MastersConnection 2020
Issue 521 In This Issue April 29th, 2017

Editors Corner

Did you know that there is now a computer algorithm that can clone a persons voice with just a 60 second sample of the original? While there have been similar programs in the past, apparently none of them could do it that quickly. Click here

Speaking of things that are quick, in this case a short lived event, have you heard of the farm "Sandhof" in Namibia? Apparently its an enormous salt pan that is normally bone dry, but every 4 years or so it gets lots of rain, and a vast field of lilies emerges from a sheet of sparkling water. These lilies only last a few days but it's quite a spectacular site! Click here

On a different subject, are you aware that there is a giant object that has been discovered at the edge of our solar system? Apparently, while it has not yet been officially confirmed, it "has enough mass to be spherical, so it qualifies as a dwarf planet." Click here

That's it from me for this week. Enjoy this newsletter and have a wonderful week.

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The articles published in these MastersConnection2020 newsletters, or on or, only represent the views or opinions of the person or entity whose name appears as the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the MastersConnection2020 or any of its affiliates.
Technology Watch

Gone in 60 seconds: Computer Lyrebird can steal your voice in just one minute
Canadian startup Lyrebird has developed a powerful algorithm which can analyze and clone any person’s voice using just a 60-second sample of their speech. The task of replicating a human voice is ideally suited to machine-learning algorithms such as Lyrebird, given the incredible number of specific but uniform measurements and calculations required. The inspiration for the algorithm came from the company’s namesake in the natural world, which has been the subject of many viral videos over the past few years. While similar programs have been developed in the past, examples such as Project VoCo have required audio samples of up to 20 minutes to produce an accurate copy of a given voice. The music industry has long toyed with programs such as Melodyne, which can analyze the intricacies of a particular singer’s voice and then apply them to any given audio sample, but never anything close to the capabilities of Lyrebird, which is as close to real-time audio cloning as anyone has come, so far.

Click here to read full article

Space Watch

DeeDee – Giant Object Discovered Lurking At The Edge Of Our Solar System
Astronomers have discovered a giant object lurking at the edge of our solar system. Its name is DeeDee and it’s a very cold and distant world . No, it’s not Planet 9. Nevertheless, it’s a still a very interesting discovery because the object may hold clues to the formation of planets in our solar system and help us find the elusive Planet 9 DeeDee, the planetary body 2014 UZ224 is enormous. It’s about two-thirds the size of Ceres, the largest member of our asteroid belt. At about three times the current distance of Pluto from the Sun, DeeDee is the second most distant known trans-Neptunian object (TNO) with a confirmed orbit.

DeeDee Is A Cold, Dark And Distant World
DeeDee is located 92 astronomical units from the Sun. That’s about 137 billion kilometers or 86 billion miles. Being so very far away, it takes light from the Sun around 13 hours to reach DeeDee. At this incredible distance, it also takes DeeDee more than 1,100 years to complete one orbit.

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Weather Watch

Extreme amounts of rain hit Dominican Republic
More than 17 000 people were forced to evacuate after dangerous weather system dumped extreme amounts of rain on the Dominican Republic over the past couple of days. Within 24 hours, some regions saw up to 400 mm (15.7 inches) of rain, causing rivers to overflow. This is the same weather system that dumped heavy rain on Jamaica and southern Haiti this week, claiming at least 6 lives. According to ONAMET, country's meteorological office, a weather station in the southern city of Barahona recorded 396 mm (15.6 inches) of rain within just 24 hours on April 23. Overall, this region received most of the rain over the past 7 days, more than 900 mm (35.4 inches). Country's Emergency Operations Center (COE) reported on April 25 that rivers Ozama, Yuna, Cevicos, Monoguayabo and Haina have overflowed affecting several areas in Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal, Monte Plata, Sánchez Ramírez, Duarte and Barahona provinces.

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Major flooding after slow-moving storm hits North Carolina
After causing major flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, a slow-moving storm caused widespread flash flooding in the Raleigh, North Carolina, metro area early Tuesday, April 25, 2017. On Monday, the rains already flooded numerous roads, caused dozens of crashes and left tens of thousands without power. A band of heavy rain intensified and focused in parts of central and eastern North Carolina overnight Monday into early Tuesday, after triggering major flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. With 114.5 mm (4.51 inches), the Raleigh–Durham International Airport set an all-time April record since measurements began in 1887. The previous record was 85.6 mm (3.37 inches). At the same time, a weather station near Falls Lake in Wake county measured 175.3 mm (6.9 inches) of rain in just under 24 hours. One of the hardest hit areas was Crabtree Creek, north of downtown Raleigh, which rose over 5.18 m (17 feet) since Monday morning, causing flood waters to enter businesses and homes.

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In The News

Congress passes 1-week funding extension to avoid govt shutdown
Both chambers of Congress have passed a one-week extension to the temporary budget that is funding the government. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill, despite it not containing funding for some of his recent demands. The House and Senate each overwhelmingly passed a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, by noon on Friday, 12 hours before the government was set to shut down. It will allow the government to remain open for seven days at current spending levels. The deadline has now been shifted to midnight next Friday evening, allowing lawmakers more time to hammer out ways to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Lawmakers have been battling over $1 trillion in spending priorities for months. "Let's make sure these basics are done for the American people and then let's get about the important business of changing their tax code and making sure they have the best healthcare in the world," Representative Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) said during the debate on the House floor.

Click here to read full article

Ice Watch

‘April, you are so winter’: Blizzards won’t let up in Russia, E. Europe (PHOTOS)
Roads, houses, and even flowers covered in thick snow – though it’s mid-April, winter won’t loosen its grip on Russia and Eastern Europe, as abundant photos on social media clearly illustrate. “April 22, It’s St Petersburg, baby,” was a widely-spread comment on Instagram from residents of Russia’s northern capital on Saturday.  Local emergency services warned of snowfall, slippery roads, and fog on Saturday.   “81st day of February in St. Petersburg,” one person wrote. “This eternal winter is driving me crazy. What kind of April is this?!” Some of the more optimistic users took the opportunity to make one last snowman. "I hope there won’t be so much snow in summer,” was one of the comments on the pessimistic side. “Something went wrong,” an observant user noted. “Spring, you are so winter,” another said ironically. It’s not just St. Petersburg, either. Here is the April winter wonderland in the city of Surgut in West Siberia.

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Nature Watch

Mysterious spike in humpback whale deaths on Atlantic Coast
Federal officials have declared an “unusual mortality event” after finding a high number of dead whales washing ashore on the East coast. Scientists are investigating the cause, which could provide greater insight into larger environmental issues. On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Fisheries issued a press release, declaring an “unusual mortality event” when an abnormally high number of marine mammals were found dead for unknown reasons. There have been 62 such events designated since 1991, when the program was established.  NOAA says the phenomena “can serve as indicators of ocean health, giving insight into larger environmental issues which may also have implications for human health and welfare.” Forty-one humpback whales have been found dead from Maine to North Carolina since 2016, NOAA reports.

Click here to read full article

Earth Watch

6.8 quake off Philippines triggers tsunami warning
A 6.8 earthquake has struck south of the Philippines island of Mindanao, triggering a brief warning of “hazardous tsunami waves” for the country’s coastlines, according to the US Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that tsunami waves could reach 300km from the epicenter of the earthquake, which was recorded at 6.8 on the Richter scale. Waves reaching up to 1 meter above normal tide levels are possible in the Philippines, while some coastlines in Indonesia, Malaysia and Palau could expect waves up to 30 centimeters higher than usual, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The warning was lifted roughly an hour later, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center saying that “the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed.”

Click here to read full article

Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

Starting May 5th @ 7:30pm: Opening of Reginald Rose's "12 Angry Men"
The Triad Theater is proud to announce Standing Room Only Theater Group's opening of Reginald Rose's "12 Angry Men". (May 4th at 7:30pm is "Pay what you will" final dress rehearsal night and open to the public). Show dates & Times: Fri/Sat May 5,6,12,13,19,20 at 7:30pm; Sun May 7,14,21 3pm
Buy Tickets Online or at Gordon's Garden Center in Yelm.

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On The Lighter Side


The last time the lilies appeared was after the copious rains of 2006

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