Every day for a week, Kris Vockler and Char O’Day woke up knowing where they needed to go but unsure of how to get there.“You’re lost from the beginning,” O’Day said.It was O’Day’s job to get the duo to their destinations. She was the navigator and Vockler was the driver during the Rebelle Rally, a seven-day, 1,200-mile off-roading excursion through parts of California and Nevada.It was the duo’s first off-roading event, although O’Day has been off-roading since 2000 and Vockler started off-roading a bit while in Prairie High School, and has gotten serious about it in the last five years. This was the second year of the Rally, an all-women’s off-roading race.Vockler, 46, of Vancouver was the driving force behind the duo’s entry into the event. O’Day, 66, of Vancouver was nervous about the event, and about failing. O’Day said she was pushed to enter by her husband and Vockler. The two have known each other since Vockler was born — they are cousins.Navigation challengeEach day of the race, there were 12 to 25 checkpoints. The duo got a map of the checkpoints about an hour before heading out each morning, and they had to map out how to get to them from base camp. They could use only a map and compass to get to as many checkpoints as they could. Before the race, the organizers took away everyone’s cellphones and put up cardboard over each vehicle’s GPS system.
The Navy would cut an aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., along with its five associated squadrons, under its $165 billion budget request for fiscal 2017 released earlier this week.The proposal would reduce the number of aircraft carrier air wings in the Navy from 10 to nine.“This proposal will allow the Navy to match the number of air wings to the number of deployable aircraft carriers,” Rear Adm. William Lescher told reporters during a budget briefing Tuesday. “It reflects the practice of having one carrier in refueling and complex overhaul, and one carrier in an extended maintenance availability at any time,” said Lescher, the service’s deputy assistant secretary for budget.The aircraft would be allocated among the remaining squadrons and would boost readiness among the squadrons by reducing the dwell time between deployments, he said. Deployments can last for up to four years for wings attached to carriers undergoing refueling and a complex overhaul, reported Navy Times.The plan already has been attacked by the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas.) told reporters the Navy’s proposal was “a little disturbing,” but said would study it more closely before offering an official position. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the request likely was a non-starter.Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower Subcommittee, pointed to the plan as simply the latest attempt by the Obama administration to shrink the Navy, reported Politico. “So far, we’ve been pretty successful in putting all that back,” he said. “When you look right now and we have gaps with our carriers currently, and they’re going to take out an air wing? I mean, it really doesn’t make good military sense,” Forbes said.The budget request also calls for the Navy to eliminate 6,300 sailor slots, shrinking the service from 329,200 billets to 322,900 billets. The proposal includes the cruiser modernization program, which the service first broached two years ago. It would dock up to half of the fleet’s 22 cruisers to reduce staffing needs and extend the ships’ service lives.“This is an approach that leverages the saving of over $3 billion over [the next five years] in operating costs and maintains the best overall force balance,” Lescher said. “It retains the air-defense commander capable platforms in the force into the 2040s and allows us to reallocate personnel elsewhere in the fleet.” Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Amazon Share your voice Roberto Machado Noa / Getty Images Amazon’s facial technology had a harder time recognizing the gender of darker-skinned women and made more mistakes identifying gender overall than competing technologies from Microsoft and IBM, according to an MIT study published Thursday.Amazon’s Rekognition software incorrectly identified women as men 19 percent of the time, according to the study. In addition, it incorrectly identified darker-skinned women as men 31 percent of the time, it says. Software from Microsoft, by comparison, identified darker-skinned women as men 1.5 percent of the time.Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at Amazon Web Services, said that the study’s test results are based on facial analysis, not facial recognition. Analysis, he said, can find faces in videos or images and assign generic attributes, such as the wearing of glasses. Recognition, he said, matches an individual’s face to images in videos and photographs. The Rekognition technology includes both of these functionalities. “It’s not possible to draw a conclusion on the accuracy of facial recognition for any use case – including law enforcement – based on results obtained using facial analysis,” Wood said in a statement. Wood added that the study didn’t use the latest version of Rekognition. Amazon, using an up-to-date version of Rekognition with similar data, found no false positive matches, Wood says.Deborah Raji, an author of the study, said she and co-author Joy Buolamwini understand the distinction between facial recognition and facial analysis. “We make it clear in our paper that the task we chose to evaluate is the facial analysis task of binary gender classification,” Raji said. “That means, given the number of faces detected, how well does the model understand what it sees?”In a Friday blog post, Buolamwini cautioned people to be skeptical when companies say they have completely accurate systems.”Wood states the company used a large benchmark of over 1 million faces to test their facial recognition capabilities and performed well,” Buolamwini wrote. “While their performance on the benchmark might seem laudable, we do not know the detailed demographic or phenotypic (skin type) composition of this benchmark. Without this information we cannot asses for racial, gender, color, or other kinds of bias.”Amazon has provided Rekognition to law enforcement agencies, though civil liberties groups, members of Congress and Amazon’s own employees have raised concerns about privacy. Earlier this month, a group of shareholders also called on Amazon to stop selling its Rekognition technology to government agencies. In light of the MIT study, Buolamwini said it’s “irresponsible” for Amazon to keep selling the technology to law enforcement agencies. Facial analysis technology can be abused and could lead to mass surveillance, she said. In addition, inaccuracies could result in innocent people being misidentified as criminals.Raji echoed that sentiment. “If the system falsely identifies a suspect due to its reduced accuracy on a particular demographic,” she said, “that could be seriously harmful.”First published Jan. 25, 3:54 p.m. PT.Update, 11:14 p.m.: Adds comment from Buolamwini and Raji. Comments 6 Tags Tech Industry
HSC and its equivalent examinations of 2018 under 10 education boards begin across the country today. Photo: BSSThe Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations of 2018 under 10 education boards begin across the country today amid tough measures taken to check question paper leakage and other malpractices in the examinations.A total of 13,11,457 examinees from 8,864 educational institutions will appear in the examinations this year. Of them, 6, 35,697 are male and 5,47,989 female, said officials of the education ministry.They said only the in-charge officers of respective centres will be allowed to enter the examination halls with mobile phones as they will be given instruction via a text message about the set of question papers.The authorities will open envelopes of question papers about 25 minutes before the examinations start and they have already taken decision to shut down all the coaching centres till completion of the examinations, a top official of the ministry told a meeting recently.He said all the authorities concerned are sincerely working to root out all possible sources of question paper leakage as a vested quarter is involved in the malpractices.A total of 10,92,607 candidates are set to sit for the examinations from eight general education boards while 1, 00,127 under the Madrasa Education Board and 1, 17,754 from the Technical education board. A total of 1, 27,771 candidates have been increased this year comparing to the previous year.Besides, 299 students will appear in the examinations from seven overseas centres.All the examinees have been asked to take their seats in the examination centres 30 minutes before the examinations begin.The written examinations will continue until 13 May while the practical examinations will be held from 14 to 23 May.Candidates with physical disabilities will receive an additional 20 minutes in the examinations while the examinees with special needs, including those with autism, will get 30 additional minutes.A total of 11, 83,686 examinees appeared in the HSC and equivalent examinations last year.
The unrest shows no sign of slowing down. Another demonstration was called for midday Wednesday in which Maduro’s opponents planned to try again to march downtown to deliver a message to the nation’s ombudsman, whose job is to stand up for citizens’ rights but who the opposition has tagged the “defender of the dictator.”Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Diaz, on Tuesday put a spotlight on the extent of the violence, saying more than 400 people had been injured and nearly 1,300 detained since the protests began in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month that stripped the opposition-controlled congress of much of its powers.April 26th: Pictures of today’s protest #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/nS2d2mmQZO— Antonio (@antonioscastles) April 26, 2017 Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/26141709/0426VZLA.mp400:0000:0000:57Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Share No country has ever withdrawn from the OAS since it was created in 1948 and it’s not clear how complicated the process would be.As a counter to the OAS gathering, Rodriguez said her government was seeking a meeting next week of another regional group — the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states, which was championed as a rival to the OAS by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It excludes Canada and the U.S.#Venezuela warns could leave OAS regional group https://t.co/jYF5glAbk7 pic.twitter.com/msp7fAf8A8— Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) April 26, 2017Earlier Tuesday, Maduro sang revolutionary ballads before delivering an address to supporters that didn’t tone down his combative rhetoric. He said he was willing to do whatever it took, “even give my life,” to pursue socialist policies that he said are meant to help and protect the nation’s working class.“There is only one destiny for Venezuela,” he said. “The victory of the revolution.”Government supporters march near the Plaza Morelos in Caracas, Venezuela. #26A pic.twitter.com/NiuL3B5tFB— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 26, 2017 Venezuela volunteer medics heal wounded in protests https://t.co/4rsoPQlmiW pic.twitter.com/Ccfd2ZFntz— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) April 26, 2017Prison Affairs Minister Iris Varela said Tuesday that the violence erupted at Puente Ayala penitentiary in Anzoategui state. Her comments were published in the regional newspaper El Tiempo.eNCA | Deadly clashes erupt in Venezuelan prison: official https://t.co/OfOleCOtx9 pic.twitter.com/WGezpuJPEW— eNCA (@eNCA) April 26, 2017“Right-wing terrorists have once again left Venezuelan families grieving in their continuous spiral of violence,” Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said in a nationwide broadcast.The swell of protests is the most violent in economically struggling Venezuela since two months of anti-government demonstrations in 2014 that resulted in dozens of deaths. Maduro has called for renewed dialogue, but opposition leaders have discarded that as an option after earlier talks collapsed in December.Is the endgame near for Venezuela’s Maduro? https://t.co/KwZi8CsXBY pic.twitter.com/zszCwRxmTB— Univision News (@UnivisionNews) April 26, 2017 CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is threatening to pull out of the Organization of American States as the socialist government’s response to political unrest that has been blamed for 26 deaths in recent weeks draws rebuke from the hemisphere’s major powers.#Venezuela | Can a Revived Opposition Stop Venezuela’s Authoritarian Slide? https://t.co/HntrImjWwA by @WPReview pic.twitter.com/mh1dGDNbgf— CIJA (@thecija) April 26, 2017Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on state TV late Tuesday that she had been instructed by President Nicolas Maduro to initiate the country’s withdrawal from the Washington-based OAS if the region’s foreign ministers hold a meeting on the country’s crisis without his administration’s backing.Her comments came hours before envoys to the OAS were scheduled to meet Wednesday to debate a proposal by Mexico, Brazil, the U.S. and 13 other nations to convene a special meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela’s “situation.””Hunger”. Enough said #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/BGmvEtCJEL— Antonio (@antonioscastles) April 26, 2017
Explore further Did Climate Influence Angkor’s Collapse? Now, work by a group of scientists indicates it may have been due to drought. The group, led by Mary Beth Day, an earth scientist with the University of Cambridge, is to have the results of their efforts published in a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Khmer Empire existed from the period between the 9th and 15th centuries and was centered around the city of Angkor. During that time, it’s very clear that great effort was put into capturing massive amounts of water that came from the skies during the monsoon seasons in the summer, to support drinking and crop growing during the rest of the year. The system apparently worked great for a long time, then suddenly didn’t. The reasons put forth for this sudden change have varied, from disease or warfare, to public strife, to changing environmental conditions. Now, it appears due to this latest research, that at least one of the major factors was indeed environmental.To find out if the problem was a dearth of water due to changes in the weather or the water system, the team took soil samples from one of the largest reservoirs (called barays) built by the Angkor people. Digging down as far as six feet, the team found that prolonged drought and perhaps overuse of the soil for farming may have led to a society unable to feed itself, a sure and straight path to an untimely demise if ever there was one.In studying the soil samples, the team was able to see sediment deposits that had built up on the bottom of the baray over time. During the years leading up to 1431, thinner layers indicted less water became available for storage. They also showed that the rainfall was more erratic. Instead of steady rains during the monsoon seasons, huge storms would erupt flooding farmlands and dumping massive amounts of soil into the baray, which were then followed by periods of no rain at all. The result was much less water available for drinking and growing crops during the drier seasons, and possible destruction of crops that the people were able to grow, due to flooding.This new research doesn’t prove for a fact that it was drought that led to the demise of the Khmer Empire, of course, as there were other factors involved. War with neighbors, the conversion of many of the inhabitants to Buddhism, and natural dispersion due to increasing trade with other countries, all likely had a hand. But it does appear that changing weather patterns might have been the final straw. © 2011 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — The Khmer Empire, known to many as the Angkor Civilization, was a society of people that lived for several centuries in Southeast Asia in what is now Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam. What has kept the memory of the empire alive are the huge structures built by the people who lived in the area during that time. Also of note were the roadways, canals and water movement and storage systems that were constructed to support a large population. But like many other lost cultures, what was once a flourishing metropolis, in a very short period of time, gave way to collapse. Map of Southeast Asia circa 900 CE, showing the Khmer Empire in red, Champa in yellow and Haripunjaya in light Green plus additional surrounding states. Image: Wikipedia. Citation: Possible new explanation found for sudden demise of Khmer Empire (2012, January 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-explanation-sudden-demise-khmer-empire.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Club Med’s ‘Time to Shine’ sale offers bonus perks with packages << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Club Med Travelweek Group TORONTO — Club Med’s ‘Time to Shine’ sale offers seven-night air-inclusive stays at prices starting at CAD$1,649 per adult, per week, with additional perks.Perks include free upgrades, free first checked luggage, no single supplement, and free stay for kids under four years old.Book before March 1 for travel between Jan. 13 and Aug. 26, 2017.Club Med is also reminding agents that its call center in Canada is now open on Sundays. Hours of operation are: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.For more details go to clubmedagents.ca. Monday, January 16, 2017 Share