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Anatomy of a failed political hit job on AG Adam Laxalt – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

If youre having trouble falling asleep, go listen to Wednesdays hearing on the secret recording made of Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

Liberals built it up to be the event that would end Laxalts all-but-announced campaign for governor. Instead, it was hard to stay awake as lawyers discussed legal strategies and non-lawyers struggled to understand legal procedures.

The only substantive takeaway was learning why lawyers get paid so much. Theyre the only ones crazy enough to want to work daily with such boring stuff.

So how did liberals get it so wrong? Lets look at the anatomy of a failed political hit job.

Start with motive. Liberals are on a mission to destroy Laxalt for being both a successful conservative elected official and Republicans likely 2018 gubernatorial nominee.

Next came opportunity. The news that Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett had surreptitiously recorded a conversation with Laxalt discussing a case involving Las Vegas Sands Corp. and its CEO, Laxalt donor Sheldon Adelson, would have been enticing enough. Finding out that Burnett sent the tape to the FBI, even though the FBI said no crime had been committed, had liberals writing Laxalts political obituary before even hearing the tape.

They couldnt pass up this chance. Blinded by their biases, they pushed the idea that Laxalt had done something wrong under pressure from a large donor. To build the narrative, they gleefully doled out incomplete information.

This was the execution of the hit. Via subpoena, Assembly Ways and Means Chairwoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, received the recording, along with Burnetts affidavit, two Fridays ago. Instead of immediately releasing the recording, Carlton leaked everything but the recording to create anticipation for the hearing and false impressions. She didnt release the transcript of the recording until the day before the hearing, and the audio came out the morning of the hearing. Carltons sloppiness was highlighted when the recording revealed that Laxalt said Philosophically in a part where the transcript read, Dont go soft on me Liberals had latched onto that phrase as Laxalt pressuring Burnett.

This was just one of many instances when new information undermined liberals previous claims of wrongdoing. As I detailed on Wednesday, trying to follow their shifting narrative was enough to give you whiplash.

For liberals, the biggest political mistake of all looks like the decision by Carlton to have the hearing. Attorney-client privilege had prevented Laxalt for sharing pertinent details that Burnett had failed to mention. Calling Laxalt to testify was the political equivalent of throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.

Laxalt finally was able to put the truth out and the truth was boring. A lawyer talked with his client about legal minutia in a conversation you couldnt pay most people to listen to.

For a political hit, benign is the height of failure.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Victor Joecks column appears in the Nevada section each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at [email protected] or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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Anatomy of a failed political hit job on AG Adam Laxalt – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

The anatomy of a typical Piston first quarter – PistonPowered

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Mar 22, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) reacts during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Morris season in review and grade by Duncan Smith

Mr. Big Shot could be headed to the Atlanta Hawks by Luke Wolthuis

The Detroit Pistons had a pattern for most of the season. They would start slow, take poor shots, be a step slow defensively, be down 6-10 points halfway through the first quarter. Sometimes the bench would rally and the Pistons would win, sometimes they trailed by too much or the bench never got it together. Either way, the starters almost never got off to a good start, and the first quarter was usually when they were at their worst.

There were platitudes about energy, getting off to better starts. Expressions that certain players had to bring it, play harder with more consistency. But what if there was another way to describe the Pistons starts? A way to quantify what they were doing and why it was so consistently unsuccessful, and a way forward to avoid falling into the same pitfalls going into next season can only be of help.

The Pistons were 21st in first quarter offensive rating, scoring just 102.7 points per 100 possessions in opening stanzas. They also had the second-worst true shooting rate in the NBA in first quarters with a woeful 51.3 clip.

In this piece were going to look at a typical Detroit Pistons first quarter from this past season. Were going to look at the kind of shots and locations the Pistons took, and were going to look at the expected value (or EV) of each shot they took in this specific first quarter. This EV will be based on a simple calculation of (FG% * 2) for two-pointers and (FG% * 3) for three-pointers. Well use NBA.coms shooting by range stat page to determine the varying field goal percentages by range.

The quarter that were going to examine is the first quarter of a game between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers at the Palace of Auburn Hills on December 17th. The Pistons lost this game 105-90 and were outscored 27-26 in the first quarter. This is an entirely reasonable first quarter output, and this loss was due more to a 15-point second quarter than any specific failure in the first quarter.

Lets dive in.

The first shot of the game is taken by Tobias Harris. Its a 19-foot jump shot late in the shot clock. Remember, this is the first possession of the game, and it results in a late clock long two. This might be the most Piston way to start a game all season.

Harris has an expected value of 0.96 points per attempt from 15-19 feet.

He also takes the next shot, a spot up miss from 26 feet out on a drive and kick from Reggie Jackson. His expectation from there is slightly higher at 1.014 points per attempt.

Jackson scores the first points of the game for the Pistons on a spot up three, assisted by Tobias Harris. Remember, Jackson was among the best three-point shooters on the team, and he has an outstanding expectation from the corner, hitting 43.8 percent of those shots. His expectation on that success rate is 1.314 points per shot.

Andre Drummond takes and makes the next two shots, a seven-foot hook shot and a nine-foot hook. Its been well-documented on this site and elsewhere how poor his hook shot is and how mediocre his offense is when he gets outside five feet. Both shots go, but his expectation on both shots is a mere 0.81 points per attempt.

Tobias Harris takes the next two shots, splitting them. He misses the first, a 12-footer with an expectation of .898 points per attempt, but he hits the second, a 26-foot three-pointer with an EV of 1.014 points per attempt.

At this point, the Pistons have a 10-7 lead and theyre 4-of-7 from the floor. The shots theyve taken have a combined EV of 6.82, meaning their average expectation per field goal attempt is 0.974 points.

The Pistons score their next points on a transition three from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Jackson spots him across the arc and finds him for a wide open triple. Thanks to a late-season swoon, this shot has an EV of just .954 points per attempt, but at the time it was closer to 1.2 points per attempt.

KCP makes the next shot, also a three, and then misses a third three. Again, the EV for each shot is .954 points per attempt.

Tobias Harris follows that up with a missed three, with an expectation of 1.095 points.

Following that comes perhaps the wildest layup youll ever see from Reggie Jackson. While were going to assign this attempt a value of .968 (which itself is a dreadful rate at the rim), we can be honest and say this was basically a zero-chance attempt.

Drummond collects the rebound, misses a put back which has a 1.248 points per attempt EV, and a jump ball ensues which leads to a layup from Tobias Harris. That layup has a value of 1.308, significantly better than both Jackson and Drummonds rate at the rim.

The next attempts come from the free throw line via Reggie Jackson. He has a free throw percentage of 86.8 percent, thus eachattempt has a value of .868.

Andre Drummond takes the next three shots. He misses a six-foot hook worth .81 points, then Jackson hits him in transition for a layup at the basket, valued at 1.248. The third shot is a 20-foot jumper as the shot clock expires. Considering he hasnt hit such a shot, this attempt is assigned theentirely reasonable value of 0.

Reggie Jackson takes the next two shots, making a layup valued at .968 and missing a 16-foot jumps hot, valued at .81 points per attempt. Caldwell-Pope then misses a 27-foot jumper, valued at .954, and Ish Smith has checked in and misses a 26-foot three. Given his dreadful three-point shooting numbers from beyond 24 feet, his expected value here is .609 points per attempt.

KCP misses a layup valued at 1.074 points per attempt, Tobias Harris makes two free throws with a success rate of .841 (again, each free throw has this value), and Ish Smith misses a 12-foot shot with a value of 1.014 points per attempt.

In the end, the shots taken by the Detroit Pistons had an expected value of 25.206 points, and they scored this on 9-of-23 shooting. They were buoyed by better-than-average three-point shooting, hitting 4-of-9, and they were aided by four free throws, all of which they made.

Based on the pace of the first quarter (they played about 24 possessions, on pace for 95 in the game), their EV provides an expected offensive rating of 105.2. This rate would have tied them with the New York Knicks for 15th in the NBA in first quarter offensive rating, and it took them above-average three-point and free throw shooting to get there.

In summary, the Pistons had a positive-variance shooting stretch (or good luck, you could call it) in order to bring them to the middle of the league in first quarter scoring efficiency. Drummond also took three post shots (which is three too many) and made two, but he has among the leagues worst efficiency from the post.

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The anatomy of a typical Piston first quarter – PistonPowered

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Grey’s Anatomy actress: playing a lesbian has changed my life – PinkNews

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Greys Anatomy actress Jessica Capshaw, who is Arizona on the show, has opened up about how playing a lesbian has changed her life.

Capshaw, who first appeared as a guest star in the shows fifth season in 2009, has been through the wringer as Arizona.

Her character has married kick-ass orthopaedic surgeon Callie Torres, been divorced, lost her leg, and is now starting a relationship with Eliza Minnick, cast as this seasons antagonist.

She said that acting as a lesbian in the enormously popular show for so long had been a huge positive in her life.

I never would have imagined that I would be able to play a character that would feel like it does so much good, she told Yahoo Style.

Capshaw said that she hoped her on-screen presence helped people who feel like the character resonates with them and it makes their day a little easier to see themselves represented.

Or, she added, it could also provide a crucial tool in teaching family members or friends about homosexuality.

If its someone watching it who has someone in their life who is gay, and they might have not understood it before all of a sudden they have another person or another thing to point to and say: Oh, thats a different context.

Being able to play a lesbian as a series regular on television has been enormously rewarding.

Capshaw, who has also appeared on The L Word and Bones, proudly recalled an example of how representation can help how people see the LGBT community.

My daughter goes to preschool, and the preschool has all kinds of families, she said.

And I guess one of the kids said: You have to have a mom and a dad to have a baby. And my daughter said: No. No, you dont.

And this was all overheard and told to me later. She said, in a very kind and patient way to that child: There can be a mom and a mom and a dad and a mom and there can be a dad and a dad.

Capshaw said she was so grateful that she will never know any different, and it will only be if she is in the presence of people who are on the wrong side of history or small-minded that she will hear anything other than that.

Arizonas burgeoning relationship with Dr Minnick was a whole new experience, she said, since the two were already familiar with each other.

Ive known her for quite a while and shes a good friend of mine and married to Scott Foley, who is also a friend of mine.

Its a very interesting negotiation, but we had fun. We laughed a lot.

It was definitely one of those moments when you were like: Im going to kiss my friend. Thats going to happen, she added, laughing.

Capshaws positive take on playing a lesbian follows Pretty Little Liars Shay Mitchell saying that the fact that her character Emily Fields is queer was the best part of being on the show.

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Grey’s Anatomy actress: playing a lesbian has changed my life – PinkNews

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Grey’s Anatomy Finale Sets Up Firehouse Spin-Off –

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Grey’s Anatomy put the pieces in place for its recently-announced firefighter spin-off with Thursday’s Season 13 finale.

Picking up right after the events of the previous week’s episode, the finale picks up with the hospital in chaos. Jackson (Jesse Williams) is on a mission looking for Edwards (Jerrika Hinton), while Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is looking for Nathan (Martin Henderson) as well as Erin (Darby Camp), the missing girl who’s with Edwards, after running into her frantic father. Minnick (Marika Dominczyk) is Minnick, so she’s mostly concerned about whether people are following protocol amid a crisis. And April is (Sarah Drew) mad that Jackson, being the type of guy who runs into a fire, has gone after Stephanie and hasn’t been heard from since.

Inside the hospital, Stephanie’s alive, but dazed and badly burned after the explosion. But Erin is trapped under some lab equipment that has impaled her leg. After managing to free Erin from the machine, Stephanie soaks a blanket and her hair in water to carry herself and Erin through a literal wall of fire to escape the room in which they’re trapped. Unfortunately, the stairwell is also engulfed in flames. But they make it up to the entrance to the rooftop… where Stephanie realizes she’s left her key card back down in the original room and can’t get out. She covers Erin with the wet blanket and promises her they’re going to be OK.

Then Stephanie somehow manages to spot her key card through the smoke and flames(?) and runs down to grab it, leaving Erin by herself. She successfully retrieves it and they run out onto the roof. Stephanie screams at the firefighters below, but they can’t hear her, and meanwhile Erin appears to be bleeding out from her leg injury.

Meanwhile, Meredith finally finds Nathan — in the middle of a surgery, one floor below the fire. And Jackson’s search for Stephanie gets derailed by a stray patient, so he brings her out, only to get yelled at by Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and April, who shoves an oxygen mask onto his face. As he’s explaining to Bailey (Chandra Wilson) that he was looking for Edwards, Minnick says that she got caught up in the chaos and forgot to report to the police that Edwards was missing, as Jackson instructed her to do. (Really, Minnick?! You had, literally, one job.) Fortunately, Ben (Jason George) remembers seeing Edwards in the hallway with the patient. He and the firefighters run back into the hospital, where they follow Erin’s blood trail up to the roof and find Stephanie frantically trying to resuscitate her.

The doctors do all they can to save Erin — and her leg — while Stephanie ignores her own injuries and stays by Erin’s side until she’s stabilized. Once Erin is out of the woods, Stephanie promptly passes out.

While all this is going on, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) is driving Owen (Kevin McKidd) to the hospital to meet his rescued sister Megan.

Outside, Meredith and Nathan, after finishing up their surgery, are taking a breather in the ambulance. Meredith makes sure that Nathan has sucked enough oxygen into his lungs before telling him the news that Megan’s alive. He initially is in disbelief, and repeats “that’s not funny,” before finally collapsing into a tearful coughing fit.

As the sun comes up the next day, Nathan leaves to go meet Owen and Amelia at the hospital. Meredith, knowing how she would react if she found out Derek was alive, encourages him to go without hesitation, even offering to drive. Owen and Amelia are waiting for the helicopter when it arrives, and we see Megan being unloaded on a gurney — but we’ll have to wait until next season to find out what kind of condition she’s in.

Catherine (Debbie Allen) grills Webber (James Pickens Jr.), Bailey and Minnick about what went wrong with the emergency procedure. Minnick tries to cast blame on Webber, saying that if Stephanie had been in counseling like she was supposed to be, none of this would have happened. Bailey fires Minnick on the spot.

Elsewhere, Maggie apologizes to April for yelling at Jackson, and April says it’s clear Jackson has feelings for her and she should just go for it. ~New romance out of nowhere alert!~

And Alex (Justin Chambers) is treating Edwards, who’s still laid up and temporarily resisting morphine for her burns. She says that, once she’s recovered, she’s determined to get away from medicine and spend her days traveling and exploring, and gives Webber her verbal resignation from Grey Sloan right then and there from her hospital bed.

We didn’t get to see too much of the firefighters in tonight’s episode, but the finale was proof that Shondaland can handle ablaze with aplomb. And it seems like Edwards has left the building. What will a Jackson-Maggie relationship look like in Season 14? Will any characters spin off into the crossover? And how is having Megan back going to change things for Owen, Nathan, Amelia and Meredith? We’ll have to wait a few months to find out!

Grey’s Anatomy returns in the fall.

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Grey’s Anatomy Finale Sets Up Firehouse Spin-Off –

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Elon Musk Has Finally Confirmed What the Boring Tunnels He’s Making Are For – Futurism

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 2:48 am

In BriefWe now have an idea of just what Elon Musk’s Boring Company isgoing to be for. Yes, it’s to solve traffic, but it looks like itisn’t meant just to be your usual tunnel for cars. In a new updatetoday, the company asserts that it’s actually building a tunnelthat can also run the Hyperloop. Boring Through Traffic

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk is ready to conquer space, roads, roofs, and now even tunnels. What started out as a simple musing on Twitter has become a full-blown startup aptly named The Boring Company. Today (May 17), the company added a FAQ pageto their website,which offers an abundance of newinformation about their specific goals.

The most notable announcement that was finally confirmed? The Hyperloop.

The FAQ explains that Musksinitial inspiration was:to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic. The solution is to go three-dimensional, which could be done using flying cars an idea Musk doesnt think is very viable or to go underground. The other option is to go down and build tunnels, the website states, as these provide a fair amount of perks, including weatherproofing and the practically limitless layers of tunnels that could be builtmuch better than malfunctioning cars potentially plummeting from the sky.

But there is a problem. First, theres the cost. Second, existing tunnels cant support the Hyperloop pods. Musks new company is out to fix this.

Currently, tunnels are really expensive to dig, with some projects costing as much as $1 billion per mile. In order to make a tunnel network feasible, tunneling costs must be reduced by a factor of more than 10, explains the new FAQ.To make the tunnel more cost effective and efficient, its diameter is going to be less than 4 meters (14 feet) whereas normal tunnels (one-lane road tunnels) are usually about 8.5 meters (28 feet) in diameter. To do this, Musks tunnel company would use what it calls an electric sled.

Musks Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) or Godot is ready to start digging the first among these network of tunnels. However, as the TBM isnt even as fast as a snail yet, Musk is determined to find ways to make tunnel digging faster to defeat the snail in a race by increasing the TBMs speed, which will also cut down costs.

So, theres now a place to start digging this tunnel under Los Angeles and a machine to do it. But what is this tunnel really meant for? At first, many thought Musks tunnels would be like every other tunnel except they would be longer and could potentially connect LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood and Sherman Oaks, as Musk said in an Instagram post.

However, as mentioned above, more detailshave come to light.

Since the companys introduction, many (including Futurism) have speculated that the tunnels true purpose was to work in tandem with the Hyperloop.This is the real clincher here. It seems like The Boring Company isnt just going to be for cars. The electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour, the site explains.

The Hyperloop is another idea from Musk that is set to revolutionize transportation. It promises to connect individuals around the globe, making long-distance travel both speedy and remarkably affordable.

Initially discussed in 2013, the transport system would use a propulsion based on electromagnetism that could propel pods forward in vacuum-sealed steel tunnel atunprecedented speeds.

Cities in Europe, America, and the Middle East have expressed interest in adopting their own Hyperloop tracks, and study groups are at work making the concept a reality.While he doesnt have a company working directly on Hyperloop technology, Musk has been behind several initiatives to turn it into a reality. Now, with The Boring Company, Musk is building a platform to launch and test the various Hyperloop efforts he helped put into motion.

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Elon Musk Has Finally Confirmed What the Boring Tunnels He’s Making Are For – Futurism

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Elon Musk Just Unveiled Breakthrough AI Research. Here’s What You Need to Know. – Futurism

Posted: May 18, 2017 at 2:48 am

In BriefElon Musk co-founded artificial intelligence non-profit OpenAIjust announced it has created an AI system that can learn tocomplete a task in reality after watching just one demonstration ofthat task in a simulated environment. One Smart Bot

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, OpenAIs newest robot system should leave humanity blushing. Not only can it successfully replicate human behaviors, it can do so after just a single demonstration of the task.

The research company co-founded and chaired by Elon Musk used two separate neural networks to develop itsone-shot imitation learning system.

The first, a vision network, analyzes an image from the robots camera to determine the location of objects in reality (in OpenAIs video example, these objects are blocks of wood on a table). The network is able to do this despite never having seenthe actual table or blocks before. Instead, the researchers trained it using hundreds of thousands of simulated images, each featuring various permutations of lighting, textures, and objects.

The second, an imitation network, determines the intent of a task it observes a human demonstrating via a virtual simulation. It then imitates the task in the real-world setting. Again, this network was trained on thousands of virtual demonstrations, but none that took place in reality.

By the time the system was called upon to imitate a simulated demonstration in reality, it could do so after viewing the demonstration only once. Even more remarkably, the system was able to complete the task even if the starting parameters didnt quite match up. For example, the blocks didnt need to be in the exact same location as the demonstration for the system to know how to stack them. If a blue block went on top of a white block in the demonstration, the system replicated that task, even if the starting locations of the blocks wasnt identical.

Unlike Musks numerous other endeavors, OpenAI is a non-profit. Its purpose isnt to make money, but to support and guide AI innovation. To that end, its already quite successful.

In December, the company launched Universe, an open source platform where users could measure and train their AI using games, web browsers, and various software. Essentially, the platform gives AI the ability to replicate how humans use computers, which allows developers to train their systems to complete any computer-based tasks humans can do.

This week, OpenAI followed that up with Roboschool, open-source software for robot simulation.It features a dozen environments in which users can test their robots, and its integrated with OpenAI Gym, a toolkit that gives developers the ability to give and receive feedback on their work, providing them with an online community to support development in AI.

Beyond OpenAI, researchers are already finding ways to teach robots to do everything from read to dream. Theyve created AI systems that can learn on their ownand even ones that canteach each other. Education is being reinvented from the ground up to meet the needs of this new technology, and as our mechanical counterparts get smarter, our lives will get easier, safer, and maybe even a little more entertaining.

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Elon Musk Just Unveiled Breakthrough AI Research. Here’s What You Need to Know. – Futurism

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

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