U.S. Conservatives Outnumber Liberals by Narrowing Margin

Many more Americans have considered themselves politically conservative than liberal since the early 1990s. That remained the case in 2016, when an average of 36% of U.S. adults throughout the year identified themselves as conservative and 25% as liberal. Yet that 11-percentage-point margin is half of what it was at its peak in 1996 and is down from 14 points only two years ago.

Gallup Poll on Americans’ political views by year.

Since Gallup began routinely measuring Americans’ political ideology in 1992, conservative identification has varied between 36% and 40%. At the same time, there has been a clear increase in the percentage identifying as politically liberal, from 17% to 25%. This has been accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the percentage identifying as “moderate,” from 43% to 34%. >> continue reading <<


Trump team seeks agency records on border barriers, surveillance

In a wide-ranging request for documents and analysis, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security last month to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.

The team also asked about the department’s capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program that was scaled back by the Obama administration but remains popular with immigration hardliners. And it asked whether federal workers have altered biographic information kept by the department about immigrants out of concern for their civil liberties.

The requests were made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump’s transition team and Department of Homeland Security officials, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters. The document offers a glimpse into the president-elect’s strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing policies put in place by the Obama administration.

Trump’s transition team did not comment in response to Reuters inquiries. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to comment. >> continue reading <<

Raspberry Pi’s Pixel for PC and Mac gives life to older computers

Older computers come back to life using Raspberry Pi’s Pixel…

Raspberry Pi Pixel OS

Pixel is a lightweight operating system with a clean desktop UI released by the foundation behind the affordable, tinker-friendly Raspberry Pi $35 computer in September, and now it’s available for PC or Mac users who might want to throw old hardware into renewed service. The lightweight Linux-based OS now comes as a downloadable image you can either burn to a DVD or load onto a USB drive, letting you boot directly into the Pixel environment on any Mac or PC that has at least 512MB of RAM and an x86 processor.

That means if you have an old laptop lying around, like the OG plastic MacBook or an ancient ThinkPad, you could get it going again with a modern OS for basic tasks, including web browsing via Chromium which is pre-installed. Other software in Pixel includes a select suite of productivity software and programming tools, and it’s all built on Debian, which itself has a wide range of free software available.

Raspberry Pi is distributing a physical booting DVD with The MagPi magazine on this month’s issue, but you can very easily create your own by downloading the image here and burning it to your own disk or drive. The Foundation recommends Etcher to create the bootable drive, and indeed, it makes the whole process quite user friendly.

This is a prototype build, so expect to encounter some bugs and hardware compatibility issues. Raspberry Pi says that modern Macs will have trouble recognizing the drive as bootable, so that’s a known problem. But the organization said it was important they create this Mac and PC version fist because they believe it’s useful for schools to be able to install the OS on old hardware, so that it’s one environment across home and school for students using Raspberry Pis at home, and because they really want to make a go of turning Pixel into the best desktop OS out there, regardless of hardware.

The standard disclaimers apply: you use this at your own risk, and the risk of your files on your old computers. And if you want to save files locally, you’ll need to use a USB drive for write capability. But it really sounds like a pretty low-risk way to resuscitate old hardware you might have hanging around.

Automotive neural net working well, we hope.

Elon Musk states his Tesla and  Nvidia powered Autopilot neural net is working well…

Do you remember seeing the Tesla car with its driver asleep at the wheel? What about the reports of some Tesla cars entering ‘driverless’ mode and wrecking? Well, according to Elon Musk, the famous owner of Tesla Motors, the newer driverless system is working well. Let’s see some testing with no accidents this time…

7-Eleven makes first drone delivery!

7-Eleven makes the first commercial delivery by drone before Amazon and Google…

You may soon be able to order a Slurpee without having to leave your home. Drone startup Flirtey recently partnered with convenience store chain 7-Eleven to make the first commercial delivery to a private residence in Reno, Nevada earlier this month.

The delivery took place on July 11th when Flirtey flew an autonomous drone a mile from a 7-Eleven location to a private home in Reno. According to 7-Eleven, the initial delivery included a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy, and Slurpees. The goods were packaged into two containers, each of which were separately flown to the home. Once they arrived, each container was lowered to the ground and retrieved by the homeowners.

The drone flew autonomously from the store to the household, using the vehicle’s GPS system to navigate. The company first selected a store from which to deliver, and surveyed customers within a one-mile radius to see if they would be willing to take part in the pilot program.

This isn’t the first delivery that Flirtey has made. It was the first company to make a delivery of medical supplies in Virginia in 2015, flew water and emergency supplies to a home in Hawthrone, Nevada and completed the first shore-to-ship delivery last month. This delivery appears to be the first time that a customer has placed an order with a store and had it delivered.

Developing the infrastructure required for delivering purchases by drone to customers is a goal that many retailers have been working toward — most notably Amazon.com and Walmart. However, while the regulatory environment has begun to shift, there are still many hurdles to go before autonomous deliveries are a reality. This first experiment with 7-Eleven and Flirtey is a first tiny step toward that goal.

7-Eleven noted that it plans to continue working with the drone company, but didn’t lay out any sort of timeline for rolling out autonomous deliveries to a wider region.

Via: Tech Crunch, Popular Science