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McCain Pleads Case for Raising Defense Spending

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The combination of stringent spending caps and growing worldwide challenges “have left each of our military services underfunded, undersized, and unready to meet current and future threats,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) stated in a “dear colleague” letter intended to build support this week for action to lift the statutory cap on defense spending.McCain sent the letter on Friday, one day after he telling a Brookings Institution audience he plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill to raise the spending cap by at least $17 billion.McCain’s plan for increasing Pentagon funding to restore shortfalls in readiness and capability contrasts with the approach House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) adopted in crafting his chamber’s version of the annual defense policy bill. The House measure calls for allocating $18 billion from the uncapped overseas contingency operations account (OCO) to base budget items not requested by the administration.If McCain’s amendment passes and is incorporated into the final version of the authorization bill, it would upend the two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached last year to lift the caps on both defense and non-defense spending.His letter details shortfalls each of the services is experiencing at the same time threats across the globe — including aggressive behavior by Russia and China, the emergence of the Islamic State and an escalation in cyberattacks on the United States — are breaking out.“These and other growing demands on our force have occurred with no commensurate increase in resources, so our military is being forced to raid funds that it needs now to restore readiness, maintain equipment and modernize its equipment,” McCain states.His letter lists a series of budget-driven cuts that would go ahead in the absence of additional funds for the Pentagon:downsizing the Navy, with no plan to reach a fleet of at least 323 ships;retiring the Navy’s 10th air wing;cancelling over 50 military construction projects; andunderfunding facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, with the current budget funding only 74 percent of such requirements.Failure to raise the defense cap also would prevent the Senate from providing resources to rebuild the military’s readiness levels, freeze the drawdown of the Army and reverse the drawdown of the Marine Corps.“When the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, I am committed to seeking solutions to give our service members the resources, training, and the equipment they need and deserve,” McCain said.last_img read more

Google Duplex is less creepy assistant and more autofill on steroids

first_img 0 Jul 10 • How to get Android 10 right now Post a comment See All Now playing: Watch this: Mobile Google Alphabet Inc. reading • Google Duplex is less creepy assistant and more autofill on steroids Tags Aug 12 • Google will ask you to migrate your Nest account soon: Here’s what you need to know 3:03center_img Jul 24 • Nest Hub Max: Google’s 10-inch Assistant smart display costs $230, debuts Sept. 9 Google Duplex expands beyond phone calls and can book… Share your voice Google Duplex’s new update is like autofill on steroids. James Martin/CNET Last year, Google stoked intense controversy when it announced Duplex, a technology that uses eerily human-sounding artificial intelligence software to book restaurant reservations and hair appointments. Immediately, the project spurred a debate over ethics in artificial intelligence and generated fear over a robot’s ability to deceive people.Now Google is unveiling its follow up — and it’s a lot less disturbing. At the company’s I/O developer conference on Tuesday, the search giant announced an update to Duplex called “Duplex on the Web” that’ll allow it to make more types of bookings. Now it will also be able to handle car rentals and movie tickets. Aug 26 • Android Q has a name: Android 10. Here’s how you’ll use it But this one doesn’t involve speech-mimicking robots that spark debate over AI ethics. It’s basically like autofill on steroids. It automates the process of filling out forms you’d find on the mobile web.Here’s how it works: You’d say something like, “Hey Google, get me a rental car from National for my next trip.” The Assistant then pulls up National’s website on your phone and starts filling out the fields in real time.Throughout the process you see a progress bar, like you’d see if you were downloading a file. Whenever the system needs more information, like a price or seat selection, the process pauses and prompts you to make a selection. When it’s done, you tap to confirm the booking or payment. The system fills out the form by using data culled from your calendar, Gmail inbox and Chrome autofill (like your credit card information and login info). The update will launch later this year on Android phones.The new Duplex announcement is much tamer than last year’s debut, which freaked out audiences from the very moment Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented the demo. The artificial intelligence software is patterned after human speech, using verbal tics like “uh” and “um.” It speaks with the cadence of a real person, pausing before responding and elongating certain words as though it’s buying time to think.The tech brought to life a vision of what a voice assistant could sound like in the future: Natural and lifelike, instead of the semirobitic, disembodied voice you hear coming from a Google Home or Amazon Echo today.The demo immediately raised flags for AI experts, industry watchers and consumers, who worried about the ethics of creating robots that could fool people into thinking they were talking to other humans. Google later said it would build in disclosures so people would know they were talking to automated software. Now the feature is available on both Android phones and iPhones, in 43 states. Still, the visceral backlash was a key moment for Google, Scott Huffman, head of engineering for the Google Assistant, told me earlier this year. “The strength of the reaction surprised me,” he said. “It made it clear to us how important those societal questions are going forward.”The new update also redefines how Google is thinking of Duplex. It’s not just the name of the search giant’s human-sounding AI. It’s more of a class of software that helps with performing tasks, and for now that’s booking — whether it’s over the phone, on the web or somewhere else in the future. “The way we think about Duplex, in broad strokes, it’s a model of technology that allows us to automate tasks,” Manuel Bronstein, vice president of product for the Assistant, said in an interview last week. “It just happens to be that the first task that we showed to automate was making a phone call to a restaurant.”Originally published at 10:25 a.m. PT.  Google I/O 2019 • Google I/O 2019last_img read more

Fortnite season 10 Turbo Building changes and It Chapter 2 crossover leak

first_imgFortnite season 10 is already full of surprises.  Epic Games Fortnite season 10, aka season X, is live. The new season doesn’t yet have any of the sweeping changes found in previous seasons, but it looks as though the island will be in a state of flux until the start of season 11, which could be sometime in October. What’s new?Epic made a short post Tuesday regarding changes to Turbo Building. The developer says some players with low pings had a slight advantage with building, so they added a slight delay of 0.15 seconds, up from the original 0.05 seconds, to even things out. Added last year to Fortnite, Turbo Building allowed players to hold down the respective build button to create a structure in whichever direction they were pointing rather than having to press a button each time. It’s an important part of advanced strategies so many players immediately complained about the changes, including pro gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who says they “nerf building.” Tags The Fiends are only found in Retail Row and can drop loot when destroyed. Players entering the area will receive full shields but will have to be aware of the Fiends as well as of other players. Also included in the v10.10 update is a change to the Brute, the new mech added in season 10 that many players take umbrage at. As previously stated by Epic, the robot will have a targeting laser added to help other players recognize when they’re in danger. There were also several changes of when and how often the Brute spawns. The mechs will spawn more often earlier in the match and as the storm circle closes in, the chances for a Brute to appear will decrease. Epic added a new throwable called the Junk Rift in the Aug. 20 v10.10 content update. The trailer for the item depicts it as a new tool to take down a Brute.  A few hours late, but the Rift Beacon in Mega Mall has now been activated! pic.twitter.com/PcF0wyRgNi— s1l0x (@s1l0x) August 11, 2019 Nobody:Not a single person:Like literally nobody ever:Not even the aliens in Area 51:Fortnite: Lets nerf 90s— Ninja (@Ninja) August 27, 2019 3 Update v10.10 made another big change to the island as Mega Mall is gone and Retail Row is back, but with a twist. The new patch went live on Aug. 14 with the older location coming back, and inside the dome surrounding the spots are zombie-like creatures called Fiends.  Comments FIRST, PENNYWISE SOUND FILES NOW A FILE CALLED CREEPY BALLOON!!?? IT’S 100% a CROSSOVER!! pic.twitter.com/plC8Y5vk3D— HYPEX – Fortnite Leaks & News (@HYPEX) August 27, 2019 A Rift Beacon appears in Dusty Depot, but it’s the one in Mega Mall that became active on Monday, Aug. 12. This means the spot may get thrown into a time warp with the next update.  Retail Row has returned but there are some unexpected guests returning with it.Grab your squad and take on the fiends now! pic.twitter.com/BZMR5ABsgz— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 14, 2019 On Aug. 5, players saw something in the Neo Tilted area. A Rift Beacon was activated, creating a rift above the location.  In Tilted Town, there are a select amount of weapons unvaulted by Epic that fit with the Old West setting. The weapons are the Double Barrel Shotgun, Six Shooter, Hunting Rifle and Infantry Rifle.Epic also released a new weapon in the same update. The Automated Sniper Rifle lets players shoot four rounds per second and bullets travel faster than other rifles. fortnite automated sniper rifleThe new Automated Sniper Rifle. Epic Games Fortnite players saw on Aug. 9 that a new Rift Beacon is being built in Dusty Depot. This means the location that just returned at the start of season 10 may change in the coming days just like Tilted Town.  Now playing: Watch this: Aug. 6 marked the first big change to the island since the beginning of Fortnite season 10. Neo Tilted went back in time and is now called Tilted Town. The area has an Old West motif and its own special rules: “no buildin’, no breakin.'” The Rift Beacon at Neo Tilted is now opening a rift #Fortnite pic.twitter.com/02zRdCOBhD— Fortnite News | LootLake.net (@LootLakeBR) August 5, 2019 Gaming First discovered by data miners at the start of the season, Tilted Town is its own unique space on the island. Players who run into the dome surrounding the location will have their attire changed to something out of Red Dead Redemption, and they are unable to build any structures or harvest any materials. Or can they?One Twitter user found a way to enter Tilted Town with the ability to build. He does so by creating a platform right above the outskirts of the town. Once there, he edits a platform he’s standing on that lets him drop in without changing his attire and still have access to building structures.  56 Photos Share your voicecenter_img The Junk Rift creates a rift above where it makes contact, and several objects will fall to the ground. That junk does big damage to anything directly under it and also deals splash damage to other players nearby. Tuesday’s update also saw another change to the map, as the Rec Center located to the west of Neo Tilted is no more. A rift beacon explosion destroyed the area instead of transforming it like Tilted Town and Retail Row. Left behind are a few chests and some Glitched Consumables. These are items used to gain health, shields or another ability such as the Hop Rocks from season 5 that made players jump higher once consumed. Glitched consumablesA circle of glitched consumables found in the Rec Center rubble.  Epic Games The consumables will randomly switch between apples, coconuts, mushrooms, peppers and the previously mentioned Hop Rocks. Shadow Stones were initially among the items available, but Epic tweeted Tuesday that they were removed because of an undisclosed issue. The latest update for Fortnite is all about a new crossover. This time it’s with the upcoming Borderlands 3 video game. The crossover will give players a taste of the Borderlands series by bringing Pandora to Paradise Palms. He is somewhere on the island…. pic.twitter.com/m0uXvhOvaY— FortTory – Fortnite Leaks & News (@FortTory) August 1, 2019 6:20 Neo Tilted will slowly change to a Wild West kinda look! pic.twitter.com/NDSI0JiHON— FortTory – Fortnite Leaks & News (@FortTory) August 1, 2019 This is how Tilted Town will look like.remember! This is without the new buildings, im currently trying to leak them ingame! pic.twitter.com/17DdllaxUc— FortTory – Fortnite Leaks & News (@FortTory) August 2, 2019 The Rift Beacon Is Being Built At Dusty Depot!#Fortnite📷: @Guille_GAG pic.twitter.com/ebHOQwjJRp— Fortnite Leaks And Info (@FNLeaksAndInfo) August 9, 2019 The Fortnite map for season 10 didn’t change, which is unusual for the start of a new season. In the v10.0 patch notes, Epic said Rift Zones will make locations from the past reappear. One data miner found assets in the update that show Neo Tilted may change to an Old West theme called Tilted Town.  How to build inside new tilted pic.twitter.com/Kkm8PevVJy— Javas (@JavasFN) August 6, 2019 Nothing has happened yet, but rifts could be part of the season 10 storyline. Data miners already discovered a new version of Neo Tilted called Tilted Town, which could change due to the rift.  Players can now visit the Pandora Rift Zone to see the new Borderlands theme. While in the zone, shields will regenerate automatically if a player doesn’t take any damage for a certain amount of time. There’s also a Psycho skin and Claptrap back bling available for purchase. Epic also added Welcome to Pandora challenges that will reward players with Borderlands-themed content. The Borderlands 3 crossover event lasts until Sept. 10, which is just a few days before the game’s release on Sept. 13. The v10.20 update, out on Aug. 27, also includes a new throwable, the Shield Bubble. Throwing one will create a large bubble that blocks projectiles and explosives for 30 seconds. Players can run through it and destroy the bubble’s emitter causing it to deactivate. Fortnite Shield BubbleProtect yourself and others with the Shield Bubble. Epic Games Fortnite is available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, and Android and iOS devices. The gaming experience isn’t complete without a good chair Originally published on July 28.This story has been updated regularly throughout season 10 to add the latest weapons, Easter eggs and events. Following the backlash, Epic reverted the Turbo Building changes, according to a blog post on Wednesday. The delay was removed, but as mentioned in the original post, there will be a 0.15 seconds time whenever a structure is destroyed before another can be rebuilt. Also on Tuesday, a Fortnite data miner discovered a possible upcoming crossover with the film It: Chapter 2. In the last update, there were assets related to the movie like a ballon called simply “Creepy Balloon” and an audio file that could be from Pennywise.  As teased by Epic during the Fortnite World Cup, Dusty Depot is now back on the island. There was also one addition to the map, although it’s above the island and not on it. The meteor from the season 3-ending event that destroyed Dusty Depot is in stasis above the impact point. fortnite season 10 mapThe map for Fortnite season 10. Epic Games Players can actually enter the meteor to find items and the capsule that contained the Visitor who was responsible for the rocket launch event in season 4 that began this whole time crisis.  How Fortnite, AR and YouTube influence toys The film is set for release on Sept. 6, which means this event could happen with the next update on Sept. 3. Epic might also launch the date of release like it did with the Stranger Things crossover. Season 10 rundownThe biggest change in Fortnite season 10 is a two-player mech called the Brute. The robot acts as a vehicle, with one player controlling its movement while the other can use its weapons, which include a shotgun and a missile launcher. Players can also use the mech’s Overshield ability, which will consume 200 materials of any type. Fortnite players took to the game’s subreddit to complain that the new mech is overpowered. Several threads included memes of how ridiculously powerful the Brute is. One thread has a fake tweet from Epic saying it’ll make changes to the mech to make it more balanced. One user posted a video of himself winning a match with the Brute, saying he didn’t deserve the Victory Royale. Even Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf had trouble with the mech. After numerous complaints from players, Epic nerfed the Brute on Aug. 22. Now the mech will fire fewer rockets, move slower and there’s a chance that a Brute won’t spawn at all during a match.   pic.twitter.com/P8ow3YjTQm— FortTory – Fortnite Leaks & News (@FortTory) August 5, 2019 Fortnite Nintendolast_img read more