Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, Bahamas, October 6, 2016 – Harrowing reports coming out of Nassau as we are told that people in coastal areas are now crying for rescues, but that cannot happen and it means these individuals will have to figure out how to survive the onslaught of now category four hurricane Matthew with its 140 mph winds. “We have reports of many people saying, oh come, homes have been compromised, the roofs blowing off or part of the roofs blowing off, and that sort of thing, and due to the high winds, medical rescue and teams were asked not to take the risk. The broad surge to all of the southern shores, I’m only getting reports from Yamacraw, Marshal Road, Harold Road, those roads in the south eastern end of New Providence, that’s where we getting calls coming in right now.” Trevor Basden There are images of vehicles submerged in the Yamacraw area; there is a nearby beach which has caused an at least 5ft tall surge to rush in. Basden explains, that it is not rain, it is a storm surge which has drowned vehicles and homes; even toppled the wall at Fox Hill Prison.“Fox Hill Prison, the wall on Yamacraw side, the entire wall of Fox Hill Prison is down, it’s completely washed away.” Related Items:calls for rescue ring out in new providence, cars submerged in water in nassau, hurricane matthews rips through new providence, massive flooding in areas of nassau The best news which we hope holds up as the Bahamas is bashed by Matthew; there there are no reports of loss of life. Trevor Basden is the Sr Deputy Director of the Bahamas Department of Meteorology and he said Nassau has up until 3 p.m with the hurricane force winds, and Grand Bahama will experience Hurricane conditions until 7 a.m tomorrow. That gives killer storm Matthew lots of time to do the dastardly to the island which is still reeling from the hits of Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and Wilma in 2005. Winds are described in Nassau as violent. Winds are described in Grand Bahama as picking up. The storm veering more west, on a collision course with West End by all appearances. In the west an evacuation order was given; some but not all heeded the request. And at best, official rescue operations will not be permitted in Nassau said Mr. Basden until after 3pm and even then the first responders are going out in Tropical Storm force winds which are risky. “How y’all holding up in this weather man, I’m talking about this weather so strong, it shake my bed; in my house.” – Cody (resident) Many lost power last night, some this morning and the images of disaster are many… the bridge, businesses, hotels, homes, water ways and historic buildings – all abused by the unrelenting Matthew which has killed hundreds; the death toll from Haiti today soars to 108. A knight on a huge truck trying to plow through six feet of water he says, to get a family to safey… we pray they make it okay. NEMA is also receiving reports of roofs flying off and we have gotten a report of doors of homes flying off. There is also, likely an unauthorized expedition to save those who are stuck – remember evacuation recommendations were made for many areas in Nassau. “I am in a dump truck right now and we are in six feet of water, South Beach when I say is under water, we are trying to locate some people who are trapped in their ceilings.” – (rescue crew member) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I can take it … but (Facebook is) lying to the public.” Bastiaan Slabbers/Getty Images House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Facebook’s refusal to take down a video that was manipulated to make her sound drunk showed that the company’s leaders were “willing enablers” of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.”We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians. I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong,” Pelosi, a Democrat from California, told KQED News in her first public remarks about the doctored video. “I can take it … but (Facebook is) lying to the public.””I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election,” she added.Pelosi’s remarks show how tensions between Facebook and lawmakers continue to escalate as the social media giant struggles to combat misinformation on its platform while trying to balance safety with free speech. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.YouTube took down the video, but Facebook and Twitter left it up. Facebook doesn’t have a rule that requires content posted on the site to be true. Its “community standards” state it doesn’t remove fake news on the social network but will show it lower in the News Feed. The company has also taken down fake accounts for “inauthentic behavior,” which means the people behind the accounts tried to mislead users about who they were and what they were doing. One version of the doctored Pelosi video shared on a Facebook Page garnered 2.8 million views and more than 48,400 people shared it. If you try to share the video, Facebook directs you to fact-checkers that published articles about how the video footage was distorted. It doesn’t identify the video as having been manipulated. Here’s how Facebook handles the Pelosi video. Screenshot/Queenie Wong Other lawmakers are calling on Facebook to pull down the video. On Tuesday, Rep. Ro Khanna, also a California democrat, tweeted that he talked to an informed voter who didn’t know the videos of Pelosi were altered, and that Facebook must remove it. Tags Comments Tonight, over dinner, a fairly informed voter said to me that given the events of last week, Nancy Pelosi had to go. After my surprise, he asked had I not seen the videos. I explained they were doctored. He replied cavalierly, “oh I didn’t know.” Facebook must remove the video.— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) May 29, 2019 Last week in an interview with CNN, Facebook’s vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, Monika Bickert, defended the social network’s decision to leave up the video.”We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice for what to believe,” Bickert said. “Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information.”Originally published May 29Update, May 30: Adds a screenshot. Share your voice 19 Politics Tech Industry Facebook
Your daily cup of joe may help you live longer, say scientists who have found that drinking coffee may lower the risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 per cent less likely to die compared to those who did not drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day – 18 per cent reduced chance of death. Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W Setiawan, associate professor at University of Southern California (USC) in the US. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The ongoing Multiethnic Cohort Study has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. “Until now, few data have been available on the association between coffee consumption and mortality in nonwhites in the US and elsewhere,” researchers said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Such investigations are important because lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others,” they said. Since the association was seen in four different ethnicities, Setiawan said it is safe to say the results apply to other groups. “This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” Setiawan said. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian,” he said. Previous research by USC and others have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Setiawan said any positive effects from drinking coffee are far-reaching because of the number of people who enjoy or rely on the beverage every day. “Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” Setiawan said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” he said.
One of the major challenges in computer vision is Multi-person pose estimation. Though few of the currently used approaches have achieved significant progress by fusing the multi-scale feature maps, little attention is paid to enhancing the channel-wise and spatial information of the feature maps. Last week, researchers from Southeast University, Nanjing, China proposed a paper Multi-Person Pose Estimation with Enhanced Channel-wise and Spatial Information, wherein they have introduced two novel modules for enhancing the information for the multi-person pose estimation. Firstly, the researchers have proposed a Channel Shuffle Module (CSM) to adopt the channel shuffle operation on the feature maps with different levels while promoting cross-channel information communication among the feature maps. Secondly, they have designed a Spatial, Channel-wise Attention Residual Bottleneck (SCARB) to boost the original residual unit with attention mechanism. And further highlighting the information of the feature maps both in the spatial and channel-wise context. Lastly, they have evaluated the effectiveness of their proposed modules on the COCO keypoint benchmark, and experimental results show that their approach achieves the state-of-the-art results. So hereby we discuss the modules introduced by the researchers in detail. Modules proposed by the researchers Channel Shuffle Module (CSM) The levels of the feature maps are enriched by the depth of the layers in the deep convolutional neural networks and many visual tasks have also made major improvements. However, in the case of multi-person pose estimation, there are still limitations in the trade-off between the low-level and high-level feature maps. Here, the channel information with different characteristics can complement and reinforce with each other. So, the researchers decided to propose the Channel Shuffle Module (CSM) to further calculate the interdependencies between the low-level and high-level feature maps. Image Source: Multi-Person Pose Estimation with Enhanced Channel-wise and Spatial Information Let’s assume that the pyramid features extracted from the ResNet backbone are denoted as Conv2∼5 (as shown in the figure). In this case, Conv-3∼5 are first upsampled to the same resolution as the Conv2, and then these feature maps are concatenated together. Then the channel shuffle operation is performed on the concatenated features in order to fuse the complementary channel information among different levels. The shuffled features then are split and downsampled to the original resolution separately which are denoted as C-Conv-2∼5. C-Conv-2∼5. Next, the researchers perform 1×1 convolution to further fuse C-Conv-2∼5, and obtain the shuffled features that are denoted as SConv-2∼5. And they concatenate the shuffled feature maps S-Conv-2∼5 with the original pyramid feature maps Conv2∼5 for achieving the final enhanced pyramid feature representations. These enhanced pyramid feature maps contain the information from the original pyramid features and fused cross-channel information from the shuffled pyramid feature maps. Attention Residual Bottleneck (ARB) The researchers introduced Attention Residual Bottleneck based on the enhanced pyramid feature representations mentioned above. With the help of Attention Residual Bottleneck, they enhanced the feature responses both in the spatial and channel-wise context. Image Source: Multi-Person Pose Estimation with Enhanced Channel-wise and Spatial Information In the figure, the schema of the original Residual Bottleneck and the Spatial, Channel-wise Attention Residual Bottleneck is composed of the spatial attention and channel-wise attention. The dashed links in the figure, indicate the identity mapping. The ARB learns the spatial attention weights β and the channel-wise attention weights α respectively. By applying the whole feature maps, the project leads to sub-optimal results due to the irrelevant regions. Whereas, the spatial attention mechanism attempts to highlight the task-related regions in the feature maps. Evaluating the models on COCO keypoint The team evaluates the models on the challenging COCO keypoint benchmark and train them on the COCO dataset that includes 57K images and 150K person instances with no extra data involved. The ablation studies are then validated on the COCO minival dataset and the final results are reported on the COCO test-dev dataset compared with the public state-of-the-art results. The team uses the official evaluation metric that reports the OKS-based AP (average precision) in the experiments. Here the OKS (object keypoints similarity) defines the similarity between the ground truth pose and predicted pose. In the Channel-wise Attention Residual Bottleneck (SCARB) experiment, the team explores the effects of different implementation orders of the spatial attention and the channelwise attention in the Attention Residual Bottleneck, i.e., SCARB and CSARB. To know more about this news, check out the paper, Multi-Person Pose Estimation with Enhanced Channel-wise and Spatial Information. Read Next AI can now help speak your mind: UC researchers introduce a neural decoder that translates brain signals to natural-sounding speech OpenAI researchers have developed Sparse Transformers, a neural network which can predict what comes next in a sequence Researchers propose a reinforcement learning method that can hack Google reCAPTCHA v3
By: Matthew LeeSource: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, April 2, 2018 Tags: America, Donald Trump WASHINGTON — The State Department wants to require all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers, vastly expanding the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting of potential immigrants and visitors.In documents to be published in Friday’s Federal Register, the department said it wants the public to comment on the proposed new requirements, which will affect nearly 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the U.S. each year. Previously, social media, email and phone number histories were only sought from applicants identified for extra scrutiny, such as those who have travelled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations. An estimated 65,000 people per year are in that category.The new rules would apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The department estimates it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education, according to the documents.More news: Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalThe documents were posted on the Federal Register’s website on Thursday but the 60-day public comment period won’t begin until Friday’s edition is published.If the requirements are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, applications for all visa types would list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. It would also give the applicant the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed in the application.In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants will be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types may be exempted from the requirements, the documents said. U.S. to ask for social media details from all visa applicants Share
Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Airbnb, Best Western Hotels & Resorts It’s a great time to be in the hotel industry – even with Airbnb TORONTO — How much have booking patterns changed over the years? When Best Western’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Dorothy Dowling, started her career, the average booking lead time was nine months. Now? It’s 45 days. Everything is faster, more streamlined and more focused on a never-ending parade of new technologies, and travellers – and travel agents – are busier than ever. Notes Dowling: “In my 35-year career, the past two years have moved faster than any others.”Heading up yesterday’s 13th annual Leisure Travel Summit, Dowling said Best Western had a stellar year in Canada in 2017 and the momentum is carrying into 2018, with forward bookings up close to 8% year over year. The hotel company’s loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and clients who have been with the program from the beginning were rewarded with top tier status as part of the celebration. Back in the early days just 9% of the company’s revenue was generated through Best Western Rewards. These days it’s 47%. Best Western has been on the forefront with new technology, from VR to AR. The latest tech innovation for the company is the new Best Western Rewards chatbot, set to launch this month. TripAdvisor’s Brian Payea, also on the panel, said it’s all about personalization, “to make sure you’re going to get the information relevant to your trip.” Best Western has 26 hotels in the pipeline in Canada, including first property here from its Glo brand, opening in Kanata just outside of Ottawa. The Glo brand is geared to suburban destinations and feature larger spaces and themed décor elements.Echoing Best Western’s success in 2017, hotels across Canada had a record year last year, buoyed no doubt by all the Canada 150 arrivals.Part of the panel at yesterday’s event, Susie Grynol, President, Hotel Association of Canada, said the country’s hotel’s posted a 66% occupancy rate in 2017 and that looks like it’s holding into 2018. There’s an uptick in groups business and there’s almost certainly a boost from travellers opting to vacation or hold their events in Canada instead of the U.S., although Grynol is too diplomatic to come out and say so. “Overall it’s a great time to be in the hotel industry,” she said.One cloud hanging over the hotel industry’s sunny results, is, as always, digital platforms like Airbnb, however the hotel industry is making headway on that front too. Last month HAC made April 30 – Canada’s tax deadline – a day of protest in Ottawa, saying the Canadian government hasn’t taken steps to collect the taxes they should from digital platforms like Airbnb, and demanding that the inaction has to stop.More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsOver the last two years, the commercial side of Airbnb’s business – those renting multi-unit entire homes – grew by 108%, says Grynol. These entire home rentals generated 83% of Airbnb’s revenues.HAC continues to call on the federal government to ensure Airbnb pays its fair share of taxes, and to take real action to address tax avoidance in the digital space.“Digital business have an unfair advantage over bricks-and-mortar,” says Grynol. “Our focus is on establishing a level playing field for the commercial side of Airbnb. We’re not talking about the residential side, like the people who rent out a room in their home. We’re talking about the commercial side, where people are buying up properties and essentially running them as a hotel through platforms like Airbnb.”The latest HAC survey focusing on driving factors for travellers when it comes to choosing accommodation shows that leisure is currently more of a growth driver than corporate travel, and that bleisure travel – where people tack a few extra days of vacation onto a business trip – is over-indexed this year, suggesting this trend is still on the rise. Kathryn Folliott Posted by Thursday, May 17, 2018 About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019