Sutherland Springs opens memorial to church shooting victims

Surviving members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, worshiped with hundreds of supporters Sunday during their first service since last week’s mass shooting. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town during the Nov. 5 attack, delivered a heart-wrenching message under a large white tent set up on a nearby baseball field. “Rather than choose darkness as that young man did that day, we choose life. I know everyone who gave their life that day. Some of whom were my best friends, and my daughter,” Pomeroy said, his voice cracking as he paused to wipe tears from his eyes. “I guarantee they are dancing with Jesus today.” Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter Annabelle was one of the 26 people killed in the rampage. On Sunday evening, survivors entered the church for the first time since the shooting. After investigators finished their work at the site, crews filled bullet holes, replaced shattered windows, and painted every surface a brilliant white. Folding chairs with each victim’s name printed in gold across the front stood where each body fell. The memorial will remain open to the public during the week. Pomeroy has said he wants to demolish the structure and build a new church at another site.

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Ray Kurzweil on Turing Tests, Brain Extenders, and AI Ethics

Ray Kurzweil, who currently runs a group at Google writing automatic responses to your emails in cooperation with the Gmail team, recently talked with WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson at the Council on Foreign Relations. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation.

Nicholas Thompson: Let’s begin with you explaining the law of accelerating returns, which is one of the fundamental ideas underpinning your writing and your work.

Ray Kurzweil: Halfway through the Human Genome Project, 1 percent of the genome had been collected after seven years. So mainstream critics said, “I told you this wasn’t gonna work. You’re at seven years, 1 percent; it’s going to take 700 years just like we said.” My reaction at the time was: “Wow we finished 1 percent? We’re almost done.” Because 1 percent is only seven doublings from 100 percent. It had been doubling every year. Indeed, that continued. The project was finished seven years later. That’s continued since the end of the genome project—that first genome cost a billion dollars and we’re now down to $1,000.

Full Script: Wired Magazine

The George Takei sexual assault story just keeps getting worse

Over the weekend, George Takei denied former model Scott Brunton’s claims that the Star Trek actor had sexually assaulted him. This was after Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter that in 1981, Takei invited him over to his home following a night out, where he undressed and groped Brunton while he was inebriated and in and out of consciousness. Takei later tweeted that while he was taking the allegations seriously, he was also categorically denying them. “Those that know me understand that non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful,”

But, as has been the case with these disclosures, there are already new, disturbing wrinkles. The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets have picked up on resurfaced audio from an October 2017 interview with Howard Stern, in which Takei did admit that he had grabbed the crotches of men he saw as “kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.” Stern and Takei had been discussing the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment allegations, with the actor bemoaning the lack of consequences for Donald Trump, who managed to win the 2016 presidential election despite having bragged on air about sexually assaulting women.

Full Article: AV Club

Something is wrong on the internet

Warning: The original author says that portions of this article maybe offensive. Read with caution.

As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways.

One of the thus-far hypothetical questions I ask myself frequently is how I would feel about my own children having the same kind of access to the internet today. And I find the question increasingly difficult to answer. I understand that this is a natural evolution of attitudes which happens with age, and at some point this question might be a lot less hypothetical. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it. I would want my kids to have the same opportunities to explore and grow and express themselves as I did. I would like them to have that choice. And this belief broadens into attitudes about the role of the internet in public life as whole.

Full Article: Something is wrong on the internet

Drug could help diabetes patients lose weight and control sugar levels

A new drug to help diabetics lose weight and control their blood sugar is being trialled in 11 clinics around New Zealand.

An initial trial of the drug, ZGN-1061, had promising results in relation to both weight loss and glucose control in overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes who did not use insulin.

Full Article: New Zealand Herald
See Also: Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

Army lifts ban for recruits with certain mental health issues

People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

Full Articles: Army lifts ban on waivers for recruits with history of some mental health issues

Week 10: Even MORE Empty Seats At NFL Stadiums

Photos of empty seats continue to make their appearance on Twitter as the NFL’s Week 10 games debut on Veterans Day, this weekend. Though only a few players decided to protest the country on this day dedicated to our soldiers, fans stayed away in droves.

According to the Twitter account Empty Seats Galore, the Rams “handed out 60,032 tickets” for the game as they met the Houston Texans beating the Texans 33 to 7.

But apparently, not many fans turned out to see the game.

Full Article: Week 10: Thousands of Empty Seats Still Plague NFL Stadiums

Trump’s Tracking Poll shows that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters approve

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 30% who Strongly Approve of the way the president is performing and 44% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. (see trends)

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Full Article: Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

One of the busiest websites in the U.S. in 2016 regularly linked to Russia propaganda

By July 2016, according to the analysis site SimilarWeb, Matt Drudge’s link-aggregation site Drudge Report was the second-most-visited on the Internet in the United States. Over the course of the month — the month of the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions and the month of the leak of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee — SimilarWeb estimates that Drudge had 1,472,220,000 page views. That’s 1.4 billion, the equivalent of 47 views of the Drudge Report every second of every minute that month.

Full Article (Pay Wall): Washington Post