ChatGPT: Use of AI chatbot in Congress and court rooms raises ethical questions

User-friendly AI tool ChatGPT has attracted hundreds of millions of users since its launch in November and is set to disrupt industries around the world. In recent days, AI content generated by the bot has been used in US Congress, Columbian courts and a speech by Israel’s president. Is widespread uptake inevitable – and is it ethical?

In a recorded greeting for a cybersecurity convention in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog began a speech that was set to make history: “I am truly proud to be the president of a country that is home to such a vibrant and innovative hi-tech industry. Over the past few decades, Israel has consistently been at the forefront of technological advancement, and our achievements in the fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data are truly impressive.”

To the surprise of the entrepreneurs attending Cybertech Global, the president then revealed that his comments had been written by the AI bot ChatGPT, making him the first world leader publicly known to use artificial intelligence to write a speech.

But not the first politician to do so. A week earlier, US Congressman Jake Auchincloss read a speech also generated by ChatGPT on the floor of the House of Representatives. Another first, intended to draw attention to the wildly successful new AI tool in Congress “so that we have a debate now about purposeful policy for AI”, Auchincloss told CNN.

Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT (created by California-based company OpenAI) is estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.

The user-friendly AI tool utilises online data to generate instantaneous, human-like responses to user queries. It’s ability to scan the internet for information and provide rapid answers makes it a potential rival to Google’s search engine, but it is also able to produce written content on any topic, in any format – from essays, speeches and poems to computer code – in seconds.

The tool is currently free and boasted around 13 million unique visitors per day in January, a report from Swiss banking giant UBS found.

Part of its mass appeal is “extremely good engineering ­– it scales up very well with millions of people using it”, says Mirco Musolesi, professor of computer science at University College London. “But it also has very good training in terms of quality of the data used but also the way the creators managed to deal with problematic aspects.”

In the past, similar technologies have resulted in bots fed on a diet of social media posts taking on an aggressive, offensive tone. Not so for ChatGPT, and many of its millions of users engage with the tool out of curiosity or for entertainment.

“Humans have this idea of being very special, but then you see this machine that is able to produce something very similar to us,” Musolesi says. “We knew that this this was probably possible but actually seeing it is very interesting.”

A ‘misinformation super spreader’?

Yet the potential impact of making such sophisticated AI available to a mass audience for the first time is unclear, and different sectors from education, to law, to science and business are braced for disruption.

Schools and colleges around the world have been quick to ban students from using ChatGPT to prevent cheating or plagiarism.

>> Top French university bans students from using ChatGPT 

Science journals have also banned the bot from being listed as a co-author on papers amid fears that errors made by the tool could find their way into scientific debate.

OpenAI has cautioned that the bot can make mistakes. However, a report from media watchdog NewsGuard said on topics including Covid-19, Ukraine and school shootings, ChatGPT delivered “eloquent, false and misleading” claims 80 percent of the time.

“For anyone unfamiliar with the issues or topics covered by this content, the results could easily come across as legitimate, and even authoritative,” NewsGuard said. It called the tool “the next great misinformation super spreader”.

Even so, in Columbia a judge announced on Tuesday that he used the AI chatbot to help make a ruling in a children’s medical rights case.

Judge Juan Manuel Padilla told Blu Radio he asked ChatGPT whether an autistic minor should be exonerated from paying fees for therapies, among other questions.

The bot answered: “Yes, this is correct. According to the regulations in Colombia, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for their therapies.”

Padilla ruled in favour of the child – as the bot advised. “By asking questions to the application we do not stop being judges [and] thinking beings,” he told the radio station. “I suspect that many of my colleagues are going to join in and begin to construct their rulings ethically with the help of artificial intelligence.”

Although he cautioned that the bot should be used as a time-saving facilitator, rather than “with the aim of replacing judges”, critics said it was neither responsible or ethical to use a bot capable of providing misinformation as a legal tool.

An expert in artificial intelligence regulation and governance, Professor Juan David Gutierrez of Rosario University said he put the same questions to ChatGPT and got different responses. In a tweet, he called for urgent “digital literacy” training for judges.

A market leader 

Despite the potential risks, the spread of ChatGPT seems inevitable. Musolesi expects it will be used “extensively” for both positive and negative purposes – with the risk of misinformation and misuse comes the promise of information and technology becoming more accessible to a greater number of people.

OpenAI received a multi-million-dollar investment from Microsoft in January that will see ChatGPT integrated into a premium version of the Teams messaging app, offering services such as generating automatic meeting notes.

Microsoft has said it plans to add ChatGPT’s technology into all its products, setting the stage for the company to become a leader in the field, ahead of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

>> Alphabet, Amazon and Apple results: Tech earnings hit by gloom 

Making the tool free has been key to its current and future success. “It was a huge marketing campaign,” Musolesi says, “and when people use it, they improve the dataset to use for the next version because they are providing this feedback.”

Even so, the company launched a paid version of the bot this week offering access to new features for $20 per month.

Another eagerly awaited new development is an AI classifier, a software tool to help people identify when a text has been generated by artificial intelligence.

OpenAI said in a blog post that, while the tool was launched this week, it is not yet “fully reliable”. Currently it is only able to correctly identify AI-written texts 26 percent of the time.

But the company expects it will improve with training, reducing the potential for “automated misinformation campaigns, using AI tools for academic dishonesty, and positioning an AI chatbot as a human”.

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Keeping the digital ecosystem strong

Wassim Chourbaji, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Public Policy EMEA at Qualcomm

Competitive markets and strong partnerships have always encouraged companies to innovate. Policies promoting such an environment allow for more inventions and creations within national, regional and international markets.

The EU leads the world in understanding the broad, interlinked forces driving technology innovation in the digital sector. The approval and enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) exemplify this leadership and are critical to preserving an open digital ecosystem.

The development of communications network infrastructure is another important area that can spur innovation. The EU has recognized the need to incentivize investment in digital infrastructure through ‘virtuous circles’ to bring reliable and secure connectivity. The physical network sits at the core of the digital ecosystem, but is also at the heart of our economies and societies.

Moreover, the EU has focused on the strategic value of semiconductors as engines of the digital transition that foster Europe’s competitiveness. The EU Chips Act has highlighted the need for a geo-diversified production and coordinated strategy amongst countries to balance global dynamics, security needs and supply priorities.

Fostering talent

In addition to the regulatory environment, it is important to nurture the human ingenuity that drives technology by strengthening partnerships that bring people and companies together.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas. Talent is the most valuable resource for today’s knowledge-based economy. Promoting participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to create the skilled workforce necessary for the global digital economy is essential. Qualcomm collaborates with community stakeholders on several programs across Europe that reach and inspire students from all backgrounds.

Furthermore, local innovation hubs have a paramount role in attracting, retaining and developing talent. With this in mind, Qualcomm established a 5G/6G R&D centre in Lannion, France, and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) R&D lab in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, doing fundamental research to fuel the connected intelligent edge with innovation.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas.

Transforming through partnerships

Partnerships to develop and apply advanced technologies are decisive in unlocking access to future innovations and use cases, such as leveraging the metaverse for industrial and learning applications. Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in such partnerships.

From operators to automotive and industrial players, Qualcomm’s partnerships with European companies are good examples of how shared digital value can be created across an expanding range of verticals – by combining complementary technologies and expertise.

The automotive sector is a prime example. Digital transformation is a priority for automakers as vehicles become connected computers on wheels. Qualcomm’s digital chassis high-performance solutions empower automakers to add a full suite of technology to create software-defined intelligent vehicles that are highly customizable and upgradeable. This flexibility enables the adoption of a wider array of powerful automotive platforms, while allowing automakers to keep the relation with their customers and shape the in-vehicle digital experience.

Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in partnerships.

Protecting innovative ideas

As companies like Qualcomm drive cycles of innovation and creativity, it is important to have a strong intellectual property regime that protects the ideas that emerge. One key area that relies on such protections are communications standards like 5G. Standards are the foundation of the digital ecosystem. They also are crucial to competition, helping new entrants compete with existing players.

Today’s 5G standard is a direct descendant of a European initiative back in the 1980s that pushed for a single mobile standard to enable the single market. Europe’s strong patent rights were critical to its early leadership in mobile standards. These rights have given innovative companies the necessary incentives to invest in research and development and to contribute their intellectual property (IP) to the standards. Without these incentives, innovation within the ecosystem would stagnate.

This year, the European Commission will tackle files that will impact standards development – including the IP that fuels the necessary ongoing innovation. It is our hope that their importance to the digital ecosystem continues to be championed.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation.

Building a future vision

All stakeholders have a role to play in incentivizing a vibrant digital ecosystem. By keeping a holistic view of all aspects that support a healthy digital ecosystem, Europe is bound for success.

This success can be further bolstered by the joint EU-US continuous dialogue. We hope the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will be a vehicle for the EU-US cooperation to address new and emerging global tech and trade challenges. The TTC could serve as a focal point to increase trust and understanding to enable innovation, encourage investments and foster competition. Global leadership can only be achieved through policy cooperation and market-led approaches.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation. Our connected future depends on it.

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Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt tapped for federal biotech commission that allows members to keep biotech investments

On Dec. 30, leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees announced the selection of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and 11 others to serve on a new federal commission on biotechnology.

Tasked with reviewing the biotech industry and suggesting investments that would benefit U.S. security, the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology is expected to have a prominent voice on policy and federal spending in the cutting-edge industry.

The appointment, however, doesn’t require commission members to divest their own personal biotech investments — even as they help shape U.S. policy overseeing the industry. Through a venture capital firm known as First Spark Ventures, Schmidt holds stakes in several biotech companies, placing him in a position to potentially profit if those companies are the beneficiaries of a new wave of federal biotech spending.

A person familiar with Schmidt’s thinking, who asked not to be identified, told CNBC on Jan. 19 that he wouldn’t be involved in selecting or monitoring any federal investments in the sector and that he isn’t involved in decision-making about First Spark’s investments. The person also said he would comply with all disclosure rules.

Then, on Jan. 25, after a series of emails and conversations with CNBC about the potential conflict of interest, the person said Schmidt will donate 100 percent of the “net profits” from his investment in First Spark to charity. The person didn’t say when Schmidt made the decision to donate profits, adding that he hasn’t yet named any recipient charities.

Due to the nature of venture capital investments, it could take years before a company is sold or goes public.

“This is a potential horror show,” Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said of the new commission. “Congress created this commission without adequate safeguards against conflicts of interest.”

Shaub, an attorney who’s now a senior ethics fellow at the nonpartisan nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, said members of the commission are exempt from criminal conflict of interest laws that might otherwise require them to recuse themselves or divest certain holdings because it was set up by Congress and not the executive branch.

“These are individuals who are going to be helping to shape federal policy on the intersection of biotechnology and national security, and it’ll be legal for them to make recommendations that benefit their own personal financial interests,” Shaub said. “Because much of the work could be classified, the public may have no way to gauge how their financial interests are influencing their recommendations.”

A spokesperson for the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will oversee the commission, said Schmidt and other members were selected by bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate and are expected to follow government ethics rules.

“Every member on this commission is required to adhere to all government ethics policies,” the spokesperson said. “The commission itself is designed to prevent undue influence, and Congress will provide careful oversight throughout the commission’s work.”

The commission’s incoming chairman, Dr. Jason Kelly, doesn’t plan to relinquish his role as CEO of Boston biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks, which specializes in genetic engineering.

“Jason is serving on this commission in his personal capacity,” said Joseph Fridman, an executive at Ginkgo Bioworks. He didn’t address whether Kelly planned to divest any potential equity in the company as well. “I’ll also note that, in general, we regularly implement measures at Ginkgo to maintain our position as a trusted partner of the U.S. government.”

Schmidt’s decision to donate his profits “reinforce(s) that he volunteers for these roles for all the right reasons,” said the person familiar with his thinking. “The primary purpose is philanthropy,” the person said.

But Shaub said if Schmidt were to give the First Spark net profits to charity that it wouldn’t go far enough to address the problem. “Saying he’ll donate any profits changes nothing,” he said. “You either have a financial interest in the government work you’re doing or you don’t.”

The Pentagon is already deeply invested in the biotechnology sector. In September, for example, the White House announced that the Department of Defense will invest $1 billion in bioindustrial domestic manufacturing infrastructure over five years to spur development of the U.S. manufacturing base. The new federal commission will likely have a say in steering such investments over the two years of its lifetime.

This is not the first time Schmidt has participated in an influential Washington commission. In October, CNBC reported that Schmidt and entities connected to him made more than 50 investments in artificial intelligence companies while he was chair of a federal commission on AI from 2018 to 2021. There was no indication that Schmidt broke any ethics rules or did anything unlawful while chairing the commission. And CNBC is unaware of any instance in which Schmidt abused his position on the earlier commission for personal financial gain.

Still, at the time, Shaub called Schmidt’s AI arrangement “absolutely a conflict of interest,” and said that it was “not the right thing to do.”

Schmidt’s biotech investments are relatively recent. Schmidt, who serves as a strategic advisor and nonmanaging partner, was a co-founder of First Spark in 2021. The firm’s investments are heavily concentrated in the biotech sector: in cutting-edge companies like Walking Fish Technologies, which focuses on cell engineering; Vitara Biomedical, a neonatal-care enterprise; and Valitor, which specializes in protein-based drug therapies. Representatives of the three companies did not respond to requests for comment.

CNBC attempted to reach First Spark officials through LinkedIn for comment, but did not receive a response. The firm’s website does not offer a telephone number or email address.

CNBC attempted to reach the other members of the commission to determine how they would handle potential conflict of interest issues. A spokesman for Rep. Ro Khanna, who was named to the commission, said the congressman does not own any individual stocks, and his wife’s assets are in a diversified trust managed by an outside financial advisor. “Qualified diversified trusts eliminate conflicts and are therefore an appropriate vehicle to safeguard against any potential conflicts,” Khanna’s spokesperson said.

Dawn Meyerriecks, the former deputy director of the CIA for Science and Technology who will serve on the commission, told CNBC she does not have any personal investments in the biotech space.

“As you know, the Commission is not yet fully set up,” she said in a message via LinkedIn. “All the commissioners will file all disclosure forms that are required for service on the commission and work with government ethics counsel to consider any potential conflicts based on the expected work of the Commission. “

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Building Europe’s future, focusing on IT skills rather than degrees

As the digital transformation of economy and society accelerates, the question of a just and inclusive transformation must be at the forefront of considerations for deciders in the public and private sector.

“The Digital Decade is about making digital technology work for people and businesses. It is about enabling everyone to have the skills to participate in the digital society. To be empowered. It is about empowering businesses. It is about the infrastructure that keeps us connected. It is about bringing government services closer to citizens. Europe’s digital transformation will give opportunities for everyone.” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, July 2022.

The Digital Decade is about making digital technology work for people and businesses.

The European Union (EU) has grasped the urgency and importance of providing digital skills to citizens, declaring 2023 the European Year of Skills. Reaching the EU’s goal of 80 percent of Europeans with basic digital skills and 20 million ICT specialists by 2030 won’t happen in a snap. The opportunities here are immense: the World Economic Forum predicts 97 million new jobs related to technology. Many promise to be better jobs than the ones they will replace. Because skills in cybersecurity or the internet of things, for example, can lead to positions that offer opportunities for advancement and life-changing opportunities for people everywhere, including underprivileged or marginalized communities around the world.

The scale of the digital skills challenge and opportunity demands close collaboration with the tech industry, governments, and academia — to close the gap in technology skills that stood at 2 million unfilled tech jobs globally in 2022[1].

What’s more, those who have been displaced will in many cases be good candidates to upskill for the new roles. A high percentage of these jobs don’t necessarily require a high-level degree, for example. Many roles demand candidates have the right tech skills rather than degrees.

Accessibility and flexibility are key

If there is one glaring truth that surfaces from all my encounters throughout Europe it’s that for a training and upskilling program to work, learners must be empowered in ever more flexible ways, to learn where and when they want.

For a training and upskilling program to work, learners must be empowered in ever more flexible ways, to learn where and when they want.

A learner-centric approach is what will make a training program relevant to learners. I firmly believe that our focus on regularly offering new pathways and learning formats is one of the main reasons the Cisco Networking Academy has managed to empower over 17 million learners in 25 years.

Our new Skills For All offering, which proposes self-paced introductory and intermediary courses in cybersecurity, networking and data management, will continue to contribute to this success. It lowers the barriers to entry by allowing learners to dip their toes in the water on their own terms before deciding whether to take the plunge.

Jobs in IT can provide an accessible opportunity for people looking to change their lives and launch themselves into a new career. This is even more true for the underprivileged, underrepresented and underserved.

One obvious starting point is addressing the gender gap in tech. Historically, 26 percent of Networking Academy students over the past 25 years have been women. We’ve made strides forward, but we seek more to benefit from the wider perspective and fresh ideas that the strong inclusion brings of women in the IT sector. This flexibility, however, must be accompanied with a clear effort to remain accessible to as many stakeholders as possible. One of the secrets to the success of our program is the long-term collaboration with public-sector education, administrations, and even armed forces. A collaboration that rests on our focus on keeping our program free of charge and vendor agnostic, and on focusing on training learners in the skills required in the industry.

Reaching every sector with the right digital skills

The challenge we face is that the digital transformation in Europe is not exclusively the business of tech and IT. It impacts everything, from the average agricultural cooperative in Romania, Greece, France or Spain that needs to understand the impact that digital transformation can have on farming, to the local administrations needing to better protect the information of their citizens as increasing numbers of services digitize.

Each scenario requires skills-focused learning pathways so that learners can quickly and easily acquire the knowledge they need in a simplified format.

A responsibility to the future

Today, we are at a critical turning of the tide. I look forward to being able to touch down in any European city in 10 years and see the impact of the talent that we’ve nurtured and empowered. Talent that includes more women, minorities, people with disabilities, adult reskillers, school leavers… the list goes on.

Cisco stands ready to support Europe in its objectives to bring digital skills to more citizens to maximize the opportunity that technology offers, by developing the next generation of talent.

At Cisco, we feel we have a responsibility to make the digital transformation an inclusive one. And I’m incredibly excited to see how our incredible ecosystem of over 11,800 educational institutions and more than 29,000 instructors will strive to deliver on our goal of upskilling 25 million people in the next 10 years.

Cisco stands ready to support Europe in its objectives to bring digital skills to more citizens to maximize the opportunity that technology offers, by developing the next generation of talent who will push the capabilities of technology even further and to give people the skills to engage with technology more securely. Because when people are empowered to craft a more inclusive digital transformation journey, it becomes synonymous with a more prosperous society.


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Many women underestimate breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer, study shows | CNN


Dense breast tissue has been associated with up to a four times higher risk of breast cancer. However, a new study suggests few women view breast density as a significant risk factor.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, surveyed 1,858 women ages 40 to 76 years from 2019 to 2020 who reported having recently undergone mammography, had no history of breast cancer and had heard of breast density.

Women were asked to compare the risk of breast density to five other breast cancer risk factors: having a first-degree relative with breast cancer, being overweight or obese, drinking more than one alcoholic beverage per day, never having children and having a prior breast biopsy.

“When compared to other known and perhaps more well-known breast cancer risks, women did not perceive breast density as significant of a risk,” said Laura Beidler, an author of the study and researcher at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

For example, the authors report that dense breast tissue is associated with a 1.2 to four times higher risk of breast cancer compared with a two times higher risk associated with having a first-degree relative with breast cancer – but 93% of women said breast density was a lesser risk.

Dense breasts tissue refers to breasts that are composed of more glandular and fibrous tissue than fatty tissue. It is a normal and common finding present in about half of women undergoing mammograms.

The researchers also interviewed 61 participants who reported being notified of their breast density and asked what they thought contributes to breast cancer and how they could reduce their risk. While most women correctly noted that breast density could mask tumors on mammograms, few women felt that breast density could be a risk factor for breast cancer.

Roughly one-third of women thought there was nothing they could do to reduce their breast cancer risk, although there are several ways to reduce risk, including maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and minimizing alcohol consumption.

Breast density changes over a woman’s lifetime, and is generally higher in women who are younger, have a lower body weight, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking hormone replacement therapy.

The level of breast cancer risk increases with the degree of breast density; however, experts aren’t certain why this is true.

“One hypothesis has been that women who have more dense breast tissue also have higher, greater levels of estrogen, circulating estrogen, which contributes to both the breast density and to the risk of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Harold Burstein, a breast oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who was not involved in the study. “Another hypothesis is that there’s something about the tissue itself, making it more dense, that somehow predisposes to the development of breast cancer. We don’t really know which one explains the observation.”

Thirty-eight states currently mandate that women receive written notification about their breast density and its potential breast cancer risk following mammography; however, studies have shown that many women find this information confusing.

“Even though women are notified usually in writing when they get a report after a mammogram that says, ‘You have increased breast density,’ it’s kind of just tucked in there at the bottom of the report. I’m not sure that anyone is explaining to them, certainly in person or verbally, what that means,” said Dr. Ruth Oratz, a breast oncologist at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center who was not involved in the study.

“I think what we’ve learned from this study is that we have to do a better job of educating not only the general public of women, but the general public of health care providers who are doing the primary care, who are ordering those screening mammograms,” she added.

Current screening guidelines recommend women of average risk of breast cancer undergo breast cancer screening every one to two years between ages 50 to 74 with the option of beginning at age 40.

Because women with dense breast tissue are considered to have higher than average cancer risks, the authors of the study suggest women with high breast density may benefit from supplemental screening like breast MRI or breast ultrasound, which may detect cancers that are missed on mammograms. Currently, coverage of supplemental screening after the initial mammogram varies, depending on the state and insurance policy.

The authors warn that “supplemental screening not only can lead to increased rates of cancer detection but also may result in more false-positive results and recall appointments.” They say clinicians should use risk assessment tools when discussing tradeoffs associated with supplemental screening.

“Usually, it’s a discussion between the patient, the clinical team, and the radiologist. And it’ll be affected by prior history, by whether there’s anything else of concern on the mammogram, by the patient’s family history. So those are the kinds of things we discuss frequently with patients who are in such situations,” Burstein said.

Breast cancer screening recommendations differ between medical organizations, and experts say women at higher risk due to breast density should discuss with their doctor what screening method and frequency are most appropriate.

“I think it’s really, really important that everyone understands – and this is the doctors, the nurses, the women themselves – that screening is not a one size fits all recommendation. We cannot just make one general recommendation to the entire population because individual women have different levels of risks of developing breast cancer,” Oratz said.

For the nearly one-third of women with dense breast tissue that reported there was nothing they could do to prevent breast cancer, experts say there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk.

“Maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle and minimizing alcohol consumption address several modifiable factors. Breastfeeding can decrease the risk. On the other hand, use of hormone replacement therapy increases breast cancer risk,” said Dr. Puneet Singh, a breast surgical oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center who was not involved in the study.

The researchers add that there are approved medications, such as tamoxifen, that can be given for those at significantly increased risk that may reduce the chances of breast cancer by about half.

Finally, breast cancer doctors say that in addition to appropriate screening, knowing your risk factors and advocating for yourself can be powerful tools in preventing and detecting breast cancer.

“At any age, if any woman feels uncomfortable about something that’s going on in her breast, if she has discomfort, notices a change in the breast, bring that to the attention of your doctor and make sure it gets evaluated and don’t let somebody just brush you off,” Oratz said.

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How the job of Amazon delivery has changed with Rivian’s electric vans and routing software

For the 275,000 Amazon drivers dropping off 10 million packages a day around the world, the job can be a grind. But a lot has changed since drivers in 2021 told CNBC about unrealistic workloads, peeing in bottles, dog bites and error-prone routing software.

Among the biggest developments is the arrival of a brand-new electric van from Rivian.

Amazon was a big and early investor in the electric vehicle company, which went public in late 2021 with a plan to build trucks and SUVs for consumers and delivery vans for businesses. Since July, Amazon has rolled out more than 1,000 new Rivian vans, which are now making deliveries in more than 100 U.S. cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville, New York City and Austin, Texas.

The partnership began in 2019, when Amazon founder and ex-CEO Jeff Bezos announced Amazon had purchased 100,000 electric vans from Rivian as one step toward his company’s ambitious promise of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

″[We] will have prototypes on the road next year, but 100,000 deployed by 2024,” Bezos said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in September 2019. Amazon has since revised the timeline, saying it expects all 100,000 Rivian vans on the road by 2030.

Rivian has faced several challenges in recent months. It cut back 2022 production amid supply chain and assembly line issues. Its stock price dropped so sharply last year that Amazon recorded a combined $11.5 billion markdown on its holdings in the first two quarters.

CNBC talked to drivers to see what’s changed with the driving experience. We also went to Amazon’s Delivering the Future event in Boston in November for a look at the technology designed to maximize safety and efficiency for delivery personnel.

For now, most Amazon drivers are still in about 110,000 gas-powered vans — primarily Ford Transits, Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and Ram ProMasters. Amazon wouldn’t share how it determines which of its 3,500 third-party delivery firms, or delivery service partners (DSPs), are receiving Rivian vans first.

The e-commerce giant has been using DSPs to deliver its packages since 2018, allowing the company to reduce its reliance on UPS and the U.S. Postal Service for the so-called last mile, the most expensive portion of the delivery journey. The DSP, which works exclusively with Amazon, employs the drivers and is responsible for the liabilities of the road, vehicle maintenance, and the costs of hiring, benefits and overtime pay.

Amazon leases the vans to DSP owners at a discount. The company covers the fuel for gas-powered vans and installs charging stations for electric vehicles.

The company says DSP owners have generated $26 billion in revenue and now operate in 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil, Canada, and all over Europe.

drivers voiced concerns about range. An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC the vans can travel up to 150 miles on a single charge, which is typically plenty of power for a full shift and allows drivers to recharge the vehicle overnight.

As for maintenance, Amazon says that takes place at Rivian service centers near delivery stations or by a Rivian mobile service team, depending on location.

Julieta Dennis launched a DSP, Kangaroo Direct, in Baltimore three years ago. She employs about 75 drivers and leases more than 50 vans from Amazon. She now has 15 Rivian vehicles.

“It’s very easy to get in and out with all of the different handles to hold on to,” Dennis said. She said that some drivers were hesitant at first because the vehicles were so new and different, “but the moment they get in there and have their first experience, that’s the van that they want to drive.”

Baltimore DSP owner Julieta Dennis shows off a Rivian electric van at Amazon’s Delivering the Future event in Boston, Maryland, on November 10, 2022.

Erin Black

Brandi Monroe has been delivering for Kangaroo Direct for two years. She pointed to features on a Rivian van that are upgrades over what she’s driven in the past. There’s a large non-slip step at the back, a hand cart for helping with heavy packages and extra space for standing and walking in the cargo area.

“We have two shelves on both sides to allow for more space,” Monroe said, adding that she’d prefer to drive a Rivian for every shift. “And then the lights at the top: very innovative to help us see the packages and address a lot easier, especially at nighttime.”

There’s even a heated steering wheel.

Former driver B.J. Natividad, who goes by Avionyx on YouTube, says his non-electric van could get very cramped.

“I remember one time I had 23 or 24 bags and over 40 oversize packages and I had to be able to figure out how to stuff that all in there within the 15 minutes that they give us to load up in the morning,” said Natividad, who now works for USPS.

The Rivian vans have at least 100 more cubic feet than the Sprinter and up to double the cargo space of the Ford Transit vans Natividad drove in Las Vegas. Rivian vans are still small enough that they don’t require a special license to drive, though Amazon provides its own training for drivers.

One driver in Seattle, who asked to remain unnamed, was especially excited about the new Rivian vans. He offered an extensive tour of the new driving experience on his YouTube channel called Friday Adventure Club.

He said one of his favorite features is a light bar “that goes all the way around the back.” He also likes that the windshield is “absolutely massive,” the wide doors allow for easy entry and exit, and the cargo door automatically opens when the van is parked. There are two rows of shelves that fold up and down in the cargo area.

There’s also new technology, such as an embedded tablet with the driving route and a 360-degree view that shows all sides of the van.

Mai Le, Amazon’s vice president of Last Mile, oversaw the testing of the center console and Rivian’s integrated software.

“We did a lot of deliveries as a test,” Le said. “As a woman, I want to make sure that the seats are comfortable for me and that my legs can reach the pedals, I can see over the steering wheel.”

She demonstrated some of the benefits of the new technology.

“When we start to notice that you’re slowing down, that means that we can tell you’re getting near to your destination,” she said. “The map begins to zoom in, so you begin to find where’s your delivery location, which building and where parking could be.”

The new vans have keyless entry. They automatically lock when the driver is 15 feet away and unlock as the driver approaches.

Workers load packages into Amazon Rivian Electric trucks at an Amazon facility in Poway, California, November 16, 2022.

Sandy Huffaker | Reuters

more than 60 serious crashes from 2015 to 2019, at least 10 of which were fatal. Amazon put cameras and sensors all over the Rivian vans, which enable warnings and lane assist technology that autocorrects if the vehicle veers out of the lane.

Dennis mentioned the importance of automatic braking and the steering wheel that starts “just kind of shaking when you get too close to something.”

“There’s just so many features that would really, really help cut back on some of those incidental accidents,” she said.

Amazon vans have driver-facing cameras inside, which can catch unsafe driving practices as they happen.

“The in-vehicle safety technology we have watches for poor safety behaviors like distracted driving, seat belts not being fastened, running stop signs, traffic lights,” said Beryl Tomay, who helps run the technology side of delivery as vice president of Last Mile for Amazon.

“We’ve seen over the past year a reduction of 80% to 95% in these events when we’ve warned drivers real time,” she said. “But the really game-changing results that we’ve seen have been almost a 50% reduction in accidents.”

As a DSP owner, Dennis gets alerts if her drivers exhibit patterns of unsafe behavior.

“If something with a seat belt or just something flags, then our team will contact the driver and make sure that that’s coached on and taken care of and figured out, like what actually happened,” Dennis said.

That level of constant surveillance may be unsettling for some drivers. Dennis said that issues haven’t come up among her staffers. And Amazon stresses it’s focused on driver privacy.

“We’ve taken great care from a privacy perspective,” Tomay said. “There’s no sound ever being recorded. There’s no camera recording if the driver’s not driving and there’s a privacy mode.”

Amazon says the cabin-facing camera automatically switches off when the ignition is off, and privacy mode means it also turns off if the vehicle is stationary for more than 30 seconds.

Safety concerns extend beyond the vehicle itself. For example, an Amazon driver in Missouri was found dead in a front yard in October, allegedly after a dog attack.

Amazon says new technology can help. Drivers can choose to manually notify customers ahead of a delivery, giving them time to restrain pets. Another feature that’s coming, according to Le, will allow drivers to mark delivery locations that have pets.

Natividad said he had multiple close calls with dogs charging at him during deliveries.

“You customers out there, please restrain your dogs when you know a package is coming,” he said. “Please keep them inside. Don’t leave them just outside.”

Optimizing routes

Providing drivers with more efficient and better detailed routes could improve safety, too. Drivers in 2021 told us about losing time because Amazon’s routing software made a mistake, like not recognizing a closed road or gated community. In response, they sometimes tried to save time in other ways.

“People are running through stop signs, running through yellow lights,” said Adrienne Williams, a former DSP driver. “Everybody I knew was buckling their seat belt behind their backs because the time it took just to buckle your seat belt, unbuckle your seat belt every time was enough time to get you behind schedule.”

Amazon listened. The company has been adding a huge amount of detail to driver maps, using information from 16 third-party map vendors as well as machine learning models informed by satellite driver feedback and other sources.

One example is a new in-vehicle data collection system called Fleet Edge, which is currently in a few thousand vans. Fleet Edge collects real-time data from a street view camera and GPS device during a driver’s route.

“Due to Fleet Edge, we’ve added over 120,000 new street signs to Amazon’s mapping system,” Tomay said. “The accuracy of GPS locations has increased by over two and a half times in our test areas, improving navigation safety by announcing upcoming turns sooner.”

Tomay said the maps also added points of interest like coffee shops and restrooms, so in about 95% of metro areas, “drivers can find a spot to take a break within five minutes of a stop.”

In 2021, Amazon apologized for dismissing claims that drivers were urinating in bottles as a result of demanding delivery schedules. Natividad said he occasionally found urine-filled bottles in his vans before his shift in the mornings.

“As soon as I open the van, I’m looking around, I see a bottle of urine. I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m not touching this,'” he said.

Pay for Amazon drivers is up to the discretion of each individual DSP, although Amazon says it regularly audits DSP rates to make sure they’re competitive. puts average Amazon driver pay at nearly $19 an hour, 16% higher than the national average.

Natividad started delivering for Amazon in 2021 when his gigs as a fulltime disc jockey dried up because of the pandemic. He liked the job at the time, generally delivering at least 200 packages along the same route. However, during the holiday season that year, he once had more than 400 packages and 200 stops in a single shift.

“Towards the end of my day, they sent out two rescues to me to help out to make sure everything’s done before 10 hours,” he said.

Amazon is working to optimize its routes. But it’s an unwieldy operation. The company says it’s generated 225,000 unique routes per day during peak season.

Tomay said the company looks at the density of packages, the complexity of delivery locations “and any other considerations like weather and traffic from past history to put a route together that we think is ideal.”

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

“Given that we’re in over 20 countries and every geography looks different, it’s not just about delivery vehicles or vans anymore,” Tomay said. “We have rickshaws in India. We have walkers in Manhattan.”

In Las Vegas, Amazon held a roundtable last year for DSP owners and drivers. Natividad says he spoke for 20 minutes at the event about the need for Amazon to improve its routing algorithms.

“I think they should do that probably once a month, with all the DSP supervision and a few of the drivers, and not the same drivers every time. That way different feedback is given. And like seriously listen to them,” Natividad said. “Because they’re not the ones out there seeing and experiencing what we go through.”

Natividad didn’t get to try out the routing technology in the Rivian vans before he left to deliver for USPS in July. He’s excited that the postal service is following in Amazon’s footsteps with 66,000 electric vans coming by 2028.

Amazon, meanwhile, is diversifying its electric fleet beyond Rivian. The company has ordered thousands of electric Ram vans from Stellantis and also has some on the way from Mercedes-Benz.

Correction: Julieta Dennis launched a DSP, Kangaroo Direct, in Baltimore three years ago. An earlier version misspelled her name.

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Rooftop solar: How homeowners should do the math on the climate change investment

Solar panels create electricity on the roof of a house in Rockport, Massachusetts, U.S., June 6, 2022. Picture taken with a drone.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

When Josh Hurwitz decided to put solar power on his Connecticut house, he had three big reasons: To cut his carbon footprint, to eventually store electricity in a solar-powered battery in case of blackouts, and – crucially – to save money.

Now he’s on track to pay for his system in six years, then save tens of thousands of dollars in the 15 years after that, while giving himself a hedge against utility-rate inflation. It’s working so well, he’s preparing to add a Tesla-made battery to let him store the power he makes. Central to the deal: Tax credits and other benefits from both the state of Connecticut and from Washington, D.C., he says.

“You have to make the money work,” Hurwitz said. “You can have the best of intentions, but if the numbers don’t work it doesn’t make sense to do it.”

Hurwitz’s experience points up one benefit of the Inflation Reduction Act that passed in August: Its extension and expansion of tax credits to promote the spread of home-based solar power systems. Adoption is expected to grow 26 percent faster because of the law, which extends tax credits that had been set to expire by 2024 through 2035, says a report by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Those credits will cover 30 percent of the cost of the system – and, for the first time, there’s a 30 percent credit for batteries that can store newly-produced power for use when it’s needed.

“The main thing the law does is give the industry, and consumers, assurance that the tax credits will be there today, tomorrow and for the next 10 years,” said Warren Leon, executive director of the Clean Energy States Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of state government energy agencies. “Rooftop solar is still expensive enough to require some subsidies.”

California’s solar energy net metering decision

Certainty has been the thing that’s hard to come by in solar, where frequent policy changes make the market a “solar coaster,” as one industry executive put it. Just as the expanded federal tax credits were taking effect, California on Dec. 15 slashed another big incentive allowing homeowners to sell excess solar energy generated by their systems back to the grid at attractive rates, scrambling the math anew in the largest U.S. state and its biggest solar-power market — though the changes do not take effect until next April.

Put the state and federal changes together, and Wood Mackenzie thinks the California solar market will actually shrink sharply in 2024, down by as much as 39%. Before the Inflation Reduction Act incentives were factored in, the consulting firm forecast a 50% drop with the California policy shift. Residential solar is coming off a historic quarter, with 1.57 GW installed, a 43% increase year over year, and California a little over one-third of the total, according to Wood Mackenzie.

For potential switchers, tax credits can quickly recover part of the up-front cost of going green. Hurwitz took the federal tax credit for his system when he installed it in 2020, and is preparing to add a battery now that it, too, comes with tax credits. Some contractors offer deals where they absorb the upfront cost – and claim the credit – in exchange for agreements to lease back the system.

Combined with savings on power homeowners don’t  buy from utilities, the tax credits can make rooftop solar systems pay for themselves within as little as five years – and save $25,000 or more, after recovering the initial investment, within two decades.

“Will this growth have legs? Absolutely,” said Veronica Zhang, portfolio manager of the Van Eck Environmental Sustainability Fund, a green fund not exclusively focused on solar. “With utility rates going up, it’s a good time to move if you were thinking about it in the first place.”

How to calculate installation costs and benefits

Here is how the numbers work.

Nationally, the cost for solar in 2022 ranges from $16,870 to $23,170, after the tax credit, for a 10-kilowatt system, the size for which quotes are sought most often on EnergySage, a Boston-based quote-comparison site for solar panels and batteries. Most households can use a system of six or seven kilowatts, EnergySage spokesman Nick Liberati said. A 10-12 kilowatt battery costs about $13,000 more, he added.

There’s a significant variation in those numbers by region, and by the size and other factors specific to the house, EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal said. In New Jersey, for example, a 7-kilowatt system costs on average $20,510 before the credit and $15,177 after it. In Houston, it’s about $1,000 less. In Chicago, that system is close to $2,000 more than in New Jersey. A more robust 10-kilowatt system costs more than $31,000 before the credit around Chicago, but $26,500 in Tampa, Fla. All of these average prices are as quoted by EnergySage.

The effectiveness of the system may also vary because of things specific to the house, including the placement of trees on or near the property, as we found out when we asked EnergySage’s online bid-solicitation system to look at specific homes.

The bids for one suburban Chicago house ranged as low as $19,096 after the federal credit and as high as $30,676.

Offsetting those costs are electricity savings and state tax breaks that recover the cost of the system in as little as 4.5 years, according to the bids. Contractors claimed that power savings and state incentives could save as much as another $27,625 over 20 years, on top of the capital cost.

Alternatively, consumers can finance the system but still own it themselves – we were quoted interest rates of 2.99 to 8.99 percent. That eliminates consumers’ up-front cost, but cuts into the savings as some of the avoided utility costs go to pay off interest, Aggarwal said.

The key to maximizing savings is to know the specific regulations in your state – and get help understanding often-complex contracts, said Hurwitz, who is a physician.

Energy storage and excess power

Some states have more generous subsidies than others, and more pro-consumer rules mandating that utilities pay higher prices for excess power that home solar systems create during peak production hours, or even extract from homeowners’ batteries.

California had among the most generous rules of all until this week. But state utility regulators agreed to let utilities pay much less for excess power they are required to buy, after power companies argued that the rates were too high, and raised power prices for other customers.

Wood Mackenzie said the details of California’s decision made it look less onerous than the firm had expected. EnergySage says the payback period for California systems without a battery will be 10 years instead of six after the new rules take effect in April. Savings in the years afterward will be about 60 percent less, the company estimates. Systems with a battery, which pay for themselves after 10 years, will be little affected because their owners keep most of their excess power instead of selling it to the utility, according to EnergySage.

“The new [California rules] certainly elongate current payback periods for solar and solar-plus-storage, but not by as much as the previous proposal,” Wood Mackenzie said in the Dec. 16 report. “By 2024, the real impacts of the IRA will begin to come to fruition.”

The more expensive power is from a local utility, the more sense home solar will make. And some contractors will back claims about power savings with agreements to pay part of your utility bill if the systems don’t produce as much energy as promised.

“You have to do your homework before you sign,” Hurwitz said. “But energy costs always go up. That’s another hidden incentive.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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LeBron James and Billie Jean King lead tributes to American journalist Grant Wahl | CNN


The death of prominent journalist Grant Wahl at the World Cup in Qatar has led to an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world, with NBA star LeBron James and tennis great Billie Jean King leading the tributes to the American.

Prominent American journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, sparking an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world. He was 49.

King said Wahl’s death was “heartbreaking.”

“A talented journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ community & a prominent voice for women’s soccer,” King tweeted Saturday. “He used his platform to elevate those whose stories needed telling. Prayers for his family.”

On Friday in Philadelphia, basketball star James said he had been “very fond of Grant.” While Wahl was at Sports Illustrated, he did a cover story on James when James was in high school.

“I’ve always kind of watched from a distance even when I moved up in ranks and became a professional, and he went to a different sport,” said James, speaking at a postgame press conference. “Any time his name would come up I’ll always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building … It’s a tragic loss.”

Tyler Adams, the captain of the US men’s national soccer team, which was knocked out of the World Cup by the Netherlands in the last 16, sent his “deepest sympathy” to Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and to those who knew him.

“As players we have a tremendous amount of respect for the work of journalists, & Grant’s was a giant voice in soccer that has tragically fallen silent,” Adams wrote on Twitter.

Qatar’s World Cup organizers said on Saturday that Wahl “fell ill” in the press area, where he received “immediate medical treatment on site.”

He was then transferred to Hamad General Hospital, said a spokesperson for the Supreme Court Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body responsible for planning the tournament.

Wahl was treated in the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” before he was moved to the hospital, Keir Radnedge, a columnist at World Soccer Magazine, told CNN Saturday.

“This was towards the end of extra time in the match. Suddenly, colleagues up to my left started shouting for medical assistance. Obviously, someone had collapsed. Because the chairs are freestanding, people were able to move the chairs, so it’s possible to create a little bit of space around him,” Radnedge said.

He added that the medical team were there “pretty quickly and were able to, as best they could, give treatment.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted to Wahl’s death on Saturday, adding that senior State Department officials were in touch with Qatari officials and Grant’s family.

“Grant Wahl was an inspiration to many. Our thoughts are with his wife Dr. Céline Gounder and all those who loved him. State Department officials are in touch with Grant’s family and with senior officials in the government of Qatar to ensure his family gets the support they need,” Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter.

“Only some days ago, Grant was recognized by FIFA and AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a statement.

Infantino and FIFA media director Bryan Swanson were at the hospital on Saturday to offer any kind of support needed for the family, friends, and the journalists who were also his housemates in Qatar.

The co-editors in chief of Sports Illustrated, the publication where Wahl spent the majority of his career, said in a joint statement they were “shocked and devastated at the news of Grant’s passing.”

“We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades – no writer in the history of (Sports Illustrated) has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” said the statement.

It added that Wahl had first joined the publication in November 1996. He had volunteered to cover the sport as a junior reporter – back before it reached the heights of global popularity it now enjoys – eventually becoming “one of the most respected soccer authorities in the world,” it said.

The statement said that Wahl also worked with other media outlets including Fox Sports. After leaving Sports Illustrated in 2020, he began publishing his podcast and newsletter.

Other current and former US soccer players, including Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, shared their condolences, as did sporting bodies such as Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League.

Wittyngham, Wahl’s podcast co-host, told CNN on Saturday the news of his death had been hard to fathom.

“For Americans, Grant Wahl is the first person you read covering soccer. He was kind of the only person for a while … Grant was the first person who really paid genuine attention to this sport in a meaningful way,” Wittyngham said.

Several journalists shared stories of reporting alongside Wahl, and having encountered him at multiple World Cups over the years.

“Before he became the best covering soccer he did hoops and was so kind to me,” wrote famed broadcaster Dick Vitale.

Timmy T. Davis, the US Ambassador to Qatar, tweeted that Wahl was “a well known and greatly respected reporter who focused on the beautiful game.”

“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” US Soccer said in a statement on its official Twitter account.

“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.”

US Soccer praised Wahl’s passion and “belief in the power of the game to advance human rights,” and shared its condolences with Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and his loved ones.

Gounder also posted the US Soccer statement on Twitter.

“I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock,” wrote Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory board.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family. The World Cup organizers also said they were in touch with the US embassy “to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.”

Wahl wearing a rainbow-colored t-shirt while working at Qatar 2022.

Wahl had covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups — six men’s, five women’s – and authored several books on the sport, according to his website.

He had just celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “a great group of media friends at the World Cup,” according to a post on his official Twitter account, which added: “Very thankful for everyone.”

In an episode of the podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl, published days before his death on December 6, he had complained of feeling unwell.

“It had gotten pretty bad in terms of like the tightness in my chest, tightness, pressure. Feeling pretty hairy, bad,” Wahl told co-host Chris Wittyngham in the episode. He added that he sought help at the medical clinic at the World Cup media center, believing he had bronchitis.

He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen, and felt better shortly afterward, he said.

Wahl also said he experienced an “involuntary capitulation by my body and mind” after the US-Netherlands game on December 3.

“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve done eight of these on the men’s side,” he said at the time. “And so like, I’ve gotten sick to some extent at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to find a way to like get your work done.”

He further described the incident in a recent newsletter published on December 5, writing that his body had “broke down” after he had little sleep, high stress and a heavy workload. He’d had a cold for 10 days, which “turned into something more severe,” he wrote, adding that he felt better after receiving antibiotics and catching up on sleep.

Wahl had made headlines in November by reporting that he was detained and briefly refused entry to a World Cup match because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights.

He said security staff had told him to change his shirt because “it’s not allowed,” and had taken his phone. Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after being detained and received apologies from a FIFA representative and a senior member of the security team at the stadium.

Afterward, Wahl told CNN he “probably will” wear the shirt again.

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We Made The AI Write Stephen Miller’s Dutiful Prince Hallmark Movie, Because F*ck It, Whatever

Stephen Miller, Donald Trump’s former Obersturmbannführer for immigration, has been very upset about Royal People who are a great disappointment to him. We guess that’s a Serious Concern on the Weird Right lately, what with the new Netflix docu-series about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that I literally just heard of while writing this story. Miller took a Twitter Break Thursday from ranting about the need to deport all the Dreamers, so he could cry about how sad it was that Harry had betrayed whiteness his royal heritage, and for what? To be the Half-Woke Prince?

Prince Harry’s evident disdain for his own family, the extraordinary gift and responsibility of Royal birth, and the ancient rites of his own Kingdom, is a dramatic public illustration of the chronic ideological disease that compels the elites of civilization to turn against it.

You know it’s a Nazi when they start talking about “ideological disease.” In this case, the “disease” appears to be the fact that Harry and Meghan discuss the racism they’ve faced, including in their own family. How declassé!

So NOW we know what was bugging him earlier in the morning, when he twote this suggestion for improving America’s media landscape with an entertainment that would both amuse and enlighten. Such wholesome themes!

Hallmark should make a movie about the royal prince of a fictional European monarchy who decides to marry based on the best interests of family and nation, selflessly fulfilling his patriotic duty as future sovereign.

Sounds enthralling, doesn’t it? Like that line from “The West Wing” where John Larroquette is talking about Gilbert and Sullivan and trying to remember what play a line is from: “One of the ones about duty,” and Ainsley, the earnest aide played by Emily Procter, shoots back “They’re all about duty. And it’s from Pinafore.”

Only Miller’s wouldn’t rhyme or be any fun, so scratch that comparison.

Still, we were up for a very slight challenge and we’d been looking for an excuse to try out the new “ChatGPT” AI toy from OpenAI, which has been all the rage for about five minutes because it’s pretty good at generating text that sounds plausible, if repetitive after a very short while. (If you want to play with it, you’ll need to create a free account.)

So we decided to fulfill Stephen Miller’s Christmas TV Movie wish, since it hardly took any effort on our part. Here’s our first try, with the prompt “write a script for a Hallmark movie about the royal prince of a fictional European monarchy who decides to marry based on the best interests of family and nation, selflessly fulfilling his patriotic duty as future sovereign.”

First Try: ‘Duty And Love’

The Royal Prince, David, sat in his chambers, staring at the piles of letters on his desk. As the future Sovereign of the Kingdom of Arcadia, it was his duty to choose a bride. But he was not just looking for a wife, he was looking for someone who could help him lead the kingdom into a brighter future.

David sighed and reached for a letter, reading through it quickly. He had received countless proposals from noblewomen across Europe, each one more eager than the last to marry the prince and become the future Queen of Arcadia. But David knew that he could not simply marry for love, he had to marry for the good of the kingdom.

As he read through the letters, he thought about the many challenges facing Arcadia. The kingdom was struggling economically, and tensions with its neighbors were growing. David knew that he needed a strong, intelligent, and capable partner to help him navigate these challenges and secure a prosperous future for the kingdom.

Finally, after much contemplation, David made his decision. He summoned his advisor and announced that he had chosen to marry Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of a powerful Duke from a neighboring kingdom. The marriage would not only be beneficial for Arcadia, but it would also strengthen the alliance between the two kingdoms and help to secure peace in the region.

The royal wedding was a grand affair, with people from across Europe coming to witness the union of Prince David and Lady Elizabeth. As they exchanged vows, David felt a sense of duty and responsibility, knowing that he was not just marrying for himself, but for the good of the kingdom.

But despite the practical nature of their marriage, David and Elizabeth soon found that they had a deep connection and genuine love for each other. As they worked together to lead Arcadia into a brighter future, they realized that their union was not just a political arrangement, but a true partnership of love and duty.

Rebecca, in the ChatCave, with a revolver: “Well, it was fast, but it’s not a movie script. STUPID AI!!!!!” I tweaked the prompt a bit, asking the bot to write a script, with dialogue, for a single scene from Miller’s ideal movie, and it spat out a perfectly adequate but bland conversation between another prince (Charles this time) and his loyal butler Jenkins, also about marrying for the good of the kingdom and how wise that is.

Finally I hit on what was needed: “Write a script, with dialogue, for a pivotal love scene from a Hallmark movie,” etc.

Readers, prepare to be swept off your romantic dutiful feet.

Third Try: Talk Duty To Me, Baby

(Fine, that is Dok’s title because he wants to stay ahead of the Machines)

Narrator: Prince Richard stood at the edge of the balcony, overlooking the bustling city below. As the future king of his small European nation, he had always known that his marriage would be a strategic political alliance. But now, as the day of his arranged marriage approached, he found himself struggling with the weight of his duty.

Prince Richard: (to himself) How can I marry someone I do not love? Is it selfish to want to marry for love, rather than for the good of my country?

Narrator: Just then, the door to the balcony opened and his betrothed, Princess Sophia, stepped out to join him.

Princess Sophia: (approaching Prince Richard) My lord, I did not expect to find you out here.

Prince Richard: (turning to Princess Sophia) Forgive me, Princess. I was just taking in the view.

Princess Sophia: (smiling) It is a beautiful city, is it not?

Prince Richard: (nodding) Indeed. It is my home, and I love it dearly. But sometimes, I cannot help but wonder if I am making the right decision.

Princess Sophia: (surprised) What do you mean, my lord?

Prince Richard: (sighing) My marriage to you is an arrangement, a political alliance for the good of our nations. But is that truly what I want?

Princess Sophia: (pausing, then taking Prince Richard’s hand) My lord, I too have always known that our marriage was for the good of our countries. But over the past few months, I have come to care for you deeply. I know that we may not have the kind of love that is written about in fairy tales, but I believe that with time and effort, we can build a strong and loving marriage.

Prince Richard: (squeezing Princess Sophia’s hand) You are wise beyond your years, Princess. I have been so caught up in my own doubts that I did not see how much you have come to mean to me. I will marry you, not out of a sense of duty, but because I want to be with you.

Narrator: And so, Prince Richard and Princess Sophia entered into their marriage with love in their hearts, knowing that they would face the challenges of ruling their nations together, hand in hand.

Princess Sophia: Hey! Let’s take some immigrant children from their parents!

Prince Richard: NOW you’re talkin’, toots!

And that’s why humans remain in charge, buster.

He loved her, especially since she was so well suited to be Head of State

[ChatGPT / Atlantic / Stable Diffusion AI / DreamStudio Lite AI]

Dear Wonkette readers,

As a fan of political satire and fart jokes, you know that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to create the kind of content that you enjoy. That’s why we’re asking you to consider donating $5 or $10 a month to help us keep bringing you the best political satire and fart jokes on the internet. — ChatGPT

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

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Kirstie Alley, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Veronica’s Closet’ star, dead at 71 | CNN


Actress Kirstie Alley, star of the big and small screens known for her Emmy-winning role on “Cheers” and films like “Look Who’s Talking,” has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children True and Lillie Parker announced on her social media.

She was 71.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the statement read.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead,” the family’s statement continued. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did,” the statement said.

Kirstie Alley’s sexy spin on ‘DWTS’


– Source:

A representative for Alley confirmed to CNN via email on Tuesday that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer prior to her death.

A two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner, Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1951.

After a standout role in 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” she played roles in movies like 1984’s “Blind Date” and 1987’s “Summer School” opposite Mark Harmon.

That same year, Alley would follow Shelley Long to play the lead opposite Ted Danson in the latter part of TV classic sitcom “Cheers,” which premiered in 1982. Alley first appeared in 1987, playing strong and independent bar manager Rebecca Howe, staying on the acclaimed show until it ended in 1993.

After winning the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 1991 for “Cheers” and another for lead actress in a miniseries or special for 1994’s “David’s Mother,” she again found TV success in the late ’90s with series “Veronica’s Closet,” which scored her another Emmy nod.

Additionally, Alley starred in a number of memorable films, like the “Look Who’s Talking” movies, 1990’s “Madhouse” and 1999’s “Drop Dead Gorgeous” with Ellen Barkin.

In 2005, Alley co-wrote and starred in the Showtime comedy “Fat Actress” before making a foray into reality TV.

She appeared in “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” in 2010, was a contestant on Season 12 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” the next year and placed second on Season 22 of the British version of “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2018. In 2022, she competed in Season 7 of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”

Though she had an impressive body of work, the later part of her career was marked by Alley’s penchant for stirring controversy, especially through social media.

In a 2007 interview, Alley said she was proud of her no holds barred ways.

“I’ve always felt like if someone asks me something, they want the real answer,” Alley told Good Housekeeping. “I think there’s also something about being from Kansas. Usually people think I’m from New York. The only similarity between New Yorkers and Midwesterners is that what you see is what you get.”

kirstie alley larry king live 2005 interview vpx

Kirstie Alley looks back on her ‘Cheers’ years (2005)

John Travolta, who costarred with Alley in 1989’s hit “Look Who’s Talking” as well as two sequels, wrote on Instagram on Monday, “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”

Jamie Lee Curtis – who worked with Alley in 2016 on episodes of TV’s “Scream Queens” – shared a statement on Facebook to pay tribute to the late actress, writing, “She was a great comic foil in @tvscreamqueens and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. She helped me buy onesies for my family that year for Christmas. We agreed to disagree about some things but had a mutual respect and connection. Sad news.”

Josh Gad tweeted, “My heart breaks for Kirstie and her family. Whether it was her brilliance in ‘Cheers; or her magnetic performance in the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ franchise, her smile was always infectious, her laugh was always contagious and her charisma was always iconic. RIP.”

Alley’s “Cheers” co-star Ted Danson told Deadline he had just watched Alley in an episode of the show while on a plane before learning of her death.

“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of ‘Cheers,’” Danson told the outlet. “It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny.”

“She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard. As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh,” Danson added. “I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”

Another “Cheers” star, Rhea Perlman, told CNN in a statement that she and Alley became friends instantly on the set of “Cheers.”

“Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy of being was boundless,” Perlman said. “We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers. She loved kids and my kids loved her too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created. She had massive Halloween and Easter parties and invited the entire crew of the show and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. She loved her children deeply. I’ve never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I’m going to miss her very, very much.”

“Baywatch” actor Parker Stevenson, who was married to Alley from 1983 to 1997 and is the father of her two children, also paid tribute to her on social media. In an Instagram post, confirmed to be Stevenson’s by a representative for the actor, he wrote: “Kirstie, I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren that we have. You will be missed.”

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