All posts tagged: business

United Bans 25 Pet Breeds From Hold, Will Resume Flying Others

United Continental Holdings Inc. will ban 25 different pet breeds when it resumes flying pets this summer, four months after a dog’s death prompted the airline to review its policies for transporting animals.

The carrier will again accept dogs and cats in the cargo hold starting July 9 if the animal’s guardian is booked on the same flight, spokesman Charles Hobart said Tuesday. United is also teaming with American Humane to “improve the well-being of all pets that travel on” the Chicago-based airline, according to a company statement.

United announced the changes less than two months after a bruising week of public-relations fiascoes involving dogs. A French bulldog died March 12 after a flight attendant had the pet and its animal crate placed in an overhead bin. In a separate incident, the airline sent a Kansas-bound German shepherd to Japan. United also took criticism over its record of animal deaths in 2017, when it accounted for 18 of the 24 animals that died on a major airline.

The airline will no longer allow 21 dog and four cat breeds that are prone to physical problems from heat or other travel stress, including bulldogs, boxers and Boston terriers. A complete list is available on the company’s website.

Under its previous rates for the PetSafe program, United charged more than $2,400 for some large animals on some European and Pacific routes. Domestically, pets had cost $201-$963 depending on the animal’s size.

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How Artificial Intelligence Canand Can’tFix Facebook

Facebook has problems. Fake news. Terrorism. Russian propaganda. And maybe soon regulation. The company’s solution: Turn them into artificial-intelligence problems. The strategy will require Facebook to make progress on some of the biggest challenges in computing.

During two congressional sessions last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg referenced AI more than 30 times in explaining how the company would better police activity on its platform. The man tasked with delivering on those promises, CTO Mike Schroepfer, picked up that theme in a keynote and interview at Facebook’s annual developer conference Wednesday.

Schroepfer told thousands of developers and journalists that “AI is the best tool we have to keep our community safe at scale.” After the congressional hearings, critics accused Zuckerberg of invoking AI to mislead people into thinking the company’s challenges are simply technological. Schroepfer told WIRED Wednesday that the company had made mistakes. But he said that for Facebook—with more than 2 billion people on its service each month—AI is the only way to address them.

Even if the company could afford to have humans check every post, it wouldn’t want to. “If I told you that there was a human reading every single one of your posts before it went up it would change what you would post,” Schroepfer says.

Facebook already uses automation to police its platform, with some success. Since 2011, the company has used a tool called PhotoDNA, originally developed by Microsoft, to detect child pornography, for example. Schroepfer says the company’s algorithms have steadily improved enough to flag other images it wants to keep off its platform.

First came nudity and pornography, which Schroepfer describes as “on the easier side of the spectrum to identify.” Next came photos and videos that depict “gore and graphic violence”—think Isis beheading videos—which at a pixel-by-pixel level are difficult to distinguish from more benign imagery. “We're now fairly effective at that,” Schroepfer says.

But tough problems remain. Schroepfer says Facebook in recent months has been investing a “a whole heck of a lot more” into the teams working on problems like election integrity, bad ads, and fake news. “It's fair to say we've pivoted a whole lot of the energy of the company over the last number of months towards all of these issues,” he says. Zuckerberg said earlier this week that he expected to spend three years building up better systems to catch unwanted content.

Facebook’s plan for an AI safety net faces larger challenges on problems that require machines to read, not see. For software to help fight fake news, online harassment, and propaganda campaigns like that mounted by Russia during the 2016 election, it needs to understand what people are saying.


The WIRED Guide to Artificial Intelligence

Despite the success of web search and automated translation, software is still not very good at understanding the nuance and context of language. Facebook’s director of AI and machine learning, Srinivas Narayanan, illustrated the challenge in Wednesday’s keynote using the phrase “Look at that pig!” It might be welcome to someone sharing a snap of their porcine pet, less so as a comment on a wedding photo.

Facebook shows some progress with algorithms that read. On Wednesday, the company said that a system that looks for signs a person may harm himself had prompted more than 1,000 calls to first responders since it was deployed late last year. Language algorithms helped Facebook remove almost 2 million pieces of terrorist-related content in the first quarter of this year.

Schroepfer says Facebook has improved its systems for detecting bullying by training them on fake data from software taught to generate insults. In a process called adversarial training, both the abuse hurler and blocker become more effective over time. That places Facebook among a growing number of companies using synthetic, or fake, data to train machine learning systems.

Another hurdle: other languages. Facebook’s language technology works best in English, not just because the company is American, but because the technology is typically trained using text taken from the internet, where English dominates. Facebook’s figures indicate that more than half of its users don’t speak English. “That's a huge problem,” Schroepfer says.

Facebook is so dominant in some parts of the world that its language skills could even be a matter of life and death. UN investigators examining claims of genocide in Myanmar after the deaths of Rohingya Muslims said the company’s services had played a role in spreading hate speech against the group. Facebook has admitted that the crisis caught it without enough Burmese language content reviewers.

Facebook is working on a project called MUSE that could one day make technology developed for one language work in a different language, without needing piles of new training data. Until it is practical, Facebook’s progress on expanding its AI systems to new languages depends on gathering new data to bring its systems up to speed.

In some cases—and places—that data could be slow to arrive. As the Myanmar problems showed, Facebook hasn’t chosen to build up the same language resources everywhere. In a conference session Tuesday on Facebook’s efforts to slow the spread of fake news, executive Tessa Lyons-Laing said machine learning software was learning to flag misinformation from the work of fact checkers at organizations like AP, who manually mark fake stories for Facebook. But she said the technology would only work where Facebook establishes relationships with local fact-checking groups and has built up a good collection of their data.

Schroepfer says that finding ways to move forward without having to depend on fresh human input is one of his main strategies for advancing AI. On Wednesday Facebook researchers showed how billions of Instagram hashtags provided a free data source to set a new record in image recognition. On many of Facebook’s trickiest problems, there’s no way to cut human judgment out of the loop. “AI is not a substitute for people when it comes to deciding what's okay and what's not okay up-front,” says Schroepfer. “AI is a great implementation tool to implement the rules once people have decided them.”

Social Problems

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How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives? | Felicity Lawrence

Society abhors exploitation but we are complicit. The cheap goods and services consumers expect makes exploitation inevitable, says Guardian special correspondent Felicity Lawrence

Since the Modern Slavery Act of 2015, British companies over a certain size have been required to report on slavery in their supply chains. Their statements are both shocking and admirable. Shocking because they make clear that the incidence of slavery has become normalised once again and not just in criminal operations such as the illegal drugs trade or trafficking for prostitution, but in the mainstream economy. The declarations are prefaced with management expressions of abhorrence, of course, but there they are, another note alongside the annual accounts. They are admirable, however, in that transparency must be the first step to tackling this phenomenon.

Last month the National Crime Agency reported a 35% annual rise in the number of suspected slavery victims found in the UK, with more than 5,000 people referred to the government mechanism that supports them in 2017. Labour exploitation, rather than sexual exploitation, was the most common type of modern slavery cited.

The list of high-risk sectors for slavery declared in company statements is long: temporary workers in distribution and office cleaning; agency labour in logistics operations; subcontracted car-washes cleaning company vehicles; construction workers building and renovating company premises; outsourced security staff. A catalogue of the casualised workforce, in other words. It is hardly surprising that the most egregious forms of exploitation should appear where economic, legal and moral responsibility has been deliberately diffused. Modern slavery is the flipside of the coin that has seen corporates offshore their profits and dodge tax. Both represent a sloughing-off of what were seen in the past as important obligations to society.

Then there are the more specific areas of production, where big high-street retailers statements acknowledge that forced or trafficked labour, often of refugees, is a well-known and recurring issue: the British and Irish fishing fleets, the UK meat and poultry processing industry, Leicester garment manufacturing, the Thai prawn supply chain, the Italian tomato industry, the Spanish horticulture sector, the Assam tea chain, and the Turkish garment sector.

Separate from corporate reporting, the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority was given powers in April 2017 to investigate exploitation beyond its original narrow remit of food and agriculture. The more it looks, the more it finds, and some of this new activity accounts for the increasing numbers of suspected victims of modern slavery. (Another factor is the statutory defence introduced in the Modern Slavery Act for those forced into criminal activity such as drug dealing: increasing use of that defence in drug cases probably accounts for British victims unusually making up the largest number by nationality this year. Albania, Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Romania, Sudan, Eritrea, India and Poland make up the rest of the top 10 source countries.)

The main concentrations the GLAA sees are among migrant workers in hand carwashes, nail bars, domestic building projects such as basement excavations, the hospitality trade, hotel cleaning, takeaway restaurants and domestic cleaning.

How did slavery, which we thought was abolished, reach into our everyday consumption? While it is quite right that companies should have their reputational feet held to the fire for abuse that arises out of their economic model, there are also uncomfortable truths here for affluent consumers of personal services.

Things that were until recently luxuries manicures, clothes that change fashion every few weeks, regular holiday breaks to hotels, eating out frequently, having your car hand-valeted, using manual labour to dig out a basement under your house are now presented to us as affordable, everyday even. Where they have become so, it is in large part thanks to other people being badly paid at best, or victims of modern slavery at worst. The squeezed middle has been bought off by the illusion that it can share the consuming habits of those with runaway incomes at the top; but it cant not without squeezing those further down the chain.

In a world where the state has often absented itself from the enforcement of employment law, and where so many human interactions are reduced to financial exchanges at whatever rate the market will take, people have become commodities to use or sell. When competition and austerity are king, it is every man and woman for themselves and their family. Too often, we close our eyes and try to protect our own.

People-traffickers target the vulnerable including those with learning disabilities or raised in care, homeless people, those with alcohol and drug problems or previous convictions. They are the people easiest to control and least likely to attract sympathy. Anti-immigration sentiment has encouraged people to see these victims as foreign, as other. How else to explain why neighbours, work colleagues and customers so often fail to notice modern slavery?

Take the group of trafficked Lithuanians working brutal hours on egg farms around the country who were kept under control in their Kent ganghouses by threats and fighting dogs. What did farm managers and local residents on the same quiet streets see and hear? Alarming antisocial behaviour, and fights in a foreign language that made them want to turn away and keep their heads down, or fellow human beings suffering intolerable abuse and anaesthetising themselves from the trauma with drink?

Both the National Audit Office and the parliamentary select committee for work and pensions have highlighted serious shortcomings in the support for victims of modern slavery once they have been identified. The anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, also pointed out to the committee that every time a suspected victim of slavery is referred to the national referral mechanism, a crime is being alleged. Yet there is only a one-in-four chance of these cases being recorded as a potential crime, let alone investigated. If there were 4,000 rapes in the UK and only one in four was recorded by the police, there would be an outcry, he said. These failings need state remedies.

Meanwhile, we all need to recognise the signs. Where workers are putting in excessive hours, where they have no language to communicate with customers or where employers seem quick to speak for them, where they live in houses of multiple occupancy, we should be alert to the possibility of modern slavery.

If you are being offered a service for much less than you would expect to pay for it, someone is almost certainly being exploited. A car wash that takes six men 15 minutes and costs 10 does not pay the legal minimum wage. If something seems too cheap to be true, it probably is.

Felicity Lawrence is a special correspondent for the Guardian

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AI Has a Hallucination Problem That’s Proving Tough to Fix

Tech companies are rushing to infuse everything with artificial intelligence, driven by big leaps in the power of machine learning software. But the deep-neural-network software fueling the excitement has a troubling weakness: Making subtle changes to images, text, or audio can fool these systems into perceiving things that aren’t there.

That could be a big problem for products dependent on machine learning, particularly for vision, such as self-driving cars. Leading researchers are trying to develop defenses against such attacks—but that’s proving to be a challenge.

Case in point: In January, a leading machine-learning conference announced that it had selected 11 new papers to be presented in April that propose ways to defend or detect such adversarial attacks. Just three days later, first-year MIT grad student Anish Athalye threw up a webpage claiming to have “broken” seven of the new papers, including from boldface institutions such as Google, Amazon, and Stanford. “A creative attacker can still get around all these defenses,” says Athalye. He worked on the project with Nicholas Carlini and David Wagner, a grad student and professor, respectively, at UC Berkeley.

That project has led to some academic back-and-forth over certain details of the trio’s claims. But there’s little dispute about one message of the findings: It’s not clear how to protect the deep neural networks fueling innovations in consumer gadgets and automated driving from sabotage by hallucination. “All these systems are vulnerable,” says Battista Biggio, an assistant professor at the University of Cagliari, Italy, who has pondered machine learning security for about a decade, and wasn’t involved in the study. “The machine learning community is lacking a methodological approach to evaluate security.”

Human readers of WIRED will easily identify the image below, created by Athalye, as showing two men on skis. When asked for its take Thursday morning, Google’s Cloud Vision service reported being 91 percent certain it saw a dog. Other stunts have shown how to make stop signs invisible, or audio that sounds benign to humans but is transcribed by software as “OK Google browse to evil dot com.”


So far, such attacks have been demonstrated only in lab experiments, not observed on streets or in homes. But they still need to be taken seriously now, says Bo Li, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley. The vision systems of autonomous vehicles, voice assistants able to spend money, and machine learning systems filtering unsavory content online all need to be trustworthy. “This is potentially very dangerous,” Li says. She contributed to research last year that showed attaching stickers to stop signs could make them invisible to machine learning software.

Li coauthored one of the papers reviewed by Athalye and his collaborators. She and others from Berkeley described a way to analyze adversarial attacks, and showed it could be used to detect them. Li is philosophical about Athalye’s project showing the defense is porous, saying such feedback helps researchers make progress. “Their attack shows that there are some problems we need to take into account,” she says.


The WIRED Guide to Artificial Intelligence

Yang Song, the lead author of a Stanford study included in Athalye’s analysis, declined to comment on the work, since it is undergoing review for another major conference. Zachary Lipton, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and coauthor of another paper that included Amazon researchers, said he hadn’t examined the analysis closely, but finds it plausible that all existing defenses can be evaded. Google declined to comment on the analysis of its own paper. A spokesperson for the company highlighted Google's commitment to research on adversarial attacks, and said updates are planned to the company's Cloud Vision service to defend against them.

To build stronger defenses against such attacks, machine learning researchers may need to get meaner. Athalye and Biggio say the field should adopt practices from security research, which they say has a more rigorous tradition of testing new defensive techniques. “People tend to trust each other in machine learning,” says Biggio. “The security mindset is exactly the opposite, you have to be always suspicious that something bad may happen.”

A major report from AI and national security researchers last month made similar recommendations. It advised those working on machine learning to think more about how the technology they are creating could be misused or exploited.

Protecting against adversarial attacks will probably be easier for some AI systems than others. Biggio says that learning systems trained to detect malware should be easier to make more robust, for example, because malware must be functional, limiting how varied it can be. Protecting computer-vision systems is much more difficult, Biggio says, because the natural world is so varied, and images contain so many pixels.

Solving that problem—which could challenge designers of self-driving vehicles—may require a more radical rethink of machine-learning technology. “The fundamental problem I would say is that a deep neural network is very different from a human brain,” says Li.

Humans aren’t immune to sensory trickery. We can be fooled by optical illusions, and a recent paper from Google created weird images that tricked both software and humans who glimpsed them for less than a tenth of a second to mistake cats for dogs. But when interpreting photos we look at more than patterns of pixels, and consider the relationship between different components of an image, such as the features of a person’s face, says Li.

Google’s most prominent machine-learning researcher, Geoff Hinton, is trying to give software that kind of ability. He thinks that would allow software to learn to recognize something from just a few images, not thousands. Li thinks software with a more human view of the world should also be less susceptible to hallucinations. She and others at Berkeley have begun collaborating with neuroscientists and biologists to try and take hints from nature.

AI Exploitation

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28 Delicious Dishes Around the World for $5 or Less

Despite the zigzagging American stock market, the developed world is in the midst of a return to luxury. Restaurants in the U.S. are going formal again, posh conglomerates such as Kering SA are roaring back, and air travel has gotten fancier than ever. Those enjoying fat bonuses from 2017 can do some serious shopping.

Yet there are still terrific values when it comes to food. We’ve tapped local experts to reveal more than two dozen places from 18 global cities that serve destination dishes for less than $5, 1  without a Happy Meal in sight.



Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

You can pay for a meal in the Iskelé Turkish restaurant, or you can just go to the stall in Whitecross Street Market, which dates back to the 17th century. These days it’s a lunchtime food destination, and there is no better value than the , a spicy flatbread hot from the grill and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, for a little over 3 pounds ($4). 

Beigel With Smoked Salmon

Beigel Bake is so good, it would be popular in any city. But in London, where bagels are not celebrated, this bakery is both a destination and a sensation. There’s always a line, day and night, at this 24-hour bakery on a rundown street best known for curry houses. The smoked salmon offering comes with a good amount of fish and a swath of cream cheese for 2 pounds. An oft-told tale has Mariah Carey turning up in a limousine with her entourage and being ordered to the back of the line.



The quintessential Dutch are a deal. 
Photographer: Wout Vergauwen

Bitterballen (Fried Meatballs)

The quintessential Dutch deep-fried treat makes an appearance at chef Peter Gast’s Michelin-starred ’t Schulten Hues restaurant. A budget edition of Gast’s ragout-filled balls can be found at Ballenbar in Foodhallen, a Borough Market-inspired indoor food market in a renovated tram depot. The most traditional options are the beef balls: crunchy on the outside, gooey and flavorful on the inside, served with a dollop of grainy Dutch mustard for 3 euros (less than $4).



Allesso di Scottona Sandwich

Retired butcher Sergio Esposito makes sandwiches using family recipes. The sandwich is comprised of simmered beef brisket sliced up and served with dandelion greens on a ciabatta from Panificio Passi, aka the best bakery in Rome. The bread gets a dip in the brisket cooking juices before it’s filled. “This sandwich is ridiculous,” pronounces Rome’s expert tour guide and cookbook author, Katie Parla. It costs 4 euros. 




In Tel Aviv’s busiest marketplace, a lesser known specialty among the fruit stands and displays of baklava is the A thin sheet of dough fried with an egg in it (think North African spring roll) gets stuffed inside a pita with spicy harrisa and (a pumpkin and lemon condiment). Cost: 15 shekels, a little more than $4.






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Clam and Garlic Pizza

A giant neon sign points the way to Golden Boy, which has been providing North Beach with generous squares (and giant sheets) of Sicilian-style pizza since 1978. The greasy, crisp-bottomed pizza has a variety of toppings including sausage ($3.25), but the more interesting options are the vegetarian pesto or the signature clam pizza topped with a notable amount of garlic.

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Chicken Korean Taco

On Thursdays and Saturdays, the team at the modern Korean minded Namu offers a street food menu at the Ferry Building farmer’s market. Think stonepot market vegetables and kimchee fried rice with artisan hot dogs. For $3.50 you can get a Korean taco made from seasoned rice, kimchee salsa, and kimchee remoulade and filled with caramelized chicken. 



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Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger

This no-frills mini chain got recognition when Andrew Zimmern of fame shouted out their original stall in the basement of a Queens mall. Xi’an specializes in hand-pulled noodles but one of their best deals is the lamb burger, featuring fall-apart-tender chunks of spicy stewed lamb, heavy on the cumin, wrapped in a doughy flatbread for $4. 

Mole Poblano With Chicken Tamale

This tiny new storefront on the Lower East Side specializes in one thing:  tamales. Owner Fernando Lopez makes the masa, then steams them with fillings like a deeply flavored chile mole with shredded chicken, for $4. For the same price you can also get a bacon and mozzarella cheese tamale, or a breakfast egg sandwich on a brioche bun with his chipotle-spiked special sauce. 

Peking Duck Sandwich

The biggest bargain on the menu are the juicy pork and chive fried dumplings ($1.50 for four). But the greatness of Vanessa’s, which has outposts in the East Village and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is their sesame pancake-styled sandwiches, filled with ingredients like kimchee, ham and egg, and roasted pork. The peking duck sandwich moistened with hoisin is superb. (At the Brooklyn outpost, the sandwich is $4.25; it’s $3.50 in Chinatown.) 



Chicken Chivichanga

Named for the North Mexican desert region, this stellar little shop in downtown LA has $2 tacos and carne asada cooked over mesquite wood. The Chivichanga boasts two handmade flour tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, blistered tomatoes and chile.



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Kalua Pork Tacos

There are multiple locations of  the Hawaiian-styled Marination. The newest is near the Amazon campus; the best is in West Seattle with killer views of the city. Among the $3 tacos are tofu, kalbi beef, and sweet kalua pulled pork, served on two corn tortillas, topped with housemade pickled jalapeños and their signature sauce.



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Mini Big Mac

A globetrotting menu of tapas is the name of the game at this casual restaurant, with dishes that range from Scotch eggs to falafel to pakora (all less than $5). On Sundays, the special is mini-mac sliders: A mini Big Mac with a beef patty, American cheese, mustard, dill pickle, on a seeded bun, that’s a stellar version of its namesake.



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Milanese Cemita (Pueblan-style sandwich)

The crunchiness of the bun and generous stuffing of avocados, chipotle, and a Mexican herb called make these sandwich staples from Puebla a new category in contrast to Mexico City’s ubiquitous tortas. Choose among options ranging from the basic (shredded cheese) to a Biscayan style cod panini. The real star is the cemita de Milanesa, stuffed with a breaded, pounded thin veal cutlet for 75 pesos ($3.99).



Argentine White Pizza

Influenced by generations of Italian immigrants, thick-crusted Argentine pizza is now a Buenos Aires staple. The best in the city is El Cuartito. Since 1934, it’s been serving up slices of (white pizza with plenty of gooey cheese and onions), juicy Napolitana, and sausage-based Calabresa in an unassuming venue surrounded with signed posters of boxers, soccer stars, and folklore singers. For a real throwback, order soda in a siphon. Slices start at $1.75.

Sandwich Completo

Nestled in the middle of Buenos Aires’ bustling Microcentro, El Buen Libro fools you with its inconspicuous, convenience store vibe—unless you walk by at lunchtime, when a line goes out the street for its build-your-own sandwichs. In addition to the classic veal Milanesa, a local favorite is the homemade sandwich, the Argentine take on cold steak roulade. Top it off with vegetables and condiments and come hungry: portions are large. The Milanesa grande will set you back about $3. 



Menu of the Day

The specialty at this hole in the wall is Peruvian-style vegetarian cooking. Potatoes feature in most plates (after all, 4,000 varieties grow in the Andean highlands). The menu of the day, including a starter, main course, dessert, and drink, is an astonishing value at $4, and might include vegetable soup with corn and manioc, Andean lasagna, and freshly made vanilla pudding. 





Barbecue Pork Roll

You can normally spot this place because of the lunchtime line of city workers. The classic Banh Mi pork roll comes complete with fresh coriander, chili and homemade butter with the option of barbecued or crispy fried pork, or pork loaf, salad and a choice of roll baked on premises (wholemeal, multigrain, sourdough). A basic sandwich is A$5 ($3) and costs a bit more with all the trimmings.

Cheese & Spinach Borek

A tour of Melbourne’s 140-year-old market is worth the trip just for the superb, Victorian-era Deli Hall. It’s even better if you pick up a Turkish borek for just A$3.50. The ladies can barely keep up, so be prepared to jostle for your fresh, crisp pastry filled with feta and spinach. There’s also a tasty spicy lamb for meat lovers or a potato and vegetable option. If you happen to be late and lucky, you might find a ‘two for A$5’ discount.



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Chicken Rice

Nearly everyone in Singapore has an opinion on where to find the best Hainanese chicken rice. This eatery nestled between public housing blocks in the city-state’s central district has an especially loyal following. Chef-owner Ronnie Chew gets all the elements of this ubiquitous Singaporean dish working in harmony: the stock-infused rice is fluffy and the chicken moist, with plates from S$3 ($2.30). Pro tip: Balance out the garlicky and savory chili dip with some aromatic minced ginger.

Braised Noodles

Be prepared to wait for a bowl of hearty braised noodles from this stall in Singapore’s Old Airport Road food market. Thick yellow noodles, pork belly slices, chunks of fried fish, and a well-seasoned hard-boiled egg are doused in rich, flavorful gravy and finished with a garnish of cilantro and sliced red chiles. Bowls start at S$3.



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Katsudon (Pork Cutlet)

A freshly fried pork cutlet is simmered with an egg and sweet soy sauce just long enough before it’s heaped atop a bowl of rice—the perfect meal, for just 500 yen ($4.64) 2 at any of Katsuya’s 345 restaurants around Japan. Normally a higher-priced item that you have to wait for, your katsudon is ready in minutes at this fast-food style franchise. Options abound, including fried shrimp, and an array of condiments.

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Nori Toast
Coffee Shop Ace, 3-10-6 Uchikanda, Chiyoda-ku
Japanese coffee shops usually have “one-coin morning sets,” breakfast sets with coffee, toast, and sometimes a side of boiled egg and salad, all for a single 500 yen coin. Coffee Shop Ace in Kanda, an area best known for its bars and izakayas, has been around for four decades and is famous for its “nori toast” morning set: buttered, dried seaweed toast plus coffee. It may sound like a strange combination, but the butter and nori gives the toast a nice umami kick. 

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Napolitan Japanese Spaghetti

Tucked away in an underground shopping alley in the heart Tokyo’s financial district, Little Koiwai offers what many locals grew up eating: Japanese-style pasta. Soft-boiled spaghetti fried with bits of onion and green pepper, plus sweet tomato sauce is known as “Napolitan” priced at 540 yen. Other favorites include the soy sauced-flavored “Japone” and cod roe-mixed “tarako.” You’ll see a long line of Japanese salarymen standing in front of the shop if you go at lunch.



Tteokbokki (Stir-Fried Rice Cakes)
Jaws Tteokbokki
, multiple locations
This restaurant chain, with outposts that resemble cozy hot-dog stands, serves jaw-dropping, spicy Korean rice cakes soaked in gochujang, the traditional hot pepper paste. A bowl full of the chewy cakes, usually more than a dozen pieces, accompanied by a bowl of oden soup (in a dashi, soy sauce broth) that costs about 3,000 won ($2.80). More adventurous dinners can partake of blood sausage, called soondae, for just a little more.



Black Pepper Pork Buns

This Shanghai-style noodle joint has a small, no frills dining room. But Hing offers sensational little dumplings, or buns. Two pan-fried black pepper pork buns are HK$24 ($3). Don’t be fooled by their modest appearance: The buns are hot, pan-fried to order and extra juicy with a good hit of spice. For about the same price, you can get the non-spicy pan-fried BBQ pork buns for HK$22.

Wonton Noodles

This cozy, brightly lit noodle place has been around for 60 years. The enduring specialty is the signature wonton noodles: Crinkled, tender dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork, with eggy ribbon-shaped noodles in a fish-infused broth. A bowl costs about HK$34. Enhance it with a side order of greens.



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Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Resigns Amid Sex Scandal

Barnaby Joyce quit as Australia’s deputy prime minister after having an extramarital affair with his former media adviser, leading to allegations that he breached ministerial guidelines.

Joyce, 50, said he will also step down as leader of the National party, the junior coalition partner in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government, but remain in parliament.

The resignation may relieve some pressure on Turnbull, whose ruling Liberal-National coalition has slumped further behind in opinion polls amid the scandal. The prime minister last week accused his deputy of making a “shocking error of judgment” after the story broke this month that Joyce was expecting a baby with his new partner Vikki Campion.

“It’s incredibly important that this be a circuit breaker not just on the parliament, but more importantly that it be a circuit breaker for Vikki, it be a circuit breaker for my unborn child, it be a circuit breaker for my daughters, it be a circuit breaker for Nat,” father-of-four Joyce said, referring to his now-estranged wife of 24 years, Natalie.

The revelations have damaged Joyce’s credibility as a family man and he’s also faced claims he allowed Campion to work in his and another ministerial office during the affair — potentially breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

Joyce said Friday that none of the “litany of allegations” had been sustained.

Private Life

The issue has dominated headlines in Australian media this month, taking the spotlight away from the prime minister’s policy agenda, including his bid to legislate corporate and personal tax cuts. The affair has also spurred a debate about what parts of a parliamentarian’s life are private and should be off-limits to media reporting.

The Nationals will need to vote on a new party leader, with Michael McCormack, Darren Chester and David Littleproud expected to be among the frontrunners.

Turnbull, who is in the U.S. for talks with President Donald Trump, issued a statement thanking Joyce for his service and for being a “fierce advocate for rural and regional Australia.” He said John McVeigh would take on Joyce’s infrastructure and transport portfolio until the Nationals elect a new leader.

The son of sheep and dairy farmers, Joyce has led the rural-based Nationals for two years. He’s been a vocal critic of foreign investment by state-owned Chinese companies, and made international headlines in 2015 when he threatened to euthanize Johnny Depp’s Yorkshire terriers after the movie star brought the dogs into Australia, bypassing quarantine.

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    Paul Bocuse, French Chef Who Became Cultural Star, Dies at 91

    Paul Bocuse, who became one of the 20th century’s most influential chefs by building on the traditions of French haute cuisine with a distinctive style that emphasized simplicity and freshness, has died. He was 91.

    He died Saturday at Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, the Associated Press said, citing a statement from French President Emmanuel Macron. Bocuse had Parkinson’s disease.

    In lending his name and advice to restaurants around the world, Bocuse fashioned a template followed by chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay.
    Bocuse “started things for this modern era of the chef as cultural star,” Michael Ruhlman wrote in “The Reach of a Chef,” his 2006 book. “Bocuse was really the first to play to the media and begin to elevate the chef’s standing toward what it is today.’

    Yet he never lost touch with his roots, retaining three Michelin stars for more than four decades at his flagship establishment near his birthplace outside Lyon, France. Still on the menu is his most famous dish, Black Truffle Soup V.G.E.

    He opened a chain of eateries, Les Brasseries Bocuse, across France. Not content with being a star at home, he traveled the world, lending his name to restaurants from Florida to Hong Kong, and acting as an ambassador for French cooking. He set up a scholarship with the Culinary Institute of America and founded the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest as well as an institute for culinary arts. He was also the author of several cookbooks, including La Cuisine du Marche, in 1980.

    Bocuse said that he hadn’t revolutionized French cooking, only simplified it after a period marked by “the heavy meals and the rich sauces of the Escoffier school,” according to a 1972 article in the New York Times.

    “First-rate raw materials are the very foundation of good cooking,” he said. “Give the greatest cook in the world second-rate materials and the best he can produce from them is second-rate food.”

    Bocuse was born into a family of restaurateurs on Feb. 11, 1926, at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, in eastern France, where the main food market is named after him. It was there that he shopped for produce from local characters such as the cheese maker Mere Richard and the pork butchers Colette Sibilia and Gast. His ancestors had been known for their cooking as far back as in 1765.

    He went to work in 1942 in a restaurant in Lyon. In 1944, he enlisted in the First French Division and, in World War II combat, was shot in Alsace, where he received transfusions in an American field hospital. In later decades, especially as he became popular in the U.S., he enjoyed pointing out that he had American blood in him.

    In 1948, he began work under chef Fernand Point, whose reliance on the freshest products available each day shaped Bocuse’s views.
    In 1959, Bocuse saved the family restaurant from ruin and made L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges Restaurant Paul Bocuse a dining destination. It is there that you can still order Soupe aux Truffes Noires V.G.E., which Bocuse created in 1975 for then-President Valery Giscard d’Estaing at an Elysee Palace banquet.
    In 1966, a year after winning his third Michelin star, Bocuse succeeded in buying back his great-grandparents’ old restaurant and placing it under the family wing. He named it the Abbaye de Collonges.
    Bocuse was named a knight in the French Legion of Honor in 1975, and a commander in 2004.
    He was married for more than 60 years to Raymonde, but unashamedly kept two long-term mistresses and enjoyed other liaisons, according to an interview in the Daily Telegraph.
    “It would not be everyone’s idea of married life, but everyone gets on,” the newspaper quoted him as saying in 2005. “They are all happy, with me and with each other, and if I add up the time we have spent together as couples, it comes to 145 years.”
    “These days I feel best surrounded by nature, beside my lake, with my dogs and friends,” Bocuse said in the interview at Collonges. “I regret nothing, save perhaps the pain I may have given the women of my life. I hope they will forgive me.”

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      Now That Tech Runs the World, Let’s Retire the Hacker Ideal

      Virgil Griffith discovered the allure of hacking in 1993, while slumped at an Intel 80386 system in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was 10, and he was on a losing streak at Star Wars: X-Wing. To hit the leader­board, he’d need a fleet of ace wingmen, but he only had one X-Wing fighter that could hold its own in the game’s World War I–style dogfights. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Digging around in the game’s code, Griffith found that each pilot had its own file, so he cloned his good fighter. Copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste—fully 20 times. This gave him, he told me years later, “a plentiful supply of the best wingmen from then on.” Players without Griffith’s workaround were out of luck.

      Those brave pilots, gouged from the game’s code, seemed to serve as Griffith’s guardian angels in the next few years, during which he lived by the hacker’s creed: Enlightened cheating is the highest form of gameplay. You don’t beat the TIE fighters. You beat the game itself.

      While in college at the University of Alabama, Griffith discovered a chink in the ID card system that let students cadge cafeteria meals. In 2007, shortly after graduating, he invented Wiki­Scanner, a service that exposed the IP addresses and ideological biases of anonymous Wikipedia edits. (In one case, he revealed that people from offices in the US Senate were trying to fix their reputations, where others from Diebold, the company that made insecure voting machines, were using Wikipedia for corporate propaganda). He was on his way to black-hat status—and the circle of Julian Assange—when he discovered something even better than hacking: science.

      Griffith is now a 34-year-old research scientist at Ethereum Research in Singapore, where he works on improving the company’s blockchain, a big piece of the global infrastructure that allows for secure exchanges of property and currency online. With essential software, he wrote in an email to me, “failures just aren’t acceptable anymore.” Examples he cites include controlling nuclear reactors, power grids, chip manufacturing. “There is a trend in software development away from the ‘hacker’ jury-­rigging into a mature field, where things are ‘proven’,” he told me.

      The chastening of the outlaw hacker does not make a great campfire tale. Maybe that story is too close to the tedious process of growing up. But with Silicon Valley convulsed by revelations of Big Tech’s security failures, founders’ above-the-law arrogance, and social media’s hospitality to bots, trolls, and fraud, here’s a remedy: honest valuations, business ethics, and the application of scientific method unmolested by greed. It’s time for a twilight of the hacker ideal.

      The chastening of the outlaw hacker does not make a great campfire tale.

      I came by this a year ago, when Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, told WIRED that the hacker archetype had found its highest articulation in one Donald Trump. Like it or not, Ito argued, Trump represents the counterculture priority of disobedience over compliance. I shudder to repeat Ito’s view, but here it is: Trump was “very punk rock.”

      Trump did indeed hack the American system. His was an especially crude hack, though it did the trick, chiefly because he had the field to himself; for his opponents, Trump-style violations of America’s terms of service—bald-face lying, inciting violence­—were not strategically or ethically inbounds. The 1910 race to the South Pole comes to mind: The Norwegian explorers figured they could win if they left nothing edible unconsumed, and ate their sled dogs along the way as provisions. The British, committed to their geological studies as much as to winning, refused to eat theirs on principle—and lost. Trump won because he was unhindered by conscience. He ate his dogs.

      Hacking a win is a question of principle. But it’s also a question of pride. In the short term, beating the system—especially a big one, like the IRS or American democracy—must yield an overman swell of supremacy to those who seem to be its slaves. But in another sense, a triumph secured by illicitly cloning wingmen (or hiding tax returns, eating huskies) doesn’t seem like a triumph at all. It’s a confession—even if a tacit one—that you weren’t good enough to win the real way.

      Icarus, the documentary about Russian doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, gives a window on why the Kremlin would be so eager for ill-gotten gold medals that it would hack both the biochemistry of Russia’s best athletes and the painstaking system for making sure athletes compete clean. Russian authorities wagered that a rococo cloak-and-dagger biohacking and burglary scheme would work better than traditional training of athletes. Yes, the Russians swept the table that year—but the revelation of their widespread doping asterisks all those medals as suspicious for eternity. That cruel and gratuitous hack also irreparably damaged the bodies, reputations, and futures of the nation’s finest athletes, who are regarded as cheaters, with Russia’s team now banned from the 2018 Olympics.

      Virgil Griffith now sucks down far less Kahlua than when I met him as the father of WikiScanner more than a decade ago. He has now put in time at Caltech, which he credits for beating the smart-ass hacker out of him, and turning him into a scientist. Wiser Griffith sees a bright line separating real science from the hacker culture he came from.

      As he wrote to me, “The hacking culture is often more comfortable with approximations and low beauty—they just want to get on with their work—it doesn’t need to be optimal.” (Products of this hacker approach, in Griffith’s view, are the internet’s architecture and Apollo 11. The makeshift architecture of the internet may be coming back to haunt it, and early NASA race-to-space engineering has—since the Challenger explosion—given way to an ethic of extreme prudence.) By contrast, what Griffith loves about science over hacking is its concern with finding, as he puts it, “the unique and most beautiful solution to the problem which generalizes to N dimensions.”

      The International Olympic Committee, not always known for its strong stands on corruption, issued a statement when it banned the Russian Olympic teams from February’s Pyeong­chang Olympics. The Sochi doping “was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games,” wrote Thomas Bach, the IOC president. “As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes … who are suffering from this manipulation … We will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.”

      Imagine that. A year without hackers and cheaters on the podium. And an active commitment to fairness, safeguards, compassion, and integrity? Good. Those are the things we hack at our peril.

      Virginia Heffernan (@page88) is a contributor to WIRED. She also wrote about Reddit’s Change My View.

      This article appears in the February issue. Subscribe now.

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      At Davos, Big Tech Is Waiting for Its Grace Period to Run Out

      There’s a trust crisis afoot.

      Earlier this week, Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer report suggested that trust is collapsing in America. In a survey of 33,000 people across more than 28 countries, only a third of Americans responded that they trust the government, a 14 percentage point decline from last year. Fewer than half of us trust the media. Even our confidence in business, which has for years remained strong, was shaken this year, dropping 10 points; just 48 percent of respondents trust business to “do what is right.” In the 18 years that Edelman has administered this survey, it has never recorded such dramatic drops across a single country.

      But as Americans’ trust in nearly every institution dissipates, one industry seems insulated: Tech. That’s right, Americans still trust tech companies. Specifically, 75 percent of those surveyed said they trusted the tech industry to “do what is right,” a percentage that has remained nearly unchanged for five years. According to the poll, tech is the most trusted industry in America.

      That’s surprising after a year marked by scandals and concern over tech companies accumulation of power. The question of whether tech companies could retain their privileged position reverberated through the World Economic Forum, in Davos Switzerland this week. Speaking on a panel entitled “In Tech We Trust,” Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat advanced a theory. Trust in these companies is strong, she posited, “because technology continues to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

      She’s right, of course. It’s the justification the tech industry always uses for its existence and outsized influence. The idea that tech is insulated from negative popular opinion because its innovations are so astounding has been the prevailing corporate sentiment since before Google was a twinkle in its founders’ eyes.

      In the interim, technology has altered the world in complicated ways. Tech companies, like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have lead a massive shift in the way we communicate, which has changed who gets to have a voice. By giving everyone a similar-sized microphone, tech platforms have flattened the playing field and allowed anyone to convey anything. While this has had many positive effects, this friction-free approach to publishing has had darker consequences too. Giving weight to any opinion that can game the system’s algorithms has eroded our faith in traditional institutions, helped aid in the rise of authoritarian regimes, and facilitated the proliferation of disinformation. All of this is reflected in the plummeting trust in other types of institutions in Edelman’s data.

      Somehow, we come out of all of that trusting tech companies.

      Trust, as a term, has a fuzzy definition. Edelman asks specifically about whether respondents think that institutions—businesses, NGOs, government and the media—are likely to do what is right. It’s a forward-looking metric that suggests that if people are confident in an institution’s future actions, then the current system will continue to function well.

      It’s not a given that our trust in tech will continue; in fact, there’s reason to believe it won’t. Though Americans may trust companies like Google or Amazon, according to the Edelman survey, we’re growing less trustful that search engines and social media platforms will deliver us accurate news and information. (Roughly 70 percent of respondents said they “worry about fake news or false information being used as a weapon.”) If we lose faith in tech companies’ products and services, eventually we’ll question the businesses behind them. While the greater public may believe tech companies will do the right thing, our democracy’s watch dogs—both regulators, and the media—are beginning to exercise skepticism, and to demand information as best they can.

      Nowhere is this crisis more visible than Facebook. The social network is being criticized widely, including by some influential early employees and advisers, for creating a product that may be harmful to its users. Speaking at a European tech conference last week, the company’s communications and public policy chief apologized for failing to do more, earlier, to fight hate speech and foreign influence on the platform. These types of concerns aren’t specific to Facebook: Any of the tech companies that optimize large amounts of data to deliver us products and services risk alienating the public as they use the power that comes with that information.

      “A company starts having so much data and information about the user…it’s just not a fair fight”
      —Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

      Speaking at Davos, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pointed out that consumers face a challenge in trying to understand tech’s influence in the age of big data. He called this an “information asymmetry.” In his previous job, as CEO of Expedia, Khosrowshahi said, customers were shown a tropical island while they waited for their purchase page to show up. As a test, engineers replaced the placid image with a stressful one that showed a person missing a train. Purchases shot up. The company subbed in an even more stressful image of a person looking at a non-working credit card, and purchases rose again. One enterprising engineer decided to use image of a cobra snake. Purchases went higher.

      What’s good for a business isn’t always good for that businesses’ users. Yet Khosrowshahi stopped testing because he decided the experiment wasn’t in line with the Expedia’s values. “A company starts having so much data and information about the user that if you describe it as a fight, it’s just not a fair fight,” said Khosrowshahi.

      But as Khosrowshahi illustrates, it’s difficult for outsiders to hold tech companies accountable for decisions that are so subtle they are imperceivable to users. And, as Uber’s questionable business practices under its former CEO, and Facebook’s reticence to deal with foreign agents meddling on its platform show, tech’s leaders haven’t typically set a strong moral compass without pressure.

      The tech industry often responds to these concerns with a promise to be more transparent—to better show how its products and services are created and how they impact us. But transparency, explained Rachel Botsman in the same Davos conversation, is not synonymous with trust. A visiting professor at the University of Oxford’s Said School, Botsman authored a book on technology and trust entitled “Who Can You Trust?” “You’ve actually given up on trust if you need for things to be transparent,” she said. “We need to trust the intention of these companies.”

      At Davos, some tech CEOs spoke in favor of regulation, arguing that proactive intervention might calm the public. Salesforce ceo Marc Benioff, also a panelist, compared some social networking companies to the tobacco industry: “Here’s a product – cigarettes – they’re addictive, they’re not good for you,” he said. But technology has addictive qualities, he explained, and product designers often work to make them even more addictive. “Maybe there’s all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There’s a lot of parallels,” he said. (Keep in mind that it’s hardly self criticism; Salesforce is an enterprise company with different business incentives than the current crop of social networks.) Khosrowshahi also noted regulators have a role to play in holding tech companies accountable.

      Even among tech’s leadership, no one voiced a clear idea of what form regulation might take. But from the conversation, on stage and beyond, it was clear that tech companies are worried about how, and when, the public will catch on to the power they now exert. For now, they’re operating on borrowed time. To keep the good graces of their users, they will need to find a way to maintain our trust—to continue to convince us that they deserve our faith as they pilot us into the unknown.

      Trust in the Age of Tech

      • Why techies still don't get that the rest of the world hates them
      • Trust is a funny thing for Facebook's news feed to measure
      • Google employees are fighting a dirty war over diversity

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      Parking Garage Fire Destroys Roughly 1,400 Cars in U.K.

      London (AP) — An estimated 1,400 cars were destroyed in a huge fire that raged through a multi-story parking garage in the northern English city of Liverpool.

      The fire next to Liverpool's Echo Arena also threatened horses that were stabled in the garage for performances at the Liverpool International Horse Show.

      The horses were moved to safety inside the arena. The popular horse show was canceled because of the fire, which was brought under control early Monday morning. The charred remains of ruined vehicles were visible in the seven stories of the parking garage.

      There were no reported injuries in the blaze. Officials set up an emergency shelter to help the many people who could not get home because their cars had been burned.

      Fire officials said two dogs were rescued from vehicles parked in the structure. They are believed to have been the only animals inside cars at the time.

      The Echo Arena said all people and horses were safe.

      Witnesses said cars seemed to explode every couple of seconds when the fire was at its peak. They said the fire appeared to start in the engine of an older Land Rover and quickly spread.

      Police said initial reports indicate that an "accidental fire within a vehicle caused other cars to ignite." The blaze started Sunday afternoon.

      Witness Sue Wright, who helped move some of the horses, said flames were shooting out of the Land Rover engine.

      "It looked like a ball of fire on the front of the car and it was producing a lot of smoke," she said.

      She said the fire was "ferocious and spreading."

      Nearby apartments were evacuated because of the heavy smoke.

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