Inbreeding may have helped cause Neanderthals to go extinct, study says

Ashley Strickland of CNN

Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago — about the same time that modern humans migrated out of Africa. This has led researchers to believe that modern humans won the competition for resources, leading to the demise of Neanderthals.

But a new study proposes that modern humans had nothing to do with it.

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Posted in civilization, Controversial

Amazon will make Alexa work with small appliances

Nancy Cohen of Tech Xplore –

Amazon has something big to say about Alexa: Hardware manufacturers will be especially gratified to know that they can have Alexa built into their little products with low-powered chips and 1MB of RAM.

“With this reduction in production cost, customers can now cost-effectively build new categories of differentiated voice-enabled products such as light switches, thermostats, and small appliances. This allows consumers to talk directly to Alexa in new parts of their home, office, or hotel rooms for a truly ambient experience,” said the company.

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Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Technology

Trump has turned the suburbs into a GOP disaster zone. Does that doom his reelection?

 Mark Z. Barabak of the Los Angeles Times –

For decades, there was an unvaried rhythm to life in America’s suburbs: Carpool in the morning, watch sports on weekends, barbecue in the summer, vote Republican in November.

Then came President Trump.

A dramatic shift is reshaping the 2020 presidential race, elevating Democratic hopes in traditional GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, and forcing Trump to redouble efforts to boost rural turnout to offset defectors who, some fear, may never vote Republican so long as the president is on the ballot.

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Posted in 2020 election, Donald Trump, Women

Climate crisis pushing Earth to a 'global tipping point,' researchers say

Helen Regan of CNN

The Earth is heading toward a “global tipping point” if the climate crisis continues on its current path, scientists have warned, as they called for urgent action to avoid “an existential threat to civilization.”

Such a collapse could lead to “hothouse” conditions that would make some areas on Earth uninhabitable.

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Posted in Climate, Global warming

How Kamala Harris’s Campaign Unraveled

Jonathan Martin, Astead W. Herndon and Alexander Burns of the New York Times –

The 2020 Democratic field has been defined by its turbulence, with some contenders rising, others dropping out and two more jumping in just this month. Yet there is only one candidate who rocketed to the top tier and then plummeted in early state polls to the low single digits: Ms. Harris.

One reason may be Harris’s lack of policy specifics in her remarks. Asked when she decided that she wouldn’t be voting for Harris, one voter who became dissatisfied with Harris’s lack of answers to questions said, “she lost me today.”

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Posted in 2020 election, Candidates, Democrats