Zero’s latest electric motorcycles boast 200+ mile range

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With some of the world’s biggest bike makers now dedicating time to electric models, Zero Motorcycles knows it has its work cut out. The company has spent the last 10 years refining its gas-free lineup, gradually adding more power and (more importantly) increasing the range, giving riders the incentive they need to make the jump. For its 2017 roster, Zero has done the same again, updating its Zero S, Zero SR, Zero DS, Zero DSR, Zero FX and Zero FXS models, giving some the ability to go 200 miles on a single charge.

Zero boasts that the Zero S and Zero SR models are the world’s first production electric motorcycles to exceed that milestone, but says that owners will only get that kind of performance when riding in the city. The company’s option Power Tank accessory, which does the heavy lifting, also provides enough juice for over 100 miles on the highway. For those seeking instant torque, Zero has improved its Z-Force powertrain and included interior permanent magnet (IPM) motors, resulting in greater acceleration and 116-ft-lb of torque.

To ensure that riders worry more about riding than keeping their bike serviced, Zero is also debuting a new free mobile app that offers performance customization — including settings for maximum torque, top speed and regenerative braking. It also lets owners update their motorcycle’s firmware, saving a trip to the dealer. Oh, and each lithium-ion battery is backed by a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Zero says the 2017 models are already making their way to dealers and will retail for between $8,495 and $15,995. US buyers will also receive a 10 percent federal tax credit on top of any state incentives. That extra range will cost, though, with the Power Tank setting customers back an extra $2,695.

Via: Electrek

Source: Zero Motorcycles

from Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/09/zero-motorcycles-2017-range-power/
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Why Trump won

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I live and work in the Silicon Valley/New York tech media bubble,
as do most of my friends and many of my relatives.

They’re stunned tonight. There’s talk of vomiting, of grabbing
their passports. 

I just got back from four days in the deep red Trump country of
eastern Tennessee to attend a wedding, and I’ve been
visiting every year or two (or three) since I met my wife in
1996. 

I didn’t grow up there, but I enjoy my visits there. Our
relatives there treat me well. I love them like you love
relatives who you know you’ll never talk politics with.

And I think I sort of understand where they’re coming from,
even if I disagree.

Here are some observations that may help my friends who
never left the bicoastal bubble — and all of you around the world
who are looking on in shock — understand how Americans just
elected somebody who 61% of Americans in a recent poll said was
not qualified to be president. 

  • One relative worked in a photo processing lab for more
    than 20 years and used that job to singlehandedly support her
    family. She was laid off a few years away from retirement. The
    company was cutting costs thanks to competition from digital
    imaging technology that made film obsolete, and hers was one of
    the jobs to be cut. She got nothing extra. No pension, no
    retirement. We tell people like her that they’re supposed to
    retrain, get educated, get new jobs. How does that work, exactly?
    What do they do for money while retraining? Who’s going to hire a
    60-year-old trainee from the local community college or trade
    school anyway? What happens to all those communities where these
    jobs disappeared before the current generation could get hired in
    the first place? 
  • Her husband, fortunately, had worked his way up to a good
    position in the local paper mill, the main employer in that area.
    He retired with a full pension and had enough to buy a nice house
    with some land attached, and she’s able to live on what they had
    together before he passed away earlier this year. But those paper
    mill jobs — good working class jobs that could set you up with a
    nice retirement — are the kinds of jobs that those of us in the
    new information economy and on Wall Street and in
    D.C. denigrate and say are going away and never coming back.
    The people who live in these places aren’t stupid. They know that
    globalization is making it more economical for companies to ship
    these jobs overseas, and they know that the people who run these
    companies care more about the numbers than about the people
    who work and live in these communities. 
  • While I was there, we conspicuously talked around politics,
    not wanting to ruin what was supposed to be a joyful occasion.
    But one evening, a relative explained how a few years ago,
    hundreds of huge trucks kept going by with loads of something
    (ore? scrap? she wasn’t sure) from one of the old copper mines up
    in the mountains a few miles away. “They were shipping all that
    stuff to China!” she said, indignantly. Sure, this is global
    capitalism at work, and it’s efficient — if there had been US
    demand for whatever was being shipped, it would’ve been sold here
    (it’s cheaper not to ship it). But her point was that we were
    taking something that somebody felt was valuable and shipping it
    away, where it would do no good for the local economy and create
    no jobs.
  • I’m so used to seeing homeless people on the streets of San
    Francisco, it felt depressingly familiar when I saw a
    vagrant holding a sign by the highway in Athens, Tennessee.
    But it was the first time in 20 years I’d seen a homeless
    person there. People have always had jobs, or churches, or
    at the very least too much pride to show their desperation like
    this. It’s awfully hard to convince people that we need to open
    the country up to Syrian refugees “when we can’t even take care
    of our own,” as one relative put it. 
  • Tennessee has a fairly progressive Medicaid system
    called TennCare, which started in the 1990s. It offered insurance
    to people who didn’t have it and enrolled all recipients in
    a managed care (HMO-type) plan to keep costs low. Our relatives
    there have often expressed their hatred for it. They have all
    worked their whole lives and didn’t understand why
    freeloaders who’d never held a job should get the same benefits
    that they had to work for.

Don’t get me wrong — people there are flawed, just like people
everywhere. There’s plenty of alcoholism and drug abuse in the
community. People openly use racist terms and aren’t
particularly ready to embrace non-white non-Christians.
There’s a lot of cultural ignorance — I once heard somebody refer
to “one of those Mongolian Jews” and still have no idea what he
was talking about. (He said it with a neutral descriptive tone,
not angrily or critically, for what it’s worth.) The preacher
conducting the wedding pointedly referred to marriage as “between
one man and one woman.”

I don’t excuse or condone any of those things. I think they’re
wrong. 

But when you ignore the troubles of huge swaths of America and
condescend to the people living there for decades, eventually
they’re going to get fed up.

Hillary Clinton is the personification of the ruling class. Her
husband was president when the forces of globalization started
slowly ripping these communities apart. She’s a career
politician, and even if some of the criticisms against her are
unjustified, she seems just sneaky and condescending enough to
give off a whiff of guilt, of complicity.

Electing Donald Trump president over her was the biggest
imaginable “f— you” they could have sent to the unseen ruling
classes, those forces who have changed their lives over the last
few decades without their permission or consent, and reaped
the benefits while their communities have slowly fallen
apart. 

Now we’re all going to suffer for it. 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

from SAI http://www.businessinsider.com/why-trump-won-2016-11
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Researchers Just Created the Most Amazing Lip-Reading Software

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One of the most unsettling moments in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is when it’s revealed that HAL 9000 can read lips, leaving no secrets between the astronauts and the ship’s computer. That might have been science fiction, but 15 years after the events of that film, researchers in the real world have finally taught computers how to read lips.

LipNet, developed by researchers at the University of Oxford Computer Science Department, isn’t the first software designed to predict what a person is saying by analyzing the movement of their lips. But it’s by far the most accurate, achieving an impressive 93.4 percent accuracy, compared to just 52 percent accuracy achieved by an experienced human lip reader.

So what’s the “secret sauce” that makes LipNet so adept at reading lips? Here’s how the researchers’ abstract that explains what makes their approach different, and better:

Lipreading is the task of decoding text from the movement of a speaker’s mouth. Traditional approaches separated the problem into two stages: designing or learning visual features, and prediction. More recent deep lipreading approaches are end-to-end trainable (Wand et al., 2016; Chung & Zisserman, 2016a). All existing works, however, perform only word classification, not sentence-level sequence prediction. Studies have shown that human lipreading performance increases for longer words (Easton & Basala, 1982), indicating the importance of features capturing temporal context in an ambiguous communication channel. Motivated by this observation, we present LipNet, a model that maps a variable-length sequence of video frames to text, making use of spatiotemporal convolutions, an LSTM recurrent network, and the connectionist temporal classification loss, trained entirely end-to-end.

So what does all that mean in English? Based on previous research, the computer scientists realized that humans are better at reading lips, and deciphering what’s being said, when longer words are spoken. So instead of analyzing footage of someone speaking on a word-by-word basis, LipNet goes one step further by taking entire sentences into consideration, using Deep Learning techniques to then backtrack and decipher each word.

But what does this mean for those of us outside academia? Running on a smartphone, fed a live feed from a body-worn camera, LipNet could serve as an amazing tool for the hearing impaired. Even if they already know how to lip read, it could help boost their understanding while watching someone speak. And those without lip reading skills wouldn’t be frustrated when a person they’re speaking to doesn’t know sign language.

[Cornell University Library via Laughing Squid]

from Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/researchers-just-created-the-most-amazing-lip-reading-s-1788748163
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KnowRoaming offers free WhatsApp use around the world

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KnowRoaming’s SIM card and sticker were designed to help frequent travelers save money by connecting to local networks. This latest feature stays true to that mission. You’ll now be able to use WhatsApp for free around the world (the service works in over 80 countries) if you use any of the company’s products. KnowRoaming swears there’s no catch — you’re not required to buy credit to be able to use the feature, and sending messages isn’t the only thing you can do for free. You can make voice or video calls and send images at no charge, as well.

Of course, since you need a KnowRoaming product to be able to take advantage of the offer, you’ll still have to spend some money. The company’s SIM sticker, which you can slap on top of your regular SIM card, costs $30. Its standalone global SIM card, on the other hand, is much cheaper: you can get one for $10 and use it with any unlocked phone or tablet.

Source: KnowRoaming

from Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/09/knowroaming-free-whatsapp/
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NASA plans to launch swarms of small satellites to study Earth

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NASA announced its plans to deploy multiple swarms of tiny weather-sensing, climate change-observing satellites over the next few months during a teleconference held on Monday. The satellites will not only help advance climate science but also enable them to build the next generation of "small-satellites" for far less than they do today.

The space agency plans to launch three such missions, two by the end of the year: The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission, which is slated for December 12th, will put eight identical "cube satellites" into orbit where they will monitor tropical storms and improve weather forecasting efforts.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) project, on the other hand will launch in late November, launching three satellites which will monitor greenhouse gasses. NASA hopes to eventually launch an Earth-covering array of RAVAN satellites to assist in climate change research.

A third program, for which a launch date has not yet been set, is Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats or, if you squint real hard, TROPICS. These satellites will measure the temperature and water vapor concentration of storms.

NASA hopes that these missions are just the start. The space agency inaugurated the CubeSat Launch Initiative last year. Eventually, these miniaturized satellites could be deployed to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Source: Space.com

from Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/08/nasa-plans-to-launch-swarms-of-small-satellites-to-study-earth/
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How bitcoin protects against geopolitical risk

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Today’s election is anything but ordinary.  People from every corner of the globe have been watching, not only for its theatrical elements but because the impact will be felt around the world in very real ways.  And nowhere will the impact be more immediate and certain than on the economy.

In August, the Wall Street Journal published a piece noting that economists were already seeing election-induced uncertainty harming the US economy.  When the British people voted to leave the European Union, the value of currency literally plummeted overnight. If Trump wins today, the USD is likely to take a tumble just as the GBP did following the Brexit vote.

This year, we’ve seen firsthand the consequences of geopolitical risk on FIAT currencies like the USD and GBP. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has not only survived, but thrived despite increased hacks, competition, and scaling turmoil.

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The Bitcoin Advantage

Digital currencies like Bitcoin were built from the ground up and designed for an era of information. Just as we engage in a world where information and commerce flows without the need of a central authority, Bitcoin allows value to be transacted directly, peer to peer, without an intermediary.  This vastly increases system efficiency and enables the provision of financial services at a drastically lower cost basis.

Importantly, Bitcoin is a global digital currency that is borderless, frictionless and secure.  Unlike legacy currencies and payment systems, Bitcoin is immune to capital controls and currency manipulation.  It does not limit people’s freedom to move money to where they want it to be and cannot be controlled by governments for their political agenda.  Most of all, it is well insulated from national political uncertainty that might cause aggressive fluctuations in other traditional currencies.

Is it just the uncertainty of today’s election that is causing volatility in FIAT currencies? Yes, the election, as with any national political event is bound to yield fluctuations within our economy.  Should we expect that when that uncertainty subsides, so will the economic fluctuations?  Yes, at least a bit.

But, as history has shown, we should also expect that the next political event is right around the corner, with the resulting economic impact. Conversely, since it’s inception, bitcoin has remained immune from fluctuations from political events, and I believe that will be the case with today’s election.

Why? Because as noted above, bitcoin is immune from capital controls and currency manipulation.  We have entered an era of true independence in currency. That’s been shown in the past, and I believe we will see the same in the months to come.

Transformative Possibilities of blockchain technology

Taking the bitcoin discussion one step further, the blockchain, the underlying technology of Bitcoin, stands to change much more than just currency.  Unlike traditional financial ledgers, kept by a central institution, the Bitcoin blockchain ledger is updated and maintained by everyone on the network.  The bitcoin blockchain hasn’t had any downtime since its inception nearly 9 years ago – a remarkable feat for any financial platform.  It also means there

The bitcoin blockchain hasn’t had any downtime since its inception nearly 9 years ago – a remarkable feat for any financial platform.  It also means there is no gatekeeper collecting fees with each transaction. And because the bookkeeping is publicly accessible, records can’t be manipulated after the fact.

There’s general consensus that this technology will re-engineer the way we exchange value at both an enterprise and personal level. A greater percentage of the world’s population will be able to utilize digital financial products to transact, save, insure and hedge their way to a better economic future and nearly every major institution – from health to finance, entertainment to government – is exploring what block chain’s unprecedented efficiency, transparency and privacy means for them.

As digital currency cements its place in the global economic dialogue, many people are asking whether the blockchain will change the world.  I think the answer is a resounding yes.  And if the results of today’s election and recent world events teach us anything, it’s that our global economy needs the protection that a decentralized and global currency offers.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

from TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/08/how-bitcoin-protects-against-geopolitical-risk/?ncid=rss
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25 positive tweets for people who are traumatized by the U.S. election

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25 positive tweets for people who are traumatized by the U.S. election

Image: Getty Images /  Chip Somodevilla / mashable composite

LONDON — You don’t need us to tell you that Donald J. Trump has been elected as president of the United States and consequently as leader of the free world.

You also don’t need us to tell you that he is a highly controversial figure, or that his campaign rhetoric has brought to a head the bitter divisiveness of partisan politics in America and worldwide.

But you also don’t need to despair — now more than ever is the time to find a path forward marked by unity and resolve.

And on what is a bleak day for many, Twitter is uniting against the darkness with messages of optimism, grit, and determination that will get your fired up:   

Amidst swirling chaos and the daunting days ahead, there will always be hope, and there will always be resistance to ideas and individuals that threaten equality and tolerance. 

Hunker down, stay positive, and get ready: it has only just begun. 

BONUS: Trump’s victory speech

from Mashable! http://mashable.com/2016/11/09/twitter-responds-messages-hope/?utm_campaign=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial
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Cryptocurrencies rise on Trump victory

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Donald Trump’s historic victory in the 2016 US presidential elections predictably and immediately hammered the value of the dollar on foreign currency exchange markets. But, for cryptocurrencies, the news had an equal and opposite effect.

Coindesk reports the value of Bitcoin started rising steadily as the vote count began. Bitcoin is now trading up 3 per cent on news of the Trump win, with the price of one BTC hitting a high of $740 — up from a high of around $710 yesterday.

Even newbie cryptocurrency Zcash appears to be having a bit of a Trump bump, although trading remains volatile given the new privacy-focused digital currency only launched at the end of last month.

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Gold is also doing well.

Bitcoin and gold also experienced a surge in value this summer after the UK’s Brexit referendum result on leaving the European Union — another political upheaval that pollsters had failed to predict.

Commenting on the similarities between the cryptocurrency and the precious metal, forex market news site DailyFX wrote in July: “[T]he spirit behind buying gold and buying bitcoin appears to be very similar. In a ‘doomsday scenario’ where you desire an asset to hold value while other fiat-priced assets are plummeting in value, BTC like Gold is ideal for bartering. The difference is that BTC can allow bartering to be done digitally thanks to the blockchain.”

Whether the election of a rank outsider to the White House can be described as a “doomsday scenario” remains to be seen. Certainly it upsets the establishment apple cart. And injects the adrenaline of uncertainty into traders. Although the dollar looks to have pared back some of its initial losses after Trump’s emollient acceptance speech — in which he reiterates his pledge to kick start infrastructure projects and create jobs.

But what’s clear is that when politics defies conventional expectation, and when very many best laid plans are laid to wrack and ruin, cryptocurrencies are acting as a haven and a hedge against uncertain times — alongside the traditional one: gold.

Featured Image: Jon Russell/Flickr

from TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/09/cryptocurrencies-rise-on-trump-victory/?ncid=rss
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The Morning After: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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It’s the middle of the week, and (aside from other news) scientists think they’ve found where consciousness resides in our brains, Amazon might start cleaning your house (for a fee), and Nintendo’s new 3DS will get a substantial price cut for this Black Friday. We also played as a badger in the most chill MMORPG ever.


Personality goes hereScientists think this is where your consciousness lives

Consciousness is traditionally defined by two criteria: arousal and awareness. Arousal has already been traced to the brainstem, the primitive part of our brains that handles our most basic functions, like breathing and regulating the sleep/wake cycle. Awareness, on the other hand, has been a bit trickier to pin down. Turns out, however, that awareness resides there too. No word on whether doctors will be able to extract it and inject it into us, ensuring that we live forever. (Too far?) In all seriousness, the research could open doors into treating people in comas.


Be the badgerMeadow is the chilled-out MMO game we all need right now

Take control of a heavily stylized woodland animal, and walk, run, jump, smell, speak and emote. That’s … it.


In synthReview: Roland’s System-8 keyboard is all the synths you want in one case

Roland’s System-8 is an incredible, feature-packed synth keyboard for $1,500 — and it should remind other keyboard makers that it’s not just professional-grade products that could use some good old-fashioned knobs to make their instruments easier to use. If you’re looking to step up your at-home productions or you’re willing to be extra careful while gigging, it’ll be a great addition to your synth arsenal.


Vacuum tubes are backScientists built a chip without semiconductors

Our cyberpunk dreams come true: Scientists have built the first semiconductor-free, laser-controlled device that uses free electrons, much like typical vacuum tubes. The tubes can dislodge free electrons to carry (or not) a current through space. The research could result in better solar panels and faster microelectronic devices that can carry more power. The team will investigate uses not just in electronics and photovoltaics but also environmental applications and, possibly, weaponry — the research was funded, after all, by DARPA.


Do you really need a pair of smart headphones?Review: Muzik One’s headphones let you share whatever you’re listening to. If you need that.

The One is a pair of "connected" headphones that lets you share whatever you’re listening to on the social media platform of your choice with just the tap of a button. Sharing music has never been so easy. It’s harder to say whether the ‘phones are worth $300.


Cheap handheld gamingNintendo will sell the new 3DS on Black Friday for $100

Nintendo is releasing special black-and-white Mushroom Kingdom editions of the New 3DS for $100 starting on Black Friday, November 25th. These lower-cost models should be available at many North American game retailers too. You won’t get any games out of the box — but we’ve got you covered. Try these games to start with.

But wait, there’s more…

from Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/09/the-morning-after-wednesday-november-9-2016/
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High Uncertainty And Volatility Dominate Financial Markets As Trump Wins

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To the surprise of every one, Donald Trump is elected as the 45th president of the United States. Trump got 289 of the 538 electoral college votes to be the president-elect. Not only has he taken all of his ‘must-win’ states, he has also won many of the ‘swing’ states

from Action Forex (ALL) http://www.actionforex.com/action-insight/special-reports/high-uncertainty-and-volatility-dominate-financial-markets-as-trump-wins-20161109275361/
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