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University of Alabama in Huntsville sued for allegedly violating state's 'Campus Free Speech Act'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Young Americans for Liberty, the nation's leading youth libertarian organization, announced a free speech lawsuit against the University of Alabama in Huntsville Thursday aiming to strike down a policy that requires students to obtain speaking permits three days in advance of campus events. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the school's YAL chapter in the suit, is alleging that the policy violates Alabama's Campus Free Speech Act. "Alabama law is clear: Students don't need a permit from college officials to speak on campus, but that's exactly what the University of Alabama in Huntsville is doing -- violating the law and shutting down speech on campus," ADF counsel Michael Ross, who specializes in academic freedom, said in a statement.


Florida airman accused of raping 11-year-old girl met her on dating app: report

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. A U.S. airman from Florida accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in Alabama last year had met the child on a dating app, according to a report. Air Force Senior Airman Keith Williams, 25, of a Hurlburt Field maintenance squadron, met the 11-year-old on the Badoo dating app before the alleged rape in October 2020, Northwest Florida Daily News reported, citing an affidavit filed in Alabama's Morgan County District Court. The girl's parents did not learn of the alleged sexual encounter in the backyard of their home until Feb. 12, when Williams sent the girl a friend request on Facebook, the report said.


'Treating us like robots': Amazon workers seek union

#artificialintelligence

BESSEMER, Ala.: Linda Burns was excited at first to land a job at the Amazon warehouse outside Birmingham, Alabama. The former nursing assistant had always enjoyed ordering from the company, Now, she would be working for them. A cog in a fast-moving assembly line, her job involved picking up customers' orders and sending them down the line to the packers. Now she is a staunch supporter of getting a union at the Bessemer facility. She said employees face relentless quotas and deserve more respect.


'We deserve more': an Amazon warehouse's high-stakes union drive

The Guardian

Darryl Richardson was delighted when he landed a job as a "picker" at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. "I thought, 'Wow, I'm going to work for Amazon, work for the richest man around," he said. "I thought it would be a nice facility that would treat you right." Richardson, a sturdily built 51-year-old with a short, charcoal beard, took a job at the gargantuan warehouse after the auto parts plant where he worked for nine years closed. Now he is strongly supporting the ambitious effort to unionize its 5,800 workers because, he says, the job is so demanding and working for Amazon has fallen far below his expectations. Last August, five months after the warehouse opened, Richardson began pushing for a union in what is not only the first effort to organize an entire Amazon warehouse in the United States, but also the biggest private-sector union drive in the south in years. "I thought the opportunities for moving up would be better. I thought safety at the plant would be better," Richardson said. "And when it comes to letting people go for no reason – job security – I thought it would be different."


Hitting the Books: How NASA survived the Reagan era 'Dark Ages'

Engadget

This week, Americans celebrated the successful delivery of NASA's Perseverance rover to its destination on the Martian surface, marking the dawn of a new era of interplanetary exploration. However, when it comes to searching the solar system around us, the US has not always led from the front. During the Reagan administration, for example, the agency saw its budget pared down in favor of building up arms ahead of an anticipated Cold War faceoff with the Soviet Union, as we see in this excerpt from David W Brown's latest work, The Mission. Excerpted from the book THE MISSION: or: How a Disciple of Carl Sagan, an Ex-Motocross Racer, a Texas Tea Party Congressman, the World's Worst Typewriter Saleswoman, California Mountain People, and an Anonymous NASA Functionary Went to War with Mars, Survived an Insurgency at Saturn, Traded Blows with Washington, and Stole a Ride on an Alabama Moon Rocket to Send a Space Robot to Jupiter in Search of the Second Garden of Eden at the Bottom of an Alien Ocean Inside of an Ice World Called Europa (A True Story) 2021 by David W. Brown. For planetary scientists, the Jimmy Carter–Ronald Reagan years were in retrospect like the Dark Ages, and they, the monks tending in enclaves to the embers of civilization.


Jumbled-up sentences show that AIs still don't really understand language

MIT Technology Review

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama and Adobe Research discovered the flaw when they tried to get an NLP system to generate explanations for its behavior, such as why it claimed different sentences meant the same thing. When they tested their approach, they realized that shuffling words in a sentence made no difference to the explanations. "This is a general problem to all NLP models," says Anh Nguyen at Auburn University, who led the work. The team looked at several state-of-the-art NLP systems based on BERT (a language model developed by Google that underpins many of the latest systems, including GPT-3). All of these systems score better than humans on GLUE (General Language Understanding Evaluation), a standard set of tasks designed to test language comprehension, such as spotting paraphrases, judging if a sentence expresses positive or negative sentiments, and verbal reasoning.


Sark latest 'Bama assistant multi-tasking before title game

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Steve Sarkisian is the latest Alabama coordinator to be drawing up game plans for a national title showdown before leaving for a new head coaching job. The top-ranked Crimson Tide's offensive chief is trying to treat the transition as business as usual, saying Wednesday that his "week has been as normal as it could be." "Quite honestly, my week for me would be a normal game week as if I hadn't taken the Texas job," Sarkisian said.


The Eagles' New Starting Quarterback Might Be a Sports Movie Hero

Slate

Imagine this basic plot of a satisfactory sports movie: Rookie quarterback is told he'll never be as successful in the pros as he was in college--not just because he's a rookie, but because he's not a quarterback in the first place. Does our hero give up on his dream of being an NFL quarterback? No, because this is a sports movie. He works hard, smiles a lot, makes it onto the field a handful of times per game, and gains fans in the City of Brotherly Love. And then, with his team down 20-3 and on the verge of its fourth loss in a row, he gets his shot.


The world's biggest drone debuts, and it weighs nearly 28 tons

#artificialintelligence

A private rocket-launch startup unveiled its fully autonomous drone designed to drop a rocket in midair that shoots small satellites into orbit without a launchpad. Alabama-based company Aevum rolled out its Ravn X Autonomous Launch Vehicle at the Cecil SpacePort launch facility in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news. The 80-foot aircraft has a wingspan of 60 feet, stands 18 feet tall and is the world's largest Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) by mass, weighing 55,000 pounds.


The Ravn X is a 55,000-pound drone for launching satellites

Engadget

This week, a company based out of Alabama called Aevum unveiled the Ravn X, a drone designed to carry and launch satellites into low-orbit. It weighs in at approximately 55,000 pounds when it's carrying a full payload, making it one of the heaviest unmanned aircraft in existence today. It also stands 18 feet tall, has a wingspan of 60 feet and looks like it came straight out of Macross Plus. The promise of the drone is that it can put a payload in low-earth orbit in approximately three hours, a fact Aevum claims will allow it to shorten lead times on satellite launches from years to months. It only needs about 1-mile of runway to get in the air, allowing it to take off from almost any commercial airport.