Trump returns to Twitter with what sounds like a concession speech

It’s been a long couple of days for the country, but President Trump only had to wait 12 hours before returning to his social network of choice.

In an uncharacteristically scripted three-ish minute speech, the president denounced the “heinous attack” on the Capitol. “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said, warning the individuals involved that they will “pay.”

The previous day, Trumped directed a crowd of his supporters to march to the Capitol. After that event turned into a violent riot that disrupted Congress as it worked to certify election results, Trump encouraged the rioters, telling them they were “special” and “we love you” in a video posted to Twitter.

After yesterday’s video, Twitter locked Trump’s account and required him to delete a handful of tweets before having his access restored. On Thursday, Facebook froze his account for the remainder of his time in office.

Noting that he had explored “every legal avenue” to stay in power, Trump appeared to throw in the towel Thursday in his undemocratic crusade to overturn the legitimate results of the American election.

In the video Trump concedes for the first time, claiming that he will willingly leave office on January 20. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said.

Google AI concocts ‘breakie’ and ‘cakie’ hybrid baked goods

If, as I suspect many of you have, you have worked your way through baking every type of cookie, bread, and cake under the sun over the last year, Google has a surprise for you: a pair of AI-generated hybrid treats, the “breakie” and the “cakie.”

The origin of these new items seems to have been in a demonstration of the company’s AutoML Tables tool, a codeless model generation system that’s more spreadsheet automation than what you’d really call “artificial intelligence.” But let’s not split hairs, or else we’ll never get to the recipe.

Specifically it was the work of Sara Robinson, who was playing with these tools earlier last spring, as a person interested in machine learning and baking was likely to start doing around that time as cabin fever first took hold.

What happened was she wanted to design a system that would look at a recipe and automatically tell you whether it was bread, cookie, or cake, and why — for instance, a higher butter and sugar content might bias it towards cookie, while yeast was usually a dead giveaway for bread.

Image Credits: Sara Robinson

But of course, not every recipe is so straightforward, and the tool isn’t always 100% sure. Robinson began to wonder, what would a recipe look like that the system couldn’t decide on?

She fiddled around with the ingredients until she found a balance that caused the machine learning system to produce a perfect 50/50 split between cookie and cake. Naturally, she made some — behold the “cakie.”

A cakie, left, and breakies, right, with Robinson.

A cakie, left, and breakies, right, with Robinson.

“It is yummy. And it strangely tastes like what I’d imagine would happen if I told a machine to make a cake cookie hybrid,” she wrote.

The other hybrid she put together was the “breakie,” which as you surely have guessed by now is half bread, half cookie. This one ended up a little closer to “fluffy cookies, almost the consistency of a muffin.” And indeed they look like muffin tops that have lost their bottoms. But breakie sounds better than muffin tops (or “brookie,” apparently the original name).

These ingredients and ratios were probably invented or tried long ago, but it’s certainly an interesting way to arrive at a new recipe using only old ones.

The recipes below are perfectly doable, but to be transparent were not entirely generated by algorithm. It only indicates proportions of ingredients, and didn’t include any flavorings or features like vanilla or chocolate chips, both which Robinson added. The actual baking instructions had to be puzzled out as well (the AI doesn’t know what temperature is, or pans). But if you need something to try making that’s different from the usual weekend treat, you could probably do worse than one of these.

FTC commissioners call Apple, Google 'gatekeepers' of mobile gaming industry

In a settlement between mobile advertising firm Tapjoy and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, two commissioners lambasted Apple and Google for creating a hostile environment for gaming industry players.

Democratic Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter in a statement said Tapjoy is “a minnow next to the gatekeeping giants of the mobile gaming industry, Apple and Google.” The FTC’s three Republican commissioners did not attach their names to the critical letter, reports CNBC.

“By offering a platform connecting advertisers, gamers, and game developers, Tapjoy allows these developers to generate advertising revenue that Apple and Google do not tax,” the commissioners said. “But this monetization model also creates opportunities for fraud”

Chopra and Slaughter surmise that “heavy taxation” under app store models run by Apple and Google has pushed developers to “alternative monetization models that rely on surveillance, manipulation, and other harmful practices.” Tapjoy, which was accused of false advertising related to unfulfilled in-game offers, was one of those avenues.

“For the vast majority of apps on the App Store, developers keep 100% of the money they make. The only apps that are subject to a commission are those where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device and where the features or services would be experienced and consumed on an Apple device,” Cook said in a prepared statement designed to address scrutiny of App Store monetary policy.

Both Apple and Google have come under fire for taking a healthy portion of digital app store fees. The most public challenge comes from Epic Games, which last year leveled legal claims against Apple over the tech giant’s cut of in-game purchases, as well as regulations that restrict third-party app stores on iOS.

Seemingly in response to heightened criticism of its App Store practices, Apple in November announced a Small Business Program that reduces the App Store commission rate to 15% per year for developers making under $1 million a year.