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Making industrial chemicals “green” requires a lot of renewable electricity

Ars - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:32

Enlarge / Huntsman Olefins petrochemical industry, manufacturer of ethylene and propylene, Wilton, Teesside, UK. (credit: Photo by Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

When we think about climate change, we most often think about emissions from two sectors: energy and transportation. But industry makes a big contribution to climate change, too. Industrial emissions come from a lot of different things, including the manufacture of common chemicals. Often, these chemicals are made by reforming fossil fuels using heat that's also provided by burning fossil fuels.

Overall, the chemical industry consumes about 10 percent of global final energy, according to the International Energy Agency.

In a recent PNAS paper, researchers from universities in Germany and California tried to estimate how effectively the chemical industry could decarbonize and whether such a decarbonization is likely.

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'Thrones' actor's message for disgruntled fans

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:20
"Game of Thrones" actor Kristofer Hivju discusses the series finale after more than a million people signed a petition to get the show's last season remade.

Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 12.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

MacRumors - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:15
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 12.4 update to developers, almost one week after seeding the first iOS 12.4 beta, and two weeks after releasing iOS 12.3, a major update that introduced a revamped TV app.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.4 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


There were no new features discovered in the first iOS 12.4 beta, so it's not entirely clear what's coming in the update. As a more significant 12.x update, it's possible that the update is focusing on a feature that's not yet available - the Apple Card.

Apple is planning to release the Apple Card in the summer, so iOS 12.4 could be the update that prepares the iOS operating system for that launch, adding hidden features that will be unlocked when the update becomes available to the public.

If we find new features in the second beta of iOS 12.4, we'll update this post.

iOS 12.4 may be one of the last updates to the iOS 12 operating system as Apple transitions to iOS 13, which is expected to be introduced at WWDC in June.

Update: The second beta of iOS 12.4 is also available for public beta testers.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
This article, "Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 12.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Tulsi Gabbard invokes 'fake news' rhetoric to push back on report of Russia-linked support

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:09
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Sunday characterized a recent critical report about her campaign as "fake news," invoking a defense oft-used by President Donald Trump to attack the credibility of negative press coverage.

Why progressive candidates should talk like conservatives

Futurity.org - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:04

In political messages, values can be more persuasive than policies, research finds.

When political candidates talk about progressive economic policies in language consistent with traditionally conservative values—such as patriotism, the American dream, family, and respect for tradition—they gain support among conservative and moderate Americans, according to the new study.

While progressive economic policies—such as raising the minimum wage and providing parental leave—often poll well, progressive candidates in the US have rather limited electoral success, says Robb Willer, a professor of sociology at Stanford University, and author of the working paper.

Now, Willer along with Jan Gerrit Voelkel, a sociology doctoral candidate, have found a possible explanation to this paradox: progressive candidates have not been as successful as their opponents at harnessing values and ideologies that receive broad support from the general public.

“We may underestimate just how much framing matters, often more than the objective features of the thing being framed.”

Willer and Voelkel ran two experiments with 4,138 people—including one experiment with 1,695 sampled from a nationally representative pool of participants from the National Opinion Research Center’s AmeriSpeak Panel. The sociologists found that when progressive candidates frame their policies with commonly viewed conservative values—such as patriotism, protecting family, and showing respect for cultural tradition—as opposed to more liberal values—such as equality and social justice—they receive greater support from conservatives and moderates.

“We find that the values a candidate used to advocate for their policies were more influential on the popular support they received than the policies themselves,” says Willer.

“We may underestimate just how much framing matters, often more than the objective features of the thing being framed,” he says.

The study builds off Willer’s earlier research that found the same framing principle can be applied for conservative policies as well. He found that conservative policies can gain greater support among liberals if politicians frame those policies in terms of values like equality of opportunity, empathy, and social justice.

Different framing

Willer and Voelkel presented study participants with a set of progressive economic platforms from Scott Miller, a hypothetical Democratic candidate running in the 2020 presidential election. Researchers randomly assigned participants to a condition that framed Miller’s policies in terms of either liberal values, conservative values, or technical language (which focused on growth and employment and will be the topic of a separate, upcoming paper).

For example, participants assigned to the liberal values frame read that Miller’s “vision for our country is based on principles of economic justice, fairness, and compassion” and that he stands for “economic policies that are based on justice and care, policies that will stop corporations from exploiting working people and pocketing huge profits while offering their workers substandard wages and benefits.”

Participants in the conservative value framing condition read, for example, that Miller’s “vision for America is based on respect for the values and traditions that were handed down to us: hard work, loyalty to our country, and the freedom to forge your own path,” and that Miller believes “it is patriotic to put American families ahead of big money donors and special interests.”

“We take the current alignment of policies and value-based rationales to be inevitable and necessary, but it turns out to be more flexible.”

In both studies, Willer and Voelkel found that despite Miller’s Democratic party affiliation, when his policies were framed in terms of conservative values, support increased among conservative and moderate participants, relative to when they were framed in terms of liberal values.

Among conservative participants, a conservative value framing—as opposed to a liberal value framing—resulted in a 13-point increase in candidate support on a 100-point scale in the first experiment and a 10-point increase in the second. Among moderate participants, the conservative value framing resulted in a 5-point increase in candidate support on a scale from zero to 100 in the first study, and a 4-point increase in the second experiment, report Willer and Voelkel in the paper.

There was no significant backlash among liberal participants when a progressive candidate framed their policies conservatively compared with when they framed the policies liberally.

A way to build consensus?

Willer and Voelkel’s findings suggest that decoupling framing and policy could broaden a candidate’s electoral strategies.

“We take the current alignment of policies and value-based rationales to be inevitable and necessary, but it turns out to be more flexible,” Voelkel says, noting that moral reframing may offer a more effective path to building political consensus than policy compromise.

“We often think that moving to the apparent center on policy is a politician’s only means for achieving broader popular support, but this neglects that politicians can also broaden their base of support through the values they employ. However, it is important to emphasize that, as with any effective political tool, the ethical value of moral reframing depends critically on the ends to which it is put,” he says.

The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford University, the Schmidt Family Foundation, and Grow Progress supported the research.

Source: Stanford University

The post Why progressive candidates should talk like conservatives appeared first on Futurity.

Optical neural network at 50zJ per op? Nope, but it’s still a good idea

Ars - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:02

Enlarge (credit: BeeBright/Getty Images)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has experienced a revival of pretty large proportions in the last decade. We've gone from AI being mostly useless to letting it ruin our lives in obscure and opaque ways. We’ve even given AI the task of crashing our cars for us.

AI experts will tell us that we just need bigger neural networks and the cars will probably stop crashing. You can get there by adding more graphics cards to an AI, but the power consumption becomes excessive. The ideal solution would be a neural network that can process and shovel data around at near-zero energy cost, which may be where we are headed with optical neural networks.

To give you an idea of the scale of energy we're talking about here, a good GPU uses 20 picoJoules (1pJ is 10-12J ) for each multiply and accumulate operation. A purpose-built integrated circuit can reduce that to about 1pJ. But if a team of researchers is correct, an optical neural network might reduce that number to an incredible 50 zeptoJoules (1zJ is 10-21J).

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Supreme Court declines to overturn ban on corporate contributions to candidates

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:59
The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a case that would have given businesses the right to contribute money directly to candidates.

Turn back time in this Cher-themed hotel suite

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:58
A jukebox musical about one of the world's most iconic singers, "The Cher Show" is on Broadway. And now Cher is also in a hotel suite.

Fantasia finds her peace

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:56
Fantasia is glowing.

Finale recap: Everything looks like it will work out, except it doesn't

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:54
Some say the world will end in fire. / Some say in ice.

Ajit Pai oks T-Mobile/Sprint merger, “requires” 5G rollout that’ll happen anyway

Ars - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:45

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai with his oversized coffee mug in November 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

T-Mobile and Sprint are one big step closer to getting the US government's approval to merge, as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today announced his support for the deal combining two of the four largest US mobile carriers.

Pai's announcement virtually guarantees that the FCC will approve the deal; FCC approval would be finalized after the Republican-controlled commission votes. But T-Mobile and Sprint still need to convince the Department of Justice, which hasn't yet said whether it will sue to block the merger on antitrust grounds.

Pai's statement on the merger said he's approving it in large part because T-Mobile and Sprint "committed to deploying a 5G network that would cover 97 percent of our nation's population within three years of the closing of the merger and 99 percent of Americans within six years." They also committed to deploying 5G to 85 percent of rural Americans within three years and 90 percent within six years.

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Broken promises of the past weigh on black voters as they consider the 2020 presidential campaign

Washington Post - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:45
Interviews with African American voters and activists in three competitive states reveal stark differences in whether to be pragmatic or ideological when it comes to electing a candidate to take on President Trump.

Teen graduates from high school and Harvard in same month

CNN - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:37
17-year-old Braxton Moral is graduating from his Kansas high school in the same month he will receive a diploma from Harvard University.

Australia’s China Challenge

NY Times - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:37
With Beijing pushing as far as it can wherever it can in the era of President Xi Jinping, Australia has become a global case study in Chinese government influence.

9 Things We Still Want to Know After the ‘Game of Thrones’ Ending

NY Times - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:34
Why is there still a Night’s Watch? And does Sam owe a bunch of library fees?

E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its Math

NY Times - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:32
The E.P.A. plans to change the way air pollution health risks are calculated in a way that would sharply lower estimated deaths from new, looser rules for coal plants.

Cannes Says It’s Making Strides for Equality. Some Women See Backward Steps.

NY Times - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:25
The festival is again being called out for its track record in rewarding female filmmakers, and for honoring an actor who admitted to having slapped women.
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