Weekly news focus: Hacking, tiny robot, best job and best bars

Are the Russians hacking?

WITH the US presidential election just a month away on November 8th, the twists and turns of the race are absolutely riveting and holding the attention of the whole world.

Aside from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign being shaken yet again by crude remarks he made all of 11 years ago, what caught our attention was US officials coming out and blaming Russians for recent political hacking attacks intended to interfere with the US election process.

A report by CNBC’s Christine Wang says the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security issued a joint statement pointing a finger at the Russian government as having directed hacking attacks on American political organizations.

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the agencies said.

Washington was able to determine Russia’s involvement based on the “signature” of the attacks, which a government official told NBC News hackers may not have realized they left behind. The official used an analogy of a criminal investigation of a home invasion: the Russians might “shimmy down the chimney,” the Chinese “would kick the door down” and the North Koreans “would build a tunnel and flood the chamber.”

Of course the Kremlin came out and said these accusations are nonsense.

The  Kremlin spokesman said “tens of thousands of hackers” attack Russian President Vladimir Putin’s site “every day.”

“Many attacks are traced to US territory. But we’re not blaming the White House or Langley every time.”

This nail-biting race will of course end on November 8th and we are all waiting to see who gets into the White House.

A four-inch tall friend

WHETHER it’s out of loneliness or just to show off, a palm-size robot which has been developed by Toyota and will go on sale in Japan next year is a surefire hit – if it works that is.

Called Kirobo Mini and just four inches or 10 centimeters high, this machine friend has been designed to provide companionship, according to a BBC report.

weekly-2It  also has childlike attributes, but a robotics expert told the BBC a robot could not be a substitute for a child.

“He wobbles a bit, and this is meant to emulate a seated baby, which hasn’t fully developed the skills to balance itself,” Fuminori Kataoka, Kirobo Mini’s chief design engineer, told the Reuters news agency.

“This vulnerability is meant to invoke an emotional connection.”

It has a provisional price tag of 39,800 yen (13,484 baht), and there are no plans to sell it outside of Japan.

It is considerably cheaper than other companion robots – Aldebaran’s humanoid robot, Pepper, cost 198,000 yen (67,083 baht ) at launch. Kirobo Mini’s predecessor, a 13.38-inch or 34-centimeter robot called Kirobo, was sent up to the International Space Station in 2013.

Its job was to accompany Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata as part of a study about isolation.

The best job for work-life balance

IF you are fed up with your job and want to boldly switch to an entirely new line of work or still deciding which career you should pursue then perhaps you should consider becoming a data scientist.

CNBC quoted Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting platform, as saying when revealing its annual list of best jobs for work-life balance recently that data science field not only ensures good work-life balance but also comes with a big salary and lots of opportunities. For those who don’t know, data scientists extract insights from masses of data, usually using math, statistics and programming skills.

“Glassdoor ranked jobs based on feedback supplied by its US-based members, whose scores put data science at third out of 29 roles for work-life balance, top of the pay ranking with a median salary of $112,000, and third in the “most job openings” ranking.

“Corporate recruiters clinched the top spot for work-life balance, followed by user experience (UX) designers. Other notable positions for finding your groove between work and play included mobile developer and substitute engineer,” CNBC said.

World’s best bars for 2016

ASIDE from having to go through a sea change that Brexit is bringing about,  London unfortunately also lost is status as the cocktail capital of the world.

According to a CNN report by Travis Levius, New York City’s Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog ended a four-year dominance by  London’s Artesian at an awards ceremony in the British capital.

“London and New York have been fierce rivals for cocktail bar domination, often being the only two cities listed in the top five each year.

“The 2016 top 50 winners include bars from 27 cities in 20 countries, and were voted in by 450 of the global drink industry’s elite,” CNN said.

Although  London is no longer the cocktail champ, it still has nine bars in the top 50 list, more than any other city in world. Among them are the Connaught Bar, Dandelyan and Happiness Forgets, all of which are included in the top 10.

Asia had seven winners on the list this year, up from five last year.

“Singapore’s Manhattan Bar and 28 Hong Kong Street took top honors for the region, clocking in at 11th and 14th place, respectively. Other showings were from Tokyo and Shanghai as well as Hong Kong, which has two winners.

“Australia, meanwhile, has three bars included — all based in Melbourne and Sydney.”

For the full report and list please click the link below:



TOP: A pint-sized model of a hacker goes about hacking a computer in this image: Photo:  The Preiser Project (CC-BY-2.0)

INSET: Toyota’s tiny robot Kirobo Mini. Photo: BBC

BELOW: New York’s Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog is the best bar in the world this year. Photo: CNN.

FURTHER DOWN:London’s Happiness Forgets is at number 10 on the list this year. Photo: CNN

By Nina Suebsukcharoen





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