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Tag Archives: Approved

The rise of the robochef

CREATOR, a new hamburger joint in San Francisco, claims to deliver a burger worth $18 for $6—in other words, to provide the quality associated with posh restaurants at a fast-food price. The substance behind this claim is that its chef-de-cuisine is a robot. Until recently, catering robots have been gimmicks. “Flippy”, a robotic arm that flipped burgers for the entertainment of customers at CaliBurger in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, earlier this year is a prime example. But Flippy could perform …

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The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks

LISTEN carefully to the footsteps in the family home, especially if it has wooden floors unmuffled by carpets, and you can probably work out who it is that is walking about. The features most commonly used to identify people are faces, voices, finger prints and retinal scans. But their “behavioural biometrics”, such as the way they walk, are also giveaways. Researchers have, for several years, used video cameras and computers to analyse people’s gaits, and are now quite good at …

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When Arthur Conan Doyle cried “J’Accuse…!”

Conan Doyle for the Defence. By Margalit Fox. Random House; 352 pages; $27. Profile; £16.99. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. The struggle for trans rights has parallels to that for gay rights The boss of Pakistan’s ruling party is sentenced to ten years in jail Italy’s government proposes to limit fixed-term job contracts Companies appear to be gaining market power Is the World Cup really free from doping? Ukraine wants …

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How to fool infrared vision gear into thinking you are not there

ANIMALS have made use of camouflage to hide from one another for almost as long as eyes have been around to spot them. Humans, being copycats, have made extensive use of camouflage tricks they have seen in nature by applying concealing colouration to everything from clothing to tanks. A way to thwart camouflage, though, is to employ infrared-viewing technology to look for the heat emitted by an otherwise-camouflaged object. Designing something that can prevent this, and can thus carry camouflage …

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How Iraq was deprived of its weapons of mass destruction

ROLF EKEUS, a Swedish diplomat, once personified the most sustained effort ever undertaken to deprive a country of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He was the leading figure in a programme to enforce peace terms on Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator, in 1991, forcing him to renounce nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long-range rockets. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. His United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) had powers to inspect any …

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The birth of the skyscraper on the streets of Chicago

Skyscraper. By Dan Cruickshank. Head of Zeus; 301 pages; £9.99. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. What is a civil partnership? The victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador starts a new era in Mexico Despite Germany’s exit, this World Cup has been quite predictable After months of preparation, a damp squib on euro-zone reform Angela Merkel’s European negotiations put her on the front foot in Berlin Britain’s future king faces up to Jerusalem’s …

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Award

Festival of freedomRussia shows its best side at the World Cup Europe Open FutureTransgender identities: a series of invited essays Open Future Animal conservationIVF may bring northern white rhinos back from the brink of extinction Science and technology

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Why America and Mexico are destined to grow even closer

Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together. By Andrew Selee. PublicAffairs; 336 pages; $28 and £20. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. The founder of JetBlue is about to start a new airline Michael Bloomberg is spending big to flip the House A Supreme Court ruling heralds the end of tax-free online shopping How artists depicted George Washington and the idea of the presidency Do safe spaces …

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After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground

IN A glass case at the Diyarbakir Bar Association are a striped shirt, dark coat and coiled belt. They belonged to the former chairman, Tahir Elci, a lawyer who was murdered in 2015 amid clashes between the Turkish army and Kurdish separatists. He was standing by the Four-Legged Minaret, a 500-year-old landmark in the ancient city, calling for peace. Someone shot him in the head. No one knows who killed him. The government blames Kurdish terrorists. Many Kurds blame the …

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How Alberto Giacometti became a legend

THE man strides forward, bent slightly at the waist as if resisting a stiff breeze. He is not so much gaunt as spectral, stretched out like chewing gum, as insubstantial as smoke. And yet, despite his frailty, he is determined, even heroic. “Walking Man I”, a bronze made by Alberto Giacometti in 1960, is a searing monument to an era of anxiety, and a symbol of endurance in the face of overwhelming odds. During his own life Giacometti, who was …

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