The House Armed Services Committee is slated to mark up the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill in two weeks, but because the Republican conference has failed to coalesce around a budget resolution the committee still doesn’t know exactly how much money is available for defense programs next year.While the annual policy bill does not actually allocate funding, the House Armed Services Committee tries to align its funding levels with the chamber’s budget resolution so the measure can serve as a guideline for defense appropriators, reported CQ Roll Call.Up to $18 billion in available funding is in question as the budget resolution approved by the House Budget Committee provides an extra $18 billion in base defense spending beyond the Obama administration’s budget request. The resolution, however, still adheres to the FY 2017 spending levels agreed to in October’s two-year budget deal, limiting base spending on national security to $551 billion and providing $59 billion in DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.In contrast to the administration’s request, the House framework would shift $23 billion from the OCO account to the base defense budget for a total of $574 billion in base defense spending in FY 2017. The Pentagon’s request only proposed shifting $5 billion to the base budget.If the House Armed Services Committee relies on the OCO account to augment the Pentagon’s base budget, it could lose the support of fiscal conservatives needed to advance the authorization bill to the floor, according to the story.The House Armed Services subcommittees are scheduled to mark up their portions of the authorization bill from April 20-21, with the full committee taking up the legislation on April 27. The Readiness Subcommittee will mark up its section on April 21 at 9:30 a.m. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
35 best battery life laptops Supercomputers Dell HP Intel Tags Share your voice The fastest ever supercomputer is expected to come to the US in 2021 in the form of a new entrant called Frontier, a $600 million machine with Cray and AMD technology.Frontier should be able to perform 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, a level called 1.5 exaflops and enough to claim the performance crown, the US Energy Department announced in May.Since then, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced it would acquire Cray and consolidate their supercomputer power.Cray is responsible for 39 supercomputers on the list, while HPE has 40. Combined, they would outnumber second-placed maker Inspur, which has 71 supercomputers on the list, but not first-placed Lenovo, which has the majority by far at 173.On Monday, Nvidia also unveiled the DGX SuperPOD supercomputer, which will be the 22nd fastest in the world. It will be used to train the algorithms and neural networks used for autonomous vehicle development. IBM owns the world’s two fastest supercomputers in the world. Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images China is home to 219 of the world’s supercomputers while the US houses 116, the latest report from Top500 says. But the two highest-powered supercomputers are still Summit and Sierra, owned by IBM in the US.Supercomputers, massive computing machines, are used for power-intensive programs like quantum physics, forecasting global climate change effects, designing engines and aircraft, reconstructing the history of the universe and examining whether old nuclear weapons could still explode.Only petaflop systems made the list for the first time ever, Top500, which ranks the highest-performing computer systems in the world twice a year, said.”The total aggregate performance of all 500 system has now risen to 1.56 Exaflops,” Top500 said.China took the third and fourth most powerful supercomputer spots, with Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A (Milky Way-2A). They were developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology, and China’s National University of Defense Technology, respectively.Another US supercomputer took out the fifth spot, with Dell’s Frontera in Texas becoming the newest member of the global top 10. Switzerland, Japan and Germany also house supercomputers ranked in the top 10.There are 29 of the top 500 supercomputers in Japan, 19 in France, 18 in the UK, 14 in Germany, 13 in Ireland and Netherlands, eight in Canada and five in Singapore.Intel now provides 96% of all supercomputers with processors, Top 500 said.In terms of “green” supercomputers, Japan’s Shoubu system B was ranked the most power efficient. 7:56 Now playing: Watch this: 1 Computers Sci-Tech Comment We landed on the moon with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine 37 Photos
A Syrian government forces soldier walks over the rubble of buildings in the former rebel-held town of Zamalka in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Wednesday. Photo: AFPUS President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that “missiles will be coming” in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria, as the UN chief urged world powers to stop a face-off with Russia from spiraling out of control.With punitive US military action seemingly imminent, Russia scrambled to deflect blame from its ally Bashar al-Assad and, according to a monitor group, Syrian forces evacuated key defense buildings in Damascus.Trump’s warlike tweets came in response to a warning from Russia’s ambassador to Beirut, who took to a television network run by the armed group Hezbollah to declare that any US missiles would be shot down “as well as the sources they were fired from.”If the US action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria last year, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean, as Trump implied when he tweeted they would be “nice, new and ‘smart.’”Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as CIA director Mike Pompeo huddled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options and game out the situation.“The president’s national security team met today. That meeting was chaired by the vice president to discuss a number of options,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.With the UN Security Council failing thus far to find a diplomatic solution, Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday time was running out.“Today, I called the Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control,” he said, referring to the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other’s motions to set up an international investigation into chemical weapons use.Opponents of unilateral US action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for later Thursday.Meanwhile, Moscow said the formerly rebel-held district of Eastern Ghouta-including Douma, the target of Saturday’s attack-had been “totally stabilized” and would soon be patrolled by Russian military police.But the Russian army continued to deny their side’s latest victory came after Assad launched a chemical attack on the last rebel-held pocket of the enclave in the Damascus suburbs, instead accusing the White Helmets civil defense organization of staging the massacre.Trump’s spokeswoman dismissed this idea, and pointedly refused to acknowledge that concern about the risks of a direct confrontation with Russia would hold the US military back.“The intelligence provided certainly paints a different picture,” she said. “The president holds Syria and Russia responsible for this chemical weapons attack.”But while the Russian president’s lieutenants continued to up the ante with threats and allegations, Vladimir Putin himself adopted a more statesmanlike tone, in remarks to new ambassadors presenting their credentials at the Kremlin.“The situation in the world is becoming more and more chaotic but all the same we hope that common sense will finally prevail and international relations will take a constructive path,” he said.Trump’s tweets were more belligerent-he told Russia “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”-and declared that US relations with Russia have plunged to a historic low.But he notably also said there was “no reason for this,” reiterated his hope for talks with Putin to halt a new arms race, and blamed his domestic political opponents for poisoning ties.Assad’s Damascus regime, which has long accused Washington of supporting its armed opponents in the country’s bloody seven-year-old civil war, hit back at Trump’s “reckless escalation.”OPCW to deployTrump and other Western leaders have vowed a quick and forceful response to Saturday’s alleged gas attack, which rescue workers say killed more than 40 people.British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency cabinet meeting for Thursday, while French President Emmanuel Macron is to decide on a response in the coming days, having insisted he does “not want an escalation” and that any response would focus on Syria’s chemical capabilities, not on allies of the regime.As it looked to head off the threat of Western strikes, Syria said it had invited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has blamed the regime for previous attacks, to visit the site.The OPCW said it would “shortly” deploy a fact-finding team to Douma for an investigation, but US officials said they were working from their own information and would not necessarily hold back.Damascus agreed to hand over its chemical arsenal in 2013, narrowly avoiding American and French air strikes in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack.That incident, which killed hundreds, also took place in Eastern Ghouta.
October 30, 2014 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free 3 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it would revamp its smartphone line-up to take on competitors in the rapidly growing mid-to-low range segment, after third-quarter earnings set it on course for its worst year since 2011.The global smartphone leader’s market share declined in annual terms for the third straight quarter in July-September, lagging Apple Inc in the premium market and overtaken by rivals like Lenovo Group Ltd and Xiaomi Inc at the bottom end, research firm Strategy Analytics said.Executives said the South Korean giant would overhaul its lower-tier line-up to boost price competitiveness and use higher-quality components to set its devices apart, after it announced its worst third-quarter profit in more than three years.”The mid-to-low end market is growing rapidly, and we plan to respond actively in order to capitalise on that growth,” Samsung Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-joon said during a conference call with analysts.Samsung said its third-quarter operating profit fell by an annual 60.1 percent to 4.1 trillion won ($3.9 billion), matching its guidance issued earlier this month.While the company expects profits to pick up in the fourth quarter on strong demand for televisions and memory chips, analysts still expect Samsung to record its worst annual operating profit in three years.Profit for the mobile division fell 73.9 percent to 1.75 trillion won in the third quarter, its worst performance since the second quarter of 2011.Samsung spent most of the quarter without launching a new flagship device, and continued to struggle in the mid-to-low tier markets against cheaper and value-packed offerings like Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S.Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations, said the firm would launch new mid-tier models in the fourth quarter, although he didn’t specify what features they would have.Samsung expects average selling prices for handsets will rise in the fourth quarter due to an increase in premium smartphone sales, namely of the Galaxy Note 4, and as demand picks up in the holiday shopping season.Analysts say Samsung will likely have to sacrifice margins to protect its market share. Cheaper phones are expected to drive global smartphone market growth in coming years, meaning a general trend of lower average selling prices.Samsung’s chips division was a bright spot, recording a 2.26 trillion operating profit for the July-September quarter to mark the highest earnings since the third quarter of 2010.(1 US dollar = 1,053.5000 Korean won)(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates) This story originally appeared on Reuters
Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 6 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 18, 2017 My husband and I have a running joke where we have our Amazon Echo “compete” with our iPhones to see who does a better (i.e., more human-like) job of interacting with us. While there’s no clear winner, Siri seems to have the edge for casual conversation, but Alexa can sing.I’ve noticed something else, too. We don’t usually thank Siri or Alexa the way we would a clerk at a supermarket or an employee at an information kiosk, even though they’re providing us with identical services. And why would we? Siri and Alexa aren’t people; they’re anthropomorphized computer programs. They don’t care if we thank them, because they don’t have feelings.At least, we’re pretty sure they don’t.Related: Good, Bad & Ugly! Artificial Intelligence for Humans is All of This & More.Science fiction novels have long delighted readers by grappling with futuristic challenges like the possibility of artificial intelligence so difficult to distinguish from human beings that people naturally ask, “should these sophisticated computer programs be considered human? Should ‘they’ be granted human rights?” These are interesting philosophical questions, to be sure, but equally important, and more immediately pressing, is the question of what human-like artificial intelligence means for the rights of those whose humanity is not a philosophical question.If artificial intelligence affects the way we do business, the way we obtain information, and even the way we converse and think about the world, then do we need to evaluate our existing definition(s) of human rights as well?What are “human rights”?Of course, what constitutes a human right is far from universally agreed. It goes without saying that not all countries guarantee the same rights to their citizens and nationals. Likewise, political support for the existing scope of rights within each country waxes and wanes, both directly and inversely, with those countries’ respective economic fortunes and shifting cultural mores.Historically, technological improvements and economic prosperity — as measured by per capita GDP — have tended to lead to an expanded view of basic human rights. The notion of universal health care as a basic right, for instance, is a relatively modern affectation. It did not exist — and could not have existed — without a robust administrative infrastructure and tax base to support it, and without sufficiently advanced medical technology to assure the population of its effectiveness.Work to live? Live to work?Technological advancement has always, understandably, been met with skepticism, particularly from those whose livelihoods are most likely to be affected by a technological shift. Technology that enhances productivity makes the humans using it more productive, but this is a double-edged sword, as it likewise increases the productivity expectations, and reduces the number of humans required for any given level of productive output. Theoretically, this need does not necessarily lead to job loss, as long as the demand for productive output continues to outpace the technologically abetted output itself.Related: 5 Major Artificial Intelligence Hurdles We’re on Track to Overcome By 2020Do human beings have a right to earn a livelihood? And, if they do, how far does that right extend? How much discomfort is acceptable before the effort required to find gainful employment moves from reasonable to potentially rights-infringing? If technology renders human labor largely obsolete, do humans have a right to a livelihood even if they cannot earn it?Tech industry luminaries such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk have recently endorsed concepts like guaranteed minimum income or universal basic income. A handful of experiments with this concept have been undertaken, announced or proposed in Canada, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Bill Gates recently made headlines with a proposal to impose a “robot tax” — essentially, a tax on automated solutions to account for the social costs of job displacement. While people may differ on the effectiveness or necessity of these and other proposals, it’s clear that discussion on these points will be a part of the broader AI conversation in the years to come.Whose datum is it, anyway?Technology challenges our conception of human rights in other ways, as well. Some of the most fascinating applications of improved artificial intelligence relate to the ability to quickly and efficiently analyze large quantities of data, finding and testing correlations and connections and translating them into usable information. “Big data” has dominated industry headlines in recent years, including speculation that a data analytics solution may have played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.Typically, concerns around access to and use of personal data have centered on personal privacy concerns. Many countries have enacted strict laws prohibiting the collection and sharing of personal data without first providing specific, detailed information about the planned use of such information and obtaining consent. Businesses safeguard their confidential information through an assortment of contractual arrangements and trade secret protection laws.Less legal attention has been paid, however, to the anonymized use of personal or proprietary data — that is, data that has been stripped of identifying information and aggregated alongside other data. This is partly because the question itself is inchoate: who, if anyone, has a right to impose use limitations on aggregated datasets? And on what basis might such limitations be imposed? Some data is relatively easy to obtain, and has traditionally been part of either a formal public record or, at a minimum, thought to be fair game to anyone obtaining them lawfully. This approach essentially mirrors the privacy-rights approach, in that it focuses on data at the point of collection, rather than at the point of use. And yet it is clear that independent ethical concerns do arise from the use, standing alone, of such data.For example, consider the case of an international beauty competition that was “judged” by an AI algorithm. The algorithm was given criteria thought to be unbiased and objective, and yet the selection of winners revealed an unexpected characteristic lurking in the algorithm’s operation — racial bias. As we increasingly rely on data aggregation software not only to provide us with organized information, but to influence or direct actions, we may increasingly find ourselves asking the question — should we have the right to ensure data is used fairly?Related: Artificial Intelligence: A Friend or Foe for Humans?Where do we go from here?Of course, technological innovation likely cannot be halted, and our ability to meaningfully hinder it is questionabl, even leaving aside the matter of whether it is desirable to attempt to do so. Industry groups have already formed to consider the ethical ramifications of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence. And while clear answers are unlikely to emerge any time soon, it will be equally important to ensure that we, collectively as a society, are asking the right questions to ensure that technological innovation equates to genuine progress.
The road is closed between points A and B (Image: Inrix) Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here. Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA major road is closed due to an accident in South Cheshire tonight. The A50 Street Lane is closed due to an accident between Townsend Lane ( Rode Heath) and Church Lane (Fourlanes End). The road is currently shut in both directions following the accident, which is believed to have taken place at around 11pm. We have no further details on the nature of the accident at this stage. The closure is affecting traffic between Rode Heath and Holmes Chapel, according to traffic data company INRIX. We’ll bring you an update on this story when one becomes available. Read MorePolice searching for missing 13-year-old last seen at railway station
Asia, Australia, solo travel all selling well for TL Network, and world cruise niche “exploding” Share Tags: Travel Leaders Network Travelweek Group Tuesday, February 26, 2019 TORONTO — TL Network’s forward bookings for 2019 are coming in strong, thanks to a good economy both here and in the U.S., and relatively affordable fares for international flights. And it doesn’t hurt that consumers are in love with travel and want to see as much of the world as they can.TL Network’s latest survey shows that 96% of consumers say they intend to travel in 2019, and 89% intend to spend the same or more on their trips as in previous years.Last year was very good and looking ahead, “we are very encouraged for 2019,” says John Lovell, CTC, President – Leisure Travel, Supplier Relations and Networks, for Travel Leaders Group, the parent organization of TL Network.Destinations like Asia Pacific and Australia and New Zealand are selling especially well, says Lovell. Egypt and Turkey bookings are both bouncing back. And world cruising, with durations up to 180 days, “is exploding. Expedition cruising is also huge. And river cruising continues to grow. I always say, I just wish we could dredge up a few more rivers, it’s selling that well.”Issues with low water levels on Europe’s rivers in 2018 didn’t put a dent in bookings, he added, noting that the river cruise companies have been doing a good job with re-routings and keeping passengers informed.TL Network agencies also saw a “terrific rebound” in Caribbean bookings following the hurricanes in fall 2017.Solo travel is another growth market, with 36% of consumers in the survey saying they intend to take at least one solo trip in 2019.Lovell and other TL Network execs were in Toronto yesterday to brief the trade media.It’s been two years since the formation of TL Network from Vacation.com and other entities and the group is now the largest retail travel agency organization in North America.Last year the company’s Agent Profiler online lead generation tool saw 25% year over year growth in leads channeled to participating Canadian travel advisors resulting in 5,000 leads delivered.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn 2017 TL Network had some 483 Canadian member advisors on Agent Profiler. By 2018 that number was up to 567. With 5,000 leads for 567 agents, “that’s roughly 10 leads per agent,” says Jeremy Van Kuyk, VP Technology – Travel Leaders Group.TL Network’s site for Canadian members, CanadianTravelAgents.ca (“we don’t sell travel, we sell travel agents,” says Van Kuyk) got 46,000 new consumer users in 2018, and organic traffic from random Google searches was 55% of that total. Organic search traffic driving consumers to CanadianTravelAgents.ca increased 136% year-over-year.Much of the content that’s driving those coveted high SEO rankings come from the information in TL Network agent profiles in the Agent Profiler tool. Agents can upgrade to Agent Profiler 2.0 for $15 per month, says Van Kuyk. Advisors taking advantage of Agent Profiler 2.0’s enhanced features can highlight their specialties and certifications, along with consumer ratings and reviews, and as a result are receiving three times more leads than those using the previous generation of the tool.Christine James, Vice President Canada, TL Network says there are now just shy of 700 TL Network members in Canada, coming in at about 680 agencies. Members are taking advantage of TL Network programs like Distinctive Voyages with 10 premium and luxury cruise lines offering 300+ cruise departures annually, Culinary Collection with 119 culinary themed sailings for 2019 with 11 Preferred Partners, and Amenity Departure Dates.All of these extras are built-in, says James, allowing TL Network agents to be more competitive in the marketplace.For education and training, in 2019 TL Network is introducing a new advisor education and training philosophy focused on learning pathways customized to an advisor’s personal achievement and career advancement goals.The company’s Learning Management System (LMS) now includes 358 individual courses with more than 425 new Canadian users joining the system in 2018. Popular specialist programs include Group Travel, Luxury Travel, Active and Adventure Travel, and Honeymoon and Destination Weddings.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”TL Network Canada also has four Regional Conferences on the calendar for 2019, plus 24 Mixers for additional networking and learning opportunities. And this June 2019, the TL Network EDGE conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from June 7 to 10, with more than 2,100 attendees expected.Reaching out to clients, TL Network’s Canadian marketing engagement program has grown to more than 50 partners and during the past year resulted in more than 220 direct mail and email campaigns and over six million partner funded pieces.“We are excited to see significant growth in many areas of TL Network including our direct marketing efforts in Canada,” says James. “Our engagement program provides our advisors with beautifully designed marketing materials to inspire their customers and keep them informed about our latest offerings.”Some 20 – 30% of Canadian traffic through TL Network members is now represented by group bookings, as strong as ever with the popularity of multigenerational travel, notes James.TL Network is also launching a 2019 Select Agent Guide, and for consumers, Select magazine, coming this spring, says Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. The consumer publication is geared to luxury clientele especially who want to see and experience it all. “People don’t want to just see the Pyramids. They want an immersive trip. They want to meet the locals. We work with DMCs in more than 150 countries to itineraries can be totally customized. This is one of the ways we’re trying to help our customers get the most experiences they can.”Clients have so much information at their fingertips, says Lovell. “But ultimately they’re looking for confirmation and validation, and the person they turn to for that is a travel advisor.“At the end of the day, people want that person to hold their hand and walk them through that transaction.” Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>