Summary of “Apple Is Manufacturing a Siri Speaker to Outdo Google and Amazon”

Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.
Introducing a speaker would serve two main purposes: providing a hub to automate appliances and lights via Apple’s HomeKit system, and establishing a bulwark inside the home to lock customers more tightly into Apple’s network of services.
Without compatible hardware, users may be more likely to opt for the Echo or Home, and therefore use streaming music offerings such as Spotify, Amazon Prime Music or Google Play rather than Apple Music.
A speaker may help keep customers loyal to service products such as Apple Music, a subscription music streaming offering that costs $10 per month.
The speaker would likely be tucked into Apple’s “Other Products” category, which currently includes devices like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and AirPods.
Inventec Corp., the Taipei manufacturer that already makes the AirPod wireless headphones, will add the speaker to its Apple repertoire, the people said.
Last year, Apple opened up Siri on the iPhone to the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc., allowing a user to order a ride or send a WhatsApp message with a voice command.
An Apple-designed speaker with high-end sound quality that fits perfectly into the Apple ecosystem is a familiar pitch.
In 2006, Apple unveiled the iPod Hi-Fi, a battery powered speaker designed to cast a shadow over the thriving iPod third-party accessory market.
With Siri and a clear hole in its ecosystem, Apple is banking that its second try at a speaker product will do better.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Doctor Is In. Co-Pay? $40,000.”

Not to be outdone, Lenox Hill Hospital in New York recently hired a veteran of Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom, Joe Leggio, to create an atmosphere that would remind V.I.P. patients of visiting a luxury boutique or hotel, not a hospital.
“This is something that patients asked for, and we want to go from three-star service to five-star service,” said Mr. Leggio, the hospital’s director of patient and customer experience.
Lenox Hill is replacing some of its shared maternity rooms with private rooms, a far more profitable offering for hospitals since patients pay for them out of pocket, not through insurance plans that can bargain down rates.
Hospital executives argue that giving the well heeled extra attention is a way of keeping the lights on and providing care for ordinary middle- and even upper-middle-class patients, as reimbursements from private insurers and the federal government shrink.
Then there are the red blankets that some big Stanford benefactors receive when they check in as patients.
“I loved my time at Stanford, but I was spending less and less time with patients,” he said.
“Fifteen or 20 minutes a year with each patient isn’t enough.”
“I really have time to think about my patients when they’re not in front of me,” said Dr. Greene, a pediatrician who joined the company’s Los Angeles practice in October.
“I may spend a morning researching and emailing specialists for one patient. Before, I had to see 10 patients in a morning, and could never spend that kind of time on one case.”
What about everyone else? Mr. Traina doesn’t see much future for the conventional family doctor, except for patients who go the concierge route.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide”

The results of our most recent Presidential election notwithstanding, West and Bergstrom maintain that humans are pretty good at detecting verbal bullshit.
Bullshit expressed as data, on the other hand, is relatively new outside scientific circles.
Multivariate graphs didn’t begin to appear in the popular press until the nineteen-eighties, and only in the past decade, as smartphones and other information-gathering devices have accelerated the accumulation of Big Data, have complex visualizations been routinely presented to the general public.
While data can be used to tell remarkably deep and memorable stories, Bergstrom told me, its apparent sophistication and precision can effectively disguise a great deal of bullshit.
Bergstrom believes that calling bullshit on data, big or otherwise, doesn’t require a statistics degree-only common sense and a few habits of mind.
To paraphrase the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, the liar knows the truth and leads others away from it; the bullshitter either doesn’t know the truth or doesn’t care about it, and is most interested in showing off his or her advantages.
These days, spurious correlations often emerge from data mining, the increasingly common practice of trawling large amounts of information for possible relationships.
Like all data-based claims, if an algorithm’s abilities sound too good to be true, they probably are.
Computer models designed to predict individual criminal behavior have shown bias against minorities, possibly because the data used to “Train” their algorithms reflect existing cultural biases.
Mind the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle, articulated by the Italian software developer Alberto Brandolini in 2013: the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The secret to a long and healthy life? Eat less”

In 1591, his grandson published his posthumous three-volume tome entitled “Discourses on the Sober Life,” pushing dietary restriction into the mainstream, and redefining ageing itself.
That’s why, in the late 1980s, two independent long-term trials – one at NIA and the other at the University of Wisconsin – were set up to study calorie restriction and ageing in Rhesus monkeys.
Fed with specially made biscuits, the diets of the 76 monkeys at the University of Wisconsin and the 121 at NIA are tailored to their age, weight, and natural appetite.
Take Sherman, a 43-year-old monkey from NIA. Mattison says that since being placed on the CR diet in 1987, aged 16, Sherman hasn’t shown any overt signs of hunger that are well characterised in his species.
As younger monkeys were developing diseases and dying, he seemed to be immune to ageing.
“If you cured all cancers, you wouldn’t offset death due to cardiovascular disease, or dementia, or diabetes-associated disorders. Whereas if you go after ageing you can offset the lot in one go.”
Over two years, 218 healthy men and women aged between 21 and 50 years were split into two groups.
With nearly 30 years of data on lives and deaths, and blood and tissue samples, from nearly 200 monkeys, the work at NIA and the University of Wisconsin aim to shine a light into the black box of calorie restriction, illuminating just how it delays ageing.
With less food, is the metabolism forced to be more efficient with what it has? Is there a common molecular switch regulating ageing that is turned on with fewer calories? Or is there an as of yet unknown mechanism underpinning our lives and deaths? The importance of monkeys like Sherman far outspans their lives.
Ageing could be treated directly, that is, without the need of calorie restriction.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the World’s Most Interesting Man Befriended the World’s Most Powerful Man”

I could hear President Obama as he walked up the path behind me and spied the multiple arrows I had placed, undetected, in the bull’s-eye.
Would I like to be part of a special surprise for the president’s 50th birthday celebration at Camp David? Ten of Obama’s best friends-most of them people he had known as far back as high school-were on the list.
“And Fidel heard about me So he challenged me to a duel. He wants to get the pistols. I told him, ‘Fidel, we can get the pistols if you want, but no sense in hurting ourselves. How about we play chess? It’s painless.’ He agreed. I let him win. He gets very upset. He wants to beat me fair, he says. And that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”
The first time I met President Obama, I was part of a welcoming committee in the state of Vermont, where I now live.
The president of the United States is interested in me, the imaginary most interesting man in the world.
The Secret Service picked me up at Reagan National Airport, and a few hours later I was at Camp David, the president’s private retreat.
I met the president’s dog Bo. I saw the very chairs on which Stalin and Roosevelt sat and the table where the Camp David Peace Accords were negotiated between Israel and Egypt.
I went back to the shooting position and stood with a bow and a single notched shaft, admiring my “Work.” Soon, I could hear the president coming with an aide.
By the time I got to the small dinner party I noticed there were only two seats left, one by the door and one next to the president.
Somehow calling him Mr. President didn’t seem right.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Theresa May wants to ban crypto: here’s what that would cost, and here’s why it won’t work anyway / Boing Boing”

If you want to secure your sensitive data either at rest – on your hard drive, in the cloud, on that phone you left on the train last week and never saw again – or on the wire, when you’re sending it to your doctor or your bank or to your work colleagues, you have to use good cryptography.
What Theresa May thinks she’s saying is, “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back-doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it.
For Theresa May’s proposal to work, she will need to stop Britons from installing software that comes from software creators who are out of her jurisdiction.
Even there, you’d have to contend with the fact that other EU states and countries like the USA are unlikely to follow suit, and that means that anyone who bought her Iphone in Paris or New York could come to the UK with all their secure software intact and send messages “We cannot read.”.
The commercial operators – Apple and Microsoft – might conceivably be compelled by Parliament to change their operating systems to block secure software in the future, but that doesn’t do anything to stop people from using all the PCs now in existence to run code that the PM wants to ban.
Any firms within reach of the UK government must be banned from producing secure software.
Virtually all academic security work in the UK must cease – security research must only take place in proprietary research environments where there is no onus to publish one’s findings, such as industry R&D and the security services.
All packets in and out of the country, and within the country, must be subject to Chinese-style deep-packet inspection and any packets that appear to originate from secure software must be dropped.
Existing walled gardens must be ordered to ban their users from installing secure software.
Proprietary operating system vendors must be ordered to redesign their operating systems as walled gardens that only allow users to run software from an app store, which will not sell or give secure software to Britons.

The orginal article.

Summary of “First Private Moon Landing Gears Up for Launch by Year’s End”

Three years later, it launched Ātea-1, a small 20-foot demonstrator rocket and the first private launch to space from the Southern Hemisphere.
“My advice to anybody who thinks they might want to build a launch pad is: just don’t,” says Beck.
Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island was completed in September 2016 after about a year of construction.
“I know more about gravel compaction and aggregate size than I ever wanted to know in my life,” says Beck.Now Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1-the first private pad to host an orbital rocket launch-puts the spaceflight company in an advantageous position.
Beck echoed what many in the space industry have been saying of late, that increasing launch frequency is the key to driving down costs and expanding access to space.
Now Rocket Lab has something that no one else has: a personal launch complex approved for a rocket launch every 72 hours for the next 30 years.
Its eventual plan is a launch per week, providing about 50 launches every year.
The MoonEx launch will be business as usual-if everything goes according to plan.
One of the instruments on the first launch is a small experimental telescope from the International Lunar Observatory Association.
After taking a minute to look around, the MX-1E will fire up its rocket engines again and fly to a new location.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Competition”

Courtesy of the documentary skipping stones for fudge.
Two-foot waves were rolling across the lake, a taste of what lay ahead: We were going to the Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Competition-the oldest, most prestigious rock-skipping tournament in the United States, if not the world.
I looked down, saw a decent skipping stone, and picked it up.
I’d been skipping stones my whole life, ever since I was around my daughters’ ages, always getting better and better.
These were my people-the ones who could spend hours on a beach looking for just the right stone, who would fill bags and boxes with skippers from secret locations, who would throw until their arm gave way, lost in the simple sorcery of stone skipping.
Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner practices skipping stones.
Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner sorting his skipping stones.
As the stone spins, these points will push the stone up off the water, keeping it airborne and preventing it from sticking.
“If you spin it fast enough, the stone will essentially walk on those spokes,” Steiner told me, when I had called him for skipping advice.
Windermere Pointe Beach at the Iroquois Hotel, site of the Mackinac island stone skipping competition.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Millennial Obsession With Self-Care”

There is one generation that has been consistently defined by its obsessions: avocado toast, memes, Harry Potter … and self-care.
Today, self-care, as it’s defined by Gracy Obuchowicz, a facilitator and self-care mentor and coach in Washington, D.C., “Assumes that we’re OK as we are and we just need to take care of ourselves … Self-care alone is not enough. You need to have self-awareness too. Self-care plus self-awareness equals self-love.”
While self-care has been around for centuries, it has only recently been co-opted by stars such as Solange and consumerized into self-care kits.
They spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, life coaching, therapy and apps to improve their personal well-being.
It found that students reported using the Web to identify self-care strategies, alternative therapies and other information related to nutrition and fitness.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll find hundreds of articles about self-care, occasionally accompanied with lists of advice such as “Go to a farmers market” or “Buy a new candle” or “Drive with the windows down.” So it comes as no surprise that the generation that takes advantage of the Internet the most is also the generation that devotes the most time and money to the $10 billion self-care industry.
Im said we might find ourselves comparing our lives to the perfection we see on the Internet, which leads us to utilizing online tools for self-care – and the cycle continues.
Im said the introduction of social media throughout the millennial generation has increased understanding of mental illnesses and decreased the stigma.
Beyond social media, Obuchowicz said she has noticed an uptick in the interest in self-care lately, particularly since the election.
Obuchowicz says it’s more than just social media that has pushed millennials to the forefront of the self-care discussion.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Leftovers’ Examination of Life, Death, Einstein and Time Travel”

We all know that’s part of the package deal of being human, and if we don’t know that, we’re taught that by time, the slowest and most exacting teacher.
What if, for the briefest span of time, an observer could pause the hurtling energy of the universe and pin down every single place and time in which we exist? Everything seen, mapped, understood.
The gravity well of a black hole had hovered nearby, for such a long time.
Einstein was right: The passage of time depends on your perspective.
Slooowww motion: There was enough time to wish, from the bottom of my soul, for a different velocity, an alternate life.
These variations were there the whole time, or they are new.
Every single heartbreak I endured while going to the pharmacy, buying groceries, watching “Judge Judy” with mom, watching my father make coffee for the last time, his bones brittle and wrong – yes, Johnny Cash, I remember everything.
I thought the everyday aches I had to put to one side during a time of sheer survival had been dropped, had slunk away, had eroded over time.
Bearing witness is an act of love and a rebellion against that eternal asshole, time.
She wants to know that someone understands the magnitude of her loss, but who could? And at the same time, she doesn’t want to be defined by the unique conditions of her suffering.

The orginal article.