First News
Volume:7, Number:43
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THIS WEEK

Anti-Semitism Rising, But Violence Against Jews Falling

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Violent attacks on Jews dropped for a second straight year in 2016, but other forms of anti- Semitism are on the rise worldwide, particularly on US university campuses, according to a report released on April 23. Researchers at Tel Aviv University said assaults specifically targeting Jews, vandalism, and other violent incidents fell 12 percent last year. They recorded 361 cases compared to 410 in 2015, which had already been the lowest number in a decade. The figure reported on Sunday is the lowest since 2003, when 360 incidents were recorded. The report attributed much of the drop to increased security measures in European countries including France, where there were 15 attacks compared to 72 in the previous year, and the United Kingdom, where the number of incidents fell from 62 to 43.

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Creativity, a Mating Boost for the Less Attractive Male

In the ruthless world of the mating game, plainlooking men instinctively know that being funny, smart, or poetic helps to compensate for a lessthan- stellar exterior. That gut feeling has now gained scientific validation from an unusual study published recently. Average-looking men become more alluring when women sense the man has an imaginative spark, it found. But for women, sadly, there may not be the same boost. Indeed, one experiment suggests that less attractive women even worsen their mating chances if they show mental zing, said Dr Christopher Watkins, a psychologist at Abertay University in Scotland, who carried out the research. The allure of creativity may not be limited to potential romantic partners, but extend to potential friends too, the study found.

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This Taxi Just Passed a Test with 'Flying' Colors

A Bavarian start-up is developing a five-seat "flying taxi" after successful test flights over Germany of a smaller version of the electric jet, the company said. Munich-based Lilium, backed by investors who include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, said the planned five-seater jet, which will be capable of vertical take-off and landing, could be used for urban air taxi and ridesharing services. In flight tests, a two-seat prototype executed maneuvers that included a mid-air transition from hover mode - like a drone - to wingborne flight - like a conventional aircraft, Lilium said. Potential competitors to Lilium Jet include much bigger players such as Airbus, the maker of commercial airliners and helicopters that aims to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat "flying car" later in 2017.

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Google Home's Assistant Can Now Recognize Different Voices

Google's voice-activated assistant can now recognize who is talking to it on Google's Home speaker. An update released on April 20 enables Home's built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can't all be talking to the internetconnected speaker at the same time. Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, "OK Google" or "Hey Google." For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

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Type with Your Eyes Soon

Facebook unveiled a new technology that allows users to type words using brain waves. Extra sensory perception has caused a fair amount of debate among scientists. Facebook senses there may be no need for further arguments, thanks to the possibilities presented by its latest projects involving Augmented Reality. The social networking giant, at its F8 developers’ conference in San Jose, California, unveiled a new technology that allows users to type words using brain waves. As an added bonus, they are also developing a way for the human skin to recognize sound. Such technology could let people fire off text messages or emails by thinking, instead of needing to interrupt what they are doing to use smartphone touchscreens, for example.

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