Amazon Automated Warehouses Process 500 Orders per Second

Cyber Monday is a major business story because it is the biggest online shopping day of the year. As a result, many news outlets sent reporters to one of the 13 Amazon “fulfillment centers” around the country where consumer orders are processed, filled and shipped. The sight of items zooming by on speedy conveyor belts makes for good visuals.

The backbone of Amazon’s increasingly automated processing is the Kiva robot system, the foot-high wheeled gizmos that bring shelves of products to human packers, who are still needed to place the ordered merchandise into boxes. The company recently doubled the number of Kiva-bots from 15,000 to 30,000 in preparation for the Christmas shopping season.

Kiva robot

The super-fast conveyor belts of stuff may create zippy television, but the robots make that speed possible:

Now for a Cyber Monday report — one of many!

Jo-Ling Kent of Fox Business reported from the Amazon processing center in Robbinsville NJ which occupies one million square feet (28 football fields!), has 14 miles of conveyor belts, employs 4000 full-time workers and processed 500 orders per second last year and expects to do better today.

The remarkable success of the world’s top automated store — where shoppers buy online and their purchases are hardly touched by human hands — shows how rapidly the retail world is moving away from brick and mortar. The pattern is recurring through many industries, where fewer human workers are needed to perform the workplace tasks.

The technological advances may look fine individually, but the cumulative effect of automation on employment is bad and getting worse. The Gartner tech consulting firm forecasts that one-third of jobs will have become automated by 2025. In 2013, two Oxford University researchers predicted that nearly half of US jobs are vulnerable to automation within 20 years. And millions of the jobs lost during the recession aren’t coming back because business turned to smart machines to survive.

For sure, America doesn’t need to continue admitting immigrant workers when the jobs universe is shrinking away.

Italian School Cancels Christmas (for Muslims) with Resulting Anger from Parents

Funny how this diversity thing turns out to be not as advertised. Instead of everyone holding hands in utopian harmony, some diversity is more important than others, particularly when one tribe is willing to demand and intimidate with potential violence always in the background. And some infidels are so subjugated that they will give up their own culture before the hostile Muslims even start complaining.

ItalyPostcardSouvenir

Today’s example is Italian school headmaster Marco Parma who decided to axe the annual Christmas concert because he said the Muslim kiddies didn’t sing along in last year’s festivities.

Don’t Muslim newbies understand Europe is still a region of Christian culture? Actually, Islam insists Muslims must be colonists according to the hijrah doctrine, meaning they shouldn’t assimilate to the new nation but instead demand that non-Muslims conform to sharia values.

Back to the school fracas, parents were not happy about Christmas being sacrificed for Muslim comfort, and an international controversy ensued.

There is a happy ending though: the headmaster was forced to resign for his cultural perfidy.

In my opinion, traditional seasonal music is one of the best things about Christmas, and the Italian school official was extra off-base in shutting down inspirational music. Here is a popular Italian carol that presumably would have been cut, Tu scendi dalle stelle:

The Guardian has more details about the background story:

Christmas is cancelled: Italians outraged over school decision to ban festivities, Guardian (UK), November 29, 2015

PM Matteo Renzi has accused headmaster Marco Parma of being ‘provocative’ for rebranding his school’s Christmas concert and banning religious songs

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has criticised a headmaster who banned Christmas concerts and carols in his school near Milan in the name of multiculturalism.

“Christmas is much more important than a headmaster being provocative,” Renzi told Sunday’s edition of Corriere della Sera.

“If he thinks he is promoting integration and co-existence in this way, he appears to me to have made a very big mistake.”

Marco Parma, 63, prompted protests from some parents and a media outcry by deciding to postpone the annual Christmas concert for primary school pupils until January and rebrand it a “winter concert” which will not feature any religious songs.

The head of the Garofani comprehensive school in the small town of Rozzano has also confirmed saying no to two mothers who wanted to teach Christmas carols to the children during lunchbreaks.

“In a multi-ethnic environment, it causes problems,” Parma said, saying his decisions had been influenced by an unhappy experience last year.

“Last year we had a Christmas concert and some parents insisted on having carols. The Muslim children didn’t sing, they just stood there, absolutely rigid. Continue reading this article

Germany’s Christmas Markets Are Affected by Jihad Possibility

In Germany, a centuries-long tradition is the Christmas market, where people can buy holiday decorations, listen to carols, snack on seasonal foods and drink hot mulled wine. The markets often take place in historic city centers and offer an attractive reason for locals to get out of the house during the long winter nights.

Frankfurt’s Christmas market is one of Germany’s largest.

GermanyFrankfurtChristmasMarket

But unfriendly immigration, thanks to Chancellor Merkel’s massive Muslim import project, is casting a shadow on the Christmas markets. Police presence has been increased, which has rapidly become the new normal throughout the west because of Islamic immigration and the threat the newbies pose.

Hopefully the hostiles will expend their aggressive energies on each other and leave Christmas alone.

Amid stollen and glühwein, terrorism fear haunts Germany’s Christmas markets, Guardian (UK), November 28, 2015

They’re a symbol of an ancient idyll – but this year armed police are out in force to counter the threat of violence

The smell of caramelised almonds and mulled wine wafts through the air as stallholders arrange their artisanal wares at one of Berlin’s most popular Christmas markets. As the first visitors start to trickle in, it is already clear that this year things are going to be a little bit different.

Suitcases and rucksacks have been banned from Germany’s largest winter ritual and vendors have been warned to look out for anything suspicious. Plain-cloths police are said to be mingling with the crowds.

As a Bing Crosby rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful booms out from the speakers, Manfred Bauer, who is arranging his stall of around 300 brushes – from shaving sets to hedgehog-shaped shoe cleaners – says he is unperturbed by the shadow that hangs over this year’s festivities amid fears that Germany is now more vulnerable than ever to a terrorist attack.

“The danger is not greater now than it was three years ago,” he insists. “To be honest I think a lot of the fear is media-generated. I know we’ve had Madrid and London and now Paris, but I do think it’s still more dangerous to get in a car than to come to a Christmas market. The mood is good.”

But the nervousness is palpable, not least since the security forces’ dramatic lockdown two weeks ago of the northern city of Hanover. Continue reading this article

Tech Titans See the Stratosphere as the Next Frontier for Expanding the Internet

Sunday’s San Jose Mercury News had a big front-page graphic showing the tech industry’s big plans to wire the third world for the internet.

StratosphereInternetThirdWorld-wpFP

One of the movers and shakers of the internetization of the planet is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, an open-borders billionaire who says he wants to share.

Zuck’s project is a drone with a 140-foot wingspan that would beam the internet to third world areas for six months at a time, shown below.

While the internet provides educational opportunities, like the Kahn Academy, the web has also had the effect of advertising first-world lifestyles that look very appealing to young males in backward places. The message seems to be that comparative riches can be had just by going to Europe or America. As a result, young fellows, some from prosperous Senegal for example, pay smugglers to get them to Europe despite great risk because they are mesmerized by the dream of wealth. The young men are needed in their homelands to continue building their economies, but that isn’t exciting enough for many. (See my blog Africans Inundate Europe for “a Better Life” Despite Increasing Prosperity at Home.)

So universal internet connectivity seems a bad idea, containing all sorts of unintended consequences.

Nevertheless, the tech titans are excited about creating a brave new interconnected world, which they incidentally believe will be profitable for them.

Google, Facebook in race to build high-altitude aircraft, By Matt O’Brien, San Jose Mercury News, November 28, 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Its visionary founder is in prison. Its most heralded invention crash-landed in the New Mexico desert this spring.

Titan Aerospace, bought by Google last year, is experiencing some turbulence on its way to the stratosphere.

In its quest to build a solar-powered drone that can beam the Internet down to Earth from 12 miles above, Titan is racing to beat a sleek rival, Facebook’s boomerang-shaped Aquila plane, which is complete and awaiting testing over the United States.

Tech giants Google and Facebook are dabbling in experimental aviation for the same reason they have invested in undersea cables and communications satellites: They hope to connect a larger portion of the world’s people to the wonders — and advertising — of the Internet. But of all the risky “moonshot” experiments Silicon Valley is throwing money at this year, few seem as odd and starry-eyed as the race to dominate the cold, lonely reaches between the highest commercial jets and disintegrating meteors. Continue reading this article

Macedonia: Invading Aliens Riot against Police as Soldiers Build Border Fence

The Muslim foreigners demanding a freebie first-world lifestyle in Germany don’t deal well with with being denied. When Macedonia decided to close its border, the gimme gang went ballistic over being refused easy access to the wealth of northern Europe.

Migrants hurl stones at Macedonian policemen during clashes at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Tension has flared on the Greek side of the Greece-Macedonia border when a migrant who was stopped from crossing into Macedonia, suffered severe burns when he climbed on top of a stationary train carriage and touched a overhead power cable.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Migrants hurl stones at Macedonian policemen during clashes at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Tension has flared on the Greek side of the Greece-Macedonia border when a migrant who was stopped from crossing into Macedonia, suffered severe burns when he climbed on top of a stationary train carriage and touched a overhead power cable.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Is this how genuine refugees — persons suffering from war and privation — normally act? Does Europe really want millions more of a tribe with such extreme anger management issues?

Police, migrants clash on Macedonia border; soldiers build fence, Reuters, November 28, 2015

Police in Macedonia fired tear gas and stun grenades at desperate migrants stranded for days at the Greek border and who are demanding passage to western Europe, as soldiers began erecting a metal fence to keep them out.

Macedonia, along with other Balkan countries on the migrant route, began turning away “economic migrants” nearly two weeks ago. Human rights groups have criticized the decision, under which only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans are allowed through.

The new restrictions triggered days of protests from Iranians, Pakistanis, Moroccans and others, stranded in squalid tent camps on the border. Some Iranians have sewn their lips shut. One man on Saturday threw himself on railway lines before the police, screaming and flailing. Continue reading this article

Thanksgiving Plus Bad Immigration: Massive Armed Security Needed for Traditional New York City Parade

Before Thanksgiving 2015 fades from view, we should use it to take a mental snapshot of how America has been transformed by unwise immigration. One of the holiday’s great traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City that is filled with bands, floats and huge balloons shaped like cartoon characters. Once an enjoyable celebration of the beginning of the Christmas season, now the parade must be guarded by 2500 police to protect spectators from Muslim jihadists who want to murder as many Americans as possible.

ThanksgivingParadeMacySecurity

Since New York City is a big target for jihad slaughter, it needs serious security for every major event. One example is the New York Marathon, which got a lot more policing following the Boston Marathon bombing by the Muslim asylee Tsarnaev brothers. The extra security for New York’s 2013 race reportedly cost $1 million. (I couldn’t find security costs for Thursday’s parade, so they must have been high. Hostile diversity is expensive.)

Like marathons, parades attract big crowds of spectators which are a magnet for Muslim mass murderers.

ThanksgivingParadePoliceClown

The New York Times noted the security presence on its Friday front page.

ThanksgivingParadeSafeguardingTradition-nytFP

Police spotters kept watch for bombers and shooters.

ThanksgivingParadePoliceBinoculars

A British newspaper explained the event and its background for readers across the pond:

Thanksgiving: What is the Macy’s Day Parade?, Independent, November 26, 2015

New York saw unprecedented security as millions of people turned out on Thursday to celebrate the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

President Barack Obama had the day before said the US faced no specific or credible terror threat, and urged Americans to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Yet, amid an atmosphere of anxiety since the Paris attacks and Isis threats to target iconic locations such as Times Square, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 2,500 officers would be on duty at the parade. Officials estimate up to three million spectators are lining the streets. Continue reading this article

Dutch Citizens Protest Planned Asylum Center with Pig Parts

It’s good to see a creative response to the worsening Muslim invasion of Europe. Civic rudeness has become practically a citizen responsibility since governments have abrogated their basic responsibility of protecting the nation’s people. Specifically, if the state won’t enforce law and borders, the least citizens can do is make the hostile invaders know they are not welcome.

In earlier times, Europe was blessed with courageous defenders like Charles Martel and Jan Sobieski who kept jihadists out. Now extremist liberalism has dictated jihad-infiltrated hordes must be welcomed inside the gates.

Below, Polish King Jan Sobieski saved Vienna (and Europe) from invading Muslims in 1683.

Today the little citizens must do what they can to fight against the barbarian hijrah (jihad via immigration). In the Netherlands, some patriots decorated a future asylum center with pork, which Muslims consider unclean rather than delicious.

Transcript:

0:03  I think it’s super! The people are revolting. They make themselves heard.
0:06  Magnificent! Does that have to be in such a horrible way?
0:09  Much more horrible, for all I care. Don’t you think it’s getting out of control with this action?
0:13  No, not at all. When you see [on TV] what’s happing in AZCs [refugee centers],
0:18  this is soft.
0:22  You’re making a statement from citizens to the municipality.
0:26  We no longer tolerate this. That’s it.
0:30  You think this is an action against the AZC? Absolutely certain.
0:34  Otherwise, it wouldn’t happen here. The community is talking about it.
0:38  Yesterday photos on Facebook. And you drive by it [the AZC].
0:41  Children are brought to school [who see it]. My wife, too, she saw it. She told me; I came to see what’s going on.
0:46  Perhaps you have an idea who did it? [grins]
0:51  No, I don’t know. All numbers. [refers to the brand marks]
0:57  You lifted it, you see a number?
1:00  He winks. He winks, it’s okay.
1:04  How do you find those pig heads here, eh … ? Nothing wrong with it.
1:09  I thinks it’s crazy, what’s happening here. A protest against the asylum center to originate here?
1:13  What do you think yourself?
1:16  The alderman ran.
1:20  The policemen told me.
1:23  We Dutch are all, like, s**t, don’t you think those pigs heads is going too far?
1:28  Something’s got to be done…

FBI Is Tracking 48 ISIS Suspects in US, in Addition to 1000 Active Cases

It’s unusual to get such a precise number of potential terrorists, so the release of that fact by FBI Director James Comey may be a public notice that the jihad welcome mat to Syrians and whoever is crossing the Mexican border is getting out of hand.

At a certain point, the government will have imported too many Muslim bad guys for the FBI to follow, and it sounds like we are there or beyond, judging by an interview with analyst Walid Phares:

PHARES: The FBI leadership has told us over the past few weeks that they are conducting investigations in all 50 states so 48 are the individuals but we really don’t know the real number of all these cells or individuals across the United States. What is very interesting is the director of the FBI Mr. Comey made a very important statement and I think this is a change in the direction of where our administration or at least the law enforcement and national security agencies are going. You saying we really don’t know what time a radicalized individuals — and we’re focusing on those — will click and become a terrorist. This is the most important point and we are observing wider and wider pools of radicalized individuals.

FOX INTERVIEWER: When you talk about the wider and wider pools according the FBI takes at least a dozen agents to keep track of simply one radical, so right now we’re in the 500 + agent range but if all of the sudden ISIS sends over another couple hundred people there’s simply not the manpower to keep track of them. Is is there a way to try and head this off before this becomes a problem or are we simply sitting on ticking time bomb?

How about not admitting thousands of potential enemies into the country as some variety of immigrant? If protecting the country is not too radical an idea. . .

Here are more details, also suggesting that Muslim immigration diversity  is reaching a dangerous level.

FBI using elite surveillance teams to track at least 48 high-risk ISIS suspects, By Catherine Herridge, Fox News, November 27, 2015

With as many as 1,000 active cases, Fox News has learned at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads known as the mobile surveillance teams or MST to track them domestically.

“There is a very significant number of people that are on suspicious watch lists, under surveillance,” Republican Sen. Dan Coats said.

Coats, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, would not comment on specifics, but said the around-the-clock surveillance is a major commitment for the bureau. “The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amount of manpower to do this on a 24-7 basis.  It takes enormous amount of money to do this,” Coats explained.

These elite FBI teams are reserved for espionage, mob violence and high-priority terrorism cases, like a joint terrorism task force case last June, where a 26 year old suspect Usaama Rahim, was killed outside a Massachusetts CVS. When a police officer and FBI agent tried to question him, the Boston Police Commissioner said Rahim threatened them with a knife, and was shot dead.

With at least a dozen agents assigned to each case, providing 24/7 coverage, this high level of surveillance reflects the severe risk associated with suspects most likely to attempt copycat attacks after Paris.

“It is a big resource drain. Yes it is. Almost overwhelming,” Coats said when asked about the demand placed on the FBI. “There will be a lot of people over the Thanksgiving weekend that will not be enjoying turkey with their family. They’ll be out there providing security for the American people and the threat is particularly high during this holiday period.” Continue reading this article

Obama’s Fundamental Transformation of America: the Syrian Scheme

Obasma’s occasional profession of fondness for the rule of law is hardly consistent, particularly since the Syrian refugees became a thing. He insists federal law must be followed regarding refugee resettlement, but hypocritically refuses to crack down on states with unlawful sanctuary cities.

For Thanksgiving, Obama compared the mostly male Syrian invaders of Europe to America’s pilgrim settlers — nice insulting touch for the holiday!

In response, more than half of the states’ governors have rejected Syrian refugees for their jurisdictions.

MapStatesAcceptingSyrianRefugees-cnn

The Presidential decree to resettle Syrian Muslims (who cannot be screened because no database) is unpopular: a Rasmussen poll published November 19 found 60 percent of likely voters oppose the settling of Syrian refugees in the state where they live. An October Rasmussen survey (before the Paris jihad attacks) showed 56 percent of likely voters thought giving thousands of Syrians asylum will make America a more dangerous place.

On Saturday, Tucker Carlson discussed the Syrian refugee mess with J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official. Adams thinks the Syrians will be dependable Democrat voters in the future, so any danger of mass jihad murder is a non-concern to the President in comparison. (Interestingly, Obama remarked to reporter Bob Woodward a few years back that America could “absorb” another terror attack. Is that any way for the nation’s commander in chief to think?)

CARLSON: Here in the US, President Obama’s reminding governors across the country that they have no choice: they must allow refugees from that region into their states because he says so. The President’s Office of Refugee Resettlement sent a letter reiterating that point and I’m quoting, “States may not categorically deny ORR-funded benefits and services to Syrian refugees. . . any state with such a policy would not be in compliance with the State Plan requirements. . . and could be subject to enforcement action. including suspension or termination.” And yes, that is a threat. And yet some governors said the letter isn’t going to change their minds.

Former Justice Department official J. Christian Adams joins us live from Washington to explain this administration’s newfound commitment to the rule of law. Christian, great to see you this morning. So it’s The Law, and you have to follow The Law. That’s a new position from the Justice Department.

ADAMS: This is a president who always seems to put politics ahead of national security and the safety of the American people, Tucker. He’s right in a way. Under our current federal arrangement, states are subservient to the federal government on refugee, national security policies, but here’s the catch: the states could simply refuse to take federal money. That’s where they the federal government gets them, as they attach strings: they give the states money to process refugee services — social services for the refugees. If the states wanted to really put their money where their mouth is, they would say, “We’ll give up the federal money; we don’t want the refugees.” But it’s true that the states cannot just put them on a plane and send them back to Syria.

CARLSON: What’s so fascinating though, is that given all, the problems in the world Middle East in flames our country’s economy — it’s unclear what it even is —more people out of work than any time in the last forty years — the president is choosing this issue on which to take a stand. Why is that do you think?

ADAMS: Well, it’s part of a fundamental transformation. Don’t forget this is a president who sees changing the electorate in the long term through immigration policy. These refugees once they get US citizenship, once they have children, will tend to vote for big government Democrat policies. It’s a long-term game, so when you bring a 120,000 in, you’re not only helping the president’s political world view, but you are also endangering America. Continue reading this article

Illegal Border Surge Heats Up Again

Official Washington and the chattering class are busy focusing on Obama’s pointed welcoming of unscreenable Syrian aliens — aka “refugees” — to the United States, and anyone who doesn’t like it is mean and “unAmerican” according to the resident of the White House. In fact, Obasma rubbed Thanksgiving salt in the wound by calling the unwelcome Muslims the modern equivalent of America’s pilgrim forebears.

His patriotism is rather selective as the clock runs down to January 17, 2017.

Meanwhile, the floodgates are fully open on the Mexican border and the Centrals are back in force, though with far less attention than the Syrians are receiving. The number of “unaccompanied children” has doubled, but many of them are likely teens not toddlers. Even middle-aged men have posed as minors to get American free stuff.

Why isn’t the open border recognized by DC suits as a major terror threat? It’s not news that jihadists use Mexican cartels’ well established smuggling infrastructure to enter America. The Washington Times reported in 2009: Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S. to smuggle dope and people. So the number of sleeper jihadists residing in this country could be higher than anyone wants to think.

Plus, as the article notes at the end, if word reaches the Middle East about the ease of illegally entering the US then many will just join the Centrals on the train north.

Number of Migrants Illegally Crossing Rio Grande Rises Sharply, By Julia Preston, New York Times, November 26, 2015

MISSION, Tex. — The numbers of migrants crossing the Rio Grande illegally have risen sharply in recent weeks, replaying scenes from the influx of Central American children and families in South Texas last year.

Once again, smugglers are bringing hundreds of women and children each day to the Mexican banks of the river and sending them across in rafts. In a season when illegal crossings normally go down, “The numbers have started going the other way,” said Raul L. Ortiz, acting chief of the Border Patrol for the Rio Grande Valley. Since Oct. 1, official figures show, Border Patrol apprehensions of migrant families in this region have increased 150 percent over the same period last year, while the number of unaccompanied children caught by agents has more than doubled.

The new flows here are smaller than the surge in the summer of 2014, but come after a year of declines in illegal crossings across the southwest border. The increases come as Americans’ concerns about border security are heightened after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris raised fears that terrorists would try to sneak into the United States. And they are complicating the Obama administration’s efforts to reassure the country that the border is under control. Continue reading this article

Congress Considers Fixing Visa Waiver Program

burqa touristsThe Visa Waiver is another bad penny in the long list of really dumb immigration programs (e.g. the Diversity Visa) that won’t go away despite their obvious danger to Americans’ safety and national security.

My 2007 blog, Travel Agents of Destruction, noted the stubborn insistence of the tourism industry to make it as easy as possible for foreigners to take a trip to the US where they would hopefully spend lots of money, and safety be damned.

The Visa Waiver was signed into law by President Reagan in 1986, and when you look at the list of countries it includes, the idea doesn’t seem completely insane given the times then.

But now, when once safely western countries like France, the UK, Holland, etc. have been deeply infected by Muslim immigration, it is not acceptable to have any Mohammed from Paris or London hop on a plane for New York City with no examination.

Fox News had a discussion of Visa Waivers and also the Syrian refugee question on Friday morning.

GREG JARRETT: Congress is now suddenly showing a renewed focus on national security in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. A bipartisan effort is reportedly getting underway in the US Senate to tighten up policy on visa waivers. As it presently stands, the US allows select citizens from almost 40 different countries to travel here without a visa — hard to believe, something the critics are now arguing poses a real serious bigger risk than the resettlement of Syrian refugees. Joining me now to talk about it, a Democratic strategist Karen Rosenkranz, founder and CEO of New Blue Interactive and Brad Blakeman joins us, former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush.

Brad, is it an astonishing, albeit not surprising measure of government incompetence when thousands of Muslims with European passports have and can travel to Iraq and Syria for all we know trained with ISIS and then walk right into the United States under the existing visa waiver program and the Obama administration seems disinterested in doing anything about it.

BLAKEMAN: It’s amazing that we’re not having the type of leadership that Congress is showing now and and the American people are tired of a Washington that’s broken and here we see an instance where both Republicans and Democrats are coming together for the national good. And look, government’s main job is to prevent harm from happening, not merely respond to it when it does. It makes perfect sense when there’s a change in circumstance, especially national security to revisit our visa program. I applaud Republicans and Democrats for understanding that this threat must be addressed and it has to be addressed in this manner in preventing people from coming to the United States who ordinarily wouldn’t have the right to come here.

It’s interesting that the Congress critters were considering the addition of countries to the program just a few months ago. Talk about a short attention span.

Bipartisan effort grows to toughen visa waivers, By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, November 26, 2015

Paris attacks turn tide of trusted-nation status

Visa waivers are the next likely target for a Congress trying to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. — and a surprising bipartisan consensus is developing about the need to tighten the laws.

The Obama administration, usually eager to act on its own, says it has reached the limits of its powers and has invited Congress to weigh in and require more scrutiny of travelers from the 38 countries whose citizens don’t need visas to enter the U.S.

Both Democrats and Republicans are offering proposals to fix what one of them, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called the “soft underbelly of our national security policies.”

She and other senators said they are writing a bill that would prevent anyone who has visited Syria or Iraq in the past five years from traveling to the U.S. on a visa waiver and would require those who can use the visa waiver program to have passports with e-chips, which store their biometric data and make it tougher to fool the system.

It’s a major shift from just a few months ago, when lawmakers were talking about adding countries to the Visa Waiver Program, which allows those with passports from trusted nations to enter the U.S. without having to get visas or undergo the stricter scrutiny that accompanies it. Continue reading this article

Add Sewing Robot to the Advanced Machines Being Developed for Human Worker Replacement

One of the toughest skills for automation engineers to crack is the amazing human hand with its unique dexterity — but it’s not for lack of trying.

Amazon’s highly automated warehouses have thousands of Kiva robots moving racks of merchandise around to human box packers — for now. The company is working to develop a machine that can discern, grasp and pack objects through its yearly Amazon Picking Challenge, a contest for robot designers to create the the next major step in human worker replacement.

Meanwhile, sewing presents a similar problem because clothing construction is almost completely based on manual dexterity, where the process requires handling fabrics that can vary tremendously in terms of stability, stretch, slipperiness, thickness and other qualities.

But now the brainiac engineers say they are getting close to a workable SewBot.

Add sewing to the growing list of jobs that won’t need imported immigrant workers to perform because smart machines will fill them in the future. As the following article points out, “in coming decades the gains [in automation] could add up to a significant reduction in the need for human workers in many fields.”

Another quote that should be getting attention: “By 2030, 90% of jobs as we know them today will be replaced by smart machines,” according to a 2013 report from a Gartner tech analyst.

Why isn’t automation being discussed by any of the gaggle of Presidential candidates? The workplace is being fundamentally transformed, while Washington acts as if nothing has changed and the jobless recovery is an unexplainable curiosity.

Robots Take On More-Elaborate Tasks Amid Worker Shortage, Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2015

Automation gains could reduce need for human workers in many fields

ATLANTA—In a former kitchen-cabinet workshop here, a dozen engineers are creating robots to sew garments and rugs—tasks usually relegated to low-wage workers in distant countries.

SoftWear Automation Inc., the startup that employs the engineers, promises to transform the apparel industry, automating production so goods can be made in factories anywhere by robots and small teams of people tending them.

So far, the robots can do only basic tasks, like sewing around button holes or the edges of fluffy bath rugs. They can’t do other things people are good at, such as holding together two floppy pieces of material while sewing them into a shirt. SoftWear’s SewBots can’t produce a finished garment, though the firm hopes to reach that stage next year.

The garment industry is interested in the technology, but “people are going to start small with us,” says K.P. Reddy, SoftWear’s CEO. “It’s going to be incremental.”

The same can be said for many potential applications of robots, 3-D printers and other forms of automation, ranging from the assembly of myriad consumer goods to caring for the elderly. Though progress has been incremental so far, in coming decades the gains could add up to a significant reduction in the need for human workers in many fields.

“By 2030, 90% of jobs as we know them today will be replaced by smart machines,” three analysts from the research firm Gartner Inc. wrote in a 2013 report. They defined smart machines as ones doing things previously thought doable only by people, such as learning from experience. Machines, they said, “are evolving from automating basic tasks to becoming advanced self-learning systems mimicking the human brain.”

By 2050, such machines are likely to “do every job that we presently do,” says Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford University and frequent writer on technological trends. “The more I look forward, the more convinced I am that jobs won’t be about sustenance any more. Since everything will be so cheap, our jobs will be about knowledge and the arts. This is what will keep us busy.”

The most common tasks for industrial robots today include heavy lifting, welding and applying glue, paint and other coatings. Robots can lift heavier weights than people and are far more precise. Unlike people, they can be relied on to do exactly what they are told. They also can work around the clock. Continue reading this article

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