Archive for August 29th, 2019

This New Movie Will Be Filmed Over The Course of 20 Years – GameSpot

August 29th, 2019

Film director Richard Linklater is outdoing himself. The director filmed his Oscar-winning movie Boyhood over the course of 12 years, and now his next film will shoot over a span of 20 years.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie is Merrily We Roll Along, and it’s based on the 1934 play of the same name. The film adaptation stars Beanie Feldstein, Blake Jenner, and Ben Platt, all of whom will be filmed over the course of two decades to tell the story is what appears to be an unprecedented manner.

The story follows a composer, Franklin Shepard (Jenner), who leaves his job making Broadway musicals to pursue a career in Hollywood. The story begins at the end, and works backwards through time to display the key moments in his life. Feldstein is set to portray the theatre critic Mary Flynn, who is also a friend of Shepard’s.

According to THR, filming on the first part of the movie is already finished.

“I first saw and fell in love with Merrily in the ’80s, and I can’t think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of a Sondheim musical,” Linklater said in a statement. “I don’t enter this multiyear experience lightly, but it seems the best, perhaps the only way, to do this story justice on film.”

Boyhood, which was released in 2014, was filmed over the course of 12 years as it chronicled the early life of actor Ellar Coltrane’s character, Mason. The actor and character grew older through the course of filming as the story reached several key moments in his adolescent life. It was a tremendous use of extended filming, and it’ll be interesting to see how it works over an even longer period of time with Merrily We Roll Along.

Boyhood was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film ended up with one win, with Patricia Arquette winning for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.


2 unconfirmed cases of rare, deadly mosquito virus found in Kansas – KSNT News

August 29th, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A rare but deadly virus has reared its head in several states across the country.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is usually found in horses and birds but when it is transmitted to humans, it has proven to be deadly.

It is spread to humans through mosquito bites can lead to major issues in the brain.

ABC News reported that one person has died from EEE in Massachusetts and three others have been diagnosed. Another case has been confirmed in Michigan and other cases are being investigated.

The Shawnee County Health Department said right now there are no confirmed cases in the county.

Officials said while there have been two unconfirmed cases throughout the state of Kansas, the disease is of no bigger concern than any other mosquito-borne disease.


Ottawa, B.C. to push electrification of gas industry to cut carbon emissions – Global News

August 29th, 2019

The federal and British Columbia governments want to power the production of the natural gas industry in the province using electricity.

As part of an agreement announced Thursday, the two governments and BC Hydro are forming a committee to push projects that increase power transmission.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the agreement is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas industry, which produces about 18 per cent of the carbon pollution in the province.

WATCH: Ottawa, B.C. to push electrification of gas industry to cut carbon emissions

“We’re taking another major step forward in the fight against climate change,” he said, adding that electrification will also create jobs.

B.C. Premier John Horgan joined Trudeau in making the announcement at a BC Hydro training centre in Surrey, saying the two governments are working to make the economy more environmentally sustainable.

Horgan said the agreement also takes advantage of BC Hydro’s ability to provide clean energy for industry in the province.

WATCH: Horgan: Nowhere do Trudeau and I agree more than on climate change

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“Our governments are working collaboratively to electrify industries and reduce emissions as we put B.C. on a path to a cleaner, better future,” he said in a statement.

Environmental groups have criticized Horgan’s NDP government for its backing of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in B.C., arguing changes to the province’s tax structure and subsidies are helping a sector that increases carbon pollution.

READ MORE: Frustration grows among natural gas producers amid low prices, LNG uncertainty

The federal and provincial governments have boosted LNG Canada’s plans for a $40-billion project in Kitimat, which is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and up to 950 permanent positions in the processing terminal on the coast of B.C.

Trudeau said Thursday’s agreement builds on that project. The three-page agreement says $680 million in “near-term” electrification projects are being considered for possible funding.

WATCH: (July 2) B.C. LNG industry makes for strange political bedfellows

B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the deal and the province’s financial commitment to it is a further subsidization of fossil fuel development, including for projects that have not yet been built.

“The NDP government is not only providing more subsidies for the growth of the fossil fuel sector but are also neglecting their responsibility to this province to be making the investments for an alternative future,” he said in a news release.

READ MORE: Liberals continue spending frenzy on eve of election call: $2.8B last week

Weaver said he supports the electrification of industry, but it must go beyond providing help for the gas sector.

“British Columbians are looking for leadership that is investing in their future by supporting the industries of tomorrow, not the dinosaurs of yesterday.”

Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, said in a statement that the agreement delivers a critical component to B.C.’s climate plan.

“Electrification is the thread that ties all climate efforts together. Powering our cars, our homes and our industries with clean electricity is the only sustainable path forward.”

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Investigators Eye Contaminants as Possible Cause of Vaping-Related Lung Illnesses: Report – The Daily Beast

August 29th, 2019

Health authorities are reportedly focusing on contaminants or counterfeit substances as a possible cause of vaping-related lung illnesses. The Washington Post reports that there are now up to 354 possible cases in 29 states, nearly double the number reported to be under investigation last week. Rather than scrutinizing standard vaping products that have long been available, investigators have started focusing on contaminants in light of the sudden onset of these recent illnesses combined with patients’ distinctive symptoms. The investigation is looking into which solvents are being used, especially in counterfeit and DIY products, including potentially mislabeled solvents. While investigators are getting closer to finding the cause, they caution that they’re still a long way from understanding what exactly is making so many people sick. 

Read it at The Washington Post


Biden defends inaccurate telling of military heroism story – The Globe and Mail

August 29th, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at a town hall for his Democratic presidential campaign in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday defended his faulty description of a tale of military heroism and his interactions with the service members who carried it out.

The “essence” of his recollection is correct, the former vice-president told a South Carolina newspaper Thursday after a Washington Post story detailed how an emotional anecdote Biden told recently while campaigning in New Hampshire contained inaccuracies.

Biden’s telling appeared to conflate multiple events, yielding a single story of Vice-President Biden pinning a Silver Star on a U.S. Navy captain in the Konar province of Afghanistan for his efforts trying to save another service member. In his latest telling of a story he’s varied over several years, according to the Post, Biden got most of the details wrong: There’s no military record of that specific ceremony, and Biden’s records as a senator show he travelled to Konar when he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and before he was vice-president.

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Biden and his aides countered that the anecdote’s fundamental point – that as vice-president he once formally recognized the valour of a heartbroken solider who didn’t want the recognition because his fellow solider ultimately lost his life – is true.

“The central point is it was absolutely accurate what I said,” Biden told The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, South Carolina, hours after the Post published its story. “He refused the medal. I put it on him, he said: ‘Don’t do that to me, sir. He died. He died.“’

Indeed, The Post account quoted Staff Sgt. Chad Workman recalling that he received a Bronze Star from Biden at Forward Operating Base Airborne in Wardak province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 11, 2011. Workman confirmed Biden’s account, adding that Biden treated him with empathy.

The accounts represent a growing conundrum for Democrats. Their 2020 front-runner is hinging his campaign on the propositions that President Donald Trump is a serial liar and a fundamental threat to the nation and that Biden, a 76-year-old veteran of U.S. politics and world affairs, offers his party the best hope of victory.

But Biden is also repeatedly subjected to media scrutiny, social media derision and quiet grumbling from his rivals over his penchant for verbal missteps, a cacophony that fosters questions about whether he is indeed the best Democrat to send into a general election campaign against Trump.

Biden rejected those questions, telling the Post and Courier they are “ridiculous.”

Veteran Democratic strategist David Axelrod said the episode speaks to two well-known attributes of Biden: his liability as undisciplined and his strength as one who empathizes with those in pain.

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Axelrod doesn’t see it as particularly damaging, but notes such episodes, should they continue, could answer one of the central question facing Biden: Is he up to the intellectual rigours of being president?

“Where it becomes problematical is if It’s seen as evidence of some sort of decay,” said Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “That is obviously a danger. Anything that raises those concerns is problematic. I don’t think this is the one that could tip the scales.”

Biden’s supporters this week in South Carolina have been unfazed by any mounting criticism – particularly in comparison to Trump, who regularly misspeaks and has treated truth casually since he first launched his campaign in 2015.

“Look at Trump, a habitual, sinister liar,” said Dawn Deboskey, a 57-year-old from Anderson, South Carolina. “The vice-president is absolutely on point, discussing every issue in a knowledgeable way. I have zero concerns.”

At the campaign town hall where Deboskey came to see Biden, the candidate opted for a humorous defence against those who question whether he’s still up for the job. On education, he opted against offering detailed numbers when talking through his usual riff on the need for more social workers.

Offer a number and turn out to be wrong, Biden said, “and the press will say Biden’s losing his mind. He can’t remember.”

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Google finds ‘indiscriminate iPhone attack lasting years’ – BBC News

August 29th, 2019

Fast food may contribute to teen depression, study says –

August 29th, 2019

ATLANTA (CNN) — Preteens are known for their defiant attitudes and dramatic mood swings, but over the last decade a much more disturbing characteristic has been increasing: depression.

A new study finds that one culprit may be a high fast-food, low plant-based diet. When researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham analyzed urine from a group of middle schoolers, they found high levels of sodium and low levels of potassium.

“High sodium, you’ve got to think of highly processed food,” said lead author Sylvie Mrug, chair of the psychology department at UAB. “This includes fast food, frozen meals and unhealthy snacks.”

Low potassium, Mrug added, is an indication of a diet that lacks healthy fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium, such as beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, avocados, yogurt and even salmon.

The study also found that higher urine levels of sodium, and potassium at baseline, predicted more signs of depression a year and a half later, even after adjusting for variables such as blood pressure, weight, age and sex.

“The study findings make sense, as potassium-rich foods are healthy foods,” said dietitian Lisa Drayer, a CNN health and nutrition contributor. “So, if adolescents include more potassium-rich foods in their diet, they will likely have more energy and feel better overall — which can lead to a better sense of well-being and improved mental health.”

Depression among middle schoolers is on the rise. An analysis of national data found the rate of major depressive episodes among kids 12 to 17 within the last year had increased by a whopping 52% between 2005 and 2017. The rate of depression, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts over the last year among older teens and young adults was even higher: 63%.

Many factors could be contributing to the deadly trend among teens, including a chronic lack of sleep, an overuse of social media, even a fear of climate change.

Prior studies have similarly found a link between fast food, processed baked goods and depression in adults. One study in Spain followed almost 9,000 people over six years and found a 48% higher risk of depression in those who ate more highly processed foods.

A meta-analysis of research from the United States, Spain, France, Australia, Greece and Iran also found a “robust association” between diet and depression. Their results showed people who avoided a highly processed diet and instead followed a Mediterranean diet — fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and little red meat or processed foods — had reduced risk of depression.

The new study was small — only 84 middle school girls and boys, 95% African-American from low-income homes. But the methods were solid: They captured overnight urine samples to objectively test for high sodium and low potassium at baseline and again a year and a half later. Symptoms of depression were gathered on both occasions during interviews with the children and their parents.

But the study could only find an association between sodium and depression, not a cause and effect, and much more research needs to be done, Mrug said.

“It might also be true that a poor diet could be linked to other risk factors for depression, such as social isolation, lack of support, lack of resources and access to healthcare and substance abuse,” Drayer said.

“It might be hard to tease out if diet is the factor or simply a marker for other risk factors for depression.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Metro Exec On Epic Games Store Exclusives: “We Should Welcome Epic And Their Business Model” – GameSpot

August 29th, 2019

Djokovic, Serena return to court in Day Five action – CNA

August 29th, 2019

NEW YORK: Novak Djokovic will look to keep recent shoulder injury at bay as he resumes his US Open title defence in the third round, while Serena Williams will look to take another step closer to a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title on Friday (Aug 30).

Djokovic will conclude the evening session inside Arthur Ashe Stadium when he faces American Denis Kudla in a rematch of their second-round Wimbledon meeting, which the Serbian won in straight sets.

But top-seeded Djokovic, who has won four of the last five Grand Slams, may need his left shoulder to cooperate as sudden pain in his second-round match affected his serve and backhand and nearly ended his title defence.

“Good thing about Grand Slams is you have a day off in between the matches,” said Djokovic. “I’m hoping that with a proper medical help and treatments, I’ll be able to get myself in a better state.”

Roger Federer will try to avoid another slow start when he kicks off the day session on Arthur Ashe against Briton Dan Evans and will be followed on the court by six-times champion Williams.

Federer has lost the opening set in each of his first two matches before flipping a switch and cruising to the finish line in dominant fashion.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion, who improved to 2-0 all-time against Evans when he beat him in the second round of the Australian Open this year, is not losing any sleep over his sluggish starts.

“I don’t think there is per se a secret to a good start other than warming up well, being well-prepared mentally. Not underestimating your opponent … You know me, I will always do that,” said Federer.

“So when it happens like this back-to-back matches, you know, it’s just a bit frustrating more than anything … but, yeah, can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward.”

Williams will also be keen to avoid falling into an early hole after being dealt a scare when she dropped the first set in her second-round match against American Caty McNally.

The 37-year-old will cap the afternoon session on the main showcourt when she battles Wimbledon quarter-finalist Karolina Muchova for the first time in her career.

“Muchova did well in Wimbledon. Actually got to see some of her matches, but not enough,” Williams said when asked about the test that awaits her in the third-round.

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Robots are working retail jobs at Walmart now – BGR

August 29th, 2019

Back in 2017, Walmart launched a pilot project that made some of its old-school brick-and-mortar retail stores seem like futuristic testbeds. The chain began trialing robots that could scan shelves to make sure items display the correct price and that they’re in stock, a test that started out in 50 stores.

This year, those robots will have rolled out to 350 Walmart stores, making robots an increasingly familiar presence in the store’s aisles as shoppers hunt for the retail giant’s signature low-price deals.

What’s more, Walmart — which also happens to be the world’s largest retailer, making this project an interesting one to follow — announced just a few months ago that it’s going to have floor-scrubbing robots in a little less than half of its 4,700 US stores. Separate from the inventory-scanning robots, there will also be bots at some 1,700 stores that automatically scan boxes as they’re unloaded from delivery trucks so that they can be sorted on conveyor belts.

If it all sounds incredibly dystopian to see robot “workers” alongside customers — well, we can’t say Walmart didn’t warn us.

Image Source: Bossa Nova Robotics

“The overall trend we’re seeing is that automating certain tasks gives associates more time to do work they find fulfilling and to interact with our customers,” CEO Doug McMillon said last year.

You can imagine where this is headed. Unfortunately, Walmart’s US CFO Michael Dastugue said in a recent conference call with analysts that “As we evolve, there are certain jobs that will go away.” Efficiency generated from automated robots seems to be part of the reason for that expectation.

As we said, this is an interesting project to watch unfold partly because of how mainstream this will make robotics feel to members of the general public. Consider: Some 90% of the US population lives within just 10 miles of a Walmart store. Relying on an increasingly robotics-heavy workforce is also expected to save Walmart a ton of money. That’s partly due to the simple fact of its size — and the size of its sprawling stores.

When you realize how big its supercenters can be (178,000 square feet) you can then start to imagine how expensive it is to operate one, in terms of paying employees as well as other costs. Walmart spent more than $2 billion in 2018 remodeling stores, money that was spent as a function of the retailer’s awareness that its stores need to change as economic forces around them likewise change.

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