How Much Is The Price Of An Eighth Where You Live?

How Much Is The Price Of An Eighth Where You Live? thumbnail

The most affordable place to buy an eighth of weed in August 2019 was once again in Canada, where a combination of a strong American dollar and ample, well-regulated supplies evidently are holding prices in check.

The average price of an eighth in North America hit a new low in August of USD$24.39 in British Columbia, Canada, which is making its first appearance in the analysis. The lowest North American price in July was found in Ontario, Canada, where 3.5 grams sold for an average of USD$27, which remains virtually unchanged. The August high? Washington, D.C., where an average eighth fetched $53.04.

Data analysts at Weedmaps used its international listings for dispensaries and their products to determine the average price of an eighth, or 3.5 grams for metric fans. The analysts selected a representative sample of American cities, combined with Massachusetts and Florida, two states with emerging markets.

Emerging markets are beginning to show some price volatility. Oklahoma City topped the charts a month ago with the highest average prices in North America for an eighth — then at $53.19, but down to $43.03 for August. Competition seems to be bringing prices down as more dispensaries come into the market. In the emerging markets of Florida and Massachusetts, prices are on the high side, hovering around $47 to $48 an eighth in August.

In Southern California, the largest legal cannabis market in the world, average prices for an eighth range from about $33 to about $44. In the region’s largest city, licensing is progressing very slowly. Los Angeles added only one new licensed dispensary since July for its population of about 4 million. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation listed 187 licensed cannabis businesses that could sell medicinal or adult-use cannabis and cannabis products as of Sept. 10, 2019, compared with 186 more than a month earlier.

Oklahoma City, population 643,600, now lists 423 licensed cannabis dispensaries, up from 388 a month earlier.

Valli Herman

Valli Herman is a veteran journalist with bylines in major print and online publications such as the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, and Fortune. She is the editor of legislative, science, and medical news at Weedmaps News.

Stay highly informed.

Get weekly cannabis news right to your inbox.

Read More

Bubonic Plague’s Most Dangerous Strain Reported By Chinese Authorities : Goats and Soda – NPR

Bubonic Plague's Most Dangerous Strain Reported By Chinese Authorities : Goats and Soda - NPR thumbnail

Fleas transmit plague — but the pneumonic plague, the type reported from China this week, can spread from person to person as well.

Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images

Fleas transmit plague — but the pneumonic plague, the type reported from China this week, can spread from person to person as well.

Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images

Two patients have been diagnosed in Beijing with the most dangerous form of the plague – the medieval disease also known as the Black Death.

The announcement sent shock waves rippling through China’s northeastern capital as authorities attempted to tamp down fears of an epidemic by censoring Chinese-language news of the hospitalization.

On Tuesday, Beijing authorities announced a municipal hospital had taken in a married couple from Inner Mongolia, a sparsely populated autonomous region in northwest China, seeking treatment for pneumonic plague. One patient is stable while the other is in critical condition but not deteriorating, according to Beijing’s health commission.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention assured the public on Weibo, a Chinese social media site that is the equivalent of Twitter, that chances of a plague outbreak are “extremely low.” The city’s health commission has quarantined the infected patients, provided preventative care for those exposed to the couple and sterilized the relevant medical facilities, the center said.

Police are also guarding the quarantined emergency room of Chaoyang hospital, where the infected patients were first received and diagnosed, according to Caixin, an independent Chinese news outlet.

Of the three versions of the disease, pneumonic plague is the only one that can be transmitted from one person to another by coughing, for example. The other variants are typically spread by infected fleas or animals.

Pneumonic plague has symptoms of respiratory failure similar to pneumonia. Left untreated, it is fatal.

Genetic sequencing research shows the Black Death actually originated in or near China before variations of the plague spread to Europe and Africa and killed tens of millions during the 14th century .

Chinese health authorities reassured Beijing’s residents this week that the most recent two cases of pneumonic plague did not pose a threat. “City residents should go to work normally and continue to seek medical treatment from hospitals. There is no need to worry about the risk of infection,” the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on its social media account.

That has not allayed widespread concern that the government is intentionally downplaying or even omitting information about the cases. On Weibo, which is China’s equivalent of Twitter, users expressed dissatisfaction with the delays in making the plague cases public.

The government publicly confirmed the illness on November 12. But Li Jifeng, a doctor at Chaoyang Hospital where the plague patients received treatment, wrote in a personal blog post on Wednesday that the infected couple was first transported to Beijing nine days earlier, on November 3.

The doctor’s blog post, published on China’s popular messaging platform WeChat, was quickly removed by censors.

In her post, Li Jifeng claimed to be on duty at the hospital emergency room when the couple was brought in with symptoms of pneumonia. She encountered a middle-aged man who had already been feverish for ten days and his wife, who fell ill after taking care of her husband.

“After years of specialist training, I am very familiar with diagnosing and treating the majority of respiratory diseases,” Li wrote online. “But this time, I kept on looking but could not figure out what pathogen caused the pneumonia. I only thought it was a rare condition and did not get much information other than the patients’ history.”

On Weibo, which is China’s equivalent of Twitter, users expressed dissatisfaction with the delays in making the plague cases public.

“Don’t hide things like this. Let’s face whatever it is together. Cover-ups only make things worse!” one user commented in response to a Chinese news report.

For some people, official statements left much to be desired. “People must ask themselves: Are China’s local hospitals qualified to diagnose and treat pneumonic plague? Do provincial level health commissions have the capacity to prevent and control the disease? Furthermore, how were the two patients infected in the first place? What’s the source? These questions await further investigation and information,” another Weibo user asked.

A third user quipped, “I’d thought the threats of pneumonic plague were exaggerated. But the first thing I was asked at the hospital today was, ‘Have you been to Inner Mongolia recently? Do you have a fever?'”

Perhaps to allay public fears, Chinese state media has largely stayed quiet on the two newest cases of the plague. The central government has also asked digital news aggregators to “block and control” online postings related to the plague, according to The New York Times.

China has a checkered record in managing public health crises. In 2002, the central government initially refused to acknowledge a nationwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, an illness with flu- and pneumonia-like symptoms.

The virus traveled across borders for five months until Beijing publicly announced the epidemic. In a rare moment of honesty, Beijing officials admitted in March 2003 that the city had ten times as many infected cases as they had claimed mere months earlier. Ultimately, 329 people died.

Wary of another epidemic, China has closely monitored recent outbreaks of the plague.

Mongolia, which borders the autonomous region where the infected Chinese couple lives, reported two fatal cases of bubonic plague just this year, after the patients ate raw marmot, a species of wild rodent that often carry the offending bacterium. In Mongolia, eating marmot is thought to be good for health.

Meanwhile, these experiences with treating plague patients have led China to take a role in helping other countries contain outbreaks.

In 2017, China dispatched six public health officials to help control a local pneumonic plague outbreak in Madagascar, one of three countries hit hardest by the disease in the recent decade.

Read More

News or ‘Trauma Porn’? Student Journalists Face Blowback on Campus PSP Hacks

News or ‘Trauma Porn’? Student Journalists Face Blowback on Campus PSP Hacks thumbnail

Incidents at Northwestern and Harvard reveal a growing tension between traditional journalistic practices and the demands of student activists.

Credit…Evan Jenkins for The New York Times

EVANSTON, Ill. — Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s former attorney general, was speaking to a packed lecture hall on Northwestern University’s campus last week, but the real action was unfolding offstage.

Student protesters were pushing through a back door of the building. The police confronted them and tried, unsuccessfully, to block their entrance. Colin Boyle, a student photographer for The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper, captured it all.

After the event, Ying Dai, one of the students, saw a photo of herself on his Twitter feed — sprawled painfully on the floor — and addressed him directly.

“Colin please can we stop this trauma porn,” she wrote on Twitter. “I was on the ground being shoved and pushed hard by the police. You don’t have to intervene but you also didn’t have to put a camera in front of me top down.”

By the end of the night, Mr. Boyle had deleted the picture, and not long after, editors at The Daily Northwestern published a statement apologizing for their journalists having posted photographs of protesters on social media, and for using the school directory to attempt to contact students.

The newspaper’s response set off a national firestorm this week. Prominent professional journalists derided the apology and weighed in to note, often incredulously, that the Northwestern journalists had been doing some of the most basic, standard work that reporters have always done — watching public events, interviewing people and describing what they saw.

“The Daily had an obligation to capture the event, both for the benefit of its current audience as well as for posterity,” Charles Whitaker, dean of Northwestern’s highly acclaimed Medill journalism school, said in a lengthy statement he issued as the debate roiled the journalism profession.

The episode was the latest in a series of flare-ups on college campuses across the country, where shifting sensibilities and heightened criticism of the media have made the environment thornier for student journalists.

In interviews, some student journalists said they had addressed the clashes by adhering to what they described as core tenets of a free press. Others said they found themselves struggling to meet two dueling goals: responding to the changing expectations of the students they cover, particularly from those on the political left, while upholding widely accepted standards of journalism.

“Nobody at this point quite knows how to do that,” said Olivia Olander, 19, a sophomore who covered the Sessions speech for Northwestern News Network, a television channel on campus. “Everybody’s trying to figure out a solution and still be good journalists along the way.”

At a time when some say heightened sensitivities have become the norm on American campuses, it is not uncommon for college newspaper editors to be confronted by students who are upset at being photographed in a public place without being asked for their permission; who view receiving a text message or phone call from a reporter as an invasion of their privacy; and who expect journalists to help assuage their concerns that graphic images in a newspaper could cause trauma to readers.

Greta Bjornson, who worked last academic year as the editor of The Vermont Cynic, a student newspaper at the University of Vermont, said that student activists sometimes raised valid points about a lack of diversity on the newspaper staff. Other times, she said, they would ask to change a headline after publication, or would decline to talk to reporters.

“It’s just changing so quickly,” said Ms. Bjornson, 22. “I think it’s just a tricky time, especially to be a student journalist. No matter what you do, I feel like you’re going to make somebody angry.”

In Evanston, the lakefront suburb of Chicago that is home to Northwestern, students who were involved in the conflict over coverage of the Sessions speech said they had endured several days of painful but ultimately fruitful discussions, culminating with The Daily’s apologetic statement on Sunday.

“Ultimately, The Daily failed to consider our impact in our reporting surrounding Jeff Sessions,” said the statement, signed by eight editors. “We know we hurt students that night, especially those who identify with marginalized groups.”

In an interview, Mr. Boyle, 21, the student photographer who deleted photographs he had posted, said that while he supported the First Amendment, he did not intend to cause trauma to the people he photographed.

“There was definitely a lot of panic,” Mr. Boyle, a senior majoring in journalism who grew up in Chicago, said of his reaction to being criticized. “There was me being worried that I’m hurting people with my coverage.”

Troy Closson, the editor in chief of The Daily Northwestern, wrote on Twitter that he felt added pressure as only the third African-American student to hold the top position at the paper in its more than 135-year history. “Being in this role and balancing our coverage and the role of this paper on campus with my racial identity — and knowing how our paper has historically failed students of color, and particularly black students, has been incredibly challenging to navigate,” he wrote.

Mr. Whitaker, the Medill dean, defended The Daily, but criticized the paper’s decision to apologize.

“I have also offered that it is naïve, not to mention wrongheaded, to declare, as many of our student activists have, that The Daily staff and other student journalists had somehow violated the personal space of the protesters by reporting on the proceedings, which were conducted in the open and were designed, ostensibly, to garner attention,” he said.

In a coffee shop in Evanston on Tuesday, Ms. Dai, 23, the student who had questioned Mr. Boyle’s photograph of her, said that she and other activists were trying to challenge journalistic norms and push for a more sensitive approach to reporting that considers the vulnerability of the people whose lives are portrayed.

“We weren’t there to get in the newspaper,” she said of the protest at the Sessions event. “We weren’t there to get national attention. People still hold dear that their journalistic duty is the most important thing, and that’s not the case.”

Campus activists and student journalists have long wrestled with tensions. In 1990, students burned copies of The University Daily Kansan after an editor changed the publication’s style for referring to African-American students from “Black” to “black.” At the time, the change brought the newspaper in line with the style of The Associated Press, but it was seen as offensive by some on campus.

In 2015, students at Wesleyan University petitioned to deny funds to the campus paper after a student wrote a column voicing skepticism about the Black Lives Matter movement. And at the University of Missouri that year, an assistant professor called for “some muscle” to remove a journalist who was trying to photograph an encampment of protesters seeking action to address racial issues.

At Harvard this year, more than a dozen student groups have joined a boycott of a student-run newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, over its coverage of a student protest calling for the abolition of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The controversy centered on the reporters’ decision to contact ICE officials for comment after the rally. Groups like Act on a Dream, the immigrants’ rights advocacy group that organized the rally, criticized the paper on social media for reaching out to the federal agency, saying that doing so had put undocumented students who participated in the rally in danger.

In a note to readers, The Crimson’s president, Kristine E. Guillaume, and its managing editor, Angela N. Fu, said that in their view a core principle of journalism was at stake in the dispute — that of contacting every person or organization relevant to a story to seek their comment.

While The Crimson’s top editors have stood their ground, Act on a Dream and others have posted an online petition demanding that the paper apologize for “the harm they inflicted on the undocumented community” and that it change its policies. The groups have said they will boycott The Crimson by declining any interview requests until the paper changes its practices.

Those signing the petition included the Harvard College Democrats; the Phillips Brooks House Association, Harvard’s largest community service organization; and several groups representing Latino and black students.

The debate has reached the student government, which voted narrowly to issue a statement criticizing The Crimson and expressing solidarity with Act on a Dream.

And there has been dissent within The Crimson. Danu Mudannayake, 21, a senior who is an illustrator at the paper, said in an interview, “We just internally want to see more done to address the concerns on campus and not uphold this quite cold front that ‘We are a newspaper at the end of the day, and that is before anything else.’”

She suggested that the era called for a different kind of journalism, particularly for student journalists.

“We can still be serious student journalists, but still have more empathy,” she said. “I think the question of empathetic journalism is, at least for us on the inside, what’s at the heart of it.”

Hadar Harris, the executive director of the Washington-based Student Press Law Center, said she saw the incidents at Harvard and Northwestern as a reflection of a polarized society beyond colleges. She said student journalists often face the pressure of reporting in real time to a wider audience, and may not have all the training and support they need.

On most large college campuses, including Northwestern’s, students manage, write and publish newspapers independently. Some publications have faculty advisers, but the final editorial decisions are generally made by students.

“No one wants to be sexist or racist or homophobic,” Ms. Harris said. “There needs to be training to enable student journalists to really cover these complicated issues without being buffeted by political concerns.”

For Robyn Cawley, editor in chief of The Daily Cardinal at the University of Wisconsin, it was a small relief that the confrontation in Evanston had happened far away from her turf in Madison.

“I was thinking, like, imagine if this had happened on our campus,” she said. “We would have sent somebody to the protest. We wouldn’t have given it a second thought. You’re out in public, you’re protesting, it’s very likely you’re going to have some sort of media coverage there.”

Ms. Cawley, who is majoring in English and environmental studies, said she had occasionally felt pressure from fellow students who have tried to exert control over the paper’s coverage. Once, she said, a former volunteer with the College Democrats urged her to take down an article, arguing that it presented them in an unflattering light.

“I was like, of course you’re not going to like it,” she said. “Good for you. That’s the point of journalism.”

Julie Bosman reported from Evanston, Mitch Smith from Chicago and Kate Taylor from Cambridge, Mass. Susan Beachy contributed research from New York.

Read More

AirAsia unveils sprawling RedPoint office in the Philippines – Business Mirror

AirAsia unveils sprawling RedPoint office in the Philippines - Business Mirror thumbnail

AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost airline, has unveiled its newest and vibrant office, RedPoint, in the Philippines.

RedPoint features transparent and modern open plan
design and technology, meeting rooms themed according to seasons (winter,
spring, summer and autumn), collaboration zones and creative lounges.

The new headquarters becomes
home to AirAsia’s 2,100 Al-stars based in Manila and will foster open
communication, creativity and innovation as the company embarks on a
transformation journey to become more than just an airline.

The opening was attended by
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo
Puyat, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, AirAsia Group Berhad Executive Chairman
Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Philippines Chairman of the Board Atty. Jomar
Castillo, AirAsia Philippines Vice Chairman of the Board Sheila Romero and
AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
(Naia) Terminal 3 in Pasay City today.

Isla said “As Asia’s largest
low-cost carrier, the opening of RedPoint signifies a new era for AirAsia in
the Philippines. It’s new and stylish working environment has been specifically
designed to break down departmental silos, inspire collaboration and foster
creativity. The new office space is an expression of AirAsia’s core values,
especially of putting people first, as they go about delivering what our guests
want and expect.”

Isla added that the unveiling
of RedPoint also celebrates AirAsia’s recognition as the world’s best low-cost
airline for the 11th consecutive year by Skytrax, the global benchmark of
airline excellence. 

The new Philippines
headquarters also includes hammock and swing areas, as well as a gym. The
company moves to RedPoint from the Salem Complex near Naia Terminal 4.

AirAsia Philippines operates a
fleet of 24 aircraft on more than 500 weekly domestic and international flights
from its hubs in Manila, Clark, Cebu and Kalibo.

Attending the AirAsia
Philippines RedPoint office launch were Castillo (from left), Transportation
Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo,
Congressman Enrico Pineda, Meranun, Romero, Tugade, Romero, Sen. Manny
Pacquiao, Jinkee Pacquiao, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director
General Capt. Jim C. Sydiongco, Isla, Manila International Airport Authority
General Manager Ed Monreal, and Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director
Atty. Carmelo Arcilla.

Read More

New CDC Report on Superbugs Is Full of Bad News PSP Hacks

New CDC Report on Superbugs Is Full of Bad News PSP Hacks thumbnail

The U.S. and the world continue to lose ground against antibiotic resistance, according to a new report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And among other things, the number of superbugs that pose a dire threat to the health of Americans has only gotten larger in the past half decade.

In 2013, the CDC issued a first of its kind report on antibiotic resistant infections in the U.S. It provided a conservative estimate of how often these infections sicken and kill Americans every year, as well as listed off a rogues gallery’s of resistant fungi and bacteria that were becoming common problems. These microbes were ranked by threat level, from concerning to urgent. Back then, the CDC estimated that more than 2 million people in the U.S. contracted these infections annually, while at least 23,000 died as a result.

By 2019, the situation has only gotten worse. The CDC’s latest estimates are that nearly 3 million people get infected by superbugs annually, while 35,900 die. And not only is the overall health impact of these infections growing, so are the dangerous pathogens that cause them.

“This report should raise the alarm for everyone concerned about protecting and improving health against infectious diseases. While its focus is on the United States, the findings will echo around the world,” Tim Jinks, head of the UK-based research charity Wellcome Trust’s Drug-Resistant Infections Program, said in a statement provided to Gizmodo.

Indeed, the CDC report comes on the heels of a similarly depressing report from Canadian experts also released this week. It found that 26 percent of infections suffered by Canadians every year resist the front-line antibiotics used to treat them—and that number may rise to 40 percent by 2050.

Two new infections have been added to the CDC’s urgent list of resistant infections since 2013: a hardy type of fungi called Candida auris (C. auris) and Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, a gram negative bacteria that’s often harmless to healthy people but dangerous to hospital patients. These infections join Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile), a group of bacteria called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bug that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea.

Of these urgent infections, C. difficile is thought to cause the lion’s share of harm, with 223,900 estimated cases in hospitalized patients along with 12,800 deaths annually (the CDC report is even dedicated to the families of people killed by C. difficile). But there’s also CRE, given the charming nickname of “nightmare bacteria” because many infections already resist nearly every available antibiotic used against it. Gonorrhea, too, is on the short list of bacteria that may soon become resistant to all of the front-line drugs we have for it.

Along with the categories of risk included in the 2013 report, the 2019 version has also now added a “Watch List” of potential threats. These include strains of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus resistant to the azole class of antifungals, resistant Mycoplasma genitalium, another sexually transmitted disease, and resistant Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria that causes pertussis, or whooping cough (unlike most of the bugs on the list, there’s an effective childhood vaccine for the disease, but people might lose their immunity to it quicker than we thought).

“The report reiterates that this is not a stagnant problem—that we have to be ever vigilant because it does change,” Kathy Talkington, project director of the Antibiotic Resistance Project at Pew Charitable Trusts, told Gizmodo by phone.

Talkington noted that the U.S. has made some small progress in combating the risk factors that promote antibiotic resistance.

In 2017, for instance, the Food and Drug Administration instituted restrictions on the use of antibiotics for livestock, such as mandating that any use is first signed off by a veterinarian. Following the new rules, sales of livestock antibiotics have seemingly declined, though the latest data won’t be available until the end of this year. The vast majority of hospitals in the U.S. have also implemented stewardship programs meant to reduce the overprescription of antibiotics to outpatients and children, and there’s evidence that prescription rates have decreased among both groups in recent years, according to the CDC.

But the somber truth is that these minor victories are just that. Rampant antibiotic overuse continues unimpeded in many areas of the world. And the development pipeline of new antibiotics and other therapies that can treat resistant infections has slowed to a crawl, as many pharmaceutical companies have decided to abandon antibiotic research altogether due to a lack of profitability. And while governments and private organizations have created new funding models that are starting to convince some companies to pursue antibiotic research, it’s unclear whether these efforts will be timely or large enough as things stand.

“We’ve succeeded in the past. In the early 1980s, we had the heyday of antibiotic development and we were able to stay ahead of this issue,” Talkington said. “We still have the capacity and the ability to do it today, but we need the political will and adequate resources—because currently, we are losing the battle.”

There’s no immediate future where antibiotics stop working for all infections. But our lives and those of our loved ones will change for the worse long before we reach that point. Everything from giving birth to receiving a life-saving transplant depends on antibiotics to keep people safe. Without any significant advances against antibiotic resistance in the years to come, more of us will needlessly suffer and die.

Read More

There’s Weirdly a Lot of *Game of Thrones* News Right Now PSP Hacks

There's Weirdly a Lot of *Game of Thrones* News Right Now PSP Hacks thumbnail

Happy Halloween, ghouls and goblins! Welcome to a (possibly) spooky edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s culture news roundup. What do we have in store for you this holiday? Let’s just say if you didn’t dress up as Jon Snow today because you thought the costume would be out of vogue, you needn’t have worried. Game of Thrones, despite having ended five months ago, is once again all over the news. Don’t know why? Read on.

HBO Isn’t Moving Forward With Game of Thrones Prequel Starring Naomi Watts

Less than a day after news broke that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were stepping away from their planned Star Wars movie trilogy, Deadline reported that a prequel for their show was also on ice. Per the report, the crew and cast of the show’s pilot, which included Naomi Watts, were told recently that HBO was passing on the show. The series, co-created by Kingsman writer Jane Goldman and George R. R. Martin, was intended to take place thousands of years before the events in Game of Thrones.

But Wait! A Different Game of Thrones Prequel Is Happening

OK, so one Game of Thrones show may have been burned, but another is rising from its ashes. During WarnerMedia’s HBO Max presentation to investors this week, the company revealed that it had ordered 10 episodes of a different GoT prequel. House of the Dragon, based on George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, will be set 300 years before Thrones and will tell the origin story of House Targaryen. No word yet on when it’ll hit HBO.

You Might Be Getting HBO Max for Free

Speaking of HBO, the network’s parent companies, WarnerMedia and AT&T, have finally revealed the launch date for the new streaming service HBO Max. The service will come online in May 2020, and while it’s set to cost $14.99 per month, you just might get it for free. If you already subscribe to HBO Now and are billed directly through HBO (and not, say, Amazon Prime), you’ll get a free year. The same goes for folks who currently get HBO through one of AT&T’s video services, like AT&T TV or U-Verse TV. Happy streaming!


More Great WIRED Stories

Read More

Watch MIT’s ‘mini cheetah’ robots frolic, fall, flip – and play soccer together

Watch MIT’s ‘mini cheetah’ robots frolic, fall, flip – and play soccer together thumbnail

MIT’s Biomimetics Robotics department took a whole herd of its new ‘mini cheetah’ robots out for a group demonstration on campus recently – and the result is an adorable, impressive display of the current state of robotic technology in action.

The school’s students are seen coordinating the actions of 9 of the dog-sized robots running through a range of activities, including coordinated movements, doing flips, springing in slow motion from under piles of fall leaves, and even playing soccer.

The mini cheetah weights just 20 lbs, and its design was revealed for the first time earlier this year by a team of robot developers working at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The mini cheetah is a shrunk-down version of the Cheetah 3, a much larger and more expensive to produce robot that is far less light on its feet, and not quite so customizable.

The mini cheetah was designed for Lego-like assembly using off-the-shelf part, as well as durability and relative low cost. It can walk both right-side up, and upside down, and its most impressive ability just might be the way it can manage a full backflip from a stand-still. It can also run at a speed of up to 5 miles per hour.

Researchers working on the robot set out to build a team of them after demonstrating that first version back in May, and are now working with other teams at MIT to loan them out for additional research.

Read More

How to watch Mercury travel across the face of the Sun on Monday – The Verge

How to watch Mercury travel across the face of the Sun on Monday - The Verge thumbnail

On Monday, November 11th, the planet Mercury will pass directly between Earth and the Sun in an event that won’t happen again for thirteen years. During this transit, Mercury will be visible as a tiny pinprick of darkness against the Sun’s surface.

This transit will start at 7:35 AM ET and will last for about five and a half hours, giving people plenty of time to check in on the planet’s progress. Weather permitting, people in South America and eastern North America will have the best view of the entire transit, but other parts of the world, including western North America, Europe, and Africa will be able to catch up on at least part of the action.


NASA

If you do want to enjoy the show, please remember that looking directly at the Sun is very dangerous. Also, unlike a solar eclipse, you probably won’t be able to see anything yourself without specialized equipment — and your leftover eclipse glasses don’t count. As NASA notes on a post about the transit: “Even with solar viewing glasses, Mercury is too small to be easily seen with the unaided eye.” You’ll need a telescope or binoculars outfitted with a special solar filter to watch the transit as it happens.

If you don’t have a solar filter-equipped telescope, or a local astronomy club or observatory nearby, you can still watch the fun. Slooh will have a live stream of the event starting around 7:30 AM ET. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory will also be tracking the event, and will be uploading images of the event as it happens.

The last time Mercury transited the Sun was in May 2016, when astronomers managed to capture some incredibly crisp footage — and gorgeous pictures— of the event.


NASA

This particular event is a big deal for astronomy enthusiasts. Mercury won’t make another transit until 2032, when it will be viewable in most of Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America. People in North America will have an even longer wait — the next Mercury transit visible there won’t happen until 2049.

Read More

Nova Scotia expands emergency-device program for people with brain injuries – The Digby Courier

Nova Scotia expands emergency-device program for people with brain injuries - The Digby Courier thumbnail

The province will expand a program that provides emergency alert devices to low-income Nova Scotians. 

The personal alert service now will be offered to people over 19 who have an acquired brain injury. The province’s continuing care department will spend  $54,720 over the next three years, which will cover 38 additional people per year. 

The alert devices connect the user to 911 with the push of a button in an emergency situation.

Previously the program was open only to people 65 and over on a low income who met eligibility criteria. About 800 seniors take part in the program.

The expansion to adults with acquired brain injuries will bring the total annual cost of the program to $223,240.

“Today’s announcement is about supporting people with acquired brain injuries to live full and independent lives,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey in a news release.  “This is a step to ensure more Nova Scotians feel comfortable and safe at home.”

Those who qualify will receive $480 a year to cover the cost of the personal alert device. 

Eligible recipients must be over 19, have a diagnosed acquired brain injury, make $22,125 a year or less, living alone, have a history of falls in the last 90 days and receive home support or nursing. 

Brain injury is the leading cause of disability for people under 40 in Nova Scotia, said Leona Burkey, executive director of Brain Injury NS, in the release. 

“We are very pleased to be in the house today to welcome this announcement on improving access to personal alert devices for acquired brain injury survivors. … This investment will help the most vulnerable in our community – low-income brain injury survivors living on their own.”

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative or induced by birth trauma. 

For more information on the alert program, call the continuing care department at 1-800-225-7225.

Read More

Star Wars News: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Will Address the Toxic Rey-Kylo Relationship PSP Hacks

Star Wars News: 'The Rise of Skywalker' Will Address the Toxic Rey-Kylo Relationship PSP Hacks thumbnail

First, the news you really want: The new trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will debut tonight during ABC’s Monday night football game. Actually, if you’re reading this in the evening, you might want to check to see if the trailer has dropped already. Go look. It’s OK; we’ll wait.

Back? Great, we’ll continue. Here are some of the other things that have been happening in the Star Wars universe.

The Ballad of Rey and Ren Will Conclude in Rise of Skywalker

The source: Daisy Ridley herself

Probability of accuracy: If Rey doesn’t know what her character is doing in a movie that’s already finished shooting, then something really problematic is going down in the editing bay.

The real deal: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is either going to be a shipper’s dream or their nightmare. As Daisy Ridley told Entertainment Weekly recently, the movie will properly address the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. “Obviously, there’s this whole Reylo thing and some people are very passionate about it, some aren’t,” she said. “J.J. does deal with [it] … It’s a very complex issue. People talk about toxic relationships and whatever it is. It’s no joke and I think it’s dealt with really well because it’s not skimmed over.” Well, that surely gives fans a lot to ponder, and fight over, for the next few months.

Does the Force Control Star Wars?

The source: Former Star Wars voice actor Freddie Prinze Jr.

Probability of accuracy: This one is very, very difficult to nail down. Trust your instincts.

The real deal: Could an interview from May—recently uploaded in new form on Instagram—hold the key to how the story will end in The Rise of Skywalker? That’s what many are wondering after an interview with Star Wars: Rebels voice actor Freddie Prinze Jr. from Jeff Dye’s Friendship Podcast re-emerged, with the actor holding court on just how the Force works, as explained to him by George Lucas acolyte Dave Filoni. “Luke’s skill doesn’t dictate whether he wins or loses [in the original trilogy],” he said. “The Emperor doesn’t dictate whether he wins or loses. The Force dictates who wins and loses based on balance.” Indeed, the Force is so focused on balance, he explained, that when Anakin Skywalker went over to the Dark Side, doubling the power of the Sith, the Force responded in an unexpected manner. “It gives us twins. Luke and Leia. Two and fucking two. Balance. And if you look at the movie through just that simple perspective, you will not only know why every single bad guy loses and every single good guy loses, you’ll know who’s going to win and lose in the next fucking movies,” he added. By that logic, it should be remembered that Luke’s death in The Last Jedi left things in balance as Rey stepped up to even things out against Kylo Ren … but what will the rumored return of Palpatine do to that status quo?

Tony Gilroy Is Joining the Cassian Andor Disney+ Show

The source: Online reporting

Probability of accuracy: This appears to be legitimate information.

The real deal: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘s secret weapon, Tony Gilroy—who wrote and directed the reshoots that significantly changed portions of the finished feature—will be returning to a galaxy far, far away with the news that he’ll write the pilot and direct multiple episodes of the in-development Cassian Andor prequel series being made for Disney+. Gilroy will work beside showrunner Stephen Schiff (The Americans). The series doesn’t have a premiere date yet, which means there’s plenty of time for Disney and Lucasfilm to try and bring Rogue One director Gareth Edwards on board for an episode or two.

Now ‘Jedi’ Can Finally Be Used in Scrabble

The source: The OED

Probability of accuracy: This is as real as it gets; it’s in a dictionary.

The real deal: Meanwhile, in the real world, a Star Wars fan has clearly started working at the Oxford English Dictionary, which just added a bunch of new words to future editions, including “Jedi,” “Padawan” and even “lightsabre”—yes, the spelling is wrong, but what can you do? Interestingly enough, the OED also added an additional meaning for the word “force,” which begins, “In the fictional universe of the Star Wars films: a mystical universal energy field …” Yoda would be proud.


More Great WIRED Stories

Read More