Business and tech industry groups-representing Amazon.com Inc., Google, Visa Inc. and other companies-are urging the Trump administration not to halt work authorizations for spouses of immigrants who have specialty worker H-1B visas and are seeking permanent residency.
Restive Senate moderates in both parties are expressing hopes of finding a way out of the government shutdown mess as their leadership engaged in unrelenting finger-pointing over who was to blame for the stalemate
Visitors can still ride snowmobiles and snow coaches into Yellowstone National Park to gaze at the geysers and buffalo herds, despite the federal government shutdown
In an effort to keep its direct messaging system up-to-date with the likes of Facebook Messenger and other chat apps, Instagram this week debuted a new feature that allows you to see when your friends were last online. In order to test the feature yourself, just open the Instagram app, tap on the Direct button at the top right of the screen and you can see when everyone that you have messaged within the app last logged on. Only people who you follow and those that you've messaged in the past will be able to see your activity status, but the feature is turned on by default. In other words, without your prior knowledge, all of your connections on Instagram can now see the last time you opened the app. The good news is that you can toggle the feature off. If you would rather not let everyone you follow know how frequently you check Instagram throughout the day, all you have to do is tap on your profile tab, tap the gear icon next to Edit Profile, scroll down Settings and toggle the switch next to Show Activity Status. This will turn the feature off and allow you to browse in peace as often as you like. The only downside is that you won't be able to see when others were last online if the toggle is turned off. This feature has been a part of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and many other popular chat apps for years, so it was really only a matter of time until Instagram adopted it as well. But many other chat apps, including Facebook's, don't allow you to turn the feature off. While some may prefer it, it's nice to have the option not to use it.
In a rather bizarre weekend tale, a San Francisco man on Friday evening passed out drunk in his Tesla Model S while trying to drive across the Bay Bridge, according to a report from SFGATE. As the story goes, the man fell asleep in bumper to bumper traffic whereupon other drivers on the road, seemingly unaware of the man's inebriated state, called the police for help. A short while later, officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) showed up to assess the situation and see what was going on -- and this is where things take a turn for the absurd. Upon waking up, the Tesla owner tried to convince the attending officers that everything was okay because the car was "on autopilot." It was subsequently revealed that the man had a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit. Not surprisingly, he was arrested on charges of drunk driving, his appeal to the Tesla Autopilot gods notwithstanding. With a somewhat comical take on the matter, the official CHP Twitter account posted the following late on Friday night. https://twitter.com/CHPSanFrancisco/status/954418933225762816 Incidentally, it's worth noting that the current incarnation of Autopilot on Tesla vehicles will not simply take passed out or even inattentive drivers on a multi-hour journey. Due to some well-placed concerns stemming from Tesla owners posting absurd Autopilot videos online a few years back -- including one of man who, with Autopilot engaged, decided to sit in the backseat -- Tesla in recent years rolled out an update whereby drivers have to touch the steering wheel at least once every two minutes for Autopilot to remain on. Barring that, the car will simply slow down and eventually come to a halt, as was the case in the story above.
"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" outdid another weekend's worth of newcomers to top the North American box office for the third straight weekend, making the surprise hit the fifth-highest grossing film of all time for Sony Pictures
To get an idea of how AI researcher Mike Cook spends his time, it might be helpful to play a game. A simple computer game that’s accessible here. In designing the game, Mike - a senior research fellow at the University of Falmouth - started with a partially finished concept. It involved the player directing an adventurer around a dungeon, killing skeletons to reach the exit. Mike didn’t finish developing the game, though. Credit for that goes to the automated computer engine Mike built, which develops games on its own. That system is called ANGELINA, a slightly tongue-in-cheek acronym for "A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I've Named ANGELINA". The short version of what happened is ANGELINA took Mike’s initial idea and ran with it. And in the process of designing levels for the game, it also completely changed the game’s purpose. Instead of the player controlling a single adventurer who kills skeletons to reach the exit, ANGELINA designed things so that you’d have to sacrifice some of the multiple adventurers in each level in order to allow the rest to escape safely. “It was a really clever piece of level design,” Mike enthuses about the game he calls “Before Venturing Forth.” He’s been working on ANGELINA and watching it crank out games - some fun, some laughably bad and plenty in between - for a few years now. One of the goals for 2018 is to stream ANGELINA live on Twitch, so that viewers can actually watch these AI-generated games being built and taking shape. Here’s how he explains the way ANGELINA works to BGR: “The most common technique in ANGELINA is computational evolution. So let's say it's designing a level for a game it's making. It'll begin with a big bunch of random levels, most of them really bad, and it'll play each level and try and finish it. And almost all of them will be terrible, but maybe one or two are slightly less terrible than the others. So it picks the best ones, and mixes them together to make new levels. Maybe it takes the top half of one level and the bottom half of another level and glues them together. Then it starts the process again with these new hybrid levels. “I've broken down the game design process into different tasks, like designing levels, inventing rules, or testing difficulty. ANGELINA selects tasks based on what it’s current game is missing, and then uses techniques like computational evolution to perform each task. Right now it has to rely on my opinions for some things - for example, I tell it that levels which take longer to solve must be better. Hopefully in the future I can make it more independent so it can throw away these ideas and develop new opinions for what makes a level good or a game fun.” Here’s a playthrough of a game made by ANGELINA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=yzWCJiNC_Lg In all, Mike reckons ANGELINA has released around 30 games, with another 10 to 15 that almost no one will ever see. Most of the games are deleted, because they don’t really represent the full scope of the system’s capabilities. Sort of like an artist throwing away old sketches, Mike explains. He’s been interested in this kind of thing - using software to make things, how software can be creative on its own, how it can help us be more creative and then applying all of that to game design - for years. Maybe it can be traced all the way back to when he was a kid, playing games like Civilization and “wondering how it made a new world map every time you played.” Later on, he learned about the field of computational creativity, a field he wanted to go into specifically with video games in mind. So instead of building games on his own, why did he want to build an engine that could do it? “One motivation was that this was a really new area,” he tells BGR. “Almost no one has looked at some of these questions, and even if they turn out to be really hard to answer, trying and failing to answer them can often reveal new ideas, new directions and new challenges. Totally automating game design is a huge challenge and could take decades to make progress in, but along the way we'll make lots of small discoveries that will help people making games right now. So there's lots of small, technical advances that are really great, and it also helps us look at game design from a new angle.” But his work in a roundabout way also touches more than just video games. It’s another example of researchers trying to probe the limits of how artificial intelligence can be made to “think,” whatever that means for an inanimate piece of computer hardware. To make its own decisions and to solve problems on its own. “The best artificial intelligence research isn't about really creating technology for now, it's about asking questions about the future,” Mike says. “Darius Kazemi, a really wonderful Twitter bot designer, was once asked what he did for a living, and he described it as ‘giving people a glimpse of the future by rearranging the present,’ and artificial intelligence research feels a lot like that sometimes. ANGELINA is a very simple AI. It can't do much, but it lets us ask much bigger questions and talk about it together. Questions like: if an AI creates something, who legally owns it? If an AI can create a masterpiece, can it just make a hundred of them every day or will it run out? Would you ever pay for something made by an AI? Would you pre-order it? Would you ask it for advice on your own work?” ANGELINA has been through several changes over the years. Mike is currently working on the sixth version, which will make 2D games and, he hopes, will combine all the best features of previous ANGELINAs. It'll be able to design games quickly, but also spend time thinking about new ideas for games or go back to old ideas and improve them. “It's sort of a new era for the project.” “I'm polishing up ANGELINA's interface so people can watch it design games on Twitch and talk to it in Twitch chat and trying to improve the quality of the games it makes. After that I'll be working on expanding the kinds of games it can make and letting it invent new game concepts.”
The founder of SmartThings, a company now owned by Samsung, says connected lights are more popular than speakers or cameras because they don't have the same security and privacy concerns.
Roomba brand robot vacuums are still the best in the business after all these years, but they’re also among the most expensive options out there. Not everyone wants to drop that kind of cash on a vacuum, and the good news is you don’t have to. The Pure Clean Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is a terrific option for vacuuming up dust and light debris, and it even handles pet hair pretty well. At just $70, it’s the perfect way to dip your toes in the robot vacuum pool without parting with a mountain of cash. Here are some important details from the product page: CLEANS YOUR HOME AUTOMATICALLY: Let the stress of having to spend valuable time vacuuming disappear with this Next Generation Robot Vacuum. This handy vacuum allows you to get your housework done quicker and more efficiently. The low-profile design lets it slides underneath furnitures and the obstacle detection makes it clean around household objects. Just place the Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner on your floor and choose from the 3 selectable cleaning modes - Not Designed for Thick or Shag Carpets FULL CONTROL OF YOUR LEVEL OF CLEAN: The 3 selectable modes allow you to choose your level of cleaning. Select with the top Panel Touch Button Control Mode Selector from 10 Min., 20 Min. & Max Mode (90 minutes) depending on the room size and how dirty the floor is. Just set the time and let your Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner do all the work with a Simple One-Button Activation. Works on Hardwood, Linoleum, Tile, Low/Hard Carpet Floors and has a Secondary Spinning Side Brush that Lifts Debris. EASY USAGE AND STORAGE: This vacuum has detachable brush for easy cleaning. It has Automatic 'Bag-less' operation with garbage collection tray that opens for easy disposal. When the Pure Clean Smart Robot Vacuum is done cleaning storage is easy. Its low profile and compact size allows it to be stored anywhere easily and rapidly. This makes the Pure Clean Vacuum an essential tool for home cleaning. RECHARGEABLE BATTERY: Charge the unit via the included power cable. The built-in battery allows the unit to be used without having to be connected to a power source. This gives the vacuum a full range of motion so it can get into every area of your room to leave it clean and the unit has operation LED light indicators to let you know where you stand - Includes Charging Cable Power Adapter. TECHNICAL SPECS: Debris Sweeper 4.0'' Diameter Brush - Vacuum Cleaning 7.0'' Brush Length - Battery: Built-in Ni-CD 7.2V, 1600mAh (9.36Wh) - Charge Time: About 3 Hours - Vacuum Operation Run-Time: 90 Minutes - Dust Bin Capacity: 0.3L
The early part of January is typically the slowest time of the year when it comes to app releases, but things picked up in a big way this week as a ton of fresh content made its way to the App Store. Below are ten games that you're going to want to try out this week, and best of all, they're all free to download. Blocky Racing Blocky Racing is classic kart racing game madness. Speed your way through 55 unique tracks equipped with shortcuts for advantage. Unlock new racers with varying stats based on the vehicle design. Collect power-ups to use weapons like missiles or shield boost for competitive advantage against other rival racers. Blocks will fall off the race karts when damaged and eventually break apart. Can you survive and race to the finish line? ACTION-FILLED RACE TRACKS Race in over 50 unique race tracks in different themes and hidden shortcuts / obstacles UNIQUE RACE VEHICLES Unlock 16 racers (Snowmobile, Dune Buggy, Rubber Ducky, etc) with different strengths and weaknesses traits RACE WITH DESTRUCTION Damage system that affect race performance and break the vehicle apart block by block UPGRADE ADVANTAGE Upgrade vehicle stats to increase performance and survivability to win race COMPETITIVE SOCIAL Connect Facebook to compare race progress and leaderboard with friends Optimized for iOS 11 and iPhone X. Note: Blocky Racing is free to play but offers some optional in-game items that can be purchased for real money. Download Blocky Racing Catsby Catsby works in Happy Technology. He helps people to become happy. One day, he signed a big contract with Steven to make his master Doctor Philip become happy again. Unfortunately, during the task, he was turned into a cat. But he still has to finish his task, so here his "Cat Adventure" goes... Feature - Varied weapons. During this game, you should go to different places to find different weapons which can help you a lot during your adventure. Because you need some special weapons to kill some special enemies, or they can't be killed. Sometime, special weapons can also help you to find some goods that might tell you some secrets about Doctor Philip. By the way, you need to kill the boss to get the weapons. - Different skills. In this game, There are someplaces that you can't go without these skills. Like hanging, flapping and so on. And most of them are put in some dangerous places. So please watch out and remember to save the game. - Lots of game maps. There are 129 maps in this game which are divided into 3 themes: Desert, Castle and Haunted house, so you're very easy to get lost. With the weapons and the skills, find the right way will be the smart choice. Don't get lost in the game. Download Catsby Fly Away Join these little winged creatures on their adventure through their playgrounds, Fly through beautifully crafted landscapes like the Fairy Lands, Ancient Egypt, The Snow, The Wild West and more in this immersive and charming game. dynamic weather, thunderstorms, fly through day to night. Take flight through the golden rings, collect stars, dodge obstacles, don't get electrocuted while challenging your reaction, charge your fairy dust and you will become invincible. With Over 50 costumes to collect, Challenge friends and top the global leader-boards. Features: • 5 Beautifully crafted worlds • Dynamic weather and lighting, fly from day through to night, sunshine to thunderstorms. • Control/Game Pad support (optional) • Collect upgrades along the way including the helmet, magnet and fairy dust! • Simple flight controls, fly up back and around! • Smooth and fluid physics based game-play • Over 50 Fairy Costumes to collect • Beautiful sounds and music, each world has its own soundtrack to reflect the mood. • Proceduraly generated levels • Challenge friends, Top the global leader-boards! Download Fly Away Forgotten Hill Mementoes Collect snippets of Forgotten Hill memory going through the stories of its most mysterious residents. Together with an ancient spirit you'll face a dark journey in the past to discover new disturbing mysteries. Can you survive? Download Forgotten Hill Mementoes now and you'll get: - 5 different chapters set inside Forgotten Hill memory, including the brand new part - "Mischief Night" - attractive graphics that will completely involve you in the story - grotesque characters and a a long compelling story - tons of puzzles and riddles to test your brain skills - all text and dialogues translated in 7 languages: english, spanish, portoguese, frensh, italian, russian and korean - our new exclusive hint system, if you are stuck one simple tap will provide you some help - full game totally FREE: no hidden fee, no registration neede, simply instal, play and enjoy! Check out www.forgotten-hill.com to find out new secrets about Forgotten Hill. Download Forgotten Hill Mementoes Hero Academy 2 HERO ACADEMY returns in an all-new sequel that’s bigger, faster, and more tactical than ever! Create your custom army from tons of medieval characters and factions! Fight real-time PVP arena battles. Compete to rule dozens of battle boards in the ultimate combination of tactics and strategy! HERO ACADEMY IS BACK! 5 million downloads later, the award-winning franchise and Game of the Year returns in all-new sequel that’s bigger, faster, and better than ever. TACTICS MEETS CUSTOM TEAM BUILDING Build your army, then outwit your opponent on the battlefield with chess-like precision! Control of your team combines with movement-based tactics in the ultimate 2-in-1 combo. PVP REAL-TIME MATCHES. Enter the arena to fight friends and foes in fast, turn-based battles. COLLECT COOL CHARACTERS Choose from hundreds of Hero Academy’s trademark warriors, wizards, spells, and shields across multiple factions. ENJOY MEDIEVAL MAYHEM: EASY TO PLAY. HARD TO PUT DOWN. Hero Academy 2’s combination of deck building and boardgame-like movement makes the game easy to understand and provides tons of strategy variations. HERO QUEST. Hone your deck and test your skills. Explore the Academy in single player campaigns and missions. FREE CHARACTERS AND CARDS. Build your deck and team with every victory. Crafting makes every win meaningful and rewarding! WIN MANY WAYS. New monthly seasons give tons of chances to climb the leaderboards. NEW HEROES. NEW CHALLENGES. Constant updates bring new arenas, characters, and battles. Download Hero Academy 2 It's Full of Sparks When the spark of life is lit, the countdown begins. It's Full of Sparks is a beautiful platforming experience about the life of a firecracker. Embark on a journey to find The Old One, a mythical firecracker whose fuse has never been lit. But what is life without sparks? - Explore over 80 unique, hand crafted levels - Play at your own pace or Speedrun to the top of the leaderboards - Enjoy a lively original soundtrack - Master the ability to switch colors, jump, fly, climb, dodge and more Download It's Full of Sparks Mind Construct In Mind Construct, embark into a minimalist Sci-Fi world as you attempt to collect memories and discover the fate of Earth-- and your own! Solve colorful levels with quick movements and thoughtful gameplay, unlocking the secrets of the past every level! The game features: • Unique skill-based gameplay: Collect memories and avoid the barriers of your mind! • A rich Sci-Fi story: Discover who you are... and the fate of the Earth! • Mesmerizing levels: Each level is hand-crafted with beautiful colors and patterns. • Instant-play: Incredibly easy to learn, with the first tap of the screen the game begins! • Entrancing Music: With theatrical quality music, playing is a tranquil and relaxing experience. Mind Construct is a casual game built within a deep Sci-Fi world. The rules of the game are simple-- but the secrets of your mind are not so easily unlocked! For fans of Force Escape, learn the backstory behind your frenzied escape from Earth! Download Mind Construct Pipeline Push Pass through the pipes and use the momentum to smash through the obstacles! Zig zag to avoid spikes. Use a bazooka to blow your enemies to smithereens! Do you have enough patience and zen to survive this hardest rage game ever? Download Pipeline Push Rocket Glow! Move to the digital world of glowing geometric shapes. Avoid orange obstacles steering amazingly fast neon rocket. The further you go, the more points you get. Collect bonuses to gain additional points! This game offers you procedurally generated infinite world, becoming more and more difficult with every obstacle. In this digital world there are also some power-ups, which can make your game easier or more challenging. Temporary acceleration, slow down, immortality and inversion of control give you the opportunity to choose between easier way or harder but with more bonuses. Download Rocket Glow! World of Warships Blitz World of Warships Blitz is a free-to-play mobile MMO action game by Wargaming and is based on the award winning PC version of World of Warships. World of Warships Blitz brings the World War 2 naval strategy and action of PC to the highly immersive, quick and fast paced action on mobile and tablet. You can now master the great juggernauts from USA, Japan, Russia, Britain; with a variety of Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers and even Aircraft carriers, and jump straight into quick, action-packed 7vs7 epic warships battles no matter where you are! A truly free-to-play game. No timers, energy bars, fuel—play as much as you want and whenever you want. Download World of Warships Blitz