Ni: Alexandria Dennise San Juan at Jun Fabon

NAISTORBO ang sana’y chill out night ni Baron Geisler nang muli siyang arestuhin dahil sa diumano’y panggugulo sa isang restobar sa Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City, nitong Martes ng gabi.

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Isinailalim si Baron sa kustodiya ng Quezon City Police District Station 10 (PS-10) na siyang nakatanggap ng tawag tungkol sa pagwawala diumano nito sa isang restobar.

Lumalabas na banned pala si Baron sa bar dahil sa mga nakalipas na gulong ginawa.

Ayon kay Supt. Christian dela Cruz, PS-10 Commander, nagtungo si Baron sa naturang bar dakong 9 PM. Sinabi ng management na tila maayos naman ang aktor kaya hinayaan siyang pumasok at uminom.

Makalipas ang ilang minuto, pinagsisigawan na ni Baron ang guwardiya at ang mga customer na ikinaalarma ng management, kaya tumawag sila sa pulisya.

Nang dalhin si Baron sa istasyon ng pulisya, iginiit niya na hindi siya nangggulo sa bar.

Nagsisigaw at nagmumura rin siya, at inakusahan ang mga pulis na hindi sumunod sa due process sa pag-aresto sa kanya.
Sinabihan din ni Baron ang mga pulis na kumuha ng kopya ng clip mula sa closed-circuit television (CCTV) para malinawan sa mga alegasyon laban sa kanya.

Kahapon, sumailalim na sa inquest proceedings ang aktor sa Quezon City prosecutor’s office at mahaharap siya sa mga kasong alarm and scandal, at unjust vexation.

Source: Balita

REIGNING queens Bb. Pilipinas-International Mariel de Leon, Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational Chanel Olive Thomas, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental Katarina Sonja Rodriguez, and Bb. Pilipinas-Globe Nelda Ibe are eating their way to healthy and delicious food in preparation for their respective international competitions.

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The beauty queens revealed their diet secrets at the opening of the 100th store of Dairy Queen Philippines at the Gateway Tower, Araneta Center in Cubao recently.

Phil Reed, Chief Executive Officer of DQ Philippines; John Gainor, President and Chief Executive Officer of International Dairy Queen, Inc., and Jean Champagne, Chief Operating Officer of International Dairy Queen Inc.

Thomas, the country’s bet to the Miss Supranational pageant, said that she’s into fruits and vegetables.

“I eat clean. I don’t eat processed food. Health is wealth – a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruits. I drink fresh juice and apple cider concoction for breakfast. For lunch, vegetables and fruits. Same with dinner. Snacks, fruits and juices. Just clean food,” the Filipino-Australian beauty queen said. “I’m eating lots of meat and vegetables. I love ice cream but it depends on the brand. I love Dairy Queen.”

De Leon, who will compete in Miss International contest, said that she eats everything but in moderation. “I eat almost everything. It’s just that in moderation and I try to work out every day.”

For breakfast, the daughter of multi-awarded actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong, eats lots of fruits for breakfast. “Usually, my lunch is vegetable salad and hard-boiled egg. I can live without rice. I love cakes. I love ice cream. My favorite ice cream is Oreo Blizzard.”

Rodriguez, the country’s delegate to the Miss Intercontinental pageant, is into Ketogenic diet.

“It’s an all-fat, all-protein diet. It works best for my body and blood type because I really need protein. So I could eat meat as much as I want. But the diet plan is not recommended for so long because you need more vegetables and other nutrients. But I know my body pretty well,” she said. “I love cake and ice cream. I want the classic vanilla and classic strawberry. When I was younger, I like mint and Rocky Road,” she said.

Ibe, who will vie for Miss Globe, said that she eats Cerelac Infant Cereals.

“That’s for my breakfast. When I am hungry, I don’t eat heavy. My lunch is Cerelac, crackers and bananas. I have eggs, fruits and bananas for my snack. You really need discipline to do this. Then I go to the gym but if the traffic is bad, I exercise at home,” Ibe said.

The event also launched DQ’s newest TV commercial featuring the reigning Binibining Pilipinas queens. Supersized Blizzards were also presented to Gainor, Champagne and the queens to commemorate the 100th store opening. Guests were also treated to fun-flair tending and cake design contests.


Source: Tempo
[unable to retrieve full-text content]imageSmarten-up your older TV with one of these gadgets!

An artist’s imagination of a kilonova. © Provided by Quartz An artist’s imagination of a kilonova. This is the backstory to the biggest scientific discovery of 2017.

It began, as most things do these days, with a notification on phones and computers. Scientists working on the LIGO and Virgo collaboration stared at their screens, expecting the same sort of news push alert or unremarkable data filing they got all the time. But after a few seconds, it dawned on them that these data were different. It was what they had been waiting for all these years. The time, 8:41am eastern standard time on Aug. 17, would go down in history as the moment when physicists and astronomers enjoyed a collective intellectual orgasm.

An almost failure

LIGO and Virgo comprise more than 1,500 scientists, all of whom are working towards a single goal: to capture signs of gravitational waves and decode their meaning. The data gathering happens at massive observatories in the US and Italy, but the analysis is done in countries all over the world.

Gravitational waves are generated when massive, violent events occur in our universe—such as the collision of two black holes, which these scientists have seen four times since 2015. Three leading LIGO scientists were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to these observations.

But LIGO was almost never built. One of the Nobel winners, Rainer Weiss, conceived the basic idea of how to “listen” to gravitational waves back in 1967. The first large prototype of a lab that could observe these phenomena was built in 1980 by another of the 2017 Nobel winners, Kip Thorne; the success of the prototype suggested that laboratories large enough to actually capture proof of gravitational waves were feasible. Despite lots of political pressure, the US government at the time chose to not fund the proposed large-scale construction, which would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

It would’ve ended there if not for Barry Barish, professor of physics at California Institute of Technology, who took over the collaboration in 1994. Because Barish had a track record of success with big science projects in the field of particle physics, the US National Science Foundation trusted him more than any of the previous directors of the project. In Barish’s first year in charge, the government approved the construction of two labs: one in Hanford, Washington and another in Livingston, Louisiana, at a total cost of $400 million.

In 2002, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) started listening—on time and on budget.

Albert Einstein had predicted that whenever huge celestial events occur, they create gravitational waves. The waves, originating light years away from Earth, would be faint by the time they got here. The instruments to search for them had to be so sensitive that they could filter out interference from trucks on nearby roads, winds outside the building, and even molecular vibrations in the mirrors used in the instrument. Having two labs thousands of miles apart meant that if one detected something but another didn’t, then the signals could be safely discarded as noise. In addition, if a signal was detected first in Hanford, then seconds later in Livingston, scientists could calculate the speed at which it traveled—if it was traveling at light speed, it’d be proof that it was in fact a gravitational wave.

In parallel, scientists from a handful of European countries were collaborating to get their own gravitational wave-listening project off the ground. The Virgo interferometer near Pisa, Italy—named for the Virgo cluster of galaxies—was initially completed in 2003. In its first phase, it wasn’t sensitive enough to detect gravitational waves. So it was decommissioned and given a massive overhaul. The upgrades were completed Aug. 1, 2017—just in time to help LIGO make the most important detection of gravitational waves yet.

Wooing the astronomers

Gravitational waves offered astronomers a new way to look at the celestial world. No longer did they have to depend on just looking at the sky; they could also “listen” to some of the most spectacular, distant cosmic events.

The scientists who first saw the notification on Aug. 17 belonged to a “rapid response team” whose job was to discern whether the signals their instruments were hearing weren’t noise or a computer bug. Once those doubts were out of the way—21 minutes later—they issued a global notification; something to the effect of, “All astronomers should point their telescopes towards these coordinates in the sky.”

This sort of global notification has been going out about once a month for years. But before 2015, it always turned out to be a dud. That’s when the collaboration upped its game and upgraded its instrument. A gravitational wave from a source four light years away will cause a perturbation of no more than a thousandth of the width of an atomic nucleus, and the improved instruments can measure that. After years of never hearing any actual gravitational waves, LIGO managed to record four black hole mergers in a space of less than two years. But LIGO could see other phenomena too—from exploding stars to mergers of collapsed stars. Astronomers remained excited for those, because alongside gravitational waves, these other events would also release visible light in real-time. LIGO could detect these faint events, too.

And the signal astronomers were really waiting for was finally heard on Aug. 17. Many in the LIGO and Virgo collaboration had been trained for years to look for a characteristic signal that would likely be produced when two neutron stars merge. When they saw the data on Aug. 17, they were pretty sure this was it—and that the celestial event was happening now, in real time.

As Quartz explained previously:

The drama of a neutron-star merger is due to the fact that it involves one of the most extreme objects in the universe. Neutron stars are some of the smallest, densest stars we know. They do not have much more mass than our sun, but all of it is compressed into a ball no bigger than the width of a mid-sized city (about 15 km, or 9 miles). That’s a lot of compression. A teaspoon of neutron star would weigh 10 billion kg (or 22 billion lbs)—about the same as 1 million very large elephants.

“What followed was a whirlwind of activities,” says Kenneth Strain of the University of Glasgow, a LIGO-Virgo collaborator. “We may be thousands of people, but we were barely enough to get all the work done.”

Big Science

We live in an era of big science. For the past two decades, collaborations involving hundreds of scientists have been commonplace and there are even some involving thousands. These big projects have achieved great things that wouldn’t have been possible without the ability of large groups to communicate and share data, from decoding the human genome to revealing the Higgs boson. Even by these standards, however, what happened on Aug. 17 and the days that followed was special.

Starting with a few scientists at first, slowly hundreds and then thousands joined in, pointing every ground-based and space-based telescope they could spare to a small patch in the sky. None of the previous big science projects required this sort of coordination in real time, and none produced their results in less than two months after getting their data.

The flurry of news that resulted from the project might have obscured one amazing thing about the process: Scientists are almost always strapped for funding, and time using expensive astronomy instruments is extremely limited. Though some instruments are on call for what astronomers call “transient events,” most are not. For each of the 70 ground-based and space-based observatories, there were dozens of people involved in deciding whether it was worth stopping the observations they were making to capture some of the light coming from the merger.

© Provided by Quartz When so many were willing to stop doing what they were doing—what their PhD funding is for, what their grants demand of them—to record an event, you can be certain it was something unique, and important. The event, also called a “kilonova,” didn’t just emit gravitational waves. It put out electromagnetic radiation in every spectrum: X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet, visible, and radio waves. The scientists were presented with an all-you-can-eat buffet after a long fast.

Of course, not everyone could free their instruments immediately. The first telescope to capture light from the gravitational waves did so 12 hours after they were detected, and NASA’s peerless Hubble telescope couldn’t be pointed in the right spot in the sky until days later—just barely in time to catch the fading light of the event.

Recording the data is only half the job. The way the second phase of the kilonova work went down is a master class in project management. In the weeks that followed, scientists openly shared their data with each other and began analyzing what it meant. Their aim was to publish the results as soon as possible, so that even more people would begin dissecting the data in new ways. Some 3,500 people, who have never worked together at such a scale, had to all of a sudden figure out how to collaborate.

The single-most observed celestial phenomenon in human history has already yielded many new discoveries. First, the data from the event was an independent verification that the speed of gravitational waves is the same as the speed of light. Second, the way gravitational waves traveled from the event also proved to be an independent confirmation of the age and the rate of expansion of the universe. Finally, scientists confirmed a suspicion they’d been harboring for some time: that heavy elements in the periodic table are created during violent celestial events, like kilonovas.

This is just a tip of the iceberg. What’s next? “It’s like asking Galileo: ‘What else can you see with your telescope?'” quipped LIGO collaborator Andreas Freise of the University of Birmingham.

None of this would have happened without spending billions of dollars to build the most advanced instruments in human history and billions more to train experts to capture and decode the data those tools would gather. Often, when “Big” is attached to the name of a field, it’s meant as a pejorative. Big Pharma. Big Tobacco. Big Business. Not, however, in the case of Big Science, which has helped us decode the mysteries of nature and, perhaps, provided a blueprint for addressing other planetary challenges, from curing diseases to mitigating climate change.

Samsung has dropped an update for the Galaxy S8 that involves the Bixby button. © Provided by IBT US Samsung has dropped an update for the Galaxy S8 that involves the Bixby button. Samsung’s Galaxy A series will be getting two new models in 2018 with the Galaxy A5 and the A7. Now, leaked images of the upcoming phones have surfaced online showing that both handset will feature Infinity Displays like the Galaxy S8 and the Note 8.

The high quality renders for the 2018 Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 were created by Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks) in collaboration with MySmartPrice. No information was given on how the leakers found out about the designs and specs of the handsets, but it’s likely that they were able to obtain those from their insider sources.

Both the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 come with designs and features that are already present on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus flagships. The upcoming handsets appear to have the same metal and glass design language but they don’t appear to have the curved glass edges. Although the A5 and A7 look like high-end flagships, they’re both mid-rangers that are on the higher end of the spectrum.

Both the 2018 Galaxy A5 and A7 will have full HD+ resolution display, which is 2,160 x 1,080 pixels. Like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the 2018 A5 and A7 will have Infinity Displays. This means that both phones will have extremely thin bezels. The Galaxy A5 will have a 5.5-inch display, while the Galaxy A7 will have a 6-inch display.

Since both the 2018 Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 have incredibly thin bezels, the fingerprint sensors have been placed on their backs just beneath the camera module. This should be good news for users who were dreading to see another fingerprint sensor being placed uncomfortably beside the camera module. This has been an issue on both the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8. It’s good to see that Samsung is improving its smartphone design and hopefully this means that its other future phones will follow suit.

The specs for the rear camera weren’t given, but it shouldn’t be too far away from the 12-megapixel shooter of the Galaxy S8. What’s most interesting about the 2018 Galaxy A5 and A7 is that both will have dual front-facing cameras. There’s no info on what image sensors are on these phones, but it’s clear that Samsung is trying to attract selfie-centric consumers.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 for 2018 are expected to be equipped with the Exynos 7885 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. The Exynos 7885 is rumored to have two Cortex-A73 CPU cores, four Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-G71 GPU. Although MySmartPrice isn’t certain, Samsung might also use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors for the Galaxy A5 and A7 for other markets. It’s very likely Samsung might utilize the Snapdragon 660 chipset for the Western version of the 2018 Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7.

Other expected features for the 2018 Galaxy A5 and A7 include the Always On Display, IP68 water and dust resistance, Samsung Pay and the USB Type-C port. The renders show that Samsung will continue including the 3.5mm headphone jack, which audiophiles should be happy about.

The only disappointing feature here is that both the 2018 Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 are expected to run Android 7.1.1 Nougat. These phones are expected to arrive sometime in early 2018 and it would be a shame to see these handsets running outdated software. Android Authority speculates that both devices might be announced sometime in the begnning of 2018.

© Google The good: Clean interface, great camera, long battery life.

The bad: Underwhelming screen, no facial recognition or iris scanning, not much that makes it stand apart from Samsung and Apple.

Who should buy: Any Android fan that values clean software and camera quality, particularly those looking for something beyond what Samsung’s offering.

When Google unveiled its first Pixel smartphone last year, it felt like a giant leap for a company better known for its software and search engine than its gadgets. Google’s message was clear: Apple and Samsung aren’t the only tech giants capable of making high-quality gadgets. That remains the case with the company’s impressive new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.

Both of the new Pixels take what already worked and complement with admirable new features. The larger Pixel 2 XL includes a nearly borderless screen that dominates the phone’s face: a design approach Samsung, Apple, LG and Essential staked out first. Like other recent phones, the new Pixels have adopted basic water resistance. And the camera boasts some fancy new features, like the ability to capture a few seconds of footage around a still photo to create images that move, and a new Portrait Mode for delivering bokeh effects.

Sound familiar? It should if you’ve been following the smartphone industry for the past year. It’s also a familiar song you could sing about some of Google’s competitors, each of whom invariably borrow a feature here or there in what’s become a game of feature leapfrog. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are more Google catching up than edging past those others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a look. With its easy-to-navigate interface, long battery life and great camera, the larger Pixel 2 XL may in fact be the smartphone of choice for Android fans looking for take fresher than Samsung’s.

Let’s start with screens: the $649 Pixel 2 includes a 5-inch, 1920-by-1080 pixel display, while the pricier $849 XL version has a 2880-by-1440 pixel screen. The XL edition’s nearly edge-to-edge screen is far more impressive. As nearly borderless screens become common on flagship smartphones, the standard Pixel 2’s thick frames make the phone look outdated. The Pixel XL 2’s screen is sharp and vibrant, but not quite as stunning as the displays found on the Samsung Galaxy S8+, Apple iPhone 8 and Essential Phone. All three of those devices produced bolder colors than the Pixel 2 during my experience.

The new Pixel phones are getting another handy new feature that Samsung phones have long had: an always-on display. That means that even when the screen is turned off, you’ll be able to see things like the time and notifications. It’s a welcome addition that makes your smartphone even more useful as a bedside clock. Google is taking this one step further with a new feature called Now Playing, which identifies songs and shows the title and artist name on screen. This worked occasionally for me, but there were times in which the Pixel 2 XL failed to pick up on songs that were currently playing, even when there was minimal background noise. Google says the feature is designed to recognize songs within a few seconds in optimal conditions, which means when it’s quiet and there isn’t much chatter happening.

My favorite aspect of Google’s Pixel phones, though, is their software, and that’s no different with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The interface is simpler and more streamlined than Samsung’s Galaxy S8, if only slightly. Samsung has made tremendous improvements to its software over the years by cutting the clutter and widgets, and the Galaxy S8’s interface rivals Google’s. Then again, if you’re closely tethered to Google services like Gmail or Google Chrome, Google’s phone does more to make these apps central to your experience.

Google also moved the phone’s search bar to the bottom of the screen, beneath the app dock, which makes the home screen feel cleaner than on last year’s model. And the new Pixel phones have a special shortcut called Active Edge for accessing the Google Assistant more easily. Instead of talking or holding a button to summon Google’s digital helper, you squeeze the sides of the phone to activate the Assistant. The feature works well enough, but can’t be customized to perform different tasks. Squeezing the phone’s corners to silence my alarm in the morning, for example, would be very useful.

If I had to pick one area the new Pixel phones notably surpass last year’s model, it’s their cameras. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL include 12.2-megapixel cameras with f/1.8 aperture capable of taking more colorful photos than the original Pixel. When testing the Pixel 2 XL’s camera against that of the iPhone 8 Plus, Galaxy S8+ and previous generation Pixel XL, I thought the new Pixel was best at capturing the right balance of color and detail when shooting outdoors in daylight.

Take a look at the batch of sample photos below. You’ll notice the iPhone 8 Plus’ image makes certain parts of the flower look washed out compared to the other photos. The Galaxy S8’s image isn’t quite as sharply focused as the rest, and the overall color in the original Pixel’s photo feels flat and muted. The Pixel 2 XL had the right mix of accurate color, balanced lighting and precise detail.

Google Pixel 2 XL

© Lisa Eadicicco

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

© Lisa Eadicicco

Samsung Galaxy S8+

© Lisa Eadicicco

Google Pixel XL

© Lisa Eadicicco

The new Pixel’s Portrait Mode feature, which blurs the background in order to make a subject appear more crisp in the foreground, also performs just as well as Apple’s. The iPhone 8 Plus’ photo was better lit, but the Pixel 2 XL’s showed richer color. Take a look at the examples below.

Google Pixel 2 XL

© Lisa Eadicicco

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

© Lisa Eadicicco

Google Pixel owners also get a nice, exclusive bonus feature called Google Lens that turns your camera into a realtime object-identification tool. It’s similar to the Google Goggles app the company’s offered for years, only baked into the Google Photos app on the phone. Just tap the Lens icon when looking at a photo, and Google will identify the subject and provide useful information. When viewing a photo of my cat, for example, Google was able not only to identify it as a cat, but also got the breed right.

Google Lens is still in preview mode, so the subjects it can identify are limited. But when it works it definitely impresses. Samsung offers something similar on its newest Galaxy phones called Bixby Vision, but its results are less granular. Bixby Vision will often pull up related images through Pinterest, for interest, instead of offering detailed information about a subject.

Battery life is more than reasonable, if standard at this point. In the few days I’ve spent using the Pixel 2 XL as my primary phone, I never ran out of juice. By the end of my workdays, around 7:00 p.m., I usually had about two-thirds battery charge left. Your mileage may vary, as always given different usage profiles: if you’re a heavy Bluetooth user, leave the brightness cranked up to high, or record a lot of video, the battery will drain quicker. If you opt for the basic Pixel 2, which has a smaller battery, you’ll run out of charge sooner as well. My results are based on moderate to heavy usage that involved frequently checking email and social media, capturing photos, streaming Netflix, and making occasional phone calls.

Overall, the Pixel 2 is a great choice for Android fans that care about camera quality and having an easy-to-use interface above all else. Yes, nothing about the Pixel 2 sets it apart from Apple and Samsung’s phones. But while Google’s rivals are setting the stage for what’s to come by incorporating potentially trendsetting new technologies like facial recognition and iris scanning, Google is quickly catching up.

4 out of 5

Party-building apps on App store. © Provided by Quartz Party-building apps on App store. China’s Communist Party is getting into app development big time, with dozens of apps to educate and promote social networking among party members hitting the country’s Apple and Android app stores.

The party has long put special focus on “party construction,” a key plank of which involves inspiring fervor in its young members. During Mao Zedong’s era, the party used self-criticism, where members confessed transgressions, and uprooted and sent millions of young people to the countryside to toil and learn to be true revolutionaries. For decades, the Communist Youth League was a vehicle for nurturing the party’s youngest and most promising minds, but in recent years it has been sidelined.

China’s communist leaders are increasingly treating the internet as a crucial battlefield, particularly this year in the run up to a leadership reshuffle that begins Wednesday (Oct. 18). Promoting the development of party-themed apps that are listed right alongside Angry Birds or Candy Crush is one way to reach—and control—the youngest and most connected of its 90 million party members.

Let the app tell the party who you are

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in the southwestern city of Chengdu, which is positioning itself as a tech hub, developed the Smart Red Cloud, an app that aims to use artificial intelligence to educate and evaluate party members, the Chinese newspaperScience and Technology Daily reported in June.

The app allows members to receive party-related activity notifications, ideology tutorials, or chat with peers under the same party branch organization, according to Liang Lihua, marketing director of Yunshu Weilai, the startup founded by the university to develop the platform. It collects basic information such as work experience and family background, and also gathers party members’ online activities because the internet is “closely connected with life habits,” Liang told Quartz.

Screenshots of Smart Red Cloud on iTunes. The app includes functions like online party tutorials, activity notices, and also an access to pay party fees. © Provided by Quartz Screenshots of Smart Red Cloud on iTunes. The app includes functions like online party tutorials, activity notices, and also an access to pay party fees. “We gather information from every aspect of one’s life,” Liang said on the phone. “But it’s impossible [for the platform] to gather private personal information since those are protected by laws… the platform abides by the laws and regulations.” He didn’t clarify whether it was mandatory for a member to report or grant log-in access to their social media accounts when setting up a profile.

Liang said the app will compile information to generate a portrait of a cadre’s political orientation—for example, is the person a reformist? Or a conservative? In the past, understanding a cadre’s views required more manual efforts, like looking at a cadre’s paper resume and conducting live discussions. Already, the Sichuan Administration Institute, a local party-backed school that trains local and regional policymakers, has partnered with Yunshu to use the platform.

The app was first developed in 2012, and as of September had gathered more than 2 million party member users, according to Liang.

Monitor anywhere, anytime

Smart Red Cloud is just one of hundreds of apps that do more or less the same thing. There’s even an “app factory” that cranks out apps for any party organization that asks for one.

Zeng Ying, project director at Fujian-based online education company Hua Yu, says his company was among the first to develop apps for party education, in early 2015. Soon several party-affiliated organizations got in touch. Hua Yu then established the “Good China Party Members” project, which specializes in developing party apps on request. The company says it’s developed more than a hundred apps for about 300 clients, including local party branches and party organizations in companies. Hua Yu’s apps have about 6 million registered party member users, according to the company.

Zeng estimates there are now about 300 to 400 of these apps on the market, including those from Hua Yu. Nearly all of them can be found by entering an app store and searching for dang jian (党å»ŗ), which means “party construction.”

Feature-wise, these apps are largely indistinguishable from one another—they collect user profiles, disseminate party-related information and lessons, and offer some version of a chat tool. But they all serve an important purpose—to keep track of and evaluate the performance of millions of party members in a “visible, traceable and interactive manner,” said state-run tabloid Global Times in September.

China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group, a state-owned company with construction projects around the world, uses a Hua Yu app to hold online meetings with its farflung employees who are party members, explained Zeng. The company also ranks its over 10,000 party members on a monthly and weekly basis on factors like scores on tests of party knowledge, the head of the company’s party organization department told Global Times.

Party news about remarks from China's president Xi Jinping in one of the apps developed by Hua Yu. © Provided by Quartz Party news about remarks from China's president Xi Jinping in one of the apps developed by Hua Yu. Meanwhile, in Laizhou, in China’s northeastern Shandong province, nearly 70% of the county’s 60,000 party members are using a Hua Yu app called Dang Yuan Le E Xue, which loosely translates as “party members learning happily online.” Zeng said it has been helpful in organizing members from the largely rural area, which sees many people migrate away for work.

Hua Yu is now testing a chat bot to answer users’ queries about the party. But as for incorporating AI in their apps to analyze personal information, Zeng said that is right now seen as “too sensitive.”

The cost of developing an app can exceed 100 million yuan ($152,000), and Hua Yu charges companies and organizations annual fees for using its apps. Zeng wouldn’t say if the app project is profit-making, but expressed optimism about the business. “The party will definitely continue to emphasize party construction on a long-term basis; as long as the big environment stays, there will be business for us.”

A political show

To a certain extent, the surging emergence of party apps reflects China’s broader ambitions for its technology industry.

In July, the country said that it wanted to become an AI world leader by 2030 and apply the technology “everywhere,” including using the technology for “emotional interactions functions,” and in military security. Social media giant Tencent and Alibaba, the country’s e-commerce titan, are pouring resources into AI development enabled by the huge datasets they have gathered. Tencent’s WeChat messaging app, for example, has nearly a billion monthly users.

Perhaps for this reason, party apps have been in high demand as this week’s key leadership meeting, the 19th Party Congress approached, as the Global Times tabloid noted. On the surface, they appear to be vehicles through which local party organizations can keep tabs on their members and also promote party ideology. But some are skeptical that the current generation of party apps can effectively use the technologies the party wants to promote.

Andy Chun, an AI expert and computer science professor at the City University of Hong Kong, told Quartz it’s hard to tell how sophisticated the AI technology behind Smart Red Cloud is, for example. “It remains vague as to what type of big data it will be collecting,” Chun wrote in an email. The app could, for example, apply sentiment analysis to determine political views or inclinations. That would mean using AI algorithms, perhaps in conjunction with speech recognition, to analyze if the cadres’ thinking as expressed in meeting discussions is in sync or out of line with party thinking, Chun explained.

“If the cadres are aware of this system, I suspect they will be careful as to what they say during those discussions,” he said. Yunshu did not respond to Quartz’s request for comment on Chun’s remarks.

Critics also argue that these party-construction apps have an element of political performance. Huang Haifeng, associate professor in political science at the University of California at Merced with a focus on authoritarianism, said that local party branches appear to be using the apps to show their bosses that they are actively monitoring party members. As a result, app developers like Hua Yu are getting business opportunities.

But as for really helping the party exert ideological control, or suss out wayward thought, the apps could have the opposite effect by signalling that members are being watched and making them more cautious. “People are not going to reveal what they are thinking,” he said.

“In the long term, I am not sure if it is helping the party,” said Huang. “It’s probably going to backfire.”

FILE PHOTO - Google logo on office building in Irvine, California © REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture FILE PHOTO - Google logo on office building in Irvine, California Alphabet's Google Inc said on Tuesday that it would roll out an advanced protection program in order to provide stronger security for some users such as government officials and journalists who are at a higher risk of being targeted by hackers.

The internet giant said that users of the program would have their account security continuously updated to deal with emerging threats.

The company said it would initially provide three defenses against security threats, which include blocking fraudulent account access and protection against phishing.

The program would include additional reviews and requests in the account recovery process to prevent fraudulent access by hackers who try to gain access by pretending they have been locked out.

The rollout of a suite of new email security services by Google follows a U.S. presidential election last year that was shaped in part by the disclosure of emails by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks belonging to associates of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that were obtained through phishing schemes.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that those hacks, which included a breach of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's personal Gmail account, were carried out by Russia as part of a broader cyber campaign to help President Donald Trump, a Republican, win the White House.

"If John Podesta had Advanced Protection last year, the world might be a very different place," said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, who was briefed on the new features by Google.

Hall said the new features would grow the amount of high-risk consumers with strong protections against phishing campaigns, but that they would potentially create compatibility issues among some who already integrate custom security tools with their Gmail account.

(Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru and Dustin Volz in San Francisco; Editing by Sunil Nair)

The convoy carrying President Rodrigo Duterte passes by the ruins of Marawi City. Duterte visited the war-torn city on Monday, October 2, 2017, to meet the troops and inaugurate shelters for residents displaced by the conflict. Robinson NiƱal/PPD © Provided by GMA News Online The convoy carrying President Rodrigo Duterte passes by the ruins of Marawi City. Duterte visited the war-torn city on Monday, October 2, 2017, to meet the troops and inaugurate shelters for residents displaced by the conflict. Robinson NiƱal/PPD

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday afternoon declared that Marawi City has been freed from the Maute group.

Duterte made the announcement during a speech before government troops in the city.

Radio dzBB's Benjie Liwanag reported that during the earlier part of Duterte's speech, gunshots could be heard from the background.

Before making the declaration that Marawi City is free, an official whispered something to Duterte.

The report said that during that time, no more gunshots could be heard from the battle zone.

The declaration came a day after troops killed terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. Troops also rescued 17 civilian hostages during the operation.

The crisis in the city started after an attack by the Maute group in the city on May 23, which prompted Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao. —ALG, GMA News

This is a graphic depicting formation of flux tube knots in the early universe.  © Provided by IBT US This is a graphic depicting formation of flux tube knots in the early universe.  Even though Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote the novella “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” way back in 1884, lampooning not just the Victorian culture but also, quite significantly, provoking philosophical thoughts on the nature of dimensions in space, it is not something that science has tackled enough. Or so says the introduction of an upcoming paper that seeks to answer why there are only three spatial dimensions.

Written by researchers from the United States and Europe, the paper’s opening words are: “Although the question of why our universe has exactly three (large) spatial dimensions is one of the most profound puzzles in cosmology — especially in view of quantum gravity scenarios such as string theory which assume 9 or 10 space dimensions at the fundamental level — it is actually only occasionally addressed in the literature.”

And the phenomenon it proposes to explain this seemingly fundamental aspect of nature is commonplace but twisted: knots.

But to understand how knots come into the picture, we need to look at the standard model of physics first, at the subatomic level. Protons and neutrons are made up of elementary particles called quarks, and quarks are held together by gluons, which are another type of elementary particles. The gluons keep the quarks together — linking positive quarks to negative antiquarks — using flux tubes, which can be thought of as flexible strands of energy.

If a paired quark and antiquark come into contact, they annihilate each other and the flux tube linking them disappears as well. But there could be exceptions to this, depending, for example, on the shape of the flex tube.

Current theories about the origin of the cosmos say the universe in its infancy was filled with a superheated primordial soup — a quark-gluon plasma. The high energy at the time and the creation and destruction of a large number of quarks and antiquarks would also create a variety of flux tubes, some of which could be knots.

A knot-shaped flux tube has enough stability to outlive the particles that created it. Interlinking of two or more flux tubes also creates stability. So, the very early universe could have filled with such knotty flux tubes, the paper’s authors speculated, and then found that the amount of energy contained in a tight network of knotted tubes was enough to power the initial cosmic inflation — a time comprising less than a trillionth of a second during which the universe is thought to have expanded from the size of a single proton to about that of a grapefruit.

This is a computer graphic showing the kind of tight network of flux tubes that the physicists propose may have filled the early universe. © Photo: Thomas Kephart, Vanderbilt University This is a computer graphic showing the kind of tight network of flux tubes that the physicists propose may have filled the early universe.  But this answers a different problem and identifies a possible energy source for the cosmic inflation theory. To get back to dimensions, it has been shown by mathematics that knots can only exist in three dimensions and that adding a fourth would simply unravel the knot. Consequently, knots cannot form in higher dimensions, and these other hypothetical dimensions, even if they did exist, would still be too small to observe, given that knotted flux tubes would not have expanded them and they would remain proton-sized. And this limits the universe to three dimensions, the researchers explained in a statement Friday.

The paper, titled “Knotty inflation and the dimensionality of spacetime,” has been accepted for publication in the European Physical Journal C and is currently available on the preprint server arXiv.

Heavy traffic starts to build up along the southbound side of EDSA-Kamuning southbound on Monday, April 17, 2017, as motorists head back to Metro Manila following a long Holy week break. GMA News © Provided by GMA News Online Heavy traffic starts to build up along the southbound side of EDSA-Kamuning southbound on Monday, April 17, 2017, as motorists head back to Metro Manila following a long Holy week break. GMA News

The newly-implemented modified mall hours scheme is seen to reduce Metro Manila traffic by 10 percent, according to a report by GMA News' Mav Gonzales on Balitanghali on Tuesday.

An earlier report said the modified mall hours will reduce traffic volume by at least 600 vehicles.

Some Metro Manila malls have adjusted opening and closing hours on October 16 and will continue to practice it until January 15, 2018.

Among the malls which adopted modified hours are Ayala Malls, SM Supermalls, Robinsons, Star Mall, Shangri-la, And Rockwell.

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said MMDA monitoring showed that no malls opened early, and expressed hope that mall owners will keep their part of the "gentlemen's agreement" as there is no official agreement memorandum instituting the modified mall hours.

Under the modified opening and closing hours, malls are to open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, while closing hours depend on each mall.

Pialago had one suggestion to mall-goers.

"Dun sa mga shoppers ho natin, as much as possible, kung ang intensyon ho natin ay mag-shopping lang, huwag na ho tayong sumabay sa mga busy roads. Let's maximize ho the alternate routes," she said. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/KBK, GMA News

--- © Provided by GMA News Online ---

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Aileen Lizada drew ire from protesters when she showed up near a protest site during the second day of a nationwide transport strike on Tuesday.

Lizada said the board was willing to read the position paper of PISTON and other transport groups regarding their opposition to the jeepney modernization program, and expressed openness to meeting with them.

She claimed the protest did not affect commuters as heavily as the groups claimed, and added that they will still push through with the lawsuit against San Mateo.

Kilusang Mayo Uno's Jerome Adonis said they no longer wish to speak with Lizada and are focused on having a dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte.

PISTON convener George San Mateo refuted Lizada's claim that the strike was a failure as the government suspended classes and work for two consecutive days.

He then challenged the LTFRB to release their estimates of how many people would have been inconvenienced by the strike if the government had not been proactive in cancelling work and classes.

Protest actions, which started Monday morning, will continue until 7 p.m. on Tuesday. —KBK, GMA News

Members of the transport group Piston and other groups stage a two-day nationwide jeepney strike along EspaƱa Boulevard in Manila on Monday, October 16, 2017. The strikers are protesting the government's plan to modernize the transport sector and the phaseout of old jeepneys. Danny Pata © Danny Pata Members of the transport group Piston and other groups stage a two-day nationwide jeepney strike along EspaƱa Boulevard in Manila on Monday, October 16, 2017. The strikers are protesting the government's plan to modernize the transport sector and the phaseout of old jeepneys. Danny Pata

A transport group backed the government's jeepney modernization program, saying that they've been assured that there won't be any phaseout.

Philippine Confederation of Drivers and Operators—Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (PCDO-ACTO) national president Efren de Luna on Tuesday said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade made the clarification to them during a dialogue.

"Nilinaw na po ng ating Secretary Tugade na wala naman pong magkakaroon na phaseout," de Luna said in a phone interview on Balitanghali.

The group did not join the mass transport strike on Monday and Tuesday.

"Kaya kami ay hindi sumasama dahil dumadaan tayo sa proseso na nakikipag-dialogue tayo sa ating pamahalaan," de Luna said.

He agreed that their sector needed to be modernized because a lot of jeepneys are deteriorating.

However, he said that not all jeepneys need to replace their units.

"Kailangan na rin po natin magkaroon ng pagbabago ang ating mga sasakyan...hindi lamang sasakyan pati na po 'yung style ng kalakaran ng ating mga driver," he said.

"Kapag maganda pa naman ang body at may security ang pasahero, i-rehab na lang ang body tapos palitan na lang namin ng makina. Para ang lumalabas hindi 'yung buong sasakyan ang dapat palitan," he added.

De Luna also said the government is looking into ways that will allow driver and operators to afford replacing their units.

"Meron nga daw ibinibigay na subsidy na P80,000 ang gobyero at bukod na du'n aalalay at pipilitin na halos walang ilalabas na pera ang isang operator na ipapautangan," he said.

The government must make sure that drivers and operators will still be able to remain in the industry even after the modernization, he added.

"Lahat naman talaga ay nagbabago eh. Kailangan magkaroon talaga ng pag-adjust. Dapat ay maprotektahan ang driver operator na mananatili sila," he said. —Jessica Bartolome/KG, GMA News

A group of drivers belonging to transport group PISTON hold their second day of transport strike on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, along Philcoa, Quezon City . The two-day strike is part of the group's protest against the government's PUJ modernization/phaseout program. MalacaƱang has suspended classes and work in government offices due to the nationwide strike. GMA News © GMA News A group of drivers belonging to transport group PISTON hold their second day of transport strike on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, along Philcoa, Quezon City . The two-day strike is part of the group's protest against the government's PUJ modernization/phaseout program. MalacaƱang has suspended classes and work in government offices due to the nationwide strike. GMA News

Transport group PISTON on Tuesday warned of a longer strike should President Rodrigo Duterte refuse to meet them and other civil groups protesting against the jeepney modernization program.

"Kung palagay natin ang style ng gobyerno lagi na lang kakanselahin 'yung klase, isa, dalawang araw, siyempre kasama na sa konsiderasyon natin 'yan sa susunod [na strike]. Baka mas mahaba sa susunod," PISTON convener George San Mateo said.

PISTON, or the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide, was conducting a two-day transport strike to protest that government's jeepney modernization program.

San Mateo said Duterte must consideralternatives to the jeepney modernization program, which they believe is merely a "marketing" program for certain corporations.

Former Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy CasiƱo reiterated that they protest the heavy burden the modernization program will place on commuters and drivers alike and not the positives from upgrading jeeps.

"Sino ba naman ang tatanggi kung papalitan ang jeep ng mas magandang jeep? Sino ba namang tatanggi kung tataas ang take home pay ng mga driver? Wala namang tatanggi diyan," CasiƱo said.

"Pero kung ang kapalit niyan mawalan ang libu-libo ng trabaho, tataas ng doble ang singil ng pamasahe, aba, mag-isip-isip muna tayo."

The nationwide transport strike has prompted MalacaƱang to suspend classes and government work on Monday and Tuesday. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista holds a press briefing at the Comelec building in Intramuros, Manila, on Monday, August 7, 2017, where he denies amassing ill-gotten wealth as a government official as alleged by his wife. Danny Pata © Danny Pata Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista holds a press briefing at the Comelec building in Intramuros, Manila, on Monday, August 7, 2017, where he denies amassing ill-gotten wealth as a government official as alleged by his wife. Danny Pata

The House of Representatives “rushed” the impeachment of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista after the poll chief announced his resignation only on the last day of session before Congress went on a break, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.

In an interview with ANC, Lacson said it appears that there was an agreement between Bautista and the House leadership.

“Kung ako mag-analyze, may nangyari in between. Mukhang may kasunduan si Chairman Bautista and House leadership (na) ‘Huwag ninyo ako impeach sa House, magre-resign na lang ako,’” Lacson said. 

“And he announced it on the last day of the session. Wala nang time. Kaya minadali ang botohan. Ang floor deliberations, plenary nila sa impeachment, madalian,” Lacson added.

Before going on a one-month session break, the House of Representatives, on October 11, impeached Bautista, after 137 members voted against a motion to adopt the report of the justice committee dismissing the complaint against the Comelec chairman.

The decision was reached hours after Bautista announced that he will step down from his post by December 31, 2017.

Bautista made the announcement of his resignation via his social media accounts, and held a press conference after.

Lacson said he finds it odd that Bautista did not address his resignation letter to the Comelec en banc, and instead submitted it to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I am not a lawyer but I don’t think it is even proper to submit Chairman Bautista’s resignation to the President. Remember, Comelec is a constitutional body,” Lacson said.

“'Di siya under executive branch. Why would he submit his resignation to the President?” he said.

Duterte has accepted Bautista’s resignation on October 13. Duterte said Bautista should be out of the Comelec “the earlier, the better.”

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III earlier said there will be no need to hold an impeachment trial against Bautista once the Senate receives the official notice that Duterte has accepted the poll chief's resignation. —KG, GMA News