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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 78312 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9660 on: Dec 19th, 2013, 09:43am »


New Dr. Who Peter Capaldi


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« Reply #9661 on: Dec 19th, 2013, 09:45am »

Wired

Robots Can’t End Amazon’s Labor Woes Because They Don’t Have Hands

By Marcus Wohlsen
12.19.13
9:30 AM

The holidays should be a celebratory season for Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. Instead, the company is facing conflict and tragedy over the work done inside its distribution centers, the massive warehouses where the logistics of holiday package delivery are executed with machine-like precision.

About 30 equipment techs at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware are on the verge of unionizing, a first for the company in the U.S., according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. Earlier this month, at an Amazon-owned facility in New Jersey, a temp employed by a staffing firm was fatally crushed. And just this week in Germany, more than 1,000 warehouse workers walked off the job to protest wages and working conditions. “The workers are treated more as robots than humans,” German labor organizer Markus Hoffmann-Achenbach told The New York Times.

Although that was clearly meant as an indictment of Amazon, it’s an accurate description of work inside a warehouse. This is particularly true in retail, where merchandise makes money when in motion and costs money when at rest. Amazon in particular makes big promises about how quickly it can deliver orders, but for any company with inventory, greater efficiency in getting stuff out the door means greater profit potential. To that end, the goal in warehouse work is to get humans to behave as much like robots as possible.

At least as long as humans are employed in warehouses at all. Eventually, companies like Amazon and Google — a new challenger in the retail game — may simply replace them with robots altogether. In some cases, the machines have already arrived.

Last year, Amazon spent $775 million buying Kiva Systems, a company that builds drones to carry shelves on their backs across a warehouse floor. Since then, the web giant has kept mostly mum about how it is, or isn’t, using these drones. But in its most recent earnings report, Amazon revealed that it has deployed about 1,400 of the squat, orange Kiva ‘bots across three fulfillment centers.

In addition to having the kind of purely mathematical “brain” best suited to maximizing efficiency of movement, robot warehouse workers have other advantages over human counterparts. Robots don’t get tired and do not slow down. Kiva’s drones even dock themselves in charging stations when their batteries run low. What’s more, they don’t get distracted. They don’t get hurt. They don’t lead to investigative exposés on poor working conditions. And they don’t try to organize.

Could Amazon turn the metaphorical machines that are its warehouses into literal machines driven entirely by robotics? Not any time soon. The Kiva drones it has deployed so far represent a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of workers needed to meet Amazon’s holiday demand, and Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako tells WIRED the company does not see using robots as a way of avoiding conflict over labor.

Amazon also disputes the notion that its workers aren’t well treated or compensated, saying it can work with them to resolve the complaints. “We firmly believe this direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the needs of our workforce and do not believe there is a need for third-party representation,” reads a statement from Osako.

In any event, even if Amazon did want to shed its human laborers altogether — a possibility the company has not suggested — the reality is it probably couldn’t.

Kiva’s wheeled robots decrease order-fulfillment times by latching into moveable shelving units and hauling them to human workers who retrieve items from the shelves and box them for delivery. Bringing the shelves to the employees instead of the employees to the shelves increases speed and saves time. But humans can’t be eliminated from the process altogether, says Ajay Agarwal, a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures who led his firm’s investment in Kiva Systems.

The reason, he says, is some human motor skills still outstrip those of any machine. “In the robotics field, one of the hardest problems and still an unsolved problem today is how do you create a robotic arm that can intelligently pick a box of toilet paper and a pen and a small button?” he says. “You think about what we can do with our human hands — that’s a very, very difficult problem. That involves some combination of visual recognition, some combination of understanding weight and size, very complex movements of fingers.”

Even so, it’s hard to imagine Amazon won’t keep expanding its use of robots in some way. Agarwal says Kiva robots triple the efficiency of a typical warehouse. But that wouldn’t necessarily mean cutting back greatly on human labor, especially if Amazon keeps growing at its current pace. More robots working with more humans means more merchandise moves.

One dark horse in the warehouse robot race is Google, which has gone on a shopping spree for robotics startups that could in part be used to power the search giant’s growing retail rivalry with Amazon. If anyone could build a better robotic hand, it’s probably Google. Whether such a device would end up making it possible to replace human warehouse workers is hard to say. But for anyone who has seen the lanky all-terrain robotic pooch built by Google’s most recent purchase, Boston Dynamics, the day when machines can truly mimic the fine-tuned motions of our human limbs may be well on the way.

http://www.wired.com/business/2013/12/amazon-warehouse-labor-disputes/

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« Reply #9662 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 10:34am »

Telegraph

Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrives in Germany after Vladimir Putin signs decree pardoning him and frees him from prison.

By Roland Oliphant, Moscow and agencies
3:34PM GMT 20 Dec 2013

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, has been freed from his prison camp after receiving a pardon from Vladimir Putin.

His lawyer Vadim Klyugvant confirmed that Khodorkovsky had indeed left prison - but said he still has no idea where his client is.

"We received official confirmation from the head of the colony that he has been released and left the grounds of the prison," he said.

The German foreign ministry later said he had landed at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport.

"After his release he flew to Germany where his mother is undergoing treatment," the prison service said in a statement, saying he had requested permission to travel abroad.

The decree, published on the Kremlin website earlier on Friday, read: "Guided by humanitarian principles, I decree that Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky... should be pardoned and freed from any further punishment in the form of imprisonment. This decree comes into force from the day of its signing."

The surprise announcement that Khodorkovsky would be released came after Mr Putin's annual marathon press conference.

Khodorkovsky, who is widely viewed as Mr Putin’s arch enemy, joins a number of high-profile prisoners including Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina who will be released in an amnesty ahead of the February Games.

The decree came a day after Mr Putin revealed he intended to sign a pardon dring an informal chat with journalists after his annual press conference.

Neither the decree nor Mr Putin’s comments on Thursday made any reference to Mr Khodorkovsky’s co-accused, Platon Lebedev, who is due to complete his own sentence for embezzlement and money laundering in May.

Lawyers for Mr Lebedev, a former CEO of Mr Khodorkovsky’s once-mighty Group Menatep, said he had “no intention” of appealing for a pardon – a step that requires admittance of guilt.

Khodorkovsky, who was due to complete his sentence in August, has hitherto refused to admit his guilt, and his legal team has tirelessly filed appeals on his behalf demanding that the decisions of the court that sentenced him be annulled.

The decision to appeal for clemency is a dramatic turn around and has sparked speculation that he was pressured into it by the security services.

The pardon followed rumours sparked by a Deputy Prosecutor that a third case against Yukos was being prepared - making the prospect of release even more distant.

Mr Putin on Thursday denied any knowledge of such a case, claiming he had heard the rumours but that he was “just a man observing [the work of the criminal justice system] from the outside.”

A report in the Kommersant newspaper on Friday suggested that Khodorkovsky had asked Mr Putin for the pardon under pressure from security services.

The former chief of Yukos oil company, once Russia's richest man, had repeatedly said he would not ask Putin for pardon because it would be tantamount to admitting guilt.

Citing unnamed sources, Kommersant said representatives of Russia's security service had recently spoken to Khodorkovsky.

They told him his cancer-stricken mother's health was worsening and warned him about a possible third criminal case against him, the newspaper said.

"This conversation, which was conducted without lawyers, forced Mikhail Khodorkovsky to turn to the president," said the newspaper.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/10529682/Mikhail-Khodorkovsky-freed-after-Vladimir-Putin-signs-pardon.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9663 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 10:48am »

CRYSTAL,

GOOD MORNING!!!

EXCELLENT POST...I WONDER IF HIS $$$ GOT A PARDON AS WELL grin

SHALOM...Z
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« Reply #9664 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 10:51am »

Wired

It Works! A Tiny Speaker Printed on a Single Sheet of Paper

By Liz Stinson
12.20.13
9:30 AM


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If you’re the tinkering type, you’ve probably deconstructed a fair number of electronics. It doesn’t take a genius to tear apart a radio, but once you get past the bulk of plastic packaging and down to the guts, you begin to realize that reading the mess of circuits, chips and components is like trying to navigate your way through a foreign country with a map from the 18th century.

But it doesn’t have to be so complicated, says Coralie Gourguechon. “Nowadays, we own devices that are too complicated considering the way we really use them,” she says. Gourguechon, maker of the Craft Camera, believes that in order to understand our electronics, they need to be vastly simpler and more transparent than they currently are.

Which is why the France-based product designer decided to totally deconstruct them. In her most recent project, Gourguechon has created a series of paper electronics—an amplifier, speaker and radio—stripped down to their most basic components and fitted onto a single sheet of paper. “The idea was that the sheet of paper become the object, with no complicated assembly needed,” she says.

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/design/2013/12/a-tiny-speaker-made-out-of-paper/

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« Reply #9665 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 11:06am »

CRYSTAL,

HMMM...I'M A BETTIN GUY...KINDA THINKIN..."ALTEC LANSING" & "JBL"...SPEAKERS HAVE A RAISED EYEBROW grin
YOU'RE ON A...ROOOLLLL cool

SHALOM...Z
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« Reply #9666 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 12:15pm »

GOOD MORNING Z cheesy

CRYSTAL


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« Reply #9667 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 1:05pm »

Hi Wingz here is hope for all of us!


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2526841/Found-The-secret-looking-40-years-younger-chemical-rewinds-effects-old-age-make-look-20-again.html

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Tests on two-year-old mice who had been given the NAD-producing compound for just one week had body tissue which resembled that of a six-month old.

Professor David Sinclair, an expert in genetics at Harvard Medical School said: 'In human years, this would be like a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old in these specific areas.'

The compound works by restoring communication between energy cells within the body which have broken down as we get older.

His team are now looking at the longer-term outcomes of the NAD-producing compound in mice and how it affects the mouse as a whole.

They are also exploring whether the compound can be used to safely treat rare diseases or more common diseases such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Longer term, the professor plans to test if the compound will give mice a healthier, longer life.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said: 'This is an intriguing and exciting finding that some aspects of the ageing process are reversible.

'It is however a long and tough way to go from these nice mouse experiments to showing real anti-ageing effects in humans without side effects.'

The findings were published in the journal Cell.


I don't want to sound anti Science
But Has anyone ever heard of this Journal Cell?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MEEWg0hUR5w/SliIw9FBRpI/AAAAAAAAAiw/vPXMYrkMkDQ/s400/IMG_9090.JPG




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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9668 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 1:11pm »

on Dec 19th, 2013, 09:43am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
New Dr. Who Peter Capaldi


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Frank Zappa..lol shocked
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9669 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 1:48pm »

Wow! You're right Sys! grin


Below is an ad for a Swiss bookshop that was just tweeted on Twitter. Very clever.

Crystal





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« Reply #9670 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 1:51pm »

hahah that was a delicious find! Thanx
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« Reply #9671 on: Dec 20th, 2013, 2:02pm »

SYS-N-CRYSTAL,

grin grin grin

I BUSTED OUT IN LAUGHTER SPILLING MY SWEET TEA!!!

MAYBE THERE NEEDED TO BE THE KENYAN TRANSLATION (KIDDING)...MAYBE ALL THAT WAS AVAILABLE WERE CLIFFS NOTES (YOU KNOW I'M KIDDING)...REGARDLESS...ORWELL WOULD BE SURPRISED AT THE EXTENT OF HIS PREDICTIONS...OF COURSE HIS INSIGHT WAS PRIOR TO DA DIGITAL ENLIGHTENMENT...OR PRESENT...LESS ENLIGHTENING PERIOD...YEP...THAT OVER REACH MAY HAVE SACRAFICED THE GOOSE THAT LAID THAT GOLDEN INTERNET EGG (36 BILLION AND COUNTING) AS COUNTLESS COUNTRIES NO LONGER ACCEPT THE U.S.A AS THE TORCH BEARER FOR THEIR INTERNET CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS...HMMM...MAYBE WE CAN REBRAND IT...THAT'S THE TICKET...I SHANT LEAN TO THE LEMON AND LIPSTICK ANALOGY AS HAL SO ELOQUENTLY INFORMED ME...SUCH HAS MULTIPLE OVERTONES I HAD YET TO BE BRIEFED ON grin grin grin

SHALOM...Z
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« Reply #9672 on: Dec 21st, 2013, 07:48am »

GOOD MORNING Z AND SYS cheesy

CRYSTAL


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« Reply #9673 on: Dec 21st, 2013, 08:09am »


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MERRY CHRISTMAS




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« Reply #9674 on: Dec 21st, 2013, 08:50am »

GOOD MORNIG/BEUNOS DIAS CRYSTAL AND DAENTIRE CASEBOOK KREW smiley

SHALOM...Z
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