How Age And Income May Show You Back ‘Brexit’

screengrab from VJU video 2

Eurosceptics have brought down prime ministers, dismantled governments and generally been a thorn in the side of leading politicians for decades.

In finally giving them the referendum they craved, David Cameron has, for now, amplified their voices further.

But who are the Eurosceptics, and why do they want to leave the European Union?

There are two key groups who tend to support a Brexit: older people and poorer people.

The impact of this can be seen in the likes of Clacton – the only parliamentary seat held by UKIP, whose local authority of Tendring is rated as the most Eurosceptic in Britain according to our Sky Data Brexit map.

UK Brexit Map

The least Eurosceptic areas of Britain are in yellow, the most in blue

In this Essex constituency, there are more pensioners than full-time workers, and more than half of voters are on incomes of less than £15,000 per year.

The factors which indicate someone supports a Brexit also manifest themselves in other, less obvious ways.

For example, Sky Data analysis shows Waitrose shoppers are more likely to vote Remain, while those who shop at Aldi are more likely to vote Leave.

Luxury car owners are more likely to be Europhiles, while those who drive small utility cars tend to be more Eurosceptic.

And more obscurely, if you like going fishing, you’re more likely to support the Out campaign – with the reverse being true of cinemagoers.

The main issue driving Leave supporters is immigration.

Two in three Britons (63%) say immigration has had a negative effect on British culture.

Boris Johnson at Vote Leave EU rally in Manchester

The EU is also seen as having a particularly negative impact for unskilled British workers, for whom 42% of Britons think the EU is a bad thing, compared with 16% who think it’s beneficial.

In short, poorer people are worried about their jobs and think their wages are being undercut, while older people feel alienated and intimidated by a multicultural, polylingual Britain that they don’t recognise.

On the other hand, data from YouGov shows the EU is seen as a good thing for our influence on the world stage, employment in the UK generally, and keeping prices down.

For now, neither side is winning the argument on the terrorist threat, nor on the economy – though we shall see if this week’s Treasury forecast of a Brexit costing each UK household £4,300 per year has an impact.

The fact only half of Britons say they have enough information to make an informed decision suggests that opinions may yet be changed ahead of June’s referendum.

[Source:- Skynews]

Robots designed to inspect power lines

Robots designed to inspect power lines

Overhead transmission lines traverse thousands of kilometers, often crossing remote areas. Inspecting the often ageing lines and the vegetation near them is an important aspect of maintenance, but it can be extremely expensive and is sometimes dangerous. Now a robot has been designed to travel along transmission lines, covering 130 km of line at least twice a year, inspecting the line and checking for high-risk vegetation.

Scientists at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the US are developing the robot, which looks a little like a solar car, is around two meters long and weighs about 65 kilograms. It is designed to clamp onto the shield wire, which is above the main transmission line and protects it from lightning strikes. The robot will “crawl” along the wire on rollers at about five kilometers per hour, powered by energy harvested from the shield wire and with solar panels and batteries as backup. The robot can cross obstacles such as cable spacers and suspension clamps and can maneuver around pylons (towers) using cables built in (or retrofitted).

The robot is equipped with sensors and a high-definition camera to detect obstacles such as overgrown trees, and it can analyze the images and compare them with previous images to see if anything has changed. It will also be able to use images taken at two locations and use parallax measurements to calculate clearances between conductors, trees and other objects. Overgrown trees are the major cause of electrical outages, so detecting them early is important to the utility companies and power consumers.

The robot will also contain sensors to detect electromagnetic noise that could indicate problems, and it will check for faulty connections. It could also retrieve data from sensors in the field that is normally retrieved by ground or helicopter visits. In remote regions data collected will be relayed to the utility via satellite link. Images will be transmitted when the robot returns to locations with cell phone coverage.

According to EPRI representative Andrew Phillips, the savings should more than offset the expected price tag of under $500,000 for each robot.

The first prototype of the robot will be tested later this month, and commercial field testing is expected to start in 2014 along the 440 km Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline in Ohio. Similar robotic power line inspectors are also being developed by Canada’s Hydro-Québec Research Institute and the Kansai Electric Power Co. in Japan.


What’s next for computing? Microsoft and the “invisible revolution”

We already live in a world where technology is at the turn of every corner. Over two-thirds of Americans own at least two devices and at least one-third have three or more. In a time when cloud computing is the most powerful tool, users have come to expect to have access to all of their information across every device. Whether it’s using a console to play a game, a phone to keep in touch with family, or a fitness tracker to keep on track in maintaining health, users expect to have access to all of their information across every device.

Harry Shum, the executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Technology and Research Division, has a vision for the future. In fact, Microsoft released a rather detailed, if not a little long-winded, news post about the upcoming goals, research, and expectations from their continued developments in technology.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but it is also increasingly invisible.”

The invisible revolution is intended to bring together the world through technology that is increasingly becoming more hands-off. It increases the quality of life as people become busier, taking the mundane acts such as scheduling meetings, turning lights on, and translating languages and putting them in a way that the user can spend their time doing things that are more important to them. Shum feels that breaking down the barriers caused by language and location will improve the relationships different countries can have between each other.

Microsoft Graph

The first example given to us is the dream that Patrick Pantel, a research manager at Microsoft Research, has about walking through the conference room doors. To him, the invisible revolution will have informed him everything he needs to know about the meeting, including past work experiences with co-workers attending and what he needs to have prepped for the presentation. When he walks in, he will feel confident as his device uploads the PowerPoint document or dial him into the conference call on Skype.

Pantel has been working on the Microsoft Graph which has already been available in Microsoft Office 365 via a tool known as Delve. Delve forms professional connections with co-workers with an up-to-date project management system that lets everyone access the same work files. Although Microsoft developed Delve, the tools and codes have been made available to third-party developers that have used them for other useful applications such as AvePoint and Netskope.

Take-back-your-time-with-Delve-Analytics-1 What's next for computing? Microsoft and the "invisible revolution"

The Delve Analytics Dashboard. Image credit: the Office blog.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

The development of Cortana was an exceptional example of the possible integration of making life easier. Cortana will acknowledge what the user types or says in their emails, texts, or on the phone to help them build a list of commitments and goals. But Cortana isn’t the end-goal for artificial intelligence. In China, an application called XiaoIce has become a household name. The virtual assistant doesn’t just provide information but speaks to users on a more personal level about their feelings and lives. In fact, over 40 million people are enamored with the conversations that have ensued with the robot.

Changing The World

Ranveer Chandra from Microsoft Research is a prime example of their passionate commitment to making the world a better place. His experiments with installing white spaces from television frequencies and merging them with solar powered receptors are bringing a technological advantage to agriculture. He feels that by providing an easier and more efficient way for farmers to produce wholesome food, technology will be a leading factor in solving the hunger crisis found across the globe and will help spur on the next green revolution.

Likewise, Beijing, China has suffered for years through unpredictable air quality patterns that can send children to school with gas masks on for the day. With a project called Urban Air, residents now have a real-time view of the air quality in their neighborhood and across the city. The service can even provide them with a forecast a few hours in advance, allowing them to schedule accordingly. Not only does this information improve their lifestyle and health, but it allows researchers to use the data captured over time to gain a better understanding of how they can potentially improve these issues.

The innovative tools and designs make it possible to bring information and tools to users regardless of what devices they have, what language they speak, or even if they have other challenges. Computers can now register gestures, tone, and facial expressions without the user needing to sit in front of a computer. With machine learning, artificial intelligence is learning to understand voice, gather more data, and provide for humanity’s very basic needs. “It’s not about computers replacing humans. Instead, it’s about using technology to allow people to do things better and more easily,” the blog states.

“It’s not about computers replacing humans. Instead, it’s about using technology to allow people to do things better and more easily,” the blog states. This is a topic that we’ll be paying close attention to as we go forward, given that Microsoft is making tremendous investments in the technology and looks to be one of the leaders well into the future.


[Source:- Winbeta]

Scalable, disaster-resistant CockroachDB enters public beta

Scalable, disaster-resistant CockroachDB enters public beta

CockroachDB may sound like a joke project, but its creators are on a serious mission: Create a distributed SQL database that can scale out well, survive most mishaps (like its namesake is said to be able to survive nearly anything), and make it easy to write applications.

Originally announced back in 2014, CockroachDB is now available in its first public beta. The company behind it, Cockroach Labs, is clearly hoping CockroachDB’s design will appeal to creators of database-driven apps.

In a talk given at CoreOS Fest 2015, Cockroach Labs CEO Spencer Kimball described the key principles behind CockroachDB. Because of the growing amount of data collected by modern database-driven applications, he said, databases need to be able to scale horizontally by default without tweaking or tuning.

Likewise, Kimball noted, databases need to be able to recover as automatically as possible from disasters. Applications built with those databases shouldn’t have to make accommodations when data is rebalanced across nodes or when a data center melts down.

Consistency is another key element long thought difficult to achieve with distributed databases. Kimball wanted CockroachDB to provide “one truth, everywhere” — to be a provider of strong consistency (via the Raft project) rather than the eventual consistency commonly associated with distributed systems like Cassandra or Couchbase.

This issue was deemed so important that Cockroach Labs included SQL support in the CockroachDB beta, though it meant delaying its release for six months. SQL is widely understood and leveraged, and those who use SQL expect strong consistency from the systems they connect to.

A sense of purpose

In a phone interview earlier this week, Kimball noted that the delay not only provided time to figure out how to make SQL work well with CockroachDB, it also helped potential users better understand what the application was intended to be.

“We were going to originally launch with what was called a ‘key/value’ interface,” Kimball said. “[But] that’s not that useful for application developers. … It would have caused this long, lingering confusion about whether CockroachDB was this transactional data store or ‘Oh, I’ve heard those guys are going to do SQL eventually, so which one is it? How should we use it?'”

The initial beta of CockroachDB will not, however, be ANSI SQL compliant. Joins, for instance, are not yet supported, lthough there are plans to make it happen in the 1.0 release. Likewise, while distributed transactions (such as writes) are supported, distributed queries — required by analytic workloads for high parallelism — aren’t part of the package yet.

Kimball is of the opinion that these items don’t have to be part of the initial release for CockroachDB to find an audience. “We are trying to appeal to the very long tail of developers,” he said. “We’re not specifically looking for the big, obvious use cases; we expect companies to adopt it down the road.

“As an open source product, and as an OLTP database, you have this chicken-and-egg problem,” Kimball said. “It’s hard for someone to trust an OLTP database until you have a certain level of maturity and a certain amount of adoption that indicates the credibility of the product.”

This story, “Scalable, disaster-resistant CockroachDB enters public beta” was originally published by InfoWorld.

[Source:- JW]

Sally Faulkner: father of children says attempted kidnap charge stands

Ali al-Amin says he does not intend to drop charges against his estranged Australian wife over attempt to seize children

Sally Faulkner and Tara Brown
Lebanese police escort Sally Faulkner (centre, in black) and 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown (right) from court in Beirut. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

The father of two children at the centre of a botched child recovery operation inLebanon has said he is in no hurry to resolve the case and does not intend to drop charges of attempted kidnapping against his estranged Australian wife.

Speaking inside the Baabda palace of justice, a defiant Ali al-Amin contradictedstatements made last week that he was open to compromise on the charges laid against Sally Faulkner.

The judge, Rami Abdullah, adjourned the case until Wednesday to allow talks to continue.

Faulkner, from Brisbane, flew to Lebanon this month with a news crew from theChannel Nine programme 60 Minutes in an attempt to seize the couple’s children from a street in south Beirut.

Tara Brown, the correspondent for 60 Minutes, and Adam Whittington, the founder of Child Abduction Recovery International, are among seven people also facing charges over the operation. The others include the 60 Minutes cameraman Benjamin Williamson, producer Stephen Rice, and sound recordist David Ballment.

Amin suggested on Monday that if he agreed to drop charges against his ex-wife, he would also make it more likely that the 60 Minutes crew, Whittington and two others involved in the operation, would be freed too.

“They are trying to push for that if Sally gets bail, they all get bail,” he said. “I said then I will charge everyone involved and I say it today. It will take some time. I am in no hurry.”

Amin appeared confident and unhurried, in contrast to Faulkner who seemed tired and distressed when she was brought before the judge. Brown also appeared briefly in chambers.

Abdullah said a hearing for the group had been postponed because another case had taken precedent. Under Lebanon’s inquisitorial judicial system, pre-trial hearings can be part mediation sessions and part interrogation.

Amin took five-year-old Lahela and three-year-old Noah to Lebanon almost a year ago. Faulkner, who was separated from Amin, then involved a child recovery team, which arranged to seize them.

The operation was successful, but the team behind it was quickly seized. All involved, including Faulkner, were arrested.

Whittington’s lawyer said he was expected to have presented documents to the court that showed 60 Minutes had paid him in two tranches.

60 Minutes’ Ross Coulthart talks about the crew in Lebanon

A lawyer for 60 Minutes, Kamal Abou Daher, admitted that Channel Nine had paid for the story, but attempted to draw a distinction between the legal fight for custody of the children and the abduction itself.

“Ali’s lawyers said it and you heard yourself, they are not in a hurry,” he said. “This changed after the last hearing.”

Speaking inside his chambers, Abdullah said he had no preference for how the case progressed from here. “Of course, if everything is negotiated it is better,” he said. “However that is up to the parties.”

On Sunday, the 60 Minutes host Ross Coulthart said the programme’s detained crew members were “said to be in good spirits and coping well”. Brown has said she was being “well-treated in a women’s detention centre”, he said, while her male colleagues were held separately.

On Monday, prominent Channel Nine journalists rallied to support Brown and the rest of the crew before the hearing.

60 Minutes’ apparent decision to cover the costs of the child recovery operation has faced intense scrutiny, but a number of Australian journalists have now come to the show’s defence.

On Monday, Tracy Grimshaw defended the crew in an article for the Australian, saying they were not “tabloid cowboys”.

“They are not a threat to society. That’s probably the biggest Captain Obvious statement you will read all day. They are good people who care about what they do, who love their families and friends and are loved very much back,” she wrote.


 [Source:- Gurdian]

Everybody Loves Raymond Star Doris Roberts Dies

Actress Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts, who played Marie Barone in the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has died at the age of 90.

The veteran actress passed away in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles, a family spokeswoman said.

Her cause of death has not been made public, but a statement said the Missouri-born actress had been healthy and active.

Roberts’ performance as Ray Romano’s meddlesome mother in the TV comedy about a dysfunctional family was one of her best-known roles.

Cast members pose for group photo at the series wrap party of "Everybody Loves Raymond" in California.

Roberts pictured with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond in 2005

Upon hearing of her death, Romano said: “Doris Roberts had an energy and a spirit that amazed me. She never stopped.

“Whether working professionally or with her many charities, or just nurturing and mentoring a green young comic trying to make it as an actor, she did everything with such a grand love for life and people and I will miss her dearly.”

During Everybody Loves Raymond’s nine-year run, she won the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series award at the Emmys four times – and was nominated a further three times.

In 1983, she also won the outstanding supporting actress in a drama series award for her role in the medical soap opera St Elsewhere.

After Everybody Loves Raymond came to an end in 2005, she made guest appearances in other well-known TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

Phil Rosenthal, who created Everybody Loves Raymond, tweeted: “We loved our mom, the great Doris Roberts. A wonderful, funny, indelible actress and friend.”

She is survived by her son, Michael, and three grandchildren.


[Source:- Skynews]

Robot offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines

Robot offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines

A team led by the University of Georgia’s Javad Mohammadpour has designed, prototyped and tested a robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance. Credit: Mike Wooten/University of Georgia

A robot invented by researchers in the University of Georgia College of Engineering could change the way power lines are inspected—providing a safer and most cost-effective alternative.

Currently, line crews have to suit up in protective clothing, employ elaborate safety procedures and sometimes completely shut off the power before inspecting a power line. It can be difficult, time-consuming and often dangerous work.

A team led by Javad Mohammadpour, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, has designed, prototyped and tested a robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance.

Distribution lines carry electricity from substations to homes, businesses and other end users.

The self-propelled robot looks like a miniature cable car and is approximately the size of a coffee maker, much smaller and lighter than similar devices now used by utility companies.

“This is a tool that’s small enough for a single utility worker to pack in a truck or van and use daily,” Mohammadpour said. “Some of the robots currently in use weigh 200-300 pounds while our robot is only 20-25 pounds.”

Equipped with a spinning brush, the robot can clear utility lines of vegetation, bird droppings, salt deposits-a problem particular to coastal areas-or other debris that may degrade the line. It also has an onboard camera, which allows crews to closely inspect potential problem areas. The robot is wireless and can be controlled by a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Robot offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines
Javad Mohammadpour, Farshid Abbasi and Rebecca Miller teamed up to design a light-weight robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance. Credit: Mike Wooten/University of Georgia

Mohammadpour worked with doctoral student Farshid Abbasi and master’s student Rebecca Miller on the project. Abbasi focused on the mechanical design of the robot while Miller developed the device’s programming, electronics and sensors. Their work was funded by Georgia Power.

“This is our first prototype, and there are a number of advances we would like to explore, including making the robot more autonomous,” Mohammadpour said. “For example, some decision-making could be made on board. If the robot detects a problem, it could send a signal to the controller instead of requiring a person to monitor the robot in real time.”

In addition, Mohammadpour said the robot could be outfitted with GPS technology. This would allow the robot to geo-tag potential problems along electrical lines, alerting utility workers to the need for follow-up inspections at specific locations.

Robot offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines
A team led by the University of Georgia’s Javad Mohammadpour has designed, prototyped and tested a robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance. Credit: Mike Wooten/University of Georgia
Robot offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines
A team led by the University of Georgia’s Javad Mohammadpour has designed, prototyped and tested a robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance. Credit: Mike Wooten/University of Georgia




Skype for iPhone and iPad updated with bug fixes and performance enhancements

The Skype team is one of Microsoft’s busiest groups, consistently pushing out updates for the myriad platforms supported by the company’s premier communications tool. Today, the team gave iOS some love, placing Skype version 6.14 in the App Store for both the iPhone and the iPad.

The changelog is fairly straightforward, and nothing exciting (substitute iPhone for iPad and it’s exactly same for both devices):

Welcome to Skype 6.14 for iPad. This update contains numerous bug fixes and performance improvements. Please continue to send us feedback from within the app or via Skype’s community pages. We are listening!

So, just bug fixes and performance enhancements, but that’s nothing to sneeze at. Head over to the App Store and hit the update button or download from the links below.

[Source:- Winbeta]

Which freaking big data programming language should I use?

Which freaking big data programming language should I use?

You have a big data project. You understand the problem domain, you know what infrastructure to use, and maybe you’ve even decided on the framework you will use to process all that data, but one decision looms large: What language should I choose? (Or perhaps more pointed: What language should I force all my developers and data scientists to suffer?) It’s a question that can be put off for only so long.

Sure, there’s nothing stopping you from doing big data work with, say, XSLT transformations (a good April Fools’ suggestion for tomorrow, simply to see the looks on everybody’s faces). But in general, there are three languages of choice for big data these days — R, Python, and Scala — plus the perennial stalwart enterprise tortoise of Java. What language should you choose and why … or when?

Here’s a rundown of each to help guide your decision.


R is often called “a language for statisticians built by statisticians.” If you need an esoteric statistical model for your calculations, you’ll likely find it on CRAN — it’s not called the Comprehensive R Archive Network for nothing, you know. For analysis and plotting, you can’t beat ggplot2. And if you need to harness more power than your machine can offer, you can use the SparkR bindings to run Spark on R.

However, if you are not a data scientist and haven’t used Matlab, SAS, or OCTAVE before, it can take a bit of adjustment to be productive in R. While it’s great for data analysis, it’s less good at more general purposes. You’d construct a model in R, but you would consider translating the model into Scala or Python for production, and you’d be unlikely to write a clustering control system using the language (good luck debugging it if you do).


If your data scientists don’t do R, they’ll likely know Python inside and out. Python has been very popular in academia for more than a decade, especially in areas like Natural Language Processing (NLP). As a result, if you have a project that requires NLP work, you’ll face an embarrassing number of choices, including the classic NTLK, topic modeling with GenSim, or the blazing-fast and accurate spaCy. Similarly, Python punches well above its weight when it comes to neural networking, withTheano and Tensorflow; then there’s scikit-learn for machine learning, as well asNumPy and Pandas for data analysis.

There’s Juypter/iPython too — the Web-based notebook server that allows you to mix code, plots, and, well, almost anything, in a shareable logbook format. This had been one of Python’s killer features, although these days, the concept has proved so useful that it has spread across almost all languages that have a concept of Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL), including both Scala and R.

Python tends to be supported in big data processing frameworks, but at the same time, it tends not to be a first-class citizen. For example, new features in Spark will almost always appear at the top in the Scala/Java bindings, and it may take a few minor versions for those updates to be made available in PySpark (especially true for the Spark Streaming/MLLib side of development).

As opposed to R, Python is a traditional object-oriented language, so most developers will be fairly comfortable working with it, whereas first exposure to R or Scala can be quite intimidating. A slight issue is the requirement of correct white-spacing in your code. This splits people between “this is great for enforcing readability” and those of us who believe that in 2016 we shouldn’t need to fight an interpreter to get a program running because a line has one character out of place (you might guess where I fall on this issue).


Ah, Scala — of the four languages in this article, Scala is the one that leans back effortlessly against the wall with everybody admiring its type system. Running on the JVM, Scala is a mostly successful marriage of the functional and object-oriented paradigms, and it’s currently making huge strides in the financial world and companies that need to operate on very large amounts of data, often in a massively distributed fashion (such as Twitter and LinkedIn). It’s also the language that drives both Spark and Kafka.

As it runs in the JVM, it immediately gets access to the Java ecosystem for free, but it also has a wide variety of “native” libraries for handling data at scale (in particular Twitter’s Algebird and Summingbird). It also includes a very handy REPL for interactive development and analysis as in Python and R.

I’m very fond of Scala, if you can’t tell, as it includes lots of useful programming features like pattern matching and is considerably less verbose than standard Java. However, there’s often more than one way to do something in Scala, and the language advertises this as a feature. And that’s good! But given that it has a Turing-complete type system and all sorts of squiggly operators (‘/:’ for foldLeft and ‘:\’ forfoldRight), it is quite easy to open a Scala file and think you’re looking at a particularly nasty bit of Perl. A set of good practices and guidelines to follow when writing Scala is needed (Databricks’ are reasonable).

The other downside: Scala compiler is a touch slow, to the extent that it brings back the days of the classic “compiling!” XKCD strip. Still, it has the REPL, big data support, and Web-based notebooks in the form of Jupyter and Zeppelin, so I forgive a lot of its quirks.


Finally, there’s always Java — unloved, forlorn, owned by a company that only seems to care about it when there’s money to be made by suing Google, and completely unfashionable. Only drones in the enterprise use Java! Yet Java could be a great fit for your big data project. Consider Hadoop MapReduce — Java. HDFS? Written in Java. Even Storm, Kafka, and Spark run on the JVM (in Clojure and Scala), meaning that Java is a first-class citizen of these projects. Then there are new technologies like Google Cloud Dataflow (now Apache Beam), which until very recently supported Java only.

Java may not be the ninja rock star language of choice. But while they’re straining to sort out their nest of callbacks in their Node.js application, using Java gives you access to a large ecosystem of profilers, debuggers, monitoring tools, libraries for enterprise security and interoperability, and much more besides, most of which have been battle-tested over the past two decades. (I’m sorry, everybody; Java turns 21 this year and we are all old.)

The main complaints against Java are the heavy verbosity and the lack of a REPL (present in R, Python, and Scala) for iterative developing. I’ve seen 10 lines of Scala-based Spark code balloon into a 200-line monstrosity in Java, complete with huge type statements that take up most of the screen. However, the new lambda support in Java 8 does a lot to rectify this situation. Java is never going to be as compact as Scala, but Java 8 really does make developing in Java less painful.

As for the REPL? OK, you got me there — currently, anyhow. Java 9 (out next year) will include JShell for all your REPL needs.

Drumroll, please

Which language should you use for your big data project? I’m afraid I’m going to take the coward’s way out and come down firmly on the side of “it depends.” If you’re doing heavy data analysis with obscure statistical calculations, then you’d be crazy not to favor R. If you’re doing NLP or intensive neural network processing across GPUs, then Python is a good bet. And for a hardened, production streaming solution with all the important operational tooling, Java or Scala are definitely great choices.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be either/or. For example, with Spark, you can train your model and machine learning pipeline with R or Python with data at rest, then serialize that pipeline out to storage, where it can be used by your production Scala Spark Streaming application. While you shouldn’t go overboard (your team will quickly suffer language fatigue otherwise), using a heterogeneous set of languages that play to particular strengths can bring dividends to a big data project.


[Source:- JW]

Ecuador earthquake death toll passes 400 with many still trapped

More than 300 aftershocks recorded and Spanish Red Cross says as many as 100,000 people may need assistance

People in Pedernales
People in Pedernales, one of the towns worst hit by the earthquake. Photograph: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images

The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has risen to 413, and many survivors are believed to still be trapped inside collapsed buildings.

The government announced the updated toll on Monday night. The security minister, César Navas, said rescuers were continuing to search for victims and survivors.

More than 300 aftershocks have rattled Ecuador in the 36 hours since Saturday’s quake, some measuring as high as magnitude 6.1, according to the country’s Geophysics Institute.

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said citizens would pull together after the disaster. “The Ecuadorian spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments,” he said.

Early on Monday, rescuers pulled three people from the rubble alive after they had spent more than 32 hours trapped in the ruins of a shopping centre in the city of Manta.

Firefighters cut a 70cm hole in concrete to pull out two women and a young man, who were rushed to a nearby hospital. A third woman remained trapped and was being given water while rescuers tried to lift a concrete slab pinning down her legs.

More than 2,500 people were injured in the disaster, which brought down housing blocks and air traffic control towers, buckled bridges and cracked pavements. In the coastal town of Chamanga, authorities estimated that more than 90% of homes had been damaged.

At least 100 of those killed in the quake were citizens of the regional capital Portoviejo. They included the Quinde family – a mother, father, teenage daughter and toddler son – killed when a four-storey hotel collapsed on their car.

The Quindes were en route to drop off Sayira, 17, for her first term at university, where she had won a scholarship to study medicine. “I never thought my life would be destroyed in a minute,” her aunt Johana Estupiñan told AP.

Few buildings in the city centre had escaped damage: some had lost a few bricks, but others had been reduced to rubble. “It looks like there’s been a war,” said Cesar Velasco, who works for a transport company.

At the Aki supermarket market, survivors stocked up on bottled water, juices, bread – and styrofoam plates to replace shattered crockery. Elsewhere in the provincial capital of 300,000, there were reports of looting as survivors stole clothing and shoes from shattered buildings.

On the road to Portoviejo, a steady stream of ambulances transported the critically injured from the region toward hospitals in Guayaquil, which is 130 miles away and not as severely affected by the earthquake.

At a girls’ school in Playa Prieta, six members of staff including a Northern Irish nun were killed when the building collapsed. Sister Clare, 33, from Derry, was a nun in the Home of the Mother order. Her family said they believed she had been trying to lead colleagues out of the school to safety when a stairwell collapsed.

“She was trying to get them down the stairs and the staircase collapsed. We knew she was trapped but information has been slow to come out,” her cousin Emmet Doyle said. “She died as she lived, helping others.”

Two Canadian citizens, mother and son Jennifer and Arthur Flawn from Quebec, were also among the dead, the family confirmed to Canada’s CTV News.

Warning of the continued risk of aftershocks, radio and television broadcasts recommended residents have a small backpack ready with water, tinned tuna and a flashlight near the door of their homes.

The Spanish Red Cross said as many as 100,000 people may need assistance in holiday towns and fishing villages in the more remote regions near the epicentre of the quake, where citizens have been sleeping outside among the ruins.

The charity said it estimated that 3,000 to 5,000 people needed temporary housing. About 800 volunteers and staff members with the Ecuadorian Red Cross were involved with search and rescue operations and helping provide first aid.

Spain has sent a military plane with 47 search and rescue experts and their five dogs to Ecuador, and it is expected to arrive in Guayaquil on Monday afternoon. Other rescue teams have flown in from Mexico and Colombia.

Local radio reported that two lorries filled with emergency supplies had been carjacked as they headed to the worst-affected areas.

[Source:- Gurdian]