Moodys Upgrades Royal Caribbean Rating

first_imgMoody’s rating agency has upgraded Royal Caribbean Cruises’ senior unsecured rating to Baa2 from Baa3, and assigned a P-2 rating to the company’s planned USD 1.15 billion commercial paper program.The rating agency added that the company’s rating outlook is stable.“The upgrade to Baa2 reflects Moody’s expectation that Royal Caribbean will benefit from strong booking trends, increased onboard spending and the introduction of new ships which will enable the company to maintain leverage below 3.5x,” Pete Trombetta, Moody’s lead lodging and cruise analyst, said.“The upgrade also reflects the company’s improved liquidity position, including reduced outstandings under its committed revolving credit facilities,” Trombetta added.The P-2 commercial paper rating reflects RCL’s adequate liquidity, supported by its strong free cash flow generation which is sufficient to cover debt maturities over the next 24 months.Constraining the company’s liquidity profile is the large cash outflows related to new ship deliveries which cause spikes in capital expenditures throughout the year.RCL also has a USD 1.4 billion revolver due 2020 and a USD 1.2 billion revolver due in 2022; combined outstandings of about USD 700 million at March 31, 2018.The revolvers do not require a material adverse change representation at borrowing, but do contain financial covenants which are expected to maintain ample headroom, Moody’s concluded.last_img read more

Jackie Chan Brings Warm Clothes To Those In Need

first_imgJackie Chan kicked off the new year by visiting the Hebei Province in the Xuanhua County of China, braving sub-zero temperatures to deliver USD $480,000 worth of clothing, food, and bottled water to those in need.Jackie greeted the residents and spoke with them about his commitment to helping them in their time of need.The Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation has already donated USD$64,000 to area residents to help build motor-pumped wells.For nearly two decades, Jackie has been handing out coats to the elderly and homeless during the coldest time of year. On January 2, Jackie visited Hong Kong’s Salvation Army to continue this tradition and as a special treat, he gave out free passes to his latest movie, CZ12.“Friends exist all over the world,” said Jackie as part of his New Year message to his fans. “We are all neighbors from the ends of the earth.”Source:JackieChan.comlast_img read more

Mamata draws parallel between Quit India movement and her fight against Modi

first_imgDebra (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused Prime Minster Narendra Modi of running a fascist government in the country, and drew a parallel between her campaign against the BJP and the Quit India Movement of 1942. Addressing a rally here, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said the prime minister and his party will be shown the door after the Lok Sabha elections. “Someone has to bell the cat. In 1942, Quit India movement was launched against the British, now we are fighting to oust a fascist Modi from power,” she said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework Banerjee claimed that Modi, if he retains power, will destroy the “constitutional fabric” and no elections will be held in future. “There will be no freedom or democracy in the country if Modi is voted to power again. It is time we show the door to Modi and the BJP. It’s time this government is buried during this democratic exercise (elections),” she said. The chief minister claimed that people are scared to express their opinion in public. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen “There is an emergency-like situation in the country. Nobody can speak out in public as they are scared of him… Stop this fascism and terror,” she said. The TMC boss also insisted that Modi never visited Bengal during crises. “You will get a big rosogolla (zero seats) in Bengal,” she said. The chief minister alleged that Modi had lied when he said he was once a ‘chaiwala’ (tea seller). “From chaiwala, he has become a chowkidar (watchman). We do not want a chowkidar who tells lies. “Modi had promised achhe din (good times) after coming to power. What happened in reality is that the prices of petrol and diesel have gone up and minorities and adivasis no longer feel safe in the face of incessant attacks,” the TMC leader said. India is in danger under the Modi-led government, Banerjee alleged. “We want leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Bose, Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad and Swami Vivekananda. They (the BJP), however, talk about Nathruam Godse and not of Gandhiji,” she added.last_img read more

Owners should expect the unexpected when buying a business

NEW YORK — Many small business owners get some unpleasant surprises when they buy a company, whether the problems are with staffers, finances or the firm’s technology, equipment or premises.Expect the unexpected is the advice from small business consultants, including those who have bought and sold companies themselves.“You always get surprises after the deal is closed, and sometimes they’re significant,” says Gene Marks, owner of The Marks Group, a small business consulting firm in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.Owners should always do due diligence before buying a company, looking as closely as they can at finances, staffing, customers and vendors. But, Marks says, remember that you’ll miss something or that the owner who wants to close the deal may not be up-front about everything.“You find out a lot more about accompany after you bought it,” Marks says.As they do their due diligence, owners should remember that like the stock market, a company’s past performance is no guarantee of how it will do in the future. The focus needs to be on how many changes are needed going forward.The timing of a transaction can affect how smoothly the transition goes. Sellers often want to close a deal by Dec. 31, and that can mean rushing to get things done and making mistakes rather than having a smooth transition, says Alicia Goodrow, a business law attorney with Culhane Meadows in Houston. She suggests buyers not be bound by the calendar so they can take their time.It’s important to remember that employees are a company’s most important asset, Marks says. “The companies that have succeeded the most when they’ve been acquired are the ones where the new owner has communicated with key employees and gotten them on board,” he says.The new owners should try to keep the seller involved in the business; the best way is to make them a paid consultant or even a staffer. Having the previous owner assist with the transition can help staffers get used to the new boss, and reassure customers and vendors that their needs will continue to be met._____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press read more

UN helps newly democratic States share ideas on transition in Arab region

6 June 2011Representatives from countries that have recently undergone transitions to democracy are meeting in Cairo in a United Nations-supported conference to exchange ideas on democracy and development in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said today. The conference, International Forum on Pathways of Democratic Transitions: International Experiences, Lessons Learnt and the Road Ahead, is sponsored by UNDP and the Egyptian Government. In the first session, former president Michelle Bachelet of Chile, former president B.J Habibie of Indonesia and Mac Maharaj of the African National Congress, spoke of their experiences with transition in their countries and shared insights on their contribution, UNDP said.UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said: “Transition in each country is a unique process which must respond to the aspirations of its people. Across many transitions, however, similar questions have arisen on how to manage the pace of change, broaden political participation, determine economic models, and tackle inequalities. This gathering offers an opportunity to hear first-hand from people who have been prominent in transitions in their own countries elsewhere and gain insights from their experience.” UNDP said the participants from outside the area are discussing such topics as, “Negotiating Transition Processes: Values, Voice and New Avenues of Participation” and the “Role of Political Parties & Social Movements,” with representatives of government and civil society from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and Morocco. Other subjects include writing constitutions and bills of rights; moving from social movements to political parties and strengthening existing political parties; transitional governments; managing expectations of quick results; forming coalitions to foster national unity, and lessons learned from first post-transition elections, UNDP said.“The experiences of transitions in countries from other regions of the world, especially in the South, provide a reservoir of lessons to be tapped and utilized, as appropriate,” said Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States.“We hope that the dialogue we started today will be of benefit to Arab countries that are currently shaping their future.” read more

Foreign Minister briefs diplomats on political crisis

Foreign Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama briefed foreign diplomats based in Colombo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this morning.The Minister clarified the chain of events that compelled President Maithripala Sirisena to arrive at the decision to dissolve Parliament. Several country representatives present at the briefing expressed their confidence in the strength of Sri Lanka’s long standing democratic traditions in resolving this internal matter, the Foreign Ministry said.The Minister also later briefed some journalists attached to foreign media institutions. (Colombo Gazette) The Minister said in the event of a conflict between the organs of Government, seeking a mandate from people who are sovereign ensures that democracy prevails. He emphasized the constitutionality of the steps taken by President Sirisena and added that having being elected through a nation-wide vote, the President derives his authority directly from the people of Sri Lanka. Minister Amunugama also made special note of the peaceful atmosphere that continues to prevail in Sri Lanka, in the midst of internal political changes. This is to the credit of the people of Sri Lanka and re-affirms the democratic traditions of the country, the Foreign Ministry said.Through the measures adopted, the Minister added, the Executive has discharged his responsibility of ensuring the security and safety of all Sri Lankans, which may have been compromised by the growing tension and the departure from parliamentary traditions. read more

New UN statistics reveal uneven global economy

The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Handbook of Statistics 2003 points out that Brazil’s revenue from coffee exports declined by $1 billion between 1999 and 2001 while Slovenia took in $1 billion in tourist expenditures in 2001. “When it comes to magnitude, everything is relative,” UNCTAD says.The same $1 billion is the amount of gross domestic product (GDP) shared by 27,000 Norwegians – and by 10 million Ethiopians, according to the agency. It is the total in tariff revenues on manufactured product imports collected by Indonesia, Algeria or South Africa.A billion dollars is the amount of foreign direct investment inflows to Argentina in 2002, as well as the annual level of trade among the 15 small members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is 0.6 per cent of the European Union’s (EU) agriculture value added or 11 per cent of the value of Africa’s total agriculture exports to the EU in 2001, UNCTAD said.One billion dollars also represents 10 per cent of the estimated value of India’s total remittances from abroad, or 10 per cent of that country’s trade deficit, according to the Handbook. read more

Former head of British Army calls for end to investigation of soldiers

Sergeant O, who faces the prospect of being prosecuted over his actions during Bloody Sunday The deaths gave the IRA a huge propaganda boost and led to dozens of young people joining their ranks.Ministers have refused to introduce a statute of limitations which would rule out prosecutions against the paratrooper – identified only as Sergeant O – and 17 other former soldiers facing possible charges over Bloody Sunday. This newspaper last week revealed how, in contrast to the current treatment of British troops who served in the province, the suspect for the IRA’s bombing of Hyde Park is living in a luxury beachfront home in Ireland, having transferred ownership to his wife after being sued over the atrocity.John Downey, who denied any responsibility, was charged in 2013 with murdering four members of the Household Cavalry after a nail bomb was detonated in Hyde Park on July 20 1982.He walked free from the Old Bailey in 2014 after it emerged he had received a so-called ‘comfort’ or ‘on the run’ letter dating back to 2007 as part of the Good Friday Agreement peace deal. Lord Bramall, the former head of the Armed Forces, has called for an end to the “macabre charade” that could see soldiers prosecuted for their actions in Northern Ireland.He said it was “absurd and unfair” that troops who took part in the events of Bloody Sunday more than four decades ago should now be facing questioning by the police.Writing in The Telegraph on Thursday Lord Bramall, who served as head of the British Army from 1979 to 1982 before becoming chief of the Defence Staff from 1982 to 1985, calls for an immediate end to the police investigations.He writes: “It is absurd and grossly unfair that 46 years after the tragic event generally known as Bloody Sunday that the Northern Ireland Police Service should still be harrying and questioning individual soldiers of the British Army, some in their 70’s and in ill health, in a desperate attempt to pin criminal charges for what happened all those years ago.“In the interests of justice, fair play and even handedness the Government must, by whatever means, put a stop at once to this macabre charade.”Lord Bramall’s call comes after The Daily Telegraph disclosed how a 76-year-old former paratrooper was interviewed under caution for attempted murder for firing his rifle and dislodging masonry which may have hit two protesters, possibly injuring them, during Bloody Sunday in 1972 in which 14 civilians were killed by British paratroopers in Londonderry. Father Edward Daly, who was later made Bishop of Derry, appealing for an end to the shootings on ‘Bloody Sunday’, 30 Jan 1972 Sergeant O was interviewed under caution in April 2016 and is still to be told whether charges will be brought.The police began a criminal investigation in 2012 after a 12-year inquiry led by Lord Saville concluded in 2010 that paratroopers had “lost control”, causing the deaths.Lord Bramall goes on to say: “Bearing in mind the time span, the shortage of reliable witnesses and the various imponderables and special circumstances of that specific area of operations at that time, it was always going to be difficult, if not impossible, to pin serious charges on a particular individual.“There certainly never had been any premeditation to target a particular individual – indeed, Lord Saville described the fire as ‘indiscriminate’. In such circumstances a soldier has only a split second to make the decision, which was often made under the most extreme circumstances and within a hostile and dangerous environment.” Father Edward Daly, who was later made Bishop of Derry, appealing for an end to the shootings on 'Bloody Sunday', 30 Jan 1972 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Sergeant O, who faces the prospect of being prosecuted over his actions during Bloody SundayCredit:Jay Williams for The Telegraph Sir Nick Carter, the new head of the Armed Forces, last week said if veterans of the Northern Ireland conflict were not protected against “vexatious claims” it would risk “undermining our combat ethos and our fighting spirit”. read more

Jolla shows off Sailfish OS

first_imgIf you consider choice a good thing, then you’ve probably been waiting excitedly to see what the team at Jolla has planned for its Sailfish OS. Today, you can take an early look at their efforts. Jolla is promising a mobile OS that’s unlike anything else on the market, with an emphasis on personalization, multitasking, and performance.In the demo video that’s been posted, Jolla shows a lockscreen that looks a bit like a mix of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone. A quartet of large, clean tiles dominate the display, and swipe gestures allow control over the apps they represent — for example, swiping the music app’s thumbnail reveals playback controls. In the gallery app, Sailfish allows setting wallpaper images by gently pulling down to scroll through a hidden menu at the top of the screen.Those of you who hate having to press a button to wake up your phone will love one small Sailfish feature. Like the BlackBerry PlayBook, Jolla’s demo device can be awoken with a screen gesture — a double-tap anywhere on the surface, as opposed to RIM’s slide from edge to edge.Apart from posting a teaser video that shows a brief glimpse of the OS, Jolla has also given a few members of the press a more personal look at Sailfish running on what looks like a Nokia N950. That doesn’t come as a complete surprise considering that Jolla rose from the ashes of Nokia’s MeeGo team. The N950 was Nokia’s official MeeGo developer handset and it was first shown off back in the summer of 2011. Unfortunately for MeeGo fans, it was never released to the general public.Other good news around Sailfish this morning: ST Ericsson has pledged its support for Jolla’s efforts, and the company says that many Android apps will “just work” on the new platform. The Mer Project Wiki also offers a number of handy developer downloads already, including the SDK. That includes a virtual machine image that can be run inside an app like VirtualBox, so enterprising types with a penchant for compiling and bleeding-edge software can get involved with Sailfish OS right now.More at Jolla and JollaUserslast_img read more

After 17 years of Pythonesque disasters Terry Gilliam has finally finished making

first_img Jun 10th 2017, 8:00 PM Share Tweet Email Director Terry Gilliam Source: Hubert Boesi DPA/PA ImagesAGING FILM DIRECTOR Terry Gilliam has finally finished making his film version of the epic tale Don Quixote, after 17 years battling one disaster after another.The Monty Python star suffered a series of Pythonesque calamities while trying to get the project off the ground.Like the titular hero of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic tale, however, the 76-year-old Gilliam has remained strong and steadfast in his resolve, finally finishing shooting the film last weekend., who has directed films such as Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, began his labour of love with Don Quixote back in the year 2000, having had the idea floating around since 1989.The project was beset by mishaps from the beginning.At various stages, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Robert Duvall and John Hurt were all signed on to appear in the 17th-century adaptation.In the first aborted attempt, French actor Jean Rochefort, whose role as Quixote required riding a horse, developed back problems during shooting that put him out of action.Furthermore, setbacks in 2000 included torrential rain and constant flyovers by military jets from a nearby NATO base.Two men hired to record a “making-of” feature to accompany the film actually ended up making a documentary chronicling the difficult production with “Lost in La Mancha” telling the whole sorry story.Since then, a series of funding problems and stars disappearing from the film has been a constant theme with eight false starts in getting it off the ground.The new version features British actor Jonathan Pryce as Quixote. He starred in Gilliam’s 1985 hit Brazil, but is perhaps better known to younger viewers as the High Sparrow in the Game of Thrones television series.Also on board is US actor Adam Driver, the villain in the latest Star Wars film; and the Ukrainian-born French actress Olga Kurylenko.Last year, Gilliam told Jonathan Ross the latest funding mishap with the project: “I had this producer, a Portuguese chap, who claimed he’d get all the money together in time. And a few weeks ago, he proved that he didn’t have the money,We are still marching forward. It is not dead. I will be dead before the film is.In an interview with Spanish daily El Pais last year, Gilliam also signalled his refusal to surrender: “Shooting my version of Don Quixote is a medical obligation.It’s a brain tumour I have to eradicate.As of yet, there is no release date planned for the movie.With reporting from AFPRead: “Monty Python reunion is for real”: Terry JonesRead: Monty Python comeback show sells out in 43.5 seconds After 17 years of Pythonesque disasters, Terry Gilliam has finally finished making Don Quixote The director Brazil and Twelve Monkeys is delighted to have finally finished the epic film. 11 Comments Short URL Saturday 10 Jun 2017, 8:00 PM By Sean Murray 20,215 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Inside the Minds of Westworld CoCreators Jonathan Nolan Lisa Joy

first_img Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseTop Movie and TV Trailers to Watch From SDCC 2019 Stay on target The first season of Westworld was among the best rookie seasons of television in recent memory. Co-creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy threw a stacked cast of heavyweight actors into a dense maze of riddles and secrets, all within an immersive sci-fi world where it was actually fun to hang out. The show is also one of the most complex modern depictions of artificial intelligence, but with the tech realism to feel almost believable and a scale to rival Game of Thrones—the show HBO has bet a lot of money on Westworld replacing long-term. Nolan and Joy found themselves at the Wired Business Conference in New York City this week for a panel entitled “How Storytelling Creates the Future.” The pair (who are also married) sat down with afterward to break down the inner workings of Westworld, fan theories that turned out to be right, talk Joy’s upcoming Battlestar Galactica reboot, and shed some insight on Nolan’s original ending for The first season of Westworld was great for a lot of reasons, but the finale, in particular, felt satisfying as someone who watches too much narrative TV. It paid off most of what you’d expect and then set the stage and raised the stakes. I want to talk first about the arcs we saw come full circle.Can you take me inside Ford’s mind in the execution of his final narrative? From introducing the reveries in the first place to finally setting his creations free according to Arnold’s design. Was that always his plan? Jonathan Nolan: We get to explore a few of these questions a little more in the second season so I don’t want to say too much. But I think there’s definitely a sense that Ford has started feeling one way about these creations of theirs and began to feel some of the deep empathy for these creations of his partner in a profound and tragic way. That set in motion for him, in a long process of fits and starts, a smooth transition from thinking of them as creatures. The realization happens relatively early for him, but what he’s really wrestling with is what to do with it. Ford, beautifully portrayed by Tony Hopkins, is a character steeped in history and reading and learning. He has thought about this for a long time, and understands that humans have never had a rival, never tolerated any other species. They’ve subjugated anything, and when they encountered rivals like the Neanderthals, they don’t end up as a part of history. Ford spent a lot of time thinking about how he’ll go about…if the goal of these creatures is to survive, how does that happen?Anthony Hopkins (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)Westworld generated a lot of fan theories this season, and one of the ones that turned out to be true was William, the Man in Black, and the multiple timelines theory. That particular twist wasn’t as hard to spot as some other ones. Was it designed that way? Lisa Joy: We had always left bread crumbs throughout the season with the hope that an engaged audience can figure out the things our hosts themselves have not. They have subjective viewpoints, but as audience members you start to see a whole spectrum of things and piece them together. When we first started doing the show and critics, and studio execs saw it, nobody saw that twist coming. But what happens is you get this incredibly intense and awesome fanbase, especially on Reddit, and they’re used to looking at things. There’s a difference between fan theory and fan analysis. Fan theory is One is purely speculative, like “I hope so and so kills a dragon,” you have no way of knowing that was going to happen, versus people actually picking up the bread crumbs. That’s pure math. We had people who were doing that, which is what we wanted. The thing we didn’t foresee is how this small group would carry and get picked up by mainstream news for headlines. It’s not fan theory, it’s fan analysis, and it’s right.We could spend this entire interview talking about the actors involved, but I want to spend a moment on a few of the most transfixing performances. Can you talk a bit about what Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Anthony Hopkins bring to their respective roles, and what it was like watching them play off of each other? JN: We spent a long time developing the script and thinking about these characters. Casting is this dark art with a lot of luck. Neither Lisa nor I are the type of writer who thinks about casting at a script stage, with one exception in this script: Anthony Hopkins. Then having written the pilot we assembled our dream cast, and they all said yes. Which is rare. From Evan Rachel Wood to Thandie Newton to Anthony Hopkins to Jeffrey Wright, all of them. Especially the actors in the biggest roles, and Jeffrey kind of fits on both ends of that, who are tasked with fully embodying a character and then literally turning it off in the middle of a frame. We needed some desperately talented actors, and we were lucky enough that they said yes.LJ: They’re all amazing actors, and I think part of the reason why they’re so great in their roles. Why we totally hit the jackpot is not only are they brilliant performers, but every one of them is also a deep thinker. They think very intensely about their roles, and the implications of it, the technology of it. That’s not always the case in an actor. We worked with people who really committed to it and were so intellectually and emotionally engaged. Especially with some of their more cerebral acting, it seemed like the acting went all the way down to their eye movements.JN: It was. I remember that first day of shooting with Evan on the pilot. In casting, we had this particularly diabolical read where it involved an analysis. An actor would be playing one host, and they’d have to switch into another host’s personality. We wanted to make it clear that the roles would be difficult and see what the actors would do in the moments in between. With Evan on that first day, there’s a scene with Luke Hemsworth where she’s in standby mode and then turns on and goes straight into hyperventilating then freaking out, and then turns her emotional effect off and accent off. This is, as Evan has described it, the acting Olympics. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to work with an actor whose first take is fucking transcendent, so you just sit back and say “wow.”(John P. Johnson/HBO)The mystery and misdirection around who’s a host and who isn’t is kind of a silver bullet for you guys. It gets to the point where viewers question everyone. My friends and I were convinced Felix was a host for a while because we couldn’t believe he was consistently that stupid and naive (I guess that’s just his humanity). How do you approach using it in a gut-punching reveal like Bernard versus overusing the plot device?LJ: We were very conscious of that going into it. It won’t be a reversal if everything’s reversed; then it’d just be the new status quo. Everything in moderation and conservatively applied. For the world to have stakes, you have to be able to believe in some people and take that for granted for the switch to be meaningful. It makes sense for Jeffrey’s character to have that duality, and he’s maybe the most tragic character with that burden. It had a lot of repercussions also for people who are very, very human. Elsie’s [Shannon Woodward] character is incredibly human, I think. To be so close to someone who’s not what he presents to be…you can mine a lot of emotion against in that reveal. But yes, it’s definitely something we’re conscious of and have girded ourselves against.Shannon Woodward, Jeffrey Wright in Westworld (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)That theme is kind of funny, because the last time I remember feeling like I was questioning every character on a show was Cylon Paranoia Syndrome in Battlestar Galactica. Lisa, where are you in the writing and development process on the movie, and have you thought about that parallel of complex artificial beings with varied levels of awareness about who or what they are?LJ: We’re developing right now, I’m super excited about it. I’m working with Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, The Hunger Games series), who’s a brilliant and wonderful director, and producer Mike De Luca, who I’ve worked with before. It’s a great team, and we’re all behind doing something bold that honors the canon of the amazing shows that have come before it. But in honoring the spirit of Battlestar Galactica, it deserves some freshness to bring it to bear. I can’t say much about it right now, but I can say that it’s emotional and it deals with topics on AI that we haven’t gone near in Westworld. It’s a wholly new take on something. I was actually disinclined to do it at first because I thought it would be too similar to some of the stuff we’re doing, but then I had this realization that in the Venn diagram of AI, there was no overlap.This is a tech conference, so I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the show’s depiction of artificial intelligence. Arnold’s maze ultimately turned into this dynamic process for creating an artificial consciousness that’s not all that different from the sorts of machine and deep learning techniques we use to train algorithms today. From a tech and also a psychological perspective, what ideas did you draw from when essentially building hosts’ brains and personalities from the ground up?JN: We spent a lot of time. I’m of two minds on research, I think it can be constraining in ways, particularly if you get stuck in too much thought about what’s reasonable, you might miss out on bigger ideas. But on this project we did do a lot of reading about this question of consciousness; artificial consciousness. We were surprised to find how little that field has changed in the last 50 years, even though our capacity to image and understand the human brain has increased by leaps and bounds. Even with computer science now approaching nervous-making levels of complexity with regards to artificial intelligence. There are no games we play where we’re no better than AI. We were surprised at how quickly AlphaGo triumphed, which I think was a seismic moment. Yet it’s largely the domain of philosophers. Scientists, for good reason and probably the elephant in the room [Skynet, basically], don’t want to go there. So we were steered back toward [Daniel] Dennet, [John] Searle, and some of the same philosophers who’ve been talking about this for 40 years, and Julian Jaynes of course, whose “Bicameral Mind” is central to Westworld and even the name of the season one finale.That breakdown of human consciousness isn’t a mainstream theory of human cognition but it’s a really interesting one. It doesn’t assume that cognition has always been thus. It doesn’t assume that we’ve always thought the same way. Jaynes’ idea was that we didn’t have an inner voice until the last three or four thousand years, which is fascinating. Imagine a primitive man who heard an inner voice and didn’t know it was their own thoughts. That theory may or may not accurately describe human cognition, but they absolutely could be used as a model to build artificial intelligence. Jaynes’ theory was that for the first hundred thousand years of sapiens, they thought that was the voice of gods.Okay Jonathan, I’ve got to ask about the original ending you wrote for Interstellar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was much darker than what ended up in the final film. In your ending, Cooper was cut off inside the black hole. His data makes it back, but he doesn’t. To me, that’s a much more fitting ending based on the narrative and tone of the film. What was your reasoning behind wanting to end it on that note? And how do you feel about the film concluding with that final act that wasn’t initially there?There’s a draft of the script that’s out there that was emailed and got out. You learn your lessons. It was a very intermediate draft that doesn’t represent the finished product. At that early point, I had just started working with Steven Spielberg on the project.But there was always a sense that we wanted that film—and this is true of my initial draft as well—we wanted the film to punt you into the future. In film, you’ve got a couple of hours to tell your story. The dream was always for the story to be generational and to carry you deep into the next chapter of the human story. We posited, and I’ve always embraced this, that a lot of science fiction has a very misanthropic take on humanity. I wanted to do something that said there is something positive. In terms of intelligence, we’re still the only game in town that we’re aware of. There’s a lot of ambiguity about that statement, but we’re not in conversation with anyone else. Not our own creations as in Westworld or with other beings out there. So the idea that you find something in human nature that was beautiful was essential to the project from the beginning, or that our flaws might turn out to be the things that save us.I’m not going to ask specifics about Season Two, but Lisa, you did at the end mention the name “Shogun World.” Have you decided on the name Shogun World versus Samurai World for the new park you introduced in the finale?LJ and JN: We can’t confirm or deny.last_img read more

Fake Inslee letter posted on doors around Clark County

first_imgOn Thursday morning, Gary Berreth stepped outside of his house in the Green Meadows neighborhood and found an unexpected letter attached to his front door.The letter featured the Washington state seal and claimed to be from the Office of the Governor. It warned of “an adjustment in property taxes” due to the shutdown of an oil terminal and an agreement with BNSF to prohibit the shipping of oil, lumber and coal by rail through Vancouver.At the end of the letter was a carefully scrawled signature: “Jay Inslee,” Washington’s Democratic governor. CC’d on the letter were Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick and Treasurer Doug Lasher.“I instantly knew that there is no way the government does business like this,” said Berreth, who said that he saw the same letter attached to other doors throughout his neighborhood.Fake newsBerreth was correct in assuming the letter was a hoax. In an era of growing concerns of fake news spreading online, someone (or a group of people) has taken up a more old-fashioned approach to spreading misinformation.last_img read more

Play area closes until E coli risk is eliminated

first_imgClark County’s top public health official said Thursday that a child who recently tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 was in a play area at Lake Shore Athletic Club while possibly contagious.Dr. Alan Melnick said parents whose children visited the play area at the club in west Hazel Dell between July 10 and Aug. 4 should watch for symptoms.The club voluntarily closed the play area Thursday, Melnick said. The play area will be disinfected and remain closed until the health department determines there’s no risk for exposure.The child’s positive test for E. coli was reported to the health department.The original source of infection is not known, Melnick said.He said the child is doing OK. Melnick said the athletic club staff gave the health department attendance records of children who were in the play area, and the health department has been trying to contact more than 100 families.E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterial infection that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that may be bloody. Fever is usually mild or nonexistent.last_img read more

Population explosion a problem CRDA official

first_imgVijayawada: The World Population Day was observed by the department of Economics, Maris Stella College on the college premises on Thursday. Dr N Srinivas, statistician APCRDA, Amaravati attended as the chief guest of the programme. Speaking on the occasion, he told the students that the aim of observing this day was to bring awareness on the issue of global population and importance of reproductive health. Also Read – Rs 65.30lakhs Exgratia paid to deceased family Advertise With Us He stressed that too much population will be a burden to the government. He said that for the first time demographer from World Bank Prof Zachariah introduced the concept of population studies and various issues related to it. He said that India occupies second place in world population and it may overtake China in the years to come. Youth should be aware of population explosion and its effects as they are the future citizens of the nation. Dr Innacia, vice-principal in her welcome address said that it is our responsibility to know the pros and cons of population explosion. Dr B Josephine Sandhya Rani, HoD Economics gave a brief review of population of the world. The chief guest N Srinivas distributed prizes to the winners of essay-writing and poster-making competitions. Students performed skit on the effects of population on the occasion. B Koteswara Rao, Swapna, Dr Swaroop Kumar, Sobha, Kalima, Deepthi Chaitanya, Vani and students of BA were present.last_img read more

Long Lines On Final Day Of Sign Up For DSNAP Benefits In

first_img Share – / 3Friday is the last day to sign up for D-SNAP benefits in Harris County, and over 8 thousand people are estimated to be lined up outside the George R. Brown Convention Center.The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), offers short-term food assistance benefits to families recovering from a disaster. Hii Iluu was first in line at the George R. Brown, she arrived Thursday at 5 p.m. Ms. Iluu needed assistance because the money she qualified for from FEMA wasn’t enough to cover her losses from Hurricane Harvey.Aide Hernandez also arrived at 5 p.m. Thursday. After waiting for hours at the Southwest Multi-Service Center she abandoned that line and headed downtown. She’s desperate for benefits because her husband is out of work because of Harvey.“I work in hotel, so I continue to work, but my husband works in landscaping and the customers, they have houses that flooded and he can’t do work,” Hernandez said.Officials say more than 200,000 people in Harris County have signed-up for assistance from the state run program since started registration on September 27.A Houston Police Officer working crowd control estimated there were more than 8,000 people in line. Another HPD Officer said the long line was not unusual in size for D-SNAP registration. George R. Brown opened around 7:30 a.m. and workers began processing applicants at 8 a.m. Registration will end at 7 p.m. Friday. Tammy Kerchner got to the Convention Center Friday at 7 a.m. and found herself at the end of a line that stretched a mile long.“Oh wow, we only have until 7:00? I didn’t know that,” Tammy Kerchner responded when I asked if she was concerned about being able to sign up before registration closed. “Yeah absolutely, this line is like ridiculous. I’m surprised I found the end of it.”last_img read more

Netflix Lost in Space Reboot Draws 63 Million Viewers in First 3

first_img“Lost in Space,” one of Netflix’s newest high-profile original series, drew 6.3 million U.S. viewers within the first three days of its release earlier this month, according to Nielsen.In addition, in the first 72 hours of release (April 13-15) of all 10 episodes, “Lost in Space” viewers on average watched 2.6 episodes, per Nielsen. The media-measurement firm found the series was heavily binged — with almost 1.2 million people having watched the series’ final episode within those three days.By comparison, the “Stranger Things” season 2 premiere episode average 15.8 million viewers from Oct. 27-29, while 11 million U.S. viewers who watched Netflix’s “Bright” during its first three days of release, according to Nielsen.Famously, Netflix doesn’t release viewing metrics, holding such data close to its vest — leaving third parties like Nielsen to try to estimate demand. Netflix has pointed out that Nielsen’s estimates cover only the U.S. and only tracks viewership on connected TVs (excluding mobile devices and computers). The Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings, launched last fall, extrapolate viewership using audio-recognition technology that “listens” to what viewers are watching on TV. In terms of Netflix premiere-day viewing, “Lost in Space” garnered 3.16 million viewers overall on April 13, according to Nielsen’s estimates. That puts it behind “Stranger Things” season 2, with 8.97 million on Oct. 27, and “Bright,” the fantasy cop movie starring Will Smith, which pulled in 5.35 million on Dec. 22. “Lost in Space” was ahead of “Marvel’s The Defenders” (2.8 million on Aug. 18), “Black Mirror” season 4 (2.1 million), and “House of Cards” season 5 (2.0 million on May 30).Nielsen also found that the initial viewers of “Lost in Space” were 60% male and 40% female. Some other Netflix shows skew female, like “Fuller House” (67% female) and “The Crown” (65% female).In “Lost in Space,” which Netflix has been marketing heavily, Will Robinson and the Robot form an unexpected, unbreakable bond that could mean the difference between life and death for the Robinsons.The series stars Toby Stepehens (“Black Sails,” “Die Another Day”) as John Robinson, and Molly Parker (“House of Cards,” “Deadwood”) as Maureen Robinson, the family’s parental leaders. The Robinson kids are portrayed by Taylor Russell (“Falling Skies”) as Judy, Mina Sundwall (“Maggie’s Plan”) as Penny, and Max Jenkins (“Sense8,” “Betrayal”) as the curious and sensitive Will Robinson.The series is produced by Legendary Television and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (“Dracula Untold,” “Last Witch Hunter”). Zack Estrin (“Prison Break”) serves as showrunner. The three are executive producers alongside Synthesis Entertainment’s Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni with Applebox’s Neil Marshall and Marc Helwig.The original “Lost in Space,” created by Irwin Allen, aired for three seasons, from 1965 to 1968 on CBS. The original also spawned a 1998 feature film starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Mimi Rogers. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15,The original “Lost in Space,” created by Irwin Allen, aired for three seasons, from 1965 to 1968 on CBS. The original also spawned a 1998 feature film starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Mimi Rogers.last_img read more

Valve will unveil Dota 2 in milliondollar tourney

first_imgValve has announced an upcoming public unveiling for Dota 2 in a big fashion: the game will be first shown to the public in a 16-team tournament with the winner taking home one million dollars.The tournament, “The International,” will go down during the Gamescom conference in Germany, August 17-21. 16 elite Dota teams have been invited to play through a tournament with a group stage followed by a double-elimination bracket.The participants list is dominated by Asian countries. Of the 16 teams invited, five are from China and one team comes from each of Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. The remaining six teams are European. The tournament will also be broadcast with commentary in Chinese, German, Russian and English for free.Dota 2 follows on the original DoTA, or “Defense of the Ancients,” a Warcraft III mod from an amateur developer known as IceFrog. IceFrog was hired by Valve, and the company trademarked the Dota name. The practice is practically a Valve tradition, as small indie or mod developers have gone on to create Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Portal, and Alien Swarm as commercial products for the studio.Shortly after Dota 2 was announced last fall, IceFrog wrote a lengthy FAQ that discussed many of the top concerns among existing DoTA players. Several technical features will be implemented to reduce problems caused by the Warcraft III multiplayer experience, such as player reconnection and lag reduction. Other features will make the game more accessible to new players and include AI bots, tutorials, matchmaking, and spectating. As the tournament will demonstrate, broadcasting support will also be in full effect.Dota 2 will be available for the PC and Mac later this year.via the Dota 2 bloglast_img read more

Beautiful little insect catches Biancas eye

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Ladysmith resident Bianca Joubert recently spotted a “beautiful” praying mantis in the Braamhoek area. On her way to work, she noticed the insect roaming around.Bianca described the praying mantis as being slightly bigger than her hand.She told the Ladysmith Gazette that, “Praying mantises consume lots of other invertebrates in your garden, so they’re often considered beneficial predators.”Also read: Dangerous spider found in LadysmithAlso read: Spider Harlequin is scary?It’s important to note, however, that mantises don’t discriminate between “good” bugs and “bad” bugs when looking for meals.The first thing to know is that a praying mantis is a non-aggressive, carnivorous insect. Uninterested in humans, mantises have no known venomous species.Bianca says she has praying mantis nests around her house that she and her husband check on, on a daily basis.After taking a photo of the Braamhoek mantis, Bianca watched as the insect walked away into its environment.“I love animals and insects, and I enjoy doing photography, so watch the media for more photos,” smiled Bianca.Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or  for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there!last_img read more

LHS matric farewell 2016 – photo and video extravaganza

first_imgWe will let the video and photos do the talking…This is the first of many photo galleries we will be putting up over the course of the next few days. If your photo is not up yet, do not worry, it will be by Monday afternoon.Enjoy!!!From the Ladysmith Gazette editorial team(Warning: Viewing all the photos or video will use a large amount of data) DID YOU KNOW?Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics.If you are reading this on your cellphone and there are telephone numbers provided in the text, you can call these simply by clicking on them.To receive news links via WhatsApp.For the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite last_img

read more

first_imgNews | July 27, 2012 Elekta Grant to Support Pediatric Cancer Research in Spain €32,000 bequest given to Madrid Hospital Foundation for research at Madrid’s Montepríncipe Hospital Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more Related Content News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more News | Radiation Oncology | July 31, 2019 Laura Dawson, M.D., FASTRO, Chosen as ASTRO President-elect The members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) elected four new officers to ASTRO’s Board of… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more July 27, 2012 — To support research exploring childhood cancers, Elekta has given a €32,000 ($40,000) grant to Madrid Hospital Foundation’s pediatric oncology program at the Madrid Montepríncipe Hospital’s pediatric oncology and hematology unit. The donation was collected at a charity party held in conjunction with the 2012 Annual Meeting of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) in Barcelona. The foundation’s pediatric oncology research programs focus on increasing the understanding of cancer in children, and on improving treatment methods and the patient’s quality of life.“Because cancer occurs more often in adults than in children, most of today’s technological developments in radiation therapy focus on adult patients and their needs,” said Tomas Puusepp, president and CEO of Elekta. “To address this imbalance, we are pleased to support the efforts of worthy pediatric cancer research programs such as the foundation’s pediatric oncology program. Elekta’s own efforts are aimed at adapting radiation therapy treatments to children, such as developing more suitable immobilization devices and imaging strategies, and by studying how to adjust doses for pediatric patients. To that end, we recently created the Elekta Pediatric Research Group, whose mission is to identify, develop and adapt products to treat childhood cancer.”Elekta’s products are currently not approved for use on children.For more information: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD The top piece of content in July was a video interview explaining how Princess Margaret Cancer Center is using machine learning to create automated treatment plans. This was a hot topic at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) 2019 meeting in July.  News | Proton Therapy | August 06, 2019 IBA Signs Contract to Install Proton Therapy Center in Kansas IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) recently signed a contract and received the first payment for a Proteus One solution… read more News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 07, 2019 Qfix kVue One Proton Couch Top Validated by Mevion Medical Systems Qfix and Mevion Medical Systems announced that a special version of the kVue One Proton couch top is now both validated… read more Feature | August 05, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor Most Popular Radiology and Radiotherapy Topics in July 2019 August 5, 2019 — Here is the list of the most popular content on the Imaging Technology New (ITN) magazine website fr read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 02, 2019 Varian Showcases Cancer Care Systems and Software at AAPM 2019 Varian showcased systems and software from its cancer care portfolio, including the Identify Guidance System, at the… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more last_img read more