Andrew Ngs Landing.ai wants to bring artificial intelligence to the manufacturing industry, starting with Foxconn

AI pioneer Andrew Ng is probably best known for his work on the Google Brain project and for leading Baidu’s AI group (and his machine learning course on Coursera). After leaving Baidu earlier this year, it wasn’t quite clear what exactly Ng was up to (except for teaching more classes), but today he announced the launch of Landing.ai, a new startup that focuses on bringing artificial intelligence to the manufacturing industry. Landing.ai’s first strategic partner is Foxconn and Ng says he’s been working with them since July.

The idea here is to help bring AI to industries outside the traditional IT world. In his announcement, Ng argues that AI and machine learning have already transformed how many of the big internet companies do business. Other industries, however, are lagging behind. “It is now time to build not just an AI-powered IT industry, but an AI-powered society,” Ng writes. “One in which our physical needs, health care, transportation, food, and lodging are more accessible through AI, and where every person is freed from repetitive mental drudgery. For the whole world to experience benefits of AI, it must pervade many industries, not just the IT industry.”

So what will Landing.ai actually do? Ng writes that the company is working on a number of “AI transformation programs” that include introducing new technologies to companies, training employees and more.

The manufacturing industry is the first focus of the company, though Ng is clearly looking to expand beyond this initial vertical.

As for the Foxconn partnership, Ng says that he’s been working with them to develop “AI technologies, talent and systems that build on the core competencies of the two companies.”

All of this sounds a bit vague, and Landing.ai definitely strikes me as more of a consulting firm than a technology play. It’s unclear if the company will develop any of its own AI technologies or platforms, though given today’s launch announcement, the focus here seems to be more on bringing existing technologies to enterprises like Foxconn.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/andrew-ngs-landing-ai-wants-to-bring-artificial-intelligence-to-the-manufacturing-industry-starting-with-foxconn/

Ted Cruz Challenger Picks Up Key Environmental Endorsement

The county judge gave Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke a dire warning earlier this year when the three-term El Paso congressman leaned down to sip from a water fountain outside the Lasalle County courthouse, a roughly two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Antonio.

Don’t drink the water.

A gas drilling company contaminated the water table, the judge told him, and no one trusted the water to be safe. It’s a story of industrial pollution that’s become familiar to O’Rourke since he began barnstorming the state in March in a bid to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

“We hear these stories around the state,” O’Rourke told HuffPost by phone on Sunday, calling during halftime at his daughter’s soccer game. “It becomes this very personal, critically important public health issue. They want to know someone is fighting for their water and their air.”

For at least one major environmental group, the 45-year-old congressman is that someone. On Monday, the League of Conservation Voters plans to throw its support behind O’Rourke, giving him its fourth Senate endorsement yet for the 2018 election cycle.

“He’s had a really strong record in Congress on our issues,” Craig Auster, League of Conservation Voters’ political action committee director, told HuffPost. “We’re excited that in a state like Texas that someone is running on our issues and has done so much for the environment in his legislative career.”

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund spent a record $4,461,552 in 2016, including on 22 Senate candidates, according to data collated by the Center for Responsive Politics. Total campaign spending across the organization’s various funds and campaign groups topped $45 million. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, the group has endorsed Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), as well as Doug Jones’ campaign for Tuesday’s Alabama special election.

Beto ORourke
Rep. Beto O’Rourke shown with supporters of single-payer health care.

Cruz, who raised more money from oil and gas companies in 2016 than any other industry, is one of the most virulent climate change deniers in the Senate. By contrast, O’Rourke’s voting record earned a 94 percent lifetime score on the League of Conservation Voters’ national environmental ranking.

At a time when President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed shrinking 10 national monuments and gutting at least two, O’Rourke stands out as a champion of public lands.

He introduced legislation last year and pushed the Obama administration to establish a 7,081-acre national monument at Castner Range, near El Paso. Last month, he successfully included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to protect the area, which includes a historic U.S. military training facility.

Over the past year, O’Rourke became a vocal critic of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s plans to drastically shrink the agency’s budget and eliminate greenhouse gas regulations, and came out against the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Sunday, he told HuffPost he supports putting a price on carbon emissions and wants to jumpstart Texas’s transformation into a renewable energy powerhouse. This year, the state became the nation’s top wind energy producer, but lags behind other states in solar production.

Climate change is already taking a major toll on Texas, he said, pointing to historic droughts in north Texas and the devastation left after Hurricane Harvey made landfall over the Houston area last August.

Sixty-nine percent of Texans recognize global warming is happening, though just 52 percent understand that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are the main cause, according to 2016 survey data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Seventy-one percent in the state support regulating carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant.

This is connected to climate change, which is connected to the personal and political decisions we make. Rep. Beto O’Rourke

“Folks get it, we all get it,” O’Rourke said, referring to the recent disasters. “This is connected to climate change, which is connected to the personal and political decisions we make.”

Meanwhile, Cruz has convened fossil fuel industry scientists to refute climate change, dismissed global warming as a costly “religion,” and urged Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August, the former Republican presidential candidate refused to answer questions about the link between climate change and the storm, which scientists said was made worse by rising temperatures.

Cruz raised over $2 million for his re-election campaign and its allied groups in the third quarter of this year alone, The Texas Tribune reported in October, outpacing O’Rourke’s $1.7 million haul during the same three-month period.

Phil Novack, a spokesman for Cruz, did not respond to a request for comment.

O’Rourke hasn’t eschewed corporate donors. Executives from cable giant Time Warner, Google parent Alphabet Inc. and the investor-owned hospital and clinic chain Tenet Healthcare rank among his top campaign contributors, though those came from individuals and not from the companies’ political action committees. 

But Cruz is unquestionably the fossil fuel industry favorite. Oil and gas companies alone contributed at least $965,062 to his campaign committee and leadership PAC during this election cycle, once again securing the industry’s status as his top donor.

“When you think of Texas and energy, you think of oil and gas, which is certainly part of it, but it’s increasingly wind and solar and geothermal and the science and innovation around carbon capture and sequestration,” O’Rourke said.

“There’s all this good stuff happening in Texas where you might not expect it to come from,” he added. “What we need now is public leadership that can take this great set of conditions and really lead nationally and make the most of the best of Texas.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/beto-orourke-cruz-environment_us_5a2c44c3e4b0a290f0513f93

10 Things Trump Is Taking Away Because He Loves Corporations And Hates You

Despite all the talk about “draining the swamp” during the 2016 presidential election, there’s a surprising amount of money flowing into the swamp these days.

Before you go saying that this is just another part of the liberal propaganda machine, take a look at the facts. Whether you’re a diehard Trump supporter or a left-leaning Clinton voter, elections do have consequences, and here are 10 policies Donald Trump has either implemented or tried to implement since being in office that line the pockets of himself and other rich folks instead of the average American…and they’re not fake news, so don’t even try it.

1. A proposed rule by the Department of Transportation that required airlines to disclose their baggage fees to customers was rescinded by the Trump administration. If airlines so choose, you may not be able to plan ahead for the fees you’ll be required to pay.

2. Right now, those who are paying off student loan debt are able to deduct interest payments from their taxes. Under the Trump administration’s tax plan, these deductions will no longer be allowed. Bipartisan committees agree that the majority of the tax cuts in the plan go to fund corporations and the wealthy.

3. Over several months, the secret service paid more than $63,000 directly to Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort for their accommodations. Due to the president’s expensive taste in travel, the secret service had been expected to run out of money to protect him and his family on September 30. They received additional funding and have requested a budget increase next year.

4. The Trump-led GOP aims to stop recovery efforts for North Carolina’s extremely threatened Red Wolf population. Despite experts saying it’s not too late to save the wolves, it’s become a priority to actually force them into extinction because, well, Republicans think the protection of animals is not even worth the pittance allocated to it right now.

5. Two recent Trump declarations have shrunk two national monuments by more than half: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. National monuments denote public, protected land, and by shrinking the monuments companies and corporations will be able to buy that land and use it despite the destruction of the natural treasures.

6. The CHIP program has been a bi-partisan effort since 1997, and it provides underserved children with health insurance. In many states, the funding is scheduled to run out in early 2018, and the Trump-led GOP has refused to vote to fund it in the future. Apparently keeping kids healthy and safe is just one expense too far when we can give tax cuts to billionaires.

7. Donald Trump has rescinded the DACA program, which protects the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States through no power of their own. DACA recipients are widely regarded as some of the best and brightest students and entrepreneurs in the country, they help stimulate the economy, and also they’re people, so deporting them to a home they’ve never known is pretty cruel.

8. After votes in both the House and Senate by the Trump-led GOP, the SEC will no longer require that oil and gas companies report payments to foreign governments. Who cares about foreign interests influencing corporations, am I right?!

9. The Trump administration has blocked implementation of a rule that would allow smaller farmers to sue large farming corporations for wrongdoing.

10. Private prisons contribute to inequality in the justice system, and the Obama administration had begun the process to phase out their use in the United States. The Trump administration has canceled that motion.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/trump-corporations/

The Best Black Friday Deals You Can Order Online

Black Friday, Black November, Pre-Black Friday, Cyber Monday… The buzzwords for November’s big holiday sales are as plentiful as stuffing on Thanksgiving. And we’d like you to enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of getting shoved around at your local big box store just to save $20, hop on your PC! With a little help from our friends at TechBargains, we here on WIRED's Gear team have found some of the absolute best tech deals online before, during, and around Black Friday.

(Be sure to also check out our main Cyber Monday deals guide for a lot more sales.)

Handpicked WIRED Black Friday Guides:

The Latest Deals

Featured

23andme DNA Test w/ Genetic Health Reports for $99.99 (list price $199).

$100 Apple iTunes Gift Card for $85 for $85 (use code: ITUNES15 – list price $100).

Acer Aspire Intel Core i3-7100 Kaby Lake Desktop PC (8GB/1TB) for $299.99 (list price $349.99).

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB Internal Solid State Drive for $139.99 (list price $199.99).

Logitech Harmony Smart Control Hub w/ App + Simple Remote for $58 (list price $129.99).

Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Streaming Smart Speaker for $149 (list price $199.99).

Sonos One Smart Speaker w/ Amazon Alexa Built-in for $174 (list price $199).

Xbox One S 500GB Video Game Console + Controller for $189 (list price $279.99).

$50 off Amazon Fire HD 10 32GB Tablet for $99.99 (list price $149.99).

$30 off Amazon Fire HD 8 16GB Tablet for $49.99 (list price $79.99).

$20 off Amazon Fire 7 8GB Tablet for $29.99 (list price $49.99).

$20 off All-New 2nd Gen Echo w/ Dolby Audio Processing for $79.99 (list price $99.99).

$20 off Amazon Echo Dot Alexa Enabled Mini Speaker for $34.99 (list price $49.99).

$15 off Amazon Fire Stick 1080p Streaming Media Player for $24.99 (list price $39.99).

$20 off Amazon Cloud 1080p Wi-Fi Camera (Saves 24-hours of Clips) for $99.99 (list price $119.99).

$50 off Echo Show Touch Display w/ Alexa for $179.99 (list price $229.99).

New Dell XPS 13 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U Coffee Lake 13.3" 1080p Ultra-thin Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $999.99 (list price $1299.99).

Dell OptiPlex 3050 Intel Core i5-7500 Quad-Core Kaby Lake Win10 ProTower Desktop for $509 (use code: EXTRA50 – list price $979.99).

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB Internal Solid State Drive for $139.99 (list price $199.99).

55" Sony XBR55X900E 4K 120Hz UltraHD LED HDTV w/ Local Dimming for $998 (list price $1298).

Nest Smart Thermostat (3rd Gen) for $199 (list price $249.99).

iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (w/ Alexa) for $274.99 (list price $374.99).

ecobee4 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat w/ Sensor (Alexa Compatible) for $199 (list price $249).

Roku Streaming Stick+ 4K Ultra HD Streaming Player for $48 (list price $69.99).

Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch VR System for $349 (list price $399).

Sony Playstation Plus 12-Month Membership (PS3, PS4, Vita) for $39.99 (list price $59.99).

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart 700W Electric Pressure Cooker for $51.99 (list price $69.95).

Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Blu-ray Collection for $29.99 (list price $67).

Laptop & Desktop Computers

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i5-7200U 15.6" Win10 Pro Laptop w/ 256GB SSD for $499.99 (list price $759.99).

New Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad 15.6" 1080p Gaming Laptop w/ 6GB GTX 1060, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD for $849.99 (use code: 50OFF699 – list price $1099.99).

24" Dell SE2417HG 2ms 1080p LED LCD Gaming Monitor for $99.99 (list price $209.99).

24" Dell UltraSharp U2412m 1920×1200 IPS LED Monitor + $75 Dell GC for $199.99 (list price $349.99).

28" ASUS VE278Q 1080p 2ms LED Monitor for $145 (list price $175).

27" ASUS VE278H 1080p 2ms LED Monitor for $145 (list price $175).

23.6" ASUS VS247H-P 1080p eIPS LED Monitor for $95 (list price $125).

ASUS ZenBook 3 i7 12.5" Ultrabook (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $999 (list price $1299).

Intel NUC Kit Intel Core i7-6700U Quad-Core Skylake Mini PC w/ Thunderbolt 3 for $463.99 (list price $579.99).

Dell Inspiron 5675 AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Quad-Core Gaming Desktop w/ 2GB Radeon RX 560 for $499.99 (list price $649.99).

24" Dell S2417DG 2560×1440 G-Sync 1ms 165Hz Gaming Monitor for $379.99 (list price $499.99).

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Core i7-7700HQ 15.6" 1080p Gaming Laptop w/ 16GB RAM, 4GB GTX 1050Ti for $899.99 (use code: W1LKKCNRZK5KRT – list price $1249.99).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 12" 2160 x 1440 Intel Core m5 Tablet PC w/ 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD & ThinkPad Pan Pro for $759.99 (use code: BFCM5 – list price $1299).

Dell Latitude 15 5000 Intel Core i7-6600U 15.6" Win10 Pro Laptop w/ AMD R7 GPU for $639 (list price $1617.14).

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Core i7-7500U 14" 1080p Laptop w/ 256GB SSD for $649.99 (list price $959.99).

Samsung Chromebook Plus 12.3" 32GB Convertible Laptop for $349.99 (list price $449.99).

Dell Latitude 13 7000 Intel Core m7 3200×1800 13.3" Win10 Pro Laptop w/ 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD and 2.5yr Dell Warranty (Refurb) for $899 (list price $1199).

Apple iMac 21" 4K Retina Intel Core i5 Quad-Core Desktop (Refurb w/ 1yr Apple Warranty) for $879 (list price $1029).

22" Dell P2217H 1920×1080 IPS Panel LED LCD Monitor for $129.99 (list price $229.99).

Norton Security Premium Software (10-Keys/1yr, Digital Download) for $34.99 (list price $89.99).

Norton Security Deluxe Software (5-Devices, 1 Year) for $19.99 (list price $79.99).

New Dell XPS 13 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U Coffee Lake 13.3" 1080p Ultra-thin Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $999.99 (list price $1299.99).

Dell OptiPlex 3050 Intel Core i5-7500 Quad-Core Kaby Lake Win10 ProTower Desktop for $509 (use code: EXTRA50 – list price $979.99).

Acer Aspire Intel Core i3-7100 Kaby Lake Desktop PC (8GB/1TB) for $299.99 (list price $349.99).

Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Intel Core i7-6500U 17.3" Win10 Pro Laptop (16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 4GB AMD GPU) for $799.99 (use code: SAVE330EXTRA – list price $1139.99).

Dell Inspiron 3000 Intel Core i3-7100 Dual-Core Desktop (8GB/1TB) for $329.99 (list price $499.99).

Dell Inspiron 3000 Intel Core i5-7400 Desktop w/ GT 730 GPU for $499.99 (list price $729.99).

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Core i7-7500U 15" 1080p Win10 Pro Laptop w/ 1TB HDD for $699.99 (list price $909.99).

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i5-7200U 15.6" Win10 Pro Laptop (8GB/1TB ) for $479.99 (list price $709.99).

Dell Latitude 15 3000 Intel i5-7200U 15.6" Win10 Pro Laptop (4GB/500GB) for $579 (list price $970).

Dell Latitude 14 5000 Intel Core i5-6440HQ Quad 14" Win10 Pro Laptop for $629 (list price $1586.43).

Dell Latitude 12 7000 Intel Core i5-6300U 12.5" Win7 Pro Laptop w/ 128GB SSD for $569 (list price $1922.86).

Dell OptiPlex 3050 Micro Intel Core i3-7500T Win10 Pro Desktop (128GB SSD, 3yr Onsite Warranty) for $459 (list price $784.29).

Microsoft Office 365 Personal 1-Year, 5-Users, PC/Mac for $79.99 (list price $129.99).

Headphones, Speakers, and Audio

Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Streaming Smart Speaker for $149 (list price $199.99).

Sonos One Smart Speaker w/ Amazon Alexa Built-in for $174 (list price $199).

Sonos PLAYBAR 9-Speaker Array TV Soundbar for $599 (list price $699).

UE BOOM 2 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker (Holiday Edition) for $79.99 (list price $199.99).

Sony WH1000XM2 Premium Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones for $298 (list price $349.99).

HDTVs & Home Entertainment

Logan (Blu-ray) for $9.96 (list price $28.29).

Harry Potter Hogwarts Blu-ray Collection for $85.99 (list price $154.99).

40" Samsung UN40M5300A 1080p Smart LED TV (2017 Model) for $269.99 (list price $349.99).

TiVo Roamio 1TB Over the Air DVR + Streaming Media Player (No Monthly Service) for $299.99 (list price $399.99).

55" LG OLED55C7P 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV + Blu-ray Player for $1699.99 (list price $3099.98).

65" Samsung UN65MU8000 4K Ultra HD 120Hz LED HDTV w/ HDR for $1299.99 (list price $2199.99).

55" Samsung QLED Q7F 4K UltraHD LED HDTV for $1597.99 (list price $1997.99).

49" Samsung QLED Series-6 Q6FA 4K UltraHD LED HDTV for $997.99 (list price $1299.99).

55" Samsung UN55MU6300 4K UHD Smart TV + $100 Dell GC for $599.99 (list price $999.99).

55" TCL 55S405 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED HDTV for $379.99 (list price $599.99).

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2040 1080p 2200-Lumens Projector for $549.99 (list price $799.99).

Game of Thrones Season 1-6 Blu-ray Set + Digital for $69.99 (list price $137.99).

55" Sony XBR55X900E 4K 120Hz UltraHD LED HDTV w/ Local Dimming for $998 (list price $1298).

Roku Streaming Stick+ 4K Ultra HD Streaming Player for $48 (list price $69.99).

55" Samsung UN55MU6500 Curved 4K Ultra Smart LED HDTV + $100 GC for $699.99 (list price $999.99).

43" Samsung UN43MU6300 4K HDR-Pro Smart UHDTV + $100 GC for $429.99 (list price $599.99).

Sony BDPS3700 WiFi Streaming Blu-ray Player for $49.99 (list price $119.99).

Logitech Harmony Smart Control Hub w/ App + Simple Remote for $58 (list price $129.99).

Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Blu-ray Collection for $33.99 (list price $67).

Wonder Woman (Blu-Ray) for $9 (list price $35.99).

Gaming

Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4) for $41.99 (list price $59.99).

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Gaming 2GB DDR5 Video Card for $87.99 (list price $124.99).

Xbox One X 1TB Console for $499.

Xbox One S 500GB Video Game Console + Controller for $189 (list price $279.99).

Xbox One S Wireless Controller for $39.99 (list price $59.99).

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Charging Dock for $18.98 (list price $29.99).

Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma V2 Sound USB Gaming Headset for $74.99 (list price $99.99).

Sony Playstation Plus 12-Month Membership (PS3, PS4, Vita) for $39.99 (list price $59.99).

PlayStation VR Headset with Gran Turismo Sport + PS4 Camera for $299 (list price $399.99).

Sony PS4 DualShock Controller for $39 (list price $59.99).

Destiny 2 (PS4) for $41.99 (list price $59.99).

Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch VR System for $349 (list price $399).

Smarthome Devices and Home Appliances

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker Immersion Circulator w/ WiFi (2nd Gen) for $119 (list price $199).

hOmeLabs 9-Gal Portable Dehumidifier w/ Drain Hose Outlet (Clip 30% Coupon) for $139.96 (list price $199.95).

Ecovacs Deebot N78 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Clip $40 Coupon) for $139.98 (list price $269).

Ninja BL660 1000W Blender w/ Single-Serve Cup for $69.98 (list price $119).

Google Home Mini Speaker (Must use rebate code) for $$19 after $10 MasterCard Rebate (use code: MINI10 – list price $49.99).

Blueair Classic 203 HepaSilent Air Purifier (Up to 237 sq. ft) for $199 (list price $318).

TWO Ring Stick Up Cam Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras + 2-Solar Panels for $299 (list price $456).

Wemo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug (Works w/ Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant) for $20 (list price $34.99).

Netgear Arlo Pro Security System with Siren (4-Pack) for $499 (list price $682.47).

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker for $65.99 (list price $149).

NutriBullet Pro 900-Series 13-Piece 900W Personal Blender for $79.99 (list price $99.99).

ChefSteps 1100W Joule Sous Vide (works w/ Amazon Alexa) for $149 (list price $179).

Instant Pot 8-Quart 1200W 7-in-1 Stainless Steel Electric Pressure Cooker for $81.99 (list price $159.99).

Ring 720p Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell for $99 (list price $179).

Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub for $49 (list price $99.99).

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner for $799 (list price $899).

Nest Cam 1080p Indoor Security Camera for $139 (list price $199).

Nest Cam 1080p Outdoor Security Camera for $149 (list price $199).

2nd-Gen Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Wired) for $99 (list price $119).

Netgear Arlo Pro HD Wireless Security System w/ 1 Camera for $199 (list price $249.99).

iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner for $599 (list price $699).

Ecovacs Deebot M80 Pro Wi-Fi w/ Mop & Brushroll for $169.98 (use code: CIMEKAA9 – list price $229.70).

Nest Smart Thermostat (3rd Gen) for $199 (list price $249.99).

iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (w/ Alexa) for $274.99 (list price $374.99).

ecobee4 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat w/ Sensor (Alexa Compatible) for $199 (list price $249).

Smartphones

Huawei Mate 9 64GB Oct-core 1920×1080 Unlocked 5.5" Smartphone for $399.99 (list price $499.99).

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 64GB 6.3" Unlocked Smartphone for $779.99 (list price $949.99).

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 6.2" 64GB Unlocked Smartphone for $674.99 (list price $824.99).

Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB Unlocked 4G LTE GSM Smartphone for $574 (list price $724.99).

Huawei Honor 6x 5.5" Dual Sim 4G Unlocked GSM Smartphone for $149.99 (list price $199.99).

Electronics & Components

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Portable External Hard Drive for $119.99 (list price $159.99).

ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Router for $189.99 (list price $299.99).

Oral-B Pro 5000 Toothbrush (Clip $15 Coupon and use code) for $49.95 (use code: 15OB5000BFCM – list price $159.99).

DeWalt 20V Max XR LithiumIon Battery Adapter Kit (2-Pack) for $99 (list price $149).

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit (Create & Control Your Own Droid) for $79 (list price $99.99).

8TB Seagate Backup Plus Hub USB 3.0 External Drive for $149 (list price $199).

Seagate FireCuda Gaming 2TB 2.5" Hard Drive w/ 8GB NAND for $65.99 (list price $94.99).

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Portable Powerbank for $19.19 (list price $49.99).

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush for $99.99 (list price $219.99).

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ Wireless Smart Activity Tracker for $89.99 (list price $199.99).

DJI Mavic Pro Drone for $888 (list price $999).

Sandisk Ultra 200GB MicroSDXC 100MB/s Card w/ Adapter for $49.99 (list price $84.99).

Seagate Backup Hub Plus 8TB Desktop External for $149.99 (list price $249.99).

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable Drive for $59.99 (list price $75.99).

Segway miniPRO Smart Self Balancing Personal Transporter (2018) for $384.99 (list price $599.99).

Fitbit Ionic GPS HR Activity Tracking Smartwatch + $50 Gift Card for $299.

Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Router for $99.99 (list price $199.99).

Rexing V1 2.4" LCD G-Sensor 1080p Dashboard Car Camera for $74.48 (use code: ZDW7UKUO – list price $109.99).

DBPower N6 4K WiFi Action Camera (Sony Image Sensor) for $59.99 (use code: 7P4OH4RX – list price $123.99).

SanDisk Ultra 128GB MicroSDXC 100MB/s Card w/ Adapter for $29.99 (list price $49.99).

Samsung EVO Select 128GB microSDXC Card w/ Adapter for $36.99 (list price $44.99).

Crucial MX300 525GB 2.5" Internal SATA Solid State Drive (SSD) for $129.99 (list price $149.99).

Google Wifi AC1200 Mesh Router System (3-Pack) for $249 (list price $299).

Linksys WRT32x AC3200 Dual-Band WiFi Router (Gaming Optimized) for $229.99 (list price $299.99).

TP-Link Deco M5 WiFi Mesh System (Pack of 3) for $179.99 (list price $299.99).

GoPro HERO5 Black for $349 (list price $399).

YI 4K+ Action Camera (4K @ 60FPS) for $209.99 (use code: ZBLJSCWN – list price $299.99).

Seagate Backup Plus Hub 6TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for $119.99 (list price $139.99).

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor for $199.99 (list price $236.60).

Intel Core i7-7700K Quad-Core 4.5GHz CPU for $289.99 (list price $350).

Netgear R8000 Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Router for $159 (list price $259.95).

Dell D1000 Dual Display USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station for $69.99 (list price $139.99).

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones for $179 (list price $279).

Garmin Vívosport Smart Activity Tracker Watch for $149.99 (list price $199.99).

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Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/best-black-friday-deals/

SNL Uses Kids to Criticize President Trumps Sexual Misconduct Allegations

This week, Saturday Night Live heeded our advice and ditched problematic actor Alec Baldwins unimaginative Trump impersonation during their cold open.

In the orange ones stead was a holiday-themed bit of children meeting a mall Santa (Kenan Thompson) and his elf (Kate McKinnon), and sharing with them their Christmas wishes.

First came a young boy named Tyler who, after requesting Mega Bloks and laser tag, asked, What did Al Franken do? Unease, naturally, ensued.

Well, Tyler, I guess you could say Al Franken is on Santas naughty list this year, Santa replied, referencing Frankens recent resignation following a series of groping allegations.

And what about Roy Moore? Which list is he on? added Tyler of the Alabama Senate candidate, whos been accused of sexual misconduct by at least nine women and was banned from a local mall in Gadsden, Alabama, for creeping on young girlsincluding a Santas helper.

Its not really a list, its more of a registry, McKinnons elf replied.

A young girl named Jessica came next: I wanted to follow up on Tylers question: Is President Trump on the naughty list?

Well, you know, Santa tries to stay out of political matters. Our president may have said or done a few naughty things, explained the diplomatic Santa, thankfully neglecting to mention that time Trump was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Nineteen accusers. Google it, chimed in Santas helper, in a nod to the 19-plus women who have accused Trump of various degrees of sexual misconduct, including sexual-assault.

Santa was, well, a bit more child-friendly. Look, Jessica, I think we can all learn a lesson from whats going on in the news, he said.

Cue Jessica: We sure can! I learned that if you admit you did something wrong, you get in trouble. But if you deny it, they let you keep your job!

It didnt stop there. The children asked questions about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, the opioid crisis, a toy like the one Matt Lauer gave his coworker, and how the GOP tax cuts will make your health care disappear.

Kids say the darnedest things.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/snl-uses-children-to-criticize-president-trumps-sexual-misconduct-allegations

40 Keys To Lasting Happiness


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Look. I’m like you. I abhor lists like this. They’re all the fucking same. A minion sits down at a keyboard after having just had a birthday, or just gotten married, or just secured their first round of seed funding, or — even worse — just after they’ve read a self-help book, distills their “expertise” into clickbait, and preaches to you that if you just do somewhere between 3 and 100 tasks all the time that you will unlock a blissful utopia within the inner recess of your soul, find everlasting love, live in a perpetual state of abundance, and radiate a cosmic energy that people will find irresistible.

That shit’s not workable. There’s not 36 hours in a day. You’re not a superhero. Stop setting your expectations that high. Instead, let’s take a deep breath and work on incremental change — which everyone knows is the key to success in everything anyway.

In that spirit, I’ve scoured the Internet for you — or, at least, every reputable website I could find (all due respect to Mind Body Green) and cross-checked every happiness/success master list, and documented every happiness hack on which a plurality of these content factories could agree. I’ve presented this list below in no discernible order, since there’s no real wrong order to make progress, with the intention that this list feels a little less hollow than the vapid, patronizing Self-Help Industrial Complex would.

I do promise you this: If you do these things a little more often than you currently do, no, you will not suddenly spend your life sipping Prosecco on a Yacht at sunrise while kissing the love of your life under the sun just off the Amalfi Coast. As a matter of fact, if that’s important to you, the whole trip — flight / AirBnB / Yacht / Prosecco — will run you approximately $1,836 to do one time, so if that falls somewhere in the zip code of your definition of #lifegoals, there’s the bar you need to clear.

I’ll make you one more promise before I present the list: If you do any or all of these things a little more often than you currently do, yes, you will find your life to be less stressful, more meaningful, happier, wealthier and healthier. How much? Depends how often you do them. Maybe 5%. Maybe 500%. But definitely a number greater than 0%, barring circumstances outside your control. I’ve also, where applicable, identified a “dosage” for you, a metric existing in a squishy space somewhere between maximum benefit and minimum effort.

***

1. Call your immediate family, as often as once a week.

2. Schedule time to hang out with your 5–15 best friends, one evening per week and/or one afternoon per weekend.

3. Say “thank you” literally every time you feel like you should, as genuinely and graciously as possible.

4. Help people achieve their goals, small or large, so long as you’re not the type of person who feels easily slighted or used.

5. Every six months or so, identify what you’d like to do in the next six months or so. You could probably get away with doing this yearly. Five-year plans are too long and too Soviet.

6. Eat food that you love to eat. Both hunger and life are finite. Make the most of them.

7. That said: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Potentially as much as 80% of your food by volume. Just, you know … when you get around to it.

8. Always have a project. It doesn’t matter if it’s building a bar cart, or cross-stitching a vulgar pillow, or writing Dallas Cowboys slash fiction, or pickling your own artisan kimchi. Projects bring you satisfaction. Satisfaction brings you confidence. One project at a time is fine.

9. Do things you enjoy doing. Love pinball? Cool. I won’t judge you. Get you a roll of quarters and go full-tilt on a drizzling afternoon. This is the non-goal-directed version of №8. Do something small yet amusing daily. (Not a euphemism.)

10. Schedule something to look forward to. Doesn’t have to be the Amalfi Coast. Call your friend and ask them if they’d like to go to the local Bills Backers bar to watch them get mashed out by the Patriots by 40. Do something like this weekly.

11. Drink coffee or tea. There’s a reason caffeine is the world’s most-consumed substance in the world. Because it works.

12. However much sex you’re having … you could probably stand to have more sex.

13. Exercise. Somewhere between 3–6 hours per week, broken up into 30–60 minute blocks almost daily. Split fairly evenly between strength, sport and cardio. Sure, sex counts, too. And it doesn’t have to be SoulCycle. RegularCycle is fine.

14. Do a small favor for someone. Preferably daily. And don’t tell people about it, unless you want people to think you’re a douchebag.

15. Document your progress in a journal or a spreadsheet or on a pretentious Medium page. Nothing can be improved without first being measured.

16. Keep in regular touch with approximately 150 people. Why 150? Seems to be the number that’s floating around. What’s regular? Probably more often than you currently are with your 3,500 Facebook friends.

17. Wake up earlier. 6 a.m. seems to be the popular target, but anything’s better than 15 minutes before work, you hot mess express.

18. Worship or meditate or practice yoga. Or all three. And if you don’t believe in god, don’t worry, there’s no good reason to start.

19. At night before you go to bed, write down one thing you’d like to do the next day. This is weird, but it’s popular. Like Goat Yoga.

20. Create a “Jar of Awesome” and fill it. This is batshit crazy. But I think it’s closely related to the overly Pinterest-y and homework assignment-y “gratitude journal,” and sounds way more badass.

21. Try new things. Do something slightly different every day, or something moderately different on a regular basis. It emboldens you and makes you interesting. Eat out for Ethiopian. Buy a sex swing. Skydive. Maybe all three.

22. Go outside. Daily, if possible. Apparently, sunlight, exercise, and digital detoxification are all good for you, and this is the lazy way to knock out all three. Speaking of:

23. Go analog. Whenever possible, write in a real journal, read a real book, talk instead of text, and schedule your screen time strategically. It facilitates deeper focus which fosters better flow state. (Though, so can Tetris. See also: №8, №9)

24. Take an annual vacation. Somewhere new, if possible. Somewhere they don’t speak your language, if you can afford it. And use all your vacation days, if you get them.

25. Take a class. Learn a language. Learn to ballroom dance. Learn Tai-Chi. Learn to code. What you learn doesn’t matter as long as you’re learning.

26. Learn something new every day. This is the close cousin of №8, №21, and №25. Again, it doesn’t much matter what.

27. Be kind to others. Given the opportunity. If you’re into making friends.

28. Forgive people. Given the opportunity. If you’re into keeping friends.

29. To the extent that you can, make your role models your close friends. I hack this by making my Facebook “Close Friends” list the people I admire the most. You’ll find yourself subconsciously adapting their (desirable) behaviors. And you’ll forget all about your high school BFF who’s posting political memes with typos.

30. To the extent that you can, do what you love, and find a way to monetize it. Five years ago, I was homeless. I decided if I was going to be broke, I’d be broke as a writer and musician. I started doing both for free. Then I started charging for it. Today, I am still a writer and musician. And I am no longer broke. Even though I work 60+ hours per week, I feel like I still haven’t worked since 2011. (I get that this is a super personal, super specific anecdote and lacks the typical snark of the previous 29 entries.)

31. Celebrate other people’s successes. Throw surprise parties. Never miss a chance to say happy birthday or congratulations.

32. Ask people specific questions about themselves. This is sort of a hybrid of selflessness, empathy, compassion, education, edification and relationship building. This is the slam-dunk, actionable way to do all of that quickly and efficiently.

33. Sleep eight hours. Your mileage may vary.

34. Try not to drink. There’s a million mental, social, physical, emotional and legal benefits to temperance or sobriety, but I’ll label the top-line benefit: Unless you’re drinking *while* doing one of the other things on this list, you’re wasting your time.

35. Try not to smoke. (*Glares at self in mirror.*) You’ll have more oxygen and more energy to do everything else on this list, plus, you know … cancer.

36. Spend time alone doing something other than watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. (Just not *too* much time alone, you sociopath.)

37. Shower daily. You know why.

38. Tidy up daily. Clean weekly. Purge monthly. Donate seasonally. Clutter is the NOS button on the superhighway to crazy-town.

39. Read something interesting regularly. Again, preferably analog. Graphic novels? Go nuts. Astral projection guides? Be my guest. As long as it can hold your attention.

40. Cook your own meals. As often as reasonably possible. Depending on context, this could potentially fall under №2, №6, №7, №8, №9, №14, №21, №25, №26, №27, №30, or №36, and could probably lead to №12 if you play your cards right.

In short, perhaps this world would be a significantly better place if we all just learned our way around the kitchen.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/john-gorman/2017/12/40-keys-to-lasting-happiness/

Trump Jr. faves tweet about anal bleaching after Russian collusion story breaks

Does President Donald Trump‘s son support anal bleaching?

Anal bleaching is the process wherein the skin around one’s anus is chemically lightened to match the surrounding butt flesh. It is entirely cosmetic and wholly unnecessary, but a Daily Mail report from yesterday states that demand for the procedure has soared as celebrities have spoken about undergoing it.

Demand for anal bleaching has risen by about a fifth in the past year as women ‘feel under pressure to look like porn stars’, figures suggest.

The trend was sparked after celebrities – including Sophie Kasaei, Charlotte Crosby and Kourtney Kardashian – revealed they have had the procedure.

That story was shared by Stefan Molyneux, a prominent figure in the “alt-right” movement, the collection of conservatives and Trump supporters that harbors white supremacists.

That was quoted by Gavin McInnes, a founder of the Proud Boys, a toxic group of far-right men whose tendencies align with that of the “alt-right.”

McInnes cracked a joke about how he wants anuses to look a certain way when he first encounters them.

That joke was liked this morning by one Donald Trump Jr., son of the president.

Screengrab via Donald Trump Jr/Twitter

In other Trump Jr. news, an NBC report that dropped late last night said that during his infamous June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. asked for damaging information on the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained exclusively by NBC News.

Veselnitskaya’s written answers reinforced what has long been understood about the Trump Tower meeting: that Donald Trump Jr. accepted it on the promise of incriminating information about Clinton that he had been told was coming from the Russian government. And he asked Veselnitskaya directly whether she had it, according to her written answers. Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were also in attendance, as were a Russian lobbyist, a Russian businessman and a translator.

We all cope in our own ways.

Update 8:41am, Dec. 6: Trump Jr. has unliked the “anal bleaching” tweet. This article has been updated for clarity.

H/T Katherine Krueger

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/donald-trump-jr-anal-bleaching/

House Republicans Already Shooting Down Tax Bills Promises

House conservatives are already indicating that they're prepared to block some of the key legislative promises that Senate Republicans demanded in exchange for their votes on tax reform legislation.

Those promises materialized in the frantic final hours of the tax debate last week, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) assurances that some of their personal legislative priorities would be dealt with in exchange for their votes.

Collins said she received a promise that the Senate would consider two bipartisan pieces of legislation that would ostensibly mitigate the negative effects that could come from the tax bills repeal of Obamacares individual mandate. Flake said he received a firm commitment from Senate Leadership and the administration to work on a permanent protections for the soon-to-be-ended Obama-era program that shields children of undocumented immigrants.

Both senators ended up voting for the tax bill, giving it the 51 yes votes it needed to pass. Within days, however, reality began setting in that those promises might have been flimsy at best.

Moving the Collins and Flake deals through the House was always going to be an uphill climb, with a conservative bloc sharply opposed to both measures, having dubbed DACA a de facto form of amnesty and arguing that the health insurance market stabilization bills that Collins supports are tantamount to a bailout for health insurers and what they view as a broken system. On Monday, those conservatives railed against McConnell for making promises on legislation that they have long opposed.

We still have the same issues. Nothing has changed in the last two months just because were fulfilling our promise on delivering on tax reform, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told The Daily Beast. I find it problematic to be promising something that the House has shunned from very early on.

Lawmakers made it clear that they felt no reason to support the proposed deals, and blamed Senate leaders for trying to wheel and deal their way to a successful result on reforming the tax code and slashing rates, an issue they believe all Republicans should have been united around from the start.

I think this is exactly what the American people are sick of: learning about trading votes to modify the healthcare system and one fifth of the economy in exchange for a tax vote, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, told The Daily Beast. So it seems like it would be wiser for Republicans to actually follow what is in the Republican platform and not what is in the Democratic platform.

GOP leadership has long had difficulty corralling its conservative members on even its own agenda. And on Monday, aides scoffed at the idea that leadership would be able to sell them on swallowing what the Senates more moderate lawmakers produced in their tax billlet alone really try.

McConnell is asking for us to vote for these unpalatable things to do tax reform, a conservative House GOP aide told The Daily Beast. We have someone whos taking a hostage, we have to negotiate with them, and, oh, they happen to be from the same party.

The aide was granted anonymity to candidly discuss House conservatives longstanding frustrations with the Senate and with McConnell throughout the Trump presidency, in particular the upper chambers failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The likelihood that the House declines to follow through on either the Collins or Flake measures may not, in the end, complicate tax reform at all. The Senate has already passed its tax bill and the House could simply pass the Senates billmeaning that even if the senators raise objections, the bill would still be able to pass.

Collins had been extremely skeptical of the Senate version because it included a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandatesomething that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says would result in 13 million more Americans uninsured over the next 10 years. She demanded that Congress pass two bills in exchange: one crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that aims to lower premiums in 2018; the other co-authored by Collins and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and would provide a federal reinsurance pool worth $10.5 billion.

Flake, meanwhile, is one of a few Republicans who supports a bipartisan version of the DREAM Act that was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). But while Durbin, the Senate Minority Whip, has said hes willing to block any spending bill that does not codify DREAMer protections before the end of the year, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have said they dont plan to deal with the issue by the end of the year. The White House, meanwhile, has stressed that they only promised Flake a seat at the table, not a final legislative outcome.

On Monday, Flake downplayed the significance of the administrations commitment to work with DACA, which was given when Trump first announced he was rescinding the program in September with a six-month phase-out. Instead, the Arizona senator described it as an affirmation of Congress role in the process.

Both the vice president and the president have said they want to work with me on it. That wasnt my condition to vote for the bill. It wasnt. It was a secondary thing. But Im glad I got it, Flake told The Daily Beast in an interview. The problem is what weve seen so far for Congress, it seems, is not in the attempt to reach a deal [but] to make a statement rather than make a law. And these kids are going to be timed out here soon. And so weve got to actually get serious with it.

Flake has been one of Trumps sharpest critics. When he announced in October that he wasnt seeking re-election in 2018, he took to the Senate floor to cast Trump as a reckless threat to democracy.

On DACA, though, the senator appears to have faith in Trump.

Ive said before I think this is one area the president has said some good things about wanting to do it. I think his instincts on DACA, at least, are probably better than some of the advice that hes gotten on this, Flake added.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/house-republicans-already-shooting-down-tax-bills-promises

Move Over Tech. Here Come Southeast Asias Builders

Tech is so 2017.

With at least $323 billion in infrastructure spending in the pipeline in Southeast Asia and potentially more expected over the next few years, 2018 could well shape up as the year of builders’ stocks from Indonesia to the Philippines that have been the laggards in a broader market rally this year.

Governments are boosting spending on everything from airports to high-speed rails and ports to increase connectivity and boost economic growth in what promises to be a boon for the region’s construction companies. In one of the more ambitious programs in the region, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has earmarked an unprecedented $180 billion for infrastructure to keep driving one of the world’s best-performing economies over coming years. Malaysia and Thailand are also ramping up allocations to public works ahead of general elections in 2018.

“Infrastructure has been under invested whether it’s clear water, clean air, energy, roads, ports, railways, education, health care — so there are tons of opportunities,” said Ashish Goyal, head of emerging markets equities at NN Investment Partners (S) Ltd., which manages $288 billion in assets. The firm owns stakes in Indonesian construction stocks, he said, adding that investors should watch for the pace of execution in the various countries.

UBS Group AG expects “changes in government policy and delivery on infrastructure” to be among the region’s biggest themes for 2018 as growth in global trade fades, analysts including Ian Gisbourne wrote in a report dated Nov. 28.

Construction stocks on the MSCI Asean Index have risen an average of about 7.4 percent this year in dollar terms, about one-third the gain of the overall gauge, which is set for its best performance in seven years. Technology shares have provided the biggest boost to the Southeast Asian index this year as global demand for electronics returned.

Some builders are already rallying in anticipation of the rewards they will reap from the spike in infrastructure outlays. Indonesian cement supplier PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa soared as much as 54 percent earlier this year as investors expect it to benefit from a surge in demand as the nation builds toll roads, ports and power plants. Manila-based EEI Corp. has surged 73 percent, leading a rally in Philippine construction stocks, as it begins work on the nation’s $1.6 billion, 44 kilometer (27 mile) mass-railway project.

Companies that provide services for construction projects, such as improving management efficiency or sustainability, may also capitalize on the spending boom on public works, Felix Lam, a portfolio manager at BNP Paribas SA’s asset management arm, said by phone.

Even so, the Southeast Asian market as a whole might continue to underperform, compared to “its larger, more liquid and faster growing North Asia and India counterparts,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Timothy Moe wrote in a November report. And Credit Suisse Group AG has maintained its underweight rating on the region for 2018.

Still, Morgan Stanley sees investor attention back on the Asean region as markets are expected to give returns of as much as 10 percent next year, more than three times what’s seen for emerging markets.

Here is a breakdown of what countries are planning and what investors are saying about Southeast Asia’s infrastructure spending spree:

Philippines

  • The government has allocated about 1 trillion pesos ($20 billion) to infrastructure in the 2018 budget as part of Duterte’s $180 billion infrastructure program over a six-year period to build a network of railroads and highways across the archipelago
  • Tax reform will help fund infrastructure projects; construction and infrastructure-related stocks to outperform in 2018, according to Noel Reyes, who helps manage $1 billion as chief investment officer at Security Bank Corp.
  • Tax reform bill awaiting Congress approval and is among first of five tax packages proposed by Duterte to raise taxes to pay for infrastructure projects
  • Infrastructure program includes 70 projects from railways, airports, roads and bridges, cities, ports to mass transit during Duterte’s six-year term as president
  • Companies involved in construction and infrastructure: Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Megawide Construction Corp., Ayala Corp., EEI Corp.

Indonesia

  • Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has announced more than 240 infrastructure projects
  • Country needs 931 trillion rupiah ($69 billion) from 2015 to 2019 for infrastructure spending; has allocated only 528 trillion rupiah over the period, according to Public Works and Public Housing Ministry
  • Concerns about funding availability and financing risks among Indonesian infrastructure companies have depressed construction stocks this year
  • Shares of PT Waskita Karya, the country’s biggest listed builder, have dropped 27 percent in 2017 even as the Jakarta Composite Index hit a record high in November
  • Biggest construction companies: PT Jasa Marga, PT PP Persero, PT Waskita Beton

Malaysia

  • Malaysia has allocated 210 billion ringgit ($51.6 billion) for projects in the 2018 budget of which 73 percent will go rail and public transport
    • About 55 billion ringgit allocated to East Coast Rail Link, 50 billion-60 billion ringgit given to Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail and 40 billion ringgit to phase 3 of the mass rapid transit system
  • Rail, affordable housing, roads and water infrastructure are major segments that will benefit from government’s spending next year, Sharizan Rosely, an analyst at CIMB wrote in a report dated Oct. 30
  • General election due by August 2018
  • Biggest construction companies: Gamuda Bhd., IJM Corp. Bhd., Sunway Construction Group Bhd., Malaysian Resources Corp. Bhd.

Thailand

  • Government has pledged 1.5 trillion baht ($46 billion) over the next five years to boost growth via infrastructure spending to develop its three eastern provinces as the Eastern Economic Corridor
  • Infrastructure spending to remain key driver for the economy and new development projects such as EEC, said Orsen Karnburisudthi, Bangkok-based senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Co.
  • EEC envisions to turn the provinces into hubs for technological manufacturing and services with strong connectivity by land, sea and air with help of state and private funding as well as foreign direct investment
  • Elections to be key upside for economic growth and business sentiment, Aberdeen said; Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said in October a vote will be held in November 2018
  • Banks to see earnings improve as economic growth boosts loan growth and reduces bad loan provisions, while shopping mall operators and retailers can benefit from consumption recovery, Orsen said
  • Biggest construction players: Italian-Thai Development Pcl, CH. Karnchang Pcl, Unique Engineering & Construction Pcl, Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Pcl; EEC beneficiaries: Amata Corp. and WHA Corp.

Vietnam

  • Vietnam has allocated 150 trillion dong ($6.6 billion) for infrastructure development in 2016 to 2020 and still needs $480 billion to fund investments by 2020, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment
  • Key infrastructure projects include a $13 billion, 1,800 kilometer expressway from Ha Noi in the north to Ho Chi Minh city in the south, the nation’s largest ever road project
  • Biggest infrastructure players: Songda Urban, Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure, Coteccons Construction, Ha Do JSC, Song Da No. 9 JSC

Singapore

  • As the only developed market in Southeast Asia, Singapore is less likely to see government expenditure in infrastructure on the same scale as its neighbors
  • While some key projects for 2018 include a new airport terminal at Changi Airport, mega shipping port and the KL-Singapore high-speed rail, the country’s stock market is more likely to benefit from a recovery in the property sector and overall economy
  • DBS Group Holdings Ltd. sees property prices recovering 3 percent to 5 percent annually over the next two years, buoying small to mid-cap construction-related and real estate stocks such as Chip Eng Seng Corp. and APAC Realty Ltd., analysts including Ling Lee Keng wrote in a note dated Dec. 5
  • Singapore’s economic recovery is also seen broadening out from the manufacturing industry in 2018 to the services sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of gross domestic product

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-06/move-over-tech-southeast-asian-builders-come-in-focus-in-2018

    Bryan Singer: The Epitome of Hollywoods White Male Privilege Problem

    When Jessica Chastain tweeted, Let us not forget, before linking to an article about Bryan Singers past sexual-assault allegations, who couldve imagined that hed soon be fired for a completely unrelated offense?

    On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Singer has been fired from directing the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek. It comes following reports of repeated absences from the set, which were explained away as a personal health matter and unexpected availability, according to different outlets.

    Whatever the real reason, Singer hadnt returned to the set since Thanksgiving, which led to his dismissal from the film. However, THR revealed today that there was far more drama on the set than unplanned absences. After Malek complained to the studio of Singers absence on set, they reportedly had a confrontation in which Singer threw an object at him. Amidst this, the actor Tom Hollander is alleged to have quit the production and had to be persuaded to return. During Singers sabbatical, cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel directed to keep the film on schedule.

    If you want an egregious example of the type of privilege afforded to white men in Hollywood, look no further than Singers career. Instances like this on set would get almost anyone fired, but this isnt even the first time Singer has been unreliable and unprofessional on set.

    THR reports that he pulled similar disappearing acts from the sets of X-Men: Apocalypse and Superman Returns, and there have long been rumors of strife with actors on the sets of his X-Men films. Most famously, there was the time Halle Berry allegedly got into a fight with Singer and told him to kiss [her] black ass on the set of X2. During an interview with Empire, Singer laughed it off and said the quote was actually, You can watch my black ass while I walk out of here, but insisted that he and Berry are fine now. For what its worth, she did return to work with him on X-Men: Days of Future Past. But given her current slate of B-movie grindhouse flicks like The Call and Kidnap, perhaps Berry wasnt in the position to turn down a superhero paycheck.

    There was a PlayStation set up, and a blond twink in a tank top who looked like he was 16 was sitting on the floor alone eating fried chicken straight from a KFC bucket. More white twinks showed up. I felt old and gross, so I left.
    A Hollywood screenwriter on Singer's Superman Returns after-party

    If Berry indeed had problems with Singer yet swallowed her pride to work with him again, its a testament to how the industry allows bad behavior by men to go uncheckedparticularly powerful men like Singer. Earlier this year, The Wrap reported that Fox was one of two Hollywood studios that have no female-directed movies scheduled through the next year. Not only that, but the studio hadnt released a film from a female director since Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaums Ramona and Beezus in 2010. Its hard enough for women and directors of color to get a foot in the door, and its impossible to believe that any could get away with the flagrant chaos Singer brings to his sets.

    And though Singer has denied the sexual-assault allegations that continue to pop up in the news, their existence has sowed distrust among actors who would likely never work with him in the future. Aside from the aforementioned Chastain tweet, other actors like Evan Rachel Wood have tweeted, Yeah, lets not forget Brian [sic] Singer either. Furthermore, the allegations themselves often make headlines, causing Singer to withdraw from public events where hes expected to promote his films. He dropped out of all press for X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014 amidst a lawsuit that was later withdrawn by the accusers. In 1998, his film Apt Pupil generated controversy due to a lawsuit alleging that he made a group of underage boys shower in the nude on film.

    This week, Gabriel Byrne shared a disturbing story about the making of Singers 1995 film The Usual Suspects. Byrne told The Sunday Times that filming shut down due to inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of its lead actor, Kevin Spacey.

    Spaceys long history of alleged sexual abuse against minors has now been made public, but if his improper behavior was enough to shut down one of Singers sets, its incredibly reckless of Singer to have worked with him again a decade later on Superman Returns. It calls into question Singers judgment as a director, given that he knowingly put a film in danger just to work with Spacey again.

    Then again, THR reported in 2014 that Singer brought his own brand of messiness to Superman Returns: Executives who have worked on his movies say the director was sometimes erratic, often complaining he was in pain, at times appearing heavily medicated and sometimes failing to appear on set. But it seems only on Singers 2006 Warner Bros. film Superman Returns did these issues contribute to budget overages. There were widespread rumors that Singers partying was part of the problem, but a friend who visited the set says that was not the issue. There were times that production was interrupted or delayed, says this person, but the problem was Singer battling his own demons with respect to medication.

    Singers unprofessionalism aside, he still managed to throw a lavish afterparty once the film was completed. According to BuzzFeed, a gay screenwriter in his thirties working his way through the film industry landed an invitation to the afterparty for the Los Angeles premiere of director Bryan Singers film Superman Returns. It started at like 1 a.m. It was super crowded. Someone told me to stick around as late as I could because after most of the guests leave, the scene in the pool gets freaky. There were a lot of twinks inside, just hanging out, and all of them were white. I wandered into what seemed like a screening room or TV room. There was a PlayStation set up, and a blond twink in a tank top who looked like he was 16 was sitting on the floor alone eating fried chicken straight from a KFC bucket. More white twinks showed up. I felt old and gross, so I left.

    Who, after all, doesnt love a bacchanal to celebrate all the work you didnt do on your latest film?

    Fox, meanwhile, was fully aware of what they were getting by hiring him. According to THR, Singer had been warned before production began by both Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film Vice Chairman and President of Production Emma Watts that they wouldnt tolerate any unprofessional behavior on his part. A representative from the Directors Guild of America also arrived on set to monitor the situation.

    The #MeToo movement in Hollywood has seen the ouster of accused sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, yes, but it also aims to expose a system that continuously rewards men who time and again prove to be wildly unprofessional. Im reminded of comments like those from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, who, when asked why there are no female directors in the Star Wars universe, told Variety, We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do Star Wars, theyre set up for success. Theyre gigantic films, and you cant come into them with essentially no experience. We want to really start to focus in on people we would love to work with and see what kinds of things theyre doing to progress up that ladder now, and then pull them in when the time is right.

    This year, Kennedy has fired multiple white male directors who werent up to snuff. Maybe Hollywood should spend a little less time trying to set up women and directors of color for this success, and stop coddling men like Singer who bring nothing to the table but the stench of vodka from last nights afterparty.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/bryan-singer-the-epitome-of-hollywoods-white-male-privilege-problem