In February 1965, a Californian trio called the Walker Brothers arrived in London, by all accounts without much of a clue exactly what they intended to do there. Their relocation didn’t make sense. After all, they were starting to make headway back in the US. A residency at a Sunset Strip club called Gazzari’s, where they played Beatles and Rolling Stones covers, had led to TV appearances and a record deal. They had just taped their second single, a Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill ballad called Love Her, that producer Jack Nitzsche had modelled on the Righteous Brothers’ version of another Mann/Weill hit, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling: swathing everything in cavernous reverb and piling on the strings. And now they appeared to have walked away, more or less on a whim. “I still remember that incredible feeling when I got off that plane,” recalled John Maus, who, like his two bandmates, had changed his surname to Walker. “That this was going to be … [Read more...] about Pop’s great adventurer: how Scott Walker reached the heart of darkness
Do solar panels make sense
Professional poker players have been beaten by an artificial intelligence programme for the first time. The bot, called Pluribus, defeated leading professionals in six-player no-limit Texas hold'em poker, the world's most popular form of the gambling card game. Pluribus defeated poker professional Darren Elias, who holds the record for most World Poker Tour titles, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, winner of six World Series of Poker events. Each pro separately played 5,000 hands of poker against five copies of Pluribus, which was developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in the US in collaboration with Facebook . In another experiment involving 13 pros, all of whom have won more than one million US dollars playing poker, Pluribus played five pros at a time for a total of 10,000 hands and again emerged victorious. Prof Tuomas Sandholm developed Pluribus with Noam Brown, who is finishing his Ph.D. in Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department as a research scientist at … [Read more...] about ‘Superhuman’ AI beats professionals in POKER for the first time
KOFI Kingston has revealed how he tried to fight behind-the-scenes for a longer match against Brock Lesnar during SmackDown’s debut episode on Fox. After a six-month reign as WWE Champion, Kingston dropped the title to “The Beast” on October 4 when he was pinned in under ten seconds after being hit with a single F-5. The squash booking decision was seen as a controversial by many fans, following Kofi’s popular championship win against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 – dubbed “Kofi-Mania”. It felt like WWE had switched the title to the more bankable Brock Lesnar to appease Fox executives – and use Kofi to set up a feud between Brock and Cain Velasquez. Kofi’s journey to the title was captured in the WWE 24 documentary The Year of Return, featured on the WWE 24: Best of 2019 DVD, out next Monday December 9. But true to the positive mantra of his three-man team The New Day, the 38-year-old superstar remains upbeat about his loss to … [Read more...] about WWE star Kofi Kingston on fighting for longer match with Brock Lesnar, Vince McMahon’s support and the New Day’s future
Lebanon has faced five weeks of anti-government protests, driven by widespread anger at corruption among the sectarian politicians who have governed the country for decades. The protesters are now demanding that they go.So what are the views of Lebanon's business community, both in the country itself and abroad? The Lebanese diaspora is playing a key part in the protests, organising vigils across the world, and its economic influence is very significant - remittances to Lebanon last year were more than $7bn (£5.4bn). Dana Trometer is in her 40s, and runs a London production company. Although she's been in the UK since the 1990s, she is fully involved in the events that have been rumbling through Lebanon since mid-October, when a proposed tax on WhatsApp voice calls helped trigger wider protests over economic mismanagement, corruption, unemployment, and poor public services.Also at our breakfast meeting in a London cafe are fellow UK-based Lebanese business leaders, Mohammad Koussa … [Read more...] about Lebanese business people back protesters’ call for change
As any saver will tell you, these are bleak times. And it could be set to get worse next year. Last month, the prospect of another drop in interest rates increased when two members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which decides on the official rate, called for an immediate cut. It is now expected by sections of the financial markets that the rate will drop by 0.25% next year, even though it has been at rock-bottom levels for the last decade. So what should anyone who wants to make some money from their savings to do? Stay with cash Rates on the high street vary hugely – on a balance of £10,000, the amount of interest that it is possible to earn goes from £10 to £145. The lesson? Shop around, don’t be limited by the mainstream banks, and be sure to look at those providers that may be less familiar. HSBC’s easy-access Flexible Saver will garner just 0.15% while Goldman Sachs’ online savings account will bring in 1.45%. … [Read more...] about With rates still at rock bottom, is there anything savers can do to get back up?