Tag Archives: Destroy

US: Oregon wildfire continues to destroy area ‘larger than New York City’

The massive fire raging in southern Oregon for the past 10 days is likely to continue due to unstable weather. A ‘fire cloud’ collapsed threatening firefighters with strong downdrafts and flying embers.

Efforts to contain a vast blaze scorching the western US state of Oregon have failed, as forecasters said Friday that dry, unstable, and windy conditions were likely to keep fueling the massive wildfire.

The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, near the border with California, was just one among dozens of major fires raging across the drought-stricken western United States.

However, it grew overnight to 377 square miles (976 square kilometers) — greater than the size of New York City. The wildfire remains only seven percent contained.

“The Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long — that’s an enormous amount of line to build and hold,” said firefighter commander Rob Allen.

“We are continuing to use every resource, from ‘dozers to air tankers to engage where it’s safe to do so especially with the hot, dry, windy conditions predicted to worsen into the weekend.”

‘Fire cloud’ collapses

The inferno, which is growing by 4 miles a day, has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and is threatening 5,000 buildings, including homes and smaller structures in a rural area just north of the California border, fire spokeswoman Holly Krake said.

The fire is so large that it generates its own weather. “Fire clouds” are formed from superheated air rising to a height of up to 10 kilometers above the blaze, which can spawn lightning and high winds.

A photo taken with a drone provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, a pyrocumulus cloud, also known as a fire cloud, is seen over the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Fire clouds are towering pyrocumulus clouds form from condensed moisture that is sucked up through the fire’s smoke column

One such fire cloud collapsed Friday, spreading embers and forcing the firefighters to flee the fire lines.

“We’re expecting those same exact conditions to continue and worsen into the weekend,” Krake said of the fire-induced clouds.

Impact on neighboring California

The fire also threatened the power supply in California where heatwaves in the past years have put a strain on the state’s grid.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state was sending reinforcements to Oregon even as the state battled its own fires, his office’s emergency service said.

Demand for personnel and equipment across the Pacific Northwest has strained available resources. More than 1,900 firefighters and a dozen helicopters as well as airplane tankers and bulldozers were assigned to the Bootleg.

Caused by climate change

About 70 major active wildfires were listed on Thursday which has burned more than 1 million acres in 12 states, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.

The fire stands as the fifth largest on record in Oregon since 1900, according to state forestry figures.

Scientists have said the extremely dry conditions and heatwaves have been tied to climate change, making wildfires harder to fight.

Climate change has amplified droughts making the region warmer and dried in the past 30 years.

This has created the ideal condition for wildfires to spread out of control and inflict unprecedented damage, growing in both frequency and intensity.  

adi/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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This post originally posted here usnews

Emmy surprises: ‘Pose,’ ‘I May Destroy You’ & ‘Lupin’

Critically adored but ignored by the Golden Globe voters, “I May Destroy You” roared back to earn nine Emmy nominations.

NEW YORK — The Emmy Award nominations announced Tuesday included some snubs and surprises.

STRIKE A POSE

“Pose” left the ballroom with a clutch of Emmy nominations. The groundbreaking FX show about ballroom culture in the 1980s and ’90s ended its third and final season with nods for Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez — the first trans woman up for a major acting Emmy — and a best drama series nomination, its second. The series from creators Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy made history with its historic casting of transgender actors to play trans characters. The series took on transphobia, racism and the AIDS epidemic. GLAAD and a number of LGBTQ+ organizations pressed for recognition from Emmy voters this year in an open letter, saying “if there was any moment to show solidarity and support for the performers and characters who are leading the change, now would be that time.”

A THIEF GOT ROBBED

Netflix’s surprise French hit series “Lupin” was ignored at the Emmy nominations. The show exploded out of the gate, becoming an instant global phenomenon and eventually, Netflix’s most streamed non-English-language original. It stars Omar Sy as the quick-witted thief Assane Diop. Lupin’s original creator, Maurice LeBlanc, featured his gentleman burglar in 17 novels and 39 novellas. Lupin’s cultural significance in France has been likened to that of Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes. The concept has been turned into manga, anime television series, films, video games and more. It’s latest success in the United States spoke to a growing appetite for foreign-language television. The series landed on Netflix’s No. 1 spot in its top 10 rankings across the globe.

RELATED: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Mandalorian’ top Emmy nominations with 24 each

“I MAY DESTROY YOU”

Critically adored but ignored by the Golden Globe voters, “I May Destroy You” roared back to earn nine Emmy nominations. Michaela Coel’s exploration of rape and its aftermath earned her a lead actor nod and the show a best limited or anthology series nomination. The series, which is made up of 12 half-hour episodes, explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life. Coel plays Arabella Essiedu, a care-free Londoner whose life changes after her drink is spiked with a date-rape drug. The co-production between the BBC and HBO won best mini-series and leading actress for Coel at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. After it failed to get a Golden Globe nod, a writer for the Netflix series “Emily In Paris” publicly said that “I May Destroy You” deserved a Golden Globe nomination over her own show.

WAIT, KARATE KID?

“Cobra Kai,” which started life on YouTube Red, has become a popular option on Netflix and just nabbed four Emmy nominations, including a shock best comedy nod. The show follows former “Karate Kid” rivals Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso almost 30 years after the events of the film. Now, they’re all grown up with kids of their own, but their rivalry reignites when Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and begins teaching the next generation of new karate students. Netflix acquired the third season and viewership exploded.

‘RATCHED’ SLICED

“Ratched,” led by Sara Paulson, was largely ignored at the Emmy nominations. The Ryan Murphy series — a prequel exploring the origins of Nurse Ratched from 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — got lukewarm or worse reviews. The first series saw the nurse at its heart stirring up trouble in the lobotomy-friendly Lucia State Hospital in Northern California. At the Golden Globes, “Ratched” earned three nominations, including a top nomination for TV drama series, Paulson got a nod as lead TV drama actress and Cynthia Nixon was up for supporting actress honors. But it went home empty-handed that night. At the Emmy nods on Tuesday, Paulson and Nixon were given the brush off and the show only earned nominations for costumes and hairstyling.

LOVE FOR LOVECRAFT

HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” took pop culture by storm in August and helped advance the social conversation ignited by the death of George Floyd. It earned a whopping 18 Emmy nominations. The series starred Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors and centered on a Black man’s journey across Jim Crow America to find his father and discover the truth about his family. It had a unique blend of horror, fictional period drama, real historical figures, fantasy, sci-fi and social commentary. Jordan Peele of “Get Out” and “Us” fame and J.J. Abrams of “Lost” and “Westworld” served as executive producers. The first season was based on the 2016 book by Matt Ruff. A decision was made not to proceed with a second season.

STEAMY LONDON

Shonda Rhimes’ first scripted series for Netflix was “Bridgerton” and was described as if “Downton Abbey” was mixed with “Gossip Girl.” It became a huge hit and nabbed a dozen Emmy nominations Tuesday, including best drama series. Based on Julia Quinn’s romance novel series, it centers on the romantic entanglements of English society’s upper crust and had a multiethnic cast and an anonymous gossip columnist — voiced by none other than Julie Andrews. The series, which takes place in the 1800s, follows the Bridgerton family and their love interests. The eight-episode series made a star of Regé-Jean Page (who earned an actor nod Tuesday) and was anything but G-rated, becoming gently mocked on late night TV for its sex scenes and on “Saturday Night Live” with a sketch starring sketchy intimacy coaches. The series was snubbed at the Golden Globes.

FOR EVA?

“Girls5eva,” the Peacock series about a ’90s one-hit-wonder pop group who reunite as adult women to mount a comeback, got little love at the Emmy nomination, scoring only one nod for writing. Busy Philipps, Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Paula Pell play former members of the girl group Girls5eva, now in their 40s. It’s the brainchild of Emmy Award-winning writer Meredith Scardino, whose credits include “The Colbert Report” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and Tina Fey is an executive producer. It’s been renewed for another season. “I wanted to write a show about women in my age group and be able to talk about all the things that you go through as being a woman in your forties,” Scardino told critics.

PARISIAN CHIC

“Emily in Paris,” Darren Star’s cliché-filled view of the French capital, scored an Emmy nomination for best comedy and production design. The show stars Lily Collins as a naïve American social media guru relocating to the city of lights despite being utterly clueless about the language and culture. At the Golden Globes, Collins was nominated as best actor in a comedy and the show got a nod as best comedy series. In Season One, Emily stumbled into a romance with her chef neighbor and made friends, including a wannabe professional singer. The show has also garnered a wave of criticism for its portrayal of French people and negative stereotypes of Paris. Even so, a second season has been green-lit.

SMART CHOICE

Jean Smart is having a moment and the Emmy nominations proved it. She nabbed two nods Tuesday — a supporting one for the crime drama “Mare of Easttown” and as the star of HBO Max’s new comedy “Hacks,” playing a Joan Rivers–esque Vegas comic. Smart has lately been in buzzy shows like “Fargo,” “Legion,” “Dirty John” and “Watchmen.” Able to do drama and comedy, Smart, 69, has shone in small roles, in supporting roles and as a member of ensemble casts, including “Designing Women,” “24” and “Frasier,” where she won back-to-back Emmys in 2000 and 2001 for her recurring guest-star role as Frasier’s old girlfriend. In “Hacks,” Smart plays successful comedian Deborah Vance, who’s been cashing in on the same routine for years and finally hires a young comedy writer to spice up her sets. On “Mare of Easttown,” she played the grumpy mother of the detective character played by Kate Winslet.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Entertainment

Call of Duty Warzone meets Euro 2020: How football can help you destroy the opposition

Call of Duty Warzone fans are counting down to the mid-season update.

The mid-season update brings a whole host of free content to Warzone, including new operators, game modes, vehicles, and weapons.

But before we get to the mid-season update on July 15, there’s an even bigger event happening in the world of football. On Sunday, July 11, England host Italy in the final of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship.

It’s the England football team’s first final at a major tournament since they beat West Germany in 1966, so it’s fair to say that tensions are high.

If you’re nervous about the final and are looking for a way to relax, then now is the perfect time to fire up Call of Duty Warzone and drop into Verdansk. 

As football has been described as “a universal language”, larger than life character Big Zuu – an expert in both football and Warzone – has put together a set of tactics and tips to celebrate both beautiful games.

It’s the perfect coaching manual that marries footballing philosophies with a gaming behemoth and can turn your squad of “nearly-men” to a “slick, well drilled” team of victors in Verdansk.

Communication is key

Vital for any side, be it at the highest international level or Sunday league, is good communication. The accusation that can be levelled that “we’ve gone quiet” is damning and can be equally damaging on Warzone. Like a veteran centre back partnered with a fresh-faced youth prospect – it’s important to talk your way through the match.

Even the most basic shout of “man on” can be critical in Warzone and can be the difference between a teammate surviving the harsh environment of the Warzone circle or an early trip to the Gulag. Tagging enemies always helps and serves as a nice way of communicating their position within the game.

Hunt in packs

A common lightning-rod for withering criticism from pundits is the “non-existent” press. Often attributed to teams “wilting” in the warmer temperatures of a mid-afternoon kick-off, it’s usually described a “too easy” if only one of your team goes to apply pressure on the opposition.

Like the most successful iteration of La Furia Roja from 2008-2012, with a press honed by Guardiola’s Barcelona principles, attack as a team and defend as a team and success will follow. This policy can be attributed to Warzone too, as contracts can be completed quicker if you work together whilst it gives enemies less options to escape if you work as a unit. Having a teammate close-by can also mean that they are in a good spot if you need to be revived.

Set yourself before you shoot

Like all great players, it seems like they have all the time in the world before they take a shot – and Warzone is no different. Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp was known as the Iceman due to his clinical finishing and calm temperament and this is exactly what’s required when faced with the enemy in Verdansk.

If you shoot too early, you might give you and your teammates away but setting yourself before taking the shot can give you the advantage required. In Warzone, you are given the option of shooting down the barrel or even placing your gun to provide more stability when you shoot.

So next time you are faced with an enemy, don’t panic and spray your shots in an erratic fashion – channel your inner Lineker of the 80s and you’ll become what many refer to as “a natural finisher.”

Scouting before you drop

Still an often under-appreciated factor in a successful side, your scouting can provide those crucial “marginal gains” in Warzone too.

For Season 4, Several Satellites have crash-landed in Verdansk, leaving you and your squad the opportunity to investigate their rubble. These offer new opportunities for cover, and the satellites themselves can also be secured secure helpful items to use during the match, such as powerful Killstreaks, vehicles, and Field Upgrades.

Finding these new points of interest can be the same as unearthing a hidden gem in the international academy ranks – giving you and your team a great chance at choosing the right set-up and positioning for the rest of the game as the circle closes.

“Just go out there and enjoy it”

A rallying cry that is not out of place in the dressing room of a small nation making it into the knockout stages, it can also be used for microphones across the lands for Call of Duty squads.

Like a friendly arm round the shoulder from the manager, sometimes it’s exactly what a player needs and can really let you play “with a smile on your face.”

As legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi once called football “the most important of the unimportant things in life”, Warzone comes in a close second. With over 100 million players, the game offers you a chance to pit your wits against a hugely diverse range of players and a chance to socialise with your mates.

Free to play and with a whole range of updates for the new season, the game gives you the perfect excuse to say the well-used football phrase “we go again”.

Author: Liam Martin
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Gaming

Review: Destroy All Humans! – Ray Guns And Probes Abound In This Silly, Simplistic Remake

Black Forest Games’ remake of 2005’s Destroy All Humans! issues a warning to players upon launching into its campaign for the very first time. The overall experience, it says, has been upgraded but the content, the story, words and images, remain the same and may be shocking to modern human brains. It’s an honest acknowledgement of some rather crude early noughties humour that’s aged poorly in many ways — stuff that can come across as quite offensive in this day and age — but it’s also a warning that’s equally applicable to gameplay here, which really hasn’t stood the test of time very well.

Destroy All Humans sees players assume the role of Crypto, a rather vicious little alien who sounds suspiciously like Jack Nicholson, as he arrives on Earth in order to gather Furon DNA and investigate the whereabouts of his predecessor, a clone who vanished while undertaking the very same mission. Where this game excels is in its setting; in its depiction of a fictional 1950s America that’s all white picket-fences, secret servicemen, Area 51-esque facilities and a brainwashed, paranoid public who fear the red menace and place their trust in totally corrupt government officials. It sets its B-movie stall out well, gives you a fine selection of ridiculous weapons, tricks and traps with which to go about your alien objectives but then, rather unfortunately, does very little with its promising premise.

Casting our minds back to the very first time we played Destroy All Humans some sixteen or so years ago, it really did seem like a much bigger, more complex and opportunity-filled affair than when we revisited it in this fancied-up reissue. The six open world areas in which the campaign’s twenty-three short missions take place are much smaller than we remember; simple little arenas which are heavily re-used throughout the game and do little to bolster hugely repetitive core combat and stealth mechanics. You may get your hands on a bunch of cool alien tech and gadgets from the get-go here, with an electric zap gun, disintegrator ray, ion detonator, dislocator and oh-so-hilarious anal probe enabling you to blast your human foes six ways from Sunday or pull their brains out of their butts, but then missions disappointingly insist on having you repeat the same simplistic tasks ad-nauseum. There’s not nearly enough inventiveness with regards to objectives, not enough challenge or clever level design to allow you to fully utilise your inventory or to explore the possibilities of wreaking all manner of OTT sci-fi havoc on the dumb humans that surround you.

Much of your time will instead be spent repeatedly disguising yourself as a human by holding down a button to ‘holobob’, sneaking into some base or other, reaching a great big yellow waypoint on a map and then unveiling your true from in order to waste legions of utterly dumb enemy AI. Don’t get us wrong, there’s definitely some enjoyment to be had in disposing of your foes here, especially when you upgrade some of your tech so you can chain together electrocutions or pop multiple skulls into green goo at once, it’s just that it’s all so very repetitive and simplistic. It’s certainly chaotic in a GTA sort of way when it all kicks off properly too, that mad, messy type of carnage that comes about when you’ve got a five star rating and the army and cops are on your tail, but here the action isn’t backed up by Rockstar levels of complex narrative or clever mission structure.

Taking to the skies in Crypto’s flying saucer does kick things up a notch though and razing entire buildings disintegrating tanks, turrets, cop cars and trucks full of troops with this bad boy is certainly cathartic. However, outside of replaying areas to take part in races or destruct-a-thons, it doesn’t get nearly enough screen-time in the main story missions. Combat, especially on normal difficulty or below, is also disappointingly easy for the most part, enemies will always make a beeline directly towards you and it requires little more than using Crypto’s jetpack to jump to the nearest roof in order to outmanoeuvre them. Missions also have a habit of pulling you to safety automatically once you complete your final objective, so whatever carnage you’ve kicked off towards the end of a scenario is easily escaped as the game fades to black and saves you from the heavily armoured goons who just had you cornered.

There are a few difficulty spikes here and there, too, a couple of hugely frustrating sections that see you defend objectives against tedious waves of enemies as a timer counts down, or escorting a nuclear bomb through hostile territory where you’ll die and die again until you get the timings down right. It’s just really old-fashioned gameplay in the end, stuff that hasn’t held up very well at all and isn’t helped by the fact that the biggest differentiating factor between this remake and the original is its huge graphical overhaul rather than any meaningful mechanical tweaks.

Indeed, beyond the shiny new graphics, streamlined controls, a few new weapon and traversal upgrades, and a previously excised level returned to the fray, this new version of Destroy All Humans is much the same game you’ll have played way back in 2005, something that hurts this Switch port more than other versions as here you’re not even really getting the full benefit of those fancy new visuals.

On Nintendo’s platform things have been pretty massively dialled back in this regard, with lots of very muddy textures and pop-in replacing the slick, ultra-detailed makeover that you’ll be greeted with on other platforms. Of course this is to be expected on Switch by now. It still looks better than the original and the framerate rarely wavers as a result of these visual sacrifices but, in the end, what you’re left with should you choose to play this version is a rather underwhelming graphical update of a title that, from a gameplay perspective, is still very much a product of a bygone age.

Destroy All Humans isn’t a bad game by any means. It’s got its own unique style and it certainly delivers on the promise of giving players an opportunity to decimate a hell of a lot of innocent people but, in the year 2021, what’s here feels more than a little old hat. Combine this with the fact the Switch port doesn’t really benefit from all the fancy graphical bells and whistles seen in other versions of this remake, and you’ve got a game that’ll no doubt please longtime fans but will leave newcomers feeling nonplussed.

Conclusion

Destroy All Humans returns in a remake that refreshes the original’s visuals, modernises its controls and adds a few new weapon and traversal upgrades to proceedings, all whilst failing to make any meaningful changes to the game’s rather outdated core gameplay. What’s here is still silly fun, for sure — decimating dullard humans with Crypto’s high tech alien gadgets and unstoppable flying saucer can still provide some chaotic catharsis — but there’s no denying this one’s showing its age mechanically and newcomers to the series may well be left feeling a little underwhelmed.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Reviews

Destroy EU agenda! Britain told to team up with Swiss to halt 'petty' Brussels bullies

And Jayne Adye has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson he must join forces with Bern to thwart the bloc’s expansionist agenda – and expose its “fragility”. Years of talks aimed at binding Switzerland more closely to the European Union‘s single market collapsed on Wednesday, when the Swiss government ditched a draft 2018 treaty that would have cemented ties with its biggest trading partner.

Faced with fierce opposition to the pact domestically, the Swiss Cabinet said it would break off talks and seek an alternative way forward.

Ms Adye told Express.co.uk: “The recent discussions between the EU and Switzerland have a very familiar feeling to all those who have been involved in Brexit negotiations.

“Just as they did with the UK, the EU is trying to force their agenda onto Switzerland, with no regard for national sovereignty.”

She added: “This is nothing new for the Swiss, and their resilience in the face of EU threats shows we have a great deal to learn from them in how to deal with Brussels for the decades to come.

“The EU bureaucrats see themselves as the dominant force in Europe, to whom all should bow down before.”

Ms Adye said: “This is a narrative the UK should work with Switzerland to destroy.

JUST IN: Sturgeon forced into humiliating apology after error with jab letters

“This brings the negotiations on the draft of the InstA (treaty) to a close.”

EU-Swiss economic ties are currently governed by more than 100 bilateral agreements stretching back to 1972, which remain in effect.

However, walking away from a deal could over time disrupt and ultimately jeopardise Switzerland’s de facto membership in the EU common market which – unlike Britain which made an unruly exit from the bloc – Bern is keen to maintain.

The failure to strike a deal means Switzerland is excluded from any new access to the single market, such as an electricity union or health cooperation.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Swiss President Guy Parmelin said: “We are opening a new chapter in our relations, hopefully a fruitful one.”

Brussels has been pushing for a decade for a treaty which would see the Swiss adopt changes to single market rules.

It would also have provided a more effective way to resolve disputes.

A statement issued by the European Commission, led by President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Without this agreement, this modernisation of our relationship will not be possible and our bilateral agreements will inevitably age.”

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis admitted there would be disadvantages for Switzerland, but insisted erosion of the existing bilateral accords would happen slowly.

He added: “That gives us time to react with mitigation measures.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

How Face Recognition Can Destroy Anonymity

Stepping out in public used to make a person largely anonymous. Unless you met someone you knew, nobody would know your identity. Cheap and widely available face recognition software means that’s no longer true in some parts of the world. Police in China run face algorithms on public security cameras in real time, providing notifications whenever a person of interest walks by.

China provides an extreme example of the possibilities stemming from recent improvements in face recognition technology. Once the preserve of large government agencies, the technology is now embedded in phones, social networks, doorbells, public schools, and small police departments.

That ubiquity means that although the technology appears more powerful than ever, the fallout from errors is greater too. Last week, the ACLU sued the Detroit Police Department on behalf of Robert Williams, who was arrested in 2019 after face recognition software wrongly matched his driver’s license photo to murky surveillance video of an alleged shoplifter. Williams is Black, and tests by the US government have shown that many commercial face recognition tools make more false matches of non-white faces.

In the US, government use of face recognition is much less expansive than in China, but no federal legislation constrains the technology. That means law enforcement can mostly do as it pleases. Researchers from Georgetown University revealed in 2019 that Detroit and Chicago had purchased face recognition systems capable of scanning public cameras in real time. At the time, Chicago claimed it had not used that function; Detroit said it was not then doing so.

Nearly 20 US cities, including Jackson, Mississippi, and Boston, Massachusetts, have passed laws to restrict government use of face recognition. Portland, Oregon, has gone further—barring private businesses from installing the technology. Some federal lawmakers have expressed interest in placing limits on face algorithms, too.

The outcome of any federal legislation will be determined in part by the industry selling the technology. An analysis by WIRED in November found that mentions of face recognition in congressional lobbying filings jumped more than fourfold from 2018 to 2019 and were on track to set a new record in 2020.


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Tom Simonite

This article originally appeared on Business Latest