Google Flights Expands ‘Tips’ to Offer Cheaper Hotel Bookings, Google Trips Now Shows Discounts

Google Flights Expands 'Tips' to Offer Cheaper Hotel Bookings, Google Trips Now Shows Discounts

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tips on Google Flights will now suggest cost-effective hotel bookings
  • Google Flights was previously providing tips on flight bookings
  • Google Trips app offers access to deals through ‘Discounts’ feature

Making the experience better during this travel season, Google Flights has received a new update that expands the coverage of its Tips with enhanced machine learning efforts to make hotel bookings cost-effective. Google Trips, on the other hand, now comes with a Discounts feature.

Back in August, Google Flights was upgraded with Tips feature, which offered recommendations to save air travel costs. The feature was originally limited to flight bookings. But now, Google has used machine learning to provide you with tips even when you pick a hotel for your stay. You will receive tips above the results of your hotel bookings when room rates are higher than usual, or if the area is busier than usual due to a holiday or in case of any occupational instance such as a music concert or a business conference. All this will eventually help you avoid the busy dates and get the hotels at an affordable charge.

In addition to tips about the change in prices, you can opt for Hotel Price Tracking on your smartphone to get email price alerts about price drops on your choices of hotels. This new feature will also be available on the desktop version of Google Flights site in 2018.

Alongside the updated Google Flights, Google has brought a new version of the Google Trips app with the Discount feature. The new addition will give you instant access to deals on tickets and tours related to top attractions and activities. “Book and save on a tour of the Mayan ruins near Cancun, or get priority access to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. No matter where you’re headed (and if you need ideas, read on), Trips makes it easy to browse and access fun stuff to do on your vacation without breaking the bank,” Google VP of Travel Products Richard Holden said in a blog post.

Deals through the Discount feature on Google Trips will surface for various top attractions, activities, and tours around your location in the coming days.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Documents Offer Insight Into Soviet View Of JFK Assassination

Image result for Documents Offer Insight Into Soviet View Of JFK Assassination

American Lee Harvey Oswald and his Russian wife, Marina, pose on a bridge walk in Minsk during their stay in the Soviet Union. This is a 1964 handout photo from the Warren Commission.

AP

Was the Soviet Union involved in the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy?

Given Cold War tensions and the fact that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union and lived there in the years leading up to the assassination, it’s a question that has long intrigued even the mildly conspiracy-minded.

Some 2,800 documents released by order of President Trump on Thursday provide some possible insights into how the assassination was viewed inside the Soviet Union.

That reaction appears to have been one of genuine surprise, as well as concern inside the Communist Party that the killing of Kennedy might be part of a larger right-wing coup to take over the U.S. government.

In a memo labeled “Top Secret” and dated Dec. 1, 1966 from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to Marvin Watson, a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, cites “[a] source who has furnished reliable information in the past and who was in Russia on the date of the assassination …”

The news, it says “was greeted by great shock and consternation and church bells were tolled in the memory of President Kennedy.”

The memo continues: “According to our source, officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the “ultraright” in the United States to effect a ‘coup.’ They seemed convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man but that it arose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part.”

The Soviets were fearful that the assassination would be used to play on “anticommunist sentiments” in the U.S. to “stop negotiations with the Soviet Union, attack Cuba and thereafter spread war.”

Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, went to the Soviet Union in 1959 and married there. Apparently disenchanted with Soviet life, he returned to U.S. soil less than two years later after apparently trying to commit suicide.

The FBI memo, citing the unnamed source, says “Soviet officials claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had no connection whatsoever with the Soviet Union. They described him as a neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else.”

The same single source reported that the KGB, the Soviet intelligence agency, “issued instructions to all of its agents to immediately obtain all data available concerning” President Johnson. The memo said that in the months after Kennedy’s death, the KGB had come into “possession of data purporting to indicate that President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy.”

In a different memo, this one from the CIA Director of Security to CIA Headquarters, originally classified “Secret” and dated March 11, 1964, refers to a George M. Lesnik, a former KGB agent who was in Moscow on the day of the Kennedy assassination.

After hearing the news, he “dashed to his office” to look at Oswald’s file. “When he found the file he reviewed it and found that Oswald had not been used or even approached for use by the Russian intelligence.” Lesnik claimed that he then called others in the KGB who said they were unaware that Oswald had been cultivated in any way before returning to the United States.

[“Source-npr”]

Neighbors, ‘relative’ offer insights about Joseph Jakubowski

JANESVILLE—Neighbors said Joseph Jakubowski was quiet and polite and kept to himself in the few years they knew him.

Another woman, who characterized herself as a “relative” of Jakubowski’s, on Monday said Jakubowski had fallen on hard times in the past few months after he’d apparently lost his job at a local retail store and was unable to find other work or assistance.

Police believe Jakubowski mailed an anti-government manifesto to the president April 4, burglarized a rural Janesville gun shop and then vanished. Investigators continued an intensive local and national manhunt Monday.

Monday afternoon, a woman who pulled a car into Jakubowski’s last known residence at 811 Glen St. told The Gazette she would speak only on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns. She would only identify herself as a “relative” of Jakubowski’s.

The woman painted a picture of Jakubowski as a man who’d been struggling to find equilibrium after she said he’d lost his job at a local Best Buy store then hurt his back doing a pick-up job roofing houses.

“He lost his job, and he couldn’t find another job,” the woman said. “Couldn’t find work. Couldn’t get any help. Couldn’t get food stamps. Couldn’t get nothing. Hurt his back. What do you do?”

Despite those troubles, the woman said, Jakubowski had a history—even recently—of trying to help other people.

The woman said Jakubowski recently had helped mow people’s lawns, and he’d tackle handyman work and repair other people’s cars.

“He helped a gentleman that was taking organs from one hospital to the other that couldn’t get to his job because his car wouldn’t start. He changed the starter so that he could get to work that night,” the woman said.

The woman said she wasn’t sure what would have prompted Jakubowski to mail a 161-page manifesto to President Trump, then burglarize a gun shop, steal more than a dozen high-end guns, and then set his car on fire and disappear, as police believe. But she said it’s not the Joseph Jakubowski she knows.

“I don’t know what happened, or why he snapped. But Joe’s a good person down deep in his heart. Nobody’s printing anything good about him,” the woman said.

The woman said the last time she’d communicated with Jakubowski was at the end of March, when he indicated he planned to move out of the home on Glen Street.

“Joe was making a life for himself. He was making a good life. He just hit a really bad, hard run,” she said.

The woman said two other families live at 811 Glen St. She said one of the families recently moved in, and they don’t know Jakubowski. The woman would not disclose how she knew that information.

The Gazette on Monday knocked on the door to the upper level of the home where Jakubowski apparently lived for about two years, according to police and court records. No one answered.

Jakubowski is a longtime Janesville resident. A 1999 Janesville Parker High School yearbook in Gazette archives shows Jakubowski’s photo, and it has an image of him in uniform as a member of the high school concert band. Jakubowski was a freshman at Parker at the time.

Crystal Duran told The Gazette earlier she knew Jakubowski while growing up near Mercy Hospital and at Parker High School, where she saw him bullied.

“When we were younger, everybody was always picking on him all the time,” she said. “Kids beat him up at school.”

Duran said she never saw him do anything to prompt the bullying.

Jakubowski is well known to local police after minor scrapes with the law, mostly through his many traffic citations.

But in 2008, Jakubowski repeatedly pulled on an officer’s holstered sidearm during a fight with the officer in Janesville, according to a criminal complaint. Three officers eventually subdued him. He was charged with trying to disarm an officer and was sentenced to probation.

Police weren’t releasing much background information about the life of Jakubowski, and beyond characterizing his manifesto as broadly anti-government, police haven’t given much information about insights they’ve developed on Jakubowski’s mental state.

Sheriff Robert Spoden on Monday said the sheriff’s office was still interviewing people Jakubowski knows to gain insights into the man who police consider an armed and dangerous fugitive. He said investigators are working with FBI personality profile experts to try to piece together a clearer picture of Jakubowski’s personality and his mental state in the days leading up to him vanishing.

Spoden said he couldn’t highlight investigators’ findings because he didn’t want to compromise an ongoing investigation.

Jakubowski has been “highly agitated by national politics recently,” according to associates investigators have spoken to, Spoden said earlier.

“When you look at the (manifesto), it is a laundry list of injustices he believes government and society and the upper class have put … onto the rest of the citizens,” Spoden said.

Carol Austin, a landlord at the Glen Street house next door to Jakubowski, and Phil Scriven, one of Austin’s tenants, were outside doing yard work Monday. Both told The Gazette that in the two years Jakubowski lived next door, they’d had limited contact with the man, but they both characterized Jakubowski as “quiet” and “polite.”

Jakubowski once came by to borrow some oil and a set of wrenches from Scriven. Scriven said Jakubowski returned the tools promptly and thanked Scriven.

Scriven said he doesn’t know much about Jakubowski, who he said “stayed to himself and minded his own business.”

Scriven said he knew Jakubowski liked to drink soda—Mountain Dew, especially.

Scriven said it’s been a tense set of days for neighbors who’ve seen SWAT teams set up outside residences on Glen Street a few times.

“To see cops walking around carrying rifles in the neighborhood, all that commotion, it’s been unnerving to say the least, Scriven said. “We’ve had onlookers, sometimes 60 to 70 of them pulling up and down the street when police are here.

“It’s just been unsettling.”

[“Source-gazettextra”]

Mouse studies offer new insights about cocaine’s effect on the brain

Addiction resistant? When scientists manipulated mice to remove a specific protein from their brain’s reward region, the animals showed a pronounced decrease in their preference for cocaine.

Now the laboratory of Rockefeller University Professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard has shown for the first time in mice how a protein called WAVE1 regulates the brain’s response to cocaine. Their discovery, which was published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers fundamental insights into the brain’s inner workings—and could lead to better interventions for treating addiction to cocaine and other drugs.

Cocaine and the brain

Researchers have long used cocaine as a model to study how certain messages are transmitted in the brain. And Greengard’s group, which investigates the molecular basis of communication between nerve cells in the brains of mammals, has studied WAVE1, a protein involved in cell signaling, for more than a decade. But their PNAS study reveals something new about the way in which WAVE1 and dopamine interact.

“We knew about the connection between WAVE1 and dopamine many years ago, but until now no one knew the mechanism of how cocaine stimulates WAVE1 and how WAVE1 regulates cocaine’s actions,” says Yong Kim, a Research Assistant Professor in Greengard’s lab and the senior author of the new study.

No WAVE1, no reward

In the new work, the team observed that WAVE1 became active in the brain of mice exposed to cocaine, and that this cocaine effect on WAVE1 could be prevented by blocking dopamine receptors. The research also provides new clues about how WAVE1 influences changes in the brain’s synapses— the junctions between nerves through which impulses pass—in response to cocaine exposure.

Specifically, the investigators looked at changes in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, a key component of the neural reward system that is known to play a critical part in addiction—and in which dopamine is heavily involved. When these synapses form, they allow the signals from dopamine and another neurotransmitter called glutamate to be transmitted.

To investigate the interaction between WAVE1 and dopamine more specifically, the team looked at mice that had WAVE1 selectively removed in nerve cells. These nerve cells also contained one of the subtypes of dopamine receptor (called D1). They found a significant decrease in the preference for cocaine in these mice, compared with those producing normal WAVE1 levels.  This suggested that the dopamine signals were not being transmitted.

However, this effect was not seen when WAVE1 was removed from nerve cells containing a different dopamine receptor subtype (called D2). Those results suggest previously unknown details about how cocaine works.

Addiction intervention

“It’s well known that cocaine increases the signaling of dopamine in the brain,” Kim says. “Understanding more about the mechanism of cocaine action is providing new insight into the neurobiology of addiction. Our eventual goal is to use these findings to find a way to develop a drug to treat addiction.”

However, Kim says there are limitations to the current work, largely because the mice were injected with cocaine by the researchers. Future studies will need a system in which the mice can self-administer the cocaine by pushing a lever and injecting themselves, a model that more closely mimics human addiction behavior.

This work was supported by grants from the Department of Defense (USAMRAA W81XWH-09-1-0392 and W81XWH-09-1-0402), the National Institutes of Health (DA010044, MH090963, R01DA014133 and NS34696), and the JPB Foundation.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]