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February 5, 2019

SUPER BOWL-SPORTS BETTING

Fans in 3 states legally bet almost $185.5M on Super Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Football fans in three states legally bet almost $185.5 million on the Super Bowl this year, with sportsbooks ending Sunday with mixed results and Nevada operators seeing the first drop in the total amount wagered on the game since 2015.

The game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams was the first major professional sporting event to be posted on the boards of sportsbooks outside Nevada. All opened after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a federal ban on wagering on sports last year.

Figures released Monday by gambling regulators in Nevada show people wagered $145.94 million at the state’s 200 sportsbooks, $12.65 million less than in 2018. Sportsbooks operators in New Jersey accepted about $34.9 million in wagers and lost money, while in Mississippi, fans bet around $4.67 million at non-tribal casinos.

New Jersey gambling regulators said sportsbooks lost $4.6 million when they paid $39.5 million to those who won bets. Many gamblers backed the Patriots, who beat the Rams 13-3 and covered the spread of 2 1/2 points.

SUPER BOWL-TV RATINGS

Super Bowl reaches 100.7 million viewers, down from 2018

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams was seen by 100.7 million viewers, the smallest Super Bowl audience in a decade.

The Nielsen company said viewership dropped 3 percent from last year’s 103.4 million. The Patriots’ 13-3 win was a defensive struggle, and a struggle for many casual fans to watch.

The Super Bowl is traditionally the most-watched television event of the year in the U.S., and its audience hasn’t dipped below 100 million since 2009. The TV audience has been dwindling since its 2015 peak of 114.4 million.

E-CIGARETTE DEATH

Medical examiner: North Texas man killed when e-cig explodes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A medical examiner says a North Texas man was killed when an e-cigarette exploded in his face.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office reports 24-year-old William Brown of Fort Worth died Jan. 29, two days after a vaporizer pen he was using at an e-cigarette shop in nearby Keller exploded. The medical examiner says shrapnel from the explosion severed his left carotid artery and peppered his skull.

A similar incident also killed a Florida man last May. Officials said 38-year-old Tallmadge D’Elia of St. Petersburg died when his exploding vape pen sent two fragments into his skull. He also suffered burns on about 80 percent of his body. The death was ruled an accident.

SELF AWARE ROBOT

Robot, know thyself; machines get more self-aware

NEW YORK (AP) — Forget dreaming of electric sheep. Robots first need to figure out how to imagine themselves.

One New York robot has done just that. It’s learned that it’s a robotic arm using a process of self-simulation.

Columbia University engineers have given the robot the ability to model itself without prior knowledge of physics or its own shape.

The robot starts out moving randomly, but over time learns enough about itself to be able to perform tasks and even detect if it’s been damaged. Columbia mechanical engineering professor Hod Lipson says “self-awareness is the Holy Grail” of autonomy. He says there are ethical risks in gifting robots with self-awareness but also many benefits, including adaptability and resilience.

The research was published in Science Robotics.

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