had a fair share of compression artifacts, especially when the sky grew dark and the streaming algorithms struggled to differentiate between the small gradations of black. While people live on the ground started talking about seeing individual stars and even planets in the darkened sky, I could only see large, color-banded blobs of different shades of black. It reminded me of nothing so much as watching grainy RealVideo streams in the early 2000s, only with a viewing “window” that surrounded me completely.

What the VR experience lacked in sharpness, it made up for in its overwhelming, all-encompassing nature. Watching the eclipse in VR, I could really get the sense of the sky darkening quickly all around me as totality approached. I got the sense of a rapid dawn when the Moon’s shadow started to recede. It was incredible being able to turn in place and see a virtual, eclipse-generated “sunset” in all directions on the horizon from the comfort of my own kitchen. Hearing the whoops and hollers of onlookers alongside the confused chirping of birds and crickets picked up by the microphones only increased the immersion.

I also appreciated the variety of eclipse locations CNN was able to cover over a two-hour span, from a wide-open field in Idaho, to a neon-covered street in Nashville, to the seat of a helicopter floating above Charleston. Through it all, a variety of hosts and guests rambled, repeating themselves quite often about the “once in a lifetime” grandeur of it all and the way ancient humans were awed by what is now an utterly predictable astronomical occurrence. CNN also superimposed some ethereal “space music” on top of pretty much any eclipse moment, which was a bit distracting.

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I was one of the first humans to see a solar eclipse in virtual reality – Ars Technica

Three countries undermining Afghanistan progress that President Trump didn’t call out – Washington Post

President Trump unveiled a new strategy for the U.S. war in Afghanistan on Aug. 21. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

President Trump delivered a sharpwarning to Pakistan on Monday,saying he intends to hold itsleaders to account for harboringmilitantgroups responsible for perpetuating instability across the border in Afghanistan.

During a prime-time address to the nation, Trumpsaid the United States would once more accelerate its longest military mission and bring renewed focus to achieving victory in Afghanistan.

It is time for Pakistan, the president declared, to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order and to peace.

He declined, however, to similarly admonish three other regional powers which the United States views ascomplicit inundermining progress there: Russia, Iran and to a lesser extent China, which has a stake in Afghanistan’s stability but shows little motivation to take a more active role in providing for its security.

Here’s a look ateach country’s involvement in Afghanistan:


Since April,notlong after he declared America’s longest war a stalemate, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen.John Nicholson, has voiced concern aboutMoscow’s apparent effort to arm the Taliban. Those weapons include medium and heavy machine guns, officials have said,used to cut down Afghan troops in multiple southern provinces, including areaswhereU.S. military advisers and Special Operations forces aredeployed.

U.S. officials have said that any country shipping weapons into Afghanistan would be in violation of international law. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis vowed toengage theRussians through diplomatic channels, hopeful that doing so would encourage them to halt their alleged meddling.

Russia has denied working with the Taliban, saying its interactions with the fundamentalist group thatonce ruled Afghanistan have been focused on encouraging it to make peace. Video published by CNN in July appears to contradict that.


Like Russia, Iranviews Afghanistan as within its sphere of influence, as The Washington Post’sErin Cunningham characterized it earlier this year.Iranian operatives have been active in the west, where the two countries share a 500-mile border, as well as in the south.

Afghan government officials have indicated Iran and Russia appear to be coordinating, supplying weapons and training to the Taliban in an effort to create loyalty and promote unrest.

In a piece published this month, the New York Times’ Carlotta Gallexplored this burgeoning dynamic in considerable detail. Here’s an excerpt:

Iran has conducted an intensifying covert intervention, much of which is only now coming to light. It is providing local Taliban insurgents with weapons, money and training. It has offered Taliban commanders sanctuary and fuel for their trucks. It has padded Taliban ranks by recruiting among Afghan Sunni refugees in Iran, according to Afghan and Western officials.

Iran has come to see the Taliban not only as the lesser of its enemies but also as a useful proxy force. The more recent introduction of the Islamic State, which carried out a terrorist attack on Irans parliament this year, into Afghanistan has only added to the Talibans appeal.


Trump has been candidin his criticism of China for not doing more to help counter the provocative actions being taken by North Korea, whose leaders have threatened a nuclear attack against the United States. But his administration has said little about Beijing’s comparatively minor contributionsin Afghanistan.

China, as one observer notes, has chosen to assume a minimalistic role in the security sector, refusing to get involved in direct military operations but benefiting nonetheless from the U.S. and NATO presence there.

And asMilitary Times’ Shawn Snow reported in March, Beijing is seen as something of a freeloader in Afghanistan, but there is growing evidence small numbers of Chinese security forces there’s disagreement as to whether they are military personnel or police units have been deployedacross the border to conduct counterterrorism patrols. China is concerned about Uighur militants who remain active in the region and have professed support for the Islamic State.

Since 2015 China hascontributed some funding and combat equipment for the Afghan security forces. Still, its interests are primarilyeconomic, focused on Afghanistan’s natural resources and its potential to help connect China with other trade partners.

China was one of four countries, including Russia, Iran and Pakistan, that sentenvoys to an Afghan summit in the spring talks the United States refused to attend. And China was quick to show solidarity with ally Pakistan after Trump’s remarks Monday.

A spokeswoman for China’s foreign minister, speaking with the Reuters news agency Tuesday, conveyed Beijing’s contentment with the U.S. continuing to do the heavy lifting.

We hope, the spokeswoman added, the relevant U.S. policies can help promote the security, stability and development of Afghanistan and the region.

Some in Afghanistan and India praised President Trump’s Aug. 21 speech, but his rhetoric set off alarm bells in Pakistan. (The Washington Post)

Here are six costly failures from Americas longest war. No. 1: cashmere goats.

Trumps muscular but vague Afghanistan speech, annotated

Trump faces the grim reality of Afghanistan: No quick path to victory and no clear way out

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Three countries undermining Afghanistan progress that President Trump didn’t call out – Washington Post

World’s fastest-growing tourist destinations for 2017 – CNN

(CNN) Don’t be surprised if your favorite city feels a bit more crowded the next time you visit.

Perhaps even more surprising are the report’s figures highlighting the fastest-growing tourist destinations in 2017, based on international arrivals.

The data also reveals that countries recently plagued by terrorism or political unrest — such as Egypt and Tunisia — still have the tourism pull to rebound from a downward turn.

Intrigued? Here are UNWTO’s fastest-growing tourist destinations in 2017, along with their growth rates, and their full-year figures for 2016.

1. Palestinian territories: up 57.8%. (400,000 visitors in 2016).

2. Egypt: up 51%. (5.26 million visitors in 2016).

3. Northern Mariana Islands: up 37.3%. (531,000 visitors in 2016).

4. Iceland: up 34.9%. (1.79 million visitors in 2016).

5. Tunisia: up 32.5%. (5.7 million visitors in 2016).

6. Vietnam: up 31.2%. (10 million visitors in 2016).

7. Uruguay: up 30.2%. (3 million visitors in 2016).

8. Nicaragua: up 28.4%. (1.5 million visitors in 2016).

9. Mongolia: up 28.3%. (404,000 visitors in 2016).

10. Israel: up 25.1%. (2.9 million visitors in 2016).

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World’s fastest-growing tourist destinations for 2017 – CNN

Trump travel drains Secret Service budget – BBC News

BBC News
Trump travel drains Secret Service budget
BBC News
The US Secret Service is facing a strain on its budget due in part to President Donald Trump's large family and multiple properties. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles said some 1,100 agents will hit their overtime allowance caps for the year.
Secret Service can't pay agents for Trump and his family, report saysCNN

all 219 news articles »

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Trump travel drains Secret Service budget – BBC News

How to watch the eclipse in virtual reality – CNN

On Monday, August 21 at 1PM ET, CNN presents ‘The Eclipse of the Century.’ Live and in virtual reality, our show will transport you across the country for the best eclipse moments. Here’s how you can make sure not to miss it… ON YOUR COMPUTER… On your laptop or desktop computer at CNN.com/Eclipse, you can look around the scene using your mouse . Once the livestream starts, click and drag the screen to take it all in. Make sure you’re using Chrome or Firefox. ON YOUR PHONE…

Be proactive — download the CNN app now. It’s the best way to watch the eclipse on the go.

On Monday at 1PM ET just open the CNN app and you’ll be able to watch live. All you have to do: tilt your phone to see all around you. It’s called ‘magic window’ mode – and yes, it’s pretty magical.

However you decide to watch, we look forward to joining you for this rare and exciting solar eclipse. Remember, it’s been 99 years since a solar eclipse crossed the entire US. You don’t want to miss this one.

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How to watch the eclipse in virtual reality – CNN

Trump campaign accuses CNN of censorship – The Hill

President Trumps reelection campaign saidTuesdaythat CNN has denied its offer to buy air time for a campaign ad, marking the second time the network has refused to run a pro-Trump campaign spot.

The ad, called Let President Trump Do His Job, accuses the media of attacking our president and briefly displays pictures of news anchors from several news outlets, including CNN anchors Jake Tapper, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.

The presidents enemies dont want him to succeed, the ad states. Let President Trump do his job.

One of the many reasons that so many millions of Americans support President Trump is because of their complete mistrust of the mainstream news media, and the presidents refusal to allow their biased filter to interfere with his messages, Trump campaign executive director Michael Glassner said in a statement.

Today, CNN provided further proof that the network earns this mistrust every day by censoring President Trumps message to the American people by blocking our paid campaign ad, he continued. Clearly, the only viewpoint CNN allows on air is CNNS.

A spokesperson for CNN said the network asked for changes to make the ad “factually accurate” and that the Trump campaign declined.

“CNN would accept the ad if the images ofreporters and anchors are removed,” a spokesperson said. “Anchors and reporters dont have ‘enemies,’ as the ad states, but they do hold those in power accountable across the political spectrum and aggressively challenge false and misleading statements and investigate wrong-doing.”

Earlier this year, CNN refused to run a Trump campaign ad because it cast the mainstream media as fake news.

Trump and CNN are locked in an increasingly personal feud that has pitted the White House against the networks top on-air talent.

CNNs chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has gained prominencefor his entrenched opposition to Trump.

Acosta has infuriated conservatives, who view him as a grandstander whose chief goal is buildinghis personal brand through viral clips of heated exchanges with White House spokespeople.

At a press conferenceon Monday, Acosta, who was representing the media through the press pool, shouted a question at Trump, who responded: Youre fake news.

Havent you spread a lot of fake news yourself, sir?Acosta shot back.

CNN has run its own ads with footage of anchors lecturing White House officials and talking about whether Trump will be impeached.

The network has attracted criticism for its relentless hostility toward the president. A Harvard study found that CNNs coverage of Trump was negative 93 percent of the time over the course of his first 100 days in office.

CNN’s ratings are up, although the networkstill trails rivals Fox News and MSNBC.

– This story was updated at 1:06 p.m.

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Trump campaign accuses CNN of censorship – The Hill

The Daily Stormer has lost its lease, accessible only via Tor browser – The Moderate Voice

Infamous neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer is no longer accessible online via a conventional web browser. But a Monday essay seems to have caught the eye of President Trump.

Instead, site visitors need to download the Tor browser and use that to access the notorious neo-Nazi website at dstormer6em3i4km.onion. The Tor browser facilitates anonymous browsing.

On Sunday 13 August, the site published a crude and highly criticized article attacking Heather Heyer, the woman killed in the Charlottesville melee.

Monday Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin authored an essay (pdf) condemning protestors who topped a Confederate statue in Durham, NC.

And I guarantee you, [the protesters] are going to go to Washington, and they are going to demand that the Washington Monument be torn down. They might even try to pull it down. Because George Washington owned slaves. More importantly, he was a white man who built something.

Also on Monday, former Congressman Newt Gingrich (whose wife is in the Administration) and Fox host Martha MacCallum were discussing the announcement that the Lexington, KY, mayor intends to remove two Confederate statues from a public building.

Where are you going to stop it? Gingrich said. What if you werent sensitive enough to the Holocaust we should take down all the statues of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? You could make an argument for that.

You could make an argument for Thomas Jefferson or George Washington, MacCallum interjected. Are you going to change the name of the Washington Monument?

Gingrich then noted that both were slave owners.

Absolutely, thats my point, MacCallum responds.

Its not a surprise that these points from FOX and The Daily Stormer were reprised in President Trumps press conference on Tuesday:

many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down excuse me are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?

Trumps comments were widely criticized:

That wasnt the only eyebrow-raising act of the day:

Trump RT’d this pic showing a CNN journalist hit by a train days after a white nationalist ran his car into activists, killed Heather Heyer. pic.twitter.com/tWjdoE70AS

Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 15, 2017

Aug 16, 2017KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

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The Daily Stormer has lost its lease, accessible only via Tor browser – The Moderate Voice

UPS is training drivers with virtual reality | WTNH Connecticut News – WTNH Connecticut News (press release)

Related Coverage

(CNN) New UPS drivers will have to prove themselves in virtual reality before they can get behind the wheel of one of the companys 10,000-pound trucks.

The delivery company announced Tuesday that it will add virtual reality tests to its driver training program starting next month. UPS expects virtual reality will make its drivers safer and smarter. Its a game-changer for training. Laura Collings, UPS training and development manager, told CNN Tech. Nothing can really replace real-world training, but virtual reality complements it in a way that engages our employees.

During the virtual reality tests, new trainees will experience trips around city environments. Theyll have to identify hazards along the way by shouting out hazard left or hazard right. The virtual reality tests last about three to six minutes.

UPS wants its drivers constantly scanning roadways to be aware of potential trouble ahead. Virtual reality allows UPS to include a heavy dose of hazards in training, that a driver might not otherwise see when practicing in the in real world.

Related Content:Virtual Reality Headsets Should Be Used in Moderation by Children, Doctor Says

For example, in one instance a ball rolls out onto the street ahead of the virtual driver. UPS wants its drivers to immediately watch for a child that may dart into the street to recover it. The drivers are also taught to identify other problems, such as a billboard, tree or building that blocks their view.

With virtual reality, drivers have a chance to learn lessons and make mistakes without doing any damage.

Drivers of UPS package delivery trucks spend a month training. The first week is spent at a driver training center, followed by three weeks in the field shadowing an experienced driver.

UPS drivers used to train by having to identify hazards in virtual environments that were displayed on computer screens. But UPS executives wanted the more immersive experience that virtual reality provided.

The company told CNN it sees additional chances down the road to use virtual reality, such as for training mechanics on how to service an engine.

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UPS is training drivers with virtual reality | WTNH Connecticut News – WTNH Connecticut News (press release)

Team Trump accuses CNN of censorship – Washington Times

The Trump campaign accused CNN Tuesday of censorship for refusing to broadcast a paid advertisement highlighting President Trumps achievements.

Today, CNN provided further proof that the network earns this mistrust every day by censoring President Trumps message to the American people by blocking our paid campaign ad, said Michael Glassner, executive director of Donald J. Trump for President Inc. Clearly, the only viewpoint CNN allows on air is CNNs.

The commercial says Democrats are obstructing the presidents agenda, and the media are attacking him.

The presidents enemies dont want him to succeed, the ad states. But Americans are saying Let President Trump do his job.

CNN refused to air a previous Trump campaign ad in May after the campaign declined to change a reference in the commercial to fake news. Mr. Trump again called the network fake news Monday in a showdown with a CNN reporter at the White House.

Mr. Glassner said one reason so many Americans support Mr. Trump is because of their complete mistrust of the mainstream news media, and the presidents refusal to allow their biased filter to interfere with his messages.

While CNNs censorship is predictable, this will not stop or deny our message that President Trumps plan is working for the American people, he said.

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Team Trump accuses CNN of censorship – Washington Times

Charlottesville forces Silicon Valley to confront its approach to free speech – wtvr.com

Following last weekends violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, many tech companies have been thrust into a debate over free speech and social responsibility.

One tech company after another has taken steps to effectively choke off white supremacist groups after a violent rally.

Some have said they have an obligation to take down content that incites violence. Others have simply suggested that hateful or racist behavior violates their community standards.

The moves have left some hate groups and websites in internet limbo, unable to communicate, move money or find a home online.

GoDaddy and Google each stopped hosting the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer after it published a derogatory story about Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting against the rally. Facebook has taken down a number of white supremacist Facebook Groups and pulled the event page for Saturdays rally after it became clear it was violent.

On the payments side, PayPal has been cracking down on white supremacist accounts, and GoFundMe is banning crowdfunding campaigns for the man who alleged plowed his car into the crowd killing Heyer. Apple has reportedly cut off payments to websites selling Nazi-themed merchandise.

This approach even had consequences offline. Airbnb removed users who were connected with the rally and planned to stay at several of its home rentals. And an Uber driver in Charlottesville kicked out a group of prominent white nationalists from her car. The driver was then honored at Ubers all-hands meeting on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson.

Tech companies have long faced pressure to do more to address hate and harassment online.

But this weeks sudden and aggressive crack down reignites concerns about the industrys immense power to decide who does and doesnt have a place on the internet.

To me, the question is never about whether white supremacists deserve a platform, but who gets to decide that? says Jillian York, director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As private companies, the Facebooks and Googles of the world are free to determine who uses their products. Typically, however, theyve tried to cultivate the image of being neutral and unbiased platforms by relying on artificial intelligence and user feedback to flag offensive content.

At a more fundamental level, some tech companies were built by teams who strongly believed in free speech. One former Google employee told CNN Tech the company was reluctant to remove hate speech from its Blogger platform in the mid-2000s because of concerns it amounted to censorship.

The industry has been forced to evolve its approach in recent years amid greater media and regulatory scrutiny over online harassment and the spread of terrorist content from groups like ISIS.

York says most of the worlds governments and nearly all Silicon Valley companies decided that terrorists dont get speech rights. Now she says the tech industry is at risk of being seen as unilaterally deciding the same to be true for Nazis and white supremacists.

By asserting more control over offensive content, tech companies may find themselves on a slippery slope. They could face redoubled efforts from media outlets and governments to take down other controversial posts in the future.

Matthew Prince, CEO of internet firm Cloudfare, wrestled with these concerns in an unusually candid blog post Wednesday after his company terminated The Daily Stormers account.

After today, make no mistake, Prince said, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they dont like.

Meanwhile, a new cottage industry of fringe copycat startups has gained attention for catering to those who arent welcome on more mainstream platforms. But even some of these sites are starting to be more discerning.

Discord, a Skype and chat service popular with the alt-right, said this week it was shutting down accounts associated with the Charlottesville events. We will continue to take action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate, the company said in a statement.

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Charlottesville forces Silicon Valley to confront its approach to free speech – wtvr.com