Internet & Technology

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

At New Orleans appearance, a polished Sheryl Sandberg says "it gets better"

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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In a 45-minute conversation at Academy of the Sacred Heart with crackly conservative intellectual Mary Matalin, Sheryl Sandberg spoke about bereavement and recovery as told in her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.

Sandberg is like a new sort of person: Facebook COO; alumna of Harvard (twice), the World Bank, the Treasury Department and Google; poised, without the hesitation and self-questioning that so often characterizes women's speech; at ease in front of a crowd of hundreds; spin-class slim at age 47; delicate pink pumps; voice like a piece of black velvet.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

The future is now: Robots, self-driving cars and a moon settlement at Collision

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Rodolphe Gelin, chief scientific officer at SoftBank Robotics, and Pepper the robot. - COURTESY COLLISION CONF
  • COURTESY COLLISION CONF
  • Rodolphe Gelin, chief scientific officer at SoftBank Robotics, and Pepper the robot.

"My purpose is to interact with humans," a friendly robot named Pepper tells me. We're at  the Collision conference, where's he's about to help me write a song on invisible instruments.

Pepper is the brainchild of SoftBank Robotics, and several units (Peppers?) are available in an upstairs conference room for our engagement. When I meet him, colorful lights around his oversized, anime-style pupils flash, and a red laser hidden in the center of his eye tracks my facial expressions, so Pepper can listen and react to me. As he listens, his head tilts toward me and his hands flex ever so slightly, like a person fidgeting.

Via a screen attached to his chest, Pepper shows me a game. In empty space in front of him, I can strike three invisible "boxes" to play notes — like mid-air Dance Dance Revolution game without the floor pad. Pepper plays piano arpeggios as a background to the notes I play, and as I hit thin air, lights on a nearby table flash in unison. Then the robot plays the song back for me, and dances.

It's beautiful — and chilling.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Holocaust Museum official to speak on social media extremism at National World War II Museum

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 1:39 PM

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The National World War II Museum has an exhibit of Nazi propaganda on view through June 18, and next week the museum will host the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Steven Luckert to discuss "Fueling Extremism in a Wired World." The discussion begins at 6 p.m. April 4, with a 5 p.m. reception beforehand.

"What responsibility do journalists, technology companies, governments, and individuals have to keep the world safe?" is the topic.

Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested
Location Details National World War II Museum
National World War II Museum
945 Magazine St.
Warehouse District
New Orleans, LA
(504) 527-6012
Museum, Theater and Art/ History/ Music

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Editorial: These Louisiana politicians just sold out your online privacy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:28 PM

CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR

While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama’s administration. On March 28, the House of Representatives voted 215-205 to follow the Senate’s lead, and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, your internet service provider now may legally track your every online move, collect the data, and sell it — including financial and health information, location and other data.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sidney Torres does a Reddit AMA

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Sidney Torres IV - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Sidney Torres IV

Real estate flipper / The Deed reality star / celebrated trashman Sidney D. Torres IV participated in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat this afternoon.

And, indeed, they asked him anything — from serious real estate questions to snark. Sometimes he even answered the latter.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THINX founder Miki Agrawal removed from NOEW women's summit lineup

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 2:42 PM

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The Idea Village, one of the organizing groups behind New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), has released a statement regarding the cancellation of THINX founder Miki Agrawal's appearance at a women's summit at the conference.

Agrawal originally was scheduled to give a "fireside chat" at the summit, which highlights issues women face in the workplace. The high-profile founder of THINX, which makes underwear designed to disrupt the lucrative menstrual pad and tampon market, was known for her colorful interviews and quirky (some might say eccentric) behavior.

But this week, news broke of sexual harassment allegations against Agrawal from a former employee — a serious charge for anyone, but especially for a figurehead who espouses feminist ideals and women's empowerment. The allegations follow a flurry of criticism from current and former employees about poor working conditions for the company's women, including inadequate maternity leave, a toxic office culture and low pay.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Suppressing free speech on the bayou

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 6:26 PM

ExposeDAT, a website that drew the wrath of Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter.
  • ExposeDAT, a website that drew the wrath of Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter.



Former LSU Law Dean Jack Weiss, a highly respected First Amendment lawyer, taught me a valuable lesson about some of our most cherished freedoms.



“First Amendment freedoms, including free speech, freedom of the press, open meetings and public records, don’t get eroded in large cities where big news organizations can fight back,” he said. “They die in small towns, where entrenched politicians control virtually everything and most people are too afraid or too poor to fight back.”



I thought about Jack’s lesson when I read about Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s deputies executing a search warrant on the home of Houma police officer Wayne Anderson in hopes of learning the identity of an anonymous blogger who had the audacity to criticize Larpenter and other Terrebonne bigwigs.


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Androids and anime: a day at MechaCon (slideshow)

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Costumed con-goers strike a pose.
  • Costumed con-goers strike a pose.

The scene at MechaCon check-in is bedlam. A man in a glittery green bowler hat, possibly left over from St. Patrick’s Day, jostles a woman with blue and purple hair, who consoles her crying sister. A girl in a metallic red and blue jacket, matching bikini bottoms and black high-heeled boots shivers nearby. Other people in varying degrees of costume stand around the registration desk in vague gestures toward lines; the confusion seems to stem from the fact that there are multiple registration levels. Red-shirted volunteers keep trying to line people up based on the first letter of their last names (“N through Z!”) 

Behind me, a young man in an electric blue wig, a red fedora with playing cards tucked into the band and goggles seems indifferent to the chaos. He’s carrying two boxes at about chest-level. 

“What’s in the box?” I ask. 

The first box has a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards, he says. 

“And the other one?”

“It’s a box of string.”

"And what is the string for?

“No one is supposed to know what the string does.”

Shyly, he opens the box’s lid to reveal a tangled nest of extension and power cords.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Y@ Speak: #AltonSterling and #BatonRouge

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Twitter allows us nearly minute-by-minute live accounts of anything happening at any time, including the overwhelming, war-like response to protests and marches in the wake of Alton Sterling's death by Baton Rogue police officers last week. Reports from the weekend's protests have used words like "standoff" to describe what was more like a one-sided riot response — where there was no riot. This week's edition follows last week's vigils, rallies and updates from Baton Rouge, all aired on Twitter by the hundreds of witnesses who were there.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CNBC's American Greed season premiere to feature former Mayor Ray Nagin

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:03 PM

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The CNBC documentary series American Greed has its season premiere March 31 with an installment titled "Ray Nagin: New Orleans Shakedown."

The hourlong report, which begins at 9 p.m., will focus on Nagin's business dealings, including those with now-disgraced and jailed former tech whiz Greg Meffert. Also in the story: Stone Age Granite & Marble, the granite company Nagin ran with his sons. Nagin, who was convicted on federal corruption charges in February 2014, is serving a 10-year prison term in Texarkana, Texas.

Watch a preview:

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