Thursday, May 23
Meta and Google Are Betting on AI Voice Assistants. Will They Take Off? – Generic English
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Meta and Google Are Betting on AI Voice Assistants. Will They Take Off? – Generic English

Connected media - Associated media An older voice assistant like Siri, which reacts to a database of commands and questions that it was programmed to understand, would fail unless you used specific words, including “What’s the weather in New York?” and “What should I pack for a trip to New York?” The former conversation sounds more fluid, like the way people talk to each other. A major reason people gave up on voice assistants like Siri and Alexa was that the computers couldn’t understand so much of what they were asked — and it was difficult to learn what questions worked. Dimitra Vergyri, the director of speech technology at SRI, the research lab behind the initial version of Siri before it was acquired by Apple, said generative A.I. addressed many of the problems that researchers ...
Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders – Generic English
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Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders – Generic English

Related media - Associated media That was clear on Tuesday, when new data showed that economic output of the euro currency bloc grew 0.3 percent in the first quarter this year from the previous quarter, according to the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat. The eurozone economy shrank by 0.1 percent in both the third and fourth quarters of last year, a technical recession. Germany, which accounts for one-quarter of the bloc’s economy, barely avoided a recession in the first quarter of 2024, growing 0.2 percent. Spain and Portugal expanded more than three times that pace, showing that Europe’s economy continues to grow at two speeds. How have Greece, Spain and Portugal pulled ahead? After years of international bailouts and harsh austerity programs, southern European countries...
Israel, Gaza and the Law on Starvation in War – Generic English
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Israel, Gaza and the Law on Starvation in War – Generic English

Connected media - Linked media In a March 15 letter to a British parliamentary committee, David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, expressed his “enormous frustration” that aid supplied by the United Kingdom had been “routinely held up” on its way to Gaza. “The main blockers remain arbitrary denials by the government of Israel and lengthy clearance procedures including multiple screenings and narrow opening windows in daylight hours,” he wrote. Before Oct. 7, around 500 trucks entered Gaza each day, carrying both aid and commercial items, Mr. Cameron said. That number fell by approximately 75 percent in the early months of the conflict, and although there has been a modest increase in April, the most recent weekly average for which figures were available was only 202 trucks per da...
Ken Holtzman, Who Pitched Two No-Hitters for the Cubs, Is Dead at 78
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Ken Holtzman, Who Pitched Two No-Hitters for the Cubs, Is Dead at 78

Related media - Related media Ken Holtzman, a left-hander who pitched two no-hitters for the Chicago Cubs and won three World Series with the Oakland A’s in a 15-season career, died on Monday in St. Louis. He was 78. He had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with heart and respiratory illnesses, his brother, Bob, said in confirming the death. Holtzman won 174 games, the most for a Jewish pitcher in Major League Baseball — nine more than the Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who is considered one of the best pitchers ever and who had a shorter career. In addition to his win total, Holtzman, who at 6 feet 2 inches and 175 pounds cut a lanky figure, had a career earned run average of 3.49 and was chosen for the 1972 and 1973 All-Star teams. Holtzman, at 23, threw his first no-hi...
Environmental Changes Are Fueling Human, Animal and Plant Diseases, Study Finds – Generic English
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Environmental Changes Are Fueling Human, Animal and Plant Diseases, Study Finds – Generic English

Associated media - Linked media The loss of biodiversity played an especially large role in driving up disease risk, the researchers found. Many scientists have posited that biodiversity can protect against disease through a phenomenon known as the dilution effect. The theory holds that parasites and pathogens, which rely on having abundant hosts in order to survive, will evolve to favor species that are common, rather than those that are rare, Dr. Rohr said. And as biodiversity declines, rare species tend to disappear first. “That means that the species that remain are the competent ones, the ones that are really good at transmitting disease,” he said. Lyme disease is one oft-cited example. White-footed mice, which are the primary reservoir for the disease, have become more dominant...
TikTok’s Future in U.S. Depends on Bet on First Amendment
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TikTok’s Future in U.S. Depends on Bet on First Amendment

Related media - Associated media TikTok takes its fight to court TikTok fired the latest broadside in its battle with Washington, suing to block a law that could force the company to split from ByteDance, its Chinese owner, or face a ban in the U.S. The company argues that the law violates the First Amendment by effectively killing an app in the U.S. that millions of Americans use to share their views. Another problem: a divestiture within 270 days is practically impossible, Sapna Maheshwari and David McCabe report for The Times. DealBook spoke with Maheshwari about the lawsuit filed yesterday and what happens next. Do legal experts think TikTok has a chance at winning? It could go either way. Alan Rozenshtein, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, says t...
How Luke and Sophia Kunin make the first NHL-PWHL marriage work – Generic English
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How Luke and Sophia Kunin make the first NHL-PWHL marriage work – Generic English

Associated media - Associated media ST. PAUL, Minn. — For years, Luke Kunin watched as his girlfriend, then fiancée, then wife, Sophia, supported his career. She was a shoulder to lean on when things got tough in Minnesota. Moved to Nashville when he was traded there. Was a constant during the toughest season of his pro career — last year with the San Jose Sharks, when he tore his ACL. So Kunin can’t wait to walk into Xcel Energy Center — the arena where he began his NHL career as a Minnesota Wild rookie seven years ago — on Saturday with the shoe on the other foot. The 1 p.m. CDT game will be his first time watching Sophia play at the highest level in person, as she’ll take the ice with Minnesota’s Professional Women’s Hockey League team to face Boston in its regular-season home fin...
Google Unveils AI for Predicting Behavior of Human Molecules – Generic English
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Google Unveils AI for Predicting Behavior of Human Molecules – Generic English

Associated media - Linked media Artificial intelligence is giving machines the power to generate videos, write computer code and even carry on a conversation. It is also accelerating efforts to understand the human body and fight disease. On Wednesday, Google DeepMind, the tech giant’s central artificial intelligence lab, and Isomorphic Labs, a sister company, unveiled a more powerful version of AlphaFold, an artificial intelligence technology that helps scientists understand the behavior of the microscopic mechanisms that drive the cells in the human body. An early version of AlphaFold, released in 2020, solved a puzzle that had bedeviled scientists for more than 50 years. It was called “the protein folding problem.” Proteins are the microscopic molecules that drive the behavior of ...
Friday Briefing – The New York Times
World

Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Associated media - Associated media Hamas hinted at progress on a cease-fire A Hamas leader said yesterday that the group was studying Israel’s latest cease-fire proposal with a “positive spirit,” raising hopes of progress in the stalled efforts for a truce. Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’s political wing, said that a delegation would travel to Cairo to discuss the cease-fire. The current deal would include a weekslong truce and the release of hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The proposal would also allow civilians to return to northern Gaza and would enable increased delivery of aid to the territory. The complex cease-fire negotiations have dragged on for months. This week, Israel softened some of its positions, saying that it would allow Pales...
RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain – Generic English
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RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain – Generic English

Related media - Associated media Dr. Clinton White, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said microscopic tapeworm eggs are sticky and easily transferred from one person to another. Once hatched, the larvae can travel in the bloodstream, he said, “and end up in all kinds of tissues.” Though it is impossible to know, he added that it is unlikely that a parasite would eat a part of the brain, as Mr. Kennedy described. Rather, Dr. White said, it survives on nutrients from the body. Unlike tapeworm larvae in the intestines, those in the brain remain relatively small, about a third of an inch. Some tapeworm larvae can live in a human brain for years without causing problems. Others can wreak havoc, often when they start to die, which c...