Headline News

  • Massive California wildfire jumps containment line; evacuees settling in emergency shelters

    Flames rise from a wildfire near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson) (The Associated Press) A burned out residence is seen as the Rocky fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson) (The Associated Press) Flames rise as a fire crew works near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson) (The Associated Press) Firefighters from the Long Beach Fire Department monitor flames from the Rocky fire near Clearlake, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson) (The Associated Press) Jeff Arnold, of the Long Beach Fire Department, douses flames from a wildfire near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. …

    August 4, 2015 4:37 am


  • Kerry: good progress made on Pacific trade deal despite talks failure

    SINGAPORE Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday “good progress” was made toward a 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade deal last week, even though negotiators failed to reach an accord in marathon talks in Hawaii. “As with any complex negotiation … there remain details to be hashed out,” Kerry said in a speech during a stop in Singapore on his way to meetings of the 10 nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Malaysia on Wednesday. “Last week in Hawaii, we made good progress in our negotiations,” he said adding that countries negotiating the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were “pressing on to work through tough negotiations on even the most sensitive issues.” On Friday, Pacific Rim trade ministers failed to clinch a deal on the TPP – the key economic arm of President Barack Obama’s rebalance to Asia in the face of China’s growing influence in the region. The talks on …

    August 4, 2015 4:16 am


  • Toyota just set a new quarterly profit record

    Toyota reported a net profit of ¥646.3 billion ($5.2 billion) on Thursday, a new quarterly record made possible by the weaker yen. The profit figure topped analyst estimates, and revenue increased more than 9% over last year to ¥7 trillion ($56.5 billion). Managing Officer Tetsuya Otake said that favorable foreign exchange rates and cost reduction efforts helped Toyota reach the new record. Decreased vehicle sales and increased expenses were a drag in the quarter ended June 30, he said. Toyota is among the highest profile companies to get a lift from Abenomics, a set of measures championed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to boost the world’s third largest economy. Abe is trying to end years of falling prices and stimulate growth by increasing government spending and using aggressive monetary policy. The yen has fallen 17% against the dollar over the past year. A weak yen makes Japanese products cheaper for foreign buyers, giving the …

    August 4, 2015 3:16 am


  • Bounce back year for Niners’ Aldon Smith in 2015?

    Jun 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) during minicamp at the 49ers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Aldon Smith’s 2014 season didn’t go as planned. He was suspended nine games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and the substance abuse policy. Even in the seven contests he appeared in, Smith totaled just 15 tackles and two sacks. His first two seasons in San Francisco showed promise. The last two have been hampered by suspensions and injuries. But 2015 should be different, and Smith admitted as much. “I feel real good,” Smith said, via The Press Democrat. My body feels good. I’m ready to go.” Those words should be encouraging to the coaching staff and Smith’s teammates. The defense will be without many key pieces from 2014 – Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox – but Smith is …

    August 4, 2015 4:37 am

World News

  • Key Yemen airbase ‘recaptured’

    Pro-government forces in Yemen have retaken the country’s largest airbase in a battle with Houthi rebels, a spokesman for the forces told the BBC. Heavy casualties have been reported at al-Anad airbase, north of Aden, after intense fighting there in recent days. It comes after pro-government forces, backed by air strikes from a Saudi-led coalition, retook Aden in July. The Saudis are leading a campaign to push the rebels back and restore the government, which it is sheltering. Al-Anad used to be a base for US troops overseeing drone attacks on al-Qaeda. It was overrun by Houthi rebels as they advanced south in March, forcing President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee. “The al-Anad airbase is now back in the hands of President Hadi’s men,” Nasr Alkaid, a spokesman for the pro-government forces, told the BBC. He said the loyalists were still battling rebels about 4km (2.5 miles) from the base. The taking of the airbase …

    August 4, 2015 3:57 am


  • What you need to know about artificial intelligence, and the imminent robot future

    AI of the future will defy our old-fashioned expectations. Ann Hermes, Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images Do androids dream of electric sheep? That’s unclear, but I know for sure that every kid dreams of intelligent, thinking robots — certainly every kid who goes on to work at CNET, in any case. Today, my sci-fi-fuelled childhood fantasies of a bot with a “brain the size of a planet” are closer than ever to being realised. Artificial intelligence, or AI, the practice of making a machine behave in a smart way, is already changing our world and is, by my reckoning, the most fascinating field of technology right now. But, as one professor I spoke to for this story put it, the “audacity of the attempt to build an intelligent machine” comes with a responsibility to know what we’re meddling with. For everyone who ever thumbed through a copy of “I, Robot”, mouth agape, here’s what you need …

    August 4, 2015 4:37 am


  • Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

    Related images(click to enlarge) Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have found the earliest example of reproduction in a complex organism. Their new study has found that some organisms known as rangeomorphs, which lived 565 million years ago, reproduced by taking a joint approach: they first sent out an ‘advance party’ to settle in a new area, followed by rapid colonisation of the new neighbourhood. The results, reported today in the journal Nature, could aid in revealing the origins of our modern marine environment. Using statistical techniques to assess the distribution of populations of a type of rangeomorph called Fractofusus, the researchers observed that larger ‘grandparent’ rangeomorphs were randomly distributed in their environment, and were surrounded by distinct patterns of smaller ‘parents’ and ‘children’. These patterns strongly resemble the biological clustering observed in modern plants, and suggest a dual mode of reproduction: the ‘grandparents’ being the product of ejected waterborne propagules, while the ‘parents’ …

    August 4, 2015 3:36 am


  • New analysis underscores improving pharma R&D productivity

    LONDON Drug industry productivity is continuing to improve, with a bumper haul of new products being launched and companies proving more successful in the final stages of clinical testing, according to a new analysis. Data from Thomson Reuters published on Tuesday showed the number of innovative medicines, or new molecular entities, launched globally in 2014 hit a 17-year high of 46, up from 29 in 2013. Last year’s entrants included two cancer drugs that help the body’s own immune cells fight tumors as oncology remained the top area for drug research, attracting nearly one third of all RD spending. Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo are the first in a coming wave of expensive immunotherapies. As well as launching a lot more new medicines, the industry has also been enjoying higher success rates in the costly final stage of clinical development, with the number of projects failing in Phase III falling markedly over the last …

    August 4, 2015 3:57 am


  • Eminem Admits He Weighed 230 Pounds When He Overdosed On Prescription Drugs

    Posted on Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 9:45am PDT       By X17 Staff Eminem got candid for a new interview with Men’s Journal, in which he revealed that in the peak of his drug addiction back in 2007 — he weighed 230 pounds — and it wasn’t 230 pounds of muscle! The “Stan” singer admitted to the mag that in 2007 his addiction to pills caused him to overdose on Vicodin and Valium — and also to eat poorly. “In 2007, I overdosed on pills, and I went into the hospital. I was close to 230 pounds. I’m not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas. The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I’d been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly,” said Marshall Mathers. The Grammy winner also admitted that he got into a workout frenzy after putting …

    August 3, 2015 9:14 pm


  • The folly of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

    Before any rational discussion of the economic or scientific merits of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan can begin (it will be announced Monday), it is necessary to take his rhetoric about its benefits off the table.  The president stated Sunday that his plan is “protecting the world we leave to our children.”  To be generous to the president, that is a gross exaggeration.   By the Environmental Protection Agency’s own calculations, the plan will reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide by about 10% from what they are now projected to be in 2030. Since by that time the U.S. will be producing less than 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, the result is at most 2 percent less growth in global emissions. Based on the calculations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that will make less than one-tenth of a degree of difference in global temperatures. Contrary to the president’s claims about saving lives …

    August 4, 2015 2:56 am

Odd News

  • Lame Massachusetts chicken to get 3-D printer prosthetic leg

    BOSTON One Massachusetts chicken is about to get a costly leg up on life – a $2,500 prosthetic limb made on a 3-D printer. The chicken, named Cicely, is headed into surgery on Wednesday for the start of a first-of-its-kind procedure to fit her with an artificial limb, her owner, Andrea Martin of Black Thistle Farm, said on Monday. Cicely, 3 months old, was born with a torn tendon in her right leg that limits her mobility. When Martin took her to Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to be examined last week she was given two choices — a prosthetic or euthanasia. “It was a no-brainer,” Martin said in a phone interview. “She needs to be able to live a normal life.” Martin’s farm, located in Clinton, about 45 miles (72 km) west of Boston, specializes in chicken rehabilitation and this isn’t the first time she has splurged on surgery. One of her …

    August 4, 2015 3:56 am