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Zakaria: Trump has ‘hardly done anything’

(CNN)CNN’s Fareed Zakaria had strong words on Sunday for President Donald Trump’s performance so far, imploring viewers to “not confuse motion with progress,” and arguing that Trump has “hardly done anything.”

“The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been an illustration of that line from the writer Alfred Montalpert: “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress,'” Zakaria said.
“We are witnessing a rocking horse presidency,” he added.
    Though the host of CNN’s “GPS” acknowledged that since winning the election the President has “dominated the news,” he couldn’t, fathom what Trump had “actually done” over the past month.
    “This week, Trump said at a news conference, “There’s never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time,” Zakaria noted.
    But the reality of the Trump White House, he said, is that it “has not even begun serious discussions with Congress on major legislation.”
    Trump had issued a series of “executive orders with great fanfare,” Zakaria acknowledged.
    However, he argued, “they are mostly hot air, lofty proclamations that direct some agency to “review” a law, “report” back to him, “consider” some action or reaffirm some long-standing practice.”

    Not much happening on serious policy

    The one order that actually “did something,” the temporary travel ban, was unsuccessful, Zakaria said, and ” so poorly conceived and phrased that it got stuck in the court system and will have to be redone or abandoned.”
    As for many of Trump’s campaign promises, from the reindustrialization of the Midwest to reviving the coal and steel industries, to imposing term limits on all members of Congress?
    “All were promised, none has been done,” said Zakaria.
    There are “two aspects” to the Trump presidency, said the CNN host. The “freak show” and “the savvy businessman.”
    “For many people, the bargain of the Trump presidency was that they would put up with the freak show in order to get tax reform, infrastructure projects and deregulation,” he said.
    Though Zakaria acknowledged that Trump may still fulfill some of his campaign promises, for now, “not much is happening in the realm of serious policy.”
    “The Romans said the way to keep people happy was to give them “bread and circus” — sustenance and entertainment” said Zakaria.
    “So far all we have gotten is the circus.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/19/politics/fareed-zakaria-trump-take-cnntv/index.html

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    Making VR less painful for the vision-impaired

    You dont have to have perfect vision to enjoy VR, but brother, it helps. Otherwise, youre looking at having to worry about accommodating glasses, eye tracking not working, ocular distances maxing out and so on. Stanford researchers want to make things easier for people with vision problems to use VR, but its not going to be easy.

    Vision is a complicated process, and a lot of things can go wrong but common afflictions like nearsightedness or an inability to focus on objects close up affect millions. Combined with how VR presents depth of field and other effects, this leads to a variety of optical problems and inconsistencies that can produce headaches, nausea and disorientation.

    VR headsets often allow for adjusting things like the distance from your eye to the screen, how far apart your eyes are and other factors. But for many, its not enough.

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    An illustration from the paper shows how even with perfect vision a vergence-accommodation conflict can arise. With vision problems, this and other effects could be more common and more intense.

    Every person needs a different optical mode to get the best possible experience in VR, said Stanfords Gordon Wetzstein in a news release.

    His teams research, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes a set of mechanisms that together comprise what they call an adaptive focus display.

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    One prototype used a modified Samsung Gear VR.

    One approach uses a liquid lens, the shape of which can be adjusted on-the-fly to adjust for certain circumstances say, when the focus of the game is on an object that the viewer normally wouldnt be able to focus on. The screen itself could also be moved in order to better fit the optical requirements of someone with a given condition.

    The technology we propose is perfectly compatible with existing head mounted displays, wrote Wetzstein in an email to TechCrunch. However, one also needs eye tracking for this to work properly. Eye tracking is a technology that everyone in the industry is working on and we expect eye trackers to be part of the next wave of [head-mounted displays]. Thus, our gaze-contingent focus displays would be directly compatible with those.

    In the paper, both commercial and built-from-scratch headsets are used to prototype various methods of adjusting optical qualities of the displays. The team tested these with 173 participants at (among other places) last years SIGGRAPH conference; the news release reports an improved viewing experiences across a wide range of vision characteristics.

    This is still early-stage research: Simple vision correction is one thing, but more complex conditions like astigmatism require more complex solutions. (Theyre looking into it, but it will not be quite as straightforward.)

    Wetzstein confirmed to TechCrunch that the team is in contact with pretty much all VR headset makers.

    I cannot reveal any specific details about these collaborations, he wrote, but I can say that there is a huge amount of interest and technology developments in industry are closely aligned with our research.

    It seems likely, then, that we can expect headsets in the next generation not just to be better optically and ergonomically, but to be more inclusive and accommodating (so to speak) of those with vision problems.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/13/making-vr-less-painful-for-the-vision-impaired/

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    See a comet and a lunar eclipse this weekend


    The full moon during a penumbral lunar eclipse in 2013.
    Image: Hildenbrand/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

    This weekend is set to start off with a cosmic bang.

    On Friday night, the full moon will be eclipsed by the shadow of the Earth, and in the darkness of Saturday morning, just hours after the eclipse, a green-tinted comet will make its closest flyby of Earth.

    This skywatching coincidence should make for an interesting start to the weekend for people around the world who are able to see both the comet and the eclipse.

    First, an eclipse

    The shadow of the Earth should start encroaching on the face of the moon’s surface starting at around 5:30 p.m. ET and lasting for 4.5 hours as the moon dips deep into Earth’s outer shadow known as the penumbra and comes back out again.

    A diagram of how lunar eclipses work.

    Image: Sky & Telescope illustration

    If you have a view of the moon during that period of time, you should be able to see at least part of the penumbral eclipse.

    The Friday eclipse won’t be like a dramatic total lunar eclipse, which can turn the moon a deep shade of red, but a penumbral eclipse is still beautiful in its subtlety.

    “The outer part of Earths penumbra is so pale that you wont notice anything until the Moons edge has slid at least halfway in,” Alan MacRobert, a senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, said in a statement. “So start looking about 90 minutes before mid-eclipse.”

    The shadow should start encroaching on the moon’s left side, slowing moving inward and then slowing moving in reverse as the moon comes out of its dip into Earth’s shadow.

    A view of a penumbral eclipse in 2012.

    Image: Hong Kong Space Museum/Sky & Telescope

    “With time, the dusky shading will become more prominent, and as mid-eclipse approaches, the lopsidedness of the moons illumination will be totally obvious,” Sky & Telescope added in the statement.

    The northern bit of the moon’s face should look slightly darker than the rest of the lunar surface, the magazine added, because it will be the bit closest to the deep shadow of the Earth, known as the umbra.

    Then, a comet

    Once the eclipse ends, the next bit of our cosmic weekend can start in earnest.

    In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Comet 45P will make its closest approach with Earth, bringing it nearer to our planet than any other comet has been in about 30 years.

    The comet won’t be visible with the naked eye, but if you have a pair of binoculars or even better a backyard telescope they should at least give you some sense of what this icy wanderer looks like.

    During this close approach, Comet 45P will fly about 7.4 million miles from Earth.

    “It’ll be visible in the morning sky in the constellation Hercules,” NASA said in a skywatching video. “The comet then passes through the constellations Corona Borealis (the Northern Crown), Botes (the Herdsman), Canes Venatici (Botes’ hunting dogs) and Ursa Major. Then on to Leo by the end of February.”

    If you don’t catch the comet this time, don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to see it when it comes back around in 2022, according to NASA.

    If you aren’t in a part of the world that affords you the ability to see the comet and lunar eclipse or if it’s cloudy in your area then the skywatching organization Slooh has you covered.

    Slooh will air two live broadcasts to share live views of the comet and the lunar eclipse with expert commentary. The live eclipse broadcast will begin at 5:30 p.m. ET, with the comet show set for 10:30 p.m. ET on Slooh’s website.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/02/10/comet-lunar-eclipse-skywatching-weekend/

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    German magazine defends cover of Trump beheading Statue of Liberty

    Der Spiegels polarizing cover art intended as response to seriously endangered principles of democracy and freedom of the press, editor-in-chief said

    The editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel said on Sunday a front cover illustration of Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty, which split opinion at home and abroad, was a response by the German magazine to threats against democracy.

    Published on Saturday, the cover depicts a cartoon figure of the US president with a bloodied knife in one hand and the statues head, dripping with blood, in the other. It carries the caption: America First.

    It followed a series of attacks on Berlins policies by Trump and his aides that have marked a rapid deterioration in German relations with the US.

    Der Spiegel does not want to provoke anybody, editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer told Reuters after the cover set off a debate on Twitter and in German and international media, adding he was surprised by the impact of the illustration.

    We want to show what this is about, its about democracy, its about freedom, its about freedom of the press, freedom of justice and all that is seriously endangered, he said. So we are defending democracy Are these serious times? Yes they are.

    Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of Germanys Free Democrats (FDP) and vice-president of the European Parliament, described the cover as tasteless.

    Die Welt said it damages journalism while another German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said it was exactly what Trump needs a distorted image of him, which he can use to work more on his distorted image of the press.

    Karl-Georg Wellmann, a lawmaker for Chancellor Angela Merkels CDU conservatives, told mass-selling daily Bild: I urge everyone to calm down and to handle this with reason, rather than gut feeling.

    German chancellor Angela Merkel was the go-to European ally for President Obama, who praised her as an outstanding partner.

    Trump has said Merkel made a catastrophic mistake with her open-door migration policy, and his top trade adviser last week accused Germany of using a grossly undervalued euro to gain advantage over the US and its European partners.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/05/germany-der-spiegel-cover-trump-statue-of-liberty

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    Full of nuts, watching a 70s western, I saw Americas future | Stewart Lee

    It seems to me as if prophecies of Trump have been built into the culture, perhaps by the aliens who seeded us on Earth

    Can it be only last year that I was making the out-of-touch liberal elite laugh, in publicly subsidised theatres throughout pre-Brexit Britain, by saying that Donald Trump sounded like the kind of name Walt Disney would come up with if he was asked to invent a fart that could speak?

    Happy times.

    It seemed then that Donald Trump was destined to become little more than the answer to a pub trivia question, fondly and foolishly remembered, and filed alongside Faith Browns Rusty Lee impression, Spike Milligans sitcom Curry & Chips, and an almost heroically offensive sentence my dad shouted at a woman on a gangplank near Greenwich in 1997 as an example of the dying light ofa distant dark age.

    And can it be only last year that Brexits bogus cheerleader Boris Johnson, who remains incomprehensibly at large like a clever piglet, was reassuring us that we could leave the EU and stay in the single market, as his policy was having cake and eating it? Where is your cake now, fatty? Or, as Pliny the Younger might have said, Ubi nunc est subcinericius panis, sterculus?

    And can it be only two days ago that a cakeless Theresa May, desperate to proffer illusory options before forcing through article 50 with the compliance of an immolated opposition, went lamb-like into the Playboy-encrusted office of Donald Trump? Friendless in Europe, she began trade negotiations with the kind of rogue state we might once have proudly imposed sanctions on. We didnt buy Apartheid oranges. Henceforth let us boycott Dunkin Donuts, hardcore pornography and Adam Sandler movies, Americas mostchoice exports.

    Article 50 was not designed to be triggered; nuclear weapons were not built to be used (which is lucky for us, because ours dont work); and postwar western democracies werent supposed to vomit up people like Donald Trump, who appears to have reignited a war against the Native Americans, a conflict historians might reasonably have assumed was now settled. Things have learned to walk that ought to crawl.

    Events defy analysis. Sometimes it simply isnt enough to just keep on drawing Nazi moustaches on Donald Trumps face by which I mean on pictures of Donald Trumps face. Not his actual face. If you so much as approached Trumps face with a marker pen you would soon be wrestled to the ground by the rubber-hands of his bodyguard, and then waterboarded until you agreed to disputed inauguration audience figures. To analyse Donald Trump we need better tools than felt tips. It seems to me that prophecies of Donald Trump have been built into the culture, perhaps by the very alien scientists that seeded us on Earth in the first place.

    Before I seek Donald Trump in cinema, I am aware that my film buff credentials are in doubt. In last weeks column, I ignorantly mixed up two Dirty Harry movies. To be fair, it has been a hard month for fans of Clint Eastwood, whose endorsement of Donald Trump has finally meant we must face the fact that the violent reactionary characters our hero portrayed in the 1970s were not intended as satires of violent reactionary attitudes, but as blueprints for a dystopian future.

    Indeed, I am now wondering if Eastwoods touching portrayal of a weird loners dysfunctional relationship with a servile orangutan in the haunting visual poem Every Which Way But Loose (1978) was actually intended as a misogynist endorsement of traditional marriage.

    Fans of fake news will be pleased to know that my Dirty Harry error has been erased from history on the Observers website. As regular readers will know, the only films I have really watched these past few years are Italian spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s. I have now seen 112, and sheer weight of numbers makes it seem like spaghetti westerns make sense of every human problem. Like Donald Trumps tweets, they are often tasteless, incoherent and badly written, and yet somehow seem to offer exactly the answers people need.

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    Illustration by David Foldvari.

    Last weekend I sat up late alone, eating some nuts, and watched Joe DAmatos micro-budget 1972 shambles Pokerface, a spaghetti thats hard to recommend, even to genre stalwarts. Variously also known as Run Men Run, Trinity in Eldorado, Stay Away from Trinity When He Comes to Eldorado, Run Men Eldorado Is Coming to Trinity, and, rather brilliantly, Go Away! Trinity Has Arrived in Eldorado, the movies very titles, like spellings of Theresa Mays name, are post-factual, alternative names telling alternative truths. The same shot of a laughing Mexican eating something outdoors is repeated over and over again, at different points in the film, to fill empty space. The movie itself lies. The images cannot be trusted.

    Pokerface stars Stelvio Rosi, last heard of as the line producer of the 1997 Ice Cube/giant snake vehicle Anaconda, as a magician-cum-conman involved in a series of unfunny scrapes in a blandly anonymous borderland. But just as I was getting ready to hit the hay, the last third of the film changed gear, and loomed like a warning from history.

    Rosi arrives in a deserted, whitewashed town, ruled over by an eccentric gold-hoarding demagogue named Eldorado (Craig Hill), who rides around on an ostentatiously decorated nag, in a generals uniform one suspects he is not entitled to wear. Frightened Mexican peasants bow to Eldorado as he rides past, and then he spits theatrically upon them from above. His garish throne is flanked by semi-naked women, instructed to laugh at his jokes and applaud his thoughts. He cries out, My gold, my beautiful gold! and is easily distracted by nudity and card tricks. Its 2am, I am full of nuts, future sexploitation director DAmatos broad-brushed caricature of crazed power is Donald Trump, made flesh in a cheap 70s western, and I claim my 5.

    But were DAmatos sticky fingers guided by a godlike power, warning us of our future? There are more antecedents for Trump, as if some unseen hand had threaded cautionary archetypes into our collective consciousness, perhaps the finest being the Golem of Jewish folklore. The rabbi of medieval Prague, Judah Loew ben Bezalel, conjures a compliant monster to defend the ghetto. But he forgets to remove from its mouth the rune that brought it to life, and the Golem begins an indiscriminate rampage.

    Some critics believe the story to be a 19th-century German literary invention. Fake news, folks! Fake news!! But little America has unleashed a monster of its own making, which it thought would do its bidding, and now no one knows how to bring it to a halt. Somehow I dont think Theresa May is about to put it back in its box.

    Stewart Lees Content Provider is now touring, see stewartlee.co.uk for details

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/29/donald-trump-70s-western-america-future-stewart-lee-pokerface

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    Sorry Elon, driverless passenger drones will be the vehicular disruption of the future

    Henry Ford famously said that if you asked people what they wanted, they wouldnt have said a car. They would have said a faster horse.

    I believe driverless cars are todays equivalent of faster horses. A continuation of what exists not a true category break. Predictable but not revolutionary enough.

    That takes me to Elon Musk, who is probably our most passionate and visible autonomous hero.

    As a fellow car enthusiast, I admire him. As a tech entrepreneur, I respect him. And theres no doubt that Elon has been right most of the time. (As for Solar City, I will wait for the sunlight of the future to pass judgment, but Im a believer).

    So I hate to diverge from his vision of driverless cars. Yes, in the future we will not drive ourselves. Machines will do it for us but let me tell you those machines will be looking down, from above, on the Interstate Highway System.

    I believe we will skip driverless cars and go straight into driverless drones.

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    Cartoon illustration of a flying car passing above other land vehicles

    Dont get me wrong I realize the many benefits that driverless cars could deliver fewer accidents, lower costs getting from A to B, and perhaps most important, freeing up time.

    In the U.S. alone, the average commute time by car is 24 minutes each way. That means the average commuter will spend ~200,000 minutes focused on the road just to get to and from work. Add in all the other trips we make in our cars shopping, appointments and travel destinations, and the amount of time we spend with our brains engaged in driving rather than other creative activities we would choose to focus on, is astonishing.

    But all those benefits, could solve problems not just of individuals, but also address a range of societal challenges if we moved from cars straight to drones.

    What if instead of driverless cars we extended ourselves vertically up to 500M, with driverless passenger drones, parking overhead and always ready to pick us up, taking us to our desired destination.

    Let me stop you right now and admit my deep bias.

    As much as I love cars, I am also a big drone fanatic. I love extending myself into the sky, and discovering landscapes I could never see, at 4k resolution. I used to operate a DJI Phantom 3 drone, then the 4, and now Im waiting for my Mavic drone to be delivered (which like any other good thing, is delayed, of course).

    Apparently Im not alone in my drone obsession. According to data pulled from the Taboola network in the US, people read about drones about 250,000 times every day.

    Developing an autonomous drone is actually technologically easier than ground-based autonomous vehicles, which have to take into account pedestrians, low-quality roads, and unexpected objects.

    Not only can a driverless drone be safer, it is probably cheaper to produce on a mass scale, given that it requires less sophisticated technology. I imagine a driverless drone to be as simple as taking an elevator, only an horizontal one you click a button, and the drone just flies there. Perhaps even Uber could unleash an army of driverless drones to float above us, just ready to go on demand. (They just have to replace Waze with in-app turbulence reports)

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    With 500 meters of airspace suddenly at our disposal, versus the 50 feet of vertical real estate weve been concentrating our lives in for the last 200,000 years as homo sapiens things like parking problems, traffic congestion, and road construction would be history.

    And the regulations are on my side. When you buy a drone, for the most part it comes with a pre-configured restriction that they can fly up to 500m high. Thats just high enough.

    Earlier this year, I actually sat in a personal passenger drone, which I admit was a bit frightening, but also so exciting to get a glance into the future.

    Its time we start to think higher, spread our wings, and get on board with driverless passenger drones, skipping driverless cars. And faster horses.

    Perhaps The Jetsons had it figured out all along.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/22/sorry-elon-driverless-passenger-drones-will-be-the-vehicular-disruption-of-the-future/

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    Girlfriend Secretly Illustrates Everyday Life With Her Boyfriend, He Uploads Comics Online And They Go Viral

    Relationships can be funny. Sometimes they’re “ha ha” funny. Other times they’re “weird” funny. But they are funny, and these awesome comics prove it. They’re all about Catana, a Saratoga Springs-based artist, and her bearded boyfriend “trying to be adults”, and as you can see, they don’t always succeed!


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    The boyfriend recently posted them online and they’ve already gone viral with more than a million views – something that comes as no surprise given how accessible and relatable Catana’s comics are. The simple illustrations cleverly capture the quirks and idiosyncrasies of life in a relationship, and although she’s only just started, we’re pretty sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her brilliant work in the not-too-distant future. We certainly hope so anyway.

     

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    Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/my-girlfriend-comics-catanacomics/

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    Here Are The Beautiful Illustrations Giving Us Life This Election

    Happy election, readers! It’s hard to believe we are finally reaching that glorious finish line. As we do, artists and illustrators all over the country are making our turning stomachs a little less jittery by sharing their optimistic and super sassy election-centric drawings on Instagram. 

    Take a break from refreshing the polls or scrolling Twitter or replaying results in your head to check out some of the illustrations created and shared on this most apocalyptic of voting times.

    See you on the other side, folks. 

     

    please do not vote for Donald trump, he is the epitome of everything we don’t fuck with.

    A photo posted by justin hager (@justinhager) on

     

    Fuck this guy. Vote.

    A photo posted by Phoebe Wahl (@phoebewahl) on

     

    vote!

    A photo posted by Andrea Antoinette Nakhla (@andreantoinette) on

     

    Third party voting

    A photo posted by Jack Sjogren (@sjogrenjack) on

     

    bye hater literally never talk 2 me again!!! ty!!! #boybye

    A photo posted by Frances Waite (@franceswaite) on

     

    Pls everyone #selfieforamerica we need your #selfies now more than ever. #yourselfiecounts

    A photo posted by jooleeloren (@jooleeloren) on

     

    @celebsonsandwiches . . . . . #illustration #imwithher #art #sandwich #trumpisatool #food

    A photo posted by hettyyoxall (@hettyyoxall) on

     

    #susanbanthony #hillaryclinton #girlscandoanything #illustratorsoninstagram #suffragette

    A photo posted by Chuck Gonzales (@cgonzaillo) on

     

    #debatesketch #hillaryclinton #debate2016 #debatenight #nasty #cgonzaillo

    A photo posted by Chuck Gonzales (@cgonzaillo) on

     

    Khizr Khan, from my DNC sketchbook (see my website for link to rest)

    A photo posted by Jen Sorensen (@jen_sorensen) on

     

    GO VOTE

    A photo posted by Christopher David Ryan (@hellocdr) on

     

    El poder del trajedospiezas #illustration #ilustracion #bachelet #hillary #merkel #girlpower #markers #doodle #humor

    A photo posted by Juan Andres (@juanandriu) on

     

    Tell me it’s going to be okay #jamesyangart #illustration #election

    A photo posted by James Yang #jamesyangart (@yangblog) on

     

    Goals.

    A photo posted by Christopher David Ryan (@hellocdr) on

     

    #HillYeah #imwithher #ericyahnker #teamnasty

    A photo posted by Eric Yahnker (@ericyahnker) on