Summary of “Google is funding a new software project that will automate writing local news”

Google is awarding the Press Association, a large British news agency, $805,000 to build software to automate the writing of 30,000 local stories a month.
The Press Assocation received the funding in partnership with Urbs Media, an automation software startup specializing in combing through large open datasets.
Together, the Press Assocation and Urbs Media will work on a software project dubbed Radar, which stands for Reporters And Data And Robots.
Radar aims to automate local reporting with large public databases from government agencies or local law enforcement – basically roboticizing the work of reporters.
The Associated Press, a major U.S. news agency, started using automation software to generate stories about corporate financial quarterly earnings in 2014.
The Radar project, on the other hand, plans to cover issues of local importance, digging into government datasets to find stories that matter.
That kind of news judgement takes a deep understanding of social, political and local contexts, which humans are better suited to determine than software.
Still, Clifton says that this type of automated reporting can go a long way at a time of extreme financial pressures on media outlets, helping to cover important local stories – albeit with fewer people involved in the process.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists”

“There’s no doubt these utilities are out to kill rooftop solar, and they’re succeeding,” said David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, a renewable energy advocacy group.
A Statehouse PushEarly on a March morning in the Indiana State Capitol, under a mural of the Greek sun god Apollo, solar energy enthusiasts swarmed a committee hearing to defend the state’s embattled solar policy.
A week before the Indiana committee hearing, a group of utility lobbyists descended on the statehouse, handing out talking points that said credits for rooftop solar panels lead to higher rates for everyone else.
The utilities have targeted state solar power incentives, particularly net metering, which credits solar customers for the electricity they generate but do not use and send back to the grid.
In Florida last year, the utility industry contributed more than $21 million to an ultimately unsuccessful ballot initiative to ban third-party sales or leasing of rooftop solar panels.
Expanding EffortThe latest utility resistance to residential solar in places like Indiana is striking because those states do not yet have big rooftop solar markets, said Autumn Proudlove, an analyst at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University.
The bulk of that growth came from giant solar parks and other large projects run by solar producers and, in some cases, the utilities themselves.
Some of the slowdown in smaller-scale rooftop solar has come in maturing markets in states like California, where rooftop solar companies are having trouble expanding their customer base beyond early adopters.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why I’m never signing up for Amazon Prime”

It’s open buffet season on consumer goods, and Amazon has that Prime ticket dangling in front of our ravenous faces.
Browse through Amazon even without the hyperactivity of Prime Day and you’ll see that deals are the norm rather than the exception.
Amazon Prime makes it unbelievably easy to shop unthinkingly.
That phenomenon has been so prominent with clothes that Amazon formalized it with the introduction of Amazon Prime Wardrobe last month.
Amazon’s presence in online retail is so influential nowadays that the majority of other major US retailers are throwing their own mini sales to fend off the effects of Prime Day.
As of today, this is a totally consumer-friendly effect of Amazon’s growing domination, but what happens over the long run? What if Walmart and every other retailer never catches up to Amazon and Jeff Bezos’ company ends up in a truly dominant position with no meaningful competition? Bezos himself advocates sternly against complacency, but having a monopolistic retailer of everything is a bad dependency to develop.
Everything about Prime that feels unbelievably cheap is only so because of the unbelievably cheap way that Amazon deals with the people discharging its duties.
You’ve got your own priorities in life and, in all honesty, nobody’s going to fix global injustice by disregarding Prime Day and taking a nice walk outside instead. But it makes me feel good to do exactly that, and so – in the ultimate expression of consumer choice – I’m opting not to consume Amazon’s enchanting deals elixir.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This is your brain on Disneyland: A Disney addict's quest to discover why he loves the parks so much”

My name is Todd and I am addicted to Disney theme parks.
If anyone should be able to articulate why we love Disney parks, it’s a former head of Walt Disney Imagineering who wrote speeches for Walt.
Irving Biederman, a professor of psychology at USC, has been to some Disney parks and his gripe is one I regularly hear from friends: too fake.
Disney devotion can connote endless adolescence, but as Biederman began to interview me, the ways in which I engage with the parks became more clear.
Other times, I’ll bring work, sit with my laptop in the lobby of the Grand Californian, only venturing into one of the parks when I need to clear my head. Increasingly, I’ve been approaching the parks from a more studious perspective, investigating its history and reporting on new developments.
It’s no secret that many gravitate to Disney parks for family bonding experiences, which the parks leverage at every photo op.
“You could speak to a stranger. You feel safe. You know you’re going to be respected. Everything is clean. It’s an example that you take back to your own community. ‘Why can’t it be like this? Why can’t we treat people like we get treated at the Disney parks? Why can’t our streets be as clean as it is at Disney?'”.
Theme parks are a thoroughly modern invention based as much on technology as the belief in pixie dust, and we’re only just beginning to understand their growing role as a storytelling medium.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s $800 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks More U.S. Access”

The committee, which includes representatives from the Departments of Defense, State, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security, reviews deals by sovereign wealth funds and other foreign investors.
The United States was the largest investment destination for the fund, with more than $90 billion in the country, mostly in the financial markets.
In its 2016 annual report published on Tuesday, the China Investment Corporation said it earned a 6.2 percent net return on its overseas investments, raising its assets to $813.5 billion.
In 2016, Chinese investment in America jumped threefold, to $46 billion, from the year before, according to the research firm Rhodium Group.
Ms. Liu said she was optimistic that the new administration “Will provide us more investment opportunities.” She pointed to Mr. Xi’s visit in April to Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla., as a sign that relations were on a positive track.
In May, the fund opened an office in New York to engage with the United States government and regulatory agencies, according to Ms. Liu.Mr. Trump, who initially struck a conciliatory tone in relations with China after meeting Mr. Xi, is under pressure to improve the investment climate for American companies in China.
“Any Chinese sovereign investment must be scrutinized. That’s not to say the answer should be no to everything. But much greater questions need to be asked,” said Fraser Howie, a former banker in Asia who has helped write three books on the Chinese financial system.
“They are a sovereign wealth fund; they are a government foreign reserve-backed fund of the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

The orginal article.

Summary of “IDEO’s secret to better brainstorming sessions lies in the phrase “How might we””

To avoid these pitfalls, the design firm IDEO has developed a brainstorming strategy that relies on three simple words: the phrase “How might we.”
At a recent creative leadership class at the firm’s office in New York City, put on by Adobe’s 99U conference, nearly every question was framed as a “How might we,” or HMW: How might we make our teams more engaged? How might we foster deeper relationships between employees? How might we inspire more frequent knowledge-sharing? The same approach is popular at Google and Facebook, according to the Harvard Business Review.
While the phrase “How might we” seems pretty basic, each word is intended to serve a specific purpose.
Asking “How would we do this” or “How do we do this” can give employees performance anxiety, she says: People may stay silent for fear of giving half-baked or incorrect answers.
By contrast, “The beauty of the phrase ‘How might we do this’ is that it eliminates fear, stress, and anxiety by supportively implying that there may be more than one solution, and that nothing more is needed at the moment than ideas,” says Greaves.
The phrase “How might we” signals that risky or outlandish ideas are welcome.
The question “How might we solve world peace?” Way too big.
“How might we create a more peaceful office environment?” is bound to produce some specific suggestions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “AI is changing how we do science. Get a glimpse”

Their field lends itself to AI and machine-learning algorithms because nearly every experiment centers on finding subtle spatial patterns in the countless, similar readouts of complex particle detectors-just the sort of thing at which AI excels.
Particle physicists strive to understand the inner workings of the universe by smashing subatomic particles together with enormous energies to blast out exotic new bits of matter.
In 2012, for example, teams working with the world’s largest proton collider, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, discovered the long-predicted Higgs boson, the fleeting particle that is the linchpin to physicists’ explanation of how all other fundamental particles get their mass.
At the LHC, a Higgs boson emerges from roughly one out of every 1 billion proton collisions, and within a billionth of a picosecond it decays into other particles, such as a pair of photons or a quartet of particles called muons.
Physicists still rely mainly on their understanding of the underlying physics to figure out how to search data for signs of new particles and phenomena.
Troyanskaya combined hundreds of data sets on which genes are active in specific human cells, how proteins interact, and where transcription factor binding sites and other key genome features are located.
To train the program-a deep-learning system-Zhou exposed it to data collected by the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements and Roadmap Epigenomics, two projects that cataloged how tens of thousands of noncoding DNA sites affect neighboring genes.
Like master chefs who start with a vision of the finished dish and then work out how to make it, many chemists start with the final structure of a molecule they want to make, and then think about how to assemble it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Hack: Having a Media Company Mentality”

Never before have brands and consumers had the ability to create and consume content at scale.
Just 15 years ago, if you wanted to create a commercial to promote your brand, you would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on media and marketing.
If you focus on content, and attempt to build brand, you will win.
Content and DistributionThere is ZERO excuse not to be creating content around your brand, your product, your service or your business.
If you are thinking like a media company and or a publisher, then you are going to start prioritizing brand.
Brand is everything if you are trying to create a business of value.
How can you attain consumer ATTENTION? Who in your space is relevant and potentially interested in promoting your brand.
If you don’t start thinking like a media company and prioritizing brand along with content, you are going to lose.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Word Choices That Explain Why Jane Austen Endures”

What about the top, where Austen is nearly alone, with “Diary of a Nobody” and “New Grub Street”? This is related to a higher-than-average propensity for words like quite, really and very – the sort that writers are urged to avoid if they want muscular prose.
As Virginia Woolf observed about Austen, “Of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.” To capture that “Correct and striking representation” of which Scott spoke, we need more data.
Austen uses comparatively more words referring to women – “She,” “Her,” “Miss” – and to family relationships like “Sister,” unsurprising considering her subject matter.
Austen used intensifying words – like very, much, so – at a higher rate than other writers.
Traditional literary approaches to Austen have long focused on this aspect of her work: “The incongruities between pretence and essence, between the large idea and the inadequate ego,” as the critic Marvin Mudrick put it.
It is at the heart of Austen’s work: What is going on behind the veneer that politeness demands? These distinctive words, word clusters and grammatical constructions highlight her writerly preoccupations: states of mind and feeling, her characters’ unceasing efforts to understand themselves and other people.
By omitting the fantastical and dramatic elements that fuel the plots of more conventional novels both of her own time and ours, Austen keeps a laser focus.
Austen seems to see people so clearly that we, her readers, cannot fail to improve in perceptiveness, too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Drinking more coffee can lead to a longer life, new studies say”

One study surveyed more than 520,000 people in 10 European countries, making it the largest study to date on coffee and mortality, and found that drinking more coffee could significantly lower a person’s risk of mortality.
The new study shows that there is a stronger biological possibility for the relationship between coffee and longevity and found that mortality was inversely related to coffee consumption for heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
“We looked at multiple countries across Europe, where the way the population drinks coffee and prepares coffee is quite different,” said Marc Gunter, reader in cancer epidemiology and prevention at Imperial College’s School of Public Health in the UK, who co-authored the European study.
In the European study, people who were drinking coffee tended to have lower levels of inflammation, healthier lipid profiles and better glucose control compared with those who weren’t.
The studies complement work that has been done on coffee and mortality, he said, and it has been reasonably documented that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.
With all observations from previous studies it’s difficult to exclude the possibility that coffee drinkers are just healthier to begin with, Gunter said.
People who avoid coffee, particularly in places like the US and Europe where drinking the beverage is very common, may do so because they have health problems.
“The takeaway message would be that drinking a couple cups of coffee a day doesn’t do you any harm, and actually, it might be doing you some good,” he said.

The orginal article.