All aboard Hillary’s new plane

Taking questions from her traveling press corps for the first time since July, Hillary Clinton defended her handling of classified material while secretary of state and tied Donald Trump to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Clinton, who hasn’t had a formal press conference in 275 days, took more than 10 questions from her press corps at the back of her new campaign plane Monday afternoon. Trump has seized on her reluctance to engage with the media, calling her "Hiding Hillary" and blasting out the number of days since her last press conference to his followers on social media.

Starting Monday, Clinton began allowing the reporters who cover her campaign to travel with her on a new and larger 737 jet, instead of in a separate plane. "I think it’s pretty cool, don’t you?" Clinton said about the new plane Monday morning. "I’m so happy to have you all of you with me." Reporters laughed, and Clinton added, "No, really!" She promised she would return to talk to them "more formally" later. (Liz Goodwin/Yahoo News)

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White House: Kaepernick’s anthem views ‘objectionable’ but protected

The White House said Monday that it disagrees with Colin Kaepernick’s “objectionable” decision to stay seated during the national anthem in protest but defended the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s right to freedom of speech.

President Obama, a devoted sports fan, is “aware of this issue,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing.

“In general, what I can say is that I certainly don’t share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game in explaining his reasoning for his actions,” Earnest said. “But we surely all acknowledge and even defend his right to express those views in the settings that he chooses. Even as objectionable as we find his perspective, he certainly is entitled to express them.”

Kaepernick sparked a firestorm of controversy by refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before his team’s preseason loss last week to the Green Bay Packers. He subsequently explained his decision as an act of political protest.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media on Saturday. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In a separate statement, posted on the official 49ers website, Kaepernick defended himself from the accusation that his protest is an affront to American servicemen and -women. The quarterback said he has “great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country.”

NFL Media also reported that the league position is that “players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

Obama ‘tired’ of talking about Trump

President Obama took a brief respite from his two-week summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to attend a Democratic fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on the island Monday night. And with more than two months to go before the Nov. 8 election, the commander in chief said he’s already tired of talking about Donald Trump.

“You notice I haven’t said much about her opponent,” Obama told the approximately 60 guests who contributed $10,000 each to attend the fundraiser at a private home in Chilmark, Mass., according to a White House transcript.

“Frankly, I’m tired of talking about her opponent. I don’t have to make the case against her opponent because every time he talks he makes the case against his own candidacy.”

Obama said this despite the fact that he has yet to really hit the campaign trail for Clinton, who is running on an agenda that includes cementing the 44th president’s policy legacy.

At the Monday fundraiser, Obama further emphasized “a sense of urgency” in “finishing the job of getting her elected.”

“This has been an unpredictable election season,” Obama said. “Not only because of anxieties and concerns that the American people have, but also because of the changing nature of the media and voting patterns. There’s still a lot of uncertainty out there. And if we are not running scared until the day after the election, we are going to be making a grave mistake.”

According to RealClearPolitics’ most recent average of national polling data, Clinton has opened up a seven-point lead over Trump (48 percent to 41 percent) among likely voters. Following last month’s Republican National Convention, Trump held a one-point lead over the former secretary in RCP’s poll average.

Obama’s comments came hours after Clinton appeared at a rally in Scranton, Pa., with Vice President Joe Biden, who tore into Trump as a candidate who “doesn’t have a clue.”

“I can say that no major-party nominee in the history of the United States of America has known less or been less prepared to deal with national security than Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And what absolutely amazes me is he doesn’t seem to want to learn it.”

At the fundraiser, which Clinton did not attend, Obama said he did not want to “belabor” making the case for her candidacy, noting that both he and Biden already did that at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

“The main thing I want to emphasize is that this is somebody who I know and I have worked alongside for many years,” Obama said of Clinton. “And, look, I’m a Democrat, and so it’s fair to say that whoever the Democratic nominee was I would want to get behind them. But I don’t display the kinds of enthusiasm and energy and commitment to Hillary’s candidacy just because of the fact that we belong to the same political party.

“When I say that she knows what she’s talking about, it’s because I have seen her do the work,” he continued. “When I talk about her work ethic, it’s because I’ve watched her travel around the world and, at a breathless pace, manage a whole range of conflicts and open up opportunities that have resulted in American national security interests being served. When I tell you that I’ve seen how she works not just with me, but with her staff and people below her in a way that is full of integrity and seriousness and good humor, it’s something that I’ve witnessed on a day-to-day basis.”

Obama added that he’s learned that “you don’t know ahead of time how you’re going to turn out as president” until you’re actually “at that desk.”

“But I will tell you that I have as good a guess when it comes to how Hillary will respond as I would of anybody’s,” he said, “because I’ve seen her under really tough-pressure situations. And that’s what’s needed right now.”

More life for Moore’s Law? Vortex laser may enable more powerful computers

If you’ve ever wondered why modern smartphones possess many times the computational power of yesteryear’s room-size supercomputers, while costing just a fraction of the price, the answer was famously described by Moore’s Law. Named after the co-founder of Intel, Gordon E. Moore, Moore’s Law states that the overall processing power for computers will double approximately every two years, due to researchers’ ability to squeeze increasingly large numbers of components onto computer chips.

But while Moore’s Law has held true since 1965, in recent years speculation has arisen that it would soon stop holding true. Some researchers have even suggested that — unless something dramatic happened — it may not continue past the next five years.

Related: DIY laser bazooka is the most terrifyingly awesome thing you’ll see today

A new research project carried out by researchers at the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy may just be that “something dramatic.” The researchers have unveiled a new tiny laser which emits a beam of light in a whirlpool-style corkscrew pattern, which could be used to convey 10 times the amount of information currently carried by modern optical communication systems. The result may be a crucial component in the quest to build increasingly powerful computers into the foreseeable future.

“Our microlaser is the first independent micro/nanoscale laser source emitting complex vector beams carrying the [orbital angular momentum] information available for an ultimate miniaturized optical communication platform,” Liang Feng, assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, told Digital Trends. Feng added that, “The use of orbital angular momentum (OAM) light is expected to enable the implementation of entirely new high-speed secure optical communication and quantum teleportation systems in a multidimensional space by encoding information with different OAM, satisfying the exponentially growing demand worldwide for network capacity.”

Feng notes that the technology is still currently firmly in the research stages, although a finished scaleable product could appear sooner than people think. “We are now working on electrically driven OAM microlasers such that the lasers can be integrated on an advanced signal processing chip or simply plugged in all kinds of optical comms applications,” he says. “The electrically driven OAM microlaser is expected in a year or so.”

And just when we were thinking we couldn’t like lasers any more than we already do.

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‘Malarkey’ searches skyrocket after Joe Biden's DNC speech [Video]

Vice President Joe Biden didn’t hold back Wednesday when upbraiding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention.

“He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarkey!” Biden said to thunderous applause in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

Afterward, lookups for the old-fashioned, somewhat corny word “malarkey” spiked more than 17,400 percent on According to the entry, “malarkey” means “insincere or foolish talk; bunkum.”

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large of Merriam-Webster, pointed out that there are many reasons to look up a word in the dictionary other than learning its meaning, whether it’s double-checking the spelling, reading about its etymology or something else.

“A lot of people would have understood from the context that the word means ‘nonsense,’ but they are checking it out. They’re looking it up,” he said in an interview with Yahoo News.

Biden has said “malarkey” many times throughout his political career dating back to at least 1983. It can be used freely in politics because it’s not an obscenity and it’s clearly informal, Sokolowski pointed out.

“I think it’s deliberately old-fashioned. I think it’s part of his persona. He’s trying to be your Irish uncle. He’s someone who has an avuncular and warm personality,” he said.

The term’s exact origin is unknown but its earlier citations date from the 1920s, and it appears to have been a preferred slang term among Irish-Americans — not the Irish.

Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden used the word “malarkey” a few times during the 2012 vice presidential debate with Rep. Paul Ryan. Biden and Ryan share an Irish heritage.

“In that debate, you had the older Joe Biden speaking to the younger man, Paul Ryan, kind of as if they were at a kitchen table during a family argument,” Sokolowski recalled. “There he was using ‘malarkey,’ trying to kind of teach the young kid a thing or two. And that’s the way it came off. It was very effective then and it was clearly effective last night, too.”

Other words have been trending as a result of the DNC as well.

Searches for “hypocrisy” (“the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do”) spiked after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”

The same goes for “uxorious” (“excessively fond of or submissive to a wife”) when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd described former President Bill Clinton as “positively uxorious” while delivering a speech about his wife, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Searches for “demagogue” went up after President Obama said that anyone who threatened the United States’ values would fail — whether they be “fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues.” Somewhat amusingly, searches for “demigod” also shot up.

In his endorsement of Clinton, her former primary rival Bernie Sanders said she would appoint Supreme Court justices who would “end the movement toward oligarchy in this country.” This increased lookups of “oligarchy” (“a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes”).

Sokolowski reiterated that just because people are looking up a word in the dictionary does not mean that they do not know its meaning.

“We’re good at reading data. We’re not good at reading minds,” he said. “You could be looking it up to learn about the plural or to learn the fine points of the definition.”

He pointed out that many words start trending in parallel. For instance, “socialism” and “capitalism” spiked at the same time, suggesting that people were comparing and contrasting the economic philosophies. 
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