“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Ever since those famous words were spoken by Neil Armstrong as the world’s first moonwalk took place in 1969, generations have wondered what it’s like to walk on the moon. Not NASA astronaut? No problem. There’s a new shoe that’ll help you defy gravity right here on Earth. Meet the 2016 Moon Walker.
The innovative design of this footwear will set your feet soaring. These shoes are lightweight and water resistant on the outside, with DuPont Tyvek synthetic polyethylene on the inside (same stuff used by NASA on their space station modules!) The souls are made with foot-snuggling memory foam.
Then there’s the magical moon-walking sensation. It’s created by strategically placing the north poles of two thin-but-powerful N45 Neodymium magnets so that they’re facing. As they strongly repel one another, there’s a strip of air between them, so that you’re quite literally walking on air.
Moon Walkers are also smart shoes, featuring an E-Ink screen around the base controlled by a smart phone app, so you can customize and integrate with your social networks. Would you wear them?
Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to email@example.com. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
ATLANTA (AP) — Self-driving vehicles could begin tooling down a bustling Atlanta street full of cars, buses, bicyclists and college students, as the city vies with other communities nationwide to test the emerging technology.
Atlanta would become one of the largest urban areas for testing self-driving vehicles if plans come together for a demonstration as early as September.
Nationwide, 10 sites were designated last month as “proving grounds” for automated vehicles by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
They include North Carolina turnpikes, the eastern Iowa prairie and a Michigan site where World War II bombing aircraft were produced in a factory built by automobile pioneer Henry Ford. Atlanta isn’t on the list, but city officials nevertheless hope to make an impact.
Backers of driverless cars say they could be part of a broader effort to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, something President Donald Trump has pledged to do. As roads and highways are rebuilt, “we think it would be very, very wise to build modern infrastructure with 21st-century capability in mind,” said Paul Brubaker, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Transportation Innovation.
Self-driving vehicles, he said, “should be a national priority.”
The Trump administration hasn’t revealed its approach to the technology, but two U.S. senators this month announced a bipartisan effort to help speed deployment of the vehicles on the nation’s roads. Republican John Thune of South Dakota and Democrat Gary Peters of Michigan said they’re considering legislation that “clears hurdles and advances innovation in self-driving vehicle technology.”
Atlanta has sought proposals from companies for a demonstration of an autonomous vehicle on North Avenue later this year, city documents show.
The street, which connects the Georgia Institute of Technology campus to some of the South’s tallest skyscrapers, would be among the busiest urban environments yet for such testing.
In Atlanta, city officials say a key goal is to create optimal conditions on North Avenue for such vehicles to operate.
The goal of September’s demonstration is to show how such a vehicle would navigate in real-world traffic, though a driver will be inside and can take the controls if needed, said Faye DiMassimo, an Atlanta official involved in the North Avenue project.
“We still think that autonomous vehicles are sort of ‘The Jetsons,’ right?” DiMassimo said. “When you looked at all the information, you realize not only is this here and now, this has been in development for quite some time.”
North Avenue would first be equipped with devices and sensors, enabling vehicles to communicate with traffic signals and warning self-driving cars of red lights or treacherous conditions such as snow or ice, the city documents show.
Cameras would provide live video of traffic, and computers would analyze data on road conditions, concerts or other events likely to clog streets.
Security is a key concern, however.
“Imagine if these vehicles were hacked. Imagine if the system that controls them were hacked,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.
“I don’t think our society is going to want a robot glitch or a software hack to be responsible for mass deaths,” he said. “If we sanction robots controlling these vehicles without really knowing the risks, I think the technology will go under when the first major catastrophe befalls us.”
Court’s group worked with California transportation officials as they developed rules for testing vehicles developed by Google and other companies. Now, Court and others are watching to see how often human drivers must take over to prevent accidents as vehicles are tested in California.
Tying together massive amounts of data from so many sources “will pose myriad security challenges,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed acknowledged in a report last year on a related initiative to transform Atlanta into a “smart city.” Researchers at Georgia Tech, Reed said, will be key to that effort.
Public acceptance of the vehicles is among the main challenges to their widespread use on city streets and highways, Brubaker said.
He and others see Atlanta as a logical base for the emerging industry.
Atlanta’s notorious traffic congestion could lead residents to welcome such vehicles, Brubaker said.
“In any city that has that level of congestion, people have a relatively open mind to embracing technology solutions that will improve the traffic flow,” Brubaker said.
However, critics say the cars are not yet able to safely navigate clogged streets with traditional cars and pedestrians.
“The technology really is not ready to be used on urban streets, unless they are going to be cleared of human drivers and dedicated strictly to autonomous vehicles,” Court said.
“The real problem is these technologies tend to fail when they’re around pedestrians, cyclists, human drivers,” Court said. The key obstacle, he said: “human behavior is really unpredictable.”
At one North Avenue intersection near Georgia Tech’s football stadium, “students tend to jaywalk, so it can get a little bit messy over there,” said Georgia Tech student Maura Currie, 19. She called it “a hectic stretch of road.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — When North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters between South Korea and Japan, President Donald Trump moved quickly to show U.S. resolve. He appeared within hours alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and said the U.S. “stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”
Trump happened to be hosting Abe that day in Florida. Yet his lack of any mention of a U.S. treaty ally South Korea didn’t go unnoticed by the new secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. So, while on his first official trip, Tillerson arranged a three-way meeting in Germany with the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers to show the U.S. wasn’t picking favorites, according to a senior State Department official.
The talks culminated in a joint declaration in which the U.S. pledged to defend a pair of Asian nations that don’t always get along. There was no elaborate ceremony before the video cameras, no speeches, as their written statement went out in low-key fashion.
It was Tillerson’s way.
Cautious, reserved and intent on avoiding the spotlight, the former Exxon Mobil CEO is proving to be everything his extroverted Oval Office boss is not.
In his first weeks as America’s top diplomat, Tillerson has gone to great lengths to avoid attracting attention, despite a growing perception in Washington that the State Department is being sidelined by a power-centric White House.
Some State Department officials have been told by the White House to expect drastic budget cuts, with much of the reduction potentially coming out of U.S. foreign aid money. Trump and his team have also told those interviewing for top State Department jobs that significant staffing cuts will come. Some appear to have started already.
While Tillerson was in Germany, several senior management and advisory positions were eliminated. The staffers were reassigned. Some other top posts are vacant, and there are no signs they’ll be quickly filled.
While Tillerson has met or spoken with dozens of foreign counterparts in his first weeks, the White House is driving the front-page diplomacy. The lack of State Department involvement has flustered many long-time diplomats.
When Trump met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, acting Deputy Secretary Tom Shannon was assigned to represent the agency in the meeting because Tillerson was flying to Germany. At the last minute, Shannon was blocked from participating in the meeting. The meeting went on without State Department representation.
It was “modified to allow for a more personal discussion,” according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Tillerson had dined the evening before with Netanyahu and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House aide who has emerged as Trump’s top emissary to Israel, Mexico and other countries. That is a role that traditionally has fallen to the secretary of state.
Tillerson has barely spoken in public, save for greeting U.S. diplomats on his first day and brief comments after a get-together with Russia’s foreign minister.
It’s a sharp contrast with the Obama administration’s last secretary of state, John Kerry, who routinely found his way to the center of global crises, enthusiastically fulfilling the “public diplomacy” part of the job. Whereas Kerry exhausted staff with impromptu, whirlwind foreign trips and constant press appearances, Tillerson has made it known to his staff that he wants a lower profile.
In private, the Texas oilman with the booming baritone voice is deliberate, independent and cool-headed, according to U.S. and foreign diplomats who have interacted with him and who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to avoid possible diplomatic fallout from discussing private conversations. A common thread in Tillerson’s meetings with diplomats has been an emphasis on the safety of U.S. personnel, State Department officials said.
It’s a continuation of a theme Tillerson touched on when he spoke to staffers on his first day, and one he plans to echo this coming week on a trip to Mexico City with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Tillerson will stop at the U.S. Embassy to meet with American diplomats, officials said.
Diplomats from several foreign countries said Tillerson is playing it safe in high-level meetings so far, avoiding extemporaneous comments. He shows up seeming well-prepared and confident on the substance of issues, rarely consulting his aides or written notes, they reported.
In Germany last week, Tillerson urged China to help address North Korea’s nuclear threat. He called on Russia to honor a 2015 peace plan for Ukraine.
While those signs of continuity in U.S. policy may have assuaged some foreign leaders’ concerns about Trump, Tillerson’s tight-lipped nature unsettled others.
After meeting Tillerson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault lamented the “vague” U.S. position on issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tillerson told several of his international partners the U.S. is still in “listening mode,” leaving some with the perception that Trump may craft U.S. foreign policy on the fly.
In a rare interaction with reporters, Tillerson said before leaving Germany he was bringing home “many” messages for Trump. Asked to share a few, he demurred.
“Not until I share it with him,” he said.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Move over, Wilt. After 55 years, one of your records is no more.
Anthony Davis took care of that.
At the defense-free dunkfest that now serves as the NBA’s All-Star Game, Davis scored a record 52 points and led the Western Conference past the Eastern Conference, 192-182 on Sunday night. He made 26 of 39 shots, scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and became the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2011 to win MVP honors on his home floor.
“It was amazing,” Davis said. “That’s what I wanted to do … get the MVP for this crowd, for this city. This one definitely means a lot to me.”
Davis was the star of stars in a game where the teams combined for more points than in any other All-Star contest. It came on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo had more dunks — 12 — than his name has consonants and LeBron James became the first player to eclipse 300 points in an All-Star career.
Being linked to Wilt Chamberlain, who had 42 points in the 1962 game, only made it more special, Davis said.
“The next one I’m going to try to do is 100 points,” Davis said.
He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes — which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.
Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, thanks to his West teammates deferring to their host time and again.
“It shows our guys recognize what the weekend is about,” West coach Steve Kerr said
Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West. And after the game, word came that Sacramento is trading All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans as part of a deal that will involve five players and two draft picks.
Cousins played only two minutes. The New Orleans fans will see much more of him soon enough.
Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East. James scored 23 — including a 3-pointer from the midcourt logo — while Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving added 22 points and 14 assists.
“There were a few too many transition baskets allowed,” East coach Brad Stevens deadpanned. “But I think that was strictly coaching.”
Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.
If any animus remains between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game’s top highlights — a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.
“OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of ice water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.
“It was a nice give-and-go, man,” Westbrook said.
Added Durant: “It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play.”
Kerr said that set the West up for the rest of the night.
“I guess that’s kind of the beauty of the game,” Kerr said. “You just let the game break the ice, and that play, I thought, broke the ice.”
Westbrook scored 12 points — all on 3s — in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.
It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.
“He did a good job,” Westbrook said, “and got it done.”
East: Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. … Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. … No East player logged more than 24 minutes.
West: Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam — one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay.
A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” pregame, when he started the song.
It wasn’t for him.
That happened to be the moment when John Legend — the halftime performer — and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.
Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.
The next All-Star Game is Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, which will host for a record sixth time.
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The hand-picked candidate of socialist President Rafael Correa headed to victory in the opening round of Ecuador’s presidential election, although it was uncertain late Sunday whether he would get enough votes to avoid a runoff against his nearest rival.
With more than 80 percent of polling stations reporting just before midnight, ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno had almost 39 percent of the votes, compared to just under 29 percent for former banker Guillermo Lasso, the closest contender among seven opposition candidates.
To avoid a runoff, Moreno needed to win a majority of the total vote, or to have a 40 percent share while holding a 10-point lead over his nearest rival.
Even before the first vote results, Moreno was quick to declare himself the winner based on inconclusive exit polls and called on Lasso to recognize defeat. He later softened his stance while addressing supporters late in the night, but still said he was confident he would cross the required threshold as results came in from consulates overseas and western Manabi province — where the government spent heavily to rebuild from last year’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
“I have faith we’ll reach 40 percent,” he said before breaking into song.
Given the tight race, electoral authorities decided against announcing a quick count of results and appealed for patience as official results came in. A count of statistically representative tally sheets nationwide by a respected private group predicted Moreno would finish on top with 38.8 percent to 28 percent for Lasso, with a 1 point margin of error.
The opposition candidate showed no sign of throwing in the towel as hundreds of Lasso supporters gathered outside the National Electoral Council, saying they would remain there until a runoff was confirmed.
“We’re protesting so that there’s no fraud,” Eduardo Ponce said while police in riot gear nervously cordoned off the sometimes rowdy crowd shouting anti-Correa slogans. “Everyone I know voted for Lasso, so how can Moreno be winning?”
The outcome was being watched closely in Latin America, where conservative leaders in Argentina, Brazil and Peru have assumed power in the past 18 months after the end of a commodities boom that boosted leftists like Correa.
Outside the region, much of the interest in the election focused on what the outcome might mean for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. Moreno has indicated he would allow Assange to remain while Lasso vowed to evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office.
The contest put Correa’s legacy on the line as well. The self-declared 21st century socialist who took office in 2007 ushered in a period of stability after a severe economic crisis that saw three presidents toppled in protests and the adoption of the U.S. dollar to control rampant inflation. While Correa has been praised for reducing inequality and overhauling Ecuador’s infrastructure, opinion polls said a majority of Ecuadoreans favor change.
Formerly flush government budgets have been slashed and thousands of people at state-run companies laid off as oil revenues in the OPEC nation declined. The International Monetary Fund expects Ecuador’s economy to shrink 2.7 percent this year, and analysts predict the new president will have to seek a bailout from the Washington-based IMF to address financial problems made worse by last year’s earthquake.
Several losing candidates who shared Lasso’s conservative agenda and fatigue with Correa’s iron-fisted rule threw their support behind Lasso in an eventual second round, including former congresswoman Cynthia Viteri, who finished third with more than 16 percent. Former Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, the only leftist among the seven trailing candidates, said he wouldn’t ask the 7 percent of voters who backed him to vote for either candidate in the runoff.
Moreno urged voters to uphold Correa’s “Citizens’ Revolution,” while his challengers vowed to eliminate taxes they contend hamper growth and to strengthen democratic institutions they say were weakened by Correa’s leadership.
As many as a third of voters recently declared themselves undecided amid low-energy campaigning as the charismatic Correa prepares to retire from politics.
In the final weeks before the election, corruption allegations involving Moreno’s running mate, current Vice President Jorge Glas, dominated airwaves. A leaked video widely shared on social media shows a disgraced former Cabinet minister undergoing a lie detector test and accusing Glas of taking some of the $12 million in bribes paid to state-run PetroEcuador for construction of a refinery.
Glas denied any wrongdoing.
“We’ve shown that by campaigning honorably you can win elections,” Moreno told supporters after the exit polls were released. “We’ve had to endure terrible attacks that can’t be justified just because of the heat of an election.”
Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he plans to make some decisions soon on whether to recommend an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and whether the totals should be based on military requirements rather than pre-set limits.
Mattis told reporters traveling with him that he spoke for several hours by video conference on Sunday with U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander there. Mattis said he will collect his thoughts and then send recommendations to the White House where, he said, President Donald Trump is open to his advice.
Earlier this month, Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he needs a few thousand more troops to train and advise Afghan forces.
At the time, Nicholson didn’t provide an exact number, but argued for greater flexibility in setting U.S. troop commitments in Afghanistan, where the war is entering its 16th year. Defense and military leaders would prefer a troop level based on military requirements, rather than on a specific, predetermined number.
“The president has been rightfully reticent on it because he’s waiting for my assessment and the assessment from the intelligence community,” Mattis said during a press conference. “It shouldn’t take too long. I’ve got to integrate a fair number of issues to give a good recommendation for the way ahead.”
The Pentagon chief was scheduled to fly into Afghanistan to meet with commanders and leaders on Sunday, but he said bad weather prevented the trip.
He said the call with Nicholson and a meeting Saturday in Munich with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were part of his effort to get the latest information on the situation both politically and strategically.
During the hearing, Nicholson told senators that the additional troops could come from the United States or other nations in the U.S.-led coalition.
He noted that when then-President Barack Obama ordered a cut in U.S. troops to 8,400 last year, commanders were forced to hire contractors to do jobs that American forces would normally do.
As an example, Nicholson said that because of the troop cut, the aviation brigade that deployed to Afghanistan was able to bring its helicopters, pilots and staff. But its mechanics had to behind at Fort Riley, Kansas, and contractors were hired instead at a cost of “tens of millions of dollars,” affecting the unit’s readiness.
The Obama administration came under fire for what critics said was unnecessary micromanagement of the military deployments.
Of the American forces now in Afghanistan, more than 2,100 are conducting counterterrorism missions. The remainder are part of the training and advisory mission. Another several hundred U.S. forces are stationed outside the country, but can quickly deploy into the warzone if needed from elsewhere in the region.
On a separate issue, Nicholson told the senators that Russian meddling is complicating the counterterrorism fight. Mattis said that part of his evaluation will look at “what other countries in the region are doing in Afghanistan to help or hinder us.”
Mattis added that while the Afghans have lost some territory to the Taliban, the insurgents have suffered a lot of damage and haven’t met their tactical objectives.
He acknowledged that Afghan forces have had a lot of casualties, but he said they’ve held on and, “the Taliban is in a worse position today, even though I do not equate that to success on our side.”