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Interview: Amazon CTO Werner Vogels on AI services and experimentation

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Ten years after its U.S. launch, Amazon Web Services (AWS) opened its first Canadian datacentre, located in Montreal, at the beginning of December to much fanfare. In this video interview (two more interviews, on cloud security and the democratization of IT, can be seen here and here), ITWC CIO Jim Love and Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels discuss AI services and experimentation (hint: they have little, if anything, to do with Hollywood AI) during the company's Dec. 8 AWS Canada (Central) launch event in Toronto. The new Canada Region is currently available for multiple services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). Regions are Amazon Web Services' way of describing its own data centre model.


Mori proposes anime parade, child invites as ways for Japan to stage a memorable Olympics

The Japan Times

Yoshiro Mori, president of the organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, has expressed his eagerness to make the games memorable. "We will consider how to realize games that can be enjoyed from the bottom of the heart and will be engraved on the memory as a really good festival," the former prime minister said in a recent interview. Full preparations for the games are beginning after a broad agreement was reached on how to split the cost of the sporting spectacle among the central, Tokyo and other governments involved, plus the organizing committee. Mori hinted that the opening and closing ceremonies were likely to be standard in nature. "We should not aim for anything eccentric," Mori said.


Ancient 'mass dying' that wiped out more than 80% of life on Earth was the worst of all time

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A mass dying around 2.05 billion years ago wiped out more than 80 per cent of life and dwarves all mass extinctions -- including the one that killed the dinosaurs. Unlike the large animals that went extinct in these other events, however, the newly-recognised die-off involved tiny, simple microorganisms. Researchers found evidence of the dying in rocks from Canada, whose isotope ratios preserve information of the environment at the time they were formed. The die-off following a boost in the Earth's atmospheric and oceanic oxygen levels which had been accompanied by an increase in the abundance of life. As the microorganisms of the time used up their nutrients, however, their numbers were forced to fall back down again.


Santa Ana winds bring 'critical situation for fire weather'

Los Angeles Times

A combination of bone-dry conditions and gusty Santa Ana winds are raising new concerns of elevated fire risk in Southern California this week. Winds of up to 65 mph in the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties are expected by the end of the week. Those gusts, coupled with single-digit humidity and little chance of precipitation, could create dangerous fire conditions, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "We're looking at a likely critical situation for fire weather," Sweet said. The National Weather Service in Los Angeles warned in a tweet Sunday that "any spark could ... blow up into a large, destructive wildfire" and urged residents living in high-risk zones to prepare.


Tour the 2016 St. Jude Dream Home

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The 2016 St. Jude Dream Home will open to the public for tours this weekend. The 4,000-square foot home is located at 10924 Prairie Lake Drive in the Prairie Pass subdivision off East Brainerd Road in Apison. The house will be open on weekends, beginning Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. The weekend of May 21-22, Signature Brokers, LLC is providing a free family fun celebration. Visitors can enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and bounce houses for children.