This AI Can Tell if You Have Covid-19 Just by Listening to Your Cough

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It feels like whenever I cough these days it triggers a mini-panic attack that I promptly try to quash with a steady stream of chamomile tea. Thankfully, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to gauge whether a person has covid-19 just from the sound of their cough, so I may…

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Kiszla: The Mile High magic is gone for Broncos in wretched 2020, which has now also ruined the fun of home-field advantage.

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If 5280 is no advantage to Denver, the Broncos might as well play their home games in Scottsbluff, Neb., or Nome, Alaska.

Rain, sleet or snow can’t stop Broncomaniacs from rattling the stadium John Elway built with Rocky Mountain thunder. But the nasty coronavirus has prevented the team from putting more than 5,700 fans in Empower Field at Mile High, where the Broncos have forgotten how to win this season.

In 2020, is there any home-field advantage in the NFL?

“Absolutely not,” Broncos quarterback Drew Lock replied, “except for the fact that you have to travel and you might be a little tired.”

Know what’s really wearisome? The Broncos are 0-3 at home this season. Remember when Denver was one of the toughest places in the league to play? Not now.

Back in the day, when linebacker Randy Gradishar rocked the house and foot-stomping Broncomaniacs turned the metal stands of old Mile High into a big bass drum, home-field advantage was worth a field goal. At least. But the stadium Denver now calls home has become neutral ground, which goes a long way in explaining why the Chargers and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert will arrive Sunday as three-point favorites on Denver’s home turf.

That ain’t right.

“I wouldn’t say there’s too much of a home-field advantage anywhere in the league right now,” Lock said.

Since 1970, the thin air of playing games 5,280 feet above sea level combined with that crazy South Stands passion gave the Broncos a home-field advantage measurable on the scoreboard. During 77 home games basically regarded as toss-ups, with neither Denver nor the visitors favored by more than a point, the team wearing orange and blue fashioned an impressive record of 47-26-4, emerging victorious more than 60 percent of the time.

The influence of Denver’s 12th man was no fluke. Five decades qualifies as a trend.

The pandemic, however, is threatening to erase the traditional value of the home field that was already on the wane throughout the league. The home team’s record last season was a rather unimpressive 132-123-1, the lowest it had been since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002. And for those inclined to wager: The home team covered the spread a mere 43.7% of the time in 2019, according to ESPN’s database.

Video killed the radio star, and technology might ultimately be the demise of home-field advantage. Quarterbacks have headsets in their helmets and fans often have noses stuck in cellphones.

I used to believe the formula for the Broncos making the playoffs was to go at least 6-2 at home and .500 on the road. But maybe that old math doesn’t compute for any NFL team in 2020.

“I don’t know what the numbers are around the league or how it looks …  I do think the usual home-field advantage is still there a little bit, but it’s dissipated some with no fans or very limited fans,” said Broncos coach Vic Fangio, whose team has won two of three games on the road.

“All three of our road games, I believe, there were no fans. You can tell the difference. Without a sold-out stadium rooting for the home team, it is different. I’ll be curious to see at the end of the season if the home-and-away stats have been altered.”

With the gosh-awful New York Jets, Atlanta, Detroit and Minnesota joining the Broncos in winless misery at home as this crazy season approaches the halfway point, the record of home teams throughout the league is 53-52-1.

Football without fans is like a party without friends. It might still be football, but it feels hollow. Yes, the Broncos have lost at home to Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Kansas City, which all appear to be playoff bound. But this young team misses its Broncomaniacs. Big time.

“There’s no noise anywhere you go play,” Lock said.

Nobody enjoys riding the emotional wave of the home crowd more than Lock. If you ask me, his coolest moment of 2019 was rapping as “Put On” by Young Jeezy blared over the stadium sound system during a victory over the Raiders.

Contrast that unbridled moment of joy with the dead silence in the same stadium when Lock through a pick-six to Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen during the second quarter of a 43-16 loss to the Chiefs last Sunday. Although they tried, 5,700 fans couldn’t make enough noise to pick up Lock.

“I know we had people in our stands, and they were loud for the number that could be in there,” Lock said. “But it’s obviously not loud enough to really affect a game and get the true Mile High experience for the teams that get to come in here.”

This Denver team needs all the help and any edge it can get.

But at home against Herbert, a rookie quarterback who 5,700 fans won’t be able to rattle? I’m afraid the Broncos will be pretty much on their own.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s self-reliance.

Intel’s Iris Xe Max GPU brings graphics chops to thin-and-light laptops

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Intel claimed Saturday that its new Iris Xe Max graphics can outperform Nvidia’s GeForce MX350 in gaming, and even top a GeForce RTX 2080 in some encoding tasks. How it does that—through power sharing, and an Intel technology called Deep Link—could make the package of an 11th-gen Core Tiger Lake CPU and an Iris Xe Max GPU a spec to look for in future laptops.

Code-named DG1, Intel’s first discrete GPU since 1998’s Intel i740 will appear in mainstream thin-and-light PCs like the Acer Swift 3x, Asus VivoBook Flip TP470, and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1. The Iris Xe Max faces off against Nvidia’s GeForce MX350 and MX450, both discrete mobile GPUs that split the difference between a gaming-class mobile GPU and the integrated graphics included in mobile Ryzen and Core processors.

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Biden looks to restore, expand Obama administration policies

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Stop and reverse. Restore and expand.

Joe Biden is promising to take the country on a very different path from what it has seen over the past four years under President Donald Trump, on issues ranging from the coronavirus and health care to the environment, education and more.

The Democratic presidential nominee is promising to reverse Trump policy moves on things such as withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and weakening protections against environmental pollution.

While Trump wants to kill the Affordable Care Act, Biden is proposing to expand “Obamacare” by adding a public option to cover more Americans.

Here’s what we know about what a Biden presidency might look like.

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ECONOMY, TAXES AND THE DEBT

Biden argues that the economy cannot fully recover until COVID-19 is contained.

For the long-term recovery, the former vice president is pitching sweeping federal action to avoid an extended recession and to address long-standing wealth inequality that disproportionately affects nonwhite Americans.

He would cover the cost of some of his big ticket environmental and health insurance proposals by rolling back much of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. He wants a corporate income tax rate of 28% — lower than before but higher than now — and broad income and payroll tax increases for individuals with more than $400,000 of annual taxable income. All that would generate an estimated $4 trillion or more over 10 years.

Biden also frames immigration as an economic matter. He wants to expand legal immigration slots and offer a citizenship path for about 11 million people who are in the country illegally but who, Biden notes, are already economic contributors as workers and consumers.

An analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s campaign proposals would increase the national debt by about $5.6 trillion over 10 years.

The national debt now stands at more than $20 trillion.

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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Biden draws some of his sharpest contrasts with Trump on the pandemic, arguing that the presidency and federal government exist for such crises. Unlike Trump, he doesn’t believe the leading role in the virus response should belong to state governors, with the federal government in support.

Biden endorses generous federal spending to help businesses and individuals, along with state and local governments, deal with the financial cliffs of the pandemic slowdown. He’s promised aggressive use of the Defense Production Act, the wartime law a president can use to direct manufacture of critical supplies. Trump has used that law on such things as ventilator production.

Biden promises to elevate the government’s scientists and physicians to communicate a consistent message to the public, and he would have the United States rejoin the World Health Organization.

He has promised to use his transition period before taking office to convene meetings with every governor and ask those leaders to impose what would be a nationwide mask mandate because the federal government doesn’t have that power. Biden says he would go around holdouts by securing such rules from county and local officials — though enforcement of all such orders may be questionable.

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HEALTH CARE

The health care law known as “Obamacare” was a hallmark of the Obama administration, and Biden wants to build on that to provide coverage for all. He would create a “Medicare-like public option” to compete alongside private insurance markets for working-age Americans, while increasing premium subsidies that many people already use. Solid middle-class households would have access to subsidized health insurance.

Biden estimates his plan would cost about $750 billion over 10 years. That positions Biden between Trump, who wants to scrap the 2010 health law, and progressives who want a government-run system to replace private insurance altogether. Biden sees his approach as the next step toward universal coverage and one he could get through Congress.

The Supreme Court, which now has a solid conservative majority, is scheduled to hear a case challenging the law soon after Tuesday’s election. If Biden wins, he would have to deal with the fallout from that eventual decision.

On prescription drugs, Biden supports legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for government programs as well as private payers. He would prohibit drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation for people covered by Medicare and other federal programs. He would also limit the initial prices for “specialty drugs” to treat serious illnesses, using what other countries pay as a yardstick.

Biden would put a limit on annual out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare enrollees, a change that Trump sought but was unable to get through Congress. Also similar to Trump, Biden would allow importation of prescription drugs, subject to safety checks.

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IMMIGRATION

Biden has called Trump’s actions on immigration an “unrelenting assault” on American values and says he would “undo the damage” while continuing to maintain border enforcement.

Biden says he would immediately reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allowed people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain as legal residents, and end the restrictions on asylum imposed by Trump.

He also said he would end the Trump administration’s “public charge rule,” which would deny visas or permanent residency to people who use public services such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing vouchers. Biden would support a 100-day freeze on all deportations while his administration studied ways to roll back Trump policies. But Biden would eventually restore an Obama-era policy of prioritizing the removal of immigrants who have come to the U.S. illegally and who have been convicted of crimes or pose a national security threat, as opposed to all immigrants who have come to the country illegally — Trump’s approach. Biden has said he would halt all funding for construction of new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY

Biden supports a strategy of fighting extremist militants abroad with U.S. special forces and airstrikes instead of planeloads of U.S. troops. He wants to see the U.S. close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He has backed some U.S. military interventions, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq that he now says was a mistake, but he leans toward diplomacy and trying to achieve solutions through alliances and global institutions.

He is a strong supporter of NATO. He warns that Moscow is chipping away at the foundation of Western democracy by trying to weaken NATO, divide the European Union and undermine the U.S. electoral system. He also alleges that Russia is using Western financial institutions to launder billions of dollars to use to influence politicians.

Biden calls for increasing the Navy’s presence in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia. He joins Trump in wanting to end the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but thinks the U.S. should keep a small force in place to counter terrorism.

He says Trump’s decisions to exit bilateral and international treaties such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord have led other nations to doubt Washington’s word. Biden wants to invite all democratic nations to a summit to discuss how to fight corruption, thwart authoritarianism and support human rights.

Biden, who claims “ironclad” support for Israel, wants to curb annexation and has backed a two-state solution in the long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He says he would keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem after Trump moved it from Tel Aviv.

Biden criticizes Trump’s diplomacy with Kim Jong Un, saying Trump’s one-on-one diplomacy gave legitimacy to the North Korea leader and has not convinced Kim that he should give up his nuclear weapons.

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ENVIRONMENT

Biden is proposing a $2 trillion push to slow global warming by throttling back the burning of fossil fuels, aiming to make the nation’s power plants, vehicles, mass transport systems and buildings more fuel efficient and less dependent on oil, gas and coal.

Biden says his administration would ban new permits for oil and gas production on federal lands, although he says he does not support a fracking ban.

Biden’s public health and environment platform also calls for reversing the Trump administration’s slowdown of enforcement against polluters, which in several categories has fallen to the lowest point in decades. That would include establishing a climate and environmental justice division within the Justice Department.

Biden emphasizes environmental justice, which is about addressing the disproportionate harm to lower-income and minority communities from corporate polluters. Biden says he would support climate lawsuits targeting fossil fuel-related industries.

He said he would reverse Trump’s plan to exit the Paris climate accord.

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EDUCATION

Education is a family affair for Biden. His wife, Jill, has taught in high school and community college, and she delivered her speech to the Democratic National Convention this year from her old classroom.

Biden has proposed tripling the federal Title I program for low-income public schools, with a requirement that schools provide competitive pay and benefits to teachers. He wants to ban federal money for for-profit charter schools and to provide new dollars to public charters only if they show they can serve needy students. He opposes voucher programs, where public money is used to pay for private school education.

He has pledged to restore Obama-era policies that were rolled back by the Trump administration, including rules on campus sexual misconduct and a policy that aimed to cut federal money to for-profit colleges that left students with heavy debt and unable to find jobs to pay it back.

Biden supports legislation to make two years of community college free and to make public colleges free for families with incomes below $125,000. His proposed student loan overhaul would not require repayment for people who make less than $25,000 a year, and would limit payments to 5% of discretionary income for others.

He is proposing a $70 billion increase in funding for historically Black colleges and universities, and other schools that serve underrepresented students.

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ABORTION

Biden supports abortion rights and has said he would nominate federal judges who would uphold Roe v. Wade.

He would rescind Trump’s family planning rule, which has prompted many clinics to leave the federal Title X program that provides birth control and basic medical care for low-income women.

In a switch from his previous stance, Biden now says he supports “repeal” of the Hyde Amendment, opening the way for federal programs such as Medicaid to pay for abortions.

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SOCIAL SECURITY

Biden has a Social Security plan that would expand benefits, raise taxes for upper-income people, and add some years of solvency.

He would revamp Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment by linking it to an inflation index that more closely reflects changes in costs for older people, particularly health care. That’s been a priority for advocates. He would also increase minimum benefits for lower-income retirees, addressing financial hardship among the elderly.

Biden would raise Social Security taxes by applying the payroll tax to earnings above $400,000 a year. The 12.4% tax, equally distributed among employees and employers, currently only applies to the first $137,700 of a person’s earnings. The tax increase would pay for Biden’s proposed benefit expansions and also extend the life of program’s trust fund by five years, to 2040, according to the nonpartisan Urban Institute.

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GUNS

Biden led efforts as a senator to establish the background check system now in use when people buy guns from a federal licensed dealer. He also helped pass a 10-year ban on a group of semi-automatic guns, or “assault weapons,” during the Clinton presidency.

Biden has promised to seek another ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Owners would have to register existing assault weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He would also support a program to purchase assault weapons.

Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one and would require background checks for all guns sales with limited exceptions, such as gifts between family members.

Biden would also support legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.

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VETERANS

Biden says he would work with Congress to improve health services for women, the military’s fastest-growing subgroup, such as by placing at least one full-time women’s primary care physician at each Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical center.

He promises to provide $300 million to better understand the impact of traumatic brain injury and toxic exposures, hire more VA staff to cut down office wait times for vets at risk of suicide to zero as well as continue the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration to stem homelessness.

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TRADE

Like Trump, Biden accuses China of violating international trade rules, subsidizing its companies and stealing U.S. intellectual property. But he doesn’t think Trump’s tariffs have worked and wants to join with U.S. allies to form a bulwark against Beijing.

Biden has joined a growing bipartisan embrace of “fair trade” abroad — a twist on decades of “free trade” talk as Republican and Democratic administrations alike expanded international trade. Biden wants to juice U.S. manufacturing by directing $400 billion of federal government purchases to domestic companies (part of that for buying pandemic supplies) over a four-year term.

He wants $300 billion in new support for U.S. technology firms’ research and development. Biden says the new domestic spending must come before he enters into any new international trade deals.

He pledges tough negotiations with China, the world’s other economic superpower, on trade and intellectual property matters. China, like the U.S., is not yet a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multilateral trade agreement that Biden advocated for when he was vice president. As a senator, Biden voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement that the Trump administration renegotiated. The replacement went into effect on July 1.

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Associated Press Writers Kevin Freking, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Ben Fox, Deb Riechmann, Collin Binkley and Hope Yen contributed to this report.

Apple ordered to pay VirnetX $502.8 million in patent trial

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A jury in Texas has ruled that Apple has to pay VirnetX $502.8 million in royalties for VPN on Demand, a feature that lets iOS users access a VPN connection, Bloomberg reported. The two companies have been involved in a legal battle for ten years, with VirnetX— sometimes referred to as a patent troll — arguing that Apple’s VPN on Demand and FaceTime use its technology.

Apple said in a statement it plans to appeal the decision: “This case has been going on for over a decade, with patents that are unrelated to the core operations of our products and have been found to be invalid by the patent office. Cases like this only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers.”

Earlier this year, a US appeals court rejected Apple’s request to…

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Actor Sean Connery, the “original” James Bond, dies at 90

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LONDON — Sean Connery, the charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as suave, fearless secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an equally successful, Oscar-winning career playing a variety of leading and character roles, has died. He was 90.

Bond producers EON Productions confirmed his death. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were “devastated” by the news.

“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond,’” they said in a statement Saturday.

The producers said Connery’s “gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent” was largely responsible for the success of the series.

Connery’s son Jason said his father died peacefully in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas where he lived, having been “unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor,” Jason Connery told the BBC.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken” at the news.

“Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons,” she said.

A commanding screen presence for some 40 years, Connery was in his early 30s and little known when he starred in the first Bond thriller, 1962’s “Dr. No,” based on the Ian Fleming novel.

Condemned as immoral by the Vatican and the Kremlin, but screened at the White House for Bond fan John F. Kennedy, “Dr. No” was a box office hit and helped Bond become a franchise that long outlasted its Cold War origins.

For decades, with actors from Connery to Daniel Craig in the leading role, filmgoers have loved the outrageous stunts, vicious villains and likable, roguish hero who enjoyed a life of carousing, fast cars, gadgety weapons, elegant clothes and vodka martinis (always shaken, not stirred).

For many, Connery was the definitive James Bonds, his character’s introduction among the most famous in movie history. He is seated at the blackjack table of an upscale casino, seen first from the side and the back. After he wins a couple of hands against a glamorous young woman, she asks for more money to gamble. “I admire your courage, Miss, uh …” we hear him tell her as the camera shows his hands removing a cigarette from a slender case. She introduces herself as “Trench, Sylvia Trench,” tells him she admires his luck and asks his name. His reply remains a catchphrase decades later. “Bond,” he says, his face finally revealed as he lights a cigarette. “James Bond.”

United Artists couldn’t wait to make more Bond movies, with ever more elaborate stunts and gadgets, along with more exotic locales and more prominent co-stars, among them Lotte Lenya and Jill St. John.

Connery continued as Bond in “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever,” often performing his own stunts.

“Diamonds Are Forever” came out in 1971 and by then Connery had grown weary of playing 007 and feared he wasn’t being taken seriously despite his dramatic performances in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie” and Sidney Lumet’s “The Hill.”

“I’d been an actor since I was 25, but the image the press put out was that I just fell into this tuxedo and started mixing vodka martinis,” he once complained.

When he walked away at age 41, Hollywood insiders predicted Connery would soon be washed up. Who would hire a balding, middle-aged actor with a funny accent?

Connery fooled them all, playing a wide range of characters and proving equally adept at comedy, adventure or drama. And age only heightened the appeal of his dark stare and rugged brogue; he set a celebrity record of sorts when at age 59 he was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

He won the affection of fans of the “Indiana Jones” franchise when he played Indy’s father opposite Harrison Ford in the third picture, 1989′s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” He turned in a poignant portrayal of an aging Robin Hood opposite Audrey Hepburn in “Robin and Marian” in 1976 and, 15 years later, was King Richard to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

He was the lovable English con man who joined Michael Caine in swindling tribal people everywhere in “The Man Who Would Be King” and the bold Russian submarine commander in “The Hunt for Red October.”

He delivered a charming performance as a reclusive writer who mentors a teenage prodigy in 2000′s “Finding Forrester.”

He won his Oscar for supporting actor in 1987 for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop who joins Elliot Ness’ crime-fighters in “The Untouchables.

By then he was at peace with James Bond, and when he arrived onstage at the Oscar ceremony he declared, “The name’s Connery. Sean Connery.”

He kept his promise not to play Bond again until 1983, when he was lured back by an offbeat script about a middle-aged 007. Based on the only Fleming story that hadn’t been nailed down by the film empire Broccoli and Saltzman created, Connery took the role and helped produce the film. The result was “Never Say Never Again,” a title suggested by his wife, Micheline Roquebrune.

Even as the 007 films made him a millionaire, Connery tried often to separate his own personality from that of Bond. “I’m obviously not Bond,” he once said. “And Bond is obviously not a human being. Fleming invented him after the war, when people were hungry for luxury, gourmet touches, exotic settings. Those were the things the English loved to read about following the privations of the war.”

The “real” Sean Connery had a troubled first marriage and a history of comments justifying domestic violence. In 1962, he married Diane Cilento, an actress best known for her role as Molly in “Tom Jones.” They had a son, Jason, who also became an actor, but the union proved tempestuous and ended in 1974.

Its impact lasted long after. Cilento would allege that he had physically abused her and Connery defended his behavior in interviews. In 1965, he told Playboy magazine that he did not find “anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman — although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An openhanded slap is justified — if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning.”

When Barbara Walter brought up those remarks in a 1987 interview, he said his opinion hadn’t changed because “sometimes women just won’t leave things alone.”

Connery was widely criticized, but still received numerous honors, including being chosen as commander (the same rank as Bond) of France’s Order of Arts and Literature and a Kennedy Center honoree in 1999. The following year Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him a British knight.

In 2005 he was chosen for a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute. Thomas Sean Connery was born Aug. 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the first of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a domestic worker.

He left school at age 13 during World War II to help support his family.

“I was a milkman, laborer, steel bender, cement mixer– virtually anything,” he once said.

Weary of day labor, he joined the British navy and was medically discharged after three years. The ailment: stomach ulcers.

Back in Edinburgh, he lifted weights to build his body and compete in the Mr. Universe contest. He came in third, and briefly considered becoming a professional soccer player, but chose acting because he reasoned his career would last longer.

He got his first big break singing and dancing to “There is Nothing Like a Dame” in “South Pacific” on the London stage and in a road production before going on to act in repertory, television and B movies. He went to Hollywood for two early films, Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.”

When he decided to become an actor, he was told that Thomas Sean Connery wouldn’t fit on a theater marquee so he dropped his first name.

Then came the audition that changed his life. American producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had bought the film rights to a string of post-World War II spy adventure novels by Fleming. Connery was not their first choice for “Dr. No.”

The producers had looked to Cary Grant, but decided they wanted an actor would commit to a series. The producers also realized they couldn’t afford a big-name star because United Artists had limited their film budget to $1 million a picture, so they started interviewing more obscure British performers.

Among them was the 6-foot-2 Connery. Without a screen test, Broccoli and Saltzman chose the actor, citing his “dark, cruel good looks,” a perfect match for the way Fleming described Bond. When Connery started earning big money, he established his base at a villa in Marbella on the Spanish coast.

He described it as “my sanitarium, where I recover from the madness of the film world.” It also helped him avoid the overwhelming income tax he would have paid had he remained a resident of Britain.

As his acting roles diminished when he reached his 70s, Connery spent much of his time at his tax-free home at Lynford Cay in the Bahamas. He played golf almost every morning, often with his wife. He announced in 2007 that he had retired when he turned down the chance to appear in another “Indiana Jones” movie.

“I thought long and hard about it, and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an `Indiana Jones’ film,” he said.

“But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun.”

___

Italie contributed from Los Angeles. Bob Thomas also contributed from Los Angeles.

Jared Polis: Proposition EE will help our schools, economy and public health

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Coloradans have the opportunity this year to help our schools, fight the teen vaping crisis, and make our state more affordable for families — all by marking “yes” on Proposition EE on our ballots.

This ballot measure will provide free preschool access to every four-year-old in Colorado. Prop. EE also restores crucial public school funding that was lost due to COVID-19 budget cuts — money that will go a long way to help our schools return to full-time in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. I encourage every Coloradan to vote yes.

This spring, I worked with the Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature to bring together business, health care, and education leaders from across Colorado to advise us as we crafted the bipartisan Proposition EE and referred the measure to the voters. The result is that at a time when our country is more divided than ever politically, Prop. EE has far-reaching support from across the ideological spectrum. Its endorsers range from the American Heart Association to teachers unions, from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to the state’s most conservative newspaper editorial board.

That’s because Prop. EE helps Colorado families in ways we can all agree are worthwhile — paid for in a manner that is thoughtful, practical and science-driven.

Let’s start with how it will be paid for. Prop. EE closes a tax loophole whose greatest beneficiary is tobacco executives.

Currently, Colorado has among the lowest cigarette taxes in the country — and vaping products are excluded from the tax altogether. It’s no coincidence that we’re also among the states with the highest rate of teen vaping. Prop. EE gradually brings our cigarette tax into line with other states, while closing the vape tax loophole so that vaping products are taxed like every other tobacco product.

Health experts from the American Lung Association to Children’s Hospital Colorado agree that these changes will reduce teen vaping, helping our kids avoid the harmful long-term health consequences of nicotine use and, in the long run, reducing health care costs. In addition, all Prop. EE funds will be audited every year — so the people of Colorado will know that the money is going exactly where the voters say.

Prop EE will also provide free, universal preschool access for every Colorado family. Study after study has shown that quality preschool narrows the achievement gap and improves educational, economic, and health outcomes throughout a child’s life. Kids who go to preschool are more likely to read at grade level in elementary school, graduate high school on time, avoid contact with the criminal justice system, and earn better wages as adults. Every child in Colorado deserves this opportunity.

Equally clear are the benefits to parents and families. Preschool in Colorado can easily exceed $1,000 per month. That’s money that could instead go toward paying for essentials, starting a business, or saving for the future. And providing preschool opportunities enables parents to return to work faster if they choose, move forward in their careers, and earn better wages.

Prop. EE is a win-win solution: by closing a special interest tax loophole that is harmful to our kids’ health, we gain free preschool access for every four-year-old, healthier families, and better schools.

Let’s come together and turn that vision into reality, Colorado. Yes on Prop EE.

Jared Polis is the governor of Colorado.

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The final round of luxury residences at Bergen Place at Hiwan are now available but won’t last long

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Mountain living doesn’t have to mean seclusion and time-consuming home maintenance. Experience modern, turn-key, mountain living in the newly constructed residences of Bergen Place at Hiwan. These luxury condominium homes, in gorgeous Evergreen, Colorado, are listed by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty brokers, Heather Graham and Sean Endsley.

Buyers looking for the perfect combination of access to the outdoors and convenience to amenities now have the chance to own one of the brand-new units within the recently completed Building Four. This just-released building offers eight spectacular units, each with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. All of the residences within Building Four enjoy their own storage unit as well as a single-car garage and a secure, private front-door entry. These features provide the feeling of living in a single-family home while enjoying the conveniences of the maintenance-free condominium lifestyle.

“Tucked into the hillside, this building offers a more private location across from the other three buildings,” explained Graham. “Some units have an exceptional walk-out location while others offer private patios. At a modest price point, in the mid-to-high $500,000’s, these units are the only new construction condominiums in Evergreen with exceptional light, open floorplan, and modern, clean finishes.”

When it comes to contemporary Colorado living, there is nothing that compares to these residences. The airy, open floor plan makes each space feel bright. Sleek, timeless finishes, such as quartz or granite countertops, soft-close cabinetry, and hard flooring, make these homes stand out from the rest. Diverging from the typical mountain aesthetic, the residences at Bergen Place at Hiwan allow homebuyers to live the lifestyle they want without compromising on style.

One of the best parts of living in the Foothills is the nearness to nature. Savor mornings in the crisp Colorado air on the private deck or patio that each unit within Bergen Place at Hiwan features. When the call of the wild beckons, explore trails and open spaces just steps from your front door. Shopping and dining are all within walking distance as well. And when the snow begins to fall, grab your skis from the storage unit and take a short drive up I-70 to some of the world’s finest ski slopes.

Some things you have to see to believe. Visit the incredible residences at Bergen Place at Hiwan during the open house hours on Sundays, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. If you prefer to check out these homes online, visit bergenplaceathiwan.com to view the floor plans, take a virtual tour, take a look at pricing, and browse through the expansive photo gallery.

These rare, luxury residences in the Foothills community won’t last long. While all units are currently available in Building Four, Building One and Three are sold out, and there are just two units left for purchase within Building Two.

Make your maintenance-free, mountain living dreams a reality at Bergen Place at Hiwan. For more information or for help selling your current home, please contact Heather Graham directly at 720.201.4187 or Sean Endsley at 303.895.4663. For all of your real estate needs, contact LIV Sotheby’s International Realty by calling 303.893.3200 or visiting livsothebysrealty.com.

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

In Castle Rock’s Pinon Soleil, custom main-floor master offers outdoor living in a pine forest

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Despite Denver’s very-low-inventory market, Douglas County has numbers of luxury homes available now over $1.5 million—generally more dated ones from the 1980s and 1990s. But Castle Rock expert-agent Kay Watson with Metro Brokers will show you a contemporary European styled custom home with a near-ranch-type layout that’s only four years old, with that newer, wide-open look that buyers are wanting now.

Castle Rock’s Pinon Soleil neighborhood is wrapped in ponderosa forest a mile down Founders Parkway from I-25, making it one of the closest-in areas to Denver where you can find a naturally treed residential setting.  There are just two homes on the market in the enclave—2130 Avenida del Sol being the largest, almost 6,800 sq. feet finished, including a walkout level that opens to the one-acre site.  The main-floor master-suite plan offers another three bedrooms on the main, and a guest suite on the story-and-a-half level—lots of options, says Watson, for creating two very private home offices at a time when buyers are wanting that.

The price is $2,082,000, for five bedrooms, six baths, entertaining areas with forest views, a gourmet kitchen with alder cabinets and a double oven, a master with private deck and a heated marble bath floor, and lots of custom detailing.  There’s a 4-car finished garage; and the outdoor living spaces are exceptional, including a private courtyard with a fireplace and a vast wrap-around deck overlooking a piney gulch.

Watson raves about Pinon Soleil.  “It’s neighborly,” she says.  “Everybody is out walking.”

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

Cocktail Chattables

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Steve Blank
Provided by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

Steve Blank

The housing market continues to experience very strong demand for homes of virtually all styles and sizes. By now, everyone is aware of the potential for bidding wars, particularly in the mid and lower price ranges, virtually everywhere across the country. Ridiculously low-interest rates have proven to enhance or magnify buyers’ ability to purchase a better home than even a year or two ago, and that is with the appreciated value over the course of that timeframe.

This is also a time when sellers are enjoying the best market in which to sell a home that we’ve seen over at least the past three decades.

There are some very interesting facts and statistics coming out of this COVID-19-influenced market which is also driven by record low-interest rates that may never be seen again in our lifetimes. Research unveiled by Megan Aller of First American Title clearly demonstrates the incredible market benefits for buyers and sellers while recognizing different challenges apparent to this temporary (1-2 year) new norm. Some of the new factors to consider include:

•The number of listings (YTD) are down a noticeable 37%, compared with 2019 YTD (3,278 vs. 5,266 listings on the market).
•With that number of fewer available listings, the number of YTD homes closed was nearly the same, down just .07%.
•YTD “Days on Market” before selling dropped from 32 days in September of 2019 to 26 days in September of 2020.
•Home values (detached homes) are increasing YTD in 2020, at a rate of 13.3%. This compares to an overall average appreciation rate (YTD) of about 8% annually between 2013 and 2019.
•The current market is beginning to slow down due to rising COVID-19 numbers, weather, and the holidays.

Weather and the holiday season are typical factors for this time of the year. Outside of that norm, COVID-19 has essentially changed any usual seasonal trends of the past. In fact, I would dare say that until 2022, seasonal changes will only have to do with the actual weather. So, in 2020, our typical early spring market, which usually got going in February, was delayed until May. And there is no evidence of any fall market slowdown through October.

Historical data is often interesting, however, I would suggest focusing on the current market since trends do not necessarily follow COVID-19 dynamics. It is amazing that in the midst of a pandemic and high unemployment, home values continue to improve – again demonstrating the benefits of great interest rates that support buyer demand. Even while Denver was under the stay-at-home order, internet home searches rose several hundred percent, which is a good possibility in the near future.

Even after the pandemic is behind us, it is likely many people will continue working from home as a large number of employers are making working remotely the standard. Please remember that although we are also in a recession, it was not created by structural weakness in the economy. This recession was created by public health-mandated shutdowns.

We now realize that homeowners are spending a majority of time in their houses and condos. Whether these are professionals working remotely, home-schooling parents, or a variety of other possibilities, millions of people are exploring how to support and improve this new lifestyle. Over the last few years, we saw a trend in which buyers wanted more condensed manageable spaces. Now, buyers are looking for more square footage, with finished lower levels and greater outdoor and patio living spaces. Built-in outdoor kitchen/BBQ areas are becoming quite popular as well.

Space for exercise has become essential, even in condos – whether it’s for a yoga mat, a set of weights, a bike, or a treadmill. Condo amenities are wonderful … when they can become available again. Most home-office areas are built for one, although that may be inadequate with two partners and/or homeschooling, or for high school and college students. Every secluded nook is now being evaluated as a workspace. Extra-large closets can become a phone booth with a computer table and dining rooms have potential to be office spaces, play areas, or even exercise space.

At whatever point over the next year or two that a current homeowner may choose to improve their current living situation, they will be delighted with the ultimate sales price. I would encourage finding a real estate professional who can potentially provide expert counsel on both processes of buying and selling. There is too much money on the table to not to feel great about the choice of a professional.

Learn more about the real estate market in Denver Metro or contact one of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty’s knowledgeable brokers by calling 303.893.3200 or visiting livsothebysrealty.com.

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.