October 3, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:51 PM


RoboGolfPro Offers An Instant Golf Swing Fix (Scott Kramer , 10/03/17, Forbes)

I don't know what it's like to be in Tiger Woods' shoes. But now I know what it's like to be in his golf shoes. And Jason Day's. That's because this past weekend at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., I tried RoboGolfPro. It's a robotic golf-training system that stores pre-recorded PGA Tour pro swings in it. Any amateur can grab onto the grip of a club that's connected at the other end to a robot, and then be guided through a pro's swing -- right down to every detail and at least at first in slow motion. So I was able to hang on and see exactly what it feels like for Woods and Day to swing a club. For what it's worth, Woods' swing -- his old one from 1997, before his back problems -- felt more inside-out than I thought it would be. And his wrists power through the impact zone much more forcefully than I ever imagined. Yet when I watched myself going through it in real-time on the monitor in front of me, it was unmistakably Tiger's swing. And Day's felt like his backswing is exaggerated low and outside, while his follow-through is much more extended than my own. It was truly one of the cooler experiences in my 27 years as a golf writer.

So what purpose does RoboGolfPro serve, besides the novelty of it? It's also an amazing teaching tool, if you're lucky to come across any of the 30 around the world right now.

Posted by orrinj at 7:43 PM


Oracle updates enterprise security service with machine learning (BLAIR HANLEY FRANK, OCTOBER 3, 2017, Venture Beat)

Oracle added machine learning to its cloud management product to help better secure businesses against threats. The renamed Management and Security Cloud will take in data from on-premises and cloud infrastructure, then analyze them to help determine what might be a threat to a company's data.

When the system determines that something fishy is going on, it can then automatically take steps to remediate the problem without human intervention. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:38 PM


Iran offers condolences to US over Las Vegas massacre (Middle East Online, 10/03/17)

Iran on Tuesday expressed its sympathy towards the United States following the shooting deaths of at least 59 people and wounding of more than 500 at a Las Vegas concert.

"Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has offered sympathy to the bereaved families of those killed in the recent deadly shooting in Las Vegas," said a statement published on the ministry's website.

"Qassemi expressed regret over the 'heinous' crime in which hundreds of civilians were killed and wounded.

"He also sympathised with the US nation and the relatives of the victims," the statement said. [...]

After a double attack in June claimed by the Islamic state group that killed 17 people in Tehran, Trump said: "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

Posted by orrinj at 7:25 PM


Mary Poppins Is a Retelling of the Bible (Jason Rhode, October 3, 2017, Paste)

Simple: The 1964 movie Mary Poppins is a retelling of the Bible. It's a tale of the cosmic struggle between God and the Devil. Call it the Book of Job reimagined, or Damn Yankees, or any of those old stories where Good and Evil cleverly duel for a single man's soul. [...]

At the beginning of the film, Mr. Banks' allegiances clearly tilt in favor of the bank. He adores his place in life (as a prominent financier) and he covets future position. Because he loves those trinkets, his boss Mr. Dawes Sr. has power over him. After all, George Banks has a position of some authority in the money industry, and he's on the verge of being made partner. Mr. Dawes Sr. and the rest of the bank board have every reason to push George towards conformity. In turn, George Banks has every reason to comply, at the forfeit of his family and his soul.

Then this eccentric au pair from the clouds arrives. She descends without warning, as the bats do at the beginning of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This changes everything.

We know who Mary (Julie Andrews) is. As Madonna put it, just like a dream, she is not what she seems. She comes from the sky; she literally sits on a cloud. She's perfect, prim, unknowable. She has love for her new charges, the Banks children, but her doctrine is strictly enforced. She has all these rules for practically perfect people.

If that's true, if the movie Mary Poppins is Biblical, and Mary is God, then it's pretty clear who Bert (Dick Van Dyke) represents. Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name--but what's troubling is the nature of his game.

Posted by orrinj at 7:22 PM


Exclusive: Jared Kushner's personal email re-routed to Trump Organization computers amid public scrutiny (Brad Heath, 10/03/17, USA TODAY)

President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump re-routed their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization as public scrutiny intensified over their use of private emails to conduct White House business, internet registration records show.

The move, made just days after Kushner's use of a personal email account first became public, came shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. It also more closely intertwines President Trump's administration with his constellation of private businesses.

Posted by orrinj at 7:12 PM


Major indexes hit record highs second day; autos, airlines jump (Caroline Valetkevitch, 10/03/17, Reuters) 

The three major U.S. stock indexes and the Russell 2000 posted record high closes for the second straight day on Tuesday, helped by gains in airlines and as carmakers rose after strong September vehicle sales.

It obviously won't be easy, but if Donald can manage to maintain this level of futility for his entire presidency it will be a success, even if he's impeached.  He inherited such strong fundamentals the only imperative was not to screw it up and by not doing anything at all he's managing that much.

Posted by orrinj at 7:07 PM


Oatmeal Is Still the World's Best Performance Breakfast (Wes Judd, Sep 28, 2017, oUTSIDE)

Sure, it's old fashioned. But it's also nutritional rocket fuel, and athletes are making it taste great. Here's how.

In a world of green juice and chia seed pudding, this age-old dish is the original, and perhaps most powerful, superfood, especially for athletes competing at the highest levels.

"I've asked a lot of elite endurance athletes about their breakfast foods, particularly before races, and oatmeal comes up again and again and again," says Matt Fitzgerald, endurance coach, nutritionist, and author of The Endurance Diet.

You're most likely to see oatmeal served with a ton of fixin's, but even a bowl of plain oats holds its own as a nutritional panacea. Oatmeal is a whole grain (unless you buy oat bran--just part of the seed--as opposed to rolled oats) filled with key vitamins and minerals, a low-glycemic carb that provides lasting energy for your workout and helps fuel recovery without causing a sugar crash, and high in fiber to aid your digestive and metabolic systems.

But a bowl of oats is also a big blank canvas, ready to be combined with a truckload of other high-quality, nutritious ingredients that make it even better training food. "That's one of oatmeal's great virtues. You can take it in so many directions," says Fitzgerald.

Posted by orrinj at 7:05 PM


The Called Shot (Rich Cohen October 3, 2017, pARIS rEVIEW)

[I]n July 1932, as the Cubs were cruising, their shortstop was shot in a hotel room by a jilted lover. It's enough to say that the ballplayer was Billy Jurges and the perp was a showgirl who'd later perform under the stage name Violet "What I Did For Love" Valli. Jurges was shot in room 509 of Hotel Carlos, a few blocks from the ballpark. He'd be back on the field before the end of the season. In the meantime, the Cubs needed a solid substitute infielder if they were going to make a pennant run.

Management signed Mark Koenig, who'd been released by the Detroit Tigers at the end of 1931. He started the summer with the San Francisco Mission Reds of the Pacific Coast League before the Cubs called him up. Koenig--he grew up in California, son of a bricklayer--was with the Yankees from 1925 to 1930. He'd played shortstop for the 1927 Yankees, which many consider the greatest team ever. There's a fraternity in that, in being a member of something perfect. Depending on what you read, Ruth loved Koenig, or did not like him at all, which is not the point. If you're on the team, you'll always be on the team--that's the point.

In Chicago, Koenig, a switch-hitter who could play any position in the infield, was trying to prove he still belonged in the majors. He was only twenty-seven, with several solid seasons behind him. He appeared in just thirty-three games with the Cubs that summer but hit .353 and made memorable plays in the clutch. Yet, when it came time to apportion the World Series share--teams that made it to the championship got a bonus, which was split among the players; considering the low salaries of the time, it was a significant boon--the Cubs voted to give Koenig only a partial share.

Ruth heard about it and was incensed. Those greedy bastards, they wouldn't even be here if not for Koenig. Ruth carried that anger into the World Series, stood at the edge of the Chicago dugout and, waving his bat, denounced the Cubs by name. The Cubs heckled the Babe right back. He was a rich target in 1932, a thirty-seven-year-old fat man with just a few seasons left.

In game 3, the moment ripened to a crisis. The Yankees were up two games to none in the series. Charlie Root was pitching for Chicago. A right-hander from Middletown, Ohio, Root was a classic sort of Cub, never great but good enough to go forever. He was with the team from 1926 to 1941. Ruth spoke to him as if he were a kid, but he was thirty-three in that World Series. They called him Chinsky for his willingness to throw inside and hurt people.

The wind blew out, the train rattled past. The score was knotted at four when Ruth came up in the fifth.

Posted by orrinj at 7:01 PM


'Poldark' Celebrates Hard Work, Fidelity, Common Law, And Community (Casey Chalk, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017, tHE fEDERALIST)

Over the course of the first two seasons, Poldark rebuilds his life and his inheritance. He reopens mines on his deceased father's property, and weds a young, attractive country girl named Demelza--whom he originally employed as his "scullery maid." For the sake of those unfamiliar with the first two seasons, I'll refrain from divulging too many of the plot's twists and turns. My goal here is instead to highlight how Poldark serves as an unexpected, inspiring source of conservative ideals.

The series thus far has evinced a sincere appreciation for English culture's traditional rites and customs, suggesting to viewers the importance of preserving such traditions from one generation to another. A number of children have been born over the course of the show's two seasons, and the producers take the time to present the Anglican baptismal rite for these newborns. Moreover, the baptisms are so explicitly portrayed in various episodes that they come across as normal--if also very important--events in the life of a family and community.

Another cultural custom often presented positively on the show is that of common law. Poldark is a man of deep convictions, but also one prone to combat the cultural and institutional powers of 18th century Cornwall for the sake of the common man. This at times leads Poldark into the courtroom, defending marginalized members of the community, or even at times himself. Poldark often appeals to the traditions of British common law as his defense. This is probably most saliently visible in one episode where a British merchant ship crashes off the coast of Poldark's own land.

Poldark urges the tenants on his land down to the beaches to collect the various goods that wash up on shore, motivated both by a desire to help those under his protection and to enact revenge against the owner of the ship, George Warleggan, the protagonist's arch-nemesis. Warleggan in turn exhorts British soldiers stationed in the town to march down to the beach, collect his goods, and punish the peasants. Violence ensues. Poldark is ultimately brought to trial on the charge of inciting a riot. When asked to explain his role in his tenant's collection of shipwrecked goods, Poldark appeals to ancestral Cornish common law, long honored in the county, that allows landlords along the coast to collect any goods that wash up on their shore.

Posted by orrinj at 6:58 PM


Justice Department appeals lawyer on Mueller Russia probe (Karen Freifeld, 10/03/17, Reuters) 

Scott Meisler, an appellate attorney with the Justice Department's criminal division, is one of 16 lawyers who have signed on to the probe and one of only two who have not been previously identified. [...]

Meisler is one of several appeals lawyers on Mueller's legal team. The most senior is Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court and is widely considered the Justice Department's top criminal law expert.

Elizabeth Prelogar, an assistant solicitor general, is another appeals lawyer on the team.

Posted by orrinj at 6:52 PM


Trump administration backpedals on citizenship for 'Dreamers' (Yeganeh Torbati, Richard Cowan, 10/03/17, Reuters) 

A U.S. official told Congress on Tuesday it would be "rational" to legislate a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, but within hours the administration backtracked, saying his comments did not state the views of President Donald Trump.

Racial hate is emotional, not rational.

Posted by orrinj at 2:58 PM


Mattis: Staying in Iran nuclear deal is US national security interest (ERIC CORTELLESSA, October 3, 2017, Times of Israel)

US Defense Secretary James Mattis told US senators on Tuesday the United States should remain a party in the Iran nuclear deal.

Asked at a Senate Armed Serviced Committee hearing by Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats, whether he believed it was in America's national security interests to stay in the deal, Mattis said: "Yes, senator, I do."

Posted by orrinj at 2:56 PM


The press, branded the 'enemy' by Trump, increasingly trusted by the public: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Chris Kahn, 10/03/17, Reuters) 

Americans are increasingly confident in the news media and less so in President Donald Trump's administration after a tumultuous year in U.S. politics that tested the public's trust in both institutions, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a "great deal" or "some" confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November.

Posted by orrinj at 1:11 PM


Evidence Mounts that White House Anticipates Damaging Results from Russia Investigation (Ryan Goodman, October 3, 2017, LawFare)

1. Trump and Kushner rejected White House Counsel's advice on protocols to avoid coordinating stories on Russia investigation; White House Counsel contemplated resigning 

White House Counsel Don McGahn had to be talked out of resigning by other White House officials, the Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas, Michael C. Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus reported on Friday. White House officials were concerned that McGahn would resign because the President Trump and Jared Kushner would not follow protocols, as he had advised, to avoid meetings that "could be construed by investigators as an effort to coordinate their stories, three people familiar [with] the matter said."

It would likely take a significant infraction for the administration's senior lawyer to veer toward resignation. It is also revealing that Trump and Kushner would defy the White House Counsel's advice to take steps to ensure against coordination or even the appearance of coordination of their stories involving the Russia investigation. On the one hand, perhaps the two thought they had nothing to hide. On the other hand, if they had nothing to hide then why risk legal exposure for potentially coordinating stories and why risk the relationship with McGahn? [...]

4. Kushner may have advised Trump to appease Republican Senators in case the Russia investigation goes south

Kushner reportedly advised his father-in-law to back Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary, HuffPost's Vicky Ward reported. One of the reasons may have been shore up support from the Republican leaders in the Senate. "He's going to need them if things go south in the Russia investigation," a Bannon ally told Ward.

Posted by orrinj at 1:00 PM


"Eton for all": will robot teachers mean everyone gets an elite education? (LIZZIE PALMER, 10/02/17, New Statesman)

According to Sir Anthony Seldon, former headmaster of public school Wellington College and current vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, teachers might have reason to be concerned after all. Last month he said he believed "extraordinarily inspirational" robots would begin taking on the work of teachers over the next ten years.

"It will open up the possibility of an Eton or Wellington-style education for all," he said. "Everyone can have the very best teacher and it's completely personalised; the software you're working with will be with you throughout your education journey."

He said he expected teaching unions to be "alarmed" by the prospect, but that the impact would be "beyond anything that we've seen in the industrial revolution or since with any other new technology".

Posted by orrinj at 12:53 PM


What a Wonderful World (David R. Henderson, 10/02/17, Library of Economics and Liberty)
"In the time that it takes you to read the first chapter, over 2,000 people will have escaped poverty." So says a blurb on the back cover of Johan Norberg's book Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future (London: Oneworld, 2016). The book lives up to the hype. In ten chapters, on topics including food, life expectancy, violence, poverty, the environment, literacy, and freedom, Norberg, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, documents persuasively how pretty much all of the world has gotten better over the last two centuries and even over the last few decades.

Norberg tells a powerful tale by mixing anecdotes and statistics, never boring the reader--at least never boring this reader--and telling important facts that most of us have never heard. Although I knew that there had been substantial progress on almost every issue that Norberg discusses, what surprised me was the size (large) and speed (fast) of the progress. And, as a footnote reader, I can attest that he backs up virtually all of his claims with published research and data. Famous Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker, author of his own pathbreaking book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, calls Progress "exhilarating." I agree.

Consider food. Norberg points out that per capita calorie consumption in France and England was a low 1,700 to 2,200 calories per day in the middle of the 18th century. By 1850, this had increased to 2,500 to 2,800. By 1950, it was 3,000. Sweden, where Norberg lives, "was declared free from chronic hunger in the early twentieth century."

When we aren't worried about being able to create ever more wealth with ever less labor, we fret that we have too much to eat.  It's a deeply silly time in human history.