Gen Y taking advantage of strong AUD

first_imgThe strong Aussie dollar is motivating Generation Y to travel overseas and spend more on accommodation than Baby Boomers according to recent consumer research.The survey commissioned by Canstar Blue revealed a range of insights into the tourism sector including travel differences between the generations.Gen Y consumers stated the strength of the Australian dollar was a deciding factor in choice of holidaying abroad rather than at home, preferring a longer break to a quick getaway.The survey also showed booking accommodation online was preferred by 67 percent of respondents while 49 percent admit to not remembering the last time they saw a travel agent face to face.Baby Boomers revealed they were more inclined to use a travel agent while Gen Y would visit an agent to research a trip before using their advice to book online.Gen Y was four times more likely than Baby Boomers to use Facebook to brag about their holidays, that they booked well in advance so they have something to look forward to. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Arizona Sports NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Cardinals hit bye on a high#28▲4A nice fourth-quarter comeback by Josh Rosen has some optimistic. OutletRankingsCardinals’ RankMovementComment NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: Panthers, Seahawks on the rise#28▲2Larry Fitzgerald played Hall of Fame football Sunday. If I knew how to type the tiny superscript “2” that denotes “squared” after ” Hall of Fame football,” I would, because Fitzgerald was already on his way to breakdancing into Canton on the first ballot. Yet, when rookie quarterback Josh Rosen needed chunk yardage late, he went to Larry Legend (the other Larry Legend). Fitzgerald caught a handful of key Rosen heaves late — from Arizona’s second-to-last touchdown to one that required him to go up and take a hit — to fuel Arizona’s comeback win. After the kid (Christian Kirk) hauled in a Rosen fastball in the back of the end zone, there was Fitz, trucking a Niners defender for the two-point conversion. Week Nine power rankings#28▲4Sweeping the 49ers doesn’t mean what it once did. NFL Power Rankings: Steelers might end up being the contender we thought they’d be#29▲3It’s not ideal that the Cardinals looked so bad for three quarters. But seeing rookie quarterback Josh Rosen lead a fourth-quarter comeback, including a last-minute drive for the win, is the kind of thing that can give Rosen a lot of confidence. It also should give the team a lot of confidence that Rosen is developing right on schedule. NFL Power Rankings Poll: Rams Still No. 1, Panthers Leap Into Top 5#28▲4The Cardinals are out of the bottom spot thanks to a win in Byron Leftwich’s first game as offensive coordinator. Unlike some of the other teams at the bottom of this list, they do have plenty to play for this year. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) High Ranking: #28 – Arizona Sports,,, PFT, SB NationLow Ranking: #30 – ESPNAverage Ranking: 28.6 NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Rams, Saints set to battle for top spot in NFC, rankings#29▲3That was an impressive fourth quarter for Josh Rosen last week. It’s something to build upon. NFL power rankings: Halloween tricks and treats include Eagles’ return to top 10#29▲1if Larry Fitzgerald’s son duped him into spiking a football for the first time in his life … worthwhile ruse, kid. For the fourth straight season, the Arizona Cardinals have swept the San Francisco 49ers.This year’s version required a late fourth-quarter comeback engineered by rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to pull off an 18-15 win Sunday at State Farm Stadium. Both of the Cardinals’ wins this season have come against San Francisco, and that’s enough (at least for this week) to push Arizona up in the battery of NFL Power Rankings we sample from across the internet each week in The Consensus. 1 Comments   Share   – / 39 NFL power rankings 2018, Week 9: Steelers climb as top 10 teams become clearer#28▲3The Jets, Buccaneers, Browns, Cardinals, Bills, Giants, 49ers, and Raiders round out the bottom eight. NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 9#29▲2The Cardinals will head into their bye fresh off their best game of the season. The extra week will give new OC Byron Leftwich more time to work on improving the Arizona offense. And then two weeks from now, the Cardinals will travel to Kansas City and come crashing back to reality. Enjoy that good feeling while it lasts, guys. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Scary trends for all 32 teams#30▲2To say the Cardinals’ halftime adjustments aren’t working might be the understatement of the season. Arizona has scored just seven points in the third quarter this season — all in Week 7 against Denver — which is the fewest in the NFL. The Cardinals went scoreless in the third quarter through the first six games, making their already-difficult lives even tougher when it came time for them to come back from deficits. In order for the Cardinals to have any hope of turning their season around, they’ll need to find ways to put up points after halftime.last_img read more

Rep Albert to host senior seminar in Ionia County

first_img12Apr Rep. Albert to host senior seminar in Ionia County State Rep. Thomas Albert will host a consumer education seminar for senior citizens in Ionia County. The seminar will focus on ways that seniors can protect themselves from phone, mail and e-scams. Rep. Albert will be joined by Carol Hillman from the attorney general’s office.“It is essential to inform the community on how to protect themselves from the emotional and financial damage identity theft scams impose,” Albert said. “I encourage all senior citizens in Ionia County to join me for this informational seminar.”The event will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ionia City Hall, 114 Kidd St. in Ionia on Friday, April 20. RSVPs are not required and there is no cost to attend. For more information please contact Rep. Albert’s office at 517-373-0846 or Categories: Albert Newslast_img read more

Interviewed by Louis James Editor International

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: Hola Doug; what’s on your mind this week? Doug: Well, it occurs to me that for all the times we’ve criticized the counterproductive, foolish, or just plain wrong ideas of others and have sometimes offered sounder alternatives, I’ve never fleshed out a picture of what I would do if I could call the shots. L: “If I were president”… But you’re an anarchist! Doug: Yes, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any ideas on what should be done, if there were anyone with the strength and courage to do it. L: And a very good bulletproof vest. Doug: Just so. I’m certainly not interested in taking up residence in the White House – wouldn’t want the job if offered. But say some other occupant of that government housing project got hit on the head and woke up honest, industrious, and willing to do what was right come hell or high water. L: Okay, I’m game. What would she do? Doug: Are you referencing that Heinlein story in which the crooked president dies and his honest VP takes over – and she’s a lady? L: Good catch. Heinlein wrote that since men had held the office for 200 years, a law was passed limiting it to women for the next 200 years. He thought they would be less likely send young men off to die in wars for stupid reasons, and would generally be more sensible than men on many subjects. But anyway, as you were saying… Doug: First, I would declare to the public that the problems we face today as a society have been generated by our own governments, particularly in the US, where it’s pretty much 100% government induced. L: “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.” Bob LeFevre. Doug: Exactly. And it should be admitted, stopped, and apologized for – just as should have been, but was not done when the writing on the wall regarding the Vietnam War was clear to all. L: Okay, I’ll buy that; calling a spade a spade is very important in this day of spin and misdirection. But how would you go about the “stopping it” part? Doug: The first thing to do is to cut the budget. Almost all of the harm the government does would be reduced or eliminated if it weren’t able to steal so much money to pay for its harmful activities. L: Taxation is theft – just try not paying the “voluntary” income tax to the IRS – okay, but they also borrow and print money. Doug: That’s just indirect theft. Borrowing money forces future tax slaves to hand over money against their wishes, and printing it steals wealth from everyone by making the money in their pockets worth less and less with every new dollar, euro, yen, or whatever printed. But it’s not just the act of stealing that is so harmful, but the things the government spends it on. They are almost always directly against the best interests of those from whom the money was taken. We need to starve the beast; so all these marginal, so-called budget cuts the politicians are wailing about are just smoke and mirrors – not a real, meaningful scaling back of the government. It’s too late for half measures. I’d cut the budgets of the federal, state, and local governments by 98%. For starters. L: You’re joking – 98% – that’ll never happen! Doug: Yes, it will. It’s just a question of whether it happens in a somewhat controlled, voluntary way, or whether it comes about as a result of a totally out-of-control collapse. What’s going on today is completely unsustainable, so I’m convinced this sort of change is coming – it’ll just be that much more destructive if we let it come as an involuntary crash. It’s like when you have an old, unstable building that will collapse sooner or later; it’s wiser and safer to bring it down at a time and in a way you control than to let it collapse on its own, with no warning to those around. L: A controlled demolition of the US and global economies. US voters would probably love that just as much as Greek voters love austerity programs. Doug: Probably so, but it’s still the right thing to do. The whole current structure is rotten through and through, corrupt and counterproductive. It needs to be replaced, not fixed. L: Replaced with what? Doug: Economic freedom, of course. Let the future build itself, based on the voluntary actions of all market participants, acting in free exchange. L: You know I’m on the same page, but many of our readers may be skeptical. Doug: It’s good to question everything. But this is not just a theory – look at Iceland, which didn’t bail all the idiotic bankers out, but let them crash. It has recovered much faster than most people expected. And that’s without embracing real, thorough economic freedom; it’s simply as a result of letting stupidity reap its natural reward. It remains to be seen how well things work out for Iceland – it still has way too much government in my view – but there’s an earlier, well-documented example in the history of Chile. When Pinochet overthrew Allende, he enacted deep and far-reaching reforms of the Chilean economy. He didn’t go as far as I would have, but he did enough, and in such a way that it stuck and has had greatly beneficial economic consequences long after his departure. Chile is now the most prosperous country in Latin America, and may well be the most prosperous country in the western hemisphere. L: I’ve been there many times and have noted the modern buildings and clean streets of downtown Santiago. The middle class in that city exercises on mountain bikes on weekends and enjoys excellent restaurants evenings. They dress fashionably and stroll along sipping Starbucks lattes… downtown could be a city in California. But there are hovels in the poor districts and dirt streets in the countryside. Are you saying Chile is more prosperous than the US or Canada? Doug: Yes. Parts of the place may still look third world, but Chileans are not loaded with debt the way North Americans are. My understanding is that the average Chilean has greater net worth than the average US tax slave. One important contributing factor to this is that Pinochet privatized the social security program, and Chileans pay into individual retirement accounts that they own and control. There are restrictions, but they can fire their managers and move them to those who deliver results – this is good use of a vital market mechanism. These are real assets that can be liquidated and reinvested – not like US Social Security, which is nothing but a vague promise backed by nothing but an impossibly debt-ridden government with financial problems that are about to get much worse. Taking this single step in the US would enable a huge reduction in budget and unfunded future spending. There is absolutely no need for government involvement; people’s retirement should be their own individual responsibility, and their employers’ contributions to their retirement accounts should be negotiated between the people and their employers. L: Just to be clear, you’re not condoning Pinochet’s death squads and such – just commenting on the results of his economic reforms. Doug: The facts are the facts. Pinochet was a rare bird. And yes, it seems certain that he had several thousand people killed – but how many people did Baby Bush kill in Iraq over so-called weapons of mass destruction that weren’t even there? Many of the world’s big governments are guilty of far greater atrocities and numbers of deaths that are orders of magnitude larger. The US has supported – and continues supporting – far more barbaric and destructive dictators around the world. It seems to me that Pinochet is demonized because he instituted many free-market reforms – that was his truly unforgivable sin, particularly among leftist intellectuals. L: The sort of people he had killed… Doug: Yes. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the fact is that Chile has many advantages today because of Pinochet. It’s not as cheap as Argentina, but it’s cheaper than Uruguay. It’s the least corrupt of Latin American countries, and one of the least corrupt in the world. You picked a good analogy; it has a fantastic California climate. It has a low population density. It has one of the freer economies in the world – And it’s growing rapidly. Plus, they grow some world-class wines in Chile. It has many advantages. What I don’t like about Chile is that it’s the most conservative country in Latin America – probably in the western hemisphere. It’s the most religious, and that’s saying a lot in Latin America. They love their police. They love their army. And it’s isolated. It’s like an island, with the Andes to the east, the South Pacific and Antarctic oceans to the west and south, and a desert to the north. That makes the culture more provincial than I prefer – but that is a personal preference. I find Argentina more welcoming to bon vivants, even with all the problems it has – those problems really don’t affect foreigners living there who have income from abroad. L: So noted. I can’t say I wish we had a Pinochet takeover in America – the US version would almost certainly be hawkish and have the world’s biggest military budget to play with. Scary. But suppose a Ron Paul type made it and was following your plan, cutting the budget 98%, privatizing Social Security. What would be next? Doug: Default on the national debt. That would punish the people foolish enough or unethical enough to lend the US government money. It would reduce the budget and greatly reduce the ability of the government to spend beyond its means. But most important of all, it wouldn’t make indentured servants out of future generations of US taxpayers. Look, I know this seems unthinkable to most people, but it’s going to be defaulted on anyway. There is simply no way it can be repaid, and an uncontrolled default would be catastrophic – probably in the form of total destruction of the US dollar as we know it today. It has to be emphasized that default on the national debt is default on the government’s debt, not the people’s. Most of the real wealth in the world will still be there after the dust settles – it’ll just be in different hands. The feds might even be forced to sell off their assets – a sort of gigantic “going out of business” sale that would put those assets into more capable and productive private hands. NASA, for example, as we’ve discussed already. L: I understand, but that would still hurt a lot of people who have their savings in Treasury Bills. Doug: Those savings will be lost anyway, if they leave them in Treasuries. The people it would hurt the worst are the fat cats in bed with the government – the kind who got their pals in Washington DC to bail them out. It’d be poetic justice. L: Okay. What’s next? Doug: Eliminate the Federal Reserve. Get the government out of the money business entirely, so it can’t inflate it to pay for things people would not willingly, knowingly pay for. L: Why stop there – why not go for complete separation of economy and state? The same logic applies as with the separation of church and state, which once seemed unthinkable and now is the norm in much of the world – in the West, at least. Doug: All in good time, Lobo. Next, I would take whatever gold is left in Fort Knox and use it to back the US dollar. After defaulting on the debt and the ensuing collapse, trillions and trillions of dollars would cease to exist. Assuming the gold is still there – the government doesn’t allow any independent audits of Fort Knox – I would use it to put what dollars were left on a solid, inflation-proof footing, at whatever price of gold that could be accomplished at the time. L: Right. What next? Doug: Eliminate unnecessary, counterproductive, and unconstitutional government programs. Cutting spending is only a beginning; you have to abolish the programs if you don’t want the spending to come back. We’ve already talked about getting the government out of Social Security. This and other social spending is the biggest chunk of government spending and liabilities – something on the order of $220 trillion, last I heard. So, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have to go. Unfortunately, people over 50 have come to rely on it too heavily to take it away from them, so their payments and benefits would have to continue. But people under 50 don’t get anything, and the payroll taxes that support the programs would be ended immediately. L: Who pays for the older ones who keep getting the benefits? They were deceived into thinking they were making savings deposits of a sort, but it’s not true; the government has already spent every dime they put away for the future. Doug: I know. A large portion of whatever income the government could honestly generate from core services like running the courts and military would have to be directed to this expense until it went away naturally. L: That won’t win any popularity contests, but I suppose it would be an extension of the default you’ve already recommended. Bankruptcy is never pretty. It’s also unavoidable, when the money just isn’t there. What next? Doug: De-fund, eliminate, and abolish every single alphabet agency the government currently lavishes money on. If any provide services people value, the market will step in to provide those services – at a fraction of the cost and without the ability to ride roughshod over citizens who dissent. For starters, every agency and government action not expressly listed in the Constitution should be uprooted entirely and the ground where it stood sown with salt. Enforce the 10th Amendment. Then we can see if there’s anything left that we really don’t need anymore. It’s important to understand that the budgetary savings are really the lesser issue here. What’s really important is getting the government off the peoples’ collective back. The state is sand and glue in the gears of the economy, and it needs to be completely cleaned away to allow it to function freely to create greater prosperity for all. L: That wouldn’t leave much… the military. Doug: Yes. Unfortunately, most people in the US are under the delusion that the military is the one part of the government that is honest and works – that it protects them from dangers foreign and domestic. The truth is that even if many soldiers are honorable, the politicians who control them are not, and their missions around the world are creating more enemies and stirring up more hatred almost everywhere they go. This is making the world a more dangerous place, not a safer one. Further, the “military-industrial complex” Eisenhower warned us of is still in place, more entrenched, and greedier than ever. Remember the $600 toilet seats? But more important than this financial debacle is that the military now exists to protect the government, not the people. Veterans are being increasingly indoctrinated to view civilians as potentially hostile enemies, rather than the very thing that justifies the military’s existence. And when they muster out and go to work for law enforcement agencies (not people protection agencies), their training and attitudes become extremely dangerous to average citizens. L: That’ll be a hard pill for most people to swallow. They still want to think of most cops as being like Andy Griffith, even though the evidence is strong that many, if not most cops see civilians as potential threats and object to control. Your whole list is going to be hard for most people to believe, let alone accept. Doug: No doubt. But once the avalanche has started, it’s too late for the pebbles to vote. This is all going to happen. The only questions are how, and whether the damage and chaos can be limited along the way. Unfortunately, I have to say that I see absolutely no way that these steps will be taken voluntarily. As we discussed when we talked about Ron Paul, the kind of person who could do these things would never get elected – and if by some cosmic accident such a person were elected, he or she would almost certainly be assassinated in short order. Remember Kennedy – and don’t say it can’t happen in the place that was once America. It’s going to be like France after 1789. Chaos is coming. L: Our regular readers should know what you recommend doing about it… Doug: Yes. I am doing exactly what I’ve been saying for some time now: I’m building cash to deploy buying great assets during the crash, I’m putting my savings in gold and silver, and the businesses I’m building are in productive agriculture. As a speculator, I remain convinced that these junior mining stocks that you follow have explosive upside – as much now as at any point I’ve ever seen. L: Okay then. Enough said. Not a happy vision of the future, but our aim is to offer the best guidance we can, not to sweet-talk people into smiling. And – speaking of offering guidance – our own chief economist, Bud Conrad, will be speaking at the upcoming Global Currency Expo, held April 5-7 in San Diego. He’ll share his big-picture views of the American economy over the near future, as well as making some specific investment recommendations. Doug: Yes, I enjoyed your conversation with Bud last week, and encourage those able to attend to do so – it should be a great event. L: Very well. Thanks for your thoughts, Doug. Doug: You’re very welcome. Doug Casey writes every month for The Casey Report, which focuses on leveraging emerging trends to outstanding gains. These are the same tactics that have made Doug and other legendary investors like Rick Rule and Peter Schiff fortunes. Learn more about The Casey Report.last_img read more

Sam Cavaliere a San Diego tech worker considers

first_imgSam Cavaliere, a San Diego tech worker, considers himself in average health, though the 47-year-old admits, “I can always stand to lose a little weight.” Like a lot of iPhone owners, he uses Apple’s Health app to keep track of his weight, his exercise routines and how many steps he takes in a day.Now the app is also storing his health records. Since last March, Apple has been rolling out a feature that allows people to store their medical records in its Health app. UC San Diego Health, where Cavaliere sees his doctors, is one of more than 200 health care providers around the United States using the health records feature.Cavaliere travels a lot for work, and he likes to keep track of his blood pressure. He’s able to do that using a special cuff linked to the Health app. And he likes the convenience of having the app keep his medical records.”When I go to the doctor, in addition to my records from there, I get my blood pressure results that I’ve taken myself,” Cavaliere says. “And they can see that and compare it to what they’re doing in the office so that they get a bigger picture than just the once or twice a year that I show up at the office.”The global health care industry is expected to reach $10 trillion by 2022. That’s bigger than the economy of any country other than the United States and China. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are among the companies vying for a piece of that pie in areas such as retail pharmacies, using artificial intelligence for disease detection and healthy-living apps. And so is Apple.At a moment when iPhone sales have slowed and many analysts are wondering if Apple’s best days of innovation are behind it, the company has been innovating and expanding its presence in health care. It’s an area where the company’s long-held privacy values may give it an edge over the competition — if it can hold up to the growing public scrutiny. Putting health records into an app created by a big tech company requires trust. Those records could list medications taken, treatments for diseases and visits to mental health care providers. That’s not the kind of information most people want an employer, advertiser or insurance company to see.Apple CEO Tim Cook has been a vocal advocate for privacy rights. Most recently, he has spoken out against rival companies Google and Facebook for making money off user data to sell ads.In an interview with NPR, Cook says acquiring user data to sell ads is something his company has avoided. “People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple,” he says. “That’s a key part of anyone that you’re working with on your health.”Cook says Apple’s commitment to privacy isn’t simply a marketing ploy. “It’s not the way we look at it in terms of advantages,” he says. “The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust.”Cavaliere, the San Diego tech worker, says Apple has managed to gain his trust. “I don’t get fed advertisements for them, so I don’t see them trying to monetize it,” he says. Unlike with other companies, he says, “I feel comfortable with how [Apple’s] doing it and what they’re doing.”Dr. Chris Longhurst, UC San Diego Health’s chief information officer, says Apple’s strong privacy values made officials at the facility feel more at ease. “Nothing is more important than keeping the privacy of our patients’ health information,” he says.Longhurst says the iPhone helps keep the data safe. “This data did not go into the cloud,” he says. “It only resided on the user’s device, is encrypted and is only accessible with user permission.” Health records are also subject to strict federal privacy laws.But Apple has far from a perfect track record when it comes to privacy. At a time of heightened scrutiny of all tech companies and their privacy records, the Wall Street Journal has found that several top health and fitness apps available for iPhones send personal information, such as data about heart rates and menstrual cycles, to Facebook. Apple says those apps don’t connect to health records. It says the apps were violating its rules and the developers must fix the problem; those that don’t will be removed from the App Store. Importantly, users must give permission before an app can access their health records. Longhurst says UC San Diego Health cautions patients to be careful. “There are potential risks,” he says. “It is important that patients be informed so that they’re not inadvertently sharing information with third parties they would not want to have this information.”UC San Diego Health and other providers say they’re open to working with other companies besides Apple. They just need assurances that their patients’ health records will be safe, secure and private — and not fodder for advertisers. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit read more

New large public buildings such as shopping centre

first_imgNew large public buildings such as shopping centres, sports stadiums and cinema complexes will soon have to include a Changing Places accessible toilet, according to government proposals.The government has announced a consultation on the plans – which will also affect existing large public buildings that undergo significant alterations – more than two years after the idea was recommended by the Commons women and equalities committee.That was followed last year by a petition calling for Changing Places to be provided in all large public buildings as they are built, redeveloped or refurbished, which secured more than 57,000 signatures.Now the government has finally agreed to act by making changes to building regulations.Its proposals would affect public buildings such as new theatres with at least 500 seats, museums and art galleries that expect to receive more than 300,000 visitors a year, cinema complexes with at least five screens, and hospitals and primary care centres.It should mean more than 150 new Changing Places toilets – facilities with extra space and equipment such as hoists and changing benches for disabled people who cannot use standard accessible toilets – every year.But it will not affect existing buildings unless they seek planning permission for significant alterations.There are currently more than 1,300 Changing Place toilets (pictured) across the UK.The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had announced it was considering a change to building regulations on 24 December.Now it has confirmed that it wants to go ahead with the plans and is seeking views on its proposals through a 10-week consultation, which closes on 21 July.Last month, the Department for Transport, in partnership with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), launched a £2 million fund for Changing Places toilets to be installed in existing motorway service stations.The Department of Health and Social Care will also soon launch its own £2 million fund for NHS Trusts to install new Changing Places in more than 100 hospitals across England.Fiona Anderson, from Bolton, a member of MDUK’s Trailblazers network of young disabled campaigners, and herself a user of Changing Places toilets, said: “A lack of Changing Places toilets has led to me deciding to have surgery, which will give me more freedom to go to the toilet.“If these facilities were in every large public building, I would no longer have to endure the pain of postponing going to the toilet all day and the ever-present dark cloud of sepsis occurring would be lifted.“Ultimately, I also wouldn’t need to have a catheter fitted, which would mean the world to me. I’m not incontinent – I simply can’t transfer to a toilet without a hoist.“Changing Places toilets are a much-needed lifeline. But with so few of them available, people like me are forced to sacrifice our dignity and independence.”Rishi Sunak, the local government minister, said: “Everyone should have the freedom to enjoy days out in dignity and comfort.“For severely disabled people, this is made very difficult because there are not enough Changing Places toilets.“We’ve made some progress, but I’m determined to increase the number of these life-enhancing facilities, so people are given the dignity they deserve.“I’m pleased so many people will be helped by this major change.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Uber Fires More Than 20 Employees for Harassment

first_img For months now, Uber has been dealing with accusations that it has a rampant problem with sexual harassment amongst its employees, and it sounds like the results of an investigation have lead to terminations. Both Bloomberg and the New York Times are reporting (and we have since confirmed) that the company has fired “more than 20” employees for harassment in the workplace — including sexual harassment — with more expected to follow.The law firm Perkins Coie has so far looked into 215 separate, specific claims of workplace harassment (including discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and other forms of harassment) and decided not to take action in 100 instances. But the “more than 20” terminations came from that group of 215, and Bloomberg reporter Eric Newcomer tweeted that there are more cases under investigation — which means there will likely be more firings before all is said and done. There’s no word yet on the ranks or positions of those who’ve been fired, but it seems likely Uber will make a statement sooner than later.Sexual harassment claims have followed Uber around for some time now, but things reached a tipping point this past February when former engineer Susan Fowler wrote an explosive account of her time at the company and the multitude of ways she was harassed in her year at the company. One week later, the company’s senior VP of engineering Amit Singhal resigned amid accusations of harassment when he worked at Google.Arianna and Liane to press: there is no systemic sexual harassment, just Susan.External lawyers: there are 215 cases of sexual harassment.— Susan J. Fowler (@susanthesquark) June 6, 2017Since then, lawyer Eric Holder (with his firm Covington & Burling) and board member Arianna Huffington have led an investigation that some believed wasn’t independent enough to produce results. (Perkins Coie, who conducted investigations into specific claims that led to today’s firings, was hired in addition to Covington & Burling.) And a number of high-ranking employees have fled the company during a toxic year as the company tries to clean itself up. Just earlier today, the company announced that it had hired Frances Frei (an expert on gender equality from the Harvard Business School) as the company’s senior VP of leadership and strategy.This comes after Frei assisted in the investigation into Uber’s harassment problems. Whether she’ll be able to straighten the company out remains to be seen, but a first round of firings could be a positive step in the right direction — even though there’s certainly more work to be done.Update, 2:55 p.m. ET: An Uber spokesperson has confirmed the firings, noting that they came from an investigation from law firm Perkins Coie into specific reported cases of harassment from Uber employees. The spokesperson also noted that the second investigation being led by Eric Holder isn’t into specific cases of harassment but more about how to change the overall culture at Uber that’s driving the problems the company is experiencing. This story originally appeared on Engadget –shares Add to Queue Next Article June 7, 2017 Uber Fires More Than 20 Employees for Harassment Register Now » Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Businesscenter_img Senior Editor at Engadget Uber The company’s investigation into harassment in its workplace continues, so more firings may be coming. Image credit: Uber | Shutterstock 3 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Nathan Ingrahamlast_img read more

Mitch McConnell Is Positioning Himself as the Champion of the US Hemp

first_img Image credit: Cheriss May | NurPhoto | Getty Images Add to Queue 4 min read –shares Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Mitch McConnell Is Positioning Himself as the Champion of the U.S. Hemp Industry hemp Download Our Free Android App April 18, 2019 Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Guest Writer Politics is legendary for making for strange bedfellows but it doesn’t get any stranger than hearing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, staunch Republican from Kentucky, tell reporters earlier this month that he is behind quickly cleaning up any “glitches” with the U.S. hemp industry.That’s an issue most would associate with Democrats but money talks and there’s a lot of money talking about hemp. McConnell, who successfully led the charge to legalize hemp farming in the 2018 Farm Bill, has vowed to do whatever is necessary to get a regulated hemp system running smoothly.McConnel, speaking in football analogies, described hemp supporters as in the “red zone,” according to the Associated Press. “I’m prepared to do my job … all the way into the end zone if it requires additional legislation,” McConnell saidHow important is this to McConnell? The Senate majority leader put himself on the farm bill conference committee as “insurance” that hemp legalization would get included in the bill, according to Roll Call.  Related: Marijuana the Feds Allow for Research Is More Like Hemp Than Real-Life PotWhy Is McConnell a hemp supporter?To understand McConnell’s willingness to use the power of the Senate Majority Leader officer to hammer out any problems for the hemp industry, it’s important to understand the current state of farming in Kentucky, particularly tobacco farming. Fewer people are smoking each year, tobacco sales are falling and demand for what has been a major cash crop for generations is also falling. By contrast, hemp is “four times more profitable than corn or soybeans,” according to CNBC and has immense growth potential.McConnell is trying to establish Kentucky as a hemp “processor hub,” the term used by Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles. He told CNBC that “industrial hemp is promising and is the fastest area of growth in Kentucky agriculture. We don’t know if industrial hemp will replace tobacco, but we are going to champion it.”Roll Call also noted that, not surprisingly, getting the hemp industry running smoothly could prove key to McConnell’s reelection in 2020.Related: 5 Other Uses for Hemp You May Not Know AboutHow McConnell can help hemp.Two of the biggest current problems for hemp producers are shipments getting stopped by law enforcement and the lack of financial services for hemp companies.Both Oregon and Kentucky have farmers who are big producers of hemp. Many of them ship their hemp to Colorado for processing. However, some shipments have been detained by law enforcement officers who have no way to test the difference between hemp and marijuana on the road. Legal hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the chemical ingredient in cannabis that causes the highMcConnell and other federal and state officials are calling for better communication between federal regulators and law enforcement and the development of better testing protocols.A larger issue is the lack of access to financial services for cannabis-related businesses. This long-standing issue revolves around the fact that banks will not offer financial services to the marijuana industry because the plant remains an illegal drug in the eyes of the federal government. Most marijuana businesses operate on a cash-only basis or through expensive work arounds with payment processors.McConnell has “urged” federal financial regulatory agencies to issue guidance to financial institutions, letting them know that hemp is not the same as marijuana, according to the AP. He’s been joined in the effort by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat.It’s also an issue that Democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have tried to address.The banking issue is another example of how cannabis and hemp, and the millions they can bring both private businesses and taxing agencies, are leading to politicians crossing the aisle in ways they do not with many other issues.Follow on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. The Senate Majority Leader sees hemp as a boon for Kentucky farmers and his own reelection next year. Free Green Entrepreneur App Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Next Article last_img read more

Legal Hemp Is Being Planted at George Washingtons Historic Estate for the

first_img Next Article Legal Hemp Is Being Planted at George Washington’s Historic Estate for the First Time in 200 Years Hemp Nation Free Green Entrepreneur App Image credit: John Greim | Getty Images 7 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Venture Brian Beckley Download Our iOS App George Washington has been a hero of the cannabis movement ever since he famously told his gardener to “Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, sow it everywhere.” But, ironically, that seed has not been sown at Washington’s home at Mount Vernon since the man himself planted it.Until 2018, that is.Last year, thanks to changing laws regarding marijuana’s non-psychotropic cousin, the workers at Mount Vernon planted and harvested a small plot of hemp on the same land that the first president used to grow the plant two centuries ago.“It’s been tremendously exciting to bring back a crop that hasn’t been grown since Washington’s day,” says Dean Norton, the estate’s current head gardener, or director of horticulture, as he is known today. “That’s kind of our mission, trying to represent this site as it was during his time.”And while the plot at Mount Vernon is tiny — only about 1,000 square feet — it represents not just the past as it was in the time of our first president, but the future in a state looking for a new agricultural lifeline.“There’s a real need for that crop, which is why to me it was so important to bring something back to the soil at Mount Vernon that had been grown by Washington in the 18th century that hadn’t seen the soil here at Mount Vernon since his time,” Norton says, adding that Mount Vernon has a “special” role in potentially convincing the legislature to legalize hemp production.“Washington’s use of it was strictly for fiber. There’s no reference anywhere for anything other than that,” he says. “But I think it can become an amazing commercial crop for the state of Virginia.”Related: An Argument for Farming HempA Farmer FirstThough he is rightfully remembered as a great military strategist, one of our Founding Fathers and the country’s first president, Washington was a farmer first. In fact, he walked away from the presidency after two terms so he could go back to his beloved Mount Vernon and work the soil. In a letter to a friend, he once wrote “agriculture has ever been amongst the most favorite amusements of my life.”“George Washington considered himself foremost a farmer,” Norton says. “I like to say his love was of nature, his gift was leadership, but his passion was farming.”Washington began his agriculture career as a tobacco farmer, but in the 1760s he was looking for a new cash crop and first explored the possibility of hemp. According to Norton, at that time England was offering “bounties and subsidies and bonuses” for people who knew how to grow hemp because the plant’s fiber was so important to the country’s navy and shipping industry.Ultimately, Washington went with wheat as his primary crop, building a grist mill that still stands today, but he kept a large plot of hemp planted at Mount Vernon for his own purposes, including a fishing fleet that one year accounted for two-thirds of his income, according to Norton.“The hemp they grew here and the fiber they made would help repair the seines [nets] and of course he needed the ropes for his fishing fleet,” Norton says.Related: Hemp vs. Marijuana: Why Can’t Cops Tell Them Apart?Traditional MeasuresMount Vernon’s current plot is a far cry from what Washington would have needed to keep his fishing fleet in rope. But it is also far from the industrial hemp we think of today. The tiny plot at Mount Vernon is purely for demonstration, especially since all of the farming, harvesting and production is being done as it would have during the Colonial era.“We’re growing it, we’re harvesting it, we’re putting it into shocks, we’re drying it, we’re going to ret it, we’re going to break it; the whole thing,” Norton says. “The people are in costumes whenever we do anything down there.”But that doesn’t mean it didn’t face the same kinds of challenges that other hemp farmers face. For example, last year Mount Vernon’s seed was quarantined in New York for longer than expected, meaning it did not get to Norton until May, a little later than hoped. Then, after it was sown, Virginia experienced three storms that dropped more than three inches of rain on the fields, washing away or rotting out much of the seed and forcing Norton and his team to replant.“So it had a rough start,” he says with a laugh.But by the time the Aug. 31 harvest came around, the plants had grown to nearly eight feet, about what Norton says they hoped for.“It really is an amazing plant,” he says.Norton says the year has been an educational experience for him. Despite being a professional horticulturist who has worked at the Mount Vernon since he began picking up trash at the estate as a teenager in 1969, this was his first experience with Cannabis sativa L. Norton says one of the things he has learned is how laborious the process was back in the 18th century, from the planting to the harvest, but especially the processing. It has given him a new appreciation of the skills the plantation workers and slaves possessed. But the small patch at Mount Vernon will not produce a lot of fiber. According to Norton, you need six acres of hemp to get just one acre of fiber, making the 1,000-square-foot plot truly for demonstration only.“What’s fun about the 18th century is that when you do something you’ve only read about for the first time, it’s just this whole new world,” he says. “You really don’t know until you actually go through the process.”Norton says the plot also proved extremely popular with local wildlife, even more than the other crops that are planted at the estate.“When I am out at the flower garden here at Mount Vernon, the Pleasure Garden, I rarely see a honey bee,” he says. “But this hemp crop during the flowering, it was like this buzz you could hear 50 feet away, there were so many of them.“Then, when they left and the seed are coming, the birds flew in,” he adds. “It was like the Hitchcock movie.”Related: 5 Other Uses for Hemp You May Not Know AboutAgriculture as an AttractionNorton says the response to the planting has been overwhelmingly positive, from media coverage to the tourists who “do a double take” when they walk by the patch and often stop to pose for photos with the crop.He is already planning to plant additional hemp this year, taking the first president’s advice to make the most of the seed and expanding the plant’s footprint at the estate.“Oh yeah; it will become a regular crop down there for sure,” he says, adding that it will be planted in the “Sundries Field,” along with corn, flax, cotton and tobacco.Norton says it’s all part of the mission of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which owns the former president’s estate and teaches people about life in the 18th century and about the farming that Washington treasured.“You know, agriculture is agriculture,” he says. “Whether it’s hemp or cotton or flowers, we can all learn from the practices we do.”This article was first published in Marijuana Venture, a content partner of Green Entrepreneur. Add to Queue Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Our nation’s first president was also the first and most famous advocate of hemp. –shares April 29, 2019last_img read more

This Airport Was Just Named the Worlds Best for the 4th Year

first_img Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Carly Okyle This Airport Was Just Named the World’s Best for the 4th Year in a Row –shares Assistant Editor, Contributed Content 2 min read March 21, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Image credit: Luis Llerena | When most business travelers think about airports, they think of the duty-free shop, the generic food court or the perks of an airline’s business lounge. It’s doubtful many frequent flyers consider airports to be luxurious spaces that are fun to spend time in. One airport, however, is upping the ante.For the fourth year in a row, the Singapore Changi Airport was named the world’s best airport at the 2016 World Airport Award last week. The awards were part of the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Cologne, Germany. The airport also took home the prize for Best Airport for Leisure Amenities, the Skytrax website reports.Related: What Your Travel Experience Will Look Like in the Not-So-Distant FutureAmong the standout aspects of the airport are a butterfly garden, a rooftop pool, massages, and two movie theaters. The estimated 55 million people that passed through the airport last year could also enjoy Singapore’s tallest slide and art installations as well as shopping and restaurants. This may be why the airport’s Facebook page calls the location a tourist attraction and retail center.”It is the extraordinary effort and commitment of the entire airport community that drives Changi’s success,” Changi Airport Group CEO Lee Seow Hiang said in a statement. “We thank our passengers and partners alike for their continued support and confidence in us.”In recent years, airports have attempted to become enticing to travelers, whether by attaching hotels to the property or by providing pet-friendly terminals.Related: Flying Coach? 5 Tactics for Getting an Upgrade.No North American location made the top 10. The closest is Vancouver’s airport at number 14. Here’s the full list of the 10 best airports in the world:Singapore Changi AirportIncheon International Airport (South Korea)Munich Airport (Germany)Tokyo International Aiport HanedaHong Kong International AirportChubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya, Japan)Zurich Airport (Switzerland)London Heathrow AirportKansai International Airport (Osaka, Japan) Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)  Airports Next Article Apply Now »last_img read more

Success of Pokemon GO Adds Impetus for Change at Nintendo

first_img July 18, 2016 5 min read Next Article –shares This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters Image credit: Reuters | Chris Helgren Apply Now »center_img The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Add to Queue Success of Pokemon GO Adds Impetus for Change at Nintendo 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Nintendo The phenomenal success of Pokemon GO and the surge in Nintendo Co.’s market value by $17 billion in just over a week has been seized upon by one of its most vocal investors to press for a change of strategy at the company.Until Pokemon GO, a mobile game, was launched just over a week ago, Nintendo had taken every opportunity to say its main focus was still gaming consoles, and games for smartphones were just a means to lure more people to them.But the success of Pokemon GO — unforseen even by its creators — has shown the potential for augmented reality and for Nintendo to capitalize on a line-up of popular characters ranging from Zelda to Super Mario.Seth Fischer, founder and chief investment officer at Oasis Management, is one of Asia’s best known hedge fund managers and has long been a small but loud shareholder. Encouraged by the success of mobile games like “Candy Crush,” he has campaigned for years for the Japanese console maker to develop and sell games for platforms run by Apple and Google.”I hope they will now understand the power of smartphones,” Fischer told Reuters. “And as a result, I hope this means there is a whole change in strategy.””My next focus with Nintendo is for them to focus on monetizing the rest of their 4,000 patents for mobile gaming, multi-player gaming, et cetera. I think they could be making 30 to 60 billion yen ($290 million to $570 million) annually from licensing.”Fischer has described Oasis as an advisor to entities that own Nintendo shares and a shareholder. The fund’s direct holding is not listed among the company’s largest investors.Nintendo President Satoru Iwata last year cautioned against hoping for too much change at the company. The expansion into smartphone games was “not because we have lost our enthusiasm or prospects for the console business,” he said at the time.A Nintendo spokesman, asked about its mobile strategy, said last week there were three main objectives: “To maximize exposure of Nintendo’s intellectual properties to consumers, to make profits on mobile devices and to create synergies with the console business.”He did not comment further on Pokemon GO.”Junk food”Serkan Toto, founder of Tokyo-based game industry consultancy Kantan Games, said Nintendo still saw itself as a console maker.”When you sell $400 dedicated devices and you sell the gamer boxed software for $60 a piece — for them this is the gold standard,” he said. “For them, mobile is the junk food: enjoy while you wait for the bus. It’s not something that Nintendo sees for itself.”Pokemon GO, however, has been a runaway success, marrying a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality. Players walk around their neighborhoods in real life, search out and capture Pokemon cartoon characters on their smartphones.The game was created by Nintendo, Google-spinoff Niantic, and Pokemon Company. Nintendo owns a third of Pokemon Company and both have undisclosed stakes in Niantic.Nintendo has not commented on next steps, which many speculate could now involve other favorite characters.The hardware-focused group had planned to introduce a device called Pokemon GO Plus, which could allow it to piggyback on the success of the mobile game. The device vibrates when a Pokemon character is nearby, enabling players to catch them without constant monitoring.Pokemon GO is on track to be the first mobile game to break the $4 billion-per-year wall, beating out Candy Crush Saga and Supercell’s Clash of Clans, according to Macquarie Research. But the impact to Nintendo’s bottom line could be minimal because of shared ownership, as little as 3 percent of net profit in the year to next March.Niantic declined to comment on the future of its relationship with Nintendo, although it credited Pokemon’s unique appeal for the game’s success.”It’s been wonderful to be able to combine our philosophy for these kinds of games with the powerful affinity that people have for Pokemon,” Niantic CEO John Hanke told Reuters.But analysts say the craze signals the vast money-making opportunities available for Kyoto-based Nintendo — when it eventually brings out more serious hits.”Over the last decade they never compromised on the software side. That’s why they’ll blow everybody out of the water once they start take iOS and Android more seriously than they do now,” Toto said. “The successes of Pokemon Go will open the eyes of executives in Kyoto. This is unprecedented.”There are no signs, however, that will happen soon.Of the four mobile games that Nintendo has promised to launch this financial year through March, two are set to be Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem — no sign of Mario nor Donkey Kong, at least not yet.(Additional reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Writing by Ritsuko Ando and Miyoung Kim; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)last_img read more

Poor Data Mastery Impacting Ability to Drive Value From Data Oracle Report

first_imgPoor Data Mastery Impacting Ability to Drive Value From Data, Oracle Report Shows MTS Staff WriterJune 24, 2019, 3:24 pmJune 24, 2019 Andrew Sutherlanddata and securityData MasteryEMEAMarketing TechnologyNewsOracle Previous ArticleTTEC to Debut AI-Enabled Associate Assist Solution at Customer Contact Week (CCW) 2019Next ArticleSheerID Gives Brands Worldwide Reach to Gen Z Audience with Industry’s First Student Verification Solution Available in 191 Countries On average 42% of respondents do not have a data management strategy in placeOnly 4 in 10 are highly confident in their ability to manage, secure data and use their data responsiblyOnly 35% are highly confident they can manage data to generate meaningful insightsKey departments are still not accepting both accountability and responsibility for data managementData security protocols are often not understood, or abided byMarketing Technology News: Will Salesforce Customer 360 Arrival Push CRMs and DMPs Out of Equation in 2020?Source: Oracle Newsroomcenter_img On average less than 40% of companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are confident they can master their data – that is manage, secure and gain insight from data, and use it responsibly. Capabilities in these four areas aren’t projected to increase in the next three years, according to a new study from cloud company, Oracle, called ‘Rediscovering trust in your data and security’. This is despite respondents recognising the value of achieving excellence in these areas, with the top three benefits being cited as increased customer loyalty, revenue and brand value.“We know that being able to leverage data gives immense business benefit and a lead that others find hard to diminish,” said Andrew Sutherland, Senior Vice President, Technology and Systems, Oracle APAC and EMEA. “But these findings suggest that organisations are still being overwhelmed by the data deluge faced. Companies need to tackle the problem head on. This will come from better internal practices and putting data management strategies and enhanced security controls in place.  Additionally, the prudent use of cloud and emerging technologies like AI and automation will also be key as we hit that tipping point where the data and security challenge is becoming just too big for humans alone.”Collective effort neededWhen it comes to looking at who is accountable for securing data, there seems to be confusion about who is meant to take the lead.  For example, while nearly half of all finance and IT decision makers say they are accountable for securing data within their organisation, only a third of those who typically use data – marketing and HR – revealed they take accountability.Marketing Technology News: Tencent Champions “Tech for Good” in CannesMind the gapWhile 53% of EMEA leaders surveyed believe that the secure management of data is very important to reputational risk, the study shows there are many key internal behaviours that compromise trust.One-quarter say that the biggest concern around data security inside the organisation is low attention to data confidentiality, followed by weak controls on who can access data (24%), a willingness to manage data through mobile devices or social platforms (23%), and use of untrusted devices and connections (23%).Around one fifth of respondents (22%) also say that top behaviours compromising their trust in how data is managed include: blindness on how data is supposed to be used; the misuse of critical data; and disregard for applicable data regulations.Marketing Technology News: Only 6% of Small Businesses Focused on Retaining Customers, Despite Main Digital Marketing Goal of Increasing SalesDriving changeCountering these behavioural issues, those with data management strategies in place are 8% more likely to use password protected documents, 10% more likely to have access to secure on-premises databases, and 9% more likely to use data on trusted devices.When it comes to the key data and security priorities companies have for the year ahead and actions being taken to promote the responsible use of data, enforcing better controls and procedures, as well as training and workshops to mix people from different lines of business together ranked highly. Organisations are also turning to technologies companies for help across the spectrum of data mastery including accelerating the move to cloud for enhanced security performance (30%), turning to AI and machine learning to drive actionable insights from data (26%), and machine learning capabilities to self-patch and secure data (25%).last_img read more

TechBytes with Brian Byer Vice President GM at Blue Fountain Media

first_imgAbout Blue Fountain Media Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Blue Fountain Media.I am Vice President and General Manager of Blue Fountain Media (BFM). I oversee all agency activities from Revenue Generation to Expense Management. BFM has a strong history of growth through our technology partnerships – as evidenced by being awarded Acquia Growth Partner of the Year in 2018.  While we love Drupal on Acquia, we are also strong proponents of WP Engine, Sitecore and Adobe for CMS.On the commerce front, BigCommerce has a great product that’s growing very quickly ever since Adobe acquired Magento. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has made key purchases in both B2B and B2C commerce – making them suddenly a player, as well. We tend to make recommendations based on the entirety of our clients MarTech stack and build integrations with many different Marketing Technologies.Our parent company, Pactera, has a strong partnership with Microsoft and we have been implementing many Microsoft products both internally and for clients as a result of their special relationship.What do you see as the biggest web trends moving forward?Can I be the first to call the end of websites as a “thing people build”?  It’s so much more evolved and complex than that. At BFM, we enable content to be delivered across many different devices – and Voice Technology is one area we see becoming bigger every day. For us, Voice Technology represents a paradigm shift in how consumers interact with content, as voice-enabled speakers become more deeply intertwined with day-to-day life. Being able to interact with your favorite brand using voice commands, simplifies and humanizes the user experience. It’s an area we see tremendous growth happening in.Here’s another trend. Privacy regulation comes home. Remember last year’s scramble to comply with GDPR? Well, this EU import is coming to America in January 2020 – and anyone who’s ignored the privacy laws thus far must get in compliance with California’s pending laws or the enforcement will come from much closer to home. I’m sure this will become a more active topic of conversation as that bill becomes law in 6 months or so.What are the key Advertising Analytics/Metrics that Digital Advertising and Marketing teams should be keenly following?Brands are collecting more data than ever, but gleaning valuable, actionable insights out of all this data is what remains woefully out of reach for many. Return on Advertising Spend and the ability to attribute Ad Dollars to Revenue Dollars is the most relevant metric for many advertisers who concentrate on direct response advertising.Other Advertisers are simply trying to win hearts-and-minds, and create brand recognition/affinity so that the next time someone is deciding between Pepsi and Coke, they choose that advertisers brand.We do a lot of work in the CPG space where the goal is not only to collect useful consumer data (and not run afoul of GDPR) but most importantly, it’s about having the Data Scientists and Analytical tools that will help you fuel smarter strategic decisions across your enterprise.How is Blue Fountain Media’s strategy transforming the way modern brands do their Marketing and Sales?In a marketplace defined by Digital Disruption, established brands are continually faced with “what’s next?” moments. Established enterprises must essentially re-invent themselves to be Digital First while still performing their day-to-day functions in order to compete with Digital First competition. That’s not an easy task, especially when tackled from within an organization that’s always done things in an analog environment. We offer businesses solutions, from a fresh perspective, using technology that can essentially transform an enterprises way of working.Why do brands fail to fully understand Digital Marketing Analytics? How do you train your customers to understand this Analytics better?For most brands, collecting data isn’t as much of a problem as making sense of it in the context of today’s business environment. Too often, they limit themselves to one analysis tool, typically chosen because it churns out the dashboards their bosses want to see. This can leave out a lot of valuable insights unnoticed. This is why we work with our clients on the importance of understanding and building actionable metrics for each business. The purpose of this is not just to build pretty dashboards, but to impact both brand and business by offering a clearer view into all aspects of company operations of which Digital Marketing is only one component.Where do you see AR and VR playing a part in the Website Experience?We see these technologies fast becoming powerful Marketing tools for forward-thinking brands. Why? Not only do they create more engaging online user experiences, but they also alleviate an age-old e-commerce selling conundrum: making a customer comfortable buying a product they can’t “see or touch.” AR and VR promise to knock down that barrier by bringing the brick-and-mortar retail experience to the customer.The advent of 5G mobile connectivity gives these nascent technologies a shot at going mainstream, as improved signal bandwidth will support their intensive bandwidth requirements. This is why, going forward, we recommend all brands should be considering ways to incorporate these evolving technologies as part of their comprehensive digital strategies.What are the biggest challenges in measuring the ROI of Social Media Advertising?Measuring ROI on social media campaigns has always been a challenge, even when specific measurements are incorporated in the activation itself. API’s can change rapidly. Social Media Advertising is part of a long-term Marketing strategy and has a much bigger impact when it comes to introducing customers to the brand and overall customer retention than direct sales. Coming up with engaging content is a huge challenge, but maybe more important is avoiding content that might turn a customer off – like deceptive promotions, a poor customer service experience or not responding to online communications, especially when those are public comments made on the company social media page.What is your prediction on the disruptive application of AI in B2B and B2C Marketing initiatives?AI, ML, and Personalization have been the disruptive technology for the last 10 years but they are yet to truly disrupt as they are very difficult to implement elegantly. While AI will certainly be the future, I don’t think it will be disruptive in the foreseeable future. The rollout of 5G technology will be the most disruptive technology to face Digital Marketers in the near future. It will trigger wave upon wave of Marketing Innovation that will spread far and wide, and that’s a very exciting prospect! About BrianAbout Blue Fountain MediaAbout Brian Brian Byer is a leading digital expert helping businesses navigate technology trends to create a competitive advantages and ultimately transform organizations. He has over 20 years of business and entrepreneurial experience and is currently the VP and General Manager at NYC’s leading Digital Agency, Blue Fountain Media. TechBytes with Brian Byer, Vice President, GM at Blue Fountain Media Sudipto GhoshJuly 10, 2019, 1:00 pmJuly 10, 2019 A leading NYC digital agency creating experiences that connect, marketing that performs, and branding that inspires. Explore how we can help you move from now to next. 5GAIARBlue Fountain MediaBrian ByerDigital advertisingGDPRTechBytesVR Previous ArticleCoveo Acquires Tooso to Expand Its AI-powered Digital Commerce TechnologyNext ArticleNEORIS Launched Augmented Intelligence Practice to Spur Data-driven Business Innovationlast_img read more

People infer personality traits by looking at body shape

first_img Source: Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 1 2018When we meet new people, our first impressions of their personality may depend, at least in part, on their body shape, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.”Our research shows that people infer a wide range of personality traits just by looking at the physical features of a particular body,” says psychological scientist Ying Hu of the University of Texas at Dallas, first author on the research. “Stereotypes based on body shape can contribute to how we judge and interact with new acquaintances and strangers. Understanding these biases is important for considering how we form first impressions.”Previous research has shown that we infer a considerable amount of social information by looking at other people’s faces, but relatively little research has explored whether body shapes also contribute to these judgments.”We wanted to know whether we could link personality descriptor words to body shape in predictable ways,” explains Hu. “That is, do people look at a person’s body and make snap judgments about whether the person is lazy, enthusiastic, or irritable?”Hu and colleagues created 140 realistic body models, of which 70 were female and 70 male. The three-dimensional renderings were generated from random values along 10 different body dimensions, using data from laser scans of actual human bodies. Using these models allowed the researchers to know the precise physical measurements of each body shown in the study.A total of 76 undergraduate participants viewed a set of models — they saw each body from two angles and indicated whether 30 trait words shown on screen applied to that body. The trait words reflected dimensions of the Big Five personality traits (a common measure of personality used in psychology research) typically seen as positive (e.g., enthusiastic, extraverted, dominant) or negative (e.g., quiet, reserved, shy).Related StoriesTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe researchers analyzed whether participants consistently associated specific traits with certain types of bodies.Generally, participants judged heavier bodies as being associated with more negative traits, such as being lazy and careless; they judged lighter bodies as having more positive traits, such as being self-confident and enthusiastic.Furthermore, the participants perceived classically feminine (e.g., pear-shaped) and classically masculine (e.g., broad-shouldered) bodies as being associated with “active” traits, such as being quarrelsome, extraverted, and irritable. Male and female bodies that were more rectangular, on the other hand, were associated with relatively passive traits, such as being trustworthy, shy, dependable, and warm.In additional analyses, the researchers found that they could reliably predict personality trait judgments from specific combinations of different body shape features.”To our knowledge, this is the first study to consider the role of more nuanced aspects of body shape–beyond height and weight–in personality judgments about people,” says Alice O’Toole, coauthor and professor of the University of Texas at Dallas.The tendency to infer personality traits from body shape is likely universal, the authors argue, but they note that the exact inferences people make will vary according to their culture, ethnicity, and even age. And it remains to be seen how other characteristics, such as attractiveness or gender, interact with body shape to influence the inferences that people make.These findings add a new layer to the science behind first impressions, revealing “the complicated and value-based judgments that people make about strangers based only on their bodies,” Hu concludes.last_img read more

CAR T therapy can lead to longlasting remissions in patients with rr

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 3 2018In an update to a global clinical trial stretching from Philadelphia to four continents, the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel, formerly CTL019) led to long-lasting remissions in patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The most recent results from the trial will be presented today at the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego (Abstract #1684). Stephen J. Schuster, MD, director of the Lymphoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, was the principal investigator on the trial, which is known as JULIET and has already led to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as by the European Commission, Health Canada, and Swissmedic. Another data set from the JULIET trial with an earlier cut-off date will also be published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).JULIET included 27 sites in 10 countries across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. According to the data presented at ASH, 115 patients with r/r DLBCL received an infusion of CAR T cells. The overall response rate of evaluable patients was 54 percent, with 40 percent achieving a complete response. The median duration of those responses was not reached at a median follow-up of 19 months.”These findings are consistent with what we’ve shown in our single-site studies here at Penn, which is that the majority of patients who go into remission stay in remission,” said Schuster, who is the senior author on the ASH abstract and is the lead author on the NEJM study. The data will be presented at ASH by Richard T. Maziarz, MD, a professor of Medicine at the Oregon Health and Science Knight Cancer Institute.Two-thirds of DLBCL cases are successfully treated with frontline chemotherapy. When that fails, a high-dose chemotherapy combined with an autologous stem cell transplant can potentially lead to long-term disease-free survival. However, only half of r/r patients are candidates for this approach, and for those who are, the expected three-year event-free survival rate is just 20 percent.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancer”CAR T therapy represents a potentially life-saving alternative for these patients, who now have a therapy that can help them achieve durable remissions even after other therapies, including transplant, have failed,” Schuster said.The treatment modifies patients’ own immune T cells, which are collected and reprogrammed to potentially seek and destroy the patients’ cancer cells. After being infused back into patients’ bodies, these CAR-expressing T cells both multiply and attack, targeting cells that express a protein called CD19. Tests reveal that this army of hunter cells can grow to more than 10,000 new cells for each single engineered cell patients receive, producing high remission rates. They can also survive in the body for years.Grade 3/4 cytokine-release syndrome (CRS), a toxicity associated with CAR T therapy, which includes varying degrees of flu-like symptoms, with high fevers, nausea, and muscle pain, and can require ICU-level care, was reported in 23 percent of patients, 16 percent of whom required treatment with tocilizumab, which is the standard therapy for the toxicity. All patients recovered from their CRS. Other Grade 3/4 toxicities included infections (19 percent of patients), fever resulting from low blood count (15 percent), neurological events (11 percent), and a metabolic abnormality called tumor lysis syndrome (two percent). There were no treatment-related deaths.In May 2018, Kymriah® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with r/r large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including DLCBL, high grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma. In August 2018, it was approved by the European Commission, making it the first cellular therapy approved for two different cancer indications. The original FDA approval came in August 2017 for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. Penn and Novartis formed a global research and development collaboration in 2012. Source: read more

Financial incentives fail to increase completion rates of colorectal cancer screening tests

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 25 2019Bottom Line: Financial incentives didn’t increase completion rates of colorectal cancer screening tests mailed to patients. In a randomized clinical trial of almost 900 patients, none of the incentives (an unconditional $10, a promised $10 upon completion of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit to test for blood in a stool sample or chance at a lottery with a 1-in-10 chance of winning $100) was statistically better than no financial incentive to entice patients to complete the FIT. The overall FIT completion rate at six months was nearly 29 percent but the incentives used in this study may have been too small to improve response rates.Authors: Shivan J. Mehta, M.D., M.B.A., M.S.H.P., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and co-authors. Source: read more