There’s no other way to describe it.
In 2013, Cillizza’s selection was Barack Obama. He cited the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, the NSA domestic-surveillance scandal, the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups, and the continuing questions about the administration’s actions before, during, and after the attack on Americans in Benghazi.
“These are strenuous efforts to avoid the obvious: Obama’s ideas didn’t work. He failed to deliver what he promised.”
In 2014, Cillizza’s selection was Obama, again. The midterm elections went abysmally for Democrats, the threat of ISIS became much clearer, Russia moved into Ukraine, and former CIA director and secretary of defense Leon Panetta painted an unflattering portrait of the president’s leadership in his memoirs.
In 2015, Cillizza picked two co-“winners,” Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The reasons were obvious. By December 2015, it was clear Bush’s odds of winning the nomination were small and shrinking quickly. Clinton, meanwhile, looked likely to emerge bloodied from the Democratic primaries after a tougher-than-expected fight with Bernie Sanders.
“President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.”
This year, Cillizza assessed the surprising post-election political landscape and selected “The Democrats”:
The Democrats may be effectively locked out of power in all three branches of government for years. At the state level, after last month’s elections, they’ll control only 16 governorships and 13 legislatures.
This year, punctuated by Hillary Clinton’s loss, exposed the remarkably shallow depth of the Democratic bench. The size of the Republican primary field — for which the GOP was relentlessly mocked — was also a sign of the party’s health up and down the ballot. Democrats simply didn’t have the political talent to put forward 17 candidates (or even seven). That’s partly because there’s been limited opportunity to move up in the leadership ranks. Pelosi (Calif.) and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and James E. Clyburn (S.C) have had a death grip on the party’s top congressional slots for a very long time. It’s also partly because the Democratic farm system is hurting.
Lined up one after another, Cillizza’s picks create a broader narrative: President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.
The Department of Delicious Deception invites you to snack on these awesome cookies that look like beautiful crystalline geodes. Redditor LaFeltinelli made them from scratch. They’re concave orange-vanilla cookies filled with orange popsicle icing, and homemade rock candy crystals.
Seoul (AFP) – South Korean lawmakers on Friday passed an impeachment motion against President Park stripping away her sweeping executive powers over a corruption scandal that paralysed her administration and triggered massive street protests.
The National Assembly motion — passed by 234 votes to 56 — transfers Park’s authority to the prime minister, pending a decision by the Constitutional Court on whether to ratify the decision and permanently remove the president from office.
Update: South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment Friday means she has been stripped of power — but not the perks.
Even as her prime minister governs in her stead, Park gets to keep living at the presidential Blue House, using her official car and plane, collecting the same monthly salary (about $15,000 reportedly) and receiving round-the-clock security.
She also holds onto the title “President.”
But with nothing officially to do, it’s uncertain how she’ll spend her days during the up-to-six months the country’s Constitutional Court has to decide whether to accept the impeachment and formally end her presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
’We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China…On the contrary, they are coming back here,’ says market expert.
For a long time, a lot of American companies saw China as the world’s biggest business opportunity. But that time may be over.
“If you’re waiting for the booming Chinese consumer…it’s just not on the way. The upside is just not what some consumer firms were hoping for.”
— Derek Scissors, chief economist at China Beige Book International, which regularly surveys Chinese businesses
This week, McDonald’s was reportedly in talks to sell its China unit and license its name to a Chinese company instead, following Yum Brands ‘ decision to do something similar and spin off its China operations into a new firm called Yum China last month.
“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive.”
Coca-Cola announced plans to sell its China bottling business in November, and International Paper said in March that it’s spinning off its China and Southeast Asia corrugated packaging business.
“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is…monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China. China is a tough, tough market.”
— Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog
“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive,” said Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog.
“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is … monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China,” Harris said. “China is a tough, tough market.”
McDonald’s said in March it was looking for “strategic partners” for key Asia markets. Last year, Yum Brands said its decision to spin off its China unit followed a “rigorous review of strategic options.”
Fast food companies were early major entrants to China nearly three decades ago. As individual Chinese grew wealthier, the opportunities for tapping the Chinese consumer market appeared to grow exponentially. But roadblocks appeared: U.S. fast food chains struggled with food safety scandals in China, and other companies have had intellectual property such as trademarks stolen.
“We have seen a lot of U.S companies struggling [with] their China” operations, said Siva Yam, president of the Chicago-based U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce. “The market is much more mature. We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China. … On the contrary, they are coming back here.”
An annual report from the American Chamber of Commerce in China found last year that 32 per cent of member companies surveyed do not plan to expand investments in China, a percentage that’s higher than during the financial crisis in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »
The first wave of virtual reality cinemas, heralding what their creators claim will be an entertainment revolution, rolls out across the world this month.
“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years.”
— founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.
The first screening room in France opened Wednesday and several others are promised for Beijing, Shanghai and Los Angeles in the next few weeks.
Like the early days of cinema, virtual reality — or VR — is still something of a novelty sideshow.
But not for long, its supporters claim.
“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years,” said the founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.
“The VR revolution is already happening. 2016 is year zero of this revolution.”
— Jip Samhoud
“It’s a whole different way of telling the story. I think it is really what we are moving towards in the entertainment world,” Jip Samhoud said.
Elisha Karmitz, who is behind the MK2 screening room in Paris, insisted “that the VR revolution is already happening.
“2016 is year zero of this revolution,” he added.
For €12 ($13) you can feel what it is like to fly like a bird for 20 minutes through a forest of New York skyscrapers in the film “Birdly.”
Lying flat on your stomach suspended from the ceiling, you change direction with electronic “wings” placed on your arms, and speed up by flapping them faster.
MK2, which has signed a deal with the acclaimed Chinese film director Jia Zhangke to produce more content, predicts that with the cost of producing VR film falling, its time is coming fast.
Keen not to be left behind, Hollywood is also investing in the technology, with a few minutes of the new “Assassin’s Creed” film already available in VR. There is also a “Star Wars”-inspired game in which the viewer becomes an X-wing fighter pilot like Luke Skywalker. Read the rest of this entry »
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) December 9, 2016
Gingerbread season has begun on an awesomely posh note with this beautiful gingerbread model of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England. Measuring 13 feet long, this edible replica of the lavish mansion took 500 hours to make using 66 lbs of butter, 240 eggs, and 476 lbs of icing.
Watch this video for a behind-the-scenes look at how the gingerbread mansion was made:
Legged robots from Boston Dynamics can navigate a home, and even deliver a parcel, using advances in manipulation and vision.
Will Knight writes: The nimble-legged robots under development at a secretive Google subsidiary are getting ever more capable and clever.
At a conference in Barcelona this week, Marc Raibert, the CEO of Boston Dynamics, which specializes in dynamically balancing legged machines, demonstrated some of the progress his researchers have been making.
“Many people are talking about drone delivery. So why not just plain legged robots?”
— Marc Raibert, the CEO of Boston Dynamics
Raibert demonstrated Spot Mini, the company’s latest four-legged robot, which is about the size of a large dog. Boston Dynamics has previously shown videos of Spot Mini operating in a mocked-up home—climbing stairs, opening doors, and even emptying a dishwasher using its gripper. The robot features a neck-like appendage and gripper that enables it to do simple, but potentially useful, manipulation tasks.
The robot is partially automated. A Boston Dynamics engineer steered a Spot Mini onto the stage during Raibert’s talk at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference. But the robot figured out for itself how to perceive and navigate the steps up to the stage, and then, once given the command, located and picked up a can from a table.
Legged robots could potentially be better than wheeled bots at navigating messy human environments, although the research robots under development at Boston Dynamics remain prohibitively expensive for now, some costing more than $1 million.
Boston Dynamics has built a reputation for developing robots capable of walking and running, even across treacherous ground using dynamic balance; that is, by constantly moving to maintain stability. The company has honed the technique over many decades to produce several stunning machines (see “The Robots Running This Way”). It makes a much larger quadruped, called Big Dog, which has been tested as a military pack mule, as well as a humanoid, Atlas, which took part in a robot rescue contest organized recently by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (see “Why Robots and Humans Struggled with DARPA’s Challenge”).
As Boston Dynamics explores potential applications, it’s clear that manipulating objects while balancing this way will be a key focus. “Mobile manipulation is our next grand challenge,” Raibert said during his talk. Read the rest of this entry »
The multiple-axis space test inertia facility, fondly called “the gimbal rig,” simulated tumble-type maneuvers that might be encountered in space flight. From February 15 through March 4, 1960, the gimbal rig provided valuable training for all seven Project Mercury astronauts. John Glenn explains how it worked and what the experience was like. Credits: NASA
On February 20, 1962, NASA astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in his Mercury capsule Friendship 7. In 4 hours and 56 minutes, John Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The successful mission concluded with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
In this video, Glenn discusses the Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, informally known as the “gimbal rig,” used to train the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts for America’s first human spaceflights.
The rig, which simulated an out of control spacecraft and required the astronauts to bring it back under control, was located at what was then NASA’s Lewis Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio. That center now bears Glenn’s name. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the original “Magnificent Seven” astronauts in NASA’s Mercury program, John Glenn captured the nation’s attention in 1962 when he first circumnavigated the globe and returned as a hero who had scaled heights no American had reached before. In his post-NASA career, Glenn served four terms as a U.S. senator from Ohio. Following his […]
Source: The Washington Post
The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.
The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)